“According to British documents, located in the British Public Records Office at Kew Gardens in London, over 500,000 Croatian civilians and 200,000 soldiers were handed over to Tito’s Yugoslav Partisan Army in May of 1945. Based on eyewitness testimony and independent documentation, we can only estimate that the vast majority were slaughtered. The Bleiburg Tragedy is, perhaps, the best kept secret of man’s inhumanity to man. Certainly, it serves as an example of man’s ability to ignore the suffering of the powerless and those who lack nation-state status. Let us pray that Croats always cherish their independence and always fight those that attempt to subjugate them,” Michael Palaich.
May 15th 2014 marks 69 years since the days after WWII ended hundreds of thousands of innocent Croats (disarmed soldiers, civilians including women and children, fleeing communist Yugoslavia into promised freedom in the West found themselves slaughtered over the ensuing two months by Tito’s communists; the field at Bleiburg in Austria marks the central point where the slaughters began as the fleeing refugees were turned by the British forces into Yugoslavia, into the vicious and murderous hands of the communists, who dare to call themselves antifascists, under the pretence of forced repatriation.
May 15th 2014 marks 36 years since the death of Australia’s former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies. On 19 May 1978 some 100,000 Australians turned out in the Melbourne CBD and in the suburbs to pay tribute to Menzies, after he died at age of 83. This very fact provides an indication of the respect with which many held him and among them were multitudes of Croatian immigrants in Australia who had fled communist Yugoslavia, thus surviving the vicious and merciless communist purges.
While in May of every year Croats commemorate the 1945 Bleiburg Massacres, not only to pay respects to the victims but also to keep the candle of hope alight for justice, for the prosecution of communist crimes, Australian Croats in their many numbers also remember in gratitude the life of Sir Robert Menzies – their Prime Minister who stood by their rights to keep the flame and the dream of independent Croatia alive.
Robert Gordon “Bob” Menzies is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Australian history. Menzies was Prime Minister twice, first from 1939 to 1941, and then from 1949 through to 1966, for a grand total of 18 years and five months in the top job. Menzies was at the centre of many significant events in this period of Australian history, which shaped the modern nation and the Australian Liberal Party.
Menzies was strongly opposed to communism because it enshrined what Ronald Reagan was later to term the evil empire. The prisoners in the various communist gulags, hard labour camps, purges under political opponents banner … well understood this—as did the descendants of the victims of Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Mao …
Amidst a plethora of false allegations of Croat violence in Australia – without doubt the work of communist Yugoslavia Secret Police UDBA – Menzies found it necessary to deliver an historic speech in the Parliament of Australia when in 1964 the authorities found no evidence whatsoever to support allegations of Croat Ustashe violence towards individuals of Yugoslav nationality from which systematic or organised attacks could be inferred. Menzies’ resolve in protecting the rights of Croatian immigrants in Australia to cherish the very dream of an independent Croatia was a resolve not of a hater of communism but that of a politician who lived for the people, their rights and welfare.
In fond memory of Menzies, I quote a part of his speech in the Australian Parliament on 27 August 1964:
“…In the years since World War II, Australia’s immigration programme has brought to this country people from all parts of Europe with a diversity of historical and cultural backgrounds. Many of these people were refugees from oppression. Many derived from happier circumstances. This flow of new citizens has played an important part in building the nation. It is something, which has given us great satisfaction and we wish to see it continue. However, it is basic to our immigration policy that all these new citizens should be integrated as fully, and as quickly, as possible into Australia’s national life…
I turn now to the matter of immigration from Yugoslavia. To understand the attitudes of these migrants it is necessary to remind ourselves that this part of Europe has an exceedingly complex and troubled history. Yugoslavia emerged from the political settlements of World War I. It brought together as a union a number of southern Slav peoples including Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, under the Serbian King Alexander. The Serbs obtained their independence from the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century and were numerically the largest group in the new State. The Croats had formerly enjoyed a degree of autonomy within the Austro-Hungarian empire and retained a national identity dating back as early as the ninth century. Deep differences of religious, cultural and historical kinds have existed between the groups despite kindred racial origins.
Within the new State, the Croats sought a federal concept of government with a large degree of local autonomy. In 1928, the leader of the Croats, Stjepan Radic of the Croatian Peasant Party and two of his colleagues were assassinated in the Parliament in Belgrade (Serbia). This precipitated a profound breach between Serbs and Croats. The Croats developed strong agitation in support of independence. Peasant Party leaders taking their cause to the League of Nations. Some Croat Parliamentary representatives were arrested, others, among them Dr. Ante Pavelic, went into exile…
It is difficult for people coming to Australia easily to forget their historical backgrounds. Since the war a number of organisations opposed to the present Government of Yugoslavia have developed throughout the world amongst refugees and migrants from that country. It is understandable that some Yugoslav migrants of Croatian origin should continue to hope for the establishment of an independent Croatia and within a democracy like Australia they have right to advocate their views so long as they do so by legitimate means. I wish to make it perfectly clear that the vast majority of the migrants from all parts of Yugoslavia who have settled in Australia have proved to be law abiding, hard working citizens and a real asset to this country…
…So I make the Government’s position quite clear: This Government will not interfere with freedom of opinion. Equally, it will not tolerate any activities, which constitute a breach of the law.”
On this day in May we remember the innocent victims of communist crimes and we remember Sir Robert Menzies. Croatia today, perhaps more than ever before, needs politicians of Menzies’ caliber – politicians who know how to bring justice to the victims of communist crimes and fight against the communist agenda that still seeks to degrade and destroy the independence Croats paid for in rivers of blood. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)
BLEIBURG TRAGEDY – DOCUMENTARY BY MICHAEL PALAICH: