By: Franci Kindlhofer
Is it constitutional to violate elementary school students with untruth?
The holiday of April 27th is more or less known to all adult Slovenes. On this day, in 1941, a revolt against the occupier had supposedly been established in Vidmar’s villa in Ljubljana. This is a holiday that greatly divides our nation, namely those who know the events of that time and those who do not deal with this issue too thoroughly and are satisfied with the explanation they get at school or from the Association of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia (ZZB). With this column, I would like to address the younger generation in particular, those students who come unencumbered to school desks, where they are taught a material that does not correspond to the truth. There is even a danger for a student if s/he answers truthfully that s/he will get a bad grade. The textbook in the attached photo is full of untruths and irregularities, especially with regard to our historical period during the Second World War, i.e. the occupation of our country and the time after the war. I am preparing a special manual for all these irregularities for students, parents and teachers, unless the Ministry of Education overtakes me, and provides more appropriate textbooks.
For the current reason, I will only touch on the date April 27th, 1941. Let’s look at what is written on page 103 in the textbook in the chapter FIGHT FOR LIBERATION and subtitled Response to the Occupation:
“Representatives of the Communist Party of Slovenia, together with representatives of some left wing groups (left winged Sokol members, Christian socialists, cultural workers), initiated a meeting on April 26th, 1941 in Ljubljana.”
Dear young friends, if you read carefully, you have certainly noticed the first discrepancy with the date. It is celebrated on April 27th, yet the textbook lists April 26th. In the historical book ‘The National Liberation War in Slovenia 1941-1945’ on page 80 it says in a comment: “… actually on April 26th, 1941 or the day before…” So, even April 26th is probably not accurate. Every conscientious student will ask her/himself: “Yes, damn it, we do not know the exact date of such an important day when the uprising had supposedly been organised.” And that is not all. There is no document, minutes, or at least notes of anyone present about such an “important” meeting. Nothing. That nothing was written is hard to believe, as there are Party documents about much less important events. That this is the case, there are two explanations, either the event was not important at all so that people had not even memorised the date and recorded nothing, or the content of the interviews and possible conclusions was not of a nature useful to the communists, useful for the later interpretation of history. In any case, the lack of any written documentation made it much easier to later adapt the meaning of this meeting to one’s own needs. And that need existed. The claim in the textbook that the Liberation Front was founded at that time is a simple lie. Otherwise, it is further written that, under the influence of the Communist Party, it was initially also directed against Western countries. This too cannot hold because Liberation Front has not yet existed. What is known as reliably about this meeting is that under the influence of the Communist Party, only the Anti-Imperialist Front – PIF – was established. It was typical of all European communist parties at the time to direct their struggle only against Western imperialists. Wondering why? The answer is very simple. At the time, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were great allies, and since all parties were members of the Moscow-based Communist International, they had to support this friendly alliance, and a resistance against Hitler was not allowed to be thought of. During the occupation, even party leaflets were distributed in Ljubljana calling for the German occupier to be well received, as Hitler was an ally of Stalin and a friend of the working class. There were several cases when Slovenian workers celebrated May 1st in 1941 together with the occupier’s soldiers. Of course, this was not the case only in Slovenia, but also in France and other occupied countries, the Communist Party called for friendship with the German occupier and the fight against domestic and foreign imperialists, read Democrats. If you want to know more about this, I recommend the book Stalin and Hitler – Pact against Europe. (Mohor Society, or in libraries).
I would also still like to return to the beginning of the text in the textbook. The first sentence:
“Representatives of the Communist Party of Slovenia, together with representatives…”
The textbook has also left the ground of neutrality here. The sentence with CP is written in red letters, as if to emphasise the importance of the Communists, of whom there were only 180 in Ljubljana at the time. It also describes the other participants as the progressive left. Many who are otherwise ardent advocates of democracy may say: “What is wrong with the Communist Party calling for rebellion?” In this particular case, on April 26th, the uprising was not actually on the agenda, as we know. And even if it were, it would be very wrong for one political option to organise a rebellion on its own, excluding others who may imagine this rebellion only slightly differently. Rebellion must take into account strategic circumstances, protect innocent lives, and must explicitly aim only at liberation from tyranny, not the seizure of power. This must be settled after the war, in peace and on the basis of free, democratic elections. But more about these matters some other time. Now soberly judge, does April 27th deserve this attention?
Franci Kindlhofer is vice-president of the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence.