Imminent Canonisation Of Croatia’s Aloysius Stepinac Sends Serbs Into Wanton Frenzy

 

Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac Oil painting Croatian Church Chicago

Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac
Oil painting Croatian Church Chicago

It was in February 2014 when the relatively young organisation that calls itself “Third Serbia”, in Serbia, urged Serbia’s government and the Serbian Orthodox Church and all Serbs to write to the Vatican and protest against the imminent canonisation of Croatia’s WWII Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac.

This politically charged organisation, rehashing the WWII concentration camp at Jasenovac in Croatia said at the time: “After seven decades we now have the opportunity to stop the silence, prevent a new path of oblivion for the victims, new whitewashing of crimes, and stop a new international recognition of genocide… This is an opportunity for Pope Francis to do that which Stepinac did not do – condemn the Ustashi genocide…”.

The organisation Third Serbia is not about reconciling Serbian history as it says it is. On the contrary, it keeps on doing what Serbia and most Serbs have always done when it comes to WWII and crimes of genocide/Holocaust – focus on WWII Croatia rather than WWII Serbia in order to continue concealment of Serbia’s atrocious record as Nazi-collaborators and exterminators of the Jews.

Indeed, the research and fact finding mission about the Blessed Aloysius Stepinac undertaken by US based dr Esther Gitman during the past fifteen years, which absolutely exonerated Stepinac of crimes of the Holocaust and revealed him as WWII rescuer of the Jews, the Serbs and the Roma people, as righteous, is a real threat to a continued concealment of Serbia’s part in the Holocaust. No wonder the “Third Serbia” has mobilised or has attempted to mobilise protests to the Vatican against the canonisation of Aloysius Stepinac!

At the International Symposium Southeastern Europe 1918-1995 Prof. Ljubica Stefan (A Righteous Among Nations), speaking on anti-Semitism in WWII Serbia, summarized the truth as follows: “Until today, Serbia has worn a hero’s halo in a land of martyrs as a member of the anti-Hitler coalition and an alleged contributor to the victory in the Second World War. This is completely untrue. Serbia was not an unfortunate occupied land subjected to German terror. During the entire war, Serbia was the most faithful ally to the Third Reich on European territory under its domination. As opposed to all the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, there was no organized, and an even less massive, armed anti-Hitler movement. When England finally ceased supporting and exalting Draza Mihajlovic, even Radio London, according to the Serbian press, had Mr. Harrison direct the following warning: ‘It is up to the Serbs to brighten their reputation and cleanse their blemishes. Serbs, remember! The Greater Serbian hegemony will never return. The other nations in Yugoslavia have been exploited enough by the Serbs. You are being given one more opportunity to save yourselves. There has been enough dawdling and enjoyment on the part of the Serbs while other nations have been fighting’.

Until now, the Holocaust in Serbia has been an unspoken topic, a taboo. Jewish and Serbian sources offer relatively little data, mostly fragmented. What really happened, nevertheless, may be seen…
The physical liquidation of Serbian Jews began immediately in the spring of 1941. Almost all the men were killed by the autumn and the women and children and the remaining men were liquidated at the end of April and the beginning of May, 1942…It was not only the Germans who captured and killed the Jews in Serbia, rather it was the Serbian Police, Nedic’s volunteers and Chetniks. Most were killed in the Sajmiste and Banjica concentration camps. Not a single Jew managed to escape from the camps…
The majority of Serbian Jews were killed in the Sajmiste camp… The camp was formed on the left bank of the Sava by the railway bridge at the entrance into Belgrade where the pre-war trade fair was located. This is where the name Sajmiste originated. This territory which was, at that time, deserted, uninhabited and marshy, was several kilometers from Zemun and formed a part of NDH (Independent State of Croatia) territory, so the Germans asked for it to be given to them. It is, however, completely untrue that this was an (Croatian) Ustasha camp which Serbian propaganda claims even today. Not one Ustasha ever entered the camp…
As camp inmates starved and froze to death, they were transferred over the frozen Sava to Belgrade where they were buried. Many (the number is unknown) were led away to be shot by firing squads in Belgrade. They were killed in the same manner, in the same place and by the same people as were the Banjica prisoners. Some were killed by the Germans in a special gas truck on their way to Belgrade and buried in Jajinci but their number is not known. A Serbian company ‘Obnova’ purchased the clothes of those. Some were led away to camps in other countries (numbers and destination are unknown). When the number of imprisoned Jews began to decrease, Serbian prisoners and others began to arrive. One of these prisoners recalls: ‘The criminals were the same as those in Banjica. The commanders were also the same – Germans, Nedic’s men and other Serbian fascists’. According to some data, all Jews in that camp were liquidated before May 9, 1942. Belgrade had become ‘Judenfrei’…

