Another Antisemitism Splotch By Ivo Goldstein Against Croats

If it wasn’t for Croatian historian Ivo Goldstein’s past and perpetual fabrications and malicious lies against the World War Two Independent State of Croatia, such as alleged “bone-crushing machines” to hide the number of killed at Jasenovac camp or that Ante Pavelic’s Ustashe regime towards Serbs (whose enormous toll in exterminating Serbia’s 94% of Jews by mid-May 1942 is perpetually hidden by Goldstein himself) had a policy, even though Goldstein admits and states that such a policy had never been published or printed (!), that translated into “one third of Serbs to be killed, one third to be expelled and one third to be forcibly converted to Catholicism”, for Goldstein’s malicious and tragically categorising of Antisemitism into perpetrating ethnic groups rather than political or religious pursuits directed from authorities above, his new 640-page book on antisemitism in Croatia over the centuries may be taken as a crucial piece of encyclopaedic work. He fails miserably and I would say purposefully to note that while Croatian people had lived on the territory, he writes about for centuries they were, in reality, ruled and dictated to by foreign powers not their own until some thirty years ago.  Then again, it may be encyclopaedic only if one is to look at the hatred against Croats, undeserved imputations against Croats of others’ deeds, that emanate from the pages of Ivo Goldstein’s new book.  All in all, Ivo Goldstein’s as his late father Slavko historical work has always evidently existed to justify and protect Yugoslav communists and their crimes and to rub smears after smears at the fight for independence Croats had engaged in after decades and centuries of oppression.

When in 1918, resulting from World War One, the “Western Allies” tossed Croatia from the Habsburg Monarchy to the rule of cruel Serbian Monarch, creating forcefully the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, this is what Croats picked up as a matter of force as far as antisemitism is concerned but Ivo Goldstein would make you believe it was the Croats that held these views against Jews because they were transferred upon Croatian soil by the ruling Serbian Monarchy regime: “The story of the Jews of today in the Balkan States is chiefly concerned with Rumania, for their numbers in Bulgaria (76,000) and in Serbia (15,780) are but few, and their influence small amid the general population. To grasp at all the intricacies of the Jewish question, and the extent of the prejudice against them, it is needful briefly to review the condition, economic, political, and social … the real control lies in the hands of one class. These are the nobles… King Petar seems outwardly friendly to the Jews, and they enjoy some equality of civil and religious liberty. Yet this freedom does not, in Serbia, extend itself to social intercourse. As yet, the Jews have no share in public life or government. A few are successful in law and medicine…”, “The Conquering Jew”, John Foster Fraser, 1915, pp 232-234.

Immediately after World War Two communist Yugoslavia authorities placed in all key educational, cultural, economic, and political positions its own people including uneducated or barely educated individuals who fought in the war as partisans under the pretence of being antifascists but in fact were murderous communists or covering up those murders.  And so, the stage was set for fake academics, for fake school directors, for fake university professors…the stage was set that gave licence and free hand to writing Croatia’s history regarding its independence fight under the Ustashe regime as it pleased the political goals of mega murderer Josip Broz Tito. Of course, this political appointment trend to key positions in Yugoslav society saw the rise of communist Slavko Goldstein and his son Ivo as some credible historians and, to eternal grief of Croats, they made up wild lies and inserted gruesome fabrications in order to paint the Croatian patriots who fought from freedom from Yugoslavia the darkest of the dark. Ivo Goldstein is still at it, seemingly changing his tactics from publishing wild lies or fabrications to stealthily imputing hateful thins against patriotic Croats! All that was possible during the totalitarian regime of communist Yugoslavia and it left awful stains on innocent Croatian people.

Last couple of weeks have seen in Croatia several launches of the latest book by historian Ivo Goldstein ‘Antisemitism in Croatia – from the Middle Ages to the Present’ published by Fraktura from Zapresic.

