John Corsellis, who cared for Slovenes fleeing their country in 1945 and chronicled their Odyssey around the world, has died at the age of 95 in his home city of Cambridge.
As a young humanitarian aid worker, John helped look after several thousand Slovene refugees in Displaced Persons camps in Austria until they were able to emigrate to Argentina, the United States, Canada and Britain.
He developed a strong affection for the refugees, whom he helped run schools and other camp activities with the most meagre of means. While the Slovenes were bitter that the British Army sent back 13,000 Slovene Home Guards to be killed by the Communists, they warmly appreciated John for his support and friendship in their time of need.
Together with co-author Marcus Ferrar, John published a book entitled “Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II” in the U.K. in 2005. The Slovene edition published by Mladinska Knjiga became a best-seller in Slovenia.
John was a Quaker, and when asked by Slovene television interviewer how this affected his beliefs, he replied simply: “The Bible says ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and the Bible means ‘Thou shalt not kill’.”
A Quaker meeting will be held to give thanks for John’s life on Tuesday 4 December at 2.30 pm at the Friends Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA.
Here is a link to the interview John Corsellis and Marcus Ferrar gave to Sandi Čolnik of RTV Slovenia in 2006: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ryONG4poEo
We are looking forward to getting together again at our next Prešeren Evening. It will take place on Saturday 9th February 2019 at the Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel (the same place as this year). Put the date in your diary!
PS: Don’t forget the British-Slovene Carol Service on 7th December at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street and St. Andrew’s Hill, City of London, EC4V 5DE.
The BSS warmly invites you to our annual Carol Service on Friday 7th December 2018, at 6:30 pm.
This is our regular festive get together which is held in the beautiful church of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street and St. Andrew’s Hill, City of London, EC4V 5DE.
The church, which was built by Sir Christopher Wren is a wonderful historic building and well worth a visit in its own right. Please come and join in our carol singing in English and Slovene.
Catch up with friends after the service as there will be potica (offered by the Society) and Christmas drinks (courtesy of the Embassy).
There is no charge but a collection is taken to support the work of the Barka charity in Slovenia.
Nearest underground Blackfriars. St Paul’s and Mansion House nearby.
The “Lakeland Voices from Cumbria” choir, which specialises in folk songs from Slovenia, invites you to join them for a Slovene-themed “Singing Supper” at the Number Twelve Restaurant at 12 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0HX this Saturday 6th October at 7.30 pm. There will be well known songs in both Slovene and English which everyone can join in.
All members and friends of the British-Slovene Society are welcome.
The Number Twelve Restaurant is offering a set menu. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lakeland Voices from Cumbria on a tour in Slovenia in May 2018