The Association “Testament” Zagreb (Association of Croatian war veterans from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Diaspora) has July 10 sent a letter to Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic.
I consider the letter most revealing of the repugnance many feel in the political climate of Croatia where the leftist president and the government take every opportunity to justify communist crimes and equate WWII communist partisans with the defenders of 1990’s Homeland War, the most deserving people in the creation of independent Croatia.
The War Veterans association also believes that the conditions for the processing of communist crimes have been created in Croatia. I, for one, am so pleased to read that and trust significant progress will ensue.
“In regard to your statement at the celebration of Antifascist battles and the formation of the First Partisan detachment, in Brezovica forest, 22nd June 2012, in which you said that ‘Partisans from 1941 were the same as the Croatian defenders of 1991’, we feel the need to react and turn to you and to the whole of the Croatian public.
It’s true that 1941 Partisans rose against Fascism and Nazism, and we condemn those systems as well. But the Bolshevik Communists took advantage of the Partisan movement and, under the mask of antifascism and battle for Yugoslavia, created a new totalitarian system – criminal, undemocratic communist system, that lasted until the first democratic elections of 1990. We do not want to hear that the foundation for creating today’s state of Croatia was the ‘Partisan’ battle that created one undemocratic state of Yugoslavia. Croatian war veterans wish to promote the truth about the Homeland war and about the creation of Croatian state, and in this we do not consider as the truth those statements claiming that Croatia arose on foundations of Partisan battles and how there would be no Croatia if there were no Partisan movement.
The facts are that the Communists, through the Partisan movement, led by Marshall Josip Broz Tito – who has been counted among the 10 worst world criminals -purposefully committed enormous crimes against Croatian people. Those same Communists had between 1941 and 1990 murdered and persecuted Croatian children, women, sons, fathers and innocent priests like the Blessed Aloysius Stepinac. They persecuted and imprisoned patriots and all others who weren’t like-minded, and especially those who proudly nurtured a national identity and protected national interests, particularly those who aspired to creating a sovereign Croatian state.
Croatian defenders rose to defend their homeland against the aggressor who wore the red star on their cap, which you called ‘lovely’, the same as the Partisans wore in 1941. Those same aggressors devastated the hero city of Vukovar, Skabrnja, Dubrovnik and a large part of the Republic of Croatia. Croatian defenders fought against the red star, and you equate and identify us with them.
Mr President, do not also equate antifascist partisans (whose battles we respect) with the communist partisans because they fought for different goals and had different ideologies and visions for a future state.
Croatian war veterans created Croatia, courageously fighting with the Croatian coat of arms on their foreheads, under the Croatian flag, with rosary-beads around their necks, led by Dr. Franjo Tudjman who was a Partisan general and a true antifascist. When in the former state (Yugoslavia) he spoke about the idea and the aspiration of the people for independence, he was marginalised, persecuted and imprisoned by the system created by Tito’s communist. After the liberating Operation Storm and after other military actions the Croatian war veterans did not murder aggressor army captured soldiers, members of paramilitary formations or cevilians of Serbian nationality. On the contrary, the Serbian aggressors murdered and banished thousands of civilians and defenders, and took them to camps across Serbia. Tito’s partisans had along the Way of the Cross and Bleiburg murdered thousands of unarmed captured soldiers and civilians.
Mr President, do not continue in the tracks of the former president of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, who justifies the crimes against Croatian people at Bleiburg with the thesis that Ustashe also committed crimes and so there was a need to take revenge upon tens of thousands of innocent Croatian civilians.
We also consider as incorrect and unfounded the statements that Croatian army committed aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the contrary HV (Croatian Army) and HVO (Croatian Defence Council) had in 1995 liberated Bosnia and Herzegovina and brought peace to that area. Handing over the transcripts with “state secret” stamp on them to foreign intelligence services, the former president Mesic betrayed the whole of the Croatian nation and Croatian national interests. He spent a large part of his presidential mandate on muddying president dr. Franjo Tudjman and in underrating his contribution in the creation of the Republic of Croatia. Croatians have condemned that and today, Stjepan Mesic is on the social and political margins.
The Croatian war veterans (defenders) are deeply offended by your comparison with the Partisans. Today, Croatian defenders are not interested in the Ustadshe or the Partisans. We condemn crimes committed by any side. It’s a historical fact that on 27 July 1941, at Srb (where you yourself visited, laying wreaths and giving tribute to the antifascist uprising), the armed Chetnik formation of 1000 Chetniks, under Đujić’s leadership, joined by 60 Serbian communists, was founded. They committed enormous crimes when they murdered Croatian civilians. On 25th July 1990 an assembly was held at which the ‘Declaration of the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serbian people’ was made. Those people had on 17th August 1990 raised the ‘log’ revolution. (Blocking off Croatian Krajina as Serb territory within Croatia)
While on visit to Israel you vilified your own countrymen – to which you are the president – by stating that in Croatia an ‘Ustashe snake’ still exists, so that with your politics of flattery, like your predecessor Mesic, you could leave an impression of a just person. You, yourself, know that after the war (WWII) and during the creation of Yugoslavia revenge against Croatian families who were not on the side of the communists continued, and in the way where even their grandchildren were persecuted. So, where is that ‘Ustashe snake’ coming from? We hold that a communist-UDBA (UDBA = Yugoslav Secret Police) snake exists in Croatia which has committed many murders of Croatians in Croatia and across the world for which they have never been held accountable. Today, all conditions to begin these processes have been created regardless of how much the protectors of these criminals are trying to ensure that it doesn’t come to that.
Finally, we must say that we have no prejudices nor need to distort the facts or customisation of history because our Homeland War was defensive and liberating. If there were individual crimes from our side we condemn them and wish that those who committed them to answer for them, and not for the honourable and innocent commanders, such as Generals Gotovina and Markac, to be interned in the Hague prison.
Mr Josipovic, you need to invest more efforts and energy to help their defence, and the defence of other war veterans such as Veljko Maric who has been convicted in the country that was the aggressor against Croatia. We expect from the president of our country to advocate for the defence of national values and the values of the Homeland War, in which Croatians, Bosniacs, Serbs and members of other nationalities participated. With this we want for Croatia to be a democratic country, arising from togetherness and reconciliation, which would cooperate with all surrounding countries in the future, but upon healthy foundations, and not upon lies, falsehoods and skewing of historical facts.
Association ‘Testament’ City of Zagreb and Zagreb County Branch
President, Josip Vidovic”