Mr Tomislav Nikolic, President of the Republic of Serbia, I’m writing an open letter to you because I do everything openly in front of the Croatian people, the world and God.

You invited Croatian representatives to say which questions Serbia had not solved, so that you may solve them, so that you may open a number of questions which Croatia has not solved, nor will it: Serbs which it deported, their property not returned, nor enabled minimum human rights.

You stated that Croatian President Ivo Josipovic doesn’t want to meet with you, but that you will accept his invitation when it arrives; that Josipovic became angry when you said that Vukovar was in majority a Serb city and that Serbia recognises Croatia within the borders recognised by the UN; that you’re waiting for him to cool down; that you don’t live in the past, and that you don’t ask who waged war against whom, or how the war was, because such things are talked about only at jubilees.

You stated that it’s senseless to talk to today’s children about the war and not talk to them about what awaits them tomorrow, that you don’t understand why Croatia is acceptable to the European Union and that not a single Serb, no even you, admits that genocide occurred in Srebrenica.

You stated that, as President of Serbia, you were received with disdain in the region, as someone who has no experience and that with your comments you’ve angered many and with your assessments seen as someone who will ruin everything, but that you are a formed man, that you don’t bend, that you don’t bend Serbia and that you’ve said nothing without a plan, as well as that no attack on you has been without a plan.

You’ve said too much, you’ve asked and assessed too much for me to be able to address in just one letter. But, the importance is that you want a dialogue with Croatians. Dialogue with everyone is a fundamental responsibility of every person before God and people. I can tell you clearly that there are people in Croatia who can talk to you. This time, I, myself am doing that, as advisor to President Franjo Tudjman during the times of creating Croatia, defending it and after the war. I’m doing this in order to help you to do something good as soon as possible – for God, for Croatians, for Serbians, for yourself and (as you stated) to open the future for the children.

So, on Friday November 16, before the International Tribunal (for the Former Yugoslavia) in the Hague, the final judgment will be delivered (current worldly power) for Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac. Send a letter to that court immediately, to the presidents of countries, to United Nations and publish it to all people of the world.

In that letter write:

  1. “I, Tomislav Nikolic, as President of Serbia, state that Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac are innocent.
  2. ‘Operation Storm’ prevented genocide in Bihac, which was being attacked by Serbian armies, and thus saved the lives of thousands of people, preserved families and homes.
  3. ‘Operation Storm’ prevented Serbia and Serbs from committing new crimes.
  4. ‘Operation Storm’ prevented genocide in Bihac, after the helplessness of the world in Rwanda and Srebrenica.
  5. After the ‘Operation Storm’ the world knows that it’s possible to prevent genocide, and that it’s obligated in doing so.
  6. Freeing Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac is the most the world can now do for peace and future in the Balkans.
  7. Freeing the Generals costs nothing, but it shows that money is neither everything nor most important.
  8. Above everything, the full truth before God and people is most important.
  9. We seek that Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac be pronounced innocent and set free immediately.
  10. Due to immeasurable importance for the future of our children, our region and the whole world, we seek the justice of the truth and nothing but the truth”.

Some ten days ago I was in Serbia. I went to Subotica first, which was generally the largest Croatian city in 1918. We set in motion joint cooperation for the health of the future.

Later, at the international conference in Belgrade I proposed that Balkan countries sign an agreement on non-violent conflict resolution and to jointly call a world conference for the prevention of genocide. I began my presentation with these words (in Croatian although English was spoken there): “I will speak in Croatian because it is time that Belgrade learns to listen to Croatian”. Many listened, heard and welcomed.

I’ve been to Belgrade several times during the past years and spoke about what needs to be done in order to realise good and prevent bad.

Mr Nikolic, I’m prepared to come to you straight away and be at your disposal for the implementation of this action. Words must be turned into actions of truth and good, not thrown into the wind. If you take my advice, you will open a completely new page for Serbia, relations with Croatia and the children’s future.

On the occasions of significant judgments before Jewish Council (Sanhedrin), they said to each witness: “Whosoever destroys a life of even one human being (nefesh a `hat mi-bnei adam) is as if he destroyed the whole world; and whosoever saves a life of even one single human being is as if he saved the whole world”. This was done in order to emphasise the importance of complete honesty and thus prevent the fall of the innocent.

President Josipovic is elected to contribute to the economic development, employment, having children and to Croatia’s needs today. Instead of this he told the women in ‘Podravka’ who tried to protect their work rights that he cannot help them. He lost legitimacy.

When he didn’t want, know or couldn’t solve much of today, he turned to the past in which he had not participated. He accepted Tadic’s apology at Ovcara. That is impermissible according to Simon Wiesenthal and various other world authorities on morality. There is no universal Croat who serves for the bypassing of victims. One can apologise only to the victims. They have thus equated the crimes of aggression and of defense. They had not pronounced the aggression as a crime. In Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Josipovic again wanted to be a solo-peacemaker, and in Knesset he spoke of a snake in the Croatian heart – this is impermissible. Eventually Josipovic and Tadic received the EU medal of tolerance. It was introduced in 2008 as proposed by the current president of European Jews. Until now it was received only by one King, and shared by several leisurely former presidents. That is not my award. I belong among those who advocate for Europe to recognise its own medal for the righteous. Just as Isreal has bestowed recognition, 24356 people who placed their own lives at risk to save Jews during the time of the Holocaust. We need a European award for those who today, in crisis, help the smallest, the most vulnerable, the unemployed, the youth and the disempowered. We do not need an award for those who are not solving today’s problems, for actions in which they had not participated while thousands of people realised them.

Do not lament because President Josipovic did not want to meet with you. There are people who can talk to you about truly important issues. I, myself, am one of them, but President Josipovic is not.

