John (Ivan) Prcela Writes To US State Department

John (Ivan) Prcela
Photo credit: croexpress.eu

 

Emerging from concerning and distressing content in the recent US State Department Report on Human Rights in Croatia I am especially grateful and honoured to have obtained Mr John (Ivan) Prcela’s personal permission to publish here his letter to the US State Department, dated 20th August 2017.

John (Ivan) Prcela, Ohio, US based historian, born in 1922, in Kosute-Trilj, Croatia. He graduated from the 8-year Franciscan Classical Gymnasium in Sinj, Croatia in 1944, completed one year of theology in Makarska, Croatia, and two additional years in Rome, Italy.

In 1949, he emigrated to the United States, graduated from John Carroll University in 1954 and in 1957 obtained his Master of Arts Degree from Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He was a high school teacher from 1954 to 1988, got married in 1963; he is a father of four and grandfather of eight. He became a widower in 2002. After 70 years of reflections, in February 2012 Friesen Press published his UNIQUE, BOLD and CHALLENGING theological masterpiece, St. Joseph the Virginal Father of Jesus.

He spent most of his adult life in dedication to research and writing about the sufferings of the Croatian people. From 1957 he studies and researches facts to do with the “Croatian Holocaust” and publishes works about the sufferings of Croatian people. He is the author of a great number of articles, memorandums, brochures and books on Croatian sufferings during and after WWII. He is a worldwide authority in this field. To name notable works he was co-author of the well known book “Operation Slaughterhouse – Eyewitness accounts of postwar massacres in Yugoslavia” (1970/Croatian edition; 1995/English edition); Archbishop Stepinac in His Country’s Church State Relations Paper/book (1990);co-author editor of “Croatian Holocaust” (2001/Croatian edition), author editor “Croatian Holocaust II” (2005/Croatian editions); translator of Joseph Hecimovic “In Tito’s Death Marches” (2011). (Ina Vukic)

John Prcela’s letter to the US State Department:

Cleveland, Ohio, August 20, 2017

My Fellow Americans in the U S State Department!

The recent US State Department’s Report on Human Rights in Croatia reminds me of the Reports written in the gone-by fifties and sixties. Then, and also much later, the United States staunchly defended the Yugoslav territorial integrity. That is an equivalent of defending a Serbian heavy yoke on the shoulders of the Croatian People and also on those of other non-Serbian nationalities within the then existing Evil Empire of Yugoslavia.

That Report, filled with lies about my Croatian generation, reminds me also of how, 60 years ago, the US State Department’s and the American news media’s lies catapulted me into the Croatian Public Arena. Out of this engagement, in 1960 the seeds were sewn of my life’s historical opus, Operation Slaughterhouse. I worked so assiduously on that book that in the first week of November 1963 I brought it to the attention of the US State Department.

In the month of October and the first week of November 1963, the US State Department was feverishly preparing a red-carpet welcome for Marshal Tito in the White House, then occupied by President John F. Kennedy. The US State Department’s zeal for Tito’s safety prompted it to send its two agents to Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. They pulled me out of teaching my French class and questioned me about “a Croatian plan to assassinate Tito during his visit to the United States.” I told them that I cannot assassinate Tito from my classroom, but I can and I will organize a special day of thanksgiving if someone kills that infamous Dictator of Yugoslavia. This highly heated questioning also inspired me to inform them of the above mentioned historical work – seven years ahead of its publication in 1970!

On November 5, 1963, the highlights of that book were distributed by the Croatian protesters in front of the White House – a deserved “welcome” to the murderer of many legions of the Croatian Freedom Fighters!

My life’s work, Operation Slaughterhouse, is well known to the US State Department, because it was always kept on its Yugoslav Desk. The late Richard Holbrook once informed me that the book is highly regarded by him and the US State Department personnel. Unfortunately, the spirit of that historical work was ignored in Dayton, Ohio, the place of Dayton Agreements of 1995. Those Agreements, instead of condemning the murderous Bosnian Serbs, rewarded them by establishing Republika Srpska (The Serbian Republic) within the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The historical works, Operation Slaughterhouse of 1970 and 1995 and Hrvatski Holokaust (The Croatian Holocaust) of 2001 and 2009, although they were followed by an avalanche of works on the subject in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, are completely ignored by the US State Department’s Report of August 15, 2017, in which the US State Department sheds crocodile tears over the defunct Yugoslavia. That is why it is against the Republic of Croatia’s declaring Blessed Cardinal Stepinac innocent of all charges piled up on this saintly man in the rigged trial of 1946.

