Croatia: Jazovka Pit – The Grit For Positive Change

Jazovka Pit Croatia
Mass grave of victims of communist crimes


Modern, independent, democracy desirous Croatia was created in the early 1990’s on the determination to secede from communist (?antifascist) Yugoslavia and the Croatian Homeland War secured its success. This is particularly a pertinent issue and fact to keep in mind and uphold strongly, especially because Croatia’s antifascists in their overwhelming majority did not want an independent Croatia, did not enlist to defend it against the Serbian and Yugoslav Army aggression and yet today and ever since the Homeland War ended in 1990’s they seized much of the power within the country, wrongfully pinning credit for Croatia’s independence to their own political agenda rather than those who did fight. The Homeland War and its veterans are consistently denied the rightful credit, political and social status. The significance of the Homeland War for today’s Croatia is consistently undermined and undervalued by those in power,especially since year 2000 when former Communist League and their political camp began coming to power.

The result is a bitterly divided, confused and disappointed nation that has lost the heart of the goal of freedom and democracy for which it paid in rivers of blood and devastation. The values fought for in Homeland War are usurped and pocketed by former communists (who generally rallied against Croatian independence from Yugoslavia), symbols of communist Yugoslavia celebrated on a large scale while those who fought for and wanted an independent Croatia are branded as fascists or ultra-right, visibly often vilified and socially degraded. Controlled mainstream media played a leading role in the latter and widely continues to do so in perverse disregard for victims of communist crimes.

Instead of finishing off the job it started, full democracy fully (optimally) separated from communist heritage, Croatia had after the Homeland War ended in late 1990’s stepped from conflict (with Yugoslav, Serb and Montenegrin forces) to co-existence between staunch communists/Yugoslavia nostalgics and anti-communists/pro-democracy and independence Croats, and after almost thirty years it is nowhere near the third stage or phase of development – reconciliation.

It is generally held worldwide that reconciliation is impossible until the truth is known. It is important for people to know what really happened and that truth be acknowledged and accepted on a national level. Croatia is very far from achieving that human, social and political standard that would open the doors and windows to a better future, the future it fought for during the Homeland War. While communist crimes are widely treated with justification instead of abhor, while Croatians keep wrongfully equating communism with antifascism, ignoring its depraved criminal past, pretending to have fought for Croatian people’s liberty or freedom during WWII when in fact it fought to keep them enslaved within Yugoslavia, spreading terror and purges of innocent people, especially against those who fought or wanted real Croatian freedom and liberty through NDH, there will be no reconciliation; the truth remains imprisoned even if it is visible to every eye.

Jazovka is a pit in the Zumberak area (some 90 km from Zagreb) where bodies of hundreds of fighters for an independent state of Croatia captured by the Partisans (communists fighting to retain Yugoslavia and Croatia within it) were dumped from January 1943 and, after WWII ended in 1945, hundreds dead (as well as many still alive) prisoners of war, medical staff, nuns, civilians were also dumped there. The pilgrimage to Jazovka occurs every year on 22 June and the dark hole in the ground, the pit’s opening with humble memorial stones, tell a horrific story. Not only the story of Jazovka but the story of horrendous communist crimes committed against Croatians who were the enemies of the communist regime.

General Zeljko Glasnovic, MP for Croatian Diaspora (L)
Dr Zlatko Hasanbegovic,MP, Independents for Croatia (R)
Laying wreath at Jazovka Pit 22 June 2019

June 22 also marks the date from 1941 when, communists say the first communist Partizan unit was formed. Due to lack of historical documentary evidence this has been disputed by several notable historians in Croatia. Whether it was formed then or not it and all Yugoslav Partisan units were communist despite the former communists’ and their sympathisers persistence in calling themselves antifascists. The truth is that Yugoslav communists were a far cry from antifascist movement of the then Europe. It is also the date when the so-called antifascists of Croatia gather at Brezovica forest, closer to Zagreb than what Zumberak is, to celebrate the formation of the first Partizan unit in 1941.