“Antisemitism has historically become a paradigm of hatred of the other and the different and paradigms – the ‘ancestor’ of all nationalisms and chauvinisms. But in terms of consequences, it is the most terrible of all because it culminated in the most terrible crime of all time – the Holocaust,” recently said the book’s editor Vuk Perisic. He added that the book describes the process of creating hatred in Croatia, with an extremely rich presentation of archival material, newspaper articles and political speeches. Well, if the severity of a crime is defined by the number of victims and brutality and depravity in the manner of murders then surely communist crimes take the top position! But no use of telling that to either Goldstein or Perisic as both are in the business of denying justice to victims of communist crimes. Weren’t all revolutions in human history, weren’t all wars in history of mankind the result of insufferable oppression, pressure, dictatorships etc!?   

Thankfully, political scientist from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, Dr Mirjana Kasapovic, in her review of the Ivo Goldstein new book, emphasised that it is “embarrassing to read only bad books”, and she put Goldstein’s work in that category.

“Antisemitism in Croatia from the Middle Ages to the Present” by Ivo Goldstein, as Kasapovic states in her review, is a thematically, theoretically and methodologically demanding work.

It should be noted that in the scientific literature, antisemitism is studied “as a political ideology, political and social movement and state policy, either within one state or comparatively in several states.” However, as Kasapovic herself observes, Goldstein writes about only one country in his work. This of course is yet another example of his anti-Croatian and pro-Serbian bias when it comes to World War Two and the Jewish question in both; Serbia not Croatia was the one who declared itself “Jew Free”, having exterminated about 94% of its Jews by mid-1942 and Croatia had never pursued such a goal. 

“I write deliberately about the country, not the state, because most of Croatia’s history since the Middle Ages was not an independent state, but Croatian lands were included in various state formations – the Habsburg Monarchy, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, the Dubrovnik Republic, France, Italy, Hungary, Yugoslavia – in which there were more or less recognisable geographical, ethnic, cultural and political entities. One can speak of the state only from 1941 to 1945 (NDH) and after 1991 (Republic of Croatia).

Goldstein solved this problem by tacitly ‘writing’ the modern Republic of Croatia into history and treated Croatian countries that were part of various state formations in the Middle Ages and the New Age, and today are part of the Republic of Croatia, as areas of Croatia,” explains Kasapovic.

This means that, for example, “antisemitism in Austro-Hungarian towns and cities of Varazdin, Sisak and Zagreb was treated as antisemitism in Croatia. Such an approach is pragmatic, but not unproblematic. As antisemitism was and remains state policy, the question is to whom state-produced or sponsored antisemitism in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy should be attributed.

Isn’t that Austrian and Hungarian, not Croatian antisemitism? The opposite is also true: aren’t non-discriminatory state legal acts against Jews, such as the Edict of Tolerance of Emperor Joseph II, Austrian, not Croatian documents? The problem is even more complicated if we keep in mind that state and non-state antisemitism were intertwined: non-state antisemitism was often caused or encouraged by the state, but the state government often banned and suppressed antisemitic incidents in society and punished their perpetrators.

Therefore, Kasapovic believes that “Goldstein did not consistently adhere to this methodological approach, so he included antisemitism in Croatia as phenomena in areas that in the indicated part of history were not, and are not today, parts of Croatia.”

With some caricature, it could be said that only the 17th century Croatian noble families Zrinski and Frankopani are missing in the gallery of characters Ivo Goldstein puts out in his book, especially since it is suggested in one place that the Hungarian-Croatian King Andrew II, who ruled in the 13th century, was an anti-Semite.

Worst of all, to Ivo Goldstein, they all appear to be the forerunners of the Holocaust. For many great European thinkers and artists – from St. Augustine to Luther, from Kant to Voltaire, from Balzac to T. S. Eliot – binds some form of antisemitism, but it is difficult if not evil to claim that they prepared the Holocaust. When it comes to unfairly portraying Croats rather than their rulers over the centuries as antisemitic Ivo Goldstein does not appear truthful or fair or ethical for that matter. Ivo Goldstein’s bias against the Croatian people who fought against any form of Yugoslavia during World War Two and those who fought against communist Yugoslavia in 1990’s is an enormous burden for history to cleanse in the service of justice and truth. To talk of antisemitism as the only precursor to the concept of Holocaust as defined in its Greek origins “sacrifice by fire” would also appear for many as blasphemous. What of the much larger “sacrifice by fire” entailed in communist purges and mass murders whose body counts are much, much, higher than those of the World War Two Holocaust. Ivo Goldstein should abstain from writing about either if for nothing else then because of the portrait of communist Yugoslavia mega murderer Josip Broz Tito whose portrait still to this day reportedly hangs in prominent places in Goldstein’s home and visibly in the public offices he had until recently occupied. Ina Vukic

