Croatia: a hostage of WWII history or…?

Croatian Homeland War Memorial Medal

Friday 13 July article by Zeljko Jurjevic “ The Homeland war is a shrine and it cannot be in the shadows of Ustashe, Partisans, and various (Radimir) Cacic’s and (Stjepan) Mesic’s …”  points to the issue that there are groups (in Croatia) in whose interests it is for Croatia to be seen as a country still preoccupied with World War II Ustashe and Partisans. The article leads one to see that turning to history is an easy way out from having to deal with the reality of the economic crisis. At the same time, Jurjevic, points out, Croatian Homeland War is being muddied and its veterans losing out on the deserved place in society. Jurjevic asserts that Croatia is a hostage of its WWII history and that this is not as harmless as it may appear.

No, it’s not as harmless as it may appear. It’s not just political spin to “mark the time”. It is the WWII Partisans’ descendants or sympathisers’ vessel through which they attempt to claim total credit for today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Croatia’s Homeland War (1991 – 1995) is the foundation of today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Because today’s Croatia was created with almost equal participation of the descendants of WWII Home Guards (politically neutral for much of WWII until they were forced to either join Ustashe, join Partisans, or die), Ustashe (fascists, pro-Nazi) and Partisans (communists, some were antifascist) Croatia simply cannot desert this history, leave it to historians without delivering justice for all the victims of all crimes committed during and after WWII.

Today’s Croatia was created (during 1990’s) by the unity of all Croatians, those that lived in Croatia and those that lived abroad, by the politically and historically right-winged, left-winged and neutral, descendants of WWII Ustashe, Home Guards and Partisans – equally! Only through such a marvelous unity was Croatia able to come out victorious against the manifold militarily stronger Serb aggressor.

There’s almost a relentless plight – at times reminiscent of a desperate cry – to have the importance of Croatian Homeland War veterans and defenders elevated to their rightful place of deservedness. Their love and dedication to the freedom and self-determination of Croatian people, more often than not, become marred by the woes of WWII history: Ustashe vs Partisans. The advocates of communist Partisans wickedly and unjustifiably equate the latter with the Homeland War veterans.

There lies the bone of great discontent, and the compelling reason why WWII communist crimes must be prosecuted.

In recent years, in Croatian media, a good number of journalist analyses and statements by various politicians (usually left oriented) have “urged” that “Croatia must move on, leave the history to historians, etc.”

Suffice to say that most of such “outbursts” have been closely associated with events that pointed to heinous crimes against Croatian people committed by the communist totalitarian regime of Josip Broz Tito (former Yugoslavia).

While Croatian people of all walks of life condemn the crimes committed by the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime of the Independent State of Croatia/NDH, when it comes to the crimes against humanity committed by communist Partisans, the pro-communist lot hails them as actions of justified revenge!

Of course, even a blind and politically ignorant individual can see that Croatia’s so-called antifascists (communists) hide the crimes of their predecessors by emphasising those of WWII Ustashe.

This is, all will agree, wrong.

Then, there’s a notion circling around in some loud circles that if Croatia processed and condemned communist crimes, Croatia would be left without any “goodness” in its people; that goodness of today’s Croatia comes from antifascists/communists.

What a load of garbage!

Leftists maintain (wrongly) that if it weren’t for antifascism there would be no modern, independent and democratic Croatia today!

The only way Croatia will lose its “goodness” is if it doesn’t prosecute communist crimes. Because of the WWII widespread Nazi crimes the whole of Germany had once been condemned and yet, it stands proud now, it has moved on a long time ago because no stone had been left unturned when it came to crimes committed against humanity during WWII.

In that respect Germany was the lucky country. It got closure for the victims of Nazism, however painful for some die-hards that closure might have been.

Croatia, would not be a lucky country in the decades following WWII – the ruling communists made sure that crimes committed by their echelons do not end up in the same dark social dungeons as those committed by the Ustashe.

Unlike for Germany, unlike for Ustashe, many WWII crimes committed in Croatia by communists still remain unpunished.

Neither communism nor fascism brought anything good to Croatian people. Both were one-party totalitarian regimes that persecuted those with opposing views.

There’s renewed glorification in Croatia of the former communist system and its ideologist Josip Broz Tito.  Various groups take advantage of the current economic crisis and say that life used to be better under the Serbo-Chetnik Yugoslavia that mercilessly persecuted Croatian people.

