24 / 2006
Marjan Drnovšek


The sphere of emigration is pervaded with a strong emotional component on a personal level; when the individual defines oneself to this phenomenon and process, one is active particularly in public sphere. My interest is from the historiographical standpoint focused on the relation (view) of the public towards emigration and emigration problematic, for we find above all in publicistic, literature and even in professional literature numerous exaggerated, “black” and less “white” views upon emigration, living abroad, on the number of emigrants, dangers in regard of preservation of Slovene identity, Catholic religion etc. Foreign parts are through their eyes always something dark, cold, dangerous, and the homeland something warm, sunny, maternal. Through such picture, more realistic, factual information occurs as well; however, the negative are prevailing and echoing in the public space. The sphere of the number of emigrants as well knows exaggerations, which are a consequence of faulty state statistics and of administrating emigrants or immigrants by ethnic appurtenance, mother tongue, nationality, and similar. Until the year 1991, Slovenes have lived in different state communities and were in foreign states being registered as Austrians, Italians, Hungarians, members of the first and second Yugoslavia. Most frequent are deliberations on the grounds and causes for the leaving of individuals for work abroad. To what extent was that a consequence of poverty, even famine, and to what a mere wish for a better life if we have in mind economic emigration? We can here find several warnings and admonitions from the side of the state (in the 20th century, we can see a more controlled departing), the Church, intellectuals as a support and understanding. Nationality appurtenance was in the forefront. The fewness of Slovenes resulted in the opinion that with their estrangement (assimilation) the existence of the Slovene nation is imperilled. Fear (was) one of the most exposed and general arguments against the emigrating of Slovenes, the Church added the fear before religious indifference or even loss of belief with Slovene emigrants. The author draws attention, based on publicly uttered and written opinions, causally on individual statements and written records from the past.