Croatia: Government attempting to belittle WWII Communist Crimes

Section of Tezno mass grave - 15,000 victims - Photo: Ben Freeman

While the Croatian Social Democrat led government has declined to continue sponsoring the WWII Bleiburg Tragedy commemorations, its leaders have decided to pay respects to victims at the Tezno mass grave (about 15,000 murdered there).

The only problem is that Tezno mass grave is only one of many places of WWII, and after, where communist crimes against innocent people occurred and commemoration at Bleiburg honours all the victims, everywhere along the locations of the so-called Way of the Cross (death marches), after World War II ended.

It would seem clear that the government’s move to pinpoint Tezno as THE place to pay respects is a move to belittle and degrade the symbol that Bleiburg has become and to ensure that Jasenovac is seen as the place of terrible and widespread WWII war crimes in former Yugoslavia.

This way, they attempt to reduced in importance and severity of the communist crimes committed at Bleiburg and along the Way of the Cross.

Even though the government will not sponsor the Bleiburg Tragedy commemoration it is still to be held on Saturday 12 May. Its sponsors include Western Herzegovina county, Osijek-Baranja county and émigrés from California. It is announced that Tomislav Karamarko, candidate for president of Croatian Democratic Union (largest political party in Opposition) elections to be held in May, will deliver a keynote speech at Bleiburg.

In an interview by Croatian HRT TV News (28 April 2012) Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that he would not attend the commemoration of the World War II tragedy (massacres) but that instead, he, Boris Sprem the Speaker of the Parliament and President Ivo Josipovic will attend a commemoration at Tezno, Slovenia, on May 15. Milanovic said that “the real victims of the execution” fell there and not at Bleiburg. Tezno was where the scaffold was, not Bleiburg, he added.

Well that is not the truth and Milanovic knows it. Real victims fell in many places.

His use of the word “scaffold” – the platform from which victims are executed – should not have been used for Tezno only as mass graves of innocent thousands of Croatians antifascist Partisans murdered in 1945, after World War II, have been discovered in multitudes.

As the prime minister of Croatia, I feel the obligation to pay my respects to the people who were killed there in their thousands. We are going to Tezno because the execution site there carries both actual and symbolic weight. Bleiburg may carry symbolic weight for some people, I can accept that, but that’s not the place to commemorate the victims”, Milanovic said for Croatian TV.

Mile Prpa, Portal HR.Svijet, in his article 22 April Bleiburg Tragedy – the Hypocrisy of Politics: “Imagine, to date there have been more than 1,600 mass graves (in some there are several tens of thousands of victims) strewn across Slovenia, Croatia (equally in parts where there were and where there were no Ustadshi), then across Bosnia and Herzegovina, but numerous also across Serbia to Macedonia. Out of the multitude of victims the names of the majority were not known, there was killings of people that were not acceptable to the government, among them about 80% Croatian”.

Bleiburg is the concept covering the destruction of almost the whole of the Croatian youth of the time, among whom there was a very, very high percentage of innocent or not even couple of percent of guilty, it’s also the concept for mass destruction of the large part of Croatian intelligence of all possible professions from journalists to priests. Bleiburg symbolizes an attack against entire people, everything that was vital had to be destroyed, when it was armed and unarmed and when they posed not even a minute threat. Rarely have people in the newer era, mainly during peace era, experienced so much and such tragedy. And those who have experienced it, have done so under the communist authorities”.

If Milanovic, Sprem and Josipovic are serious about paying respects to places where the “scaffolds” were then they must visit every pit, every mass grave of innocent lives taken by their antifascist predecessors, not just Tezno. Milanovic has been to Tezno as leader of the Opposition (Social Democratic Party) in 2009, he could have chosen another mass grave this year if he doesn’t want to go to Bleiburg. Saying that Tezno is the places where actual executions took place is wrong because Tezno is only one among many.

That is why Bleiburg commemoration is so very important – it is the place where all victims of the WWII and post-WWII communist purges are remembered. Death marches back to communist Yugoslavia started at Bleiburg. In “Bleiburg Massacres” by Count Nikolai Tolstoy one can see the very significance of Bleiburg and why that is the place to commemorate the victims without politics that Croatian current government is playing upon this terrible, sad, sad chapter of Croatian history. Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

VIDEOS: WW2 Massacre Made by Partisans in Bleiburg:

PART 1:

PART 2:

PART 3:

Comments

  1. Covering up someone’s mistakes doesn’t help anyone to learn.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] had in April 2012, when it voted to remove government sponsorship over the commemoration of Bleiburg victims, carried the motion to more actively mark the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarian […]

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  2. […] Kotromanovic paid their respects to the victims of the Way of the Cross marches on Friday 15 May in Tezno. Crimes committed by Communists at the end of World War II have stained “a just fight” […]

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