Dr Esther Gitman Awarded Honorary Doctorate For Her Research Into The Role Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Had In Rescuing Jews During WWII Croatia


Dr Esther Gitman (L) Bishop Vlado Kosic (C) Ina Vukic (R)

On Friday 14 June 2019, and upon written submission, including one by Ina Vukic, Vice-President of the Croatian academy of sciences and arts in diaspora and homeland/HAZUDD, the University of Split, Croatia, has awarded Dr. Esther Gitman an Honorary Doctorate for her long standing research and work into the rescue of Jews and members of other ethnic groups during WWII in Croatia led by Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII. This, without doubt, brings into focus the exceptional dedication to scientific research into the truth and into the pure good that did prevail, through extraordinary human courage, in historically difficult and challenging times. This Honorary Doctorate bears all the hallmarks of recognising and rewarding scientific research achievements that shine a light upon the very goodness in a soul of a nation, often purposefully obscured by orchestrated falsehoods planted into written history.

Archbishop Marin Barisic (R) Esther Gitman (C) Dragan Ljutic, Rector of University of Split (L)

The field of scientific research of history to which Dr. Esther Gitman has dedicated her professional pursuits was, according to Dr Gitman’s statements, driven by a determination to research the WWII circumstances in which she as a small child was rescued from Nazi occupied Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The research into WWII history she engaged in from 2002, with its results belongs to those rare, exceptional scientific pursuits whose uniqueness and exceptionality influence the world reputation and interests of the entire Croatian people and nation. It rarely happens in the history of scientific research that such research and its findings actually impact upon and break down the negative stereotypical reputation of a nation, such as the one Croatia and her people have suffered after the Second World War due to intentional suppression of historical details of the truth and forgeries of historical facts, such as the ones Yugoslav communists had concocted against Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. Dr. Esther Gitman, her scientific research and related works regarding the rescue of Jews, Serbs and Roma during WWII Independent State of Croatia/NDH have achieved that rare and uplifting impact.

Dr. Esther Gitman is a USA based world-renowned scientist who has devoted herself to scientific research on the rescue of Jews within the Independent State of Croatia of the Second World War, especially on the role of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac in rescuing Jews, Serbs, Roma and all others whose lives because of their ethnicity were, due to political circumstances, in mortal danger during that time. Given that Holocaust research has evolved around the world after the Second World War as one of the most important areas of research for the past and the future of humanity, Dr. Esther Gitman’s scientific work has been raised to a particularly high level precisely because it was innovative. Innovative because her research explored the rescue of Jews and not their extermination as other Holocaust researchers had been doing. By putting the rescue of Jews, not extermination, Gitman’s central theme, at the same time, delivers much of the good truth about WWII Croatia/NDH and many of her people into the righteous light that they deserve. Namely, the negative stereotype imposed upon NDH and its people by those who have written and often falsified history or underrepresented the truth, by those who had persecuted Alojzije Stepinac and branded him as Nazi collaborator and condemned him (1946) to death by life house-imprisonment on the basis of such repugnant falsehoods – can no longer stand! The results of Gitman’s scientific work confirm that during the Second World War within the NDH and Bosnia and Herzegovina thousands of Jews and members of other ethnic groups were saved from the death and suffering by Alojzije Stepinac and many like him.

Dr Esther Gitman
Delivering speech at the Honorary Doctorate award
ceremony held in Croatian National Opera Hall/HNK
in Split Croatia, 14 June 2019

Blessed Alojzije Stepinac was indeed and as Esther Gitman’s newest book on her research finding says: A Pillar of Human Rights (Title of Gitman’s new book).

Her research on archival material in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is very significant, and she has studied over 10,000 archive documents. Her research also includes verbal witness testimonies by several Holocaust survivors from the former Yugoslavia, who at the time of verbal accounts’ recordings lived in various countries, eg Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Israel, Canada and the United States America.

