The real name for the events that happened in the years between 1941 and 1945 is the Slovenian catastrophe. This means that at that time, the Slovenian nation, as well as certain individual Slovenians, found themselves in a position which, in view of previous Slovenian history, brought our country to the brink of extinction, to the very destruction and erasure of what could have been considered the spiritual structure of Sloveneness, and thus the goal of Slovenian spiritual history. The catastrophic situation during the Second World War had its external and, above all, internal reasons. The main external reason was related to the catastrophe that struck Slovenians at the end of the First World War when they were divided into three state organisms. With the end of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, the consequences of this division deepened and radicalised, so that the Slovenian territory of the old Yugoslavia was divided among its neighbouring countries, namely among fascist Italy, National Socialist Germany, and Horthy’s Hungary. This brought the absolute end of a complete, undivided Slovenian territory, and the division reached right to the centre of the country, to Ljubljana.
Thus, Slovenians were supposed to completely disappear. But this is only the external aspect of the Slovenian catastrophe. The internal one was much more important for the further destiny of Slovenians. After 1941, a civil war broke out among Slovenians. Nothing like it had happened in Slovenia since the beginning of the Middle Ages. But the civil war after 1941 far surpassed the early medieval tribal and religious disputes, as it turned into a tragedy of great proportions with massacres and severe consequences for the post-war period.
On the one hand, the resistance against the Italian and German occupation authorities resulted in the national liberation movement, but on the other hand, the resistance against the communist forces that led the resistance against the occupier, resulted in an anti-communist movement. Both are legitimate, as well as morally and politically justifiable. However, the catastrophe was that the national liberation movement was so closely linked to the communist revolution that the two could no longer be separated. There was great moral guilt on the communist side for exploiting the threat to the Slovenian nation for an action that was supposed to imperceptibly grow into a real communist revolution.
This plan was not accidental, as it was only a new application of the principle first established by Marxism-Leninism as early as the October Revolution, which was also made possible by the Russian catastrophe in the First World War. That is how the Slovenian national liberation movement based itself on something that threatened its legitimacy from within and also imposed great moral guilt on it. This guilt mainly concerned its communist leadership, and not the partisan participants and activists, who came to join the liberation movement mostly because of the threat against our nation, and not because of the explicit idea of the communist revolution. The Slovenian catastrophe during the Second World War, with its internal contradiction, affected the very external existence of Slovenians, as well as their moral existence – to the same extent, which thus faced these unsolvable dilemmas.
With the liberation actions and the activation of Slovenian masses, the Liberation Front transformed the Slovenian national character itself – member of the Liberation Front and president of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, academic Josip Vidmar
The masses of Slovenian people, who fought for their national and human rights, created a new image of active Sloveneness, said Josip Vidmar at the Republic Conference of the People’s Front of Yugoslavia’s discussion: “This is a discussion of the issue of point four in the programme of the Liberation Front (Osvobodilna fronta – OF in Slovenian), about its meaning and the results that should be achieved with this point in our liberation fight and in our revolution. With the liberation campaign and the activation of masses of Slovenians, the Liberation Front is transforming the Slovenian national character.”
In the essay “Kocbek’s Guilt” from the collection titled Inward Circles, Outward Circles, academic Dr Tine Hribar writes about a Liberation Front member Edvard Kocbek, the national liberation movement, and the revolution. All indications show that Edvard Kocbek (1904-1983) agreed to political assassinations after joining the partisans. He not only agreed to them but even accepted them as a necessary condition for the “Slovenian revolution.” Did he consider political assassinations as acts that are, in principle, evil? And should they therefore be avoided, but this was not possible during the national liberation fight? Should political assassinations, the evil acts of the revolution, because of their necessity and inevitability, be considered only a necessary evil, and not political murders, meaning political crimes?
When Marxism, with which Kocbek began to agree in the realm of society and sociability, subjectively, according to Marxists themselves, began to defend the “objective laws of history,” but then impose the Truth, this was only a step away from the party directives being entered into force as an objective law. And that is what happened soon after: when the Communist Party took power, first with the Dolomite Declaration over the partisans, and after the end of the Second World War and the successful implementation of the revolution, these directives became fully valid as laws in the Slovenian nation as such. In the role of the sole ruler, the Communist Party promulgated its orders as laws with objective force. Quite literally – whoever did not follow them, whoever did not obey the decrees of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia flawlessly, could expect a brick to fall on his head. They killed such people or destroyed them in other ways.