Furthermore, the US State Department shows its ire against the Croatian historians who published many well documented studies against the puffed up astronomical numbers of “victims” of the Ustasha Jasenovac Work Camp. Those historians, including the one who will soon publish his encyclopedic work on the subject, come out with revealing proofs that in the postwar years Jasenovac was Yugoslavia’s Death Camp! The US State Department is NOT interested in the historical facts, but it is interested of heaping insults on the Independent State of Croatia and its Freedom Fighters, especially the intrepid Ustashe. The US State Department, if interested in the modern history of Croatia, should know that the Ustasha Movement sprang up from the innocent blood of the Croatian Representatives murdered in 1928 by the Serbian assassins in the Belgrade Parliament itself! That innocent blood and the Croatian millennial aspirations to have a free and sovereign Croatia are the foundations of the Ustasha Movement. That is why it is despicable to call those Croatian revolutionaries Nazi-type Fascist Ustashe!

Dr. Ante Pavelic, inspired by the Will of the Croatian people and by the innocent blood of the Croatian national martyrs, in January 1929 was forced to go into exile in Italy. The Revolutionary Ustasha Movement was founded then and the official name, The Independent State of Croatia, was adopted for the future sovereign Croatia. Exactly under that name, the Croatian People broke their ties with the murderous Kingdom of Yugoslavia on April 10, 1941, and dealt a mortal blow to the Serbian Yugoslav dynasty forever!

The most glorious chapter of the Independent State of Croatia is its Armed Forces. They were the only ones who defended the Will of the Croatian people. Yugoslav Partisans and Serbian Chetniks fought against that Will. They were abundantly helped by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and, of course, by the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, the United States and France. All of them were for the preservation of Yugoslavia and against the Will of the Croatian People.

Even in the year 2017, the US State Department is opposed to the Will of the Croatian people, wanting Wiesenthal Center, the Yugoslav Partisans and Serbian Chetniks to define the Croatian history. They accuse the Croatian Ustashe of killing in Jasenovac 720,000 Serbs and Jews. These accusations are the most despicable lies and travesty of history!

On May 15, 1945, the Croatian Ustashe and other defenders of Croatia surrendered to the British Forces at Bleiburg, Austria. Then, those POWs and 500,000 Croatian civilians were driven in Death Marches or transported by train – NOT to Italy, as they had been deceived, but to Tito’s Yugoslavia. Here, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a multitude of civilians and POWs were summarily murdered and thrown into a long chain of underground pits. I call that tragedy “Operation Slaughterhouse” and even “The Croatian Holocaust.” Nikola Knez, a film producer in Corpus Christi, Texas, calls those POSTWAR massacres – “Tito’s License for Genocide!”

I highly recommend to you that 36-minute historical documentary. Soon you will see other documentaries of historical importance. Exactly this way, I informed the US State Department’s agents in November 1963 and, years later, two FBI agents that sooner or later the Croatian People will break their ties with the murderous Yugoslavia forever. The Croatian flag, which is adorning the US State Department Building, is a visible proof that I was right in my predictions.

In conclusion, I ask you that the US State Department’s next Report about Blessed Aloysius Victor Stepinac’s and my native Croatia be a truthful Report. Only truth will set us free!
John Prcela
Survivor of the Croatian Holocaust

Croatian Antifascists deny the Victims of post-WWII “Croatian Holocaust” the dignity of remembrance

Saturday February 18 dawned cloaked in horribly and utterly immoral, inhumane, distressing colours for much of Croatia.

Ivan Fumic, the president of the association of Croatian World War II antifascists (Communists) announced that the association’s executive committee will put a motion to the Croatian Parliament to cease sponsoring the annual commemorative event that pays tribute to the victims of the May 1945 Bleiburg (Austria) massacres.