Finally, how did the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) act during World War II? Not one word of condemnation of the genocide, the yellow bands, the concentration camps or the racism was ever heard from them. Immediately upon the arrival of the Germans, representatives of the Holy Synod paid homage to the German military commander and stated, first in print and then in person: ‘The Holy Orthodox Synod will loyally carry out the laws and commands of the occupying and territorial authorities and will, through its organs, endeavour to effect the complete abidance of order, peace and obedience.’ The synod remained loyal to their promise until the end and it never violated its promise given to the ‘father of Serbia’ General Milan Nedic that ‘the Serbian Orthodox Church will, in the spirit of St. Sava’s Orthodox tradition, continue to fight on his side’. There are no known cases of any Serbian Orthodox priest saving the life or attempting to save the life of one Jew, although some of them often openly expressed anti-Semitic attitudes in their sermons, instigating their congregation against Jews. Metropolitan Josif, as the head of the Serbian church during wartime, signed orders that Jews be forbidden to transfer to the Orthodox faith, even though this would have saved them. Three episcopates were the first to sign the ‘Appeal to the Serbian people’ of August 1941, in which over 500 of the intellectual elite of Serbia publicly expressed their support of the occupiers and quislings, which was a unique case in war-affected Europe…”

While the Serbian Orthodox Church signed orders that Jews be forbidden to transfer to the Orthodox faith, even though this would have saved them, Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, as evidenced from Dr Esther Gitman’s factual research, sent memos to the parish priests in Croatia:
When you are visited by people of the Jewish or Eastern Orthodox faith, whose lives are in danger and who express the wish to convert to Catholicism, accept them in order to save human lives. Do not require any special religious knowledge from them, because the Eastern Orthodox are Christians like ourselves, and the Jewish faith is the faith from which Christianity draws its roots. The role and duty of Christians is, in the first place to save people. When this time of madness and of savagery passes, those who would convert out of conviction will remain in our church, while the others, after the danger passes, will return to their church.”

Indeed, the canonisation of Croatia’s Aloysius Stepinac will serve justice to humanity for, among celebrating the good in people that existed despite the horrible adversities of WWII, it will also undoubtedly open up a new window into the WWII truth of Serbia – something that is desperately needed if reconciliation of history is to be fully achieved. The organisation Third Serbia has a great deal to fear, indeed. No wonder they protest Stepinac’s canonisation!

On 22 November 1941 a major anti-Masonic exhibition was opened in Belgrade, Serbia. It was widely promoted by the media. Exhibition was funded by city authorities, at proposal of Djordje Peric, Head of Serbian state propaganda. The Serbian press hyped up the message of the exhibit: “Jews deserved their fate, for interests of the Jewish internationalists never coincided with those of Serbs.”

Anti-Semitic Poster Serbia 1941 "Come and see  the anti-masonic exhibition.   The Jewish dream of being  the power of the world  is now disappearing  under the attack from  finally awakened nationalism."

Anti-Semitic Poster Serbia 1941
“Come and see
the anti-masonic exhibition.
The Jewish dream of being
the power of the world
is now disappearing
under the attack from
finally awakened nationalism.”

 

Anti-Semitic poster from WWII Serbia: "The Jew is holding the strings."   The anti-masonic exhibit - Belgrade 1941

Anti-Semitic poster from WWII Serbia:
“The Jew is holding the strings.”
The anti-masonic exhibit – Belgrade 1941

The WWII anti-Semitic exhibition in the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade had breathed a new life in 2012, albeit under the banner of “The Holocaust in Serbia” for the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The eerie atmosphere emanating from Serbs attending the exhibition cut a loathsome, painful repulsion in an observer: a sense of hovering derangement in which the Serbs looked upon these exhibits as if they were someone else’s work, not theirs! And still, the loudest of Serbian  population continues to blame Germany for the horrors of the Holocaust in WWII Serbia. Just like with today’s organisation “Third Serbia” that selective memory, which attempts to erase the responsibility of Serbs loyal to Nazism, is palpable almost everywhere one looks or happens to stumble upon. Instead of truly reconciling history “Third Serbia” has, like all other like-organisations of Serbs, taken the well-worn route of anti-Croatian propaganda by rehashing WWII events in Croatia without any regard to the truth as far as Aloysius Stepinac is concerned, in this case!  I hope that if letters of protest against Stepinac’s canonisation do arrive in Vatican from Serb sources they will bounce back to where they originated from with “Return To Sender” written in bold black ink on the envelope. Truth wins hands down every time, even if that does take a long time in many instances. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Ina, has a date been set for the canonisation?

