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

Open Letter to Mr. Efraim Zuroff (In Pursuit of Truth)

Prof. Emer. Matko Marusic, MD, PhD

(Translated from Croatian into English)

Prof. Emer. Matko Marušić, MD, PhD SPLIT, CROATIA

to Efraim Zuroff 1 Mendele Street Jerusalem 92147 ISRAEL

January 18, 2019

Esteemed Mr. Zuroff,

I read an article on January 10, 2019, posted on the Croatian portal Index.hr, of your demand that the Croatian Government ban the book Razotkrivena Jasenovačka laž [translates to: The Jasenovac Lie Disclosed]. To this end and for the sake of the accuracy of the claim, I quote excerpts from the article on Index.hr:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, International Jewish Human Rights Organization, led by the famous Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, harshly condemned the Croatian Government for their tolerance of works that negate Ustasha crimes during WWII. In a statement signed by the Center’s Director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, and posted on their website, he forewarns of the promotion of the book Razotkrivena Jasenovačka Laž to be held January 16, 2019 in a church in Zagreb – a work which negates the systematic and mass execution of Serbs, Roma, Jews and Croatian anti-Fascists. The Jasenovac Triple Camp Research Society, sponsor of the event, was established to conceal the horrific crimes committed by the Ustasha, which are acts beyond compare in the Balkans. Crimes confirmed in historical documents, witness testimonies, and scientific findings of many prominent historians. Works such as the book Razotkrivena Jasenovačka laž would immediately be banned in Germany and Austria, and justifiably so, says Zuroff.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Croatia to ban publications that negate and distort the role played by the NDH in the Holocaust. “As a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Croatia should take every pertinent step to prevent all those who negate the Holocaust and misrepresent historical facts. Continued positive focus is placed on efforts to misconstrue and twist Croatian history, contrary to international commitments accepted by Croatia upon joining the IHRA,” said Mark Weitzman, the Center’s Political Director and former Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Not going into deliberations over historical events of which I am not qualified, allow me to express my cordial but very serious objections to the above comments. It is very important that I do so, as I am a proven and sworn friend of the state of Israel, devotee of the Jewish people, and a Croat who is ashamed of the wrong deeds committed by a certain group of my people, known as the Ustasha and Ustasha regime, during WWII. I also believe that we Croats owe the Jewish people much in this regard, both as a nation and culture, but above all, sincere respect and regard. Also important is the fact that I am a devout Catholic, and thus have even more respect for the Jewish people, for the Lord my God was born unto them. I pray that you never underestimate this, regardless of how you feel about any religion, or lack thereof.

I am a scientist, biomedical researcher and university professor emeritus. Although I do not know much on the history or methodology of historical research, I do know the rules of scientific studies, methodology, publication, communication, and all that must go in stride with scientific analysis, whatever the field of research. I firmly call upon human common sense, goodwill, tolerance of diversity, and upholding the truth, wherever the absolute truth may lie, and how ever near or far it is to us as mere mortals. Allow me to illustrate with some very simple arguments, and present my deep and unsettling dissatisfaction with your reaction (in the belief that Index.hr quoted your statement accurately).

1. The lie on the number of victims in the Jasenovac Ustasha Concentration Camp existed and is proven

In communist Yugoslavia, all school children in every school were taught that 700,000 civilians, mostly Serbs, were killed in Jasenovac. This was written in our textbooks, encyclopedias, and very often in newspapers as well. The figure was not to be questioned, at the cost of severe consequences. For instance, the late Dr. Franjo Tuđman, first President of the free and democratic Republic of Croatia, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in the former regime for claiming in one of his books that the number of victims in Jasenovac ranged from 60,000 – 80,000. Neither Tuđman nor the Ustasha countered the claim of 700,000 deaths, not even Mr. Igor Vukić nor myself. The one to counter it, at the time of the same communist regime, was Mr. Vladimir Žerjavić – a Croatian economist, demographer and UN expert, who estimated the number of Jasenovac victims at roughly 50,000, which was then generally accepted. (It is impossible for me to state all the estimates and differences here, as I do not wish to burden you. I will stand by Mr. Žerjavić’s claim, for it was also accepted by Tito and his regime.)

