Croatia: Ghastly Veil of Inhumanity Marks First Monument To Civilian Victims Of Communist Regime

First Monument to Victims of  Communist Crimes in Croatia 30 December 2013 Tupale Sinac Croatia

First Monument to Victims of
Communist Crimes in Croatia
30 December 2013
Tupale Sinac Croatia

On Monday 30 December 2013, in Tupale near Sinac in Otocac area a seemingly very significant event occurred: the first monument dedicated to the civilian victims of Communist regime in Croatia (while it was part of former communist Yugoslavia).  The miserably meager grey concrete cube slabs are a far cry from the impressively grandiose monuments erected in many places across former communist Yugoslavia for victims of fascism.  Furthermore, the extreme lack of respect for the remains of the butchered civilians 1945/1946 in Tupale is evidenced by the fact that the mass grave was unearthed – dredged – in October/November 2013 using earth-moving machinery such as “bobcat”, loaded unto trucks and driven away to be deposited onto the Otocac cemetery as some unworthy, worthless rubble.

“Skeletons in Croatia” news-reel from TV Otocac demonstrating the insensitive dredging of mass grave:

No wonder the surviving family members of the victims and church representatives did not attend the ceremony of the unveiling of the monument to victims of totalitarian communist regime on 30 December in Tupale! They actually boycotted it. The rushed erection of this monument and the controversial and disrespectful exhumation of victim remains that preceded, certainly do not fall within the category of the duly heartfelt and remorseful gesture towards the victims, they should have been. It all seems to be a measure designed to prove to the EU that the current Croatian government (pro and/or ex-communists) are serious about condemning all totalitarian regimes!

Croatia’s minister for veterans affairs, Predrag Matic, said at the unveiling of Tupale monument on 30 December: “We have done that which all in the democratic Croatia have tried to do as well as intended to do during the last seventy years or so. That what we have promised to the people, we have done, regardless of suspicions of many. This is a human and civilisation question. Every victim deserves a place of special piety. Just as black shafts are monuments to victims of the Homeland War so will these cubes be the monuments to victims of totalitarian regimes. We will not stop until all places of peril of the innocent are marked.”

Indeed, the place of brutal civilian extermination has been marked in Tupale, one out of many hundreds of places where communists in Croatia committed mass murders of innocent people during and after WWII. To my view, this event should have been a major event in a nation still desperately seeking justice for innocent victims of the communist regime. But, it was suffocated as much as possible, starting with the horrible and inhumane ways of exhuming the remains; a quick action to cover-up as much as possible the utterly horrid crimes committed by the communists.

One really cannot but conclude that the manner in which this mass grave in Tupale was exhumed and contents “dumped” like worthless rubble (soil, rocks and human bones mixed) into the cemetery had no intention of pursuing respectful  forensic protocol that would tell us how exactly the victims perished for whom it is said were shot for no reason!

The saddest and the most telling fact here is that if the mass grave at Tupale contained the remains of innocent victims killed by the hands of WWII Nazi-collaborators, or even innocent victims of Serb-nationals of the 1990’s war of Serb-aggression against Croatia, then the leading world media outlets would have had “a field day” – telling the world how brutal “Croat fascists” were! But the same media fails miserably at bringing to the world’s attention the large-scale genocides, during and after WWII, of hundreds of thousands of Croatian and German civilians by the Yugoslav communist strongman Josip Broz Tito and his men/women. As usual, the communist killing fields are sadly and humanly regrettably still largely consigned to historical oblivion.

The Tupale monument will perhaps unscrew the first screw of the “door” which has for decades served as a barricade preventing full communist crimes prosecution, condemnation and justice for the victims. The fact that Josip Perkovic,  former communist secret police operative and sought by Germany in relation to 1980’s murder of Croatian émigrés, has finally been arrested in Croatia pending extradition to Germany, will also assist in the efforts to finally hold former communists to account. Similarly the arrest of 93-year-old Josip Boljkovac on allegations of mass murder of innocent civilians – as a matter of communist policy and practice after WWII – will undoubtedly sharpen the world’s awareness about the genocidal communist crimes and hopefully turn the tides towards settling the accounts for all victims, not just the victims of the so-called fascism, but communism as well. I have this uneasy feeling that achieving justice and proper regard for the victims of communist crimes will still need the dedication and fighting assertiveness from the people, rather than from the pro-communist government, in Croatia, despite the government’s announcement that it will duly pursue the rights of victims of all totalitarian regimes: communist and “Ustashe”.  The victims of the WWII Ustashe regime have held centre-stage since WWII where justice and condemnation are concerned; the victims of the communist regime (who are recorded to be in much greater numbers in Croatia than the victims of the pro-Nazi Ustashi regime) have barely captured the attention of authorities and institutions that have as their reason for existence justice for all innocent victims.  In Croatia, the authorities dealing with the Tupale mass grave of communist crimes have acted shamefully and utterly disrespectfully even though they have, evidently half-heartedly, erected a monument to the victims. This leads me to believe that the Croatian government still harbours discrimination between victims of different totalitarian regimes and still hold that communism was not a criminal organisation. It was! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)



