32 / 2010
Marjan Drnovšek

Educational Care for Slovene Emigrant Youth before the Second World War

Children were a part of the emigrant population that was in the shadow of adults. The care of the Church and the state for their situation abroad in the inter-war period is investigated. The stress is on children of Slovene emigrants in France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. A few emigrant priests and teachers were involved with them and a small number went to supplementary lessons in the Slovene language. Correspondence between emigrant children and their peers in the home country was lively. They also met during holidays that emigrant children spent in Slovenia. Children were active participants at public emigrant events in the emigrant community. Despite all the efforts to preserve their national identity, the process of assimilation deepened as a result of them attending compulsory schooling in the immigrant country. Few personal testimonies of childhood have been preserved. Their feelings and experience are reflected in songs that were penned by adults in the language of children, e.g., in Izseljenska čitanka (Emigrant Reader) (1941).
KEYWORDS: assimilation of school children, emigrant teachers, contacts with the homeland, holidays in the homeland, written contacts between children