MON, 15 MAY 1995 20:29:51 GMT
A few people know that capitulation of German forces for the South-Eastern Europe 50 years ago was signed in a small Slovenian village called Topolscica. That is how, with the surrender of the last German units, the Second World War ended on the territory of Slovenia. Namely, on May 15, 1945, a commander of the German army, Alexander Lohr, was taken prisoner in Topolscnica by the political commissar of the 14th Division of partisan army, general Ivan Dolnicar, who is now President of the Slovenian War Veterans' Association, and general Lohr signed capitulation. And while Lohr's revolver Walter 7.65 which the long retired general Dolnicar still keeps in memory of the event, clearly testifies that the war in Europe, and in Slovenia, has ended, polemics in Slovenia which fill newspaper columns 50 years later, make the impression that the war between the partisans and the White Guardsmen in the small sub-Alpine state still continues.
Only the Germans are missing. But they too would not be welcomed too warmly by the newly awakened Home Guardsmen and the White-Guards, because they could testify about their joint "ordung" and discipline they introduced in Slovenia and subjected the Slovenian people to, about treason and similar things. Namely, nowadays, 50 years after the victory over fascism, members and certain supporters of former Slovenian quislings wish to convince everybody around them that they in fact fought against the enemy who occupied the country, but not as clearly as they fought against the Communists. And the Communists are - as they claim - partisans. Those who have become the full-fledged members of the anti-fascist coalition. The whole world recognizes this fact, except for a part of the Slovenian public, with its offspring and supporters, which lost the war 50 years ago.
Since they refuse to accept the fact, they are now starting a new - political war. They welcomed the fall of Communism among other because it enabled them to slightly change history. It is true that they have a few strong arguments against the former authorities which really did come to power undemocratically seizing the "throne" as war victors. The first argument is certainly the just mentioned taking over the rule without democratic elections. The second is the great massacre of domestic traitors, who were tried by courts martial instead of regular courts, and often not even like that. They were simply shot. These are the sins of the past which were not a specialty of just Yugoslavia at the time, but many others - even the officially democratic countries such as France, Belgium and many others squared accounts with national traitors very brutally. But these new Slovenian "heroes" do not mention that. They just try to find excuses for themselves in Communism against which they fought.
At the very beginning of their public appearances, the real war veterans appeared to be on the defensive, as if it was all beneath their dignity (which it certainly is), while the attacks of former quislings had not exceeded all rational limits. A sharp and substantiated answer followed, as well as the admission that unforgivable errors were made by the former regime in post-war killing of Home Guardsman. Such answers came from partisans-Communists, but from partisans-believers and even completely uncommitted former partisans too, who had taken the rifles to defend their people and their country. Despite some initiatives that history should be left to the historians, and that Slovenia should try to proceed towards national reconciliation, Slovenia has never been so clearly divided into two parties - the victors and those defeated in the Second World War, and of course all those who follow one or the other group.
Had all this happened only in letters of readers in various newspapers, or on television and radio, we would have fared well. But, the Catholic Church interfered in the affair, and just like during the war, joined the former quislings, and so did many political parties. The centre and the leftists joined the winners, while Christian Democrats and nationalistic rightists are with the defeated. Daily political objectives in the past few days when the whole world was celebrating the victory over Fascism, are seriously jeopardizing state celebration of the victory in which Slovenia played a significant role with its autochthonous anti-fascist struggle. Two parties have already announced that they would not participate: Jansa'a so-called Social Democrats and Peterle's Christian Democrats. While the majority of the public is shocked with such a decision, cynics realistically reach the conclusion: "It is quite normal that they renounced the celebration. The losers have nothing to celebrate!" The losers not only do not wish to participate in the mediocre celebration, but they also consider whether to come to the ceremonial session of the Slovenian parliament convened on the occasion of the victory over fascism. The Christian Democrats wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Slovenian parliament, Joze Skolc, in that sense informing him in the form of an ultimatum of the following: "Deputies of the SKD will participate at the ceremonial session of the State Assembly only if you in your speech will express joint stances of parliamentary parties, and if the State Assembly, prior to this session, adopts a declaration expressing respect for all those who fought against the army which occupied the country and condemning at the same time acts committed in the name of the revolution!" Mr Skolc is now on the move. But, there is another, even more interesting matter. All things considered, relations between the two coalition parties of Drnovsek's LDS and Peterle's SKD have become strained to such an extent that the leaders of both parties have admitted that all communication between them has been interrupted. This might not altogether ruin the coalition, but it is certain that it is becoming looser every day.
And while losers from the Second World War are looking for alibis for their crimes, Slovenian Minister of Defence, Jelko Kacin, was very clear in his speech at the celebration of the victory over fascism in Topolscica: "How is it possible that today, 50 years after the end of the Second World War some people are trying to requalify some facts? ... Some people have then decided to cooperate with the occupation army and their present arguments are very unconvincing. A traitor is not respected by anyone, not even his master", Kacin said among other.
And while the gradfathers and the fathers are quarrelling about what had happened, the young ones sigh: "When will they leave us alone with their history and their gerontological quarrels?!" But, nevertheless they came to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of liberation of Ljubljana in great numbers and significantly contributed to that and many other celebrations around Slovenia as their co-authors.