“Not Serbs, not Slovenes, not Catholics or Orthodox, not even Italian and our Citizens”: How the Slovenian Newspapers Reported on the Slovenian Colony in Bistrenica (Macedonia) 1930–1940
In the paper, the author addresses how Slovenian newspapers reported on the Slovenian colony in Bistrenica (Macedonia) in the period from 1930–1940. In this period, the national question stood at the center of Slovenian politics and culture. This question is also visible in the concurrent ideologically-torn newspapers that reported about the colony. The liberal press, steadfast in their support of centralism and Yugoslavdom, mostly wrote positively about the colony. Conversely, the press on the side of the Catholic camp, writing in favor of the autonomic stance and speaking out against Yugoslavdom in this cultural war, remained lukewarm or even unsupportive of the colony. In the 1930s, several other newspapers began to appear, becoming the center of political and ideological movements and offering different writing on the colony.
KEYWORDS: colonists, newspapers, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Bistrenica, nationality
In the text, the author analyzes and answers how the Slovenian newspapers between 1930 and 1940 described the Slovenian colony in Macedonian Bistrenica. This south-Yugoslav colony, formed at the start of the 1930s on the initiative of the influential advocate Ivan Marija Čok, was not an important subject matter, neither politically nor socially nor journalistically. A relatively minor occurrence in newspapers, very rarely found in their pages, it generally never set off any intense ideological conflicts or disagreements in the otherwise ideologically quite heated period of the 1930s. Regardless, it is possible to see some discrepancies that show how particular social phenomena were presented to the reader, how and what was written, and what was left out. In this period, the national question stood at the center of Slovenian politics and culture. This question is also visible in the concurrent ideologically-torn newspapers that were writing about the Slovenian colonialists in Bistrenica. Although the subject of the Slovenian nation had only rarely ever been directly mentioned in the press, it seems that it was the primary motivation behind the writing on the Bistrenica colony. The liberal press, steadfast in their support of centralism and Yugoslavdom, mostly wrote positively about immigration and the colony. Conversely, the press on the side of the Catholic camp, writing in favor of the autonomic stance and speaking out against Yugoslavdom in this cultural war, remained lukewarm or even unsupportive of emigration and the colony. The differences outlined are not always applicable; they often stay blurred and thus need to be taken with caution and reservation.
The 1930s were a unique decade concerning the realization of these ideas in the pages of newspapers. The traditional Slovenian classification between the Catholic and liberal camps no longer proved adequate when describing the newer political and world views. For this reason, several other newspapers that became the center of political and ideological movements began to appear in the 1930s. Although the majority of articles on the Slovenian colony in Bistrenica come from the older, central Slovenian journals (Slovenec, Jutro, Slovenski narod), there were also articles from newspapers belonging to these “newer” political and ideological movements (Pohod, partly also Jugoslovan and Slovenski dom). Precisely the latter offers the most unique, socially engaged, and identified writing on the colony.