Croatia: No Victim Of Communist Crimes Mourns Death Of Josip Broz Tito

Thirty-nine years ago on 4th May 1980 I sat with friends watching a matinée movie at a theatre in the centre of Zagreb, Croatia, and suddenly the movie stopped screening, lights came on and a man, his face an embodiment of doom, gloom and despondency, appeared on the stage announcing Josip Broz Tito’s death. The Yugoslav dictator, the communist criminal had died – I sighed with relief, making sure nobody noticed my relief. I joined the rest of the moviegoers exiting the theatre with their heads bowed – dazed and bewildering silence was deafening! Got out into the streets to face people walking along the footpaths silently, heads down, lost – overcast of doom and gloom as if the promise of life had just been sucked out from underneath their feet … Unsure what to expect, people went straight home, waiting for further news or, better said, how to express grief one was expected to feel even though multitudes could dance from joy if only there was freedom to express that joy. Theatres, streets and restaurants were deserted in no time. The air was uncomfortably heavy with one question: Now what? What do we do now?

The overwhelming majority of the population of Yugoslavia at that time did not know it, but the answer to “ now what?” had been prepared well in advance – Tito’s death has changed nothing for you; you continue as you were conditioned to adore Tito and what he was! Ahead of Tito’s death the communist regime had prepared special editions of newspapers that were simply sent to press, in order to reach newsstands the same evening. Communist controlled television and radio programmes had also been made in advance – ready to go on air.

The police and the army were put on the highest alert.

That media content was engineered to serve the regime’s needs is unsurprising, considering that Yugoslavia was an oppressive dictatorship and autocracy. But the quick mobilisation of the army shows just how bad an autocracy it was. The mobilisation of its army was not to fend off any would-be external enemy but to ensure its people, whom the system feared, was kept in check.

A couple of days later Tito’s coffin, on its way to the burial place in Belgrade, arrived at the central railway station in Zagreb and brought out into the vast city square in front of the station. The army and the police (in either uniform or civilian attire) took up strategic positions, ensuring order. All workers from all employers (communist government owned and run, of course) in Zagreb were ordered and commanded to go to that square, stand in a designated spot and “mourn” and “wail”. Photographs of millions mourning Tito’s passing that circled the world were the result of multitudes being forced to go to the event, no one dared not to go. The staged “goodbye to Tito” event, in particular, the realisation of how shockingly successful the communist regime under Tito was in brainwashing its people, creating servants of them like no other oppressive government apparatus I had come across, had sunk into me like a heavy load impossible to bear.

This country under Tito’s regime had managed to brainwash quite a number of its people into behaving as if the brutal and genocidal communist crimes ( led by Tito himself) during and after WWII were a necessity and a “human right” within the realm of communist regime survival. Within a couple of months my bags were packed, to leave. It would take a generation or two to cleanse the nation of communist mentality, I was certain of that and certain that such cleansing would be ugly.

Josip Broz Tito manipulated the Leninist doctrine to suit his needs and boost his popularity – all in pursuit of power. He used the Communist secret police UDBa to take command of Yugoslavia in Belgrade after the Second World War, and quickly subjected the country to a one-party system under the control of one man – himself. When he realised that Moscow wanted to curb his power, Tito broke off ties with Stalin (1948) and started flirting with the West. Once his new friends started pushing for fair elections and a multi-party system, he turned his back on them, too …

From early 1960s Tito decided to open the borders to Yugoslavia’s unemployed – so that they could go and work abroad. A huge wave of people left, hoping for jobs that did not have Communist party membership as the main prerequisite. But free travel was not for everybody – many political opponents and dissidents were banned from leaving the country, just as they were banned from working in it. In fear of reprisal and brutalities against them multitudes of anti-communist Croatians fled Yugoslavia before the opening of the borders, risking their own lives in that process.

