Communist Yugoslavia Secret Services Archives Needed To Fight Against Organised Crime

The report on cooperation in the fight against organised crime in the Western Balkans was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday 26 October 2021 by 60 votes in favour, 4 against and 6 abstentions.  In the report Members of the European Parliament urged governments in the region to significantly increase their efforts to go forward with reforms in the rule of law and the fight against corruption and organised crime. The report says that the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia) are countries of origin, destination, and transit for human trafficking, and they serve as a transit corridor for migrants and refugees and as a location for money laundering and firearms trafficking.

There is a lack of genuine political will in fighting the organised crime in these countries and MEPs want Western Balkan countries to address fully the shortcomings of their respective criminal-justice systems, including the length of legal proceedings. While not located within the Western Balkans for the matters addressed in this report, Croatia as a country that used to be a part of communist Yugoslavia until 1991 still has a great deal to answer for and fight against when it comes to organised crime and corruption.

The report said that Members of the European Parliament insisted that “fighting organised crime and advancing towards European Union integration are mutually reinforcing processes and call for an accelerated integration process.” The EU should, according to its Members of Parliament, support these efforts through financial assistance and practical cooperation. Call me a pessimist and a cynic in this if you like, but judging from the fact that organised crime and corruption are rooted in these societies of former communist regimes or similar political and social realities, the EU money dished out to root out corruption will be largely swallowed up by the same corruption, to feed itself, unless political power landscapes are changed in those countries or the EU actually controls every euro given and does not give money away.

As a member state of former Yugoslavia Croatia has also inherited widespread corruption as organised crimes from it. As such, Croatia could play a significant role in its input into fighting organised crime in those countries of Western Balkans that have their eye on being members of an extended EU member country because it possesses “inside knowledge” of organised crime. But given the alarming level of organised corruption still plaguing Croatia one must doubt as to whether much will change in Western Balkans on account of Croatia’s input. To be effective in this Croatia would need to shed most of its public administration heads and replaced them with those who have no links whatsoever with the corrupt echelons. Or, assisting the EU in this role from Croatia should be persons who would not qualify for lustration if lustration was to occur as well as not be a descendant, child, or grandchild of those who would qualify to be lustrated whether now living or not. It sounds like a big ask but, in essence, it is not because Croatia has quite a number of those who would qualify and who had during the life of former Yugoslavia either lived there or lived abroad as part of the diaspora.

Croatia’s criminal-justice system is certainly there where Western Balkans’ is and it needs a complete overhaul, however, we are not likely to see this occur while those aligned with the former communist Yugoslavia mental set control all aspects of public administration including judiciary.

The Report says that the main factors that make Western Balkans societies vulnerable, are the lack of employment opportunities, corruption, disinformation, elements of state capture, inequality, and foreign interference from non-democratic regimes such as Russia and China. Croatia, even after 30 years of seceding from Yugoslavia still has these problems plaguing its progress and everyday life.

Links between organised crime, politics and businesses existed before the break-up of Yugoslavia and have continued since the end of the conflicts of the 1990s, and Members of the European Parliament “condemn the apparent lack of will of the responsible authorities in the region to open the former Yugoslav archives and for files to be returned to governments if they want them.”

The report welcomes the conclusion of cooperation agreements between Eurojust and the governments of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as the authorisation to open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. MEPs urge the Council to authorise as soon as possible the opening of negotiations for a similar agreement with Kosovo.

It is of great interest to monitor how the recommendation from the Report that says that “Responsible authorities should open the former Yugoslav archives” will fare. Knowing the utterly corrupt persons that held the corrupt and criminal Yugoslavia together, influence of whom poisons many a responsible authority in former Yugoslavia countries, including Croatia, the opening of all archives is likely to be stalled for generations to come. Unless of course there comes a time when the political landscape changes and new generations, unpolluted by communist Yugoslavia nostalgia, come to be the authority that makes such decisions.

Suffice to say that there are multitudes of politicians in power or those holding authority in Croatia for whom the opening of Yugoslav archives would reveal alignment with UDBA (communist secret services in former Yugoslavia) communist purges operations and grand thefts for personal gain; an abominable, criminal past that included persecution and assassinations of anti-communist Croats and stealing public wealth for personal gains. Further problem for the opening of Yugoslav archives rests in the fact that when former Yugoslavia crumbled apart Serbia retained much of the archival material pertaining to the country’s federal depository held in its capital city Belgrade. Serbia did not do the decent thing and returned to all the former states of Yugoslavia their rightful archives – Serbia kept them all and it is not a member state of the European Union. Those archives would undoubtedly also reveal, among many other facts, the nasty historical fabrications Serbia has engaged in against its neighbouring countries, particularly Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.     

