Croatian Pickings From UN General Assembly 2021

The past week saw the sitting of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City and Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic was there delivering a speech that spanned from global issues such as Climate Change, Violence, Hunger, Poverty, Coronavirus Pandemic, dealing with the Taliban, Multi-lateral cooperation to localised issues of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia has vested interests in the well-being of the Western Balkans. The region’s stability, functionality and prosperity mean a great deal to us. This is why Croatia is one of the strongest advocates of the region’s EU enlargement prospects. The fulfilment of well-established criteria, the implementation of reforms and delivering tangible results remain key requirements for EU membership. But even more so, the path to membership serves to secure the higher standards its peoples aspire to.

Democratic transformation and the rule of law will remain central markers. But we have also continued to call on all regional leaders to lower tensions, overcome their differences, and seek ways to build lasting relationships.

In a way, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a cornerstone of peace and security in the wider region. Its territorial integrity, functioning institutions, and inter-ethnic cohabitation have always been important concerns for Croatia. Yet, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is as challenging and as complex as it gets in the Western Balkans. (And it is always challenging in the Western Balkans)

We would like to see a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina, progressing firmly on the path to EU membership; a country where the equality among its three constituent peoples and the rights of all its citizens are fully guaranteed.

Unfortunately, narratives in Bosnia and Herzegovina often swing between two tenaciously unachievable and unjust ends – centralised governance and separatism. In their own way, both are destructive and contrary to the spirit of its constitutional framework, stemming from the Dayton-Paris Agreement.

The Dayton-Paris Agreement is not without its faults, which undoubtedly will need to be addressed. However, we should not underestimate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s well-established sensitivities and inherited intricacies. Nor should it be subject to experimentation that dangerously deviate from the Dayton-Paris Agreement’s founding principles. This is essential in moving Bosnia and Herzegovina forward and securing its EU aspirations.

The inequality of its constituent peoples has been left unresolved for too long. It unnecessarily created internal political instabilities and tensions. In order to move forward, Bosnia and Herzegovina requires an appropriate institutional ‘power sharing’ framework, based on principles of federalism, decentralisation and legitimate representation. The concept of constituent peoples is often mispresented as an obstacle to the equal rights of all its citizens. Many political and legal practices can be ensured without having to give up democratic rights and freedoms.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s electoral reforms are long overdue and urgently needed. Electoral reforms should facilitate constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats) are able to respectively choose their representatives at all the appropriate political levels. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Croats have not been able to exercise this right. It’s no wonder they feel marginalised and disenfranchised. This has to change,” said among other things President Milanovic.

The current chair of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presidency, Zeljko Komsic, reminded the United Nations of its commitment to human rights, citing ethnic inequality within his own country. The problem with Zeljko Komsic is that he is representing the Croatian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its Presidency and yet he was elected there by Bosnian Muslims or Bosniaks, and not Croats. Were only Croats permitted to vote for their representative then Komsic would not have won and, indeed, the Croats in Bosnia largely feel he is no ally of Croats when it comes upholding and fighting for their rights as one of three constitutional peoples of the country (Croats, Bosniaks/Muslims and Serbs).   

Komšić on Wednesday 22 September 2021 hailed bilateral and regional cooperation during the pandemic, saying neighbours provided aid before multilateral institutions did. But later in his speech, he spoke of neighbours’ intentions to annex parts of his country by fomenting ethnic tensions within.

Bosnia was the site of a bloody war in the 1990s that ended with the Dayton Agreement. Komsic says the international agreement created complex institutions that make it difficult for the country to come to a political consensus that would allow it to move toward “a functioning state.”

He lambasted conditions that have created political, electoral, and social inequality within his own country on ethnic and religious lines.

Komšić bemoaned population outflows, saying a substantial segment of the population, including those of working age and with young families, have left Bosnia for better business and human rights opportunities. At the same time, Bosnia has received economic migrants from elsewhere. He says this combination has created additional social problems.

