Servicing Serbia’s Propaganda Israel’s Gideon Greif Abuses Holocaust And Fabricates Parts Of Croatia’s History

Gideon Greif (L), Photo: N1

For years now I have been writing articles regarding the monstrous pursuits of Israel’s historians such as Efraim Zuroff and Gideon Greif that blacken Croatia and Croatians during World War Two. Suffice to say both are and have been on Serbia’s propaganda train against Croatia, maybe even its payroll, while attempting to cover up the fact that WWII Serbia was one of the first European countries to declare itself “Free of Jews” or “Judenfrei” having exterminated some 94% of its Jews to May 1942! Efraim Zuroff of Simon Wiesenthal Centre had appeared staunchly pro-communist, defending the atrocious communist crimes, or ignoring them for years and, yet, in victim numbers they counted many many more victims than the Holocaust itself! The numbers of people they claimed, together with Serbia, that perished in Croatian camps during World War Two, without a shred of evidence but with lots of hatred of Croats and Independent Croatia, are monstrous and abominable. And so I was truly happy at reading a recent article (11 May 2022) in Israels’ Haaretz.com portal by its highly-acclaimed journalist Sam Sokol on these matters of Holocaust abuse and fabrications of history by Gideon Greif, which I too pass onto you readers and followers of my blog articles. It is great article in support of the truth we all seek to cast out eyes upon sooner or later.

“Six months ago, Prof. Gideon Greif was on top of the world.

A respected Holocaust scholar, he was set to receive Germany’s highest civilian honor for his research on the Sonderkommandos, Jewish prisoners who were forced to dispose of bodies at the Nazi death camps. Years earlier his research was adapted into an award-winning feature film, ‘Son of Saul.’

But the civilian honor in Germany was soon rescinded amid allegations that Greif was a genocide denier who tried to whitewash the murder of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Now the 71-year-old scholar, who this year announced plans to revise a controversial war crimes report he co-wrote on behalf of Serb nationalists, again faces allegations of sacrificing historical accuracy to bolster a nationalist narrative.

He allegedly has inflated the death toll at Jasenovac, a Croatian death camp where, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German-allied Ustasha regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people during the Holocaust.

The controversy relates to Greif’s cooperation with the Serbian government to produce an exhibit, and later a book, about Jasenovac. According to Greif, at least 700,000 people died at the camp, a figure repudiated by contemporary scholars and promoted by Serbian nationalists.

Both the exhibit and the book followed a number of cooperation agreements brokered by the Serbian Foreign Ministry and signed by Greif in 2016 and 2017 on behalf of two groups he was affiliated with, the International Group of Experts GH7-Stop Revisionism and Shem Olam, an Israeli Holocaust education and research institute. The Serbian signatories included civil society groups and the country’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.

The result was a 2018 UN exhibit about Jasenovac curated by Greif and sponsored by the Serbian Foreign Ministry. It was soon followed by the 700-plus page book ‘Jasenovac: Auschwitz of the Balkans,’ where Greif said his efforts were part of a ‘Serbian-Jewish bastion against revisionism.’

In the book, Greif credited an Israeli Foreign Ministry official for his first meeting with the Serbs and stated that the Israeli ambassador to Belgrade was present when he signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgrade on behalf of Shem Olam.

Greif wrote that the Croat Ustashas even surpassed the German Nazis in their wickedness and in their bloodlust, juxtaposing statistics about Auschwitz and Jasenovac on facing pages and highlighting various death toll estimates in a way appearing to equate the two camps.

He also quoted estimates that the death toll at Jasenovac, where the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs, could be as high as 1.4 million, exceeding even Auschwitz, though the number he has promoted in a raft of media appearances is significantly lower.

‘I would say that the minimum number is 700,000 and maybe more,’ he said on Serbian television in 2019. ‘So this is the beginning number. Maybe about 800,000 Serbs, 40,000 Jews.’