A fundamental decision was made. Kocbek decided that he would not only take part in the national liberation fight but also in the revolutionary fight, namely, as the constitution of a new revolutionary force: as a subject of the revolution – in short, as a revolutionary. But the national liberation fight and the revolution were not only different on the verbal level but on a much deeper level as well. They are not one and the same. The national liberation fight is a defence; it is a defensive fight for the survival of the nation. The revolution means attack, an onslaught, the end goal of which is to seize power. It is achievable only by a total confrontation with the opponents of the revolution, with the “enemies,” the people whom the revolution considers as such, thus provoking and establishing the revolution itself. On the 31st of May, 1942, Kocbek wrote: “I decided to be a sharp and yet patient attacker.”
And while the occupier is the real enemy of the nation, the enemy of the revolution is an imaginary enemy, constructed only on the basis of complex symbolic operations. Kocbek started with these symbolic operations quite early, as from the beginning of the formation of the “Liberation Front,” his starting point was the following assumption: the Slovenian nation must not only be liberated but also re-educated.
You cannot make a pitcher, a jug out of clay, without getting dirty in the process. Our hands will thus be dirty. But in a completely different sense than if we kill a man and get our hands stained with blood. When we make a pitcher, we create; when we kill a person, we destroy. How, then, is it possible that Kocbek included killing in his creative activities? Only by “rethinking” killing and using it as the central means of creation. As a means of revolutionary “transformation of order and man in Slovenia.” As a means of shaping a new man, namely, under the climate of the “Slovenian revolution.
Kocbek initially envisioned this primarily in a spiritual sense, but then he put – or rather, pushed – the political meaning before this other meaning. And he subordinated law and ethics to this new meaning. Now everything that is happening is happening under the auspices of the Goal, which he calls the “goal of the revolutionary justice,” the means of which are “revolutionary sanctions,” meaning killings. This is justice without mercy, and these are reckless sanctions, as Kocbek specifically pointed out. And that is why “strong consistency” is needed, revolutionary violence is needed, which does not take into account the “psychology of the convict,” that is, the possible good intentions of the man who would be liquidated in the name of the revolution. The question of his subjective guilt or innocence does not matter anymore, his objective guilt is the decisive factor. What is decisive is what his actions and his words mean in terms of the ultimate goal of the revolution.
What is objective, however, was decided by the revolutionary leadership, namely, on the basis of “objectively justified decisions,” in other words, on the basis of “objective laws of history,” the knowledge and enforcement of which, the revolutionary leadership took into its own hands. It always had them in its own hands, or more precisely, it produced them in its own head. In the head of the main subject of the revolutionary action, and thus also revolutionary justice and its sanctions: liquidations as the revolutionary “justifications.” And the direct leader of the “Slovenian revolution” or, more precisely, the communist revolution in Slovenia, was not Edvard Kocbek – Pavel, but Boris Kidrič – Peter.
But Kidrič was not only the direct, operative leader of the revolution, but also authorised by the Communist Party, and apparently recognised by the leadership of the Liberation Front as the chief prosecutor, chief interrogator and chief judge of the revolutionary judiciary, meaning the “processes” of revolutionary justice. If necessary, he was also the main and only lawyer of the suspects and accused. Kocbek was aware that the courts, in which the political commissioner, the party man, had the main say, were revolutionary courts, meaning that they were not real courts at all, not even military courts, but, as he himself writes, these were the “so-called courts.”
Kidrič cornered Kocbek immediately after his arrival in partisan territory and did not let him go until his signing of the Dolomite Declaration. After the signing, they quickly got rid of Kocbek and sent him away from Slovenia. It seems that this had a similar purpose as them pulling him into the partisan territory. Because only a few days after the departure of the majority of the Liberation Front leadership from Ljubljana, the party’s Security-Intelligence in Ljubljana began a series of liquidations, the first victim of which, as we all know, was Dr Lambert Ehrlich. Kocbek may have been affected by this, but there is no trace of any remorse in his diary entry: “When we laid down on the bunks in the evening, a courier came from Ljubljana and brought the news that, following the decision of the Ljubljana leadership, Dr Ehrlich, organiser of the guard and initiator of anti-partisanship, was killed.”
