Buried Alive – Abyss of Communist Crimes

The enormity of communist crimes against Croatian people, part of the former Yugoslavia (WWII and post-WWII), is staggering, overwhelming, astonishing… utterly cruel and bestial. These crimes on the whole still go unpunished, ignored and covered up or justified particularly through today’s so-called antifascists labeling all attempts to muster up justice for the victims of communist crimes as ‘neofascism’!

Roman Leljak’s book “Huda Jama” (Huda Pit) about which I have written before has now been released in English. Its title is “Buried Alive – Mass Killings of POWs and Civilians by Tito’s Partisans” and it can be purchased online via several leading online bookstores.

In the Foreword of the book Roman Leljak writes:

“My research for this book started in the spring of 1989. When I look back on that period of my life now I cannot help but deeply appreciate Descartes’ maxim: ‘I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am’. Precious few people on the planet today would dare dispute the veracity of the proposition. In that sense I have to admit that until that fateful year of 1989 I had been living in ignorance. The Communist educational system was based on parroting state propaganda. I was not allowed to think. The system needed to produce intellectually challenged people in order to survive. Many of us remember those days well. The teacher would always start the class with the words: ‘Long live Yugoslavia.’ We would have to readily reply with: ‘With Tito forward!’ Many times I heard my father complain, ‘This country is slowly but surely destroying itself. We have to travel to Italy and Austria – countries where rotten capitalism rules – to buy clothes and fruit.’ I did not exactly understand what he was saying. Maybe I was too much of a coward to understand.

Dear reader! This is an expanded edition of the book I wrote back in 1989. It was published that same year in Yugoslavia in Slovenian. That year I started my collaboration with Janez Jansa, Igor Bavcar and many others who would later play an instrumental part in achieving independence for Slovenia.

I finished my first book, titled Alone against the World in the late ‘8os. At that time Janez Jansa was the editor in chief of the Znanost (Science) magazine and he published my book. The book deals with the methods, techniques and tactics used by Yugoslav Military Intelligence. In 1990 the book was translated into Croatian. Unfortunately, and in a sense inexplicably, it did not draw a lot of attention in Croatia. In Slovenia, on the other hand, the book is considered an important work of history, especially in the context of theTen-Day War.

Roman Leljak
Photo: kamenjar.com

I was born in the Croatian Zagorje region. My father Rudolf worked in the city of Krapina as a photographer and my mother Milica Belosevic worked in the Zutica textile factory. In 1964 my father got a job in the Ingrad construction company in Celje and we relocated to Slovenia. I was six months old at the time. We lived in the village of Prosenisko, near the town of Teharje. One spring day in 1989, in front of St. Anne’s Church in Teharje, I read again, mesmerized by the words, Ivanka Skrabec’s letter:

In a few hours my life will end.Oh dear God! You know I die innocent, just like your Son. My child, my gentle angel. How I long to see your face, graced with a smile, cheering me up and taking all the worries away! Oh my child, my gentle white flowers! I will not live to see your tiny white hands. I will not live to feel your tender embrace. I will never pull you close to my bosom, let you feel my heartbeat, even though you are so close, so very close to me. Never, my sweet child! Down yonder, in the darkforest’s grasp, we’ll rest.Spring.flowers will adorn our eternal home.

My lips will never sing a soft lullaby to you. I will be your cradle, your bed, but oh so cold and hard. The branches above us will croon you a lullaby. Sleep now, sleep tight my child! You are close to my loving, ever loving heart. I love you dearly but I’m helpless, I cannot save you from death, my child, I cannot save you. You just sleep tight now my angel! You cannot know the horror of what awaits us. We’ll die together, Ill be in your thoughts when the moment comes, to soothe you. And then our pain and suffering will cease, our struggle will end. We’ll journey to God together. When I felt you for the first time I sensed your unease. I dreamed of bringing you into God’s presence for the first time, I dreamed of your tiny head wet with baptismal water. But, now, sweet child, it will be my blood pouring down your forehead. With your mother’s blood, pulsing with love, you’ll be baptized. I watched you bow before Christ in the Eucharist.My body will be a ciborium soon. You, my child, will be a host in it. From the ciborium a loving hand will pluck you and embed you in its sacred heart…

Then, my child, I will see you for the first time.My gentle angel! There I will see your face. There, you’ll see your mother for the first time and learn your first word: ‘Mama!’

Ivanka Skrabec was born in 1915 in the village of Hrovaci, near the town of Ribnica. Her father was Stanislav Skrabec (January 7, 1844 – October 6, 1918), a renowned Franciscan monk and a linguist specialized in the Slovenian language. In the fall of 1939 Ivanka started working as a teacher in the village of Sodraiica. The children took to her right away. She was selfless, devoted to her profession and always placed the interest of the children before everything. If some of the children could not attend school or were sick, she would go to their houses and teach them there. The children’s parents adored her and respected her for her unflinching devotion to the children.

