Croatia: Communist Yugoslavia Apologetics Get Crossed With President Over Tito

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic President of Croatia

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
President of Croatia


As expected, Croatia’s die-hard communists have attempted to cause mayhem among the Croatian public during the past week as their bitter reactions to the eviction of Tito’s bust from the Office of the President clearly signify that Tito’s followers are far from ready to confront the communist crimes and atrocities committed by Tito’s totalitarian regime after WWII and into the 1980’s. They’d rather pull imaginary fascists out of their hats and continue dividing the nation on lies. Truth doesn’t fill their pockets, lies do!


The first reaction, the day after Tito’s bust was shipped to the museum in the village of his birth, Kumrovec, was the announcement of the Union of antifascists in Croatia (SABA) that they did not want president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as sponsor of their celebrations of 70th anniversary of WWII victory and said that by removing Tito’s bust from her office (The Presidential Palace) she had renounced the anti-fascist struggle of the Croatian people! President Grabar-Kitarovi responded to this saying that she “is sorry to hear that SABA has made such a choice, but that it is their right and she respects it”.
President Grabar-Kitarovic also pointed out that in her work she would continue to represent anti-fascism, but that she would never agree with equating of the entire anti-fascist movement in Croatia with Josip Broz Tito, whom she considered to be a dictator. And the latter stand, of course, is commensurate with the European Council resolution regarding the condemnation of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes, including the communist Yugoslavia totalitarian regime under Tito.


Bravo – President Grabar-Kitarovic!


Actually, I think SABA did her an enormous favour by saying they do not want her sponsorship at the 70th anniversary of WWII victory for, had they not done that, she may have been placed in a situation where she would herself need to refuse such sponsorship (?), thus creating more room for the die-hard communists to criticise her without any regard to the truth behind her eventual need to refuse the sponsorship. After all, those who will celebrate the 70th anniversary of WWII victory are those who will, undoubtedly, celebrate Josip Broz Tito as their leader at the time and she has already said she considered Tito to have been a dictator. Who wants to celebrate a dictator? Those who do not like nor want democracy, for sure!


It’s indisputable that Tito had a strong role during WWII that contributed significantly in the region to the victory SABA aims to celebrate. However, once WWII ended Tito set about creating his personal tyranny, a dictatorship within the communist Yugoslavia, which did not recognise human rights as anything else but an invention of the imperialist West; mass murders of those rejecting his communism during the first three to five years ensued, then communist purges that involved murders, assassinations or imprisonment of innocent people lasted for decades to earn him a place among top ten murders of the20th century in the world! Indeed, president Grabar-Kitarovic seems rather mild to the memory of Tito by calling his merely a dictator.


Tito never wanted a Croatian independent state, he fought against it during WWII and he fought against it afterwards – his life’s work was creating and fiercely maintaining Yugoslavia. Hence, the creation of independent Croatia during 1990’s by the will, determination and great sacrifice of the Croatian people, represents the death of socialist communist Yugoslavia and the greatest defeat of Tito’s ideals and his life’s work. Tito’s bust has absolutely no place in the office of the Croatian president.


Then came Sunday last and a founding meeting of a new Antifascist league in Croatia headed by Yugo-nostalgics Zoran Pusic (brother of current foreign minister and director of board of NGO Documenta, set up to deal with the past but not communist crimes past) and Vesna Terselic, also from Documenta and if one is to judge by what ensued during that meeting the new antifascist league has one aim and one aim only: to further escalate tensions within the Croatian public by continuing to point fingers at non-existent fascists in Croatia. As expected, they were supported by the ex-president Ivo Josipovic and other few public figures – Tito and communist Yugoslavia lovers, deniers of communist crimes or, better said, justifiers of mass murders and communist purges all in the name of their, false, anti-fascism. True anti-fascism has no history of genocide, of mass murders of mass purges of innocent people from society, from the face of the Earth in multitudes of cases.


They will wage wars against imaginary fascists in Croatia,” said Igor Peternel, vice-president of the Croatian arm of the Helsinki Committee, and hence concoct such grounds on the basis of which the new antifascist league will apply for government funding.


To say that there is an increase of fascism (as the new antifascist league says) just because the president has removed the bust (of Tito) from her office is ludicrous. That is a total idiocy and a sharpening of the situation in society and raising the level of tension, and that is what they want. That is so impertinent,” said Peternel.


