“Praznujmo s slovensko domovino” – “Let’s Celebrate with the Slovenian Homeland”

Slovenia is celebrating 25 years of its independence and will hold an All-Slovene Meeting on 30 June in the Slovenian Parliament.

To mark this occasion, young Slovenians living abroad are invited to assess relations between their new homeland and Slovenia. You can either come in person or send a video. Please see the invitation: Vabilo XVI. Vseslovensko srecanje 2016

Our Lisa Hirsch has left us

We are sad to report the death of our oldest member, Lisa Hirsch, who has passed away in her home in Porthcawl, Wales, at the age of 96.


Her funeral will take place at 2 pm on Thursday 2nd June at Acton Cemetery, Park Royal Rd, London W3 6XA. There is plenty of room for parking cars.

Diana Poberaj, who knew Lisa for many years, writes:

Lisa Hirsch spent her pre-war teenage years in Maribor, now Slovenia and then part of Yugoslavia. However that’s not where the family originated from. Born in 1919, she spent her first years in Fürth in Bavaria. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the family had to leave, for they were Jews.

As the war drew near, Maribor wasn’t safe either. Sponsored by her uncle, a founder member of Marks & Spencer, she was able to come to England at the age of 19 in 1938. Soon her family could join her in London. Lisa was supposed to study English, but applied for a job at the BBC.

After a brief interview to test whether she could speak clearly in Slovene, she landed a job with the Yugoslav section of the BBC, and was soon broadcasting back to where she had just come from. At the BBC, she met my father, Anton Poberaj, who recounts this story of Lisa’s wartime years:

“One afternoon on a fire-training exercise, she was instructed to carry heavy pails of water. The Polish contingent at the BBC, by nature most gallant, rushed to her aid each time, as dignity would not allow them to leave a lady in such dire need. Finally a supercilious English voice barked out: ‘Gentlemen! For the purpose of this exercise, Miss Hirsch is NOT a lady!’”

In the 1950s, Lisa married Philip Houlton and converted to the Orthodox Christian faith. She continued working for the BBC for many years and remained the consummate journalist until the end of her days.

In later years, Lisa left Acton to live in the seaside town of Porthcawl in Wales, near her son David and his wife Anne.

The Trustees of the British-Slovene Society express their heartfelt condolences to David and his family. We will miss Lisa at our Prešeren evenings and Oxford picnics.

The British-Slovene Society Annual Picnic

Dear Slovenes, friends and families,

We warmly invite you to join us from 12 noon till 4.30 p.m. on Sunday 26th June for the Annual Picnic in the Oxford University Arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay. We will meet again by the kozolec (Slovene hay rack).

Bring your own picnic and drinks, deckchairs, picnic blankets, your kids, grandchildren and friends. As is usual among Slovenes, we encourage you to bring plenty to eat and drink and share it with everyone!


This splendid Arboretum is close to Nuneham Courtenay House, where Lewis Carroll would row the young Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland) and her sisters on the River Thames on a summer afternoon.

It is situated just south of the village of Nuneham Courtenay on the A4074 road from Reading, eight miles south of Oxford. The postal code is OX44 9PX. From London it can be reached by the M40, exit 8, A40 to Oxford, then southwards round the Ring Road (A4142) on to the A4074 towards Reading.

If you come by train to Oxford or Reading, you can then take the bus X39/X40 to the Arboretum. If you have problems please mail to evelina@ferrar.org.uk or call 07584 199 177 and we will do what we can to help.

The Arboretum has kindly agreed to mow the area around the hayrack, which has recently suffered some damage and we are not allowed to climb on it. Adults attending the British-Slovene picnic pay £5, concessions £3.50. You can pay by cash, credit/debit card or cheque. Children and Members of Oxford University (bring your card) enter for free.

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More information on the Arboretum can be found at http://www.harcourt-arboretum.ox.ac.uk/.

We must leave by 4:30 p.m. when the Arboretum closes. However, if you wish to come earlier, you can do so from 10 a.m. onwards.

We hope we can welcome many of you as we celebrate and enjoy an afternoon around the kozolec – one of the most traditional symbols of Slovenia and its culture.