Some remains of female victims
of communist crimes at Huda Pit

On the evening of May 28, 1942, the Partisans arrested Ivanka. They beat her up badly and then ceremoniously marched her to the village square where she was publically interrogated by a number of Commissars. The Commissars berated her for teaching her pupils that war was evil and accused her of not expressing support for the Communist movement. They told her that one of her crimes was the fact that she was married to France Novak, who had been conscripted into the Slovene Home Guard. As such he was an enemy of the revolution. The Commissars informed her that her husband had been sentenced to death in absentia by a Communist court and wanted to know his whereabouts. The aim of the Partisans was to publically mock and humiliate Ivanka.
After the interrogation and public humiliation the Commissars led Ivanka to her home. They placed her under house arrest and posted guards around the house. A bounty of 5,000 Italian Lire was put on her husband’s head.

On June 3, 1942, a number of Partisans came to Ivanka’s house. They beat her with such force that her blood splattered the walls of the room. Then the Partisans dragged her, all bloody and bruised, to their camp. Ivanka would never set foot into her house again.
The executioners led Ivanka to a clearing in the forest. They gave her a shovel and ordered her to dig her own grave. She begged them to let her live until her baby was born. The unborn baby was her joy: she loved her husband very much and the couple had planned to lavish the baby with a lot of love and affection. Her tormentors ignored her desperate pleas for the life of her child. They told her to shut up, stop crying and keep digging.
When she had dug the grave the Partisans strangled her. It was an act of pure bloodthirsty sadism. The degenerate commander of the execution party exclaimed, ‘This cunt is not worth a bullet!’ The killers threw Ivanka into the hole, placed her coat over her dead body and filled the hole again with the upturned soil.
Ivanka was dead. She died at the hands of ‘national liberators’.

Her body was found on August 4, 1942. The owner of that plot of land saw a piece of clothing protruding from the turf. After a few minutes of digging he saw Ivanka’s mutilated body. In the breast pocket of her blouse he found a pen and a half destroyed letter. Ivanka, knowing that the Partisans were going to kill her, had written that letter in her room. She had written it to her unborn baby. The letter reveals her anguish of knowing that her unborn child was going to be murdered. The letter is a shocking testimony to man’s cruelty to man and all people of good will ought to read it. All people with murder in their hearts should also read it because the letter possesses the power to cure those hearts, or at least prevent them from following Cain’s example.

When I read Ivanka’s letter I knew I would never be afraid to think for myself and challenge the official, Communist version of history. I started my research. At that time archival material was out of bounds. It was too dangerous for the Yugoslav authorities to allow the general public access to the documents stored in the archives because all the documents pertaining to WWII and Communist rule in general clearly reveal the criminality of the Communist regime. I had to rely on witness accounts. I simply went from door to door, asking questions. Most people, after hearing my questions and the purpose behind them, went pale and shut the door in my face. Others entreated me not to ask them such questions. Some threatened to report me to the police. I was actually arrested, in LaSko, in front of the entrance to the Huda Jama mine. I spent that night in a cell in the police station in LaSko. I was not intimidated. The very next morning I continued exploring the area and asking questions.

I decided to modify my strategy a bit. I remembered many of my childhood friends from the near-by village of Store. I had gone to primary school there and everybody in the village knew me. I asked my childhood friends to talk to their parents and grandparents about what had happened in the area after the end of WWII. The next day they kindly asked me not to speak to them ever again. I was not discouraged though. I persevered in my quest. In the fall of that year my father and I discovered human bones, buried no more than 20 centimeters underground, in Kosnica. We took a picture of the bones. That picture is the first picture ever taken of the remains of victims of Communist crimes in the area…

Thank you, St. Anne, for the courage you have given me. Thank you, Ivanka Skrabec.Thank you, unborn child.

The Way of the Cross at St. Anne’s Church would today only be known to Celje’s pilgrims had it not been for the gruesome events that happened there after the end of WWII – when brother attacked brother – and when Cain’s sin marked our people with bitterness and etched itself forever into our history): A few hundred meters below the Way of the Cross the Partisans built a concentration camp for “enemies of the revolution” in May 1945. Most captives did not make out of the camp alive and in that sense the Way of the Cross became their Calvary. Communism, just like Nazism, was predicated on killing its enemies. The enemies were occasionally real, frequently imagined. The Partisans brutally tortured and killed a large number of people in the camp. The survivors recounted how they, while being tortured, heard the tolling of the church’s bell and found solace in the chimes. Older villagers remember hearing loud prayers emanating from the camp at night.
It took 20 years for the truth about Huda Jama to become known. The second part of the book describes how we, over the course of several months, day in and day out, dug through the pits. In 2009 Huda Jama finally revealed the whole truth in all its gory details. Marko Strovs played a pivotal role in the process. I used his text for that portion of the book.

