Croatia: The End of Anti-Fascism

European Parliament

A European Parliament resolution has 19 September 2019 condemned Communism as equivalent to Nazism. To my view equating communism with Nazism is not enough; communism or its fantasy name of anti-fascism surpasses in the bulk of its crimes any other regime known to humanity. The moral superiority Anti-Fascists of Croatia (of Yugoslavia and all other former communist European states) have pinned to themselves undisturbed by the facts of history that sink such moral superiority to the depths of despair is set to fall and be banished. Remembering and acting upon the real past will ensure that.

“Remembering the victims of totalitarian regimes and recognising and raising awareness of the shared European legacy of crimes committed by communist, Nazi and other dictatorships is of vital importance for the unity of Europe and its people and for building European resilience to modern external threats,” is a strong point as to how the Resolution emphasises the importance of Europe’s historical memory for its future needs.

The parliament demands development of a “common culture of remembrance that rejects the crimes of fascist, Stalinist, and other totalitarian and authoritarian regimes of the past as a way of fostering resilience against modern threats to democracy, particularly among the younger generation.”

Some will undoubtedly say that legislating to establish an ‘official’ view of history, such as EU Parliament on 19 September 2019 with its resolution on “the importance of remembrance for the future of Europe” is not a good idea. However, when looking from the victims’ point of view this resolution has all the hallmarks of setting justice right for all. We are only too aware that history of Communist crimes during and post-WWII has enjoyed blanket coverups and unjustifiable justification while crimes committed by the Nazi regime were kept in European history as the only crimes that have been committed en masse against humanity.

In the mid‐2000s many believed that the Holocaust could become a common memory for Europe. This was opposed by many also, mostly Central and East European conservatives in former communist countries, politicians and intellectuals on the grounds that an exclusive emphasis on the Holocaust would not do justice to the victims of other totalitarian regimes (particularly the communist regimes). While very few of them questioned the uniqueness of the Holocaust openly by declaring Nazism and communism ‘equally criminal’ (Sandra Kalniete, quoted in Troebst s. [2010], ‘Halecki Revisited’; p. 60. Pakier, M. and Strath, B. [eds] A European Memory? New York:Berghahn Books), they did argue that paying too much attention to the victims of the Holocaust came at the expense of the victims of other totalitarian regimes, so the latter are effectively treated as second‐class victims. This communist crimes agenda was and is opposed mostly by the European (including Croatia) left whose proponents believe that it illegitimately relativises the Holocaust and falsifies history by equating communist regimes with Nazism. The main elements of the anti‐communist rhetorical repertoire had been developed before the European memory debate. In the 1990s many conservative politicians in post‐communist countries built their political profile on an uncompromising anti‐communist stance and on the objective of raising awareness about the crimes of communist regimes and their victims.

There was no other way to give justice for the forgotten and downtrodden victims of communist crimes. So, good for these politicians I say. One could go further and say that the former communist countries in Europe fought against communism in order to bring justice to all victims, regardless of which regime brought them about.

The European parliament’s resolution on ‘the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe’ is to replace previous political statements on human rights in relation to that conflict. The motion for the EUP Resolution was conceived as a spirited statement against all forms of political extremism. The text reaffirms “the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law” while calling on all EU institutions “to do their utmost to ensure that horrific totalitarian crimes against humanity are remembered” and “guarantee that such crimes will never be repeated.”

Given that resolutions confirming commitments to the condemnation of totalitarian regimes, like the 2009 one that saw  the establishment of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism each 23 August, which has been in place for over a decade, one may well ask what does this new resolution really add to the continent’s political ingredients? For all its admirable sentiment, this latest resolution gives a firm footing to making history right even though there are those who will say that a deeply problematic form of historical revisionism lurks beneath the surface. If, however, one considers historical revisionism as a necessary process to reflect true facts not myths (the European history, Croatian history of the 20th century is riddled with myths and fabrication driven by the communists) then the only opponents to this EU resolution will be former communists and their allies. No doubt about it – they still want to hide behind their false mask of bringing freedom to the people.

It’s time the Croatian Constitution removes from its Historical Foundations any reference to anti-fascist contribution to the independence of Croatia! It had none! Anti-Fascists always fought for Yugoslavia! And a communist one at that!

“European integration has, from the start, been a response to the suffering inflicted by two world wars and by the Nazi tyranny that led to the Holocaust, and to the expansion of totalitarian and undemocratic communist regimes”, reads the text of the Resolution.