This too, is another angle in the pro-Communists’ attempts to evade the destiny of having communist crimes prosecuted. It is an established fact that from 1945 – the day WWII ended – Yugoslav (including Croatian) antifascism/communism became a criminal, anti-Croatian, Serbo-Yugoslav system for the persecution and genocide over Croatians. There has been no regime in history that murdered so many Croatians as did the Yugoslav communist regime under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito.

It is an absolutely undisputable fact that, in 1991, 94% of Croatian voters voted for independence from communist Yugoslavia, voted for democracy and self -determination. That fact in itself speaks clearly that the Croatian people were fed-up, to say the least, with oppressive Yugoslavia.

It is an undisputed fact that descendants of all WWII sides created today’s Croatia. Everyone who participated and contributed to the great freedom and democracy must be hailed a hero. That is what happens in every civilised world.

But, how can descendants of some be branded less worthy than others, because of their historical bloodlines! The descendants of fascists cannot allow the descendants of communists to steal all the blissful thunder of the cries for freedom and the struggle for freedom from early 1990’s. This is particularly so because the descendants of fascists know that the descendants of communists committed terrible crimes that have gone unpunished.

While the descendants of all WWII sides cannot be held responsible for the deeds of their ancestors, they must be held responsible to reconcile history. They must bring justice to those victims of crimes who have been forgotten and who have had no closure for their suffering (victims of communist crimes) which would allow them to move on, leave history to historians.

So, Croatia is not a hostage to WWII history. On the contrary, Croatia is struggling to rectify history and bring all to their deserved place. It only seems as if there’s a hostage-of-history situation in Croatia but the bottom line is the one being frantically drawn by the tactics of communist sympathisers whereby they do not want prosecution and condemnation of communist crimes.

Croatia will, in many ways, be a poor country if the shaping of its future solely depends on the descendants of criminals who got away (from justice)! This goes for corruption, as well as for WWII and post-WWII crimes. Ina Vukic, prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Josip Broz Tito – embodiment of communist crimes

Recently I watched an exclusive Croatian TVPLUS interview with Josip Boljkovac (alleged communist war crimes perpetrator/WWII) and dr Vladimir Geiger, from Croatian history institute.

Boljkovac persists in justifying mass murders of anti-communists after World War II ended from the perspective communists invented: “If we don’t kill them, they’ll kill us”.  Communists were top of the class in inventing threats where there were none. He openly admits that the directive to liquidate all those who didn’t agree with communism came from the Central Committee of Yugoslav Communist Party – from Belgrade and, therefore from Josip Broz Tito.

Yet, Boljkovac has the hide to openly say that Tito cannot be responsible for the liquidations because he didn’t know everything that was going on.  What a horrible thing to say.

Dr Vladimir Geiger held his post feistily: Tito did know, Tito ordered mass murders, systematic mass murders occurred and they must be prosecuted.

Boljkovac talks coolly of mass killings as if taking a stroll down to the local markets where slaughter is necessity for survival. He truly must believe that survival of the communist regime was more important than human life.

Chilling stuff.

Throughout, I agonised: who will answer for the atrocities? No longer am I forcibly resigned to the possibility that no one will.

Someone will, someone must.

Zvonimr Hodak’s article in portal about Tito also brings into a fresh perspective the terror that Tito was, and the wretched machinations antifascists use to slip rosy-glasses onto people’s noses when looking at Tito.

Immediately, in 1941 the real antifascists charged forth from the West, and hard communists from the East and from the Balkan, so while at the end of the War the antifascists celebrated victory over Hitler, in the East and on Balkan peninsula, a bloody wedding-feast of the so-called antifascists commenced.  Frenzied killings, without trial or judgment, were according to D.S. ‘authoritarian, but justified politics’. As evidence for this D.S. offers quotes from a book written by Chetnik Danko Popovic who, among other things, says how Tito was fatal for Serbs, and for Croatians almost ‘savior from Heaven’. According to him ‘Tito is the greatest Croatian in history’. These grunts should serve as arguments in proving the un-provable. Today, even the apolitical people know how Tito, in the Spanish Civil war, as executioner in Stalin’s name, sent tens of thousands of Croatian and other communists to their death. Is it still necessary to keep proving to someone that Tito came to power on the wings of USSR and Allied victory and introduced in Yugoslavia a classical communist one-party dictatorial system filled with cold, cynical and bloody repression… At the end of the day, even the politically ignorant know how Tito’s rift with Stalin was motivated exclusively by preservation of power and that subsequently he prostituted himself ideologically by bootlicking the obnoxious capitalist west only to receive economic and political help in order to sustain his power, fearing Hazian’s heavy hand. When he, after 1955, finally permitted emigration of Croatians to work in the West, he immediately invented the ‘extreme political emigration’ and sent his UDBA (Yugoslav secret police) killer-dogs after them who, without mercy, liquidated all those who opposed ‘communism with a human face’. He even killed young children, as was the case of liquidation of the seven-membered family Sevo in Italy. And that are, according to D.S., perhaps an authoritative, but justified politics!   