Whoever Tito saw as an obstacle to his ultimate control was removed – killed, or arrested and sent to labour camp. One of the most notorious ‘penitentiaries’ for political prisoners was Goli Otok (Naked Island), which operated in a similar way to Stalin’s death camps. During Tito’s 37 years of rule, tens of thousands were detained and punished for speaking out against the regime, or even for expressing divergent views… hundreds of thousands of innocent Croatians murdered, dumped into mass graves either while still alive or dead.

Saturday 4 May 2019 saw a number of chilling events in Croatia remembering with seeming respect and devotion Tito’s death, by displaying the symbols of communist Yugoslavia, photos of Tito – by spreading further lies and deceit about how great Tito was. The hundreds of mass graves of victims of communist crimes strewn across Croatia – remain without justice. The events that marked remembrance of communist crimes victims did not make it into the Croatian mainstream media.

Nothing much has changed there; communist sympathisers and followers still control the mainstream media. The leaders of Croatia’s antifascist movement, such as former presidents of Croatia like Stjepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic, repeatedly identify themselves with Tito. They offer no apologies for Tito’s methods and the Communist Party’s crimes. Ivo Josipovic had the gall last week to try and convince the Croatian public that the scores innocent Croatian monks murdered in February 1945 by Tito’s communists during WWII in Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, were a legitimate military target – because they were anti-communist!

Be aware, antifascism is not a catchall category of democrats as Croatian antifascists, and many throughout the world, paint it. It is a communist construct. It is, indeed, meaningless without reference to communist ideology. Its exponents quickly manifest this even today by their willing defence of the record of Communism, their espousal of a recognisable (anti-Western) Communist world view, and their unshakeable conviction that the only threat to civilisation comes from the Right, not the Left.

Tito, in fact, behaved as Communists do, promoting revolution by the mass liquidation of potential opponents, by subverting every independent institution, and by bringing all power within the Party’s control. He authorised the killing of hundreds of thousands of people without trial, some with staged trials — soldiers, conscripted Home Guard members, unpolitical civilians, Catholic priests, monks and nuns, doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, businessmen, women and children. The mass graves, where people were thrown in alive to be slowly suffocated by the weight of those who followed, are still gradually being excavated and the mainstream media instead of keeping this fact in public view constantly choose to pay it a lip service and bury it as quickly as the victims in those mass graves perished. For fear of annoying influential Communist cadres, who had joined anti-Communists to create the fledgling Croatian state in 1991, these horrible crimes were for many years left unmentioned. Until recently, most Party and secret police archives were similarly inaccessible. There has been no lustration of Party members and functionaries. Not a single trial within Croatia has been held of a Communist official: only in Munich, after Germany managed to secure their extradition, were two high-ranking Yugoslav secret police officials (Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac) given life sentences (2018) for a politically authorised murder on German soil in 1983.

Tito’s communist murder squads operated across Yugoslavia, across Croatia, across the world. Surely, his death cannot be mourned or remembered by anything other except disdain and contempt for Tito and what he stood for! The only thing that can be mourned in Croatia is the fact that no person, no persons who engaged in that murderous purge of anti-communist Croatian people have been brought to justice, no condemnation of the communist regime has been achieved so to stamp, once and for all, Croatia’s past under the communist regime with facts that show unreservedly that Tito’s communist Yugoslavia was a frightening bundle of crimes and genocide against humanity. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Make Goli Otok Memorial To Victims Of Communist Crimes!

Goli Otok/Barren Island Communist Yugoslavia prison for political prisoners

Goli Otok/Barren Island
Communist Yugoslavia prison
for political prisoners

 

On 31 July 2014 the Croatian government announced its so-called “Projects 100” – an action of the State Office for State Property Management (DUUDI) which aims to put into functionality the state property, or use them as an engine of development of local units and raise significant funds, opinions and ideas to the public. The public is invited to express an interest, to submit opinions, suggestions etc by 15 September 2014; contact email address: projekti100@duudi.hr.