But this estimate has been discredited by modern scholarship, said Yad Vashem historian Rob Rozett, who added that Greif’s estimate was based on inflated figures produced by the communist Yugoslav government following World War II.

The scholarly community, including Yad Vashem, ‘has rejected those numbers,’ and Greif’s conclusions ‘are way outside of what scholars consider to be legitimate discussion these days,’ Rozett said.

‘Serbian nationalist narrative’

Ernest Herzog, the World Jewish Congress’ Belgrade-born director of operations, recalled a visit by Greif in 2019 where the historian tried to win the Congress’ support for a Jasenovac event in Jerusalem. Herzog said he declined the offer because he believed that Greif only presented ‘the Serbian nationalist narrative.’

‘I wasn’t sure he was aware what he was getting into,’ Herzog said. ‘It’s not that I think he’s some kind of a crook, but I just think that he ended up on the wrong side of history when it comes to this because on Jasenovac he didn’t explore all the avenues and research, and completely dismissed all the work done in the ’80s and the ’90s.’

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff, referred to as an expert in Greif’s book, had a different take.

Referring to honors Greif has received from Serbia – including the country’s Gold Medal of Merit in 2019 – Zuroff said that while he couldn’t identify Greif’s motives, ‘it seems clear he has been given rewards of different sorts and perhaps it’s those rewards that motivated him to produce the kind of goods that the people who gave him the rewards want to see.

The question is what are you willing to do to receive those awards,’ Zuroff said, adding that ‘it’s sad to see what happened to this person.’

For his part, Greif seemed aggrieved by the criticism against him, complaining in a statement to Haaretz about ‘vicious incitement’ and ‘terrorist-like pressure’ that he said included 23 death threats in recent years.

‘I do not know another historian in the whole world who lives in the shadow of death threats just because he expresses his own opinions,’ Greif wrote, adding that his research on Jasenovac was not part of the cooperation agreements he signed, which were ‘standard agreements for academic, educational, pedagogical and research cooperation.’

His books ‘were not funded by any Serbian government office, and no one but me had any influence on their content,’ he added. ‘I received no payment, not even one shekel, not even one euro, not even one dollar.’

Dismissing the 1.4-million-victim number as unrealistic, Greif said that ‘statistical issues like the number of victims concern me less, and are secondary to me, firstly because my attention is given to the world of the victim.’ He said he based his work on a number of works published decades ago by Yad Vashem, which he considered the ‘most reliable and well-established sources.’

He added: ‘I have no interest in reducing or increasing the number of murders at Jasenovac. I try to choose the most realistic and authentic data available to me.’

One source he mentioned was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which he said put the death toll at Jasenovac at 500,000.

Emil Kerenji, a scholar at the museum, said that between 77,000 and 99,000 people were murdered at the Croatian camp, a number in line with an estimate by Ivo Pejakovic, the head of the Jasenovac memorial site in Croatia. He said his database currently contains the names of over 83,000 victims.

‘Dr. Greif didn’t make any research regarding the number of victims of Jasenovac camp. As far as I understand, he simply quoted estimation of 700,000 victims or more, which were the official numbers of victims during the period of Yugoslavia,’ Pejakovic wrote in an email.

‘So he disregarded all new research that was done in the last years and decades. There is no methodology or research to comment on.’

Ono Academic College, where Greif lectures on history, distanced itself from the controversial scholar’s book on Jasenovac. It said in a statement that even though its logo appeared on the cover of Greif’s book, it had nothing to do with it.

An Israeli official, meanwhile, disputed Greif’s claim that the Foreign Ministry facilitated his cooperation agreements with Belgrade.

‘We have no recollection of ever putting him in touch with the Serbs,’ the official said.”

