No Fading Of Memory For Communist Crimes

Roman Leljak
Photo: Ina Vukic

To not give due attention to communist crimes in former Yugoslavia during and post-WWII is as evil as committing them. According to Rudolph J. Rummel – a US based world authority on communist crimes, mass murders committed in the name of the state, the body count attributed to communist Yugoslavia mass murders goes beyond the number of 1,072,000 between 1945 and 1992. Hundreds of thousands of these bodies are Croatian; hundreds of thousands of mass graves unearthed since the end of Croatia’s war of independence of early 1990’s. The search and unearthing of mass graves continues to this day and the whole ugly truth of communist crimes may never be uncovered. The latter is particularly relevant as the political and governing elite in Croatia continue hampering research into communist crimes and give insignificant, if any, financial support for the pursuit of this ugly truth. A great deal of those are either themselves former communist operatives or have a family member who was.

Roman Leljak, based in Slovenia but also in Croatia for the purposes of research and drawing public attention to the communist crimes, has worked for a long time to bring the calamity of communist crimes to wider public attention as well as supporting those who are also still trying to uncover the full facts about the many massacres of Croats and other former Yugoslavia nationals. The period his research focuses on is particularly the one immediately after the end of WWII when the British Army’s forced repatriation to Josip Broz Tito’s communist Yugoslavia from Austria of people who were in flight from communist Yugoslavia sent the forcefully repatriated into quick death, murdered by Tito’s communists (Partisans).

The killings, that mostly occurred within hours or days upon reaching Slovenia from Austria were done with massive disorder, a massive wickedness, massive and vicious evil – a massive sadness and anguish for the victims and their families as well as for the Croatian nation. To the communists the people murdered as well as those brutally oppressed because they did not subscribe to communism in the decades that followed under the communist totalitarian regime had no intrinsic worth and had to be destroyed one way or another. The result had been the mass elimination of people who thought differently, or just were in the way. The communists had had various options for disposing of so many bodies. Throwing them into karst rock crevasses, burying them in mining tunnels or antitank trenches, or digging large pits deep in the forests.

One particularly appalling killing site was the St. Barbara Tunnel near Huda Jama, where meticulous efforts to cover up the crime afterward were successful for over 60 years. The grim remains of multitudes of victims were uncovered only in 2008. In April 2017 I posted a Roman Leljak article on communist crimes over Croats and others he is researching in Slovenia and the Australian public had the opportunity to hear him speak in various places during this current week. The facts Leljak uncovers are chilling to the core. The communist brutality, as researched archive material show, defines the darkest and the most evil of places human beings can occupy.

Among fourteen Roman Leljak’s publications is the book “Huda Pit – the strictly guarded secret”, compilations of Yugoslav Secret Service documents, etc. and his thorough research into communist crimes continues.

One cannot but admire Leljak who is faced with personal sacrifices in order to bring to the world the full truth of communist atrocities against innocent people. Leljak, like many other scientists and historians, in the pursuit of absolute truth have on the main been left to themselves and their personal know-how and connections and this, in particular, evidences the fact that corrupt communist morality still controls the runes that mark official history in Croatia, Slovenia and other former Yugoslavia states.

We cannot build modern Croatia (modern Europe, modern world) upon the shifting sands of deliberate historical lies and cover-ups. Croatia itself, while marking commemorations to victims of communist crimes, is unable to come to terms with what happened during the reign of the communist totalitarian regime. Because these communist massacres were on such an enormous scale, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that most Croatians now alive will have some connection through friends or family to either the victims of these massacres or those who ordered and committed them.

This is a heavy psychological burden for the whole country to carry and it must be downloaded into admission of guilt and prosecution not only of the communist totalitarian regime but also of individuals who took part in these atrocities against humanity. Talking about justice for the victims of communist crimes in Croatia is a difficult pursuit entered into by justice-conscious individuals who are often ridiculed and publicly ostracised by former communists. There has been no high-level support even for research let alone talking about justice for the victims and their families. Communist Yugoslavia symbols are still freely displayed and flaunted at every opportunity that arises and especially in those where resistance to the historical truth is on someone’s agenda. Croatia’s former communist operatives and their prominent younger family members present themselves as respectable members of European social democracy, tiptoeing steadily away from the disagreeable issues of communist crimes and hoping that memory of them simply fades away.

Charles Billich
Photo: Ina Vukic

It is for those who truly stick their neck out for humanity to turn the numbers of communist crimes victims back into people. If that cannot be done then Josip Broz Tito and the communists, not the defenders who fought in Croatia’s Homeland War for independence from communism, have shaped not only Croatia but humanity as well! And this unacceptable eventuality will ripple its dark effects beyond Croatia’s borders.

A few days ago I had an opportunity of discussing communist crimes in Croatia with Charles Billich, the Australia based world-renowned artist of Croatian descent who is planning on creating a monument of truth in Croatia dedicated to victims of communist crimes and of Croatia’s Homeland War. Billich told me how he lost twelve members from his family to communist crimes, when he was a child living in communist Yugoslavia. Exposed to communist crimes at an early age he remembers the profound anguish felt at the brutal loss of uncles, aunties, cousins…some being thrown alive into “foibe” (existing bottomless karst sinkholes on dormant volcanic land)… he remembers the people calling the mass killers bandits and that slowly it was revealed they were Partisans… Tito was like Stalin, a common killer, said Billich. Ina Vukic


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