Lambert Ehrlich

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Lambert Ehrlich
Lambert Ehrlich by 1942.jpg
Lambert Ehrlich
Personal details
Birth nameLambert Ehrlich
Born(1878-09-18)18 September 1878
Camporosso in Valcanale, Tarvisio, Austria-Hungary
Died26 May 1942(1942-05-26) (aged 63)
Ljubljana, Axis-occupied Yugoslavia
NationalityAustrian, Slovenian [1] [2]
Denomination Roman Catholic

Lambert Ehrlich (18 September 1878 – 26 May 1942) [3] was a Carinthian Slovene Roman Catholic priest, [4] political figure, and ethnologist.


Early life and education

Ehrlich was born in the hamlet of Camporosso in Valcanale (Slovene : Žabnice) in the town of Tarvisio, then part of the Duchy of Carinthia (now in Italy). He attended secondary school in Klagenfurt and then studied theology in Innsbruck (1897–1902) and in Rome (1903). He was ordained a priest in 1903 and also received a doctorate in Innsbruck that year. [3]


Ehrlich first served as a curate in Villach, and then as a cathedral curate in Klagenfurt (1903–1907), an episcopal secretary (1907–1910), and a professor of theology in Klagenfurt (1910–1919). He was a leading figure in Catholic education in Carinthia.

After World War One, southern Carinthia became a contested region between the Austrian Republic and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; because of his familiarity with the situation in the region and his ethnographic knowledge, Ehrlich was appointed to the Yugoslav delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. [3] He continued his studies in ethnology and comparative religion at the Sorbonne and in Oxford in 1920 and 1921. In 1922 he became a full professor of comparative religion at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Ljubljana, [3] a position that he held until his death. He wrote numerous books and articles about the religious customs of the Australian Aborigines and about various ethnological and theological issues. [3]

Ehrlich worked in various church organizations. He was a church representative for the Slovenian High School Students’ Union (Slovene : Slovenska dijaška zveza), the Academic Union (Akademska zveza), the Straža Catholic students’ club, and the Marian Congregation of Academics. He became the ideologue of the Straža club [3] and edited the club’s magazine Straža v viharju (Sentinel in the Storm). [5] The club and its Straža magazine achieved notoriety for its admiration of fascism, as well as antisemitism, equating Jews with both western capitalist excesses and the Bolshevik revolution [6]

Second World War

After the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, on 24 November that year Ehrlich proposed a political program known as the Slovenian Issue (Slovenski problem) for an independent Slovenian state to the non-communist political parties; however, it was not accepted. [7] [8]

Ehrlich was a staunch anti-communist and anti-Semite. During the war he campaigned against "Jewish Satanism" which he maintained was trying to get its hands on other people's national treasuries. [9] On 1 April 1942 [10] he sent the Italian occupation authorities a memorandum in which he analyzed the current position of the Partisans and offered proposals for how to destroy them. [3] In it, he suggested that the Italians arm the Slovenian police and that the Slovenians establish a semi-autonomous security service under Italian military supervision. He also suggested that the Italian authorities release innocent people held in prisons and camps, assist in rebuilding destroyed villages, and allow greater freedom of the press to promote anti-communist propaganda. [11]

Ehrlich was assassinated by the communist Security and Intelligence Service (Varnostno-obvescevalna sluzba, VOS) on 26 May 1942. [3] [12] He was shot in front of the soup kitchen on Shooting Range Street (Streliška ulica) in Ljubljana by Franc Stadler (a.k.a. Pepe) (1915–2000), who also assassinated Marko Natlačen [13] and was named a Yugoslav People’s Hero. [14] After the war the Communist authorities desecrated Ehrlich’s grave, exhumed his remains, and disposed of them at an unknown location. [13]


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  1. Klemenčič, Matjaž (1998). "Immigrant Communities and the Establishment of New States In Eastcentral Europe: The Case of the Slovenians in North America". Društvena istraživanja: časopis za opća društvena pitanja. 7 (1–2): 53. Dr. Lambert Ehrlich, a Slovenian Catholic priest ...
  2. Gantar Godina, Irena (1999). One Hundredth Birth Anniversary of Louis Adamic: Intellectuals in Diaspora. Ljubljana: ZRC SAZU. p. 47. Lambert Ehrlich, a Slovene Catholic priest ...
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  8. Ehrlich, Lambert, Marija Vrečar, & Metod Benedik. 2002. Pariška mirovna konferenca in Slovenci 1919/20 (= Acta ecclesiastica Sloveniae 24). Ljubljana: Inštitut za zgodovino Cerkve pri Teološki fakulteti Univerze v Ljubljani, p. 666.
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  12. Meier, Viktor. 1999. Yugoslavia: A History of Its Demise. Trans. Sabrina Ramet. London: Routledge, p. 56.
  13. 1 2 Koncilija, Franci (September 17, 2011). "Ehrlich je bil za komuniste nevaren". Časnik. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  14. Traven, Terezija. "Stadler Franc - Pepe". Slovenski Biografski Leksikon (in Slovene)