Victims Of Post-WWII Communist Crimes Remembered At Jasenovac

Some of the participants
at Jasenovac 1st May 2017
commemorating post-WWII
victims of communist crimes at Jasenovac
Photo: Oskar Sarunic

 

In October 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution gave birth to the deadliest ideology in human history – Communism. That disease spread like wildfire. To date Communism has claimed more than 100 million lives worldwide and to quote Nigel Jones : “The 20th century witnessed death and slaughter on an unprecedented scale…Josip Broz Tito’s (described as belonging to the top 20 mass murderers of the 20th century) communist regime murdered some 570,000 political opponents…” and this figure does not account for family members, women and children that stack up a murderous toll. According to the world renowned academic and scientist R.J. Rummel, the democide committed by Tito’s communist regime after WWII amounts to 1,380,000 people (with the population of around 18 million at the time this figure is staggering).

Croat victims make up more than 500,000 within this number.

 

A free and independent Croatia cannot afford to forget the evils of Communism even if its former communists and todays so-called antifascists fiercely disagree. Tito’s atrocities cannot be allowed to fade into the background of history. The trail of blood and tears this utopian deception has left behind must not be forgotten.

 

It is a great moral failing that so many do not know the extent of Communism’s atrocities and an even greater moral failing that so many do their utmost to uphold and spread that moral failing. All the numerous commemorations held at hundreds of mass graves and pits filled with hundreds of thousands of victims of communist crimes have not moved Croatia’s authorities to seriously pursue condemnation and prosecution of these crimes; it’s as though the victims of communist crimes do not deserve the same dignity of justice offered to the victims of the Holocaust.

An atrocity of its own kind!

And so, to commemorate the victims of post-WWII communist crimes in Croatia at the same site where the gigantic flower-shaped monument to victims of what is known as the Holocaust – Jasenovac – would be an event that, sadly, makes many people turn the other way, shaking their heads in disapproval. The same denial is found in all former communist countries of Europe. One might well ask but why such cruelty (?) – victims are victims and all deserve the dignity of respect and remembrance.

Numerous academic works and historical facts point to the reality that Jasenovac camp was kept in “working order” by communist Yugoslavia authorities for the purposes of purging the Croats (and others) until 1952. Attempts to dig up the grounds around Jasenovac WWII campsite with view to researching the truth about the identity of victims’ remains have fallen on deaf ears repeatedly, or better said – hit the wall of resistance to the truth. In recent years there have been numerous fierce discussions about the future historical and cultural memory of the expanded Europe. The most controversially discussed areas were those pertaining to the history of formerly communist-ruled countries. Conflicts about memories and memorialisation were primarily ignited by the differing national perceptions of historical events and the evaluation of these events in the 20th century. The discussions focused on those states in which the assessment and treatment of national-socialist and communist crimes did not accord with the expectations and standards, which had developed over the previous decades in Western Europe, particularly in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The point was, and is, not merely which historical events should be remembered and how they will be, or rather should be, commemorated. How these historical events should be perceived and how they should be integrated into the respective national or transnational historical narratives were likewise a matter of heated debate. Discussions focused on the status accorded to particular historical events, their representation and memorialisation, compared to other historical events. The prominence given to the memorialisation of national-socialist crimes was/is hotly debated.

These discussions focus on the memorial cultures which have begun to develop in the formerly Soviet-dominated post-socialist nations of Central and Eastern Europe – nations which, during the course of the 20th century, were the site of crimes committed by those two big totalitarian systems: national-socialism and communism. In Croatia, bar few courageous individuals, the discussion regarding communist crimes is nowhere near to what they publically are in countries of Eastern Europe, and one cannot err in concluding that the fake antifascists, communist at heart, are responsible for such an atrocity against humanity that is reflected in a planned path of erasing a nation’s memory of those terrible communist crimes. The antifascists pursue that the authoritarian, repressive communist regime, which persecuted persons or groups for political, religious and/or ethnic reasons, would recede from view behind these memories.

But one fact and truth remain: memorialisation of events serves to promote the identity of a nation and is accompanied by a comprehensive externalisation of moral guilt and responsibility. In this lies the absolute responsibility and duty of today’s Croatia to face its past demons of communism and its crimes head on.

 

To some, an event that was organised Monday 1st May at Jasenovac may appear relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things happening or not happening in Croatia regarding holding the nation’s attention focused on communist crimes.

 

But make no mistake – the event is significant!

 

It was as recent as late April when Jasenovac saw three separate commemorative gatherings to honour the victims of WWII Holocaust. The victims of communist crimes whose remains also lie buried in that soil were completely forgotten, ignored and denied. And so, on 1st May a special commemoration was held at Jasenovac for the victims of communist crimes at that very site. Croatian government, sadly and in line with its political and practical reluctance to determinedly address the issues pertaining to communist crimes, played no part in this neither did the opposition – out of the same reasons as the government’s.

The 1st May event in Jasenovac was held to commemorate all the victims that fell in Jasenovac by the partisan and communist hand after the end of WWII, i.e., after 1945. Present at the commemoration were Zeljko Glasnovic, independent member of Croatian parliament, Bozidar Alic, Croatian people’s tribune, Zorica Greguric, president of Association of Zagreb veterans in the 1990’s battle for Vukovar, Mirna Zakman Sunic, a political prisoner in communist prisons, Stipo Pilic, a historian, dr. Tomislav Sunic, writer, translator and former university professor in the USA, Zeljko Koroman, president of state-building forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives of Pure Croatian Party of Right from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivan Pandza, former president of HVIDR (community of Croatian army Homeland War invalids), and others.

 

Prayers, the laying down of flowers and the lighting of candles for all the innocent victims murdered there in Jasenovac: Croats, Germans, Roma, Jews and Serbs, along with speeches and a cultural performance were the order of the day in Jasenovac on 1st May. This is hopefully the first of such events at Jasenovac where all the victims – those that perished during WWII and those that perished after it – are commemorated and their dignity uplifted there where it should be. Victims of communist crimes are thus bestowed the place in the terrible history that is rightly theirs – a place in lasting memory. Ina Vukic

Comments

  1. I thought Croatia sided with the Axis powers during WWII and even Himmler when informed of the things going on in one of Croatia’s internment camps thought the guards and going on’s were too brutal… I enjoy how you explain things and have learned much from your writings

    Like

    • Well Juan, what can I say – alliance with the Axis or Allies at times of war, that usually creates situation of taking sides, but please do not tell me you believe what Himmler was supposed to say. The figures here speak of communist crimes that were more brutal than what Axis could ever come up with and yet their victims get forgotten. Not a good thing in anyone’s book I would have thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so sad, college students in the US actually ’embrace’ communism. They are clueless having been taught nothing about it’s horrors during WWI AND WWII and the after math therein. Somehow they believe communism is equality and everyone just sits around spouting philosophy while the government supports them. The absurdity is profound – such a mess.

    Like

    • College students in that frame – Wild bunch fired by lack of deep knowledge and awareness of communist agendas, Helena. With communism one can either get armies of stooges and “yes” echoes or a total mess, chaos and senseless revolt at opposition

      Like

  3. Thank you for this heartfelt post. I pray it never happens again!

    Like

  4. ladybuglady2000 says:

    Many communist were jews, and the jews killed millions of Christians and Muslims and still to this day they kill and blame others for their dirty deeds.

    Like

  5. I never imagined the world today heading into a massive chaos!😟

    Like

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