The contribution of Dr. Esther Gitman’s scientific research papers is enormous and remarkable, both for the Croatian society and for the whole world. It reaches the depths of truth and human rights struggles in almost impossible but definitely terrible circumstances. The results and illustrations as well as interpretation of her scientific papers do not remain just a letter on paper, they have taken on the effectiveness of shaping true and factual history and the testimony of humanity that characterises a nation.

By historical science’s criteria, Dr. Esther Gitman’s research and related works are of a very high standard and reach to all layers of both Croatian and world society. Through her scientific research Dr. Esther Gitman demonstrates a perfect ability to convey a multitude of individual historical facts revealed in archival material and oral testimonies into a homogeneous whole of human courage in times of violent violations of human rights. And this human courage as laced through Dr Gitman’s work focuses and shines a light on a Croatian man – Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.

Dr. Esther Gitman undertook her scientific work at the time of NDH history’s socially entrenched moral edges and which edges did not have room for any positive moral values that could be attributed to NDH/WWII Independent State Of Croatia anywhere in the world. For example, when Dr Gitman approached the Fulbright Fellowship Foundation for support with her research plan to delve into the rescue of Jews in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, their reaction was initially one of shock and amazement, and the person interviewing her for the Fulbright Fellowship (which she was subsequently successful in receiving) told her, “Why would you, for goodness sake, want to explore such a topic when the whole world knows what the Ustasha Croats did to Jews and others?”

Dr Esther Gitman
at Blessed Alojzije Stepinac tomb
in the Cathedral at Zagreb, June 2019

Dr. Gitman replied: “Yes, many Jews were killed in Ustasha concentration camps, but my mother and I have survived and so did all the other Jews I knew in my childhood, our survival should be attributed to the help we received from Croatian friends, neighbours, clergy and various humanitarian organisations.”

The reaction to that response from Dr. Gitman was as follows: “An incredible story, I’ve never heard of such a story! Please write a strong submission, ask your professors to review it, then give it to me for a final evaluation.”

On this edge of the overriding general morality attributed to Croats at the time, in early 2000’s, Dr Esther Gitman embarked on her scientific research of factual history.

Looking at the frameworks of the written history of the Second World War and the impact on the prejudices that have evolved over the past decades, Dr. Esther Gitman’s scientific work is remarkable, significant and invaluable for the whole world and for the Croatian society. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Tears And Prayers As Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic Arrives Home From ICTY Prison



Welcome home Dario Kordic flag 6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Welcome home Dario Kordic flag
6 June 2014
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Former vice president and a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and later Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and at one time the president of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH), Dario Kordic, landed at Zagreb, Croatia, airport after serving 16.6 years of the 25-year prison sentence imposed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for 1993 war crimes committed in Central Bosnia, Lasva Valley, against Muslim civilians.

Several hundred people gathered at the airport to welcome back home from prison the man they consider a hero, not a war criminal. Kordic’s ICTY sentence was not the one of a war criminal who committed crimes but that of a politician who was at the time of those crimes in a high position of Herceg-Bosna political leadership and responsibilities. Indeed, among the welcoming crowds were many most esteemed historians, public personalities who work tirelessly at justice for victims as well as some highly positioned political officials at the time of the 1990’s war. These include: dr Zvonimir Separovic, dr Slobodan Lang, dr Josip Pecaric, dr Zdravko Tomac, dr Ivic Pasalic, dr Ante Kovacevic, dr Josip Jurcevic – Bishop Vlado Kosic from Sisak was there to lead a prayer.

After tearfully embracing his wife and children, Kordic turned to the masses at the Zagreb airport with an emotional speech in which he thanked God, the Catholic faith and the whole of the Croatian nation.

Kordic is one member of the group of Bosnian Croats from central Bosnia, who voluntarily surrendered to the ICTY in The Hague in 1997 after U.S. authorities and the World Bank put Croatia’s Franjo Tudjman and his government under mounting economic pressure to have Kordic and other Bosnian Croats arrested. Kordic said that he gladly welcomed the opportunity to clear his name.