Communist Yugoslavia Secret Service files (UDBa) hide everything that the lustrated or those prosecuted for endangering human freedoms, political and civil rights, destroying families would be accused or members of the service lustrated or those prosecuted for endangering human freedoms, political and civil rights, destroying families and various blackmails and interfering in political and economic life and installing in political parties would be charged with. But Croatia’s criminal justice serves largely those it needs to protect from such lustration or prosecution. Secret service files hide everything unknown that would shed light on various historical and political deceptions, montages and that it would produce grounds for a different understanding of the 20th century history that is based on facts rather than communist or Serb fabrications.

Plights by several Croatian politicians in the opposition to the HDZ or SDP governments since year 2000 for the opening of accessibility to all Yugoslav archives, wherever on the territory of former Yugoslavia they may be held, have been numerous. Lobbying for the opening of the archives has been quite rich. But all to no avail! Will EU succeed where others have failed!?  The answer to the question “what is in those secret services files” appears with more urgency as Yugoslav secret services files continue to remain a “taboo topic” despite the landscape where, on surface, all the government officials and leaders swear to their personal commitment towards the truth! EU has been asking for access to those archives for over a decade and this Report regarding fighting organised crime on Western Balkans is just another notch in the string of asking.

The Report’s other significant recommendation is that political and administrative links to organised crime must be eradicated. This all sounds very great, just like the European Parliament’s declaration condemning all Totalitarian Regimes from the past some 12 years ago (2009). But the European Union authorities still to this day fail to punish or impose consequences upon Croatia for encouraging symbols of communist Yugoslavia totalitarian and murderous regime to thrive on the streets of Croatia that lost rivers of blood in the 1990’s while trying to secede from communist Yugoslavia. All this tells me that the European Parliament and the EU authorities have no real political will to contribute effectively to the achievement of recommendations from the Report on cooperation in the fight against organised crime in Western Balkans. I, for one, would love to see Yugoslav secret services archives open for all to access and study and show the truth but somehow, I fret that in my lifetime I will not see that without a miracle of political change. There appear to be too many individuals with power at some level within the countries’ machinery involved with organised crime in both Croatia and in the Western Balkans and only a miracle can rid the people of that scourge. The miracle, of course, can be shaped at the next general elections. Ina Vukic

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)

Porphyry Should Spread messages of Peace From Serbia Not Croatia

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), Patriarch Porphyry, said a few months ago in Jasenovac that the place should be the foundation from which messages of peace will spread. At the same time he gave a sermon in Jasenovac, Croatia, the site of WWII camp associated with the Holocaust and enormous fabrications of victim numbers to aid communist and Serb propaganda against Croatia.  “Human evil is few where it has shown its ugliest side as in this place.” wider and wider and further “, said Porphyry in a sermon in February 2021 in the church in Jasenovac, the Hina agency reported.

During the past week, 15 September, Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Porphyry, led the liturgy in the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Jasenovac, Croatia, after which he said that the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Jasenovac never gathered to do mathematics, that is, who did more harm than memory, prayer and reverence for the whole the human race and that nothing like it ever happens to anyone again.

Given that WWII Serbia was among the first European countries to declare itself “Jew Free” or “Judenfrei” (May to August 1942) by exterminating some 94% of its Jews, given that it was Serbia that attacked Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s and committed acts of genocide in both countries, Porphyry would have done justice to humanity had he said that Belgrade (not Jasenovac in Croatia) should be the places from where messages of peace should be spread. But no, this he will not say because the Serbian Orthodox Church is the guiding “light” on the path to Serbia’s fabrications of history and its denial of its own horrendous crimes on other countries’ territories.

Porphyry’s or Serbian Orthodox Church’s train of intent continues the pathetic and repulsive road of blaming others, particularly Croatia, for all the Holocaust and unlawful killings in Yugoslavia region during WWII and covering up, lying profusely about WWII Serbia, lying profusely about its genocide over Croats and Bosniaks in the 1990’s…. So, given my last couple of posts regarding the “mocking of the Holocaust” and falsification of history it is important to keep in mind and keep telling the world the following part of an editorial published in 1995 “Serbian portrayal of Serbia’s ‘Holocaust Decency’ is historical revisionism”:

Fully six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia had issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment. One year later on 22 October 1941, the rabidly antisemitic ‘Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibit’ opened in occupied Belgrade, funded by the city of Belgrade. The central theme was an alleged Jewish-Communist-Masonic plot for world domination. Newspapers such as Obnova (Renewal) and Naša Borba (Our Struggle) praised this exhibit, proclaiming that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. A few months later, Serbian authorities issued postage stamps commemorating the opening of this popular exhibit. These stamps, which juxtaposed Jewish and Serbian symbols, portrayed Judaism as the source of world evil and advocated the humiliation and violent subjugation of Jews.