Then came 1971 and 1972, and as Danko Popovic says, ‘the greatest Croat in history’ pelted how river Sava would flow upstream before Croatia would get its own state and that he has judges who hold onto the law like a drunkard to a picket fence. It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether Tito, when he pelted the two wisdoms, was drunk or mad.  And so, the authoritative, but (according to D.S.) justified politics, once again filled prisons and camps with students and Croatian intellectual elite. So, these are the facts, and comrades Trocki and D.S. may refute them if they wish but with real counterarguments, and not with phraseology.  Let them gather all the cleverness of the shallow forum moderators Boltek, Danko Popovic, Dusko Bilandzic, Tvrtko Jakovina and other galvanized communists who even today cover their rigid communism with blankets of antifascism. Their cynicism is slowly turning into a psychosis, which can successfully be treated in the existing institutions for such ailments. Oscar Wilde wrote: ‘A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing!’”

While the European Union parliament and many former communist countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans dabble in arriving at the best ways to deal with and process communist crimes, the remarkable lack of moral concern in the West with countless atrocities committed under communist systems remains distressing.

There’s asymmetrical reaction to Communism and Nazism almost worldwide.

Paul Hollander, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, wrote in 2009: “Public awareness of the large-scale atrocities and human rights violations in former communist states is minimal, especially in comparison to awareness of the Holocaust and Nazism.

These differences are symbolized by the contrast between the impressive and well- funded Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the absence of any corresponding institution devoted to the victims of communism. It should also be noted that the physical remnants of the Nazi killing machine have been recovered, preserved, and images of it seen all over the world. The Communist killing fields have been for the most part inaccessible and poorly known. Little remains of the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ and its equivalents in various former communist states.

We can readily summarize the principal factors that determined the contrasting Western perceptions and moral assessments of Nazism and communist systems. They are as follows:

Easy access to far more abundant visual images and evidence of Nazi wrongdoing and especially mass murders.

The different methods used in each system to exterminate groups defined as undesirable.

The different official ideologies, beliefs, and intentions that motivated the two sets of atrocities.

For all the above reasons, there remains a deep aversion in the West to postulating or acknowledging moral equivalence between Nazism and communism”.

Mass slaughters of disarmed Croatian soldiers and civilians after World War II was carried out by the Yugoslav OZNA (Department of national security/ Department for national protection) with the help of KNOJ (Peoples Defence Corps of Yugoslavia).

Boljkovac in the above TV interview confirms this – coldly.

Tito was the supreme commander of all, nothing went on without his knowledge and directive.

The order to slaughter came from the highest authority in the communist party. Prisoners were led to mass killing fields and usually shot in the neck and then thrown into karst caves, natural abysses, mines, tank ditches. Often, alive and tied – they were thrown into “bottomless” pits. As mentioned in my previous posts on communist crimes, over 1200 post-war graveyards have been discovered in the area of former Yugoslavia, more than 600 in Croatia.

Up till now the precise number of Croatian Home Guard members liquidated at the end of WWII and months, years, after is not known. What’s known is that numbers amount to many tens of thousands. I have encountered an account in the past that Yugoslav communists did draw up lists but these lists ‘miraculously’ disappeared in mid-1980’s. The number of civilian Croatian population, men, women and children, slaughtered with the same frenzy and blood-thirst was also large.

Without a shred of a doubt, my opinion is that Tito was the leading criminal and others coldly executed directives for murder – for personal gain and for the Party. In the above TVPLUS interview Boljkovac suggests that nothing can be done to the chief of one OZNA unit he named because the person is dead. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Plenty can be done in the name of justice for the multitudes of victims and their descendants that still, after nearly 70 years, feel and nurse the wounds that have not healed.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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