Kocbek did not doubt the incredible information that the “Ljubljana leadership” itself, beyond the directives of the Slovenian party leadership or the leadership of the Liberation Front, decided to liquidate such an important person as Ehrlich. However, at the time, and also later, this was completely impossible. However, perhaps Kocbek’s formulation, with its lack of clarity, indirectly tells us just that. Especially if we bear in mind Kocbek’s writing of the 23rd of May 1942, a statement made five days before the one mentioned above: “We authorised three people, including Kardelj, to stay in Ljubljana and to issue appropriate guidelines for the capital.” In light of this statement of the “Ljubljana leadership,” a part of the Liberation Front did actually remain in Ljubljana and also acted there at its own will and based on its own decisions, for example, Edvard Kardelj – Krištof, who was the commissioner of the Comintern (Communist International of Moscow), the last link of the Bolshevik Stalin-Tito-Kardelj alliance and the first actor in the communist revolution in Slovenia, and thus he also carried out his own justice and justifications, meaning political liquidations.
And although Kocbek records these words as his own, as an expression of his own thoughts, in reality, we are no longer listening to Kocbek himself. It is not the voice of his conscience that emanates from him, but Kidrič’s voice instead. Kocbek does not express his own conscience but merely reproduces Kidrič (Stalin, Lenin, Engels, Marx) in his own way. We know how the victors brought the revolutionary rights closer to the people. With the revolutionary right and its bloody violence, they certainly changed the “Slovenian national character,” but they did not transform it for the better, but only further distorted it, and above all, traumatised it (Dr Tine Hribar).
Through an in-depth mental analysis of the development of the communist and post-communist periods of Slovenians and on the basis of historical documents, the facts provide an explanation for why nowadays, Slovenians and Slovenia are divided into two parts – the traditional and the revolutionary part of the nation. With the autochthonous revolution, Slovenian communists changed the national character of Slovenians as the only nation in Europe, and in the eighty years of their domination of the nation, they achieved what we still have today.
A summary of historical facts
Dr Jože Pučnik saw further, much further than others – he was a visionary. Janez Janša said at the memorial ceremony in Črešnjevec on the 17th anniversary of the death of Dr Jože Pučnik: “It is only after 30 years that we realise that democracy as a form without political culture does not suffice for radical changes in society!”
Dr Jože Pučnik: “In 1999, Slovenia is a country that does not provide the basic conditions for the preservation of national identity, nor the structural framework for the normalisation of the situation and the modernisation of society. Slovenia is in a deep value, economic and political crisis. Therefore, my starting point is the thesis that the democratic order of the state and the fundamental life interests of Slovenians are endangered. In the implementation, I will try to explain and substantiate the initial thesis, and in conclusion, there should be some thoughts on what we should do to overcome this crisis and protect the fundamental interests of the Slovenian nation.”
The book Slovenski razkol (Slovenian Schism, 2019) is a ground-breaking historical work, a scientific monograph that, in a popular and documented way, in many ways breaks taboos and the decades-old ideological dogma of unilateral guilt for the Slovenian fratricidal war. The book actually changes the current Slovenian knowledge about the Second World War in Slovenia, especially in light of the reasons and guilt for the Slovenian national schism, which still plagues us today. The monograph is the result of doctoral studies and 20 years of research done by Dr Jože Možina, during which the author came across fascinating, hitherto unknown archives and testimonies that rewrite the history of the Second World War in Slovenia in many ways.
The historical study by Dr Tamara Griesser Pečar entitled Razdvojen narod (A Divided Nation) relies on the thorough examination and detailed study of the sources showing the structures and currents that led to the civil war in Slovenia. The main focus is on the years 1941 and 1942 because, in the first two years of the war, the foundation of the irreconcilable conflict within the Slovenian nation was laid. Special emphasis is also placed on the end of the war when the communists finally took power. The research, which was set impartially, without prejudices and without a predetermined result, shows how the new rules, the communists, acted, how they treated the truth and human dignity. Therefore, in 1945, there was no real “liberation” of Slovenia because the liberation from the prison of the totalitarian rule of the occupier only led us to new slavery under another totalitarian rule – the lordship of communism. Slovenia has only been liberated – and thus free – since the 25th of June 1991.