Ina Vukic

Croatian Patriots Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Franjo Tudjman’s Birth And Kevin Spacey as Tudjman In New Historical Documentary Film

Franjo Tudjman the First President of Independent Croatia (L), Kevin Spacey as Tudjman in “Once Upon a Time in Croatia” historical documentary film 2022 (R)

The meaning of life for Croats today, on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Franjo Tudjman, we look and see his idea for us, and that is the sovereignty of the Croatian state and the sovereignty of the Croatian people. The Croatian people have until 1990 lived in communities with other nations for over 800 years, not by their own choice but by the violence of foreigners, but there has always in those centuries been a desire to establish a nation state. It was Dr. Franjo Tudjman who, like no other leader before him, succeeded in making this desire a reality as the bipolar political world of communist Yugoslavia collapsed. He succeeded largely because he knew how strongly Croatian emigration breathed with the idea of Croatian freedom, that he turned to us for help in the diaspora, that he believed in our pure love for a free homeland and for a free Croatian people, that he unconditionally gained our trust in him and in his work for Croatia and the Croats! 

For the sovereignty of the Croatian state and the Croatian people, the Croatian diaspora was in crucial times (late 1980’s and 1990’s) inseparable from Franjo Tudjman.

Villains and venomous people often say that Croatia’s freedom and independence would have come by itself, because they must in some way try to justify their own non-commitment to the fight for independence. However, all important research on this topic, all the facts and the whole truth show how very much Tudjman’s political considerations have led to the Republic of Croatia today being a country with its own territorial integrity and a respected member of the international community. Everything that happened in the 1990s under the leadership of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman was the basis for everything that the Croatian people proudly inherited wherever they lived and for achieving Croatia’s national strategic goals, i.e., independence and partnership membership in Euro-Atlantic integration.

Today, 14 May 2022, it is very appropriate to look at Franjo Tudjman and his scientific works, his activities, his behaviour, his political development throughout his life and we see that he has always consistently and constantly dealt with key issues in the Croatian people. His solidarity with the idea of ​​a sovereign Croatian people has been present since his youth in the 1950s. In the 1990s, he turned his idea into a reality of happiness and joy and the merits for and of all of us, except the communists or operatives of the former communist Yugoslavia.

His speech on May 30, 1990, at the inaugural session of the Croatian Parliament was a recipe and instruction on what should be done to achieve an independent and sovereign Croatian state in every sense and get rid of communism and communist achievements rooted in the people and authorities under the coercion of the totalitarian regime of the former Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, as soon as Tudjman passed away in 1999, the former communists muscled themselves into the Croatian government and political leadership, again, belittling the Homeland War and the 1990’s fight against communist Yugoslavia and the aggressor Serbs. In these moves, Croatian emigrants became forcibly pushed away from their homeland just as they were during communist Yugoslavia, forcibly, and Croatian diplomacy largely ignored and belittled key Croatians in the diaspora who, together with homeland Croatia, built and created an independent Croatia.

The latter communist weaving in the leadership of Croatia continues to this day. When it comes to democratic elections and voting it seems that the muscle of former communists in Croatia is stronger than that of those who fought for it and lost blood for it! To change this in future more patriots must turn up for voting at general elections. The truth is that the make-up and mask the Croatian authorities wear is to try to show that they are cooperating with the diaspora and thus maintain a false impression of cooperation with the emigrants and the diaspora. When it comes to all the Croatian governments since year 2000 there is no relationship of real cooperation or reciprocal respect because the Croatian governments have not wanted that in the fullest meaning of the word and concept. After all the diaspora was and is overwhelmingly anti-communist and those in government are overwhelmingly descendants of communist stock – born and bred communist one might say.

Former communists and their squadrons know very well that if lustration happened many of them from the Croatian authorities would have been booted out from their powerful positions had Tudjman lived longer, so even today those who criticize them and want them out of power are suppressed and oppressed and intimidated. I know that personally and I’m sure of it. Late one night in June 1995, when Dr. Franjo Tudjman was visiting Australia, we met and talked about the transition to democracy from communism. Tudjman told me these words: “Ina, we have a lot to clean up from the ranks of the authorities once this war is over and the whole territory of Croatia is liberated, then lustration will follow …” He passed away in 1999, unfortunately, from serious illness about a year after the complete liberation of Croatia from the Serbian occupation in 1998! And after Tudjman’s death, nothing could be expected from Stjepan Mesic and Ivica Racan except the anti-Croatian equating of the victim with the aggressor, the false criminalisation of the Homeland War and slanderous propaganda against Croats wanting nothing to do with communist Yugoslavia!