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    • There’s a process which includes an assembly of Cardinals and decree to be signed by Pope Francis – some reports I follow say it will be in October while others say: at the latest in 2015, Mishka. I guess it can happen “any time now” 🙂

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  2. So true.And when you ask some Serbian bloggers about evil things Serbs comitted, they won’t even post your comments.There’s truly a propaganda going on but all things have a way on getting into light.Thank you for another great post.

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    • Most such blogs I have come across, dani, propagate lies about numbers killed in Croatia during world war, they increase them manifold and never talk of Jasenovac being operational after WWII where innocent Croats were slaughtered under Yugoslav communist purges years after the war…they also talk of Sajmiste as Croatian Ustashi camp in WWII and yet it was not, it was Serbia’s…

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    • Roadrunner says:

      Instead of poisoning the internet and the public with half-truths and outright lies, it is time for Serbia and the Serbs to face reality and acknowledge in earnest their WWII state collaborated with Nazis and committed a genocide over non-Serb people in World War II. It’s time they stopped pointing to others in order to avoid facing their own demons.

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  3. Yes… truth, faith, and love always prevail, Ina. What a joy this news must be for so many!

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  4. Wilkinson says:

    In Serbia’s secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History, Philip J. Cohen and David Riesman have a lot to say about Serbian collaboration with the Nazis… “ike the Nazis, who believed that all Germans must live within one large, ethnically pure German state, the Chetniks believed that all Serbs must live in one large, ethnically pure Serbian state. In the Chetnik vision, Greater Serbia would consist only of Serbs, under a Serbian king, encompassing Serbia, Vojvodina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and portions of Croatia, including the Dalmatian coast as far north as Sibenik and the inland provinces of Lika and Slavonia. The Chetnik plan specified that the non-Serbian populations of the coveted lands would be eliminated and that these lands would finally be legally incorporated into Greater Serbia. Regarding the realization of a Greater Serbia, the Chetniks and the Nedic government worked in parallel fashion toward a common goal. The Chetniks contributed to the cause of Greater Serbia by executing a policy of genocide against non-Serbs in the territories they coveted, while Nedic maneuvered politically with Berlin to secure the creation of Greater Serbia under German patronage. The final step of the Chetnik plan was to seize power after the Germans were ousted in an anticipated invasion by the Allies… it is this part of the Chetniks’ endgame — their anticipation that the Allies would eventually oust the Germans — that has provided the basis for the claim that the Chetniks were [pro-Allies.]“

    And here we find the words “ethnic cleansing,” not for the first time in Serbia’s history:

    “A Chetnik directive of December 20, 1941, specified their goal to create an ‘ethnically pure’ Greater Serbia, consisting of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Vojvodina, ‘cleansed… of all national minorities and non-national elements.” This directive further specified the necessity of “cleansing the Muslim population from the Sandzak and the Muslim [Bosniak] and Croatian populations from Bosnia and Herzegovina.” “Between 86,000 and 103, Muslims died during the Second World War. The majority of these perished at the hands of the Chetniks.”

    And the Serbian Orthodox Church supported these actions and policies all the way, just as it did in the 1990’s war of aggression against Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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    • Thank you on this reminder of Cohen and Reisman’s work. Certainly, the way things panned out in 1990’s war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina things of denial have not changed and even though the ICTY court had found that there was no forced deportation of Serbs in Croatia in 1995 and acquitted the Croatian generals of charges for forced deportation, the poison that ignores these court rulings continues to flow from Serbian side.

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  5. I have recently read a book that talks about the genocide. It seems as if the two countries just blame each other. This post was good for me to read. I know it is late in life but I am excited to learn all I can about Croatia. It is nice to have you as a friend and to read what you write. Hugs, Barbara

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    • I guess, Barbara, the blaming that comes from Croatia towards Serbia has to do with trying to get Serbia to acknowledge and not deny its part in the Nazi collaboration; Croatians do not deny nor should they ever deny that some of its people in WWII did commit terrible crimes and those found alive have faced the court and justice, which cannot be said for Serbia. I think it is up to us and the generation after us to put history right and once everyone who committed crimes is held responsible will there be peace or at least the “blaming” will cease. Cheers and thank you and hugs.