The resolution in its article M.3 is undeniably correct in its assertion that “Nazi and communist regimes carried out mass murders, genocide and deportations and caused a loss of life and freedom in the 20th century on a scale unseen in human history”. Treating the two as equal would not be my choice of approach, nor a reflection of factual history. That is, If the world measures the severity of crimes against humanity by the number of victims then Communist regimes murdered many millions more than the Nazi regime did and in that sense its place in condemnation needs to be lifted above the crimes of Nazi regime. And, I do not say this in defence of the Nazi regime – I say this in defence of victims of both the Nazi and communist regimes. Croatia alone is filled with mass graves of communist crimes, almost 2000 discovered so far! And when you look at the population living there during and after WWII these figures take on an unfathomably horrific proportion!

The EU Resolution “Expresses its deep respect for each victim of these totalitarian regimes and calls on all EU institutions and actors to do their utmost to ensure that horrific totalitarian crimes against humanity and systemic gross human rights violations are remembered and brought before courts of law, and to guarantee that such crimes will never be repeated; stresses the importance of keeping the memories of the past alive, because there can be no reconciliation without remembrance, and reiterates its united stand against all totalitarian rule from whatever ideological background.”

This article of the resolution is hopefully bound to embolden Croatian politicians and activists to make the necessary steps, pass laws and the like in order to finally usher in Lustration (decommunisation) – rid all corridors of power of former communist operatives and those publicly known to promote the Yugoslav communist regime that once was. Some will say there are no communists in Croatia but have no doubt: communist culture, communist mindset, communist nostalgia – exist! And this is what is holding Croatia back from progressing into a fully democratic, customer, taxpayer needs oriented nation.

Hence, practical policy and legislation in Croatia (as in the whole of Europe and beyond) are still hindered by the different treatment of the past. People across the world and particularly in the West still know very little about how much of Central Europe (Croatia included) and most of Eastern Europe fell under a different dictatorship after Hitler’s occupation was defeated that was no better. It has disrupted practical cooperation and remains a very serious obstacle on the road to more effective and closer cooperation in the EU. The resolution includes a proposal to add talking about the crimes of totalitarian regimes to the programs of all EU schools.

Here is hoping, and indeed a platform for the positive and superior portrayal of Croatia’s communists and partisans in school textbooks to be removed swiftly.

The matter of a European memory is far from being a merely symbolic issue with no political consequences. Imagining Europe and its past in different ways will lead to different and real political outcomes. What is at stake in answering these questions from the past is nothing less than the future direction of the EU, and closer to home – of Croatia. As visions for the future of the organisation are intimately connected to historical accounts of the continent’s past, determining the common European approach to the past is a highly influential decision for the EU’s future.

Banning the symbols of Nazism but not those of communism leads to unjustifiable double standards and feeds those double standards. Croatia surely knows that but the overwhelming power held by former communists or sympathisers of former communist Yugoslavia still chooses to ignore that.

There is one particularly noteworthy genre of writing among the many that developed in the 20th century in Europe. After World War II communism enslaved the people of much of Central Europe and most of East Europe. But the tragedy does not end there – communist regimes erased their true story from the overall history of the Continent. Europe had just rid itself of the plague of Nazism. It was quite understandable that after the bloodbath of the war, few people had the strength or resolve to face the bitter truth. They could not deal with the fact that behind the communist regimes, communists continued to commit genocide against the peoples of these countries.

Dr Esther Gitman and her book:
“Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights”

For 50 years the history in Croatia (as in all former communist countries) was written without the participation of these victims of genocide. Not surprisingly, the victors of World War II have written a history that separates the good from the bad and the right from the wrong from their perspective. Not from the perspective of the truth! It is only since the collapse of the Berlin Wall that researchers have been able to access archived documents and the life stories of the victims. It is only after Croatia won its Homeland War in 1995 (1998 with peaceful reintegration of Serb and Yugoslav Army aggressor occupied areas) (the war for secession from communist Yugoslavia) that Croatia was able to research its own truth. These confirm the truth that the two totalitarian regimes – Nazism and Communism – were equally criminal, albeit communist crimes far surpass those of the crimes ascribed to the so-called Ustashe regime of the NDH/WWII Independent State of Croatia. Indeed, research such as Dr Esther Gitman’s (a Holocaust survivor herself) into the rescue and survival of Jews during NDH verifiably demonstrates that good deeds and good was widespread among Croats (non-communists) during those horrific times of war in Croatia.

