To call the Bleiburg Massacres commemoration a “happening” is awful, and utterly disrespectful of the dead.
That’s what Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic did this week when he commented on the decision by the parliamentary presidency to stop sponsoring the annual commemoration at Bleiburg (Austria).
Josipovic said this week that the Parliament presidency’s decision was good and that financing of that “happening” should be stopped…”after all, the members of parliament were often whistled (booed) at there…”
Well, booing and whistling at parliamentary representatives is no crime – it’s a human expression of democratic opinion. Beside’s had justice been delivered for these communist crimes then there would be no booing or whistling at MP’s in Bleiburg. But maybe Croatia is looking down a dark road once again where whistling and booing at political “leaders” will be banned and only bowing and curtseying to MP’s shall be the order of the day, just like during the days of communist commanders and comrades.
The Croatian parliamentary Presidency decided on Tuesday 17 April that the commemoration at Bleiburg, Austria will no longer be held under parliament’s auspices but that this year it will still finance the commemoration of the innocent victims of the Way of the Cross. However, there was no consensus on the ruling parties’ position, the strongest opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), was against it.
Croatian news agency HINA reports Thursday 19 April that the Speaker of parliament Boris Sprem said that this decision was made “so as to lessen divisions in society and help it homogenise by commemorating victims of death marches, known as the Way of the Cross, along the route of those marches …”
The commemoration of Bleiburg massacres pays respect to the many tens of thousands of Croatians who fled from the communists in May 1945, only to be turned back from Austria to Tito’s Yugoslavia by the British military administration – to walk the Way of the Cross to their brutal death by the hand of the communists or antifascists.
The Speaker of the parliament Boris Sprem “said the ruling coalition felt that the Bleiburg field was the site of ‘the final and legitimate battles between the National Liberation Army and (Ustasha leader Ante) Pavelic’s then almost defeated forces’ and that soldiers were killed there on both sides, but not innocent victims killed without a trial. There were innocent victims on the Way of the Cross execution sites and graves. We feel that those victims should be honoured’, he added.
Croatia’s ruling coalition (former communists mainly) has just moved the date of the end of World War II forward by weeks and months! They’re saying now that for the fleeing Croatians (soldiers and civilians) the war wasn’t ended when it ended, their murders as they fled or were forced to return to Croatia by Western Allies are really the result of legitimate battles!
There’s nothing legitimate about hunting down those who did not want to live in a communist Yugoslavia once the War was declared ended and murdering them.
It’s sickening to even imagine such excuses for mass murder, let alone utter them.
Indeed the Croatian society would be much more “homogenous” (Sprem’s word) if antifascists took care of justice for the crimes communists committed just after the end of WWII.
Tomislav Karamarko, candidate for May elections for leadership of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has said that “it’s unfathomable that in today’s Croatia, at the doorstep of European Union which has made a number of declarations since 2010 on condemnation of communist regimes, there’s renewed reality of open communist exclusion and re-ideation of society.
It’s a matter of the practice of the single-mindedness, which one thought had been shut in the drawers of history. This is returning to the time before Croatia’s Homeland War in which we paid a high price for the creation of a free and democratic country, defense from aggression that was fuelled by the same totalitarian politics and ideology”.
Karamarko added: “initiatives such as these represent the humiliation and cynical tormenting of the people who are not allowed to respect one of the most sensitive symbols of victims in Croatian history.
Bleiburg, as a symbol of the Way of the Cross, as a symbol of all the killing places of imprisoned soldiers and innocent civilians, the elderly, women, children – was created and maintained by Croatian people. Neither the government nor the parliament gifted that place of remembrance, and it will not be taken away from the people by withdrawal of sponsorship or pulling away future funding”.
Indeed the people of Croatia will not and cannot forget the Bleiburg massacres. The people (like the ruling coalition and followers) who want everyone to forget cannot achieve such a goal simply because they support and idolise the communist totalitarian system whose sins against humanity were too big and too distressing to fall into forgetfulness.
Recently released Michael Palaich short film about the Bleiburg massacres, in which come confessions of massacres from British sources, the Shame of the British Army, an untold story of deception, betrayal … provides insight into why it is so important never to forget the victims of Croatian Holocaust (Bleiburg massacres) and to pursue with ever increasing vigour the justice it deserves. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)