The Jasenovac Memorial Site is a public institution in Croatia that lists each individual victim by name, and this figure amounts to approximately 84,000.

The issue has not been resolved to this day, but it suffices to state it in my message to you. Namely, if the lie that was officially taught in schools in the former regime shows a discrepancy ranging between 700,000 and 84,000, I urge you to be just as taken aback as I am, albeit I have all the more reason, for the atrocious lie was ascribed to my very own people (to whom I proudly and wholeheartedly belong). If it was objectively and indisputably proven to be a horrific, deliberate and malignant lie (to darken and disparage my beloved nation), then how, and based on what, can anyone, including yourself, have the audacity to believe this new figure (84,000), without the need for further investigation?

In short: The above example shows that every honest and educated man must persevere in research – not only for the sake of truth, but also to overcome lies as something unacceptable to Man, but especially because of what I am writing to you: to avoid any further disputes, tensions, and disruption of peace among the people.

2. Croatian society is torn apart by controversies over the number of Jasenovac victims, and a consensus of prominent experts has recommended the intensification of research and inquiry

I am referring to a document issued by the (Croatian) Council for Dealing with Consequences of the Rule of Non-Democratic Regimes:

The Council was established by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, aware of the fact that such controversies disrupt relations in Croatian society. Council members were selected from a number of different political groups, and one such member who signed the Document of Dialogue was Mr. Ivo Goldstein, whom I presume is quite well known to you.

I quote an applicable passage from the said Document:

Without going into the question of historical revisionism, one must note that where history is already revisionist, a new revisionism may emerge as a need for the revision of revisionism. A good practice of dealing with the past would be beneficial to historiographic research and others, with scientific exploration of sources, critical inquiry, non-selective choice and publishing of materials. This includes the availability of archival materials and new research to reveal the death toll of undemocratic regimes, as well as providing a dignified commemoration at the place of death and sacrifice. The former manipulation and discrepancies in the number of victims from any undemocratic regime continues to be an impediment in viewing the historical truth, whereas the same goes for facing the culture of dialogue and unfalsified historical remembrance. Here we are not at all referring to conscientious critical and scientific attestation of the actual number of victims, especially in cases where it is confirmed to be exponentially multiplied for political or other reasons.”

I do not know if you are aware of the existence of this document, but I would like to take this opportunity to kindly request that you take the time to look it over, as it is a document issued by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and co-signed by Mr. Ivo Goldstein, which I believe undeniably proves its democratic character and consensus within Croatian society regarding the question of Croatian historical truth.

Igor Vukić

 

3. A few words on Mr. Igor Vukić

At this point I do not know the content of the book you are requesting the ban of, but I know Mr. Igor Vukić, Head of the “Jasenovac Triple Camp Research Society” and his works on Jasenovac. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Vukić myself and reading his works. I do not wish to be his “witness” here, but instead to express my personal and scientific opinion on him and his activities, of which I believe, I am entitled to as a proven scientist and professor of research methodology.

To begin, I apologize to Mr. Vukić (but he publicized this himself) – he is of Serb, Croat and Czech mixed origin, with a predominance of Serbian heredity. Second, he is from a village in the vicinity of the town of Jasenovac. Third, his father was in Jasenovac as a child. Fourth, Mr. Vukić is a very serious, educated and well-mannered man, and anyone who insults him also insults all other educated and well-mannered individuals – including myself. And I am not the least bit pleased with this (insulting). Mr. Vukić is not an Ustashe, nor is he a nationalist or revisionist. He is an intellectual, and one to be desired as a member of the most distinguished and civilized circles. (If you do not have confidence in my words, you should meet him yourself.)