Anti-Semitic postage stamps in WWII Serbia

Serbia as well as neighbouring Croatia was under Axis occupation during the Second World War. Although the efficient destruction of Serbian Jewry in the first two years of German occupation has been well documented by respected sources, the extent to which Serbia actively collaborated in that destruction has been less recognized.

The Serbian government under General Milan Nedić worked closely with local Nazi officials in making Belgrade the first ‘Judenfrei’ city of Europe. As late as 19 September 1943, Nedić made an official visit to Adolf Hitler, Serbs in Berlin advanced the idea that the Serbs were the ‘Ubermenchen’ (master race) of the Slavs.

Although the Serbian version of history portrays wartime Serbia as a helpless, occupied territory, Serbian newspapers of the period offer a portrait of intensive collaboration. In November 1941, Mihajlo Olčan, a minister in Nedić’s government boasted that ‘Serbia has been allowed what no other occupied country has been allowed and that is to establish law and order with its own armed forces’.

Indeed, with Nazi blessings, Nedić established the Serbian State Guard, numbering about 20,000, compared to the 3,400 German police in Serbia. Recruiting advertisements for the Serb police force specified that ‘applicants must have no Jewish or Gypsy blood’. Nedić’s second in command was Dimitrije Ljotić, founder of the Serbian Fascist Party and the principal Fascist ideologist of Serbia. Ljotić organized the Serbian Volunteers Corps, whose primary function was rounding up Jews, Bosniaks, Gypsies, and partisans for execution. Serbian citizens and police received cash bounties for the capture and delivery of Jews. Jews are, according to Serbian Chetnik Dimitrije Ljotić, a cursed people.

In his views, there are 4 methods the Jews have of ruling over other nations and the whole world, which include: Capitalism, Democracy, Freemasonry, and Marxism. He openly called for action against Jews because they were, in his opinion, the most cynical and dangerous opponents of Christian values.

The Serbian Orthodox Church openly collaborated with the Nazis, and many priests publicly defended the persecution of the Jews. On 13 August 1941, approximately 500 distinguished Serbs signed ‘An Appeal to the Serbian Nation’, which called for loyalty to the occupying Nazis. The first three signers were bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On 30 January 1942, Metropolitan Josif, the acting head of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, officially prohibited conversions of Jews to Serbian Orthodoxy, thereby blocking a means of saving Jewish lives. At a public rally, after the government minister Olčan ‘thanked God that the enormously powerful fist of Germany had not come down upon the head of the Serbian nation’ but instead ‘upon the heads of the Jews in our midst’, the speaker of these words was then blessed by a high-ranking Serbian Orthodox priest. A most striking example of Serbian antisemitism combined with historical revisionism is the case of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović (1880-1956), revered as one of the most influential church leaders and ideologists after Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

To Serbs, Bishop Velimirović was a martyr who survived torture in the Dachau prison camp. In truth he was brought to Dachau (as were other prominent European clergy), because the Nazis believed he could be useful for propaganda. There he spent approximately two months as an ‘Ehrenhaftling’ (honor prisoner) in a special section, dining on the same food as the German officers, living in private quarters, and making excursions into town under German escort.

From Dachau, this venerated Serbian priest endorsed the Holocaust:

Europe is presently the main battlefield of the Jew and his father, the devil, against the heavenly Father and his only begotten Son… (Jews) first need to become legally equal with Christians in order to repress Christianity next, turn Christians into atheist, and step on their necks. All the modern European slogans have been made up by Jews, the crucifiers of Christ: democracy, strikes, socialism atheism, tolerance of all religions, pacifism, universal revolution, capitalism and communism… All this has been done with the intention to eliminate Christ… You should think about this, my Serbian brethren, and correspondingly correct your thoughts, desires and acts. (Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović: Addresses to the Serbian People–Through the Prison Window. Himmelsthur, Germany: Serbian Orthodox Eparchy for Western Europe, 1985, pp. 161-162).

Written and compiled by Ina Vukic

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