Obituary: Dusan Plenicar
Saturday 19 December 1992
DUSAN PLENICAR belonged to that select band of Central and East European democrats who resisted Nazism and Communism alike and settled in Britain at the end of the Second World War. For four more decades he worked tirelessly to undermine Communism in his native Slovenia; but he was no narrow nationalist. He passionately believed that Western strength was vital for his homeland's hope of freedom.
Under the nuclear stalemate, he fought the battle of ideas in the most practical possible way. His weapon was the printing press, and he used it with deadly and persistent efficiency. Stickers, leaflets, posters, journals and academic quarterlies poured forth at phenomenal rates from his printing works.
A network of overt and covert channels took them around the world - often to the heart of the Communist empire.
Germany's April 1941 invasion of Yugoslavia had occurred a year into Plenicar's law course at Ljubljana University. The area was occupied at once and he was arrested within weeks.
Released as a result of faked papers obtained by his father, the 20-year-old joined a Slovene underground movement and became its principal propagandist and information officer. With the Gestapo closing in during 1944, he escaped to the hills with Mihailovich's Blue Resistance and remained in uniform until the German surrender.
Plenicar's known anti-Communism made exile inevitable. With his wife he settled in Bury in 1948, surviving as an ordinary textile worker by day, whilst attending printing classes at the end of his shifts. He edited Klic Triglava, the independent pro-democracy monthly on Yugoslavia. It became the organ of Slovene political refugees around the world and was published from the early 1950s until the mid-1980s. Founding his own printing business (initially in a single room in north London) finally gave him the means to produce all his own material.
Since 1948, he had also organised the Slovene Justice circle, made up of educated refugees from the Services. It was strengthened in 1956 with the arrival in Britain of the future Glasgow University economist Ljubo Sirc, after long years in prison, with the commutation of his death sentence in Slovenia.
Plenicar and Sirc at once joined forces - planning, in such groups as the Democratic Alternative, the reconstitution of democracy in Yugoslavia. By the late 1970s, until the British put a stop to it, Tito's secret policemen were shadowing Plenicar's movements and threatening his family.
In 1978 appeared the heavyweight South Slav Journal, dealing with all aspects not only of Yugoslavia but also of its neighbours. Five years later, the Centre for Research into Communist Economies was founded, with Lord Harris of High Cross as Trustee.
The series of heart attacks which Plenicar suffered under the massive burdens he willingly undertook did not deter him from pressing on. Sustained by his devout Catholicism, he made widely reported interventions in the Slovene election campaign - urging unity upon the moderate centre parties.
He died suddenly, just before the election, still doing his utmost to limit the malign influence of the remnants of Communism.
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...
£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...