And lastly, Mr. Vukić (and his co-workers) never concealed their findings, nor did they circulate them in secret. They published them as all qualified scientists do. These findings are, just as all other scientific insights, available to the global scientific community for verification and criticism.

I do not know, Mr. Zuroff, whether you or your associates have examined the works before demanding their ban – if you haven’t – I must warn that this is an inappropriate procedure, similar to the manner of Stalin (and Tito) with works that did not suit them. This must not be the practice of civilized and educated individuals in the 21st century, who ought to feel equal shame when others do the same. If, on the other hand, you took the time to study the works, no one is more delighted than I! We eagerly await your objective arguments countering them. I am not cheering on Mr. Vukić – we are not playing a soccer game. I am merely applauding the scientific truth. It is something of great importance to me, as I still distress over the claim of 700,000 Jasenovac victims – the reciting of which I received excellent grades in the primary and secondary schools, albeit oblivious to what was actually taking place.

At this point, if you do not know, I must inform you that some of Mr. Vukić’s findings were even accepted by his fervent opponents (forgive me again – by your like-minded contemporaries) Dr. Ivo Goldstein and Dr. Mirjana Kasapović. Upon examination of Mr. Vukić’s evidence, it was no longer disputable to them that Jasenovac was in fact a labor camp, that some prisoners and workers earned wages for their work, that the camp received aid packages from the outside (especially from the Croatian Jewish community) – and I apologize once again, but it was stated publicly – that different performances with singing were held there (we are not sure the names of all), including soccer tournaments.

Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Kasapović criticize Mr. Vukić for not providing evidence of countless executions in the camp, but they do not disparage my claim. I do believe, though, that the number of victims will ultimately be determined through consensus. For now, regarding the figures 700,000 and 84,000, the one that stands out most is the claim of Slovenian researcher Mr. Roman Leljak, who asserts that documents in Belgrade attest to roughly 1,600 victims in Jasenovac, half of which died of disease. I assume that you will also not take Mr. Leljak’s findings as true, and so I kindly ask you to verify this information yourself the next time you are in Belgrade.

(Permit me to suggest that in Belgrade you check the following Serbian newspaper articles published in Belgrade, during WWII (Cyrillic titles transcribed to Latin letters; roman numerals are months) Collated by Esther Gitman:

Dr. Esther Gitman, PhD

 

 

(PLEASE click on photos below to read contents of Table of World War Two Serbian newspaper articles on Jews, researched and collated by Dr Esther Gitman)

Page 1, WWII newspaper articles – Serbia

 

Page 2, WWII newspaper articles – Serbia

 

Page 3, WWII newspaper articles – Serbia

Page 4, WWII newspaper articles – Serbia

 

4. Documents

You may not like what you hear, but I must warn you that to date (in freedom from communist undemocratic terror), multitudes of documents have been published in Croatia, which attest to the fact that Mr. Vukić and his associates are right. If you succeed in prohibiting any evidence, you will be compelled to prohibit many other sources as well.

Speaking of documents, allow me the following. Complete documentation on the operations of the Ustasha camp in Jasenovac was kept (in Tito’s time) in Jasenovac.

During the Serbian aggression against Croatia from 1990-1995, Serb forces occupied Jasenovac very early on in 1991, confiscating all documentation and taking it to – Belgrade. The decision to submit all documents to Belgrade is indicative it itself, for Serbia claims it was initiated by a revolt of Serbs in Croatia (and that neither Serbia nor its army had anything to do with it). However, rebel Serbs in Croatia declared Knin as their capital, and thus it makes no sense to transfer the documents to Belgrade, does it? Furthermore, one wonders why Belgrade did not react in saying something like: “What are we to do with this? It is a matter between you and Croatia. Keep it in Knin, it is unfair to take away documents that do not belong to us, and by force, to boot.

I am led to believe that such discrete and sly action perfectly illustrates the fact that the aggression against Croatia in 1991 was committed by Serbia itself, and not Knin Serbs. This, however, is a whole other topic I do not wish to burden you with at this time.