Servicing Serbia’s Propaganda Israel’s Gideon Greif Abuses Holocaust And Fabricates Parts Of Croatia’s History

Gideon Greif (L), Photo: N1

For years now I have been writing articles regarding the monstrous pursuits of Israel’s historians such as Efraim Zuroff and Gideon Greif that blacken Croatia and Croatians during World War Two. Suffice to say both are and have been on Serbia’s propaganda train against Croatia, maybe even its payroll, while attempting to cover up the fact that WWII Serbia was one of the first European countries to declare itself “Free of Jews” or “Judenfrei” having exterminated some 94% of its Jews to May 1942! Efraim Zuroff of Simon Wiesenthal Centre had appeared staunchly pro-communist, defending the atrocious communist crimes, or ignoring them for years and, yet, in victim numbers they counted many many more victims than the Holocaust itself! The numbers of people they claimed, together with Serbia, that perished in Croatian camps during World War Two, without a shred of evidence but with lots of hatred of Croats and Independent Croatia, are monstrous and abominable. And so I was truly happy at reading a recent article (11 May 2022) in Israels’ Haaretz.com portal by its highly-acclaimed journalist Sam Sokol on these matters of Holocaust abuse and fabrications of history by Gideon Greif, which I too pass onto you readers and followers of my blog articles. It is great article in support of the truth we all seek to cast out eyes upon sooner or later.

“Six months ago, Prof. Gideon Greif was on top of the world.

A respected Holocaust scholar, he was set to receive Germany’s highest civilian honor for his research on the Sonderkommandos, Jewish prisoners who were forced to dispose of bodies at the Nazi death camps. Years earlier his research was adapted into an award-winning feature film, ‘Son of Saul.’

But the civilian honor in Germany was soon rescinded amid allegations that Greif was a genocide denier who tried to whitewash the murder of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Now the 71-year-old scholar, who this year announced plans to revise a controversial war crimes report he co-wrote on behalf of Serb nationalists, again faces allegations of sacrificing historical accuracy to bolster a nationalist narrative.

He allegedly has inflated the death toll at Jasenovac, a Croatian death camp where, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German-allied Ustasha regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people during the Holocaust.

The controversy relates to Greif’s cooperation with the Serbian government to produce an exhibit, and later a book, about Jasenovac. According to Greif, at least 700,000 people died at the camp, a figure repudiated by contemporary scholars and promoted by Serbian nationalists.

Both the exhibit and the book followed a number of cooperation agreements brokered by the Serbian Foreign Ministry and signed by Greif in 2016 and 2017 on behalf of two groups he was affiliated with, the International Group of Experts GH7-Stop Revisionism and Shem Olam, an Israeli Holocaust education and research institute. The Serbian signatories included civil society groups and the country’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.

The result was a 2018 UN exhibit about Jasenovac curated by Greif and sponsored by the Serbian Foreign Ministry. It was soon followed by the 700-plus page book ‘Jasenovac: Auschwitz of the Balkans,’ where Greif said his efforts were part of a ‘Serbian-Jewish bastion against revisionism.’

In the book, Greif credited an Israeli Foreign Ministry official for his first meeting with the Serbs and stated that the Israeli ambassador to Belgrade was present when he signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgrade on behalf of Shem Olam.

Greif wrote that the Croat Ustashas even surpassed the German Nazis in their wickedness and in their bloodlust, juxtaposing statistics about Auschwitz and Jasenovac on facing pages and highlighting various death toll estimates in a way appearing to equate the two camps.