Transcript from Croatian TV newsreel above (2007): “celebrations of victory by the antifascist coalition of Yugoslavia in WWII also had its dark side. After the surrender of the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia and a multitude of civilians at the Bleiburg field in Austria on 15th May 1945 bloody revenges followed against disarmed soldiers, civilians and even women and children. The actual number of victims has not to this day been confirmed. Some estimates say that the Partisans, in their revengeful madness murdered between 40 and 70 thousand Croatians. Others mention 200 thousand. Responsibility for the Bleiburg murders and victims goes all the way to the military and political leadership of the Communist Yugoslavia. Although the Third Reich surrendered on 8th May the agony of the Croatian army lasted another seven days. The Ustashi leadership had in the end of the war decided to withdraw into Austria and surrender to the West. According to the testimony of General Patrick Scott 200,000 Croatian soldiers and 500,000 refugees fled towards Bleiburg in the hope that the British would take them under protection. But instead of protecting them the British handed them over to Tito’s army. Croatian regular army surrendered itself in accordance with the war regulations, awaiting the enforcement of the Geneva Conventions. Instead of salvation in the West for many it meant going into death. Victims fell individually and in large groups in various places; near Maribor, at Kocevski Rog, in Maceljska forest and many pits along the path of prisoners’ way of the cross there remain many graves with tens of thousands of killed Croatians. Even today the bones of the murdered are being discovered. One day trials followed against the army and government officers, which regularly ended with a death sentence. During those painful days of cruel revenge only Zagreb’s Archbishop Stepinac openly protested against the bloody persecutions. The truth about Bleiburg as a symbol of Croatian victims and division was hidden for decades, only after the fall of the Communist regime the victims are afforded appropriate tribute and the greatest one is at the Bleiburg field.

J. Ivan Prcela (historian, survivor of the Croatian way of the cross associated with Bleiburg massacres, author of book “Operation Slaughterhouse) has from Cleveland USA, February 17, written an Open letter to the Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, asking him when he will apologise for the victims of Tito’s (antifascist/ Communist) mass murders. This letter followed soon after Josipovic visited Israel and apologised for the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp.

Prcela, as historian and witness/survivor of post WWII Communist crimes, says in that letter: “You, president, just like your predecessor Stipe Mesic, fall for the Serbian-Jewish lies and astronomical numbers about the so-called Holocaust in Jasenovac. As a historian and surviving victim of the only too horrible Croatian holocaust am abhorred at those lies and ceaselessly point my finger, showing that Jasenovac hides masses of murdered Croatian war prisoners. These murdered wretches were taken straight to Jasenovac on trucks from Slovenia and Croatian regions and buried around there – to ‘prove’ the crimes of the Croatian Ustashe. Those lies and astronomical numbers of Ustashi crimes are recorded in the Yad Yashem in Jerusalem! Without any fear, about a month ago, I have warned Jerusalem’s newspapers and dr Efraim Zuroff, the spreader of those and many other lies, all at the expense of the defenders of the Independent State of Croatia.” 

To apologise for crimes is to be human, normal and considerate. Numbers of victims of crimes are not important here for even a single murder is horrible and must be condemned and punished. It is a profound tragedy though, that no one has yet apologised for the mass murders of Croatians by the antifascists/Communists after WWII.

To rub salt into this wound the antifascist association of Croatia now wants to remove the significant part of dignity from the Bleiburg commemorations that its government had afforded them via parliamentary sponsorship for years. The cruelty that antifascists showed in the days after WWII has not, it seems, mellowed. If anything, it’s become more vicious.  Is it because it’s attempting to, in any-which-way, thwart the process of bringing the perpetrators of Communist crimes to justice? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

And justice for all

I have always admired the work of Efraim Zuroff , founding director of the Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and those like him who made it their life’s task and purpose to deliver at least some justice for the millions of Jews who perished so horribly under the Nazi regime. It takes unselfish dedication to the justice for others, to justice for victims, to a profound love and respect for ones nation of people, and ultimately to the love of human beings to carry on the work Mr Zuroff has been doing for decades. Many Nazi war criminals were brought to answer for their crimes even if some themselves were at their own death-bed. No mercy for mass murderers! Rightly so.

But, my opinion on Mr Zuroff’s admirable resolve regarding pursuits and bringing to justice of mass murderers is now utterly shattered. I would like to think that I am not alone in this.

Last week Mr Zuroff  sent a statement of support to Croatian antifascists, who vehemently criticised the arrest of Josip Boljkovac (communist Partisan, antifascist, WWII) on allegations of war crimes and mass murders in 1945.

“Efraim Zuroff warned that the world has witnessed in the last years dangerous attempts at historical revision of World War II that tries to downplay the guilt of those responsible for the Holocaust and similar crimes against civilians.

“Part of that campaign is to, without foundation, equalise the crimes of Nazis – or ustasche in Croatia – with the crimes committed by communists,” Zuroff said.” http://www.croatiantimes.com/news/General_News/2011-11-10/23136/Croatian_anti-fascists_accuse_state_of_supporting_WWII_crimes_revisionism

It is deeply distressing that a man of Mr Zuroff’s stature is stooping so low and playing politics when it comes to abhorrent crimes against humanity. Almost 70 years after WWII Mr Zuroff is still on the hunt for Nazi criminals and no one has labelled his efforts as revision of WWII.

