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Answering Vlasov’s Call: Memory and Slovene Perceptions of the Osttruppen, 1945

Written by Gregor Kranjc, this article appeared on the second issue of Vol. 22 of East European Politics & Societies in the spring of 2008.
 
Using archival evidence, this article reveals atrocities committed by the Varjag regiment, a nominal part of General Vlasov’s anti-communist Committee for
the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, in Slovenia in the final months of World War II. The fact that the Varjag unit mistreated a civilian population that was generally supportive of the Slovene anti-communist domobranci (home guard) units challenges the myth of fraternal solidarity between the Third Reich’s non-German collaborators that was trumpeted in domobranci wartime propaganda. As a corollary, this article also highlights the veil of silence that anti-communist Russian authors as well as anti-communist émigré Slovenes cast on these events from exile in the postwar period. The reticence of survivors to acknowledge or to speak of such events underscores the correlation between personal trauma and memory.

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