We must never see the two ideologies as holding different positions on the scale of good and bad just because one of them was victorious over the other. That battle against Fascism cannot be seen as something, which for ever exonerates the sins of the communist regime that oppressed countless innocents in the name of communist ideology. I am firmly convinced that it is the duty of our generation to reverse this mistake. The losers in World War II must also write their story, because it deserves a firm place in the overall history of Europe and the world. Without this, the broader history will remain unilateral, incomplete and dishonest – and utterly unfair to the victims of communist crimes.

General Zeljko Glasnovic
Independent Member of Croatian Parliament
for Croats living abroad

The Croatians living outside of Croatia, the millions that fled the communist regime know this fact only too well. It is, therefore, a welcome move which the European Parliament made on 19 September. Perhaps, the strongest (but almost lone) voice in the Croatian Parliament – that of the independent member for Croatians in the diaspora and Bosnia and Herzegovina – retired General Zeljko Glasnovic, who has been a persistent and loud advocator for justice for victims of communist crimes and decommunisation of Croatia (and often laughed at within the parliament by the majority parliamentary members who draw their roots from the former communist pool because of the decommunisation platform content of his speeches) will now get to pursue his agenda surrounded by the silence of shame (or even fear from own guilt) on the faces of former communists and their staunch followers sitting there! Ina Vukic

 

Croatian History And Deconstruction Of Lies

Esther Gitman as child survivor of the Holocaust;
Escaped Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina via the Island of Korcula,
Croatia – 1941.
Photo: Private album

Deconstructing the lies that communists and pro- Greater Serbia politically astute mercenaries have pursued on WWII Croatian historiography, with view to vilify Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac (WWII Archbishop of Zagreb persecuted and falsely accused of Nazi collaboration by Josip Broz Tito’s communist Yugoslavia) and the Croatian nation as a whole, is a path upon which only the brave and the strong tread. A deconstruction of lies, which constitute even to this day approved history, is the best way to challenge the communist word laundrette that turned and still turns negation of and disregard for historical facts into redemption of the unredeemable.

On Wednesday 13 February 2019 Dr. Esther Gitman, a Holocaust survivor herself, launched her new book “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights” in Zagreb, Croatia. This is her second book (the first one being “When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945”) armed with facts on the deeds and the human rights preservation mindset of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac that witnesses his giant efforts in rescuing Jews (and others) from the destiny of WWII destruction and extermination; that bears witness via historical facts and documents of Stepinac’s active pursuits in protecting and preserving human rights of the persecuted and the threatened during those WWII years. On the same day, the President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, presented Dr Gitman with a Medal of Honour for special merits gained by researching, documenting and promoting the truth about Croatian history of the 20th century, as well as for the deepening of understanding between the Croatian and Jewish peoples.

In pursuit of absolute historical truth, Dr. Gitman belongs among the very few whose works lend themselves to deconstruction of historiographical lies that were and still are being forced upon the world in nothing less than a conspiratorial manner.

The consequences of the conspiracy of lies against Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, against the Croatian people, have been huge and disastrous. The consequences are not only those interfering with Stepinac’s canonisation but those that prevent deserved justice for victims no matter what religion or ethnicity they may have been or are.

The famous – and by now overused – expression that history is written by the victors can be countered in many ways. One way is by unpacking the victors’ publications in order to expose the lies, fabrications and misrepresentations. Anther way is to dig deep for evidence that topples lies, absolutely!

Gitman’s objective and extensive research, sourcing not only thousands upon thousands of archived documents but also witness accounts and testimonies, unlocks fresh historiographical perspectives on the big picture of that WWII period in which Blessed Alojzije Stepinac lived and acted as Archbishop. The “declassified” documents in particular allow us to see the true picture in a higher resolution than what history written within and in collaboration with the communist Yugoslavia yields.

