Jasenovac And The Post-War Jasenovac Camps Book Review

Co-authors Blanka Matkovic (L), Stipo Pilic (R)

It isn’t until you start reading the new book written in the Croatian language by Blanka Matkovic and Stipe Pilic “Jasenovac and the post-war Jasenovac camps – Geostrategic point of Greater Serbia politics and the propaganda driver of its spread towards the West” that you realise how much we need a book like this one at this particular time. At this moment, just over thirty years since Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia with the aim to transition from that totalitarian regime into democracy, only to still be wrestling with the communist fabrication of Croatian World War II history and various wild concoctions of victim numbers allegedly at the hands of Croats that float in the public space unchallenged by the official Croatia since year 2000 – as former communist operatives cling onto power with widespread corruption and deceit.

Also, this week is marking the 2022 commemorations for victims of World War Two Jasenovac Camps and the Croatian government, the President, the Jewish communities and other organisations cannot get together in one ceremony, but we are seeing, once again, several separate commemorations, clearly showing widespread disagreements regarding this part of Croatian history and how it should be commemorated. Were the truth of the camp being kept opened and operational after the war by communist Yugoslavia these commemorations at Jasenovac would honour all the victims who perished there not just the ones perished by April 1945!

Transition from the totalitarian communist regime into democracy for Croatia (and any other such country) was and is supposed to also be about correcting the history written by oppressive communists to reflect the truth. But this has not occurred yet, not to any noticeable degree as the governments support still the promulgation of communist mentality and the faceless denial of horrendous communist crimes. It is in the latter context that this book represents the long-awaited furthering of evidence of truth that in many ways serves as testimony to more communist crimes that have gone officially uncondemned and unprosecuted. Such efforts of historical research about Jasenovac camps have regretfully been left to private and personal pursuits of credible and renowned scientists and researchers without any government supports.  

Two facts about the World War Two Croatian Jasenovac Camps that cannot be disputed are the wildly fabricated numbers of people that perished in the camp and that the camp was not shut down in May 1945. The latter is a particular focus in the second part of this book, and it seeks not only to point a spotlight on communist purges likely occurring within Jasenovac Camps walls after the war and victims of those murders either not reported or added to the fabricated numbers of victims the Independent State of Croatia was falsely and is still falsely burdened with.       

Based on abundant and thorough historical research this Blanka Makovic and Stipo Pilic book is outstandingly truth revealing and draws significantly with evidence on the communist Yugoslavia hidden truth of the Jasenovac Camp being kept open after World War II ended in May of 1945 until 1952 and even until the 1960’s.  This 640-page book published in 2021 by the Croatian Society of Historians – HPD “Dr. Rudolf Horvat” presents numerous public documents that have never been brought to the public attention, as well as maps and graphs, covering the period from the beginning of the 19th century to the present with emphasis on Jasenovac and Jasenovac camps, their role in Greater Serbia ideology and anti-Croatian propaganda.

And so, the book is based on exhaustive continuous research since 2006 and argumentation of material kept by archives and museums in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Kingdom, so that the actual number of victims in Jasenovac could be determined, but also to raise awareness that the Jasenovac Camp was active not only until 1945 but also under the communist Yugoslavia rule when communist purges were rife and utterly vicious against patriotic Croatians, especially.

Given that we have all witnessed historical research results that prove the written or official history wrong referred to as revisionism, in a negative or unwelcome way this book, in its Introduction, aptly begins with the words James McPherson of Princeton once wrote while serving as the president of the American Historical Association: “Revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship. History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. . . The unending quest of historians for understanding the past – that is, ‘revisionism’ – is what makes history vital and meaningful. Without revisionist historians, who have done research in new sources and asked new and nuanced questions, we would remain mired in one or another of these stereotypes.”

True to this quote Matkovic and Pillic have not only provided an abundant wealth of new documentation, new evidence that points out clearly that the history of World War Two Jasenovac Camp was strikingly different to what the world has been repeatedly told since May 1945 but they have offered suggestions and arguments that clearly direct us to the absolute need to further research on this topic especially because the written official history and research results since 1990’s, when state archives opened to the public after the break-up of former communist Yugoslavia, are at significant discord, thus creating incessant social divisions among the people as well as intolerance of the newfound but real truth. The Jasenovac Camp remains to be one of the most controversial topics in contemporary Croatian history and society. This is without doubt because the official Croatia has not dealt with World War Two Jasenovac Camp truth, or any other Croatian truth that fought to break away from Yugoslavia in that War because it suits former communists or their descendants in power not to pursue communist crimes, which also were evidently committed at Jasenovac Camps post-Word War Two until 1952 and into 1960’s.

