The potential of Religion for reconciliation is not yet implemented

DW: Because Corona is the annual memorial meeting for the victims of the so-called tragedy of Bleiburg had to be cancelled before the age of 75 years. Instead,

The potential of Religion for reconciliation is not yet implemented

DW: Because Corona is the annual memorial meeting for the victims of the so-called tragedy of Bleiburg had to be cancelled before the age of 75 years. Instead, the Catholic cardinal Vinko puljic las on Saturday in the Cathedral of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, a mass for the dead. What is happening in the Austrian municipality of the today's Slovenian border, on the 16.5.1945?

Klaus Buchenau: in the beginning of may 1945 to surrender in front of the Yugoslav partisans at the end of fleeing, until then, with the defeated Nazi Germany, allied soldiers and civilians at Bleiburg British troops. But they rejected and sent back on the former Yugoslav border in the hands of the Tito - partisans.

Then the massacres and death marches, which went on for weeks and months began. The demographer Vladimir Žerjavić calculated in a widely recognized study that among the victims of about 45.000 Croats, and 4,000 Muslims, 8,000 to 10,000 Slovenes and 2,000 Montenegrin and Serbian Četniks [nationalist militiamen; d. Red.] goods; overall, the research starts from 70,000 to 80,000 Victims.

Because most of these victims were Croatian soldiers, lead castle for a long time, especially a Croatian memorial, the long of in the West, refugees, anti-Communist émigré and former Ustaša [the followers of the Nazi Germany in Croatia established a fascist regime in 1941-45; d. Red.] monopolised. But there were in the Croatian Emigration is always an ecclesiastical commemoration, which was banned in Yugoslavia until the end of the Communist rule.

Christian Schwarz-Schilling, former Federal Minister for post and later High representative of the International community in Bosnia, called Bleiburg, in a DW comment' one of the biggest Fascists gathering in Europe'. Can you say so?

This is too easy. The victims of Bleiburg is not had in common was that they were on the side of the Communist partisans - which makes all automatically fascists.

During the Cold war, the commemoration had a clear post-fascist character. But in the 1990s, Croatian nationalists of the newer type were added, many of which had a Communist past. And in the last few years, many representatives of the Croatian political Establishment, and far from the Croatian Democratic community, HDZ [the current party in government, a member of the conservative European people's party, EPP; d. Red.] but also social Democrats. In addition, there is a strong Church. And nationalists, among whom also Ustaša-find followers.

Where is cardinal puljic who has read on Saturday of the fair for Bleiburg in Sarajevo?

puljic has taken over the Archdiocese of Sarajevo in 1991 just before the war [to Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-95; d. Red.]. He had to mourn the drastic shrinkage of his 'flock' by flight and expulsion. Nevertheless, he has not the reputation to be particularly nationalistic. He has been working for a long time in the inter-religious Council of Bosnia.

I don't know why the Croatian bishops ' conference has decided that this year's Bleiburg-celebrations in Puljićs to lay hands. He was scheduled as the main speaker of the Celebration in Austria, which could not take place due to Corona. It is possible that they wanted to set him as a Central ecclesiastical figure of the Celebration is a Signal in the direction of the Ecumenical capitalization of remembrance.

Ecumenical capitalization?

puljic has quite solid links with the other faith communities in Bosnia. In his sermon, he signaled to the other religious leaders that the Bleiburg commemoration is not against you is directed. Known to be nationalist clerics would remove the no one.

The Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Hrizostom Jević has explained, with the fair for Bleiburg have a show of hands, puljic, the doors of the churches of this denomination closed...

The Serbian Orthodox Church is well advised to the own nose. The commemorative events hold for their heroes and victims. Metropolitan Bishop Hrizostom could go the other way and say, okay, if you join them, then we begin also, the political connotations of our commemoration to take out. That would be a step in the direction of genuine Ecumenism.

It makes a big difference whether you say: There, people have been without any form of trial killed. Therefore, we have to keep our human rights Beliefs for innocent and your memory, may, even if they are comparable as soldiers, certainly not with the Victims in the concentration camps. Or whether you say: these were the heroes of the Ustaša-state, which was a great project and the wars of the 1990s were an extension of this heroism. And that, we want to commemorate.

you have dealt for 15 years with the religions in the former Yugoslavia. What is the role of reconciliation in the Balkans? play

I still believe that there is a specific religious reconciliation potential. Because religious people combines the idea that serious sins can be forgiven. And that God is a Supreme instance that the awards really, if someone is truly repentant. Therefore, you may justify for each prayer, even for the greatest sinners - without you politically. The underground dispute has a kind of lightning rod. Secular people do not have this possibility of Delegating.

But the potential of religions for reconciliation in Ex-Yugoslavia is not implemented so far, really. On the one hand, because religious ideas have only a limited range, and until well into the clergy with national political ideas mix. And if you are in the higher clergy a certain number of nationalists that the impact to the base, up to the laity. For example, to the effect that people not trust certain things and topics.

Nevertheless, there is between the Serbian Orthodox and the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Croatia, has grown over the years contacts. But they connect less all the institutions as concrete persons, to the Bishop about Bishop. You are not different, stable, stand up to any vibration, as you can now see from the reaction of Bishop Hrizostom on the fair for Bleiburg.

Klaus Buchenau is Professor of history of southeastern and Eastern Europe at the University of Regensburg. In 2003, he was with the subject of "Orthodoxy and Catholicism in Yugoslavia, 1945-1991. A Serbian-Croatian comparison," PhD, 2011, he habilitated with "On Russian tracks. Orthodox anti-Westerners in Serbia, 1850-1945". He belongs to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church.

author: Rüdiger Rossig

*The post ""the potential of Religion for reconciliation is not yet implemented"" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 22 May 2020, 07:28

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