Urbanchich Lyenko

Publié le par Roger Cousin

Lyenko Urbanchich (alternative spellings: Ljenko Urbančič and Urbancic) (1922–2006) was a Slovenian-born Australian politician. During World War Two he was a Domobranci propagandist, however his wartime activities only became known in Australia in 1979—the exposure ended his political ascension.

He had helped create "the Uglies"—a right-wing faction of the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party of Australia, and had been appointed on the party's State executive. In the Jutro (Morning) newspaper in June 1944, Urbanchich wrote: “All those Anglophiles – that word is actually wrong, as they are not Anglophiles, but fruitcakes – must bear in mind that our anti-Communist battle would be all in vain if we were to make such a fatal mistake and take today’s Anglo-American invasion troops for anything other than what they are, a Jewish-communist tool”.

Similarly, in a 1944 broadcast on radio Lubiana, Urbanchich stated: "... it is not important that I speak to you as the youngest Slovene journalist... (what is important is that) the truth which is older than I, which is centuries old (be proclaimed). That is, the truth about all the vile intentions of the chosen people, the 15 million Israeli race roaming the world". Later in the broadcast, he concluded with a tirade against the Chinese, Indian and African troops fighting against the Reich on European soil, and then with a rallying cry to his listeners to : “... follow our leader, the experienced and homeland-loving General Rupnik, about whom we can say that God himself has sent him to us.... It is our duty to repeat over and over again, to exhaustion, that there is only one way, the way of General Rupnik”.

When the communist Yugoslav Partisans won the war in 1945 he fled from Slovenia. He was released from British custody in May 1948, and accepted for migration under Australia's Displaced Persons scheme just 18 months later in 1950. A painter and sculptor, he was president of the Liberal Party's Five Dock branch in 1974. During the 1970s and 1980s, he headed an unofficial Liberal faction in Sydney, New South Wales that became known as "the Uglies". He was elected as the first president of the Liberal Ethnic Council in 1977.

In 1979, allegations were made in an ABC documentary and in the New South Wales and Federal parliaments that Urbanchich had been a Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic propagandist for the Slovenian government during World War II. He was briefly suspended from the party, but avoided expulsion because of his control over party delegates. He was replaced however from the presidency of the Ethnic Council by Frank Calabro. In 1986 Urbanchich admitted that "I did follow (Leon) Rupnik and I thought it was correct thing to do at that particular time", but he maintained that "I never said 'Heil Hitler', I never put a Nazi uniform on, I never greeted in the Nazi way."

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