  1. Life in Croatia each day is becoming more and more intolerable for us Croatians living in Croatia. This truly is a shameful event, it got scarce to mediocre media coverage, putting one and one together, now I know why. But I can not and will not accept the methods, secrecy or the ”concrete monument” marking the post war crime scene. Let us not to forget whom not to vote for on the next parliamentary elections so as to properly mark this and every other crime scene so that future generations can bear witness of the brutality of the Bolshevik Tito’s Yugoslavia.

    • Yes, Tomislav Damjanovic,let us not forget who not to vote for at next elections. When the current politicians in government have the gall to treat victims so disrespectfully and coldly then they have no business in leading the people whose victims lie in those graves.

  2. What you are speaking of is horrible and sickening in regards to past events, but how your current government is handling things now is also sickening. Here in the U.S. this news is never spoken of, if anything is ever spoken of it may get 10 seconds on a news program, you can’t cover a whole lot of information in 10 seconds. Our media is more hung up on sticking a mike in a politicians face or talking about Hollywood sluts and whores and everybody that they are sleeping with than to actually report real news.To me the best news programs I have ever heard are from the BBC, at least you do get real actual information from them.
    In regards to your current political leaders, are you the people able to vote them out? It appears obvious that this group of so called leaders harbor the good ole days of Stalin and Lenin in their hearts. In your country, do you have a free media that can report what they think is the truth?

    • Thank you on your comment oldpoet56. Yes people can vote out politicians at elections or vote in but there’s also the problem of low voter turnout and vote “recruitment” along party lines etc however I do hope that voter turnout will increase significantly as people learn that every vote matters. As to freedom of press etc one does get the distinct feeling there is quite a bit of government control/political control in many outlets even though it is claimed its free. But hey, that is an issue present elsewhere too so elections would be a solution

      • Tomislav Rapin says:

        Ina, low voter turnout is just a reflection of the apathy that has swept the Croatian public, and the level to which voters have been alienated by the major parties on both sides of the political spectrum. For the average Croatian voter today, it’s very difficult to identify with either SDP or HDZ, neither party has remained loyal to its core values and as the economic and social problems in the country have mounted, neither option has proved capable (or, arguably, willing enough) to fix anything. Essentially, the Croatian political elite has become totally disconnected from the Croatian public (hence the recent public initiatives i.e. U ime obitelji, Stožer Za Obranu Hrvatskog Vukovara…).

        As for the media, outside of state TV I don’t think there is too much government control. However, we do have a situation where the mainstream media is dominated by one organisation – Europapress Holding. This situation means that in the mainstream media there is too often a one-sided presentation of issues and a decidedly leftist, and at the same time supposedly “liberal”, stance on a range of matters. As a result, it has been almost impossible to see/read real debate and balanced opinion in the public forum (it must be said “Peti dan” on HRT3 attempts to rectify the problem at least a little).

      • Yes Tomislav Rapin – state TV – it’s such an important media outlet and it should serve the nation (taxpayers) not certain political echelons (ie those who are in power). As to the press the “west” has learned long ago that companies behind them do “hold a candle” for the political options they prefer, so in a way, that’s a “fact of life” within private enterprise etc – the unlucky thing in Croatia is that there aren’t many private companies owning the media outlets in order to achieve the needed difference and balance, so I guess the government of a time there had its finger in the pie of “who will control” the press too. Citizens initiatives you speak of are indeed telling of the situation that people can no longer rely on their elected representatives to even hear them out without negative or off-putting gestures; no good will or good faith – reps seem to think that they have the right to do just as they personally think without any responsibility to their constituency, those that voted them in. In such a situation we see that even if the politicians have forgotten or ceased to be loyal to core values the people remember them. So citizens’ initiatives are good.

  3. Marija B. says:

    Try as they will but the truth will come forth sooner or later. There is no hiding from it.

  4. Miso Sorbel says:

    That is just awful. Why, even thousands years old objects are dug out of the ground by archeologists etc with greater care than the remains of these murdered people. Just shocking to even imagine it could happen.

    • Oh, Miso Sorbel – when I picture archeological excavations with their care, gentle handling of the tools, careful storing away of discovered objects … this in Tupale multiplies grief for the victims a million times.

  5. Bonnie Bee says:

    And the minister has the gall to say raising monument is a form of respect. In that way? Not a chance. Just lip service. Sad!

    • I agree Bonnie Bee – let’s hope the next monument to victims of communist crimes will be raised with feeling and evident respect, not aloof lip service as if executing a Party order one would rather not.