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  6. Ina, thank you.. informative and truthful as always.

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  7. One of your best blogs – excellent. I however am not optimistic that Serbs will ever face the truth. Why should they…they dont want to accept their heinous role in the region…can you image them telling their children how horrible acts their people did?

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    • One can always hope, Sunman, although there’s an “Italian” proverb one could apply here “He who lives in hope, dies in despair” But, even if they do not take responsibility and reconcile their history like all others are doing, the world will do it for them and they’ll among other things end up with “egg on their face” at least.

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      • We must reveal the truth for them and the world; and aggressively counter their lies where ever they appear. We cannot let Serbs own our history. I am both confused and concerned that many Jews protect and side with Serbia and have never condemned the Serb Orthodox church in WW2 or during the homeland war…do they really believe Serb propaganda?

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      • My experience has been, Sunman, that several individuals from Jewish organisations that were supporters of communist Yugoslavia and the Party actually support the lies and half-truths about Serbia’s role in the Holocaust and this is indeed very sad because it demonstrates that there are those who do not want to, for whatever reason, admit or promote the truth. Most people of Jewish background are aware of the full truth, though, but those that deny it are often in places of “power” and so truth stumbles upon these barriers…but thankfully it does pick up and continues its path

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  8. …it is the right of Roman Catholic Pope to canonize Cardinal Stepinac, as these “serbs” (mostly vlasi, janjicar cigani that King Tomislav and the catholic clergy allowed into Croatian lands over 1000 years ago!) are the ones agitating against this canonization! That is not their business, nor more banning the march to Knin during Autumns celebration of Operation Storm!
    These people should mind their own business! But, the ‘serbian orthodox” clergy is very politically involved in Greater Serbian chetnik politics, but the catholic clergy abstain in Croatian politics!

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    • Thank you on comment, Tempus Fugit.A taste of an example of meddling in politics by the Serbian Orthodox Church was seen in 2013 when the influential Serbian Orthodox Church publicly crossed a line when two of its top clergymen took part in a Belgrade rally with messages amounting to direct threats against the lives of government officials. “It’s high time the SPC stopped meddling into affairs of state,” commented leading Belgrade daily Blic. “The reputation of this institution has now been burnt to the ground, and its hate speech should be sanctioned.” http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/at-political-rally-serbian-church-crosses-sensitive-line/
      There are people who might say that the Catholic Church in Croatia also meddles and they are wrong in my book, because they speak of Sermons or advocacy for congregation, which is an entirely different route

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  9. Regarding the topic of who did what to whom and why, I have become increasingly skeptical about finding truly reliable information. The propaganda that the Soviet Union dispersed after WWII became points of doctrine for many. For instance, the “lampshades and soap” story we now know to be a complete fabrication.

    It is almost certain that defamed historian David Irving’s accounts of atrocities against the Jews are far more reliable than anyone else’s. Yet he did a two year jail stint for things he might have said. Free speech is one area that the US does have going for it–when the truth can actually be sorted out, which is seldom. For instance, we now know that the pretext that Secretary Kerry was using to strike Syria was untrue, and that he knew it to be untrue when he said it. The saren attack was initiated in Turkey, and not by Assad’s regime.

    The killings of the Jews, among the many other groups targeted by the Nazis, were done as you mentioned–not in gas chambers but by up close and personal executions with bullets. Irving estimates 4.2 million Jews were killed in this manner–none of those in his estimate died of “natural causes.” Yet, if someone doesn’t parrot the number six million and say gas chambers, there are places in Europe where a man can find himself in jail.

    This legacy of propaganda–an issue that plagues all countries up to this day, especially the US. (Or at least of special concern to me because it is my country and is the only global superpower, and therefore incredibly dangerous when on the wrong “missions.”)

    I mention all that in order to state that I believe in with the very best of intentions, there are very few people who can wade through the baloney and misinformation that is being constantly disseminated. No doubt your article is first-rate considering what you have to work with. But perhaps Noam Chomsky is the best at getting to the facts. He’s quite remarkable in that regard because I think it takes a great genius to be able to absorb all the massive amounts of information he has — and on many different topics — and to draw logical conclusions that are often a real annoyance to the states spreading propaganda for their own interests, which is probably every country in the world that has a pulse.

    Here’s an article that Noam wrote. I have a tough time sorting out the names, but I believe he really does have a knack for getting at the truth, despite the best efforts of all sides to prevent an even accounting of events in recent world history.