On Monday 23 March 2015 President Grabar-Kitarovic reiterated her position on Tito and antifascists for a Croatian radio program: “As far as I am concerned, the Office of the President was no longer the place for the bust of Tito, he is a dictator and that is indisputable,” she said, adding that she will always oppose equating Tito with antifascists, that is, with anti-Hitler coalition from WWII, She emphasised that members of her family were antifascists during WWII but that they were not communists nor had they equated their WWII fight with what was happening after 1945.”
And so, with the eviction of his bust from the Office of the President, somewhat renewed waves of vigour the spirit of Josip Broz Tito have made a controversial return to Croatia in the form of new antifascist league, renewed witch hunt against dedication to Croatian freedom and democracy, that lavishes fawning praise by the communist die-hard persons on the late dictator who choose to ignore the horrors of communist crimes committed under his leadership and, after his death in 1980, under the direction of the system he set up until late 1980’s.


Perhaps it’s wasn’t just attempting to drum-up business when the Croatian minister for economy headed a 100-member delegation to Russia in February, while the EU and the USA slammed sanctions against it because of Ukraine crisis? Perhaps it was also to check out first hand how Vladimir Putin gets away with moves to rehabilitate Joseph Stalin whose dark legacy was painstakingly removed in the late 1950s along with other pro-Stalin propaganda after then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin for his murderous purges and cult of personality?


At the end of the day, Croatia can feel blessed for having as it’s president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic who has the courage and know-how to address both the good and the bad, determined to help bring the country onto a path of clear vision and democratic stepping stones towards a better future for all. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Goldstein – Pundits Of Totalitarian Regimes’ Victims Discrimination

Slavko and Ivo Goldstein and their book "Jasenovac and Bleiburg are not the same" -  Photo: Zarko Basic/Pixsell YES THEY ARE and WHAT'S MORE "BLEIBURG"  REPRESENTS MANY MORE DEAD INNOCENTS AT THE HANDS OF COMMUNISTS

Slavko and Ivo Goldstein and their book
“Jasenovac and Bleiburg are not the same” –
Photo: Zarko Basic/Pixsell

In very recent days Slavko Goldstein, founder in 1989 of Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) and writer, has given an interview to Croatia’s Novi List in which he states in no uncertain words that EU remembrance day of victims of totalitarian regimes should not be held on the same day (23 August) for victims of Nazi regime (Hitler) and victims of Communist crimes (Stalin) because it equates the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and that, he said, is “in contradiction with the entirety of historical truth”.

Given that Goldstein was a Partisan in the communist led Yugoslav troops of WWII one is not surprised at such views of his. After all, Stalin and Europe’s communists (including Yugoslavia’s Tito) were aligned with the Allies and they wrote the history to which Goldstein refers, leaving out of the historical spotlight the equally atrocious crimes perpetrated by communists as were those perpetrated by the Nazis.

Goldstein goes on to say that both Hitler and Stalin were criminals, but not of the same kind! “Hitler,” he says, “ from beginning to end pursued his criminal politics. Stalin commenced his criminal politics during 1920’s, which culminated during 1930’s with the massive purges, but from 1941 to 1945 he was the main carrier of battles against Hitler… unfortunately he resumed his purges after the war ended…”

In a commentary to this interview given by Goldstein, R.Horvat of HRSvijet portal writes:  “And despite the estimates by which modern European historical account considers that communism is responsible for the death of more than 100 million people, of which 50 million victims are attributed to Mao Tze-Tung, 40 million to Stalin, 4 million to Lenin, 2 million to Pol Pot and 1 million to Tito, while 20 million deaths are attributed to Hitler, Slavko Glodstein wants to convince the Croatian public that it’s out of order to equate Hitler’s national-socialism with communism”.

Slavko Goldstein nevertheless admits that communism perpetrated crimes but he continues defending the role of Stalin and Soviet Union.

To me, Goldstein’s conviction is nothing more than blatant discrimination between victims. Does it really matter whether the majority of Stalin’s victims fell in brutal and atrocious sweeps by the totalitarian regime before and after, but not during WWII? No, it does not!

23 August was chosen to coincide with the date of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (23.08. 1939/ a.k.a. Nazi-Soviet Pact, non-aggression pact), in which the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany agreed to divide Eastern Europe between themselves. Both of these countries at the time had the worst forms of totalitarian regimes in the history of humanity.  Hence, the very appropriate date chosen by the EU to remember victims of totalitarian regimes. The two subsequently collided with vicious and atrocious force. Essentially, one could say that Stalin was the front man for the Jews and Hitler was the enemy of the Jews.

