If you’re not with us then you are against us, and, therefore, you must be liquidated – that was the motto Yugoslav communist Partisans lived by during and after WWII.
“I did not even dare write about all the horrendous torment victims of Partisans on Korcula endured – Partisans in the village of Zrnovo were particularly cruel,” reports the Croatian Cultural Council (Hrvatsko Kulturno Vijece) portal as Franko Burmas having said.
The launching in Zagreb on Friday 29 January 2016 of Franko Burmas’ new book “Victims of communism on Korcula – searching for truth“, published by the Croatian Victimology Society and Biblioteca Documenta Croatica, brought back with live disquiet the horror stories I remember hearing throughout my childhood. The imagery of merciless brutality created by those stories in which hundreds upon hundreds of individuals from the relatively sparsely populated island who did not subscribe to Josip Broz Tito’s communist plans perished – murdered or thrown into pits alive – hit me with deep distress.
Narod.hr reports that Zvonimir Separovic, president of Croatian Victimology Society, Rade Kastorpil, president of Croatian matica in Blato/Korcula and the author himself, Franko Burmas, spoke extensively about the book, which serves as a testament of evidence of the brutality of Communist crimes on the Island of Korcula. It was just as well that an entertainment segment was included with this launch – thus making the revelation of this ugly truth of WWII and Post-WWII Island of Korcula bearable. The doyenne of the Croatian National Opera, Dubravka Separovic Musovic, accompanied by Eva Kirchmayer-Bilic on the piano offered a most welcome moment at this launch of evidence of crimes no person should ever be faced with, let alone endure.
But sadly, the world still lags far behind in condemning communist crimes than where it is and has been for decades with view to the crimes of the Holocaust. It is books like this one written by Franko Burmas that hold a candle for a brighter future where all crimes regardless of which political persuasion they hide behind are equally condemned and equally smothered with outrage and unforgiving wrath.
” Victims of communism on Korcula – searching for truth” by Franko Burmas is a witness to communist Partisan crimes committed during and after WWII on the Island of Korcula. Numerous pits in the ground and locations where executions of innocent people occurred – e.g. Vranina, Sibal’s feet, Paklenica, Butina, St Luke’s cemetery in Town of Korcula, St Cross cemetery in Blato on Korcula … all give witness to the “hatred and killing, trampling upon freedom, to the terrifying and unbelievable crimes, to the times when people did not know what awaits them tomorrow, where they are going, what to do,” says Franko Oreb in his Foreword to the book.
Franko Oreb says further in his Foreword that the truth of which this book speaks is horrific and painful and that it constitutes evidence of the terrible crimes committed by the communist regime in which people were swiftly punished, imprisoned, abused and murdered guided only by their suspicions, without bothering to provide for court trials or proof of guilt. It happened often that their death was not revealed and so even the official government office “Register of Deaths” did not include their names.
Oreb says that the book reveals a perfidious and a repressive face of government authorities connected to well-organised network of political and Party structures with the goal of keeping that regime alive and their status within it. The regime of those times successfully hid its crimes for a very long time causing a public veil of silence to cover them so that much dust and forgetting fell over the victims.
The book itself is also a kind of Korcula’s martyrdom record in which the names of the victims of WWII and Post-WWII period Korcula are written and recorded. It’s a record of 85 grim and ghastly murders, some persons among them were from Dubrovnik brought to Korcula by Partisans as prisoners and liquidated there. Franko Burmas is a university trained and graduated lawyer with many years of experience and collection of data, including interviews with some people directly associated with the events, which have formed the foundations and factual body of his book. There were priests and intellectuals among the mass murder victims against whom the communist regime operators directed terrible lies and defamation saying they were enemies of the nation. And yet, all they did in life was dedicate their lives to the service of their people, to defending the faith, morality and the national sanctities. A list of more than several hundred of liquidated victims, thrown into pits, needs to be added to the ones named in the book as communist left no trace of names or the number of people they threw into pits such as Butina.
Alena Fazinic asserted: “searching for the truth brought the books author to conclude that liquidations were really an ingrained part of the communists managers’ system (who later to become authority holders – from those at the country’s top to those in the small communities such as Korcula) – if you are not with us you are against us, our enemy, and, therefore, you must be liquidated.”
That is how the communists of Yugoslavia kept people in fear and that means obedience and submission.
Franko Burmas’ book also points to the fact that after WWII the communist practice continued: through fear, persecution, imprisonment, torture, even by murder stop every attempt at freedom of thought and living. Burmas has documented his book well, with many photographs and documents and is to be congratulated for joining those heroes of today who have no fear in speaking out about the crimes of former Yugoslav communists. Now, all Croatia truly needs is a proper and just condemnation of these crimes and lustration from its important social points and public and justice administration all those who are or were associated with the operatives of communist Yugoslavia. Croatia needs names not just a reference to the system and the more names of those criminals brought out into the public the better for the murderous system did not exist on its own – individual people kept it going. And the most awful truth of this trail of horrid communist crimes is that “Korcula” from this book was replicated multitudes of thousands of time throughout Croatia of the former Yugoslavia, but also the other states there. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Zgb)