Written well, with the flow that makes reading it compelling, with solid corroboration by way of events, names of people and detailed happenings the entire book, with its rich content and breadth of coverage, this book brings that period of Croatia’s history alive. When we couple all this then we know that this Matkovic and Pilic book is, so far, the most solid cornerstone upon which the Croatian truth will be revealed even more.

This book is a treasure chest for the Croatian truth that debunks with facts much what the Yugoslav communists have been feeding to their own people as well as the world. For example, there are numerous examples of manipulation of the number of victims that perished at Jasenovac camps and Matkovic emphasised during a book launch in 2021 that she found a file of Ante Pavelic, the head of the WWII Independent State of Croatia, in the Croatian State Archives, which contained a list of persons killed in the Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska camps. According to these data, 7,133 people died in Jasenovac, not counting men between the ages of 14 and 70, who are not listed in that list. In 1964, the Yugoslav authorities conducted research on the number of war victims throughout the former Yugoslavia, not counting those killed by partisans, the Yugoslav Army, the Communist Party and the Yugoslav regime. The number of victims was 597,323, which is much less than the imaginary number of Jasenovac victims fabricated by Yugoslav communists and Serbs and their collaborators in spreading lies and anti-Croatian propaganda.

Matkovic went on to say that it was Germany that forced Yugoslavia to make a list of Jasenovac victims due to reparations, which was declared a secret due to a large deviation from previous figures and remained unknown to the public until 1989, when Danas media outlet reported that about 60,000 people died in Jasenovac. The first unofficial exhumations in the Jasenovac area were carried out in 1961, and an official forensic investigation in 1964, but none of these excavations confirmed the theory of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Jasenovac camp fabricated largely by Serbs even to this day. Matkovic also warned that the remains found could have belonged to refugees, Croatian soldiers and civilians who were withdrawing from the country in May 1945.

The manipulation of the number of war victims, especially those from Jasenovac, was and still is an integral part of the Greater Serbia propaganda. This book demonstrates this so well.

Historian Pilic, co-author of this book , in his 2015 interview for the Croatian Cultural Council/HKV  shed light on the post-war life of the Jasenovac camp and this book presents a more thorough and more detailed continuation of that. “We have already mentioned the name and surname of the manager of the post-war Jasenovac camp Anatoli Avramov in our original scientific article published in 2014, as well as the testimony of detainee Ivan Krizanovic and his ‘magnificent eight’ who escaped from Camp III-C in August 1946. central war camp Jasenovac, where they were housed. We also mentioned the son of the Thessaloniki volunteer Đuro Lavrnja, who ended up in the Jasenovac forced labour camp / prison in June 1946 for three months. There is also Antun Einfried, who escaped from that camp in November 1945 and whose further fate is unknown. In front of the camp, the guards also killed a local Jasenovac Serb, a local pig keeper Vladimir Trivuncic. Pre-war and war gunsmiths were also killed there, as well as detainees of the Jasenovac war camp, Marko Radic and Josip Batarelo. For the latter, there is a document on release from the Ustasha Jasenovac camp, and for the former there are several documents on the liquidation in Jasenovac, and yet, both are still on the falsified victim list of the Memorial Centre Jasenovac. This was, and remains, the main problem of ‘official’ Croatian historiography, which cannot be reconciled with the documents of the party and state Yugoslav communist authorities that they had camps and execution sites and post-war cemeteries in the area after the war, it is no exaggeration to say that there are ‘historiographical bombs’ in the book – documents that speak of the existence of camps and camp sites until the sixties.

When it comes to camps and their existence, operation, and functioning, we found that in Jasenovac area there were two basic types of camps: camps for prisoners of war, captured soldiers of other countries, and camps for convicts, captured and convicted locals, soldiers and civilians as collaborators of the occupiers. As early as 1945, the central camp, i.e., the administrative centre of all domestic convicts, was the Stara Gradiska camp / prison, as was Camp III-C Jasenovac during the war. From that camp, in the future, convicts were assigned to jobs, labour camps, convict work sites throughout Croatia and Yugoslavia.