Justice and facts, moral positions, professional acumen and scholarly accuracy should not be juxtaposed one against the other but rather seen as all contributing to a wholesome historiographical enterprise. Indeed, the historiographical projects of deconstructing lies about Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, and the one delving into the number of people who perished during WWII in camps such as Jasenovac are in need of such an integrative approach. But with personalities such as Simon Wiesenthal Center’s pro-communist/pro-Serbian Efraim Zuroff and pro-Serbian Gideon Greif, who clutter the world’s stage with malicious statements against WWII Croatia, full deconstruction of lies presents as an almost impossible task. The deconstruction of lies, where these two men are concerned, becomes seemingly an even more impossible task given that WWII Serbia was in fact one of the first European countries, having exterminated some 94% of its Jews by May 1942, to declare itself “Jew-free”, and this fact viciously guarded from public domain. It appears that this fact has not moved these two men, otherwise credited with much of the pursuits for justice for victims of the Holocaust, to pursue justice for Serbia’s victims of the Holocaust – indeed, they seem complicit in the masking and obscuring those facts from the world’s public!

Esther Gitman receiving Medal of Honour from
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic
13 February 2019
Photo HINA/ Daniel KASAP/ dkas

In the book “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights”, Dr. Gitman investigates how and why a Croatian priest in his thirties from a rural background became a hero to his people, the Catholic Church and many throughout the world. Dr. Gitman explained that with the declassification U.S. Intelligence Records under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, many one-sided perspectives were slowly beginning to be replaced by a new and nuanced version of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac’s during the Second World War.

My own research demonstrates that Stepinac forcefully denounced the human rights violations perpetrated through the implementation of the Ustaša legislation directed against Jews, Serbs and Roma … and on every occasion demanded a return to the law of God. In 1941, when two of his priests and six nuns of Jewish origin were absolved from wearing the yellow Star of David, Stepinac solemnly declared: ‘I have requested that these priests and nuns continue wearing this sign of belonging to the people from which Our Savior was born as long as others will have to do so,’” said Dr. Gitman at the launch of the book in Zagreb.

Through her study of the unchartered territory of the rescue of Jews during the regime of the Independent State of Croatia within the broader context of the Holocaust, Dr. Gitman challenged the broad perception promoted by some historians, including two Israelis (Zuroff and Greif), and the Serbian regime, that the entire Croatian population, then and now, was culpable for the crimes committed by the Ustasha.

In the Croatian State Archives, Dr. Gitman discovered 420 petitions written on behalf of Jews, signed by thousands of people, concerned citizens who expected a response from the authorities. Stepinac’s letters, as well as those from his parishioners addressed to the prime minister, Ante Pavelic; and the minister of internal affairs, Andrije Artukovic, expressed their distress due to the authorities’ conduct. Owing to the regulations of the Church, the Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention, Stepinac was obligated to maintain contact with the occupying forces for the sake of public order. Stepinac had to be able to speak with Pavelic, who was the only authority in a position to mitigate the terror and murder, explained Dr. Gitman.

She emphasised that Stepinac denounced Nazism, fascism, communism and “throughout the war years followed but one rule: ‘Only one race exists and that is the Divine race.’” As the representative of the Catholic Church, Stepinac considered raising his voice in protest against the atrocities perpetrated by the Ustasha government to be his sacred duty.

According to Dr. Gitman, Stepinac represented Croatian values and the values of Western civilization through his unflagging defense of freedom and the value of the individual as an independent entity, freedom and respect for religious beliefs and nationalities, freedom and respect for every race and nationality, freedom and respect for private property as the foundation of the personal freedom of the individual and the family, and freedom and respect for the right of every nation to the complete and independent development of national life.

Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights by Esther Gitman
Bookcovers

As unravelling written history, the one written by the victors (communists and their partners), through research of material to be found in archives continues, one may indeed find that many or most WWII Ustashas found the crimes with which the Ustasha regime is burdened – abhorrent. Their fight in the war was all about independence and self-preservation of the Croatian independent state; a fight against oppression. It needs to be mentioned here that most recent research into the Croatian WWII Jasenovac camp, e.g. research by Igor Vukic and Roman Leljak, strongly suggests an entirely different picture (especially when it comes to the number of victims) to the one being served to the world by communists, former communists and pro-Serbian activists. Furthermore, extensive research into communist crimes By Blanka Matkovic and other researchers from the Dr Rudolph Horvat association have aptly collated much material on their website, Croatia Rediviva, regarding WWII Jasenovac that goes towards deconstruction of historiographical lies.

