Every May thousands of people (15,000 in 2017 and as many as 30,000 in 2015) make a pilgrimage to Bleiburg/Pliberk to the Loibacher Feld/Libuško polje (Loibacher/ Libuško field) in Kärnten/Koroška (Carinthia). Their destination is an ever growing memorial site. The event is organised by the “Bleiburger Ehrenzug” (Bleiburg Honour Procession) and, depending on what parties the government consists of at that point, under the patronage of the Croatian parliament. Reactionaries of every persuasion come together here: fascists, (Neo-)Nazis, conservatives, a church that doesn't distance itself, Croatian politicians etc. And, once again, Austria shows its best, post-Nazist side and acts in a way that is somewhere between passive and supportive. It's been a long time coming that this meeting could be called one of the biggest if not the biggest fascist memorial service in all of Europe.
But what exactly is going on there? Why do these meetings take place? People meet up to commemorate the victims of the alleged massacre of Bleiburg/Pliberk. In May 1945, troops of the fascist Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH - a vassal state of Nazi Germany that existed from 1941 to 1945), namely Ustaša, Domobranes, Četniks as well as members of the Waffen-SS and the Wehrmacht, all well aware of their crimes, fled from the approaching Yugoslavian Liberation Army. They were trying to get to British territory to surrender and save themselves from possible revenge actions by partisans while they were being held as prisoners of war.
However the Britons did not accept the troops' capitulation and instead disarmed them and handed them over to the partisans. Now, if you believe the myth, there's supposed to have been a massacre on this exact field. But the facts are these: the prisoners were taken back to Yugoslavia. Many of them were shot on the way, the rest was taken to court. On the Loibacher Feld/Libuško polje there was never any massacre. But the myth lives on in the consciousness of historical revisionism. The most obvious sign of that is this memorial service that is much more than just a bit of simple prayer.
That's why we made this blog. Our goal is to shed light upon this meeting in as comprehensive a manner as possible, to show it in it's wider context and to openly name the protagonists. In the long run we want these events to no longer be able to happen. To this end we would like to offer a corpus of texts that will hopefully meet the requirements of a critical reflection on the event. In addition we will also use the blog to collect pictures of the memorial service, press reports and similar information material.
Criticsm always also means to get rid of the criticised thing. On that note, there's not much to add but: Let us stop the Bleiburger Ehrenzug once and for all!