Kordic was sentenced for war crimes committed in Ahmici against Bosnian Muslims, for the perpetration of which he actually is not responsible. And, it’s necessary to point out here that on the same day the Ahmici crimes occurred, crimes perpetrated by the Muslims/ BH Army against Croats occurred in the village of Trusine where the entire Croatian village population was murdered and no one to this day has been made accountable for this, just as no one has been made accountable for similar war crimes in Doljani, Grabovica, Uzdol, Jurici, Bugojno … where, even today, the Croats are constantly threatened with death.

After the war ended in 1995 and the signing of the Dayton Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina the failed Bosniak scenario to create an ethnically pure Muslim/Bosniak region within Bosnia and Herzegovina moved into the corridors of the ICTY. Bosnian Croats Dario Kordic and Tihomir Blaskic found themselves in the Hague where the prosecution’s politically charged and unfounded plan was to show that Croatia’s president Franjo Tudjman started ethnic cleansing against Muslims in Lasva Valley in order to create a Greater Croatia. Dario Kordic’s case was allocated to the British prosecutor Geoffrey Nice and the judge was Judge Richard May, also British; the witnesses for the prosecution were officers of a British battalion, whose testimonies omitted to address all BH Army (Muslim) offensive operations, all their crimes against Croats, and especially all the horrific crimes of the Mujahedeen units of the BH Army.

Looking down upon history we find that the British forces were instrumental in turning the hundreds of thousands of Croat refugees in May of 1945, in Bleiburg, Austria, back to communist Yugoslavia, knowing they would be massacred. The fact that these people sought the promised refuge/asylum in the West at the time made no difference. And in the ICTY case against Kordic the British again play an important role! One wonders why Britain, post- New York “9/11” terrorist attack, joins the war against terror when at about the same time the Kordic case was at the Hague, here in the corridors of ICTY members of it’s judicial echelons saw to the protection of Bosnian Muslims and their Mujahedeen terrorist units.

“In Broad Daylight” – documentary on Muslim/Bosniak crimes against Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (partially in English):


One cannot change the ICTY’s judgment against Dario Kordic. He had pleaded innocent to the charges of war crimes and lost. He has served his time in prison and paid the dues to society imposed upon him by the court even if those dues are seen as having been based on highly questionable foundations. But one can change one thing in relation to Dario Kordic’s war crimes conviction: one can lobby the government corridors and insist on investigations into the ICTY judgment in order to demonstrate upon which falsification and political maneuvering it did arise! This is particularly important given that the “Herceg-Bosna 6 Croats” (Jadranko Prlic, Milivoj Petkovic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Berislav Pusic, Valentin Coric) convicted in 2013 by the ICTY Trial Chamber for similar crimes and similar political constructs in 2013 still await Appeal.

One truth is among us: Dario Kordic has returned home on conditional release from prison for war crimes after serving two-thirds of his prison sentence. The other truth is yet to arrive: What political games saw him behind bars while the Bosnian Muslims/Bosniaks involved in a similar role as Kordic – political responsibility – are walking the streets freely!

In the meantime here are some photographs from Dario Kordic’s arrival at Zagreb airport, Croatia, on Friday 6 June 2014 from which place he will soon head to his hometown of Busovaca, Central Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Please click on photos to enlarge). Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Waiting for Dario Kordic at Zagreb Airport  6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Waiting for Dario Kordic at Zagreb Airport
6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Waiting for Dario Kordic at Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Waiting for Dario Kordic at Zagreb Airport
6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)


Dario Kordic kneels to Croatian ground Zagreb 6 June 2014 (Photo: PIXSELL)

Dario Kordic kneels to Croatian ground
Zagreb 6 June 2014
(Photo: PIXSELL)

Dario Kordic kisses Croatian ground 6 June 2014 (Photo: PIXSELL)

Dario Kordic kisses Croatian ground
6 June 2014
(Photo: PIXSELL)

Dario Kordic reunited with family Tears of joy overwhelm (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic reunited with family
Tears of joy overwhelm
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)