The General Framework Agreement for Peace, initialled in Dayton and signed in Paris in 1995, is in force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An integral part of the Agreement, as Annex 4, is the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In its preamble, it clearly and unequivocally states that it is, among other things, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948…

Unfortunately, such system of values, based on the equality of all individuals within a society, does not exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina… systemic inequality of the citizens is reflected in several aspects of life. That includes political aspects because all citizens do not have equal rights in the electoral system, but also those where the same citizens do not have equal rights and opportunities in social life, such as the right to work. The political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is such that it gives preference to someone’s ethnicity. Based on that ethnicity, the citizens of my country have greater or lesser rights, depending on which part of the country they live in…

The complexity of this issue is evident in the attempts to impose on us, even through diplomatic activities on the international scene, the existence of discrimination and inequality of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is done by emphasizing the ethnicity of a part of the citizens and demands for greater rights for ethnic communities supported by neighbouring countries, always to the detriment of fundamental human rights…

…I believe that this is the right place to emphasize the expectation that the new High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina will take into account the need to protect international legal acts and their fundamental values. That is one of his most important tasks. Otherwise, if the international community itself in Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to abandon the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then the following question rightly arises – is the Universal Declaration even necessary if its implementation is selective? Should we even talk about the protection of human rights in general if, in the specific case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the United Nations still has an executive mandate through the Office of the High Representative, we do not show by example that we are ready to stand for common values such as protection of human rights and equality of every citizen in relation to someone else and different.

I believe that, despite all the differences of political views within Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the international community represented by the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which assists the High Representative, the only guiding light to further political development of my country, as a pledge to preserve its peace and future, must be respect for human rights values. All the people of my country, regardless of their identity, ethnicity, religious affiliation or absence thereof, must have the same rights. Otherwise, we will end up in an ‘Orwellian society’, where it is accepted that some are, after all, more important than others. That always jeopardises the stability of a society and undermines peace and security. From this very place, I call upon the United Nations institutions to insist on the values of human rights protection in every segment of their activities,” said Komsic among other things in his speech.

Zeljko Komsic is evidently working hard at undermining the validity, reality and spirit of the Dayton-Paris Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina by suggesting it’s out of sync with the Universal declaration of Human Rights. In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Croatia’s president called for electoral reform in Bosnia, saying its Croats were marginalised. The marginalisation of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina is obviously not an issue that worries Komsic as he knows that the overwhelming majority of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not accept or recognise him as their representative in the country’s Presidency.

There appears to be a wide international opinion and agreement that changes are needed to the Dayton Peace Agreement to ensure the sustainability of enduring peace. It goes without saying that any success of such changes will depend on agreements reached among Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, as one of the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement signatories, as well as international leadership figures that include the EU. In addition to President Milanovic’s emphasis on the urgent need for electoral reforms, one of the latest stands from official Croatian foreign affairs ministry on Bosnia and Herzegovina is that its entire society needs a comprehensive transformation, and ‘only by being firmly anchored for European values and standards of civil and political rights for all three constituent peoples and its citizens can the country strengthen its stability and progress’, which appears to have ruffled some high-ranking feathers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Zeljko Komsic’s.

Some in the corridors of Bosnia and Herzegovina powers would argue that electoral laws are a matter of internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Croatia should not meddle. They could not be more wrong because Croatia is a co-signatory of the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and therefore all aspects associated with peace and equality are its business, and, also, hundreds of thousands of Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovia are citizens of the Republic of Croatia and, therefore, have a duty to advocate for and even try to protect the rights of their citizens living there. Agreement of changes that are needed for Bosnia and Herzegovina are without a doubt of vital importance for the country but particularly for the Croatian people there who are supposed to be equal to Serbs and Bosniaks/Muslims but are pushed so far away from their rights as constitutional people that they are threatened with an even more painful existence than till now, if not extinction from their ancestral lands. Ina Vukic

Porphyry Should Spread messages of Peace From Serbia Not Croatia

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), Patriarch Porphyry, said a few months ago in Jasenovac that the place should be the foundation from which messages of peace will spread. At the same time he gave a sermon in Jasenovac, Croatia, the site of WWII camp associated with the Holocaust and enormous fabrications of victim numbers to aid communist and Serb propaganda against Croatia.  “Human evil is few where it has shown its ugliest side as in this place.” wider and wider and further “, said Porphyry in a sermon in February 2021 in the church in Jasenovac, the Hina agency reported.

During the past week, 15 September, Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Porphyry, led the liturgy in the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Jasenovac, Croatia, after which he said that the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Jasenovac never gathered to do mathematics, that is, who did more harm than memory, prayer and reverence for the whole the human race and that nothing like it ever happens to anyone again.

Given that WWII Serbia was among the first European countries to declare itself “Jew Free” or “Judenfrei” (May to August 1942) by exterminating some 94% of its Jews, given that it was Serbia that attacked Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s and committed acts of genocide in both countries, Porphyry would have done justice to humanity had he said that Belgrade (not Jasenovac in Croatia) should be the places from where messages of peace should be spread. But no, this he will not say because the Serbian Orthodox Church is the guiding “light” on the path to Serbia’s fabrications of history and its denial of its own horrendous crimes on other countries’ territories.