  6. I agree, it’s not a great way to do it, but I am very happy to see that at last it’s slowly starting to happen. This, together with Perkovic et al being arrested are signs to me that by hook or by crook, the EU (Germany that is) will push through “Lustracija” for us. And it can’t happen fast enough as far as I am concerned.

  7. Ina, I agree with your critique of the manner in which victim remains were exhumed in Tupale, Lika! I am bothered by the fact that not one government of Croatia has undertaken anything to uncover the horrors of communist crimes agasinst Croatian people, not even to equate the victims and the crimes in order to allow this to pave the way for our suffering Croatian nation to not ever again allow that it be divided into these and those. Let’s not expect that Europe will impose upon us what we should expect as our national interest, except that it expects us to declare ourselves that we stand against all totalitarian regimes. Those who divide Croats into vrtual-fascists and anti-fascists, will continue to do so regardless of what we think. We must put an end to such a “snake” inside the nation, not because of us, bud for the future generations of the free, sovereign and democratic State of Croatia! We bear witness to the recent referendum, people have the will and the power, and know how to assess what’s goog for them and what is not, independent of that which the government, the media and those for whom Croatia is nothing more than an address of abode try to impose. I do not agree with the priests for not wanting to lead the procession in Tupale because that is neither clever nor just. It would have been much more useful had they led in prayers and had they used the occasion to say what would have been needed and to direct criticism in the right direction so that similar things never happen again!

    • Thank you Drago L, as I said we cannot expect a government such as the one Croatia has today to ensure proper treatment of victims of communist crimes because they protect communists and they justify their crimes. It is up to the people to ensure this deeply divisive and painful reality is dealt with once and for all – and our children will have a fairer future. Well said.

  8. Croatians, use your power of voting to bring about a new government, to hold politicians and governments accountable. Be wise in how you use your power – be informed, debate, deliberate and decide based on real information, not propaganda or media spin; promises by politicians are worthless without a realistic plan on how to achieve the promises. It’s hard, but a bad government is even harder for you.

    • Yes Sunman, my thoughts too. Also, bad government means lots of more work for the people – and however hard that is I praise the citizens’ initiatives we have seen in the past year.

  9. Tomislav Rapin says:

    Drago, if recent events surrounding Josip Perković have shown us anything it’s that the same structures responsible for the crimes committed against the Croatian people still hold the real power in Croatia. Ideologies, political systems and governments have fallen; the structures behind them have remained intact. That’s the sad, and frightening, truth.

    I agree with you that our people have the will, but as encouraging as the recent public initiatives have been, we still lack an option on the political scene in Croatia that will clearly and effectively articulate our needs, desires and goals. If that option doesn’t arrive quickly I’m afraid that all the momentum will be lost.

  10. Hi Ina,
    Serbian Patriarch during Christmas mass attacks Croatia by saying Serbs are endangered in Croatia. This is all part of a a plan to create a pre-text for autonomy, political / eco sanctions or even military action by Serbia. This is not acceptable…Serbs are not endangered – they killed 27K croats during the war and brutally occupied a 1/3 of Croatia…how endangered can you be. Our government or some NGOs need to stand up for Croatia and counter these lies as they are a serious attempt to re-create a Greater Serbia, See the article below. WAKE UP CROATIA!

    • Yes Sunman – seems Croatian Serb leaders are experts at pouring salt on open wounds – hopefully not for long – awakening is happening, I pray for everyone’s energy to last until Croatia fully awakens and asserts its entitlements and rights.

    • Tomislav Rapin says:

      Sunman, while I agree the claim of endangerment made by the patriarch of the SPC is very much in line with their pre-war propaganda, the political situation is obviously very different today to what it was in the 1980’s and 1990’s. We have to be careful not to use these provocations to justify discrimination against the Serbian community in Croatia.

      Every minority in Croatia has the right to be integrated fully into Croatian society without the threat of losing its identity. Ignoring the provocations, however untrue and hurtful they may be, we shouldn’t view every effort by the Serbs in Croatia to protect their culture, traditions, language and identity as a revival of Greater Serbian politics. If it ever comes to it, cultural autonomy doesn’t necessarily mean political autonomy, and self-determination doesn’t give anyone an automatic right to secession. Actually, a lot of people will argue that by working to integrate minority groups (in our particular case the Serbian community, and particularly the Serbian community in eastern Croatia) you actually diminish their tendency for secession.

      Of course, the role of government and how it handles these processes is vital, particularly in post-conflict societies like Croatia (and more specifically Vukovar).The current coalition government has tended to act like enforcer instead of arbiter, and has only helped flame an uneasy atmosphere in the country that from the outside may well look undemocratic and intolerant (giving Patriarch Irinej the perfect excuse to launch an attack on us).

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