    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/200005–.htm

    .

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    • In the great sea of information and propaganda about who did what to whom it is still possible, I believe, to find truly reliable information and that information must be the one based on facts – not opinions or hearsay etc, Donald Miller. Noam Chomsky has been known or accused of being biased in favour of Serbia and when it comes to Kosovo, the true and reliable information is found in places that uphold the Kosovars’ right to independence and reveal the ordeals they have been put through in order to achieve independence…as to the article in your link I note that it was written in 2001 and lacks any footnotes that would update the reader on what transpired afterwards. As this blog is about Croatia I note it talks of Operation Storm and that some 200,000 Serbs were deported – which has been proven not to be a fact. Serbs were not forcefully deported. He fails to correct his writings in this case in line with developments of facts (as found at the ICTY) even if Chomsky thought this issue would never be given serious consideration. It was given most serious consideration. While I hold a lot of respect for Chomsky I do take his writings regarding former Yugoslavia and its disintegration quite biased.

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      • Thanks for the feedback, Ina.
        As far as the former Yugoslavia goes, I suppose I’m a hopeless case. Too many factions and countries for me to sort out. I suppose that’s why I am in awe of someone like Chomsky, someone who manages to (somehow) keep track of just about everything that’s going on in the world.
        No doubt he isn’t accurate on everything, but the fact that he tries and isn’t afraid to speak out–and somehow hasn’t lost his faith in humanity–along with that brilliant mind of his makes me rather fond of him. I’m afraid that after all the lies that have come to the surface after 9/11, there isn’t really anything “official” that I believe a word of.
        A dismal time in US history in that regard. Imagine the Attorney General of the US actually telling the Russians that if they handed Snowden over to us “the US wouldn’t torture him.” Just makes me want to cry that my country has lost all moral standing–whatever we had of it at least.
        In his article Chomsky, it seems to me, is a bit too pleased about the US’s freedom of speech. (But as you said, it was written in 2001.) We have “freedom of speech” and our leaders have the privilege of completely ignoring us. Not exactly the example one hopes one’s country would set, but I suppose in a strange way it is an indication that mass detention centers and reeducation camps are totally unnecessary.
        Well, I suppose this is a sad topic to place on your post about the happy topic of someone you admire being canonized. I’m happy for you about that!

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      • Chomsky is a great mind, Donald, I agree with you there. As for “sadness” Stepinac has suffered much of that, it marks his life on Earth so it’s OK to have it here too.

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      • I just read about him on Wikipedia. He certainly did live during tough times for nations and for peoples. Along with a couple of stumbles common to all men he seems to have conducted himself with determined virtue during a time when that was not at all an easy achievement.

        The world hasn’t improved much since those grim times. It seems that the Serbs and the Croats are, as he said, polar opposites. Until I read the article, I thought the US had some serious problems. We don’t by comparison to the seemingly unending tensions between the two groups. Serbian nationalism lead to WWI, which in turn led to WWII.

        The nineteen year old killer of Arch Duke Ferdinand was spared the death sentence because the court thought he was too young to be given it. That much history I know. The actions of that double-murderer who made orphans of the children by cold-bloodedly killing husband and wife lead to the slaughter of so very many young people and children.

        Harsh world we live in. 😦

        Makes me want to be grateful for the things I do have. Be well and happy, my friend. 🙂

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      • Every nation is a polar opposite to another, because all want freedom and some won’t let them or want a bit of what others have and Croatia has had the misfortune that others wanted a bit or a whole of it for centuries and, hence, defending ones own becomes very important, Donald. Cheers

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  10. Oh, if we would just love our brothers and neighbors as we love ourselves. I think that is a problem because many people don’t or can’t love themselves. . . first , in order to love others!

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    • So frequently the problem, Anne, to love oneself one needs to accept or recognise to good and the not so good and the lack of the latter seems to lead to barriers for love and peace. Many rather than deny the bad instead of facing it and doing something to reconcile

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  11. Ron Rychlak says:

    Thank you for your blog! I have just started a Facebook page devoted to Stepinac: https://www.facebook.com/aloysiusstepinac/
    I have linked to some of your posts:

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] communists or their descendants who wrongfully accused Stepinac as Nazi collaborator were Serbs in many cases, as well as some communist Jews, and are not likely to admit today that they and/or […]

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  2. […] Tito’s communists or their descendants who wrongfully accused Stepinac as Nazi collaborator were Serbs in many cases, as well as some communist Jews, and are not likely to admit today that they and/or […]

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