Porphyry’s or Serbian Orthodox Church’s train of intent continues the pathetic and repulsive road of blaming others, particularly Croatia, for all the Holocaust and unlawful killings in Yugoslavia region during WWII and covering up, lying profusely about WWII Serbia, lying profusely about its genocide over Croats and Bosniaks in the 1990’s…. So, given my last couple of posts regarding the “mocking of the Holocaust” and falsification of history it is important to keep in mind and keep telling the world the following part of an editorial published in 1995 “Serbian portrayal of Serbia’s ‘Holocaust Decency’ is historical revisionism”:

Fully six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia had issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment. One year later on 22 October 1941, the rabidly antisemitic ‘Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibit’ opened in occupied Belgrade, funded by the city of Belgrade. The central theme was an alleged Jewish-Communist-Masonic plot for world domination. Newspapers such as Obnova (Renewal) and Naša Borba (Our Struggle) praised this exhibit, proclaiming that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. A few months later, Serbian authorities issued postage stamps commemorating the opening of this popular exhibit. These stamps, which juxtaposed Jewish and Serbian symbols, portrayed Judaism as the source of world evil and advocated the humiliation and violent subjugation of Jews.

Anti-Semitic postage stamps in WWII Serbia

Serbia as well as neighbouring Croatia was under Axis occupation during the Second World War. Although the efficient destruction of Serbian Jewry in the first two years of German occupation has been well documented by respected sources, the extent to which Serbia actively collaborated in that destruction has been less recognized.

The Serbian government under General Milan Nedić worked closely with local Nazi officials in making Belgrade the first ‘Judenfrei’ city of Europe. As late as 19 September 1943, Nedić made an official visit to Adolf Hitler, Serbs in Berlin advanced the idea that the Serbs were the ‘Ubermenchen’ (master race) of the Slavs.

Although the Serbian version of history portrays wartime Serbia as a helpless, occupied territory, Serbian newspapers of the period offer a portrait of intensive collaboration. In November 1941, Mihajlo Olčan, a minister in Nedić’s government boasted that ‘Serbia has been allowed what no other occupied country has been allowed and that is to establish law and order with its own armed forces’.

Indeed, with Nazi blessings, Nedić established the Serbian State Guard, numbering about 20,000, compared to the 3,400 German police in Serbia. Recruiting advertisements for the Serb police force specified that ‘applicants must have no Jewish or Gypsy blood’. Nedić’s second in command was Dimitrije Ljotić, founder of the Serbian Fascist Party and the principal Fascist ideologist of Serbia. Ljotić organized the Serbian Volunteers Corps, whose primary function was rounding up Jews, Bosniaks, Gypsies, and partisans for execution. Serbian citizens and police received cash bounties for the capture and delivery of Jews. Jews are, according to Serbian Chetnik Dimitrije Ljotić, a cursed people.

In his views, there are 4 methods the Jews have of ruling over other nations and the whole world, which include: Capitalism, Democracy, Freemasonry, and Marxism. He openly called for action against Jews because they were, in his opinion, the most cynical and dangerous opponents of Christian values.

The Serbian Orthodox Church openly collaborated with the Nazis, and many priests publicly defended the persecution of the Jews. On 13 August 1941, approximately 500 distinguished Serbs signed ‘An Appeal to the Serbian Nation’, which called for loyalty to the occupying Nazis. The first three signers were bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On 30 January 1942, Metropolitan Josif, the acting head of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, officially prohibited conversions of Jews to Serbian Orthodoxy, thereby blocking a means of saving Jewish lives. At a public rally, after the government minister Olčan ‘thanked God that the enormously powerful fist of Germany had not come down upon the head of the Serbian nation’ but instead ‘upon the heads of the Jews in our midst’, the speaker of these words was then blessed by a high-ranking Serbian Orthodox priest. A most striking example of Serbian antisemitism combined with historical revisionism is the case of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović (1880-1956), revered as one of the most influential church leaders and ideologists after Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

To Serbs, Bishop Velimirović was a martyr who survived torture in the Dachau prison camp. In truth he was brought to Dachau (as were other prominent European clergy), because the Nazis believed he could be useful for propaganda. There he spent approximately two months as an ‘Ehrenhaftling’ (honor prisoner) in a special section, dining on the same food as the German officers, living in private quarters, and making excursions into town under German escort.