But the saga on the Jasenovac documents is not over! Today, Serbia still refuses to return the documentation to Croatia, allegedly “fearing the Croats would use it to spread further lies about the Jasenovac camp.” I simply cannot comprehend this! First of all, if we are in fact dealing with the original documentation, then one cannot lie. Secondly, Serbia could easily leave copies for themselves (e.g. microfilm) or even the originals, and give copies to Croatia (microfilm). This would prevent Croatia from fabricating the truth – and I trust that you would find this quite acceptable.

5. Forensic research

As far as the number of Jasenovac victims is concerned, concrete and full-fledged research has been organized on three occasions in Tito’s time, through commissions and experts as appointed by the then regime. Digging and expert forensic excavations were conducted three times, at the sites of the “most massive and gruesome burial pits”, yielding a total of just under 500 skeletons. I feel it is logical that you (together with Mr. Vukić and myself) propose that excavations be resumed once again. I would be greatly pleased if you and your organization agree to take part in monitoring the said digging activities.

6. Jasenovac Research Institute

The story behind the Jasenovac Research Institute in New York is the same as the appalling (albeit proven, see above) lie on the 700,000 victims (JRI stands on 600,000), which I state here for the following reasons.

a) This figure, according to Tito’s expert, Mr. Žerjavić, and the list from the Jasenovac Memorial Site public institution (see above) is an outright lie and shame for humanity, history and all those who participate or uphold it. Even those who keep silent. Forgive me but I feel that you are among this last group as well! I never heard you state that the Jasenovac Research Institute cited inexcusable or erroneous figures (and names), and requested the correction thereof. Yet I am positive you are familiar with it, as it is not the small Jasenovac Memorial Site public institution in Croatia, but rather a major institute in the famous and illustrious city of New York!

b) At the trial of Croatian soccer player Joe Šimunić for cheering the ustashi salute “For the Homeland, Ready” (although he only shouted “For the Homeland”, but implicite it was clear what he was referring to), a testimony was given by Executive Director of the Jasenovac Research Institute, Mr. Barry M. Lituchy on the figure of 600,000 Jasenovac victims. His testimony was accepted, and Joe Šimunić was convicted with a sentence that ended his brilliant career as a professional soccer player. You are a world-renowned man, a specialist, and certainly an upright and benevolent human being, and I wonder why you did not intervene in this international affair, concerning a topic in your realm of expertise, and perhaps react by saying: “Honorable Magistrate, it is not 600,000, but 84,000, as is proven (and publicized) by experts from the Jasenovac Memorial Site public institution, who deal specifically and professionally with the issue at hand. I know them, they are honest and skilled people, colleagues of mine: call them to testify.”

c) I firmly believe you are aware that (even without a systematic analysis) thousands of people on the list compiled by the Jasenovac Research Institute as victims killed in Jasenovac actually died in other places. I will state an example closely related to me: In 1943, all the people (just over 100) killed during an allied bombing attack on the town of Kaštela (near the city of Split), when a bomb hit a church in Kaštela during Mass – are all listed as victims in the Jasenovac Research Institute, even though their graves, marked with their very names and bones, lie in the Kaštela cemetery.

7. A short but very important question

Mr. Zuroff, if you claim that 700,000 people were killed in Jasenovac, despite Mr. Žerjavić’s (50,000) and today’s official list in Jasenovac (about 84,000), I must express my deepest regret and frustration. I will deem that for some reason (unknown to me, I cannot even speculate) you may an enemy of my people and its state, regardless of what this means or does not mean to you. If that is the case, I would be very unhappy, but then I would not see that it is either sophisticated or democratic to address the Government which you perceive as an enemy. I feel uncomfortable even thinking about it, and only mentioned it you in the name of civilized and dignified behavior.

