Notes on the Nonchalant Public Admiration for Nazi Death Camps in Slovenia II

A few days ago I mentioned zlovenija, a tumblr page where activists here in Slovenia were collecting and publishing anti-migrant hate speech found on Facebook. Vile text from posts and comments suggesting the heinous ways in which the tens of thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants now passing through Slovenia should be slaughtered appeared next to images of the individuals who shared them, in most cases snapshots of the proverbial ‘guy or gal next door’.

It was an action that left me uncomfortable on two extreme levels: on the one hand it had a smell of vigilantism and mob rule that always rubs me the wrong way; and on the other, it clearly illustrated the confidence and comfort with which “everyday” people now openly share and support what is ostensibly modern day Nazi era rhetoric. (For the record, the latter bothers me much more than the former in this case, but that doesn’t mean one concern necessarily outweighs the other.)

The site has since removed most of the images (after asking those portrayed to make public apologies), its editors deciding to cease with the updates. It attracted a fair bit of local media attention and did stimulate some meaningful debate.

The action however continues. Stickers and posters were created from the website posts and now hang throughout the Slovenian capital’s city center. (How far beyond I have no idea.) So now, while you wait for the No. 18 bus near the main post office on Slovenska Cesta, you can read how one man, wearing a bright blue UNICEF t-shirt, suggested that refugees be put on a freight train directed towards Dachau.

Slovenia's UNICEF-Dachau connection
Slovenia’s UNICEF-Dachau connection

Judging by how slow local authorities are to clear most stickers, posters and graffiti from public areas in Ljubljana, these ad hoc name and shame walls will remain for quite some time.

The outcome?

While passers-by who glance at those smiling faces may become a little more aware of what the guy or gal next door might be thinking, those portrayed won’t likely be shamed into a change of heart. For others, the main takeaway will be little more than a reminder to be more careful of what they post online.

Most people will simply choose to look away. The refugees are after all just passing through, leaving this latest crisis to eventually meld into the next while intolerance continues to fester just below the surface yet out in the open.

Which brings to mind a piece by Vlado Miheljak in the current issue of the Slovenian newsweekly Mladina, which he ends like this, and I paraphrase: The refugees will be leaving, but everyday people’s fascism will be staying.

More photos of the posters and stickers are here below.

zlovenija-2

zlovenija-1

zlovenija-7

zlovenija-6

zlovenija-9

zlovenija-8

zlovenija-3

zlovenija-4

 

Share!

 

Save

Save

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
You might also like
  1. Manja Mexi Movie says

    Uuu, thanks, I haven’t seen this anywhere else but I’m far. In a way, the sticker campaign is an amazing and just reaction in response to how it has felt lately. I hope it covers the entire Slovenia. There are some places other than LJ that really need it.

    1. Bob R says

      There are definitely lots of places that would benefit from this. The way it’s been done though still doesn’t feel quite right to me. It’s like taking a step towards Mob Rules. Then again, maybe sometimes that step needs to be taken.

  2. Shellie Troy Anderson says

    That dark underbelly is everywhere. Wonder what the black felt pen on the poster says…is it people talking back to the message in the poster? In the past I carried a thick black marker around with me so that I could talk back to/deface/ridicule public messages I found objectionable. As you are doing so admirably here, we just have to keep pushing back.

    1. Manja Mexi Movie says

      “This gentleman is the last who should be allowed to wear UNICEF t-shirt. Disgrace!”

      1. Bob R says

        Thanks for the translation. 🙂

        1. Manja Mexi Movie says

          You are very welcome.

    2. Bob R says

      I really like your marker idea. 🙂

  3. marlene frankel says

    Dangerous ignorant thinking.

    1. Bob R says

      It is. I knew that there were people out there thinking this way, but this has left me wondering just how widespread that thinking is.

      Thanks for your comment and your visit, much appreciated.

  4. weaselwiththecam says

    It amazes me how easily many (or some) people who seem like the “guy/girl next door”, as you put it, switch from just being that to thinking about and suggesting how to kill other people, that they don’t even know, and mostly in very cruel ways (see the one with the tractor or the cyanide.) I’ve seen many of those in other countries too.

    1. Bob R says

      Oh absolutely. That kind of thinking is hardly limited to Europe.

      Thanks for the comment and for visiting — much appreciated.

  5. Les Petits Pas de Juls says

    It’s very sad that people nowadays still haven’t learnt from History and allow themselves to feel such carelessness about others in need. As if nothing could happen to them, only because they live in Europe… Hum, well, they should revise their judgement and learn. From History, from this episode on Facebook and publishing of their hatred in front of everyone else.

    Fingers crossed… For everyone.

  6. Debbie says

    Thank you for this post. It’s awful. Its so hard to believe – and yet it is. Australia has the same attitudes – which the current conservative government encourages – yet there are still many people there who are active in supporting the refugees. Mladina is right – the stickers might go, the refugees might be pushed to move on – but “everyday fascism remains”. thats the scary, really very scary bit. I can hardly believe that man’s teeshirt was saying send them to Dachau. I dont believe the human race half the time, its so hard to imagine people with such fascist, anti-human, views. yet there are many of such people, everywhere. thanks for letting us know about this.

    1. Bob R says

      Yeah, that line from Mladina really grabbed me.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.