Historian Josip Mihaljevic, a participant in the recent academic conference in Zagreb on May 5, 2022, in honour of the 100th anniversary of Tudjman’s birth, pointed out that the Croatian reform movement began to develop in the 1960s and culminated in 1971 with the Croatian Spring and the lobby to redefine Croatia’s and Croats’ position within Yugoslavia.

“Recently available sources of the Yugoslav security intelligence services, primarily Josip Broz Tito’s chief intelligence officer Ivan Miskovic,” Mihaljević said, “show that Franjo Tudjman and Veceslav Holjevac are the founders of the entire Croatian national movement (of 20th century).”

Croatian patriotic emigrants, the Croatian diaspora was the dominant element of victory in the Homeland War and in the creation of an independent Republic of Croatia because Franjo Tudjman wanted so, knowing that without us from the diaspora nothing would come out of the desire for an independent Croatia. And that is why we are eternally grateful to him, and the thanks comes from all of us living in someone else’s world in which we can proudly keep our heads up high because of Tudjman!

Tudjman was very interested in Croats from exile and emigration and considered Croatia’s attitude towards Croats abroad an important political issue, key to the success of Croatia’s millennial dream. The ties between Franjo Tudjman and the Croats who fled communist Yugoslavia after World War Two began in 1966 with his sabbatical visit to the United States. There, as a member of the Executive Board of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, he met with some of the most prominent Croatian emigrants, intellectuals, who lived and worked in the United States. These meetings were of an official nature related to the maintenance of Croatian culture in the diaspora and the like and had no political character, but later served the communist regime to prosecute Tudjman for allegedly plotting to overthrow communist Yugoslavia along with Croatian political emigrants (as mentioned in the book “Tudjman’s First Political Biography” James Sadkovich, 2010 on page 192). Tudjman’s further ties and contacts with Croats in exile and patriotic émigrés continued in the 1970s, when Tudjman, as a political dissident, was prevented from public activities and publishing in communist Yugoslavia.

With the help of a circle of intellectuals gathered around the Croatian emigrant newspaper Poruka slobodne Hrvatske (Free Croatia’s Message), Tudjman illegally (because his passport was confiscated immediately after the Croatian Spring of 1971) visited Sweden and Germany in 1977, where he met with Croatian politicians and activists in exile. After his passport was returned to him in 1987, Tudjman travelled to Canada the same year, where he lectured to emigrated Croats and met with representatives of emigrant organisations. Tudjman visited North America again in 1988 and held a series of lectures and meetings with Croatian emigrants in Canada and the United States. In Autumn of 1988, Tudjman visited Germany, where he also gave a series of lectures to expatriate Croats. A number of patriotic Croats living in South America and Australia in those years also joined Tudjman’s lectures and talks while in Canada and the United States, and the weekly newspapers “Hrvatski vjesnik” (Croatian Herald) from Melbourne Australia and “Spremnost” (Readiness) from Sydney stood out in those times of communist bans and censorship as media sources of information and thoughts of Franjo Tudjman and his associates who announced a new hope and a new possibility and the final liberation of Croatia from communist Yugoslavia.

At the beginning of 1989, a group of Croatian dissidents decided to launch an initiative to establish a democratic political party, a people’s movement that would later be called the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). This gathering, like all meetings regarding the creation of an independent Croatia at the time, was held in secret, usually in private cottages, away from the communist police. The support and share of Croat emigrants were fiercely and crucially present in this initiative. At the end of January and the beginning of February 1989, Tudjman wrote the Preliminary Draft of the Program Basis of the Croatian Democratic Union, in which he presented his views on the attitude towards Croatian emigrants. The HDZ’s program framework states that the Croatian people have special reasons for concern, but also because their historical misfortunes have scattered about a third of their national identity on all continents of the world. The continuation of this document emphasises that further disintegration should be prevented, and the return and connection with the homeland of such many emigrants that only a few nations have should be encouraged.

