LJUBLJANA, Yugoslavia (Jun. 28)
A prominent member of the tiny Jewish community in Slovenia has sued the youth magazine Tribuna for publishing the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious anti-Semitic forgery that originated in Czarist Russia at the turn of the century.
Mladen Svarc, whose father was president of the Jewish community, brought the suit saying he was deeply concerned by this and other anti-Semitic acts that seem to accompany the spread of democratic freedoms in the region.
Slovenia, one of the six republics that make up the Yugoslav Socialist federation, has a Jewish population of about 70 mostly elderly persons in a total population of 2 million.
Even before World War II, there were no more than 1,000 Jews in the region.
“I don’t want to imply that Slovenes are deeply anti-Semitic,” Svarc said in an interview. “The population is largely indifferent. The intelligentsia had a long tradition of intellectual anti-Semitism but there was never a large, popular anti-Semitic movement in Slovenia,” he said.
Svarc expressed doubt that recent troubling incidents, including publication of the “Protocols,” were motivated by deliberate anti-Semitism.
One of the four Jewish cemeteries in Slovenia was vandalized last year, but while gravestones were knocked over there was no graffiti.
Catholic cemeteries were also vandalized, Svarc pointed out, and in all cases the authorities were helpful about making repairs.
Nonetheless, he is deeply upset by publication of the “Protocols.”
Svarc and others who reacted say they are not so much distressed by the “Protocols” as by the uncritical way they were presented, without material explaining their context.
The magazine responded to Svarc’s protest by publishing a crude caricature of a Jew burning a copy.
But Svarc believes the publication of the “Protocols” was more anti-Communist than anti-Semitic in intent.
The magazine carried a cover picture of Slovenian President Milan Kucan, a Communist, wearing a Star of David.