Send an appeal for the innocent Generals Gotovina and Markac and you will become a witness to truth and good for all.

Take my advice and speak to the world about the Croatian Generals, and that will be as though you had met up with all Croatians. You will become a witness before God, open the way for the truth and good.

For the Generals, for us, for you, for everyone, for now, for tomorrow, for people and for God – please accept my advice and plea.

In hope, Dr. Slobodan Lang

Zagreb, 3rd November 2012

(letter translated from Croatian into English by Ina Vukic)


About dr. Slobodan Lang. Born to Jewish family 8 October 1945 in Zagreb, Croatia. Physician, author, writer, politician and former personal adviser to the first Croatian President dr. Franjo Tudjman. His paternal grandfather Ignjat was the president of the Jewish community in Vinkovci (Croatia) and his grandmother Terezija was a housewife. In 1941 Catholic priest Hijacint Bošković, distinguished Dubrovnik and Croatian Dominican, was engaged in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the Langs from Nazi persecution. Bošković traveled from Dubrovnik to Vinkovci with a special permit that allowed him to relocate the Langs to Dubrovnik. Langs grandfather refused to leave, saying that he “was the president of Jews in peace and he will stay one in the war”. Both of his grandparents were killed in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. He graduated at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine and is a specialist in social medicine. (


  1. Well thought-out, as usual by Dr. Lang, although I don’t know anyone who would hold his or her breath waiting for Tomo the Undertaker to reply with anything remotely positive.

    Great job in translation btw – capturing the tone form just as it sounds in Croatian!

  2. Come on Tomislav Nikolic get up and speak, show the world that Serbs are capable of telling the truth when it comes to war in Croatia. Show the world that it’s not just guns that Serbs understand. The ball of reconciliations is in your court, stuff Boris Tadic and Ivo Josipovic – they’re dills and you can be a lilac if you put your mind to it

  3. While applaud Dr. Lang, let’s be serious a guilty verdict is in the interest of Serbia. It redeems them and demonstrates that they were justified in protecting Serbs in Croatia through building a Greater Serbia. It equalizes guilt, providing moral cover for their immoral acts. Moreover, it de-legitimizes the Croatian state. A state founded on a criminal enterprise makes it illegitimate. This is quite different than an existing state engaging in criminal activities; it doesn’t affect their being as a state; their foundation as legitimate state is not in question, it is just their conduct that is questionable. Very different, very dangerous for Croatia. Here is a link to an article by J. Kuhner from last year that better expresses these issues/ideas than I can:
    Let’s keep praying that the ICTY judges see the truth and act in a responsible manner that does justice to the injustice inflicted on two innocent men and an innocent state and people.

    • This is serious in many ways. There is a major difference between, concept of Croatian sovereignty from 1990 – 2000 and afterwards. The first is based on people, from down up. It was overall Croatian responsibility to have children, protect every home and village and run a state. Afterwards it comes from international community, UN, EU and above all powerful states,. We have become feudal, neocolonial or lost God – as you wish. In the first case a fight for an unborn baby was top responsibility, now it is one ward, one, family and one mother’s issue. Our economy, faith, justice, vision … no longer matter,
      The Gotovina case we have passed to lawyers (paying) and powerful (by serving). We have passed a sentence on ourselves. God help us!

      • Yes it seems like that – God help us – but he will help us more if we the people help ourselves and don’t rest until justice is done. And if the Hague does not do justice, or is not seen to be doing justice, then it’s up to the people to uphold the true justice. We simply know that the Generals were and are heroes, because we were there. So stuff the international community which only too often points its finger at others and yet they have so many sins and horrors committed in their own past that no ocean of water could wash them away. Heads up Croatia!

      • Heads up high!

      • Yes, Croatia has strayed…it’s people mislead. As a people we wanted too much to be accepted by the West/EU; probably a result of 100s of years of lost sovereignty. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we are a strong and capable people second to none. Stand proud Croatia. Re-focus on what made you strong – family, faith and Croatian identity. Get married and have large families otherwise Croatia will exist no more.

      • Yes, you are so right Sunman

      • Tides must be turned for economy, faith, justice, vision – the crucial elements of happiness throughout.

      • Alis Jacob says:

        brilliant Dr Lang, exact sentiments, the issue is a marker/stain that won’t be cleaned by current status quo, far too many ‘indoor Croats’ are too busy now to see the impact this has and will be for many years to come. There is a concerted effort out there to malign all that was done to achieve this freedom for Croats and no sooner had Dr.Tudjman died they’ve lost the plot literally. Sadly the future generations will be paying for these ….

  4. They don’t call Tomislav Nikolic “Tom the Gravedigger” for nothing. He is one nasty piece of work. But that should not deter anyone from trying for the good, for truth. To me it seems that Tomo won’t blink an eyelid to this open letter, that doesn’t matter because the letter is simply excellent and it comes from the humane heart. This kind of thing brings hope and hope is the last to die! Croatian people still have hope that Croatian truth will prevail. I do think however that they cannot count on their government to achieve this, they must organize themselves away from political slippery-slides. I agree with with Dr. Lang: it’s the people that have the power – they had it before and they can have it again.

  5. Michael Silovic says:

    I sent several letters to the Hague in support of our generals unconditional release. I am really stressed out right now waiting and praying on a not guilty on the verdict. I will be very pissed off if they are not set free soon enough to the point that I probably will become a far right fascist extremist if you know what I mean.
    Za Dom Spremni !

  6. Thanks for your excellent posting.
    I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you will be
    a great writer. Keep up with the good writing, have a nice evening!

  7. Even without knowing all the intricacies, I recognise a heartfelt plea when I read one. I pray your justice will be served.

    • Thank you, scottishmomus – heartfelt does win in the end, time is needed as humans differ from one another especially in time needed for change

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