The communist revolution of 1941 divided Slovenians into two national parts. Therefore, the essential question remains, about the state of mind in Slovenia, why it is what it is, and when will it be possible to change it. And, of course, what each of us can do about it.
Unfortunately, Slovenians, as the only nation in Europe, had to experience the communist revolution. The programmes that were ingrained in our minds during communist times still work in the minds of many people today and continue to block cognitive access to reality. And this is the answer to the question of “Why are we a divided and traumatised society and how can we unite these divided parts of the nation?” (Dr Jože Možina)
Therefore, today, in Slovenia, the decisive question is: do we accept a value model according to which we allow the possibility of such conditions that morally and legally allow the state to kill its own citizens or reduce its guilt if it does so? The schism in Slovenia today is historically justified, understandable and expected. On the one hand, we have the revolutionary side with the murders of the elite, the expropriation of property, the destruction of the bourgeoise and the culture, the persecution of church and priests, militant atheism, the eighty-year monopoly and hereditary annuities, which split Slovenians into two parts in the year 1941, and which is still controlling Slovenia through the negative selection of the third generation and the mentality of the new class.
On the other hand, we have the traditional side of Slovenians, which continues the centuries-old development of Slovenians – we are Slovenians and Christians; continues the tradition of our grandfathers, who were the bearers of intellectual and economic development of Slovenians before the war, and after the fall of communism, the leaders of Slovenian independence, which, with its positive selection, intellectually dominates in Slovenia and in the world. The revolutionary side lives isolated in the culture of the party myth of the victory of the revolution over fascism, Nazism, over capitalism and tradition, lives with the myth of equality and brotherhood of communism, in which everyone lived beautifully in unity and in peace.
The cultural differences and ethnic bases of the revolutionary ethnic group of Slovenians express different ethnic identities, different historical beliefs and truths, different Slovenian consciousness of belonging, live in lack of values and norms, while the culture of Marxism is the only religion in which they believe and trust. The traditional side is the ethnic group of Slovenians, which differs from the other group of Slovenians in terms of the spiritual values of its members. Traditional Slovenians have common beliefs, values, norms, customs, language, religion and history, as well as the consciousness and belonging to Slovenia.
Civilisation begins by burying the dead, as it initially began right when man started to bury the dead of his kind. And the only two systems that trampled this element of civilisation were Nazism and Communism. (Dr Jože Možina)
Therefore, the question remains, about the state of mind in Slovenia, why it is what it is, and when will it be possible to change it. And, of course, what each of us can do about it. Or, as Dr Jože Pučnik said in an interview: “All those indisputable facts that directly concern the fundamental values of our civilisation are essential. In the first place is the inviolability and respect for human life. A state that knowingly and deliberately organises the killing of its own citizens, without carefully and, according to the rules of the European rule of law, determining the degree of their individual guilt, is a criminal state. The political party that leads such a country is a criminal party. Officials in this party, who were at the same time also the leaders of this country, ordered this massacre, accepted it, and some also carefully organised and carried it out. These are criminals in the full sense of the word. Their guilt is criminal, political and moral, and it cannot be time-barred.”
“Not every anti-fascist is a democrat, but every democrat is automatically an anti-fascist and anti-communist. A democrat is in favour of democracy and against any totalitarianism,” said writer and academic Drago Jančar. The world-famous and renowned Slovenian Zoran Mušič fled from Ljubljana to Italy, after previously being held in the Dachau concentration camp, in order to escape the Department for People’s Protection – OZNA: “I barely escaped them.” In 1945, Mušič was expelled from the Society of Slovenian Artists, and then later also from the Slovenian community. He was even proposed to the Court of National Honour for a trial. He has a reputation of denying his homeland, they said, but forgot to mention that he was excluded from this very community.
Dr. Teo Zor [the author holds a doctorate of agricultural sciences, the seed industry, and is the Director of KWS and GPZ z.o.o.]