If, on the other hand, you say you do not know the number of Jasenovac victims, I beseech you to please speak to Mr. Igor Vukić and his associates, among all others, for he declares he has concrete documented data. This requires a scientific research method and ethics, as well as the most basic human earnestness and decency. It does not mean that Mr. Vukić (or Mr. Leljak) must be credited with the truth, but it certainly means that we ought to listen to his arguments and challenge them with better, stronger and more numerous arguments. Allow me to remind you that I, as a proven scientist, am also experienced in the methodology of assessing scientific arguments, their comparison and configuration, as well as the process of attaining human truth, no matter how far away or contrary it may be to that of the Lord’s.

8. A friendly opinion and counsel

I am saddened with your treatment of my people and my country. And to that of science and scientific truth, the consensus of well-intentioned and educated people, and the efforts of the Croatian Council for Dealing with Consequences of the Rule of Non-Democratic Regimes, which included the efforts of Mr. Ivo Goldstein (not to list the others). What you are doing is wrong. All people on earth today, including us Croats, are educated enough (free and mainly without prejudice of any sort) to look unfavorably on all bans or restrictions regarding any research topic that does not have full consensus. We see this as not only unfounded and unscientific, but also as something intended to hide the truth and promote lies, and both with dishonorable aims, for what other aims can stand behind hiding the truth and promoting lies? This, too, does not generate a good feeling.

The action you took, as related by Index.hr, brings no good to anyone – not for Croatia and the Croats, not for yourself, nor the honorable Jewish people from whom we have learned so much about wisdom, knowledge, science and respect for the truth – and all for the aim of a better, more peaceful and beautiful world. This is especially detrimental for the much-needed respect and remembrance of the tragedy suffered by the Jewish people during WWII, including all the misfortunes that came before and after. Forgive me for addressing you directly, but this is my honest belief, and I must say: The tragedy of WWII and its most horrific crime against the Jewish nation is so massive and atrocious that it cannot, and must not, be offended or disgraced by any trial or error, absolutely nothing at all! It is already too colossal to be exaggerated, and too dreadful to be seen as anything shy of respect and remorse.

In that name, allow me to personally apologize for all the foul and horrid things members of my people have done to yours in WWII, including everything that came before (Kingdom of Yugoslavia, before WW2) and after (Tito’s regime). May the Lord bless and keep both of us, together with our wonderful people, and let us pray that tragedies like this never happen again.

But we two also have the duty to contribute to this aim. Prof. Emer. Matko Marušić, MD, PhD, Split, Croatia

Interview With Zeljko Glasnovic – Croatian Diaspora MP

Zeljko Glasnovic, Member of Croatian Parliament
representing the Croatian Diaspora
Photo: SBS Radio and Television Australia

 

By Stjepan Ivan Mandic, Fenix Magazine

Translation into English: Ina Vukic

Croatians In the diaspora carry Croatia in their hearts.  Croatia must professionalise its administration and its public governance. It must have functional institutions that would implement laws. Independent judiciary that would guarantee safety in the administration of law must exist, Zeljko Glasnovic said.

Member of Croatian Parliament for Croatians living outside Croatia, retired Croatian Army (HV) and Croatian Defence Council (HVO) general Zeljko Glasnovic had recently spent two weeks visiting Australian Croatians. He led the tour of Australia, organised by Croatian Diasporan Voice Association, accompanied by other delegates from Croatia and was guest speaker at forums held in Melbourne, Geelong, Perth, Canberra and Sydney.

This interview was carried out with him after his return from Australia and in it General Glasnovic speaks about his meetings with Australian Croatians and about the impressions he brought back from there.

– Croatians in Australia are in a complete information blockade there. They are isolated because the Croatian media is constantly creating a perception of a situation that is not real, but false. Forums were organised and as part of these Jakov Sedlar’s film “Hundred years of Serbian terror in Croatia” was shown. Other guests were historian Igor Vukic who is systematically disassembling the myths about Jasenovac, publicist Josip Jurcevic and our best culturologist prof. Tomislav Sunic.