In June 1989, at the Jarun, Zagreb, the founding assembly of the Croatian Democratic Party (HDZ) elected Franjo Tudjman as the party’s first president. Tudjman’s proposal for the HDZ Program Declaration was also accepted, which included the issue of attitudes towards Croatian emigrants. The founding assembly was attended by many prominent emigrants who personally witnessed this huge step towards Croatian independence and on their return to the countries in which they lived began a movement of unprecedented masses of Croats and expatriates rushing to help in every sense and need to realise Tudjman’s or Croatian dream. So, soon after the founding of the HDZ, party branches began to form among Croatian emigrants. The first organisation of the HDZ in the diaspora was founded on July 9, 1989 in Zurich, Switzerland. On the occasion of Tudjman’s arrival at the Slavic Congress in Chicago in November 1989, HDZ branches were established in 16 cities on the North American continent. In the autumn of 1989, the first branches of HDZ were established in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and at the same time a significant number of party branches were formed in Australia. By establishing branches in all countries of the world inhabited by Croatian emigrants, HDZ had formed itself as a kind of global or planetary Croatian national movement to which most of us have contributed by voluntary work, sacrifice and/or financial generosity. Here, in Australia, we have dozens of Croats who outstandingly advocated for an independent and sovereign Croatia, a sovereign Croatian people, almost superhumanly advocated for a free homeland, and we have thousands and thousands of Croats who personally helped and contributed to the creation of an independent Croatian state and firm encouragement of Franjo Tudjman to proceed.

And for that reason, thousands upon thousands of us Croatian patriots in Australia say loudly today: happy 100th birthday, Franjo Tudjman! You still live in our hearts. Thank you!

Personally, I am glad that today we are among the first people living outside Croatia to see a new film by director Jakov Sedlar “Once Upon a Time in Croatia” in which the role of Franjo Tudjman is played by world-famous and award-winning actor Kevin Spacey. The world premiere of this film took place in Zagreb on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. This film is an amazing display and portrayal of Franjo Tudjman’s thinking and aspirations, vision, and circumstances of creating an independent Croatia and was successfully made despite the boycott and lack of funding by Croatian state institutions. This latter fact is added to the list of destructive efforts and moves of former communists and / or their children and grandchildren to trample and belittle everything we all fought for together, without them, in the 1990s. They know in their grumpiness and perversion that no one before Franjo Tudjman has done more than him for the lasting and world-recognised independence of Croatia! And that is why they are boycotting this film about him. And the rest of us? We shout eternal glory to Franjo Tudjman and thank him! Ina Vukic

May 1945: Josip Broz Tito/Yugoslavia – A Mass Murderer/Croatia – A Graveyard of Slaughtered Patriots  

During the past week on 4th May one could still find quite several praises and celebrations of former communist Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Broz Tito, who died on 4th May 1980! Accolades from former communists or their children or grandchildren polluted the air Croatians who fought for freedom from communism and democracy in 1990’s breathe. At times the pollution is unbearable. And the accolades continue despite Tito’s communist regime of Yugoslavia now being confirmed as one of top ten mass murderers of its people in the 20th Century! The Yugoslav communists held the key to state archives until 1991 and of course it was only after the archives became freely available to researchers that the world learned what a murderous butcher Tito was; 1,700 mass graves or pits so far unearthed there, 1,000 of these in Croatia. The alternative to not showering the memory of Tito with accolades would be to stand before the truth and stare into the faces of many mass murderers who carried out Tito’s orders for purges of all political opponents of communism. Most who have stood by that communist regime will not switch against it now – they cannot switch against their grandfathers, fathers, mothers, uncles… who murdered for the “glory” of communism…they cannot vacate the villas and ill-gotten wealth their families thrived upon as corruption thrived in former Yugoslavia. They are the ones who praise former Yugoslavia as being a “great country to live in”, if not the greatest…