He also quoted estimates that the death toll at Jasenovac, where the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs, could be as high as 1.4 million, exceeding even Auschwitz, though the number he has promoted in a raft of media appearances is significantly lower.

‘I would say that the minimum number is 700,000 and maybe more,’ he said on Serbian television in 2019. ‘So this is the beginning number. Maybe about 800,000 Serbs, 40,000 Jews.’

But this estimate has been discredited by modern scholarship, said Yad Vashem historian Rob Rozett, who added that Greif’s estimate was based on inflated figures produced by the communist Yugoslav government following World War II.

The scholarly community, including Yad Vashem, ‘has rejected those numbers,’ and Greif’s conclusions ‘are way outside of what scholars consider to be legitimate discussion these days,’ Rozett said.

‘Serbian nationalist narrative’

Ernest Herzog, the World Jewish Congress’ Belgrade-born director of operations, recalled a visit by Greif in 2019 where the historian tried to win the Congress’ support for a Jasenovac event in Jerusalem. Herzog said he declined the offer because he believed that Greif only presented ‘the Serbian nationalist narrative.’

‘I wasn’t sure he was aware what he was getting into,’ Herzog said. ‘It’s not that I think he’s some kind of a crook, but I just think that he ended up on the wrong side of history when it comes to this because on Jasenovac he didn’t explore all the avenues and research, and completely dismissed all the work done in the ’80s and the ’90s.’

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff, referred to as an expert in Greif’s book, had a different take.

Referring to honors Greif has received from Serbia – including the country’s Gold Medal of Merit in 2019 – Zuroff said that while he couldn’t identify Greif’s motives, ‘it seems clear he has been given rewards of different sorts and perhaps it’s those rewards that motivated him to produce the kind of goods that the people who gave him the rewards want to see.

The question is what are you willing to do to receive those awards,’ Zuroff said, adding that ‘it’s sad to see what happened to this person.’

For his part, Greif seemed aggrieved by the criticism against him, complaining in a statement to Haaretz about ‘vicious incitement’ and ‘terrorist-like pressure’ that he said included 23 death threats in recent years.

‘I do not know another historian in the whole world who lives in the shadow of death threats just because he expresses his own opinions,’ Greif wrote, adding that his research on Jasenovac was not part of the cooperation agreements he signed, which were ‘standard agreements for academic, educational, pedagogical and research cooperation.’

His books ‘were not funded by any Serbian government office, and no one but me had any influence on their content,’ he added. ‘I received no payment, not even one shekel, not even one euro, not even one dollar.’

Dismissing the 1.4-million-victim number as unrealistic, Greif said that ‘statistical issues like the number of victims concern me less, and are secondary to me, firstly because my attention is given to the world of the victim.’ He said he based his work on a number of works published decades ago by Yad Vashem, which he considered the ‘most reliable and well-established sources.’

He added: ‘I have no interest in reducing or increasing the number of murders at Jasenovac. I try to choose the most realistic and authentic data available to me.’

One source he mentioned was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which he said put the death toll at Jasenovac at 500,000.

Emil Kerenji, a scholar at the museum, said that between 77,000 and 99,000 people were murdered at the Croatian camp, a number in line with an estimate by Ivo Pejakovic, the head of the Jasenovac memorial site in Croatia. He said his database currently contains the names of over 83,000 victims.

‘Dr. Greif didn’t make any research regarding the number of victims of Jasenovac camp. As far as I understand, he simply quoted estimation of 700,000 victims or more, which were the official numbers of victims during the period of Yugoslavia,’ Pejakovic wrote in an email.

‘So he disregarded all new research that was done in the last years and decades. There is no methodology or research to comment on.’

Ono Academic College, where Greif lectures on history, distanced itself from the controversial scholar’s book on Jasenovac. It said in a statement that even though its logo appeared on the cover of Greif’s book, it had nothing to do with it.

An Israeli official, meanwhile, disputed Greif’s claim that the Foreign Ministry facilitated his cooperation agreements with Belgrade.

‘We have no recollection of ever putting him in touch with the Serbs,’ the official said.”

Ina Vukic

What is the Holocaust memory in Serbia: suffering of Jews in Serbia or in Croatia?