Camps / prisons existed permanently or occasionally in the area until the early 1960s, when all land around Jablanca and Mlaka was handed over to the Jasenovac Agricultural Cooperative. Thus, for example, from September 24, 1956 to September 29, 1958 in Jablanc, Šime Lončar, son of Ivan Lončar and brother of Ivan Lončar, still alive today the well-known Yugoslav diplomat Budimir / Budislav Lončar, which speaks of the continuity of these camps / prisons and what the convicts did in them. And according to the oral testimonies of the inhabitants of Jasenovac Posavina, the older son of Josip Broz Žarko often came to that hunting ground.

We also established on the basis of documents that no later than February 1946, Camp III-C Jasenovac was under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior, and until then it was under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Mining. Based on the available documents, we determined the movement of the number of convicts in the Stara Gradiška camp / prison from 1946 to 1950, as well as the movement of the number of deaths in the same camp from 1945 to 1952 according to available camp / prison documentation. These numbers may not be entirely accurate, but they show that the administration was guided by that as well.

We also found studies that were made for the purpose of closing that camp / prison after 1964, which was abandoned due to the famous conflict in 1966 between the two first men and their people at the time…”

At the book launch in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2021 its co-author Stipo Pilic said that “since the middle of the 19th century, Jasenovac has become the focal point of Serbian conquests to the west and the second part of the book deals with that, as well as how this policy works propaganda to this day and what are the answers of Croatian politics and diplomacy, but also non-transparent and unclear “, while co-author Blanka Matkovic pointed out that this book tries to deepen the scientific work on the post-war Jasenovac camp as well as on Jasenovac as a settlement and camp. In this, besides the significant wealth of historical evidence and interpretations this book feels like the solid steppingstone and foundation for the assertion of truth worldwide about the post- WWII communist Yugoslavia Jasenovac camps. The camps did not close on 22 April 1945 as even the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum claims, but it continued operations for the purposes of implanting the cruel and oppressive communist regime in Yugoslavia. But then, regretfully, Holocaust Memorial Museums, Yad Vashem etc. have “taken as gospel” it seems the words written on Jasenovac history by even Jewish communist collaborators and sympathisers.

A copy of this very valuable book may be obtained by contacting the Croatia Rediviva website http://croatiarediviva.com/kontakt/

Ina Vukic

Croatian Academy HAZUDD To Jerusalem Post

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your editorial from August 22 and the reactions of Dejan Ristic and Ivo Goldstein and Efraim Zuroff to the article by David Goldman, which you in the meantime withdrew from your website but left the above articles, prompted us to this reaction, hoping for at least some balance, which in fact represents the reality on the world stage of opinions and historical facts discovered to date, on this topic in your newspaper.

There is no need to fear that the Holocaust, as a unique form of collective persecution of the Jewish people, will fall into oblivion, as long as children are taught about it in school history classes. Anyone with a modest knowledge of foreign languages ​​and history today can access information about the results of the census in Central and Eastern Europe and be convinced that during Nazi rule, Jews disappeared in large numbers as well as their religious and cultural objects (synagogues, schools, etc.). If not killed or destroyed, any reasonable person would wonder where millions of people and their places of worship could have gone?

This applies both to both the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which existed in 1941-45 and included the territory of today’s Croatia (for the most part) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Serbia. The fact that many more Jews survived the Holocaust in Croatia, in both number and percentage of the Jewish population, than in Serbia, is the result of continuous, extensive rescue operations by the domicile Croatian population and the Catholic Church led by Archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb. While for Archbishop Stepinac, saving Jews was a daily task of caring, the heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church praised Hitler and openly sided with the Nazis against the Jews. If it wasn’t for the works of Esther Gitman, a Fulbright Scholar, (sources: “When Courage Prevailed – rescue and survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945” 2011 and “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights” 2019), which are hardly mentioned in the press, the significant actions of rescuing Jews in the NDH would remain almost completely silenced. The efforts of many Jews to achieve the proclamation of Archbishop Stepinac as Righteous Among the Nations have so far been futile, thus creating a large stain on the reputation of the state of Israel among Croats. There were not many individuals in the enslaved Europe who, like Archbishop Stepinac, dared during the war of 1942 to declare publicly that there was only one race: the race of God (Esther Gitman research).