And today 8th of May, the former communists of Yugoslavia and their children, grandchildren and deluded followers will tell you that the Yugoslav Army of communists/Partisans marched in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia and liberated it (from fascists)! No they did not! They made sure Croatia continued imprisoned in the Serb-led concoction of a country forcefully and deceitfully stitched together after WWI led by the Serbian Monarchy related by marriage to the English Queen Victoria royal apparatus.  

Today, 8th May 1945 the First and Second communist armies entered the city of Zagreb … “soon mass killings began, the establishment of detention camps for opponents of communism and pillaging … the Canal camp at the main train station, old Zagreb disappeared … they are still with us today. Balkan bluffers, Yugo-nationalists … just look at the content of the Parliament, and how soon have we forgotten all of it … the torment of that dragon that is still among us needs to be put to an end. God and Croats…” General Zeljko Glasnovic as a Member of the Croatian Parliament for the Diaspora said in parliament in May 2020 and these words still stand as truth.

General Zeljko Glasnvic in Croatian {arliament May 2020

Let’s be real and realistic: Yugoslavia these pro-Tito people admire, and respect was not a successful state. Tito was not a modest, democratic, and generous, popular ruler, as he is still presented today by these and some media. Tito was not a saint protector from fascism who would probably still be here if he were not there, but an ordinary communist dictator who declared himself lifelong president, whose merit we were not part of the Western, democratic world but the repressive and economically unsuccessful socialist bloc, the primitive who built an unprecedented cult of personality in the world and carried Tito’s baton (phallic symbol) as part of the ritual of ultimate collective obedience to the demigod, and man to whose recklessly luxurious life that included private islands with a safari park, dozens of castles, Rolls, Mercedes and yachts and thousands of people who took care of everything went a good portion of the country’s GDP.

Josip Broz Tito was a dictator and a mass murderer. Tito did not liberate Croatia in World War Two, he basically fought for the introduction of a communist dictatorship across what was the previously false union of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Stalin’s empire. To portray Tito in a historical context exclusively through the prism of “anti-fascism” and to pay tribute to him for Croatian independence is a mere intelligence spin that benefits only those who thieved the Croatian public goods and purged hundreds of thousands of those who did fight for independence of Croatia during World War Two.

All of those who shower the memory of Tito today always mention how grand his funeral in 1980 was! How many world leaders, presidents, kings, princes, prime ministers attended his funeral in Belgrade! They say that such attendance is and was proof of how a great person and leader Tito was! The truth is that had Tito’s communists not falsified history, had they not kept the keys to state archives, Tito’s funeral would not have been attended by world’s respected leaders but by mass murderers such as Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, King Leopold II of Belgium, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Augusto Pinochet and so on.

“Tito built hospitals, roads, railways, schooling and health care was free,” says the pro-Tito mantra even today in Croatia! During Tito’s life in Zagreb and Rijeka, however, no new hospitals were built, although the population increased. True, the people of Zagreb “voluntarily” paid two so-called self-contribution to the university hospital, but never built. A self-contribution was also taken for the highway to Split, but it was declared nationalist and never built. In Yugoslavia corruption started, one simply did not visit the Council nor the doctor without a blue envelope with cash for bribe.

When we went to the doctor in Yugoslavia, the doctor’s examination was often waited on for months, and the operation waited on for years if you did not have a relationship or gave a bribe –  but it was free.

Zagreb had only one dialysis machine that was more often broken than it worked, diabetics were dying – but it was free.

As a matter of record and interest, the last public hospital (KBC Rebro) built in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, was built by the regime of Ante Pavelic, WWII Independent State of Croatia!

