Croatia: Communist Bacteria Fester

Zagreb, 8.5.2018.- Croatia’s “Immortal Partisan Detachment” march
Photo HINA

A painful fury sets in. This week, authorities in Zagreb, Croatia, had actually permitted a march through its streets of some two hundred people who call themselves the Immortal Partisan Detachment and who stated they were marching to raise public awareness of people who gave their lives for a free Croatia (World War II)! The problem with this claim is that the communist Partisans did not free Croatia to make it free and independent – they fought against the Croatian army and the Independent State of Croatia fighters to keep Croatia within communist Yugoslavia and won the war. The word “free” in their language essentially means that they defeated the Ustasha regime, whose aim was to bring freedom and independence to Croatia, to make Croatia a sovereign state.

But as things repugnantly go with communists and former communists they use the word freedom to cover up and justify the heinous crimes against humanity they, as Partisans, committed for that fake “freedom”. Many people today still remain in a permanent and dangerous state of denial or semi-denial about the legacy of communism a century after its birth in Russia and in our case, about the legacy of communism in Croatia (as part of Yugoslavia). Do they question at all what freedom are these communists and former Partisans talking about?

No, they do not. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the communist Partisan crimes against Croats during WWII, no, they are not unaware of the Bleiburg massacres (May 1945) and Way of the Cross and multitudes of other mass murders of innocent people and of those who wanted an independent Croatia, not communist Yugoslavia. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy – they are plotting to get away with murder and to call “freedom” that which is not.

But they will insist that there is an essential difference between Nazism and communism – between race-hatred and class-hatred; Jasenovac and Bleiburg (Huda Pit,Goli Otok) – that morally favours the latter (class-hatred). They will attempt to dissociate communist theory from practice in an effort to acquit the former. They will balance acknowledgment of the repression and mass murder by communism with references to its “real advances and achievements.”

There was no true freedom in communist Yugoslavia – that is why the overwhelming majority of Croatian people voted to secede and carve their own freedom and democracy. And, of course, Croatia paid a terrible price in the 1990’s Homeland War through which it actually achieved freedom from Yugoslavia! That achieved freedom from Yugoslavia also symbolises freedom from almost a thousand years of enslavement by foreign powers. The communist ideology that at one point during the 20th century enslaved and impoverished roughly a third of the world collapsed elsewhere in the world almost without a fight and was exposed for all to see. Yet there are people who still have trouble condemning it as we do equivalent evils. And we treat its sympathizers as romantics and idealists, rather than as the extremist fanatics they really were and are; they are a dangerous breed that suffocates and denies the truth. They are the ones that are responsible for the increasing impoverishment of many Croats, now forced to emigrate in droves, in search of jobs and decent survival.

This Immortal Partisan Detachment that marched through Zagreb this week are associated ideologically and otherwise with the processions that started in Russia, in 2012 – Immortal Regiment – as way of marking WWII victory over the Nazis! And yet, some 36 million innocent people were purged under Russian communist regime and ideology!

What a sad and infuriating evidence that points to the fact that Croatian authorities have lost sight of what made Croatia free today! They have lost sight of the values of Croatia’s 1990’s Homeland War – a free, sovereign and democratic Croatia. While democracy brings freedom of association and expression, surely it must not tolerate any denials and cover-ups and excuses for crimes that drove Croats to fight and lose lives for a free state in that war.

Had the authorities not lost sight of that they would not permit this garbage, lie and fabrication of history to walk the streets in an organised march. They would make sure that all, including former Partisans and communists know that the Homeland War is the foundation of Croatia’s full freedom, not any WWII events. These marching thugs call themselves antifascists and yet they symbolise the communist Yugoslavia perpetrators of the greatest mass murders and extermination of innocent Croatian people the history has ever recorded in that part of the world during and after WWII!

The fact that symbols of the totalitarian communist Yugoslav are freely displayed also adds to the tragedy of what free Croatia is turning or has turned into: an emerging democracy contaminated by the lack of condemnation of the communist regime and its atrocious crimes against innocent people.

It’s a bitter fact that the most astonishing victory by the Croatian forces in defending Croatia from Serb aggression in 1990’s (Homeland War) turns out to be the one whose lessons Croatia has never seriously bothered to teach, much less to learn. This is due to the influence former communists still weave into life.

It was noted once that when the Germans allowed the leader of the Bolsheviks to travel from Switzerland to St. Petersburg in 1917, “they turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus.”