In the Preface to her book „Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights“, Dr Gitman writes: „Just a few words that describe some of my experiences, which motivated me to undertake an ambitious task as going back to school in my late 50’s, with an objective to earn a Ph.D. in an area that little or no research has been done: Rescue of Jews during WWII in the Ustaše controlled Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, all those who heard the title of my research it sounded as an oxymoron. I recall, that prior to sending my application for a submission for a Fulbright fellowship, the interviewer asked: What is your research topic and why would it deserves such a prestigious fellowship? Your excellent grades are not enough! My reply was: “I would like to research the rescue of Jews in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovian during WWII, 1941-1945. I saw a look of surprise on the interviewer face, finally she asked: “Why on earth would you want to research such a topic, when the entire world knows that the Croats were murders? I replied: “Yes, many Jews were murdered in the Ustashe concentration camps, but, my mother and I survived and so did all the other Jews I knew in my childhood, it all happened due to the help we received from Croatian friends, neighbors, clergy and other entities.“ She hardly let me finish, exclaiming: “Amazing story, I never heard it before! Please, write a strong proposal, ask your professors to review it and then bring it to me for a final evaluation.”

On that note, deconstructing historical lies is the most amazing story today’s world can be gifted with, no matter whose history that deconstruction targets. We are shaped by our history and if that shape does no justice to the truth then, indeed, it is the responsibility of all to work on changing that unacceptable shape. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Revisionism As Correction Of Recorded History

This first-ever report rating individual European Union countries on how they face up their Holocaust pasts was published on January 25, 2019 to coincide with UN Holocaust Remembrance Day. Researchers from Yale and Grinnell Colleges travelled throughout Europe to conduct the research. Representatives from the European Union of Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) have endorsed their work.

The fact that this Report omits to present any research on the topic relating to the candidate countries on the path to becoming EU member countries, such as Serbia, is quite a concern. One would expect that Serbia, which was among the first to declare itself “Judenfrei” (Jew-free) in Europe early 1942, would feature in this Report. But expectation for justice for all Holocaust victims in Europe is one thing and reality – another. Sadly.

The Key findings in the Report are as follows:

● Many European Union governments are rehabilitating World War II collaborators and war criminals while minimising their own guilt in the attempted extermination of Jews.

● Revisionism is worst in new Central European members – Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Lithuania.

● But not all Central Europeans are moving in the wrong direction: two exemplary countries living up to their tragic histories are the Czech Republic and Romania. The Romanian model of appointing an independent commission to study the Holocaust should be duplicated.

● West European countries are not free from infection – Italy, in particular, needs to improve.

● In the west, Austria has made a remarkable turn-around while France stands out for its progress in accepting responsibility for the Vichy collaborationist government.

● Instead of protesting revisionist excesses, Israel supports many of the nationalist and revisionist governments.

As the world marks the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, European governments are rehabilitating World War II collaborators and war criminals while minimising their own guilt in the attempted extermination of Jews.

This Holocaust Remembrance Project finds that Hungary, Poland, Croatia, and the Baltics are the worst offenders. Driven by feelings of victimhood and fears of accepting refugees, and often run by nationalist autocratic governments, these countries have received red cards for revisionism…

Revisionism is often accompanied by a revival of Nazi-inspired hate speech. Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as ‘a poison’, saying his country did not want or need ‘a single migrant’. Jaroslaw Kaczyński, head of Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party, has warned that migrants are ‘parasites’ that carry ‘very dangerous diseases long absent from Europe’. In the same vein, French right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen called for the ‘eradication of bacterial immigration’, proclaiming that immigration was causing an ‘alarming presence of contagious diseases’ in France. In his Mein Kampf, Hitler repeatedly refers to Jews as parasites,” 
says the Report.

Comparing today’s politicians’ views regarding mass migration into Europe to Adolf Hitler’s views, as this Report does, is in my view utterly irresponsible and wickedly conniving.

Letting that question alone for now and turning our attention to the term of “historical revisionism” we so frequently find in today’s world, we should all know that history is, in fact, never fixed or objective, but always a living document — one written by those who have or had power, who have access to the telling because the powers that be allow them that access.

Reading between the lines of the text, and the lines of the text, it would seem the authors of this Report fall among traditionalists of this world who believe that history is objective and once anyone seeks to better understand a person or the narratives of the past, those traditionalists shout “revisionism,” as if that new understanding (even new factual finding that contradicts recorded history) is something to be shunned.

Indeed, when it comes to Croatia and its WWII history regarding the numbers of victims of the Holocaust, all attempts at researching the truth, the facts via accessible archival materials, have sadly been branded revisionism. Needless to say, representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Centres such as Efraim Zuroff, have and still hold the banner for such branding.

