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)

Croatia: WWII Jasenovac Camp Truth Just Got An Ally In Exact Science

First of all, here, I wish to thank Dr Matko Marusic of the University of Split in Croatia for providing me with the most important content for this article and for extracting from the Nikola Banic and Neven Elezovic comprehensive study, the crucial points related to the Croatian truth.


Well, of course it is fabricated! It was devised by former communists of Yugoslavia with external collaborators among which there were those even from Jewish backgrounds who evidently sought out not the absolute truth of the Holocaust but to disparage that truth with utter lies regarding the Croatian Jasenovac Camp.  For decades various researchers and historians have been attempting to show the truth, to debunk the claims by others, claims by anti-Croatia propaganda. And so, we have been fed with estimates that are perhaps close to the truth (e.g. between 3,000 and 40,000) and all sorts of wild guesses and estimates that climb up to 1.1 million victims! Jasenovac Camp and its truth should become the beacon of truth for humanity, once fully investigated and researched. In order to achieve a better life, a truthful one, than what we have today such factual research and fact-finding should serve as a reminder for future generations that the English historian Edward Augustus Freeman was absolutely correct when he defined history as “Politics of the past” and that Sir John Seeley was absolutely correct when he extended the concept into saying that “History is past politics; and politics present history.”

Two Croatian Doctors of Science (PhD), computer engineer Dr Nikola Banic and very eminent mathematician Dr. Neven Elezovic published in English and in a very reputable world journal for engineers and mathematicians (IEEE.org Advancing Technology for Humanity) (December 2020) a historically important article about the victims of WWII Jasenovac Camp. The article proved that the Jasenovac Camp Memorial Centre list of 84,000 names was falsified and as such completely invalid (PDF of Article accessible HERE).

In particular, Banic and Elezovic have developed a mathematical method for the analysis of a large amount of data with which they can assess which data (strongly) stand out (differ from) from all other data being analysed. The idea is based on the fact that in nature the data on a phenomenon vary, but not too much. Data that is very different from other is called “outliers” (“data that bounces”). Outliers can be defined as data patterns that do not conform to an expected normal data behaviour. Data that bounces should not appear because they indicate a gross error (eg when entering or rewriting data) or – fabricating data.

Banic and Elezovic analysed the existence and size of “data that bounces” in relation to the birth years of different groups of people. They first analysed the 1939 census in Germany (See photo of histogram provided and sourced from Banic and Elezovic above mentioned article), which should not contain data that bounce off (“spikes”). This list did not have “spikes”, so it served as a “control” method and an indicator of natural variations (number of people in certain years), because it includes a large number of people and it is difficult to imagine that it is forged.

The provided above histogram is an example of showing the number of people by year of birth in a histogram that corresponds to the state of nature: the variations from year to year are small and there is no “data that bounces”. This is a 1939 census of Germany. The black columns illustrate the impact of the First World War because it refers to the generations that were exposed to the deadly effects of that war.

After that, they analysed the years of birth of the victims on 7,106 lists located on the pages of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), and among them are data from WWII Jasenovac Camp (those collected by maintained by Jasenovac Memorial Centre on its website).

The deviation of the Jasenovac Camp list from the framework of natural variations was very, very large, the largest among the 7106 analysed lists! Therefore, the discrepancies unequivocally show that the data of WWII Jasenovac Camp were fabricated.

The Banic and Elezovic histogram photo above displays the number of all victims listed in the list of WWII Jasenovac Camp kept by Jasenovac Memorial Centre in Croatia in relation to the years of their birth. There are huge deviations (“spikes”) from the shape of the histogram that would give natural (unimagined) data. The black columns illustrate the impact of the First World War because they refer to the generations that were exposed to the deadly effects of that war. The red, light blue, and yellow sections of the columns show deviations (“bounce data”) from natural values: red data for years ending in zero, yellow for years ending in number 2, and light blue for mid-decade years.

“Besides all these histogram artifacts, there are other peculiarities with the Jasenovac list. Namely, if it is compared to other USHMM lists used here, it directly contradicts some of them. For example, the list available states that a certain Stanko Nick survived the war, while the Jasenovac list claims that he was killed, which is known to be wrong. In another example, the list available states that a certain Josip Stern arrived at Auschwitz in 1942, while the Jasenovac list claims that he was killed in 1941. This means that the proposed method can also be used to detect samples that contain potentially problematic data with properties not always shared with the usual outliers,” Banic and Elezovic write in their findings.