A century on, the communist bacteria isn’t eradicated, and democracy’s immunity to it in Croatia is, alarmingly and destructively, still in doubt. Ina Vukic


Portrait of Josip Broz Tito
Head of former communist Yugoslavia
Portrait title “Josip Groz Tito” by Charles Billich

In the USA the radical far-left group Antifa has been using threats and violence to suppress conservatives, libertarians, nationalists, and capitalists for months, and finally, a state has officially labeled them a terrorist group. On June 12, New Jersey became the first state in the country to label Antifa a domestic terrorist organization with the state office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. “Anti-fascist groups, or “Antifa,” are a subset of the anarchist movement and focus on issues involving racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as other perceived injustices,” the office’s website details.

Croatia would also do well if it declared as terrorists the antifascists denying communist crimes. In Croatia, the antifascist – antifa – organisation/s operate under legally based registration and cannot, therefore, be classified as anarchists. However, their expressed speeches charged with fundamental denials and justification of mass-scale communist crimes during and post-WWII without doubt are designed to incite anarchy, social divisions and violence or aggression particularly targeting those who seek justice for the victims of communist crimes and de-communisation of the country’s public administration and affairs.

Viewing the antifascists’ acts and public displays from a criminological, rather than ideological, perspective offers some provocative insights into the minds of those protecting the communist fighters of WWII and after it, who labeled themselves as antifascist fighters in order to conceal their heinous acts against humanity under the umbrella of the worldwide revered name of “antifascism”.

Studies have shown that criminals/terrorists commonly use five techniques to justify their heinous acts – allowing them to effectively neutralise their guilt. Croatia’s antifascists, former communists and many of their offspring, do just that even to this day.

The first recourse in neutralising the guilt for crimes is the “denial of responsibility”. In this way, criminals/terrorists might refer to forces beyond their control, relieving them of responsibility for their criminal actions. This was and is utmost loyalty to the communist party and its oppressive, fear mongering, tyrannical structure of power, resting on personality cult and political elitism. Communist purges under Josip Broz Tito in former Yugoslavia saw hundreds of targeted assassinations of non-communist inclined Croats and hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths buried in multitudes of unmarked mass graves and pits. Innocent Croats – killed like flies. To this day Croatian antifascists deny any responsibility for those deaths and continue justifying them by calculatingly and wrongfully accusing those they slaughtered of being fascists.

Second, criminals/terrorists employ “denial of injury” to justify violence. Communists causing harm and injury through cruel acts evidently believed that their actions will not have consequences to themselves since their cruelty would lead them to a better world – akin to paradise on Earth – under the rule and power of communism. Today’s antifascists in Croatia perpetuate the rhetoric of how just and mighty communist Yugoslavia was. This denial persists to this day as it is in no significant and objective way addressed by the modern-day antifascists of Croatia. No reality checks, whatsoever.

The criminals/terrorists also use a technique called “denial of the victim”. For zealots, the population in Croatia that did not subscribe to communism deserved and deserves punishment and death; any injury is just retaliation for their hatred of communists or antifascists. Many communists even considered the civilians of anti-communist predisposition as the enemy, since they supported and independent Croatia. The innocent masses buried in hundreds of pits deserved to die according to many antifascists.

The fourth tactic used by criminals/terrorists to neutralise their guilt is to “condemn the condemners”. Rather than explain their actions, terrorists attack those who disapprove of their deviance. For them, those condemners from the ranks of politicians, journalists, academics, judges, public figures, outspoken citizens and the like – are corrupted, depraved, brutal hypocrites and deviants, because they insist that communist regime was totalitarian and riddled with crimes against humanity. Thus antifascists widely employ the branding of those who fought for an independent Croatia during and after WWII as worthless beings who deserved the death that hundreds of thousands were faced with during communist purges. This neutralisation technique allows criminals to shrug off denunciation of their actions by questioning those segments of society that critique communist crimes/terrorism.

Finally, terrorists appeal to “higher loyalties” to explain their crimes. Social control may be neutralised by sacrificing the demands of larger society for the demands of smaller social groups to which the terrorists belong, such as antifascists. Antifascists keep pounding on how the communists/antifascists liberated the Croatian people in WWII, regardless of the fact that any liberation had to do with maintaining Yugoslavia as a conglomerate or federation of different states as opposed to independence of the Croatian state and nation. Communists made promises of brotherhood and friendship within Yugoslavia and forced a notion of brotherhood by purging – murdering – masses that wanted nothing to do with that ill-founded brotherhood. Today, Croatian antifascists even have the hide to claim credit for the independence of today’s Croatian state. A claim most fowl.

Denial of communist crimes in Croatia maintains and deepens the widespread fear of an emergence of yet another communist-like rule and in that prevents the development of mainstream solidarity with the independence and democracy Croats fought for in the 1990’s. The political and, therefore, economic prosperity of the country have been at an impasse for more years than I want to count and this must change – the scales must turn towards that for which Croatia fought: away from communist mindset and practices in public administration and affairs.

