After his enormous victory against the Protestants at Mühlberg in 1547, the Emperor and King of Spain, Charles I, had it in his power to desecrate Luther’s tomb, as some exalted people demanded. However, the Emperor refused: “He has found his judge. I wage war against the living, not against the dead”. Thus the corpse of Luther, the Emperor’s great enemy, was allowed to rest in peace.
Almost five centuries have passed, and today we can find nothing of the Emperor’s nobility and dignity in the vengeful left of socialists, communists, and independentists who rule Spain today. Faced with the impossibility of winning a war against the living, the political heirs of those who lost the war more than 80 years ago have started a war against the dead.
A few days ago the “exhumation” of Queipo de Llano took place, and it has already been announced that they want to remove General Moscardó and Jaime Milans del Bosch from the Alcazar of Toledo. They intend to achieve what they failed to achieve during the war, to expel the defenders of the Alcazar, under an Orwellian law such as the “Democratic Memory”, which has nothing to do with memory, since it wants to erase history and rewrite it to their liking—and even less to do with democracy.
Many believe that this only happens in Spain, but the truth is that in countries where communism did triumph there is also a war against the dead by the political heirs of socialism. A good example is Slovenia, which is currently governed by an ecologist, liberal and left-wing coalition, which does not want to bury the 4,000 victims murdered by the Yugoslav communists after the war in Macesnova Gorica, in Kočevski Rog.
On the eve of All Saints’ Day, a holy mass was celebrated in the church in Kočevje led by Monsignor Andrej Saje, president of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference and bishop of Novo Mesto. Macesnova Gorica is the latest place to be added to the list of the horrors of the crimes committed by Tito after World War II. In recent months, archaeologists have excavated around 4,000 remains of Slovenian men and children – yes, there are children too – who were brought here in June 1945 from the Škofovi zavodi camp in Šentvid, near Ljubljana, and were brutally murdered in the forests of Kočevski Rog.
“Macesnova Gorica is worse than St. Barbara’s cave, worse than Huda Jama,” experts estimate. At least fifty people survived being shot and thrown into the abyss. About thirty bodies were found in niches in the cave, meaning they died later. A few escaped, and the testimonies of Milan Zajec, France Dejak, France Kozina and Janez Janša (father of former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša) are known. France Kozina pointed out the names of some of the murderers, all of whom are dead today, but who were alive when they became public, thirty years ago, and who were never prosecuted by the police or the judiciary.
Monsignor Saje stressed: “We will pray for them and for all the other victims of violence who rest on Slovenian soil with a plea for reconciliation and peace and a sincere wish that such a thing will never happen again. Many of those killed clung to a rosary or to the shrine of the Mother of God in Brezjanska, which is a sign that they lived in Christian hope and in living faith in God until the end”.
As in Spain, Slovenian Catholics suffered brutal persecution at the hands of the communists, repression that continued after the war. “Most of them died with a prayer on their lips and in their hearts, with love for God and their neighbor, even their oppressors, and executioners. Their strength came from their living faith in the resurrection of Christ. They valued truth and justice more than their own lives, so they stood up to unjust violence and, like Ukrainians today, defended their homes and families.
He also stressed that killings during and after the war were followed by defamation of the good name of those killed. Doubt was unjustifiably sown that they must have done something wrong to deserve such a fate. “We note with regret that this kind of propaganda and malicious rumors have not ceased to this day,” said the bishop of Novo Mesto.
However, hatred against the victims did not die with the end of the Tito regime, and the dead do not deserve to be buried in a place close to their relatives. The mayor of Ljubljana, social liberal Zoran Janković, publicly assured that there would be no graves of “traitors” in Ljubljana. He has also denied a cemetery to the remains of Roma who were murdered by communist partisans in Iška on 17 May 1942. In socialist reasoning, you are a victim or not depending on who murdered you. There are first and second-class dead.
As Monsignor Saje recalled, the right to a grave is a fundamental human right and represents the true value of the universal human ethos: “It is our human duty to bury the dead and show them respect. The right to a grave derives from the inalienable dignity of every human being. Preventing the respectful burial of the brutally murdered is a crime against humanity and represents a lack of respect for the fundamental norms of civilization,” he said.
“What kind of country and society are we if individuals can afford to prohibit the burial of innocent victims, including murdered gypsies or other compatriots of ours, buried at Kočevski Rog and other murder sites throughout Slovenia? Burying the dead in graves has been one of the peculiarities of the human race since its beginnings. There will be no peace in our nation and destructive divisions will not be overcome until we overcome ideological interpretations of the past, come to a consensus on historical facts and respectfully bury all our people,” stressed the bishop of Novo Mesto.
Monsignor Saje’s words serve to describe what is happening in Spain, what kind of country are we if not even the dead can rest in peace? How can a destructive division be overcome when absolutely everything is permeated by ideology? Unfortunately, it seems that this is the aim of those who desecrate graves or prevent burials, to divide so that there is no peace in our nation. And all this is accompanied by the thunderous and complicit silence of too many voices that do not dare to say what Monsignor Saje proclaims loudly: respect for the dead is a fundamental rule of civilization, it is what differentiates us from the beasts.
Álvaro Peñas is a political analyst specializing in Eastern European countries. He writes for El Correo de España and several European digital outlets. He is deputy director of two programs on Decisión Radio and a regular contributor to the television channel 7NN.