During Tito’s Yugoslavia a highway was built from Zagreb to Karlovac, about 45 kilometers, the only one after the end of World War Two until Croatia’s independence in early 1990’s. Other roads were from Napoleon and Maria Theresa, full of potholes and poorly maintained, and Croatia had less railways in 1990 than in 1940.

The factories were ours; everything was ours, says the pro-Tito mantra. In truth, they served as living rooms for workers who waited for months for minimal and raw materials, to produce something that ended up in a warehouse or, at best, crammed into the Non-Aligned countries for fictitious clearing of dollars. They produced mostly pollution and losses and swallowed irretrievably hundreds of millions earned on tourism (largely in Croatia) and remittances from guest workers (diaspora), but they were “ours” whatever that meant.

They produced alumina in Obrovac, in which there was no raw material, no port or railway, with a loss that did not exceed the planned hundred million dollars a year, and coke in the most beautiful bay of the Adriatic. It has often been said that “they can’t pay me as poorly as I can work poorly.” By 1974 some 94% of workforce wages in Yugoslavia were paid from foreign debt or subsidised by successful industry such as tourism, but not from workers’ productivity. We pretended to work, they pretended to pay us.

True, most of them were not really hungry, with work on the black and a bit of leasing of rooms in the house or apartment little roommate, a family would cover themselves for their monthly living expenses, smuggling stuff from Trieste, Italy, even better. The “middle class” in the 1970s lived quite tolerably from the grey economy, like “Del Boy Trotter”, and in social housing like his. For some, such flats, such as those given by the governments outside Croatia to social or welfare cases for free, are still today a notion of the middle class that has allegedly destroyed after the fall of Yugoslavia. “Comrade Tito, you stole, but you also let us steal” says a graffiti – and you already have a strong foothold for the claim that “life was better in Yugoslavia”.

Substandard work, two or three-hour brunches and lunch breaks and mass paid sick leave while working elsewhere such as seasonal field work, counter workers, tellers, who are always on a break, stealing from firms ranging from cement bags to dollar bags, depending on location. A system in which people learned to “navigate” in one way or another – most often in another. Those who knew how to “get along”, the Byzantine-Balkan way, was not so badly off. Whoever wanted to solve everything in a regular way, through completely dysfunctional and extremely corrupt institutions of the system, would quickly fail. Private individuals, cafe owners and money launderers, foreign exchange smugglers, shopkeepers, comrades from the Communist Party Committee, thieving socialist directors, guest workers who were millionaires with money earned in Germany on building sites, and  room-letters on the Adriatic – these are the categories of the population anti-fascism was generally good to.

Socialism protected the workers?  No, it sent them to Munich to get German Marks. Socialism, to be honest, protected the unemployed and those who did not want to work.

And then everything got sold out, destroyed, says the pro-Tito, pro-Yugoslavia mantra. It did not fail because socialism failed, and with it the entire Eastern bloc, nor because there was no market for socialist products anywhere, it did not fail because of theft and corruption, but because of the hated capitalism, nationalists, those who wanted independence and democracy, and Franjo Tudjman. Petrol vouchers and queues that mark 1980’s communist Yugoslavia were quickly forgotten, smuggling fake jeans from a flea market in Trieste and going by bus to get laundry powder in Graz, electricity reductions and coffee shortages, hyperinflation and perpetual stabilisation and normalisation after which everything was even less normal – all quickly forgotten. The fact that one could not even secure the services of a plumber, or another tradesperson, without connections to someone in the SIZ/ Self-governing interest community – was quickly forgotten also.

Tito’s Yugoslavia was not organised and successful as pro-Titoists see it today. Its declared bankruptcy in 1983 meant that Yugoslavia could not service its debts. Bankruptcy was accompanied by shortages of everything imported, power cuts, petrol vouchers and a complete collapse of the economy. And still, the Tito die-hards will tell you these absolute facts are made up – not true! Humanity can truly sink to the depths of despair and depravity. Nothing confirms this as the pursuits of communists and former communists who defend blindly and stubbornly the indefensible. Ina Vukic

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