In the last part of the book I give the names of those responsible for the massacre in Huda Jama. The fact that the perpetrators of the atrocity have not been called to account for their crimes clearly shows that we are not a nation yet, that we do not deserve a state of our own. We have not even given a proper and dignified burial to the victims in Huda Jama.
No one has yet been formally accused of the crimes I describe in my book. Most of the perpetrators are old men today, living comfortably on their Veteran’s pensions. Not only did the Communists bestially tortured and murdered the victims, they also confiscated their property and moved into the victims’ homes. It is important to note that Veteran’s pensions are among the highest in the pension scheme.
Dear Croatians, wherever in the world this book may find you! Dear people of good will everywhere! After 70 years we are still fighting for the truth. Please, let us persevere in this fight. God is on our side. We owe it to our children…”

Among the people I have so far met in my life who touched me with the fresh and delightful air of truth, however gruesome and disturbing the content of that truth may be, and groundbreaking persistence for good, is Roman Leljak. Having attended a number of his talks and book promotions on facts of communist crimes, I am left both gratefully delighted and painfully shattered – delighted that the truth is being exposed, shattered that it has not yet brought full justice for the victims of communist crimes. The battle for truth and justice continues…and in the meantime, I trust many will obtain and read Roman Leljak’s book “Buried Alive” and join the battle … Ina Vukic


Roman Leljak and Ina Vukic, 2017


  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  2. Stevie10703 says:

    Its amazing that in todays world you see 90 plus year olds getting arrested and deported for crimes they committed as Nazis yet, we are afraid to arrest the same Communists who had the same ideology as the National Socialists and the Fascist because those Communists are “too old.” A crime is a crime and if you are guilty of those crimes you must face judgement. What bothers me most is that we Croatians, living in an independent Croatia do not want to acknowledge the crimes committed against our people by the Yugoslav government during all those years of occupation? We don’t talk about what happened to our people in the first Yugoslavia and we somehow refuse to talk about the crimes Tito and his Partizans and Yugoslav committed against our people both during and after WWII. I don’t get it nor will I ever get why our Croatian people have a slave mentality even now that we are free.

    • Certainly, Stevie – we don’t talk enough about them, we don’t do enough and the main culprit for that are antifascists, former communists and those that support them. Hopefully their baee will weaken if persistence for justice for the victims keeps increasing in all aspects – intensity and number

  3. Ina thank you very much for such a tremendous presentation of truth of Yugoslav communists mass killings of inoncent Croatians after the end of the Secend World War.

  4. Beyond horrific.

  5. Dearest Ina… As hard as this was to read thought tears that sting, it holds words all of us need to hear.. The TRUTH of such horrors need to be exposed and those who even if are now old men, need to be brought to justice..
    I always find it so hard to read such accounts, but it is no good us turning away and turning a blind eye either.
    We know what has happened in the past keeps repeating and such horrors no one should ever have to endure again..
    I live in hope that in these times of change upon our ‘shifting’ planet more and more Truths will surface as those who are unafraid step up and dare challenge all that is corrupt and dark.

    My heart felt thanks Ina for sharing, and for all the work you do in exposing Truth in order to seek Justice.. <3

  6. What was done and what is being done. Break my heart. People, like you. Keep writing and showing the world. If we allow the bad deeds and actions to be forgotten. It will be repeated.

  7. Thank you for posting this on your blog. It wasn’t an easy read. I’m sure similar incidents occurred throughout Croatia, not all of them documented.
    I hope the book is a success in English translation.

    • Thank you Elisa. Yes slowly but surely more and more evidence of atrocities are surfacing…new mas graves or pit discovered…such a tragic history made even more tragic by the lack of strong condemnation of the crimes, lack of justice… we press on for it

  8. Sadly, the truth is not every war criminal, not every genocidal maniac is brought to trial.

  9. Roman Lelyak´s book is a definitely testimony of tireless struggle. Knowing how the worst events took place is as important as finding the responsables and punishing them… Ivanka´s story left me shattered. Tossing aisde the differences, it made me think of our History in Argentina during the seventies… Although this was an expression of the State terrorism, headed by a militarized faction of the extreme right wing … An ideological position, unless it is violent, should never be chased, I think… Interestingly enough, sometimes the real threat comes from those who are in charge. Which should never happen, or shouldn´t have happened.
    Great reading, dear Ina… And what a rewarding experience meeting the authour should have been for you!. Sending love & best wishes :star:

  10. Dear Ina, I have been so profoundly affected by (the piece) but by the image of the beautiful braids. I waited to comment so (hoping) no one else will see my words. I have always loved the East European style of hair braiding. The night I read this, then stared at the braids, crying like a child. Fell asleep, when I woke up I cut my arms and chest, I rubbed my hands in the blood and said out loud, I have blood on my hands because this is what people do, I prayed for justice for the souls of the beautiful people. Cried to sleep and did not wash the blood for days… hiding in my unit, Because one can not wash the blood away. Please forgive me for writing this. The cuts are now red lines only but the thought remains. Thankyou for your perseverance and humanity.

  11. Such a horrible tragedy that the people need to know about that the perpetrators of which should be prosecuted.

  12. Thank you, Sarah


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