Dušan S. Lajovic, a great Slovene, patriot, democrat and ambassador of the independent Slovenia in all aspects, as well as the author of the book “Between the liberty and the red star” and the moderator of the web site udba.net that opened the eyes of many Slovenes about the size of and the criminal activities of the Slovenian and Yugoslav State security service, colloquially also known as UDBA.
Lajovic was a rebel against the communism and nazism, a man whose every heartbeat was pulsating for democracy and who was totally devoted to Slovenia. Despite of spending the greatest part of his life in Australia, he never gave up his political belonging to Slovenianism. He was simbolically accompanied on his final journey by Janez Janša, the leader of the SDS political party, who dedicated touching words to this year’s recipient of Pučnik’s plaque: “And while he was forgotten by his fatherland, persecuted by its totalitarian communist authorities who made numerous attempts on his life, Dušan never forgot this land. He helped, when the first steps were made on the path as an independent state and he also helped in the long battle against the remnants of the communist propaganda that flourished even after its official end.”
Words by the president of the SDS, Janez Janša, can help us understand just how great a Slovene Dušan S. Lajovic was. In his last address, Janša wrote the following: “Dušan Lajovic is a name that requires no adjectives.” He also recalled that this great Slovenian diplomat brought everything he had courageously dealt with, to a conclusion. Janša emphasized in the speech, read in his name by Fredi Brežnik, Slovenian honorary consul general at the interment ceremony in Sydney, that Lajovic also did everything that was in his power, and not only what he was obliged to do.
As Brežnik summed it up, the address of the SDS president Janez Janša, appropriate not only for description of the present times in Slovenia, but also for many years to come, can be read in its entierty at our web site:
Dušan Lajovic is a name that requires no adjectives
It will still be remembered by the fifth and tenth generations of our descendants, for the winds of time will blow away from the Slovenian fields anything shallow and unworthy of being remembered. Only those actions which are worthy of remembrance and which have made a difference for our nation and homeland will remain. Actions that have helped shed light on truth and justice, and actions that reflect the conscious conduct of a proud man. What remains are his business accomplishments that continue to be nurtured by his family, and the books he has written.
As we say our farewells, others will discuss the vibrant life of Dušan Lajovic and his contribution to the Slovenian community in Australia, his second homeland. Extending my deepest condolences to Dimitrij, Alenka, and Dušan’s other relatives and friends, I would like to thank everyone who has taken care of him in the final stage of his life, especially following the death of his dear wife Saša. Thank you, Aleks, for receiving the honorary award of the Jožef Pučnik Institute for lifetime contributions to democracy on Dušan’s behalf.
To me, Dušan Lajovic was a friend and a teacher, and every hour spent with him was a school of life. Once, in the early 1990s, I was sitting in front of a coffee shop in Ljubljana together with Dušan and Jože Pučnik. While we were talking I suddenly realised where Slovenia would be standing today in terms of development, if the criminal authorities had not destroyed and persecuted the best of minds, i.e. the most aspiring sons and daughters of our nation. Though we could be far better off than Switzerland, we are now lagging behind nations which, a century ago, were less advanced than us.
While his homeland has forgotten him and the totalitarian communist authorities persecuted him, threatening his life, Dušan never forgot his homeland. He was there to help when Slovenia was on its way towards becoming an independent country and fought incessantly against the remnants of single-mindedness.
When we met up, some fifteen years ago, he gave me an oil painting of a Slovenian hayrack with the Kamnik Alps in the background, painted by his mother before World War II. He was turning the painting in his hands, and I could see a teary reflection in his eyes – something one rarely got to witness with this courageous man. For a couple of moments, he got a chance to re-live the youth he spent happily in his homeland, sitting quietly on a blanket in the middle of a sunlit meadow in the summer, watching his mother bestow upon the canvas the rich and enchanting Slovenian landscape.
“I remember that smell of linden blossoms as if it were yesterday,” he said in a somewhat distant voice. “I see the serenity and happiness on my mother’s face…”
The small painting of a hayrack below the mountains now hangs over my office desk, and whenever it catches my sight, I can see the scene which Dušan had described to me. I can see the tremendous suffering of a generation of Slovenian women and men, the flower of our nation, who had their happiness taken from them in the middle of the 20th century, with the memory of the events waning and fading over the decades that followed.
While Dušan still had his strength, he would visit Slovenia and Mozelj near Kočevje each summer. There, in 1943, the Communists killed many of his classmates and peers belonging to the Slovenian national illegal movement. Year after year, he helped to keep the memory alive and safeguard it from fading into oblivion. A nation without a comprehensive historical memory has been robbed of its true identity. It is like a tree with bad roots, incapable of withstanding the storms of time. But it was compatriots like Dušan who made it possible for the Slovenian linden tree to drive its roots down deeper once the long winter finally came to an end.
Dušan has lived up to his life in this world. He managed to complete all the amazing things he started with great courage… And not only the things he had to – he did everything he could. May he rest in peace with God by his side. May he find the soil of his second homeland to be light. Slovenia still has to do its part in making up to the memory of her son, and she will do so soon. Farewell, dear friend.