Much of this boils down to persistent, mindless denial of justice to victims of communist crimes by Croatian antifascists and this is – terrorism. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Denials Of Communist Crimes Dictate Profound Changes

My last week of visiting Croatia this time around is almost over and impressions run high – almost paralysing – with regard political scene and inroads. Regretfully, I shall leave Croatia this time carrying with me the perpetually present heavy load that gives no clarity as to how long the dual preoccupation with justice for victims of communist crimes, on the one side, and the “antifascist” or communist justification and denial of those crimes, on the other side, will last. Yesterday, June 22, Croatia had a Public holiday marking WWII antifascists (communists), with commemorative events held to that effect and deaf silence regarding any condemnation of communist crimes. At the same time, especially at Jazovka pit where, post-WWII, communists/antifascists murdered and dumped hundreds of politically different Croats, commemoration of victims of communist crimes was held. Representatives of Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic were at both events, holding speeches!

How long can the protectors of communist criminals and their victims live under the same roof is a question that perpetuates political nightmares, stifling progress in crucial areas of citizens’ daily lives and democracy. Croatia has not moved an inch in the direction of resolute actions in condemning all of its past (WWII and post’WWII) totalitarian regimes and the communist one is the one that still has its footprints in all current Croatian public administration lanes.

Situation being thus I think it best to promote in this article some writings of a notable Croatian woman, Blanka Matkovic, whose academic works and daily life populate attempts at unravelling the truth about communist crimes. Ina Vukic


University of Warwick, Department of History August 2015


In the last months of the Second World War and after the war, all of Europe was severely affected by its consequences. Yugoslavia was no exception. The intensity of the violence reached a new peak between the autumn of 1944 and the summer of 1945, when mass killings occurred across the country. However, the Yugoslav authorities denied for decades that these mass killings had ever taken place and stopped all attempts to reveal them. Moreover, the Western Allies, despite knowing about these crimes, chose to ignore them in order to preserve the alliance with the Soviet Union.

The political manipulation and the flaws in previous research had a tremendous impact, even on the generations born after the end of the Second World War. Unlike some other Eastern European countries where communism was installed with the help of the Soviet Army, Yugoslav partisans had gained power without the help of Soviet troops. The communist government of Yugoslavia was not imposed by a foreign power but was a result of internal factors. This is one of the reasons why the successor states of Yugoslavia have such problems to come to terms with the communist past and why former communists could often continue their careers under now democratic conditions. Macedonia is still the only former Yugoslav republic where a lustration law has been enacted (since 2009).

Croatia has not passed a law which would make the prosecution of the perpetrators of communist crimes possible. Moreover, 27 July is still celebrated as an unofficial national holiday although that was a day when in 1941 the first communist massacres happened. Between 1945 and 1990 that day was celebrated as the Day of the Uprising of the Peoples of Croatia and the murder of several hundred Croatian villagers, including women and children, was forgotten. Former leading members of the communist party still play an important role in Croatian politics and hold positions of power. The Lustration Law is therefore mostly supported by small right-wing parties and NGOs. They argue that the de-communisation of Croatian society is essential for social and political change.

Today, due to the reluctance to deal with the Communist past and, incomplete de-communisation of Croatian society, this topic in Croatia is still a matter not only of political and scholarly debates, but also of everyday life. Questioning total demographic losses and investigating communist crimes is often seen as ‘historical revisionism’, particularly by the former Croatian president Stjepan Mesić who compared it with ‘celebrating Fascism’ and argued that this might prevent Croatia from joining the EU. In February 2007, Mesić contributed to the international debate sparked by the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. On the introduction of a Day of Remembrance in which Italy remembers the Italians either killed or forced to leave Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War Napolitano criticised ‘hatred and bloodthirsty furor’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’. In his reply Mesić accused Napolitano of racism. In October 2011 Mesić expressed his concerns about ‘the second historical revisionism offensive’ in order ‘to judge communism which is equated with Nazi-Fascism’. Mesić said that the same thing was happening in the other transition countries and concluded that ‘the democratic Europe seems to be too democratic… towards such excesses’. Mesić ignored that in 2011 the Croatian Parliament itself had adopted the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, commemorated on 23 August. This day also refers to victims of communist crimes. Without impartial and thorough research the ‘historical truth’ will keep disappearing behind a politically motivated smokescreen of half-truths, distorted facts and manipulated victim numbers.

Croatian historians are by no means the only ones whose work is seriously affected by pressure coming from various political circles. Serbian and Slovenian historians have also reported that there is still strong resistance to this kind of research. The governments and judicial systems of the former Yugoslav republics showed no willingness to prosecute the perpetrators of these atrocities or to pass and enforce Lustration laws. As according to Serbian historians most documents about these executions are kept in Serbian archives, only a close cooperation between Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian authorities and researchers will finally make conclusive results possible.