“Spikes” appear at years of birth ending in digits 0 and 2 (and 5), and fabrications are seen (a huge number of “spikes”) in the analysis of the years of birth of alleged Jasenovac victims not only in total but also for each nationality of victims: Jews, Roma, Muslims and Croats (Figure 24 photo below), and especially for Serbs (Figure 25 photo below).

Figure 24 Banic and Elezovic
Figure 25 Banic and Elezovic

Figure 24 photo above is an overview of the number of victims of Roma (a), Jewish (b), Croat (c) and Muslim (d) nationalities listed on the Jasenovac Camp Memorial Centre list in relation to their years of birth. There are huge deviations (“spikes”) from the shape of the histogram that would give natural (unimagined) data. The black columns illustrate the impact of the First World War because they refer to the generations that were exposed to the deadly effects of that war. The red, light blue, and yellow sections of the columns show deviations (“bounce data”) from natural values: red data for years ending in zero, yellow for years ending in number 2, and light blue for mid-decade years.

Figure 25 photo above is an overview of the number of victims of Serbian nationality listed on the list of Jasenovac Camp Memorial Centre in relation to the years of their birth. There are huge deviations (“spikes”) from the shape of the histogram that would give natural (unimagined) data. The black columns illustrate the impact of the First World War because they refer to the generations that were exposed to the deadly effects of that war. The red, light blue, and yellow sections of the columns show deviations (“bounce data”) from natural values: red data for years ending in zero, yellow for years ending in number 2, and light blue for mid-decade years.

“It is important to point out here that Banic and Elezovic findings do not deny the existence of the WWII Jasenovac camp, nor do they consider the number of people who died in it. They only show that the list of Jasenovac Camp Memorial Centre was invented so much that it is absolutely unacceptable, which means that all research should be started again, responsibly and fairly,” said Dr Matko Marusic of the University of Split in Croatia who was very kind in putting together for this article much of the content so that most readers will be able to understand, as the Banic and Elezovic study is presented in highly professional manner. Ina Vukic

Dr. Esther Gitman And Us: Great Day For History of Croatian History

Dr. Esther Gitman and the front cover of her new book:
“Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of human rights”


By Matko Marusic, Prof. Emer.

(First published in www.narod.hr, 20 February 2019)

(Translated from Croatian by Ina Vukic)


On February 13, 2019, Dr. Esther Gitman launched her book “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights” at the Croatian Catholic University in Zagreb. That day is the turning point of the history of Croatian history – because in it Croatian history has ceased to be a lie and became the truth, on an international level! A perfectly neutral person, an American Jew, presented the indisputable truths about Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. The facts about him had been distorted, terrible fabrications inserted, virtues, achievements and victories suppressed – a lie upon lie, a system of lies, a system of exterminating and shaming of Croats! And the truth was in fact the opposite: he was a pillar of human rights.

All Croatian history should be re-written, from the possible Iran about which we cannot speak even to this day, through Goldstein’s denial of King Tomislav’s crowning on the Duvanj Field, the concealment of the magnificent gathering of the Croatian people around the Croatian Peasant Party and its destruction by the communists, the terrible exaggeration of Ustashe crimes and about the partisan regime “anti-fascism”, all the way to the UDBa (communist Yugoslavia secret service) which is active even today and the “civil” associations, which are communist lodges.

The Croatian media have relayed the launch of Dr. Gitman’s book (more than 500 people at the launch) correctly, both the content and importance of her second book about Stepinac, so I will not repeat it here. However, I must point out two very important things I learned from this event.

Prof. dr. sc. Matko Marusic

1. The great dignitary of the Croatian Church is an international pillar of human rights

Dr. Gitman, in the title of her book, has called Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac – a pillar, which when translated from the English language into Croatian means “main bearer, column, supporter, anchor, tower, chief supporter”. Through scientific research Dr. Gitman has proved that the Croatian cardinal, condemned by communists and spat upon by innumerable wretches – was not an Ustasha, a criminal, a traitor, a narrow-minded cleric or a collaborator, but a main bearer, a column, a supporter, an anchor, a tower, chief supporter, a pillar – of human rights! The book should be read to the last detail because, in it, there are countless data of which we have never heard before (we have lived in a lie!) and of which we must be proud.

