Soldiers of Slovenia's World War II era Dombranci home-guard

Slovenians criticise Church for Nazi historical revisionism

A Slovenian magazine has accused the country’s Catholic Church of covering up its collaboration with Nazi and Fascist forces during World War II by honouring victims of Communist reprisals.

Driving the news

Mladina, one of Slovenia’s most widely-read and influential publications, denounced last week the Church’s involvement in a commemoration organised by the New Slovenian Testament.

An organisation, Mladina said, “which promotes the doings of the Domobranci home-guard during WWII”.

The Domobranci were a group of Nazi collaborators who swore allegiance to Hitler.

In other countries around Europe which have reconciled themselves to their Nazi past, associations like the New Slovenian Testament “do not and cannot exist”, Mladina denounced.

Let alone with the support of the Church.

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Go deeper

Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž said that although Nazi commemorations are unthinkable in many countries in Europe, “Eastern Europe is quite another story”.

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The journalist added that after the fall of Communism, many organisations sprung up in the region commemorating Nazi collaborators, or “quislings”.

Support for the quislings is a hallmark of the Slovenian right-wing, Repovž explained, just as it is in neighbouring Croatia, where the ruling HDZ party pushes the memory of that country’s collaborationist force, the Ustashe.

But in both Slovenia and Croatia, the Church was the real driving force behind collaboration with the Nazis, and the creation both of the Domobranci and the Ustashe.

In Slovenia, for example, Bishop of Ljubljana Gregorij Rožman (1883-1959) attended Domobranci oaths of allegiance to Hitler in 1944 and 1945.

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Why it matters

Focusing on the victims of Communist reprisals diverts attention away from the Church’s collaborationism and its luring – through its power as an institution – of the faithful into the Catholic militias and the home-guard, Repovž said.

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The journalist added that that’s the reason why it’s more than important than ever to make it clear that the Church is behind organisations like the New Slovenian Testament.

“The Church is again abusing the Domobranci and their descendants, their pain, the actual pain, which results from the Communists’ post-WWII doings, and also the pain which comes from the inability to face historical facts”, Repovž explained.

“The Domobranci soldiers were national traitors, but they were also the victims of the Church and politics at the time”, he added.

“The leadership of the Slovenian Church abuses religion, believers, Domobranci survivors and their descendants so that it can continue to blur historical facts”, the journalist continued.

“It is doing the same in dealing with sexual abuse. It simply ignores facts, abusing the power of faith and the trust of believers”.

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Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.
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