Slovene Refugees in Austria Considered Through the Newspaper Domači glasovi
The publications of Slovene political emigrants sheltered in the Austrian and Italian refugee camps after World War 11 are exceptionally rich and varied considering the conditions, mainly dailies, of Slovene refugees and in more detail presents the newspaper Domači glasovi published in Peggez refugee camp near Lienz. The paper briefly outlines its history and content and dwells on the newspaper's opinion on international political events, relations with Slovenia and life in refugee camps
The spring of 1990 was indeed a turning point in the history of Slovenia. At that time, the first free, multiparty elections were held in our country and now the scholars of Slovene history are faced with new responsible tasks. The event "marked the end of the civil War, declared former partisan and dissident, Dr. France Bučar, in his maiden speech in the Slovene Assembly by the same token, the momentous event Would put an end to the Slovene political emigration. History, however, teaches us that the actual historic events have nothing to do with this kind of logic. This event, so eagerly expected by all people of goodwill, is supposed to mark the beginning of new relations between the Slovenes of Slovenia proper and their compatriots living abroad. It also binds us to a responsible task to re-evaluate that part of the Slovene emigration which was hitherto labelled Slovene political emigration" and to present it in an objective and unbiased wау.
The fact that Slovene refugees in the Austrian and Italian refugee camps at the end of World War II very soon began publishing various periodicals speaks of their great intellectual potential. Their stay in the camps was also enriched by cultural educational, sports as Well as religious activities. It is thanks to this potential that they were able to overcome the disturbing experience of flight from their homeland and defeat and to go about preserving the Slovene character of their refugee status in a planned manner. One of the positive results of this consciousness was the so-called "Argentinean miracle" - the great majority of post-war Slovene emigrants in Argentina have succeeded in preserving their national character right up to the present time, despite the enormous pressure of assimilation.
A cursory look reveals the great diversity of Slovene refugee publications, but we are primarily interested in the newspaper Domači glasovi (Voices from Home) which began publication on July 5, 1945, in Peggez refugee camp near Lienz. The rules of the British administration, forbidding the publication of periodicals in camps, was circumvented by stating on the front page that the newspaper was printed in Klagenfurt. And because it was supposed to be delivered to Lienz by train, the periodical was not distributed before 5 p. m. The editor of Domači glasovi vas Father Dr. France Blatnik. The last, 96th issue of Domači glasovi which still carried the "Printed in Klagenfurt" notice was printed at the end of October, 1945. The British authorities took a more lenient View of publishing activities in refugee camps so that the next issue come out as the first issue of Domači glasovi and the place of publication was Lienz The periodical ceased publication on November 12, 1946 when Peggez Was shut down and the refugees moved to Spittal Domači glasovi resumed publication on July 1, 1948 in Treistach refugee camp near Lienz. Once the refugees had emigrated the periodical merged with the American daily Ameriška domovina (American Homeland)
Like every other refugee publication, Domači glasovi was quite modest in terms of layout and technical execution. The content, however, never fell below a certain level of professionalism. The articles were tapped from British and American newspapers, which were readily available in refugee camps, from British and Slovene radio broadcasts, from letters coming from Slovenia as well as from Slovene and other Yugoslav, so-called Tito's newspapers' Experts or entire articles from Slovenski poročevalec, Ljudska pravica, Primorski dnevnik and Mladina Were reproduced in Domači glasovi with a delay of only a few days. Keeping the Slovene refugees informed on the events back home was one of the main goals of the Slovene political emigrants Domači glasovi closely followed the international political scene, particularly the relations between the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. The activities of Slovene and Yugoslav representatives among the Slovene minority in Koroška and Primorska were also quite frequent topics. Thanks to this newspaper, the tragic fate of repatriated Domobranci and other civilians was promptly revealed to the Slovene refugees. The news was also based on information coming from Slovenia proper Domači glasovi was particularly concerned with the current events and general conditions in Slovenia, the attitude of the people towards the new government and the status of the Church. The periodical reported on the pastoral letter addressed the Yugoslav bishops and the elections, and also featured lengthy interviews with new refugees from Yugoslavia. Of course, a considerable portion of the newspaper was dedicated to the life in refugee camps, calling on Slovene refugees to do their duty and avoid worklessness, which was labelled as one of the most serious problems of refugee life. Domači glasovi also warned against attempts of the Yugoslav authorities to repatriate refugees and offered a wealth of information on the many cultural, musical, theatrical, educational, religious, sports and other activities in refugee camps. There was also a personal section with tidbits on the private lives of refugees and their journeys to the adopted homeland. One interesting aspect of this newspaper was an attempt to change, through letters to compatriots and relatives, the attitude of Slovenes, especially those living in America, towards the Wartime events in Slovenia. According to the above-mentioned newspapers, their view was - even among Catholic Slovenes and priests - too sympathetic of the Liberation Front.
The study of the Slovene-language periodicals published in the Austrian and Italian refugee camps and the lives of Slovene refugees during their temporary stay, before immigrating to their new homeland, is undoubtedly a responsible and necessary task. It is all the more essential because this part of Slovene history has been misrepresented and hushed up for decades, every effort must be made to finally write a common history of all Slovenes, just as Slovenia should finally become the homeland of all Slovenes, regardless of ideology and political affiliation. The author of this article is indeed bound to this task in a very special way: his birth certificate states March 1947 as the date of birth and Seeboden near Spittal as the place of birth. In his personal collection of photographs, there is a snapshot of himself as a baby in front of the Spittal refugee camp.