Dario Kordic arrives in Zagreb 6 June 2014 First came tears of joy and a prayer followed (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic arrives in Zagreb 6 June 2014
First came tears of joy and a prayer followed
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dr Slobodan Lang at Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dr Slobodan Lang at Zagreb Airport
6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic in Zagreb 6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic in Zagreb 6 June 2014
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic welcomed in Zagreb 6 June 2014 (Photo: Ranko Suvar/CROPIX)

Dario Kordic welcomed in Zagreb
6 June 2014
(Photo: Ranko Suvar/CROPIX)

Dario Kordic with dr Josip Pecaric, dr Zvonimir Separovic and Bishop Vlado Kosic Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014 (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic with dr Josip Pecaric,
dr Zvonimir Separovic and Bishop Vlado Kosic
Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)

Dario Kordic kisses Bishop Vlado Kosic's hand Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014 (Photo: Ranko Suvar/CROPIX)

Dario Kordic kisses Bishop Vlado Kosic’s hand
Zagreb Airport 6 June 2014
(Photo: Ranko Suvar/CROPIX)

A T-shirt worn by a well-wisher at  Dario Kordic's arrival in Zagreb 6 June 2014, writing on T-shirt "Often, Judas judge the righteous"  (Photo: Marija Tomislava)

A T-shirt worn by a well-wisher at
Dario Kordic’s arrival in Zagreb
6 June 2014, writing on T-shirt
“Often, Judas judge the righteous”
(Photo: Marija Tomislava)


Croatia: Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac declared heroes

Zagreb 10 November 2012, Dr. Zvonimir Separovic at the lectern – Photo Davor Visnjic/Pixsell

The Coordination of war veterans’ associations in Zagreb had Saturday 10 November, at public forum “We raise our hands to the sky – free Croatian Generals”, held in Mimara museum, declared Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac heroes of Croatia’s Homeland War. They had also demanded from the Parliament to amend its Declaration on Homeland War so that its integrity remains untouched after Croatia’s entry into EU membership.

The public forum was organised in the lead up to 16 November when ICTY in the Hague is to bring its judgment on the General’s Appeal against April 2011 Trial Chamber’s judgment. The forum participants emphasised that Operation Storm (1995) liberated Croatia from occupation but also that it liberated the Bihac enclave (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Bishop Vlado Kosic from Sisak also attended the forum and emphasised that Christians and all good people are “obligated to raise their voices against injustice being brought upon not only the Generals but upon the whole of Croatia”. He stated that the Generals are sacrificed for some higher principles and that “our representatives had thus accepted the imposition of the theory of a civil war in Croatia and sacrificed heroes and our liberators”.

Dr. Zvonimir Separovic, president of Croatian Victimology Society, criticised the ICTY as a political formation which has not rendered itself as an institution of international law. He corroborated this assertion with the fact that ICTY punished the “Vukovar three” only symbolically and sentenced the Croatian generals to many years of prison. He characterised the former ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte as a “strange figure who stopped prosecutions against the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) and who collaborated with Savo Strbac”. Separovic further stated that the ICTY Trial Chamber did not prove prosecution’s theories of excessive shelling and of joint criminal enterprise, for which the Generals were convicted and he expressed his conviction that the ICTY Appeal Chamber will not confirm Trial Chamber findings.

Separovic further expressed his optimism by saying that the head of Appeal, Judge Theodor Meron, is a man of moral integrity and a Shakespearean “who knows well what a victim is”.

The President of the Special Association, Josip Klem, invited citizens to join in the Mass to be held on Thursday 15 November and prayers during the whole night before Friday 16th when ICTY Appeal Chamber is to deliver its verdict.

It is expected that over 100 000 people will join the nightlong vigil and prayer in Zagreb.

By the bye, Croatian war veterans minister Predrag Fred Matic has recently announced that in December of this year Croatia will introduce “Hero of Homeland War Medal”. The medal, he said, would be bestowed upon those who are most deserving for the defense of Croatia from Serb aggression. Let’s trust that Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac will be among the recipients, regardless of what happens in the Hague next Friday. True heroes are those that arise from sentiments and determination of the people and government should listen to the people when it comes to bestowing such medals. People know because they were there, in the thick of the war. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

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