Furthermore, the truth of history when it comes to Stalin is not as Slavko Goldstein says (i.e. that Stalin steered away from crimes during the war). “In Stalin’s Gulag some 516,543 people died between 1941 and 1943, sentenced by the Soviets to labor, but deprived of food by way of German invasion.  Were these people victims of Stalin or of Hitler? Or both? … Hitler was worse, because his regime propagated the unprecedented horror of the Holocaust, the attempt to eradicate an entire people on racial grounds. Yet Stalin was also worse, because his regime killed far, far more people—tens of millions, it was often claimed—in the endless wastes of the Gulag. For decades, and even today, this confidence about the difference between the two regimes—quality versus quantity—has set the ground rules for the politics of memory. Even historians of the Holocaust generally take for granted that Stalin killed more people than Hitler, thus placing themselves under greater pressure to stress the special character of the Holocaust, since this is what made the Nazi regime worse than the Stalinist one.” (Timothy Snyder, “Hitler vs. Stalin: Who was Worse?” 2011)

According to Slavko Goldstein, it transpires that victims of both totalitarian regimes must not be treated the same essentially because there’s a few years of time difference between the two mass slaughters, even if they all fall under the insignia of victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes 23 August has been designated to remember them all by.

Or, is Slavko Goldstein saying: victims of the communist regime are less valuable than victims of the Holocaust?

Why fear the equating of victims of Nazi and Communist regimes? Could it be that Goldstein fears that perpetrators of horror on both sides will be seen as equally brutal and beastly?  History so far has more or less spared the communist regime from the harsh but utterly just destiny the Nazis had been put through after WWII.

Whether Goldstein, or those who are like-minded agree or not, the fact is that both of these totalitarian regimes were equally brutal and beastly, and if we count the number of victims as a measure of brutality then communism wins hands down.  And this could very well be the root of Goldstein’s pathetic reasoning regarding the 23 of August.

The 23rd August (1939) pact between Nazi Germany and Communist USSR opened the door towards the East for Hitler, but before then, on 30th September 1938, England and France had already opened that door with the Munich agreement which handed Czechoslovakia to Hitler. England and France share the guilt for 23rd August. So, that date is one of the milestones of the war and war crimes, but not their main symbol”, Goldstein argues in his interview.

But let’s call a spade, a spade! On reflection, the West and the Communist countries have always hated Adolf Hitler after WWII. Joseph Stalin, however, was once their favourite (in Yugoslavia Tito ditched him in 1948 and became himself a certain favourite during the years of the Cold war). Only in recent couple of decades, especially, has Stalin acquired some of the reproach and outrage once reserved for Adolf Hitler – and only half-heartedly. What is the explanation?

Could it be because some see Stalin’s crimes as committed on behalf of the Jews and Hitler’s crimes were committed against the Jews?

Joseph Stalin now enjoys a bad reputation. Tito’s should follow suit. But Stalin is never seen as bad as Adolf Hitler and ‘The Holocaust’.  And certainly, it seems that Slavko Goldstein would want us to believe that.

Forty five million dead at the hands of Stalin (communist totalitarian regime across Europe while he was the head figure) cannot be compared with the recognised six million dead Jews across Europe, indeed! Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. The reality is that the difference between zero and one is infinity. Every single victim is as important as the other no matter at whose hands, how and when he/she became a victim.

To keep the appalling discrimination between victims of totalitarian regimes within the Goldstein family, Slavko with his historian son Ivo Goldstein published a book in 2011 “Jasenovac and Bleiburg Are Not The Same”  (Jasenovac being the symbol of pro-Nazi killings in Croatia during WWII and Bleiburg being the symbol of Communist killings). In essence they consider “Jasenovac” crime of genocide and “Bleiburg” crime against humanity or war crime. Yet both of these crimes comprised of systematic killings and deaths attributed to communist crimes far outweigh those of pro-Nazi crimes!
Holocaust scholars have criticized a growing tendency in central and eastern Europe to equate the Shoah (Holocaust) with Communist oppression, a trend which they consider ‘the gravest threat to preserving the memory of the Holocaust’ as it served to exculpate populations complicit in the extermination of their Jewish minorities, according to a report by the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’. Professor Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University called equation attempts ‘campaigns to marginalize the Holocaust’,” said the World Jewish Congress in 2010 and concluded: “To be sure, no one can or should minimize the untold suffering caused by Communist tyranny, of which Jews were also victims, but common commemoration will only serve to disfigure memory and history.”

It would seem to me that the only disfigurement of memory and history is pursued by those who maintain that victims of the Holocaust should have a place of piety and justice above any place the victims of Communist crimes of the same totalitarian regimes era should have.  Furthermore, insisting or suggesting that the victims of each of the totalitarian regimes should be remembered on different days only prolongs the abominable discrimination against victims of communism the world has been served with since WWII.  Separating the two, as has been the case, will continue to feed the false impression, and perhaps conviction, that one criminal was better than the other, when in fact, and in terms of humanity – both regimes were regimes of murder and intolerance. Separating the two groups of victims also seems to leave an ever bitter taste that victims of the Nazi regime were perhaps more valuable human beings than the victims of the communist regimes.  This of course should not be and must not be tolerated any longer. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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