That any history written by the elite or powerful ones is objective and apolitical is a naïve but dangerous position; dangerous because it denies all victims justice and due recognition.

Controversy swirls over the wartime role of the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Zagreb Aloysius Stepinac has been accused of failing to condemn the Ustaša, yet at the same time credited with thousands of Serbs and Jews. The Church beatified him in 1998. Recent research by historians Robin Harris and Esther Gitman Stepinac show Stepinac as anti-Ustaša, a vocal critic of Ustaša racial theories, and a thorn at Pavelic’s side… Much of the issues in the media (in Croatia) revolve around Jasenovac and often reflect problematic revisionist thinking. After film director Jakov Sedlar created a revisionist documentary on Jasenovac in April 4,2016, Croatian state television HRT hosted Sedlar and did not challenge his claims,” says the Report.

Whether the Report omits to mention research on Jasenovac camp deaths of Igor Vukic and Roman Leljak, who use archival documentary evidence that significantly refutes the numbers of victims at WWII Jasenovac camp, on purpose in order to provide yet another lifeline to the unjust term of “revisionism” is a matter for each Report reader’s consideration. Notwithstanding, one cannot remain blind to facts; one can mar them for political gain, though.

One is compelled to conclude that such recent research and findings are labelled in this Report as “extreme sensitivity” rather than pinning the findings of such research as credible and worth pursuing (for historical truth) to the body of this Report. “Extreme sensitivity continues around the numbers of those murdered at the Jasenovac Concentration Camp. Serbs estimate 700,000 victims. More recent and objective findings, however, such as those of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, puts the number between 77,000 and 100,000. The numbers remain unclear and the subject of a genuine detect story. An independent commission, similar to Romania’s Weisel Commission, would help clarify,” says the Report.

Since the Report goes on to give some kind of credibility to what Serbs claim as estimates it is all the more incredulous and tendentious that the Report fails to address those claims further (as being utterly false or unfounded on facts). Indeed, the Report fails to address the Holocaust in WWII Serbia, which saw 94% of Serbia’s Jews exterminated by May 1942 at this time when Serbia is on the path to the EU membership and the authors of this Report obviously consider important for the EU as to which country in Europe is doing what regarding WWII Holocaust.

This kind of reporting or writing perfectly captures the reality of all history.

The great irony of slurring history with “revisionism” is that history as a living document should be a constant act of retelling history in an effort to make the story clearer, more accurate; revisionism is  not an erasing of history but a correction of the wrong presented in “officially” recorded history. A revised view of history allows us to acknowledge what is not debatable  ― many with power over Croatia in the past (Communists and their subscribers), were racists  ― and is essential for helping us resolve what is debatable (and the numbers of the so-called WWII Ustashe victims  have been the subject of painful debates, mere estimates dubbed as facts, and politically-driven intolerance),  whether or not we correct the victim figures, rename buildings/institutions or dismantle monuments.

There’s an old saying that time is the enemy of memory and ignorance is the enemy of knowledge. When the established knowledge based on estimates and other charades that misrepresent the truth are challenged by new findings then ignorance thrives and memories of victims often become banal or fade. It would seem that the usage of the negatively connoted concept of revisionism to characterise fact-finding attempts when it comes to history that includes the Holocaust contributes significantly to the views we come across throughout the world that the world is forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust. One could argue that if attempts to untangle the truth from the lies when it comes to the number of Jews that perished in the Holocaust are labelled as unwelcome revisionism – i.e. denial of the Holocaust – then indeed memory for even the recorded history must suffer; because doubt in the truthfulness of that recorded memory inevitably develops with every new factual finding or every attempt to correct historical records written by those in power.

We can remember those who perished and were murdered without talking about numbers! We can remember the Holocaust human catastrophe and pay respect to those who suffered without trying to embellish it with numbers that are subject to vigorous debates and rows. A human catastrophe is a catastrophe regardless of the number of victims it takes or took with it.

Memory is central to a nation’s historical and moral self-understanding. When unsafe historical records written by Yugoslav communists in the case of Croatia shape memory, then it is the duty of every Croat to ensure that history is corrected, otherwise the nation staggers on false and illusory ground which gives little if any justice to the actual victims of past totalitarian regimes. Ina Vukic

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