Despite the facts, the Serbian side on one hand expands the term Holocaust without foundation and thus dilutes it to the suffering of Serbs (Croats), and on the other hand narrows it to the Jasenovac camp, which is thus given mystical properties. An uninformed reader of the Serbian press could conclude that World War II took place mainly in the Jasenovac camp, where Croats killed 800,000 to a million Serbs, and that the Holocaust was a minor side event.

For many years, the number of 5 million non-Jewish Holocaust victims has been bandied around worldwide, and Israeli Gideon Greif, in his work entitled “Jasenovac, Auschwitz of the Balkans”, published by Knjiga komerc Serbia in 2018, claims by pure speculation of other speculators of history, and without exact evidence, that one million, if not more, Serbs lost their lives as victims of the Holocaust in Croatia! So, in such dark alleys along which Greif evidently also moves, a fifth of all non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Europe were Serbs! This is the number of victims without scientific basis, and the well-known Nazi and their collaborators hunter, the late Simon Wiesenthal, once said that this number of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust was “intended to increase sympathy for Jewish suffering but is now more used to obscure it.” Sure, there were many non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, but inventing the magnitude of that number, as has been done for decades for Serb victims, evidently seeks to diminish or dilute the severity of the tragedy experienced by the Jewish people in the Holocaust.

The bigger tragedy in this prevailing modern world ping pong game about which Holocaust victim was a bigger victim, Jew or non-Jew, lies in the fact that Serbs, with the help of people like Efraim Zuroff and Gideon Greif, seem to have managed to cleanse Serbian hands as the culprits for the extermination of 94% of Serbian Jews in World War II and by August 1942 achieving the status of one of the first countries in Europe to be “Judenfrei” (Jew-free). It is clear to all but Serbs and their political friends that the Serbs and their government of Milan Nedic, not the German Nazis, attached the “Star of David” to Jewish chests and painted it on the facades of Jewish homes, thus marking Jews for extermination.

It is precisely for the removal of this systematic, long-standing blurring of facts, mentioned by David Goldman, that a thorough, multidisciplinary investigation of the events in the Jasenovac camp is necessary as this in itself is indicated by very diverse findings:

1. According to Ivo Goldstein and others, the Jasenovac camp did not cease operating on April 22, 1945, but served as a camp for internment of opponents of Tito’s Yugoslav communist regime to at least May 1951.The Bjelovar Divisional military court findings on 8/28/1946 regarding detainee escape from the camp on 28.08.1946 (source: Croatian State Archives), as well as a 1951 CIA report, serve as evidence of that fact. It is not known that, to date, anyone has systematically deal with research of the victims of the Jasenovac camp after April 22, 1945. Perhaps there were Jews among them also?

2. Analysis of the official list of victims of the Jasenovac camp, managed by the state institution JUSP Jasenovac, using Data Science methods, showed that the list is for the most part (89% of entries) unreliable. The current census, for example, lists victims born in 1969 and 1975, respectively.

3. Contrary to the testimonies of the alleged mass executions in the Jasenovac camp in the period 1941-45, there are also testimonies of men who were boys of that time, who attended trade classes in the camp, that there were no such events.

4. When Bosnian Serbs had to leave the conquered territories around Sarajevo in 1996 as a result of the Dayton Accords, they exhumed the remains of their loved ones in front of TV cameras and took them to their new places of residence. With these acts they strongly showed their stand that remains of their loved ones should not remain in enemy territory. It is interesting that no such request for exhumation of post mortal remains was requested for the Jasenovac camp, which is located on the territory of Croatia.

5. Prompted by the above facts, forensic experts (e.g. letter from prof. dr. sc. Simun Krizanac published in “Hrvatski tjednik” weekly magazine on 12.07.2018 ) already contacted authorities and requested the search and exhumation of the human remains in Jasenovac, believing that firm conclusions about such a camp must be based on forensic medicine research methods.

6. The general progress of science has led to the fact that reconstruction and identification can be carried out for centuries-old human remains.