This letter had recently been offered for publication in The Times of Israel, but the editors decided not to publish it. However, it asks a relevant question (in the title) and offers several links to important articles which may be unknown to the readers interested in the subject of Serbian misuse of the Holocaust. So, we offer them here.

The letter

On July 12, 2021, in The Blogs section of The Times of Israel, Mr. Ronen Shnidman reported from the Belgrade meeting of remembrance of the last survivors of the WWII Jasenovac camp in Croatia. The report is entitled “Serbia’s Holocaust memory and the ties that bind us” (https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/serbias-holocaust-memory-and-the-ties-that-bind-us/). After reading the report I wondered what the “memory of Holocaust” in Serbia should have been: suffering of Jews in Serbia or in Croatia? Are the Serbs who perished in Jasenovac (Croatia) a part of the Holocaust victims, and if they are, are Croats and Roma also victims, as well as Poles and all other non-Jewish nations who perished in other concentration camps during the WW II? To answer these questions would perhaps be inappropriate from me as I am a Croat born after the WW II, and my ancestors had neither participated in the war nor perished in it, but Mr. Shnidman’s report indeed elicits several questions.

Starting “lightly”, Shnidman reports on the speech of Ms. Danijela Danon „Danon is the granddaughter of the Jasenovac victim Rabbi Daniel Isak Danon and delivered a speech at the Jasenovac Martyrs event held at the Serbian Academy of the Sciences and Arts.” If the family of Ms. Danon was from Serbia, how had Rabbi Danon ended up in Jasenovac, another state and hundreds of kilometers away? If they lived in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, how come that Ms. Danijela lives in Belgrade and talks – to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts? Why didn’t she, or anybody else at the meeting, remember the letter that Philip J. Cohen, the American publicist of Jewish origin and former advisor to the UN in Bosnia and Hercegovina, addressed to rabbi Abraham Cooper at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre on February 27th, 1992, in which Cohen pointed out that antisemitism has been deeply ingrained into Serb history. He also unmasked the propaganda of ‘Greater Serbia’, which at the start of the nineties accused Croatia of fascism and antisemitism.

Shnidman wrote: “Some 57 different documented methods of death were employed at Jasenovac. These were used in the killing of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews, Roma and Croatian anti-fascists.” However, “the methods of death” have no forensic evidence found so far. The evidence so far found does not point to the claim that, many, „tens of thousands of Jews, Roma and Croatian anti-fascists” have been slaughtered in Jasenovac. Namely, Jasenovac is still a place wrapped in the fog of communist myths and lack of systematic investigation and, as such, a victim to Serbian anti-Croat propaganda.

Disputes apart, there are three things that are true and verifiable:

  1. Three expert forensic investigations done at the sites in Jasenovac by the Yugoslav communist regime in 1964, indicated that allegedly most numerous mass graves contained a total of fewer than 500 skeletons of unknown origin.
  2. The list of Jasenovac victims maintained by the Public Establishment Memorial Park Jasenovac (PEMP Jasenovac, approximately 84,000 names) has been unequivocally proven to have been made up (or fabricated) (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2012.11574.pdf): all lists of victims maintained by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington were analyzed on the years of birth of listed victims, and only the Jasenovac one came out as statistically impossible.
  3. iii) Yugoslavian censuses before and after WW II reveal that, in comparison to the pre-war data, the post-war number of Croats had decreased, and the number of Serbs increased.

The Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade claims almost the same number of victims as PEMP Jasenovac, but the full list has never been either compared or aligned; at the same time, Jasenovac Research Institute in New York speaks about 600,000 Jasenovac victims, and Dr. Gideon Greif (mentioned as an authority in Shnidman’s text) of 700,000. How is it possible to have such great discrepancies in the number of victims?

