PHIR Lecturer a ‘Victim of the Yugoslav Secret Police’?
In April Robert Knight spoke at the Institute for Ethnic Studies (Inštitut za Narodnostna Vprašanja) in Ljubljana about his new book Slavs in post-Nazi Austria (published by Bloomsbury). Soon afterwards the Ljubljana Magazine Reporter revealed that Dr Knight’s activities had been closely followed by the Yugoslav Secret Police (UDBA) during research visits to Ljubljana in the 1980s. The headline: ‘British Historian – victim of the UDBA.”
Dr Knight responded that he ‘was surprised to read the details of the police surveillance. Naturally when I went to Slovenia to do research I assumed that my presence would be noted at some level by the authorities, but I still find it hard to see why these details (many of which were in any case already in the public domain) would have been of interest. I would have expected some of the people I accompanied - like Bill (Sir William) Deakin or Peter Wilkinson (then a retired diplomat and former SOE operative) - to be of much greater interest. I found a great deal of interest in the archives of post-war Yugoslavia and certainly find it hard to see myself as a victim of the UDBA.'