During the last two decades several investigations have been carried out in three republics of former Yugoslavia, but the results were not satisfactory. At first sight, they seemed to be impressive. Approximately 1,800 mass graves have been identified in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. On the other hand, only a small percentage of these locations have been exhumed, mostly due to financial reasons, and in many cases the victims have not been identified which leaves plenty of space for future, politically motivated manipulations.

Despite the political obstacles, the intensity of the Yugoslav violence is very well presented by two numbers. This thesis has shown how harsh Yugoslav repression – compared to post-war purges in France and other western European countries – really was. Demographic losses in former Yugoslavia were among the highest in Europe. According to Vučković, Žerjavić and Kočović, Yugoslavia lost approximately one million people during the war, including 597,323 victims of the so-called ‘fascist terror’ counted in Yugoslav research in 1964. That means that approximately 400,000 casualties are unaccounted for. There is evidence that most of them were killed by communist partisans and the Yugoslav Army. The results provided by the research on ‘Victims of Dugopolje’ provides strong evidence that the majority of deaths occurred in the last few months of the war and immediately after the war. However, it remains unknown how many of those who stood trial later and were punished by death are included in that number.

Although it is still not possible to answer the question ‘how many people were killed in Yugoslavia during and immediately after the Second World War and how many of them fell victim to communist repression?’, the cases presented in this thesis show that number is certainly measured in thousands. In Macelj, Tezno and Jazovka alone, 2,789 human remains were discovered. This number may not sound that high, but it is important to keep in mind that these are only three out of 1,800 possible mass grave locations in former Yugoslavia and the exhumations were stopped in the early stage of investigation. Each location actually consists of several locations (Jazovka probably two), which are known under the same name. In Macelj, only 23 mass graves were dug out while there could be up to 130 mass graves. At the moment it is impossible to estimate how many people ended their lives only on these three locations. Only a further research can give at least an approximately accurate answer and prevent further manipulations with the number of victims on both sides.

The cases presented in this thesis provided sufficient evidence that thorough research could reveal more details about specific perpetrators of these atrocities. However, even when that is not possible, due to lack of archival documents, those that are available to us show a certain pattern. Following their capture, the majority of prisoners-of-wars and civilians were under control of the Yugoslav Army and its units actively participated in mass killings. In the following weeks OZNA was taking over. It is important to understand that OZNA was not part of the military but a police organisation and it did conduct investigations with the aim of getting information which would help improve its work. This is a reason why in some cases OZNA reacted angrily when prisoners were liquidated “too quickly”. KNOJ, which was subordinated to OZNA, conducted its military operations with a surgical precision. However, it would be wrong to conclude that the Yugoslav Army acted spontaneously. Sometimes that apparently was the case, and it is possible that those actions were a result of desire for revenge. However, in the cases when the killings were carried out on a massive scale, they were carefully planned and systematically organised. One example of systematic and organised mass killing is Kočevski Rog.

The question that often arises in discussion about this topic is – who ordered these crimes? Were they indeed a result of erratic behaviour and looting by a victorious army? It seems that this was not or not very often the case. Moreover, several documents presented in the fourth and fifth chapter suggest that all organisations in former Yugoslavia, including civil authorities, OZNA and the Yugoslav Army, were under strict control of the KPJ (Communist Party of Yugoslavia). In the most important matters the communists interfered in anything which was of particular interests. For example, some of the documents prove the local KP committees, such as the one in Stubica, occasionally contacted higher KP committees asking them to instruct the higher military commands how to proceed in the field. Given the fact that there was apparently a strong bond between the KPJ and the mass executions, it can be concluded that this was done with the knowledge of the Politburo, and therefore, Tito as well.

This might be the reason why so many former communists strongly defend Tito’s role and persistently claim that the killings were only ‘isolated incidents’. Another reason – at least for the older generation – might be the wish to protect themselves against prosecution. Acknowledging these atrocities and taking responsibility could also somehow diminish the role of the NOP in the anti-fascist uprising in former Yugoslavia which plays an important role for the self-understanding and prestige of the successor organisations of the Yugoslav communist party.

What is often forgotten in this story is who the victims are and why coming to terms with the past is essential for true peace. In 1997 John Paul Lederach presented his integrated framework for peace building in which the fourth phase represents ‘the longer-termperspective, which is often adopted by people who seek to prevent conflict and to promote a vision of a more peaceful and socially harmonious future’ which he called the ‘desired future’. Lederach believed that protracted conflicts cannot be fixed quickly because the healing of the people and the rebuilding of their relationships are necessary and they do take time.

20 years after the end of Homeland War and 70 years after the end of the Second World War, Croatian society is still not living in that ‘desired future’. The victims of the events, described in this thesis, are not only who were slaughtered, but many others whose lives have been affected. This is why profound changes in the Croatian society are necessary and they begin with objective and systematic research.”

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