From Dachau, this venerated Serbian priest endorsed the Holocaust:

Europe is presently the main battlefield of the Jew and his father, the devil, against the heavenly Father and his only begotten Son… (Jews) first need to become legally equal with Christians in order to repress Christianity next, turn Christians into atheist, and step on their necks. All the modern European slogans have been made up by Jews, the crucifiers of Christ: democracy, strikes, socialism atheism, tolerance of all religions, pacifism, universal revolution, capitalism and communism… All this has been done with the intention to eliminate Christ… You should think about this, my Serbian brethren, and correspondingly correct your thoughts, desires and acts. (Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović: Addresses to the Serbian People–Through the Prison Window. Himmelsthur, Germany: Serbian Orthodox Eparchy for Western Europe, 1985, pp. 161-162).

Written and compiled by Ina Vukic

Mocking And Distortion Of Holocaust Truth Unjustly Vilify Croatia  

The pursuit of the truth is the ultimate goal to honour, and this includes the historical truth and pursuits to correct its lies and fabrications inserted into the history by those who benefit from lies and fabrications. In Croatia’s case that is the former Yugoslav communists and their friends. I consider it very important to republish articles that form the continuance of reactions to the David Goldman’s article on mocking of the Holocaust first published in Jerusalem Post and then taken down, but subsequently republished by this blog portal.

When it comes to revising the truth of Croatia’s World War Two history, horribly twisted and fabricated by the Yugoslav communists and Serbs, then, I think, historical revisionism we hear of is actually the only path of truth and honour anyone could take.

According to sources Dr Robert Rozett, Senior Historian in the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, had on 25 August 2021 written a statement letter to the Jerusalem Post, regarding the David Goldman article on mocking of the Holocaust,   however, that letter, it seems, was not published by the Jereusalem Post. I understand from sources that the letter from Dr Robert Rozett was worded as follows:

The article published in the Jerusalem Post entitled “This disgraceful mocking of the Holocaust needs to stop now” by David Goldman on Monday, 16 August 2021, puts forth a figure for the number of people murdered in the Jasenovac camp which is not only ridiculous, it plays into the hands of those who would like to whitewash the mass murder of primarily Serbs and Jews at the hands of the collaborationist Croatian Ustaše regime during World War II. The number of people murdered in Jasenovac by the Ustaše is still a matter for scholarly inquiry and discussion, but it is clear to reputable scholars that it is many times greater than the absurdly low figure of 4,500 thousand cited by Goldman, and many times less than the grossly inflated count of more than 800,000, that was widely touted in the Communist era and has been endorsed by Gideon Greif of late.

Yad Vashem continues to encourage ongoing research into the history of the camp by responsible and dedicated scholars and will continue to disseminate their findings to the general public through educational work, trustworthy publications and Yad Vashem’s digital platforms.

At a time when Holocaust distortion is a significant feature in public discourse, it is incumbent on us to ensure that facts and content published in the media be as accurate as possible, and based on reliable sources. Ignoring this basic responsibility plays into the hands of those who seek to intentionally mispresent the historical record.

Dr. Robert Rozett, Senior Historian
International Institute for Holocaust Research
Member of the Israeli Delegation to IHRA

On 7 September 2021, David Goldman has via thegoldmanreport.org portal posted his rebuttal and response to the above reported statement letter by Dr Robert Rozett and the response is as follows:

“ 1.     Despite insinuations by Yad Vashem that I wrote only 4500 people died at Jasenovac, any reasonable person reading my article would come to the conclusion that I said no such thing. In fact, I wrote: ‘…Yugoslavia’s forensic examination found that all up, between 2500 and 4500 were killed at the camp.’ In other words, what I said was all that Yugoslavia – the former Balkan country – could find as physical evidence was this range, and not what I think the actual death toll could or should be.

2.     This was confirmed by the acting director of the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade, Dejan Ristic who while claiming my piece was ‘extremely revisionist’, went on to write that there was a ‘1946 excavation’, that found ‘967 remains’ and then the ‘1964 excavation with a total of 284 victims’. All up, 1251 bodies were found in Jasenovac, according to Ristic. In other words, the person who labelled my article ‘extremely revisionist’, proposes as his own number of physically unearthed (by Yugoslavia) Jasenovac victims, a figure that is about three times lower than the 4500 or so found from scanning decades of Yugoslavian data.

3.     The subject of my op-ed was that Jasenovac has been grossly manipulated for political purposes so much so that the figures quoted by all sides no longer make any logical sense whatsoever. Accordingly, Mr Ristic confirms this point, writing that no more human remains were found, but then goes on to admit, that despite all this, his museum increased the death toll by an extra 88,000-plus people. From where these extra nearly 90,000 people came from, he does not or will not say. That was one of the main points of my piece.

4.     This manipulation of Jasenovac has become so endemic and egregious that not only does it denigrate the horror that was the WW2 Jewish Holocaust, but it also has more recent ramifications. For example, in the 1990s, Serb paramilitaries would regularly invoke this ‘memory’ of Jasenovac to justify their own war crimes at places like Srebrenica, Omarska and Vukovar.

