Leader of the Social Democrats, Tanja Fajon, has responded to the letter that was sent to her by the Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Menachem Margolin, calling on the party to return the building where they have their headquarters, to the Slovenian Jewish community. Fajon invited the rabbi to a meeting where they would talk and review the facts, as she wants to present to him the legal documents which show how they obtained the state property for the party (and communist party) purposes. Despite the fact that the Denationalisation Act was adopted in 1991, Moskovič’s villa was never the subject of any related discussions.
In a letter to the president of the Social Democrats, Tanja Fajon, the European Jewish Association wrote that it would be appropriate, just, and moral to right a historic wrong and return the stolen villa, which was originally owned by Felix Moskovič, who was killed in the Holocaust, along with his family. They believe that the Slovenian Jewish community should become the owner of the villa as part of a settlement on the communal and heirless property. As they also pointed out in the letter, discussions have been held in the past regarding the transfer of the aforementioned property; however, they were unsuccessful.
As expected, given her responses from the past, Fajon rejected all allegation of any irregularities regarding the ownership of the villa. She invited the rabbi “to talk and review the facts.” She sent a similar invitation to the European Jewish Congress, the umbrella organisation of all Jewish organisations in Europe, and the Jewish community in Slovenia, Siol reported.
“The history of transfers of ownership of the real estate where the SD party headquarters are located, that is Levstikova 15 in Ljubljana, is completely clear both from a legal and a historical standpoint. After the tragic death of the Moskovič family, the property was inherited by their legal heir, who sold it to a new owner soon after he inherited it, and the new owner then sold the villa to the state in 1961. In 1993, the SD party became the legal owner of the house on the basis of a contract exchange with the state. Our party has always had good relations with the Jewish community of Slovenia,” she wrote in her letter.
Legal theft of property in the previous system
The SD party is declaring itself the legal owner of the villa because they got it with a contract exchange for the property of the League of Communists of Slovenia, whose legal successors are, of course, the Social Democrats (SD). Jewish capital in Slovenia was already subject to confiscation under German and Italian occupation, and similarly, property was appropriated by the post-war Yugoslav authorities. Jewish property shared the fate of confiscations and nationalisations, experienced by many other (slightly) wealthier citizens, but the authorities had to return the nationalised property to its rightful owners due to the Denationalisation Act. However, the Jewish villa has not yet been returned.
Instead of Fajon admitting that the previous government was “legally stealing” property and that as the successors of the Communists, this villa was given to them, she is still bringing up the communist documentation, which allowed them to get the villa. “Only with a transparent presentation of all relevant documents, can these obvious lies, which have been systematically spread by one of the Slovenian political parties, SDS, and its president, the current Prime Minister Janez Janša, be stopped,” she wrote. The documents certainly exist, and as she says, the procedure was legal, but that does not mean that “theft” is allowed. The original mistake of this party bargain was, in fact, that the socio-political organisations, the party, the fighters and the unions, kept the property which they had occupied in former times, as their own property, despite the fact that it should have been state-owned.
A monument does not wash the guilt away
Fajon concludes her letter with empty phrases about their respect for the Jews: “Rest assured that our deepest respect for the victims of the Holocaust and all the victims of Nazism and Fascism stems first and foremost from our history and tradition,” she wrote. She then points out that in paying tribute to Felix and Klara Moskovič and their children, the Social Democrats have, in cooperation with the Jewish community of Slovenia, honoured all the victims of the Holocaust with a memorial plaque that was put on the façade Levstikova 15 in August of 2018.
Apparently, they believe that they have thus washed away all of their guilt. Unbelievable.