How much the “West” will have to answer for – or at least express profound regret – as its complicity in Communist crimes is gradually revealed, may be something that will come to light in no other place but Germany. The past couple of decades have been marked with trickles of information, which suggested that the “West” was complicit in murders of Croatian nationals, who had sought refuge from Yugoslav Communist terror abroad. The complicity in this case would be defined by the “West’s” pandering to Communist Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Broz Tito, who served as a kind of a buffer zone between East and West during the Cold War of the last century. In this “pandering” and “wooing” of the cold-blooded murderer Tito by the “West” meant that Tito’s secret police could operate undisturbed and at times even with the assistance of police and secret services throughout that “West”.
The case of the “Croatian Six” in Australia, for example, has seen ample arrows pointing to the likelihood of police services assisting the Yugoslav secret police agents in their murderous, dirty work of persecuting and framing for terrorism freedom loving Croats in Australia.
There are ample cases of similar human darkness in aid of political maps across the Globe.
The former head of Yugoslavia’s secret service, Zdravko Mustac, and a one-time subordinate, Josip Perkovic – who later created independent Croatia’s spy agency, have gone on trial in Germany, on Friday 17 October 2014, over the 1983 killing of a Croatian dissident in Bavaria, Stjepan Djurekovic. They are both charged with being accessories to the murder. Djurekovic was shot and beaten on July 28, 1983, in a garage in Wolfratshausen, near Munich.
Both, Perkovic and Mustac, refused to testify on the charges against them as their trial opened and the Prosecutors allege that Mustac ordered Perkovic to plan and prepare Djurekovic’s killing.
Croatia, under its pro-communist government led by Zoran Milanovic and president Ivo Josipovic, initially refused to extradite Perkovic but bowed to German pressure, and pressure from Brussels, and sent him to Germany in January 2014. It extradited Mustac in April 2014.
The numerous murders of Croats in Germany by the communist Yugoslavia secret police, says Deutsche Welle “are among the longest unsolved murders in Germany: Up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, around 30 opponents of the Yugoslav regime were killed in the Federal Republic. Most of them were exiled Croats. The assassination orders came from Belgrade. For years, German investigators searched for the murderers and the people behind them. One of the masterminds was Josip Perkovic. German prosecutors believe the former high-level intelligence agent was responsible for the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic over 30 years ago. Now Perkovic has been indicted in Munich. Philipp Grüll and Frank Hofmann have been looking into this and many other cases. The result is a documentary as exciting as a thriller by John le Carré”.
The above documentary film released is titled “Tito’s Murder Squads” and absolutely eyes-opening, especially in aid of revealing how easy it was for Tito to gobble-up oceans of funds or loans from the West to maintain his Yugoslavia and to maintain the false economy whose main role was to glorify communism in the eyes of the ordinary people; the false sense of prosperity under communism, brainwashing millions and murdering more than a million of innocent people in the process. All Tito needed to do is to split from Joseph Stalin (Russia), which he did – starting in 1948 and finishing in 1955, and “milk and honey” flowed like a wild river from the West into his Yugoslavia while he hatched-up and set into motion secret plans to murder every Croat (or other national within Yugoslavia) who opposed his communist regime.
“Tito was marked by resistance to the Nazis and he was traumatised by the fact that the Croats had set up their own nation state with the help of the Nazis, and then fought against him. He never forgot that and for him the war continued. Now, against opponents in exile, like the Croats,” says the documentary film.
The founder of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, made no distinction between the fascists and democratic opponents. Tito’s Yugoslavia fought them all equally bitterly. They were all to be exterminated! After all, Tito was Stalin’s pupil and protégé regardless of the fact that he broke away from Stalin’s Russia. The “West” did, it seems, believe in Tito and his integrity when it comes to breaking away from Stalin but the truth is that the close bond between Yugoslav and Russian communists never entirely broke off; even today’s close relations of Serbia (Belgrade) with Russia are a testament to that fact, and these relations were cemented during Tito’s time in Belgrade, the capital city of former Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslav secret service went to any length to combat their communist regime’s opponents.
“At the time, our main interest was to find a way to diffuse tensions in Europe and to calm down relations with the Soviet Union,” says Klaus von Dahnanyi (SPD) Former German Deputy Foreign Minister (Close confidant of Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany 1969 – 1974) in the documentary film.
It was the Cold War era in Europe and East and West stood facing each other – weapons loaded. Germany’s Social Democrats were trying to find a way out of the confrontation; their new foreign politics also needed Tito’s help. Willy Brandt openly courted Yugoslav support.
“The issue of permeating The Wall was an overriding one, especially as far as Yugoslav was concerned, but also Romania too.
Tito’s Yugoslavia was caught between East and West, West Germany rolled out the red carpet in its then capital Bonn. Willy Brandt and the communist leader Tito – the two men’s friendship laid the foundation for a new political concept: to tie Yugoslavia to the West.
Germany supported the communist regime of Yugoslavia with loans. In the early 1970’s hundreds of millions of Deutschmark flowed from Bonn to Belgrade.
Meanwhile, the Yugoslav regime drew up a secret State directive for a special kind of war: the secret service was given the power to fight opponents of the state abroad – signed Josip Broz Tito.”
And so, the “West” left the door ajar for Tito’s Yugoslavia to “slip in” and build an enormous network of spies on its own soil. Croats who had fled or left communist Yugoslavia were spied on, shadowed, marked as enemies of Yugoslav state – the state that “West” decided was its “new-found” friend. Yugoslav Consulates and Embassies across the “West” became centres for the communist spy rings. Instructions to label all Croats terrorists and fascists, instructions to murder freedom from communism activists, instructions to frame Croats as terrorists, instructions to murder the leaders of communist opposition abroad came from Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital, as well as from other parts of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav secret service drew up death lists and meticulously planned dozens of murders of Croatian nationals across the Globe.
Soon after the re-unification of Germany its then Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel (who was West Germany’s minister of justice when the nation was unified) said this at a session of parliament in September 1991when speaking of communist crimes in East Germany: “We must punish the perpetrators. This is not a matter of a victor’s justice. We owe it to the ideal of justice and to the victims. All of those who ordered injustices and those who executed the orders must be punished; the top men of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of East Germany) as well as the ones who shot [people] at the wall.”
Aware that the feelings against communists were running high among their victims, Kinkel pointed to past revolutions after which the representatives of the old system were collectively liquidated. In the same speech before parliament, he said:
“Such methods are alien to a state ruled by law. Violence and vengeance are incompatible with the law in any case. At the same time, we cannot tolerate that the problems are swept under the rug as a way of dealing with a horrible past, because the results will later be disastrous for society. We Germans know from our own experience where this leads. Jewish philosophy formulates it in this way: ‘The secret of redemption is called remembering.’”
Months will pass before Perkovic and Mustac murder trials are over in Germany. Whether they are found guilty or innocent of the particular murder they are on trial for does not matter in the big scheme of things to do with communist crimes. What matters most is that this trial represents a dawn of a new future – the future that will not tolerate communist crimes cover-ups and the future, which will undoubtedly make use of the facts uncovered during this trial. For Croatia it will also mean that its political elite of former communists and antifascists will need to walk the streets lowering their head in shame. Tito’s Communist Yugoslavia secret police UDBA was worse than the WWII Hitler’s Gestapo when one only looks at the oppression and fear it spread, let alone the liquidations of its regime’s opponents that remain in part as unsolved murders but in their multitudes as skeletons buried in many hundreds of mass graves and dark underground pits across Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)