Dr. Gitman said that the whole world admires the Croatians because of Stepinac, but not just because of him but also because of the goodness of the Croatian people in those terrible days: she said that there were few thousands signatures of Croatian people who sought from the NDH (Independent State of Croatia) regime to release the arrested Jews – their neighbours and acquaintances, good and innocent people. Croats signed it at the cost of threat to their lives, some even signed it by thumbprint because they were illiterate!

Admit that you did not know this. (I myself didn’t know this and now I, from sheer joy and pride, I don’t know what to do with myself!) Is there a single country in the world, and a single nation, that can show signatures of few thousands of people who, at the cost of their own survival, in World War II, under Nazi occupation, openly pledged their own safety to save the Jews? No! Let Yad Vashem say if there is? Let us be proud of that now and forever, Croatian brothers and sisters! I heard another detail at the book launch that fascinated me and I want to share it with you. There were Jewish men and women in the Croatian Catholic Church before the Second World War who converted to Catholic religion and who were then ordained as priests and nuns. The NDH regime ordered that they do not have to wear the Jewish yellow star like all other Jews in public even though they were Jews. And then their leader, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, asked them to wear the yellow star all until other Jews had to wear it!

Is there in the history of battles for human rights a more beautiful and a more noble gesture than this? There isn’t! Croatian brothers and sisters, we who have this in our history, let’s not permit people who hate us and who want our state to disappear to dish out to us lessons on human rights!

Here, I ask Minister Divjak: is this very important fact of history going to appear in the new history curriculum???

2. Croatian history must be re-written Croatian history must be re-written!

That with which Dr. Gitman came out with regards to Cardinal Stepinac is big enough and unquestionable to point out to the need to also come out with other Croatian truths, against lies that were and are taught to us, against prohibitions, distortions and suppressions that still prevail. The lies about Stepinac were terribly big, negative and horrible, and after the findings of the neutral, educated and honest Jewish Dr. Gitman it turns out that not only what was said was not the truth but that the truth is actually on the opposite side! That is why from that day onwards, in the public domain, with trumpets and drums, the works, arguments and evidence, by B. Matković, S. Lozo, V. Horvat, N. Banić, R. Leljak, M. Koić, S. Pilić, I. Vukić, S. Razum, J. Jurčević, M. Ivezić and other Croatian historians who have exposed all the main falsifications by Croatian enemies – must come out.

Those who distort Croatian history, such as S. Koren, I. Goldstein, H. Klasić, T. Jakovina and others similar to them, should face these Croatian historians with scientific arguments, in public, so that we can all se who is in the right! Dr. Gitman has called upon E. Zuroff and G. Greif, the Jewish slanderers of Croatian people, for a debate, and Croatian historians have called upon those who cling to the old lies for a public debate (e.g. Igor Vukić). And this must occur! The Croatian public must not stop calling for the slanderers of Croatian people from Croatia (they are mentioned above) to faee up at a public debate with the Croatian historians, who have exposed their lies, the lies of their teachers and their Serbo-communist commanders! Mounting one argument against the other could be presented in all the media and in every form, from HTV to HAZU. Without insults and labelling! With Dr. Esther Gitman’s books, the age of labelling and insulting (judging, destroying) those who prove different has well and truly passed!

We want a truthful Croatian history! We want the truth in historical science, in public, in institutions, in the judiciary, in schools and in textbooks. Dear readers, you must never forget this and you must never relent from your national and human rights! Besides, through your Cardinal Blessed Alojzije Stepinac and your ancestors, who, although at the cost of their own lives, massively defended and guarded their Jewish co-citizens under the World War Two Nazi occupation, you too are a main bearer, a column, a supporter, an anchor, a tower, a chief supporter and a pillar of human rights! Who then can take away, deny or diminish your human rights? Nobody! A new time has come; Croatians are now righteous among nations. Our history is noble and bright and we need to realise that and openly talk about it to all and everywhere.

Matko Marušić, professor emeritus

Split (Croatia)

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