Recently, Australian analyst Mr. David Goldman published an article in the Jerusalem Post (JP) under the title “This disgraceful mocking of the Holocaust needs to stop immediately” (https://m.jpost.com/opinion/this-disgraceful-mocking-of-the-holocaust-needs-to-stop-now-676707/amp?__twitter_impression=true), saying that Serbia used lies about Jasenovac to position Serb sufferings during WW II under the Holocaust. The acting director of the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade, Mr. Dejan Ristić, sent a protest letter to JP (https://www.jpost.com/opinion/shame-on-those-who-seek-to-revise-history-of-the-holocaust-opinion-676992), and the article by Goldman was withdrawn. Ristić vehemently attacked Goldman as a “revisionist”. The editors did not know, I suppose, that Dr. Ristić at the same time denied genocide committed by Serbian forces in Srebrenica in 1995, and called upon all Serbian scientists to intensify investigations to prove that the Srebrenica massacre (around 8,000 victims) was not a genocide (http://www1.srna.rs/novosti1/922650/ristic-u-srebrenici-nije-bilo-genocida–incko-pocinio-pravno-nasilje.htm).

Serbian strategy of copying the Holocaust of Jews for Serbian WW II victims has been recognized and criticised before Goldman’s JP’s article (which was taken down by the JP a few days after publishing it):

  1. https://haifaholocauststudies.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/holocaust-discourse-as-a-screen-memory-the-serbian-case/; https://haifaholocauststudies.wordpress.com/tag/dr-lea-david/
  2. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2021-02-04/review-dara-jasenovac-holocaust-drama-serbia
  3. https://variety.com/author/jay-weissberg/
  4. https://forward.com/culture/463544/dara-of-jasenovac-serbian-oscar-controversy-genocide-holocaust-croatia/?gamp&__twitter_impression=true
  5. https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/07/erasing_the_history_of_the_holocaust.html (David Goldman’s article on Serbian strategy to invade the Holocaust with its Jasenovac victims that has not been withdrawn).

Serbian abuse of history has been notified long ago (Christopher Bennett. How the Serbs Abuse History. Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition [New York, N.Y] 7 May 1999: A18.; Philip J. Cohen. Serbia’s Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press; 1996.). This abuse includes (mis)use of the Holocaust, which is outrageous! Philip Cohen rightfully called it desacralization of the Holocaust (Cohen, Philip J. 1993. Desecrating the Holocaust: Serbia’s Exploitation of the Holocaust as Propaganda. Philip J. Cohen.). I am afraid that Shnidman, Ristić and Greif, intentionally or not, support and/or follow that Serbian strategy. Mr. Shnidman’s report in The Times of Israel on Belgrade meeting “Serbia’s Holocaust memory and the ties that bind us” is in line both with abuse of history and desacralization of the Holocaust, in one sentence – “Serbian anti-Semitism, historical revisionism and exploitation of Holocaust as propaganda”, as P.J. Cohen spelled it out in 1992. If anybody would think that this is too harsh a judgement, I would like to see a milder one.

Matko Marušić

Split, Croatia, October 2021

About Matko Marušić: born in Split, Croatia, in 1946; he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Split, Split, Croatia. He was a Professor at Medical Schools (in Zagreb and Split) in courses of Physiology, Immunology, Principles of Research in Medicine, and of Research Methodology at postgraduate programs.He published 190 articles in scientific journals cited in Web of Science (H-index=28) and has around 150 publications including articles in scientific journals, books, book chapters, and a number of polemics and educational texts. He was a president of the Croatian Association of Physiologists, founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Croatian Medical Journal (1991-2009), Associate Dean of Zagreb University School of Medicine for School Branches in Osijek and Split, and Dean of the University of Split School of Medicine. He was one of the organisers and leaders of the humanitarian action ‘White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia’ (1993/94). He published many short stories and a collection of children stories ‘Snijeg u Splitu’ (The Snow in the City of Split) and ‘Plaču li anđeli’ (Do Angels Cry?). He also published the book of essays ‘Živjeti u Župi Radobilji’ (Living in the Radobilja Parish) and humoristic books ‘Škola plivanja’ (Swimming lessons), ‘Medicina iznutra’ (Medicine from Inside), and ‘Life of an Editor’. In 2018 he published his biggest literally work ‘Mi Hrvati’ (We Croats). (Brief biography and photo from University of Split website, October 2021)

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