7. World War II archives are gradually opening up and, hence, opening up space for new insights and new interpretations.

It is clear from the abovesaid that the actual Holocaust on the territory of the then Independent State of Croatia, for which the NDH authorities are co-responsible, is clouded and confused by Serbia’s attempts to portray the course of World War II in Croatia primarily as genocide against the Serbian people. They are wholeheartedly helped by the descendants of the Yugoslav communist rulers (the so-called Red Nobility), who still rule Croatia today, who in this way want to cover up the crimes of their ancestors perpetrated immediately after World War II and during the 45-year reign of fear over Croats until 1990. If it is shown that Croats committed collective genocide during World War II, then by that same logic it would be correct for the Yugoslav Communists to commit comprehensive and protracted revenge and re-education, right?

Let’s finish with Croatia. In the very centre of Zagreb, in Praška Street, there is a parking lot on the site where the synagogue demolished in 1941-42was. This is the simplest proof that the Holocaust took place in Croatia as well. Tito’s Yugoslav communist government, hostile to Jews and Israel, not only did not rebuild it, but demolished the remaining synagogues and many Jewish cemeteries, and built a department store on the site of the Zagreb synagogue, which burned to the ground in a mysterious fire in 1980.

From President Tudjman onwards, the Croatian authorities proposed to the two Jewish communities the reconstruction of the synagogue, which has not happened so far, because the Jewish communities could not agree on the basic parameters. Ivo Goldstein, who never declared himself publicly as a Jew or a believer during Yugoslavia, also plays a not insignificant role in that community. At that time, neither his late father Slavko nor he condemned the demolition of synagogues, for example in Rijeka in 1948, or the anti-Semitic attitude of Tito’s regime, and such dishonourable conduct is not mentioned even today. In addition, the so-called scientist opposes both questioning and further research on the topic of the Jasenovac camp, thus violating the foundations of scientific methodology, to which, as a university professor, he should be deeply loyal.

In Croatia, and especially in Zagreb, there are many valuable real estates, which were taken from the Jews during the Second World War and were never returned to them. They are now inhabited by members of the “red nobility”, who, like Ivo Goldstein and Ognjen Kraus, invent fascism in Croatia, and have never advocated for the correction of injustice against Jews by returning stolen Jewish property.

From all of the above said it follows that the state of Israel, the Jewish people and their reputable media such as the Jerusalem Post, should devote themselves to a detailed investigation of all potential execution sites of Jews during the Holocaust. But if researching the execution sites of Jews during the Holocaust is an area that newspapers like the Jerusalem Post cannot deal with, because such an activity is not on their list of activities for which they are legally licensed, then those same newspapers should contribute to the research of truth and facts by also publishing written articles in relation to all research on the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust in Croatia (eg Esther Gitman) and on Jasenovac after the Second World War (eg Blanka Matković, Stipo Pilić, Igor Vukić, etc.). It is unworthy of the oldest nation in history to be represented in any part of the world by individuals like Ivo Goldstein, ready at any moment for an anti-scientific invention like the notorious bone crusher. This achieves the exact opposite effect, which Goldman rightly observes. Namely, the suspicion that Israel and Serbia have a joint propaganda venture of exaggerating the victims of World War II is completely unnecessarily fuelled. While Serbia abuses victims tenfold (and more) as a justification for hegemonic action in its neighbourhood, it is unclear why the state of Israel clearly does not distance itself from such dishonourable actions.

And even if Ivo Goldstein is completely right with his claim about the bone crusher, which the Ustashas would use just before the end of the war to remove the remains of their victims, (and it cannot be, because neither he nor anyone else mentions it in his and other authors’ numerous books!), then it would be a huge challenge for scientists in the field of forensics and forensic medicine to use the territory of Jasenovac as a testbed for methods of identifying post mortal remains originating in particularly difficult conditions. Judging by his publications and public appearances, Ivo Goldstein has never met a forensic expert or does not know that such a profession exists at all.

A scientist who, in today’s age of reliable analytical and diagnostic methods, claims that everything has been researched and should no longer be researched, recalls into memory the embarrassment of Thomas Watson, the former head of IBM, and thus disqualifies himself in scientific and professional circles.