It would seem that just like Croatia’s former president, Stjepan Mesic, Mr Zuroff holds the opinion that those sides that won WWII have a licence to kill.

Leaving the genocide of Jews aside for the time being,  it would seem that they haven’t given a second thought to the fact that there were millions of people who were murdered mercilessly just because they did not agree with the communist regime.

It seems these two gentlemen have conveniently forgotten that WWII had millions of other victims besides the Jews, thousands of cases of mass murders that have yet to receive justice and the perpetrators brought to justice. Just as Mr Zuroff has insisted that Nazi war criminals be brought to justice he should condemn any similar war crime committed out of political pursuits to grandeur, or any other pursuits for that matter.

The Soviet gulags (labour camps) led to the death of citizens of occupied countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as German prisoners of war (POWs) and even Soviet citizens who had been or were thought to be supporters of the Nazis but died before they could defend themselves. Sixty percent of Soviet POWs of the Germans died during the war. (North, Jonathan (January 2006). “Soviet Prisoners of War: Forgotten Nazi Victims of World War II”. HistoryNet.com. Weider History Group. http://www.historynet.com/soviet-prisoners-of-war-forgotten-nazi-victims-of-world-war-ii.htm Richard Overy gives the number of 5.7 million Soviet POWs. Of those, 57 percent died or were killed, a total of 3.6 million.(Overy, Richard (2004). The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 568–69. ISBN 0393020304). The post-WWII world, particularly the West has almost forgotten about these atrocities.

“ The atrocities and horrors perpetrated by the Nazi’s and Japanese are well known and documented. Equally abhorrent, but far less well known, are the barbaric actions committed by the Allies, particularly in the aftermath of the war when power was being consolidated and centralized by the new Eastern European regimes.

In Yugoslavia, the anti-communist Croat population became the victims of one of the most vicious peacetime purges in the annals of western civilization. Operation Slaughterhouse relates, through a series of eyewitness accounts, the horrible suffering of the entire Croatian nation endured at the hands of Yugoslav Partisans.

The widespread and indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents marks the history of then Communist-dominated Yugoslavia, whose rivers and fields were tainted by mutilated Croatian corpses, both military and civilian.

That these genocidal horrors went on without a world-wide outcry of protest is largely that the Americans were unaware of these horrors because the postwar Western press was only concerned with the ignominy of its conquered adversaries — and because the victors in any war are never accused of committing “atrocities”.

Perhaps the saddest legacy of those days is the refusal of the Western powers to acknowledge what went on in post-war Europe’s own back-door, leading to living memories of atrocity that resurfaced fifty years later when the Communist nation of Yugoslavia finally broke apart into the genocidal warfare perpetrated by the Serbs against their balkan neighbors, including, once again, the Croats. And perhaps one of the ironies of bloody civil war and “ethnic cleansing” is that the oppressed, given the chance, turn and commit reprisal oppressions and slaughters that they themselves have barely survived. ” (Midwest Book review of John Prcela’s book “Operation Slaughterhouse”  ISBN-10: 0805937374  ISBN-13: 978-0805937374, www.amazon.com )

In saying the above and the loud protest by antifascists and now Mr Zuroff with regards to the arrest of Boljkovac in Croatia in relation to communist crimes, it is uplifting for the sense of true justice to have read an interview with the current minister of Internal affairs of Croatia, Mr Tomislav Karamarko to the Croatian cultural foundation website: http://www.hkz-mi.hr/Zajednice–MI-/Najavljujemo–Ministar-Tomislav-Karamarko-govori-z.aspx

Tomislav Karamarko

Asked about addressing harsh historical facts and crimes committed on both sides in Croatia during the 1991 – 1995 Homeland war, on the Croatian path to EU membership, Mr Karamarko said:

“…I’m thinking not only about those who had committed crimes on both sides during the Homeland war, but also about those who had, under the protection of the communist party, perpetrated crimes at the end and after WWII, killing innocent people. Some say – that was a long time ago, why dig up graves? So much suffering, so many filled pits, so many sealed destinies and innocent victims – all that without court hearing and justice. Can we really leave all that to oblivion? That would neither be just nor human!…”

Indeed Mr Karamarko, you have my vote any day! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Related posts by Ina Vukic: http://inavukic.com/2011/11/07/in-pursuit-of-justice-%E2%80%93-communist-crimes/

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