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August 4, 2021 4:23 pm
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Prosecution Urged of Far Right Propagandist in Slovenia For ‘Hero Hitler’ Tweet

avatar by Ben Cohen

The “Hitler is a hero” tweet posted by the editor of a far-right news agency in Slovenia. Photo: Screenshot.

The editor of a far right “news agency” in Slovenia that promotes what it calls “traditional values” has drawn widespread condemnation for tweeting that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was a “hero.”

Urban Purgar — editor-in-chief of the National Press Agency (NTA) and president of its backer, the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Values — tweeted on Sunday that “Hitler is #hero,” immediately raising the question of whether his comment violated hate speech laws in the western Balkan republic.

Aleš Zalar, a former Justice Minister, tweeted in response to Purgar that glorifying the Nazi dictator was a criminal act. “It is on the state prosecution to make a move,” Zalar said.  “The reaction of the state’s criminal apparatus must be immediate and strict.”

Several political parties also condemned the tweet, with the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) demanding that the government and relevant authorities launch appropriate proceedings against Purgar, according to local news outlet Total Slovenia.

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“In democratic Slovenia, such posts and spreading of intolerance are absolutely unacceptable. We expect from all government parties to clearly condemn such glorification of Hitler and, above all, to take measures,” the party declared.

Matej Tonin, the head of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi), meanwhile remarked that “European nations suffered in the past century due to three totalitarian regimes. Glorifying leaders who are responsible for the death of millions of people is reprehensible and has no place in modern society.”

Further condemnation came from Ljubo Jasnič, the head of the Pensioners Party. “My parents and my close relatives have survived fascism and the Dachau death camp as patriotic Slovenians of Primorska,” he said. “Me and my friends witnessed the literal slaughter in the Balkans, a genocide over a nation that could have been fatal for us as well. History obviously no longer teaches us.”

Purgar — who is also a member of the Yellow Jackets, a far-right group linked to neo-Nazis — responded that that the purpose of his Hitler tweet was to “reveal all the misery of Slovenian ‘left-wing politics’ and journalism.”

Purgar’s tweet came to the attention of Jonathan Greenblatt — the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the US — who urged the Slovene authorities to examine whether domestic laws had been broken.

“Sickening & inexcusable glorification of a totalitarian, #antisemitic regime,” Greenblatt posted.

Formerly a republic of Yugoslavia before the Balkan federation’s violent disintegration in the 1990s, Slovenia is presently home to a Jewish community of about 500.

On the eve of the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, more than 2,000 Jews lived in Slovenia. Most Jews in the north and east of the country were deported to concentration camps at the end of 1941, while those living in the Italian zone to the south suffered a similar fate when the area was occupied by German forces in 1943.

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