All interested parties can submit proposals, which will be reviewed and public tenders for the lease, rental, sale, etc.., will follow.

Czech villa on island of Vis

Czech villa on island of Vis

This action is about 100 prime state owned properties and 20 million square meters of undeveloped to developed construction sites and buildings. Properties are located in all counties, and most often involves the former military property. (PDF Table of properties on offer)

The State Department has in its press release named some of the most attractive properties from the list and these include villas in Lovran, Opatija, Dubrovnik and Plitvice, former political school of Tito in Kumrovec, military base Muzil in Pula, Hotel Iz from Zadar, the Czech villa on the island of Vis. Extracting and Duilovo in Split, Kovcanje in Mali Losinj, Sisak Steel Mill, Goli Island (Communist held prison island), residential buildings in Zagreb, data center Deanovec and Vjesnik media building in Zagreb.

 

Duilovo in Split, Croatia

Duilovo in Split, Croatia

The aim is to put into place functionality of the real estate assets of Croatian sea and this can be in the service of economic growth and should be the engine of development of local and regional government, and it is also an opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs, investors, county, municipality, for those with the vision and idea, “said DUUDI Office.

Muzil in Pula, Croatia

Muzil in Pula, Croatia

One property from this list that captures my attention is Goli Otok (Naked/Barren Island) – indeed it captures the attention of many. Naked Island was a high security, top secret prison island during communist Yugoslavia where political prisoners (those who did not agree with communism) in their tens of thousands were sent, without trial or any due process of justice or right to a defence, from 1949 until 1988! It was a place where the worst breaches of human rights the world had ever seen were perpetrated. It was a place of harsh hard-labour, torture and death that persisted during Tito’s reign in Yugoslavia and after his death in 1980.

Goli Otok has no place on the government’s list of “Projects 100” – it should be made into a memorial place for communist crimes, just as Jasenovac is a memorial for the crimes of the Holocaust!

 

Villa Cingrija in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Villa Cingrija in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Indeed the Association Goli Otok “Ante Zemljar” has recently written a letter to the Croatian government expressing similar suggestions. “We hold that the only correct path is for the government of Croatia to put forth a law that would declare Goli Otok a memorial area, that a specific form of tourism be developed for it, which would be based on the development of democracy, on human rights teachings and on the development of the culture of remembrance…” the letter says.

Indeed, today, the memory of Goli Otok remains deeply embedded in minds of the generations which grew up in communist Yugoslavia. Profound distress at the very thought of its existence during the times of communism lingers like a plague, like a bitter-angry piercing taste that needs neutralisation; needs appropriate closure and that closure can only be realised by ways that include the making Goli Otok into a memorial deserved by all the victims of communist crimes, wherever they occurred.

The coming month will tell as to whether the Croatian people, associations, businesses… come up with ideas that will see a viable and lucrative revival of the listed properties on the “Action Projects 100” Croatian government initiative. Certainly, many have come to atrocious state of disrepair and abandonment, which only feed despair and depression. It’s a pity though that corruption in public departments (local and state) still reigns “mighty” and one could easily see many a good idea fall into the gutters. Regardless of that, though, I do trust ideas and suggestions will pour in abundantly, for if they do not, one can easily visualise the government selling off these properties on the cheap to selected buyers just as it has done for most of the corruptly privatized concerns in the past two decades. As to Goli Otok a Petition to the Parliament regarding turning it into a memorial place of communist crimes as well as a submission to that effect to DUUDI would be welcomed by the masses, I’m sure! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

 

Here are photos of some other prime real estate on offer in “Projects 100”

Villa Lovor Lovran, Croatia

Villa Lovor Lovran, Croatia

 

Villa Izvor, Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Villa Izvor, Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

 

Villa Toplice Lovran, Croatia

Villa Toplice Lovran, Croatia

 

Political School from Tito's Yugoslavia in Kumrovec, Croatia

Political School from Tito’s Yugoslavia in Kumrovec, Croatia

 

 

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