5.     The likes of Mr Ristic et al actively push a myth that seems to have also been swallowed hook, line and sinker by Yad Vashem, whereby they claim that no further excavations could have taken place in 1964 – a mere 19 years after the end of WW2 because, ‘the remains would have disintegrated by then.’ This in a country that regularly unearths complete skeletons of 2000-year old Roman soldiers, as happened not far from Jasenovac in 2017. Does Yad Vashem claim that Roman bones are far more durable than Slavic, or for that matter, Jewish ones?

6.     The Yad Vashem press release also says: ‘…it is clear to reputable scholars that it is many times greater than the absurdly low figure of 4,500 thousand cited by Goldman.’ There are only 2 ways to determine what the actual figure was. The first is to insist on a full forensic excavation. The second – and less preferable way is to use existing documentation that Yad Vashem already possesses such as the documentation from Nazi Germany, which had accurate and detailed information on Jasenovac. Why does it not release this once and for all, if for no other reason, than to nullify this kind of speculation? Why has Yad Vashem never insisted on a full forensic excavation by the Republic of Croatia?

7.     The Yad Vashem press release ends by saying: ‘… it is incumbent on us to ensure that facts and content published in the media be as accurate as possible and based on reliable sources. Ignoring this basic responsibility plays into the hands of those who seek to intentionally mispresent the historical record.’  What this says is that Yad Vashem has no idea whatsoever as to the real death toll of Jasenovac and has completely outsourced the history of this place to those who are either unqualified or have nefarious motives in manipulating the numbers. It has then put researchers in the unenviable position of being attacked as ‘Holocaust deniers’ by these same groups who are trying to hide the fact that much of the research, databases and publicly-available data behind this camp cannot be verified.

8.     Why has it looked the other way as the Jasenovac Memorial Park (JUSP) between 2001 and 2019, made no less than 35 alterations to the official victim database? How was this this possible if there was no further forensic excavation after 1964 and knowing that former Yad Vashem Vice Chairman Reuven Dafni confirmed that the Republic of Serbia never provided any documentation pertaining to Jasenovac? So how, why and on the basis of exactly what evidence were these nearly 3 dozen changes made”

9.     Why has Yad Vashem never condemned the practice by JUSP (discontinued by 2001, mainly because of the Internet’s ability for comparison) of using pictures from other camps and theatres of war and passing them off as being from WW2 Jasenovac, knowing full well the potential harm this type of cross-contamination could cause the history of the Holocaust?

10.  Can Yad Vashem explain why all the data on and/or from Yugoslavia, starting from the 1950s and ending in the 1990s, quotes 5 different official state figures on Jasenovac. All of these figures steadily increase from 1954 onwards. This occurrence has no equal anywhere during the past century and is truly unique in modern history.

11.  It is interesting to note that nowhere on its website does Yad Vashem actually state what the Jasenovac death toll was. It says in the press release that: ‘…it is clear to reputable scholars that it is many times greater than the absurdly low figure of 4,500 thousand cited by Goldman, and many times less than the grossly inflated count of more than 800,000.’ Fair enough, but why won’t it say what the figure is. Could it be, like me, it cannot be sure due to manipulation? Or, as I have said many times, no-one will ever know because Jasenovac’s databases have been corrupted so heavily?

12.  Is Yad Vashem aware that earlier this year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) published a peer-reviewed scientific paper that compared the demographic spread of a number of wartime concentration camps to that of their host country’s populations. It found that all the camps results matched their host country’s demographics. All except for Jasenovac that is. The research found that via the use of the ‘Total Variation Outlier Recognizer’ method, that some 89 percent of Jasenovac’s figures were wholly unreliable.  This too has no comparison to anywhere in modern history. Will Yad Vashem go on the record to say that the IEEE is also party to an attempt to ‘whitewash’ the history of Jasenovac?

Despite all that has been written across the Balkans and in the Jerusalem Post about my op-ed, let me be clear: while Jasenovac deserves to be condemned, at the same time, I stand by my notion that it does not deserve to be equated with Auschwitz.

I stand by the idea that it also deserves, for the sake of the victims, stability in the region, future generations and to protect the integrity of Holocaust history, to have the full truth be made public once and for all.

It is utterly inconceivable that in 2021, there is in the centre of Europe a place where no-one – including Yad Vashem – knows the reality of what actually happened there during WW2.

Either way, this is not a good situation for Yad Vashem, Holocaust history, or for those who are historians.David Goldman

Written and compiled by Ina Vukic

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