The diametrically different attitudes towards the smouldering Israeli-Arab conflict, which escalates every now and then, in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia clearly shows which nations, states and political currents are turned to Jews with fraternal respect and understanding, and which with intolerance prone to totalitarian movements and parties. It would be nice if the Jerusalem Post devoted more space to such differences and reflections, instead of history innovator Ivo Goldstein or Dejan Ristic and their collaborator Efraim Zuroff, who present themselves as Holocaust investigators while denying the genocide in Srebrenica, which the Serbian army perpetrated 26 years ago literally in front of TV cameras.

With regards

Dr. sc. Josip Stjepandic, President, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the Diaspora and Homeland / HAZUDD

 Mr. sc. Ina Vukic, Vice President, HAZUDD

Croatia: Remember The Months of November!

The month of November is coming up.

In 1942 it was the month that, I believe, sealed the brutal fate of Croatian independence for decades to come like no other in the history of Croatian people.

It was the month that saw the communists of Yugoslavia hold their first organised congresses or meetings at which the communists, opposing the fight for and the creation of an independent Croatia, declared themselves as legitimate representatives of the Yugoslav people, that is, peoples living within the territory of the failed Serb-led Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This was the time when Croatia had already declared independence from the dark Kingdom of Yugoslavia and was fighting for it amidst German occupation and communist aggression to save Yugoslavia. The criminal thugs against freedom, the communists put on the cloak of “antifascism” and convened the so-called Antifascist Council of the People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia/ ”AVNOJ” (Bihac 26 November 1942 and Jajce 29-30 November 1942).

The fact was and remains that the communists’ army, the Partisans, under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, were nothing more than terrorists, torturers and mass murderers – for power and control over multiple nations and their territories (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia). The tragedy of this for the plight of Croatians for self-determination and independence was not only the fact that this plight was murderously silenced during WWII, it continued after WWII and it continues to this very day even though Croatia had won its war of independence in 1990’s and its formal breakaway from communist Yugoslavia in October 1991.

The tragedy against Croatian independence and democracy continues to this day perhaps because the wretched AVNOJ is embedded into the Croatian Constitution giving it wrongfully some credit in the historical achievements or milestones in the path to independent Croatia of today. This fact gives wings to former communists and their subscribers to continue running down Croatian independence and to continue giving Serbs and their declared anti-Croat Chetniks a power in decision-making at the high levels of Croatian politics and, therefore, awful macabre reality.

The reality is that the process of equating the Croat-victim with the Serb-aggressor of 1990’s Croatia remains on the appalling government’s agenda and this is done under a pretence of desired reconciliation just like the WWII Yugoslav communists killed off the Croatian independence fight under a pretence of antifascism! And hence, the history of Croatian independence plight was written by communists, filled with lies and half-truths against Croats and the same continues today where Serbs play a major part in this.     

Between 1945 and 1948, the Yugoslav communist government punished wartime fighters for the independence of Croatia. British forces in Austria captured members of disarmed Croatian Ustashe and Home-Guard forces along with thousands innocent refugees. These were returned to Yugoslavia, where Partisans summarily executed thousands of innocent Croats. The Communists often used collaboration charges to stifle political and religious opposition, as well as economic and social initiatives that would see communist Yugoslavia bankrupt anyway. The Roman Catholic Church bitterly opposed the new communist order. After the war, the Yugoslav authorities executed over 200 priests and nuns charged with participating in alleged Ustashe atrocities. The Yugoslav communists had kept open the Jasenovac camp in Croatia until about 1951 (!), which was labelled as a concentration camp where the Holocaust came to life with the extermination of Jews and others. Any attempts to research the true nature and numbers of Jasenovac victims are being dealt harsh blows – they gets called historical revisionism, with negative connotations, of course.

The irrefutable fact remains that open and unequivocal communist denunciations of anti-Semitism and reported exterminations of the Jews was not of any importance to the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Indeed, the Communist Party made no efforts, urgent or otherwise, in any rescue of Jews. Whether that was because within it were many powerful Serbs who were evidently agreeable to Serbia being proclaimed Jew-free in 1942 after the extermination of some 94% of Jews in Serbia, is a point that deserves attention of historians, and political analysts. On the contrary, proclamations against anti-Semitism by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia were few and painfully sporadic, and acts of rescue or aid even more rare and painfully sporadic. Most importantly, however, the question of anti-Semitism and the unfolding European-wide Nazi genocide simply did not figure prominently on the Yugoslav communists’ agenda – which itself is a revealing fact about their ‘Jewish policy’, insofar as there was a consistent policy, or even one at all. Rescue of the Jews from the hands of the Nazis or any of their collaborators was thus never formulated as a stated objective of the Yugoslav communists.

