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UNDERGROUND PRINTING / WWII SLAVICA / ORIGINAL ARTWORK: Prešernova Zdravljica [Prešeren’s Zdravljica].



A 4-page pamphlet with a full page linocut, made by an underground Slovenian Partisan press, handed out to the resistance fighters on Christmas, 1944


8°, [4 pp.] with a full page linocut (tiny tears in margins, otherwise in a good condition).


1 in stock


A pamphlet, featuring France Prešeren’s famous poem, ‘Zdravljica’ (A Toast), which later became Slovenian national anthem, was printed with a full page linocut by a Partisan underground press as a Christmas present for the resistance fighters, to boost morale in the cold winter of last months of the war.


France Prešeren (1800 – 1849) was an especially beloved poet among the resistance during World War II and even a Partisan army division was named after him. The present work showcases Prešeren’s most famous poem, Zdravljica (A Toast), which features drinking a toast to unity, boys, girls, freedom, and fghting the enemy.


The poem was at the same time published by the same press in longer version with 8 full-page linocuts, each sheet with rice paper guards with printed text in red and vignettes in gold, and is today known as one of the most beautiful books ever made by any underground resistance press in occupied Europe during World War II,


Records show that 1512 examples of this book were made by the printing operation Trilof in the Gorenjsko region of northwestern Slovenia, and that, of these, 1500 were numbered. It is noted that in total the edition consumed 160 kg of paper, and took 678 hours to produce. Examples were given to leading Partisans as tributes in recognition of feats against the enemy, as these less elaborate pamphlets were handed out to other soldiers.


The Trilof Press occupied a hut hidden beneath a heavily wooded mountainside. It was privately operated by ‘Don’ and his girlfriend ‘Julia’ (Partisan noms de guerre), outside of the oversight of the Partisan committees. The press was known for the unusually high quality of its productions, including coloured prints.


The linocut was made by the artist Janez Vidic, who was active in the decades after the war as an illustrator, graphic designer, printer and fresco master. The linocuts are thought to have been made from plates of linoleum taken from the floors of kitchens of a local Alpine villa.

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