Despite declaring the federal nature of Yugoslavia’s organisation, the principles of republican statehood and national rights, the truth is that the communist powers systematically denied Croatian state individuality, persecuted and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of communist opponents, assassinated scores and murdered hundreds of thousands of Croatians after WWII (some 1000 mass graves with communist crimes victims lay scattered throughout Croatia alone, not to mention those throughout Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) … all this led the bloody breaking away from Yugoslavia in 1990’s. Brezovica forest symbolises and represents all this and is celebrated as victory for people’s liberation! All this, they, the antifascists, pin onto the “glory” of liberating Europe in WWII! How deranged a political streak can get is demonstrated by this appalling and twisted perseverance.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković Friday 21 June 2019 sent a congratulatory message on the occasion of the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day stating:

“Remembering the 22nd of June we remember the day when in 1941, in Croatia, in the Brezovica forest near Sisak, the first anti-fascist unit was founded in the occupied Europe at the time.

Contribution to the victory over Nazism and fascism in World War II, which was a prerequisite for the building of today’s democratic and united Europe, had been given by numerous Croatian anti-fascists, of whom we are reminded today.

With the establishment of independent, free and democratic Croatia, victory in the Homeland War and full membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, we have become an equal participant in building a common European future as well as preserving the universal values of peace, freedom and human rights.

On behalf of the Croatian Government and personally, all Croatian citizens, I congratulate the Anti-Fascist Fight Day.”

President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic’s message came in the same tone as Prime Minister Plenkovic’s! 

What good is the President’s reported patronage of the Zumberak memorial event on June 22 when she fails miserably to mention in her address to the nation on this day the innocent victims of communist Partisans buried in the Zumberak Jazovka Pit! This is utterly devastating for anyone looking the truth in the face.

Jazovka Pit mass grave, Croatia

The universal values of peace, freedom and human rights were not the values afforded to Croatians by the communists and therefore, I, for one, reject the blanket congratulations expressed by Plenkovic and Grabar-Kitarovic to all Croatians. They are only too aware that Zumberak gathering is occurring at the same time as the Brezovica forest one and have the duty as Prime Minister and President to acknowledge that fact and not ignore it. They are, after all, the Prime Minister and President for the country that is suffering enormously because of the persistent justification and relative ignoration of communist crimes and denial of human rights to Croats who truly fought for Croatia’s independence.

Jazovka Pit and what it represents is the grit for change Croatia needs to embrace so desperately. The word grit in psychological terms represents the passion and the perseverance for meaningful goals and the most important goal in anyones life is to know the truth. For Croatia this goal is particularly critical and the perseverance with events such as the one at Jazovka Pit on 22 June, tell that true grit is alive and on course. Without such events, truth has no chance, reconciliation has no chance, justice for all victims has no chance. Ina Vukic


  1. Takes courage to expose the hurtful past.

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

  3. Brankec says:

    When testifying in court, witnesses take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Why? Because truth is the ultimate pursuit. Without this affirmation it would be useless to have your day in court. Historians should be held to a similarly strict regard. As should politicians who rely on those historians whose subjective and often politically-motivated interpretations shape our country.

    I’m glad you also mention that those who fought for Croatian Croatian statehood and independence were considered enemies by the bush-bandit communists. Apart from a few dubious characters who were all too happy to have inherited Germany’s racial laws from its Yugoslav predecessor, most who fought against the communists were only out to rid the country from Serbian dictatorship and establish a modern, western state. War is war, and some tragic things occurred that cast a dark spell on us as a result, and in the early 90’s we corrected any semblance of being called some very ugly names by the Serbs and their supporters, and we have to try to continue doing so.

    • I concur as do many, Brankec: overwhelming majority of Croats who had a role in rising up against and fighting Serbian (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) dictatorship that preceded 1941 fought for independence and freedom. War is war, indeed, and all things are possible but persisting with the truth is a task Croats cannot abandon…

  4. I, too, admire your courage!

  5. ProudCroat says:

    What happend was that as the Ustasha troops were fleeing into Bosnia on their way to Austria the Local Muslim civilian population went into Panic and though that they were being chased by the Chetniks a group that had commited genocide on Muslims in Bosnia during second world war, the Civilians mostly women and children fled with the Ustasha troops into Austria later the Yugoslav Partisans made a huge mistake they though the civilians belonged to the Usasha men, and they killed thousands of women and children on the spot. In Communist Yugoslavia the propaganda never told about the women and children killed by the Partisans.

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