What did you speak about?

– I spoke about the state Croatia is in and the need to modernise the Croatian State, which is going very slowly. Given that the topic was “Croatia Uncensored” I too spoke without censure. And so, I also spoke about the Croatian diplomacy, which has so far been mostly inert. There has been no diplomacy for the economy nor have real conditions for people to return to Croatia been created. Unfortunately, it’s now coming to light that some of our diplomats were involved in criminal activities, and that was covered up and is still being covered up. It has to do with people who are anational, who have no feeling for the nation (state), who want to live a life of Monte Carlo style even though they have Balkan work habits. Nevertheless, the clearing away of such Yugoslav cadres is slowly progressing. I’ve heard that a lawsuit against an Ambassador for money expenditure is on the way and that lawsuits against the one who visited “public houses” and against the one who stole the furniture from the Sydney consulate and shipped it to his home in Croatia are also being prepared.

Which meeting had the most people attending?

– More or less all meetings were well attended. But, Sydney had the biggest number people. I gave a considerable number of statements and interviews, one of which was in English, for those who do not possess enough knowledge of the Croatian language to understand why we came there.

In the reports that came through there was a mention that you were the first member of the Croatian Parliament to officially visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra?

– Yes, I took part in the Last Post Ceremony there and solemnly laid a wreath as sign of respect and remembrance for the members of the Croatian and Australian armed forces who participated in past wars and today’s conflicts across the world. On that occasion I handed over a gift of the commemorative plaque of the HVO First Brigade Ante Bruno Busic, which attracted significant attention and respect as expressed by one of the Australian War Memorial heads. In my statement for the media I said that the fact that we have no central memorial for all Croatian war victims who have fallen, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Austrian and Italian borders, is a tragedy for Croatia. I think that it’s a historical disgrace that, unlike other civilised countries that respect their dead and make the effort of burying their remains with the greatest of military honours, not one single Croatian government has even attempted to compile an official list of fallen Croatian soldiers from the First and the Second World Wars.

Zeljko Glasnovic at
the Australian War Memorial, September 2018
standing in front the War Memorial’s exhibit
of Tom Starcevich, Australian Victoria Cross recipient of Croatian descent

What do you think are the main deficiencies in the non-functioning of the Croatian state apparatus?

– Croatia must professionalise its administration and its public governance. It must have functional institutions that would implement laws. Independent judiciary that would guarantee safety in the administration of law must exist. There is nothing without safety in the administration of law. And that is where we must start. Unfortunately, the old Balkan brigand saying, which says ‘work little steal hard’, has remained in the Croatian blood. They take pleasure from deceiving the country. However, the biggest barrier for Croatia as a country is the communist mental heritage. It has completely demolished the moral and ethical values of the Croatian society, as does the Croatian media that systematically blocks all critical news. There is no democratically Christian and truly conservative media in Croatia. We do not have a truly Croatian television or something that would connect Croatians from the diaspora to the homeland. Recently, the state television has commenced broadcasting the so-called Fifth channel for Croatians outside the homeland. And all one can see there are repeats of old opuses and series but there are no concrete things to address the questions for the Croatian emigration such as postal voting, getting rid of double taxation etc.

Why is it so?

– Because the left and the right UDBA wing doesn’t want that. Because they want to remain endangered by the Croatian émigrés, they’re scared of their monetary power and the knowledge they have accumulated while living abroad, in the world. And these people (living abroad) carry Croatia in their hearts. The Croatian diaspora is the largest business branch that invests into Croatia every year more that the whole lot of the foreign investments. It was like that during the 1970’s and it is so today. Croatians from the diaspora are as undesirable in the homeland just as, I often say, a Pork steak is at a Jewish wedding. But, it can’t go on like this for much longer. Croatians in the diaspora need not despair but fight for Croatia and for their own people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because, if it wasn’t for Croatians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the four Croatian Defence Council (HVO) assembly regions we would not have a Croatian state today.

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