The rescue of Jews in WWII Croatia was a strong characteristic in Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s efforts, indeed. He was not a communist sympathiser and, hence, to this day his enormously good deeds are more or less ignored and shunned by the powers in Croatia that have among them a large number of former communists and a relatively large number of anti-Croatian independence Serbs.

The Yugoslav Communists with their Serb Chetnik partners go to enormous lengths in covering up the atrocities they committed against freedom-loving Croats. The discovery of some 1000 mass graves of victims of communist and Chetnik crimes on Croatian soil after Croatia set on its path of independence from Yugoslavia in 1990 is a disturbing witness to the Partisans’ terrorism and murder and torture. It’s almost every week that Croatia learns of new crimes committed against its people during WWII and after WWII.

Very few people know, for example, about the gruesome Chetnik massacre of Croats that took place on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in Dugopolje near the city of Split. The crime began on October 2, 1942 and lasted for several days. Don Mijo Marović from Mravinci (Split) reported the crime to the NDH authorities on October 19, 1942. In the Chetnik massacre in Dugopolje and Kotlenice, 32 Croats were killed in the most brutally possible ways: by throwing them into the fire, gouging out their eyes while they were alive, breaking their skulls, cutting off and pulling out their hearts, etc. See full article on Narod.hr portal.

In reporting these atrocities to the NDH authorities don Kajo Marovic wrote on 19 October 1942: “… According to the above-mentioned years, it can be seen that the people who died were all old and could not escape and were weak children. Four of these were thrown into the fire, where they ended up in the most severe torment. Seven were killed with revolvers, and the rest were all slaughtered and brutally tortured. Some had their skulls cut open, their brains removed, others had their eyes gouged out alive, they were tortured and slaughtered. Others had their hearts taken out again and thrown into the field. Once they cut off a man’s head, then put his head on a pig and placed it among the horses and pigs they slaughtered. They were disfigured, it was a horror to watch them. All were buried on October 5 in the church cemetery in Dugopolje, and some even later, when they were found.

All the people of Dugopolje, 3,200 inhabitants, fled before these horrors to Dicmo, Sinj, Klis, from where they have not yet returned home from fear. One part of the people returned and took refuge in the houses that were spared. A large number of people do not even think of returning, because they have nowhere to come or anything to live on…”

For a thorough presentation of details of communist’s and Chetnik’s victims in Digopolje area I would recommend the reading of the 2011 book by Blanka Matkovic and Josip Dukic: “The Victims of Dugopolje” (Dugopoljski  žrtvoslov).  

As in November 1942 so too in November 1991 the Croatian plight for independence was suffocated with atrocities committed against it. In November 1991 the Serb and Yugoslav forces massacred hundreds of Croatians in Vukovar and its nearby Ovcara and expelled more than 20,000 Croats from that Croatian town! In November 1991 Vukovar was ethnically cleansed of its non-Serb population amidst the rivers of Croatian blood spilled for Croatia’s independence.

As Croatia in November 2020 marks commemorations of Vukovar and sufferings of Croats during the 1990’s Homeland War for independence it should also remember November 1942! The same suffering and terror were put in place, installed, in 1942 as were in 1991.

AVNOJ or Yugoslav communists have no place in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and I would personally like to see that all commemorations of victims for Croatian independence also begin to include a strong pressure and resolve to remove the mention of AVNOJ from the Constitution as a contributor to the creation of the modern democratic and independent Croatia. AVNOJ stopped independence in WWII, AVNOJ tried to stop independence during 1990’s. The truth must begin to root out the communist lies, the Serb lies and what a good time for that is November 2020! AVNOJ was written into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia in 1990 – at the time when president Franjo Tudjman and leading figure in the movement for the independence of Croatia hoped for reconciliation between all WWII sides but since then Croatia had endured a war and an ongoing onslaught against full independence from former communists/Partisans and of course anti-Croatia Serbs. Surely, evidence enough that former communists have not given up on carrying a torch for the criminal regime that communist Yugoslavia was and even carrying a torch for the Greater Serbia lies and destructive depravities. Ina Vukic

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: