Croatia: Day Of Reckoning For Communist Crimes Needs A Strong Wake-up Call

Partisan from communist army stands at mass grave of innocent Croat victims after World War II Photo:

Partisan from communist army stands
at mass grave of innocent Croat victims
after World War II

Do you remember the EU Commission resolution number 1481 on condemnation of communist crimes?” writes Mladen Pavkovic, president of Homeland War Veterans Association 91, on the Croatian Veteran’s portal and continues with his eye-opening and sharp summing up of the disturbing situation associated with the current Croatian political leadership in government, which evidently makes it its business to cover-up the widespread communist crimes perpetrated during the times of communist Yugoslavia:
The Resolution was passed by the Assembly of the European parliament on 25th January 2006 in Strasbourg and it condemns the criminal nature of the Communist party from the time of the October revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which the democratic representatives had stamped communism as a totalitarian ideology and in which (Josip Broz) Tito’s Yugoslavia was mentioned as a country in which the communists had perpetrated multitudes of crimes against nations and individuals.  European Council had recommended that lustration be carried out in former communist countries, such as Yugoslavia, of the members and spies of the communist secret police and highly positioned communist party officials who had breached human rights during communist times. Seven years after the Resolution what has happened in relation to this in Croatia? Almost nothing, or very little.

That is, finally the alleged crimes perpetrated by members of the communist police (Zdravko) Mustac and (Josip) Perkovic have surfaced and more than ever there is talk and writing about the former UDBA operatives, but instead of prosecuting, processing and imprisoning them it’s incredulous with what might the Croatian government protects these people, who are exceptionally many in number and who had at the beginning of nineteen-nineties, coming out of the communist UDBA (secret police) simply turned their coats inside-out and began working as if nothing had happened in the Croatian and other secret services.

They’ve pulled along with them hundreds, or thousands of traitors and spies who had committed crimes during Broz’s dictatorship, and so, especially after some interviews with Perkovic one gets the impression that the former UDBA operatives were at the helm of creating the Croatian state, when in fact they utilised blackmail, theft and various other ‘tricks’ to hold in ‘check position’ most of the Croatian greats who were truly on the front lines against the aggression by the Serbs, Montenegrins and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA).  

Beside crossing over during the night from UDBA into the Croatian secret and other services like chameleons, beside the fact that their personnel are in almost all important leading functions, from banks, economy, judiciary, schools, health, to high-level politics, they have managed to employ as ‘secret agents’ and spies a good proportion of their own family members and, hence, we cannot really be surprised with the fact that there is not even a word let alone an implementation of lustration in Croatia, that the European Council Resolution regarding condemnation of communist crimes remains – a dead letter on paper.   

Often these days, new Broz’s (Tito’s) mass graves are discovered in Slovenia and Croatia, filled with innocent Croats.  Who is investigating these crimes? It’s clear to us now – nobody, because the same people who came over from the criminal UDBA to Tudjman’s side at the beginning of nineteen-nineties would need to investigate them, and those UDBA operatives are among the worst criminals and so it’s impossible to expect that they would process and incarcerate themselves.  That’s why we see that every time a new mass grave from Tito’s era is discovered, earth-moving machinery (bobcats…) move in and dig out the bones of innocent people, then all that is thrown onto a heap and is buried again, as if nothing had happened.

After all, who was it that murdered tens of thousands of Croats after World War II, who killed innocent Croats living abroad, just because they did not agree with Broz’s (Tito’s) politics? The question is now also being put about Goli Otok and Stara Gradiska, the most horrible of death camps.  If you come to Stara Gradiska you will see that nobody maintains it, it’s falling apart on its own. Soon there will be no trace of this camp where various ‘Perkovics’ and ‘Mustacs’ sent tens of thousands of innocent Croats.  Where are those who administered those death camps, in which very large number of innocent Croats were killed and massacred, today, where are those who convicted those innocent Croats to such horrible punishment? Some have died, some still enjoy their villas and weekend houses by the sea, and some continue to work in the secret and other police services, especially in courts and public attorneys’ offices as if the crimes from Broz’s (Tito’s) regime have nothing to do with them.  

Zagreb also has Marshall Tito Square, and streets and squares carrying his name exist all over Croatia. The former UDBA operatives have never been stronger.  Just look at what happens on occasions of marking Tito’s birthday or his death, in Kumrovec (Tito’s birth place).  Every year more and more supporters of this criminal gather there; they wave Yugoslav flags, dance Serb and other reels, spit on Croatia, and continually say that there would be no Croatia without them! After the interview with Perkovic, that has regretfully been shown to be true to a point.  

That is, when Serb aggression started, who had the time to check who was coming from UDBA and who from the criminal Yugoslav People’s Army to avoid asking later – what did you do during the era of Broz’s (Tito’s) dictatorship?  Perkovic even boasted that it was due to his intervention that dr. Franjo Tudjman received his passport back during the times of communism and he considers that as his great success instead of revealing who the people were that took the passports away from Tudjman and thousands of Croats because they did not agree with the politics of the Communist Union and sent them to prison and hard labour camps? One of those was he (Perkovic), as some call him ‘Croatian secret agent No. 1’.  Exceptional attention is paid to him today as if he was ‘chief among chiefs’, but beside him there were hundreds of his colleagues who committed lesser or greater bestialities than he, but no one has publicly revealed who they were. However, that which is most horrible in all of this is the fact that these ‘Perkovics’ are not at all ashamed of their shameful role during the time of Broz’s (Tito’s) government, and so in published memoirs of 99% of these and similar people you will notice one ‘chapter’ is missing – what they did during the time of communist Yugoslavia?

In the European Council Resolution regarding condemnation of communist crimes it’s emphasised, among other things, that the victims of crimes of totalitarian regimes who are still alive or their families, deserve condolences, understanding and recognition for their suffering.

Have you ever heard or read that the innocent Croats victims, from Bleiburg, Stara Gradiska, Lepoglava to Goli Otok, received recognition, compensation or something like that? Today, Croatia is paying compensation to individual Serb survivors who had participated in the Serb aggression but due to lack of evidence it has not been proven that as ‘civilians’ they held rifles, while nobody asks about tens of thousands of innocent Croats who perished or suffered from a Serb bullet or knife, in which lack of asking various ‘Mustacs’ and ‘Perkovics’ play an important part and the whole of the country’s leadership, instead of condemning them, rallies behind them as being some Heroes of the Homeland war and not common criminals, and so, one Germany must show us who those persons are and explain why they must go behind bars, and not to ‘coffee with the president’!
Written by Mladen Pavkovic
Translated in English by Ina Vukic.

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Croatia: Harnessing The Wealth Of Diaspora

Croatian Diaspora Congress - Zagreb 2014

Croatian Diaspora Congress – Zagreb 2014

In the late 1980’s, as the Berlin Wall came down, masses of Croatian people set forth to utilise the justifiably strong anti-communist sentiment in Eastern Europe particularly and, led by Dr Franjo Tudjman, with open arms, charged forth with realising their “thousand-year old dream” for an independent (and democratic) Croatia. 94% of Croatia’s voters opted to secede from communist Yugoslavia – the brutal war of Serb aggression ensued!

The relatively enormous Croatian diaspora stepped up to the task within an instant and joined in to help fight against communism – lobbying the West, humanitarian aid and financial assistance (among other significant forms of assistance) for democracy to win in Croatia poured in with never before seen determination and sacrifice.

Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, did not even need to ask for help – it came naturally and it came out of love for democracy and freedom from oppression. After all, the diaspora was full of Croatian people who had fled their homes, seeking freedom and a “better life” for centuries – most notably during Austro-Hungarian Empire times, after World War I (running as far as they could from the oppressive and forced union of Serb-led Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Kingdom of Yugoslavia), after World War II – for years and decades (running as far as they could from the oppressive communist Yugoslavia regime).

And so it is a fact that had it not been for the diaspora and its dynamic in every sense engagement towards achieving independence of Croatia, Croatia would not be independent today.

But things went terribly wrong in this positive and essential tie between Croatia and its diaspora, especially once Franjo Tudjman had died and Stjepan Mesic got to be the president of Croatia; losing not a minute to alienate the diaspora labeling it “fascist”. One cannot expect anything different from a hard-core communist, who has proven himself not to be a stranger to initiating vilification, dishing out the cruelest of injustice towards a group of people (diaspora) most of who needed to grab a dictionary to understand the meaning of Mesic’s “fascism” and his evil innuendo against every single Croat in the diaspora! With such moves Croatia had slowly distanced itself from its best ally, an important member of its immediate family – the diaspora! Transitioning from the totalitarian communist regime into democracy had since 2000 been significantly hampered by this loss – the loss that was an intentional alienation of the diaspora and did not occur accidentally by any measure.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts to revive the mass-connection between Croatia and its diaspora in terms of re-establishing the rightful place of the diaspora as an equal partner in the creation of democracy and prosperity in Croatia over the past decade or so.  One does not need to search far and wide to see that the lack of success in this has been underwritten by the communist repugnant wheeling and dealing; after all the Yugoslav communists chased Croats out, slaughtered hundreds of thousands who did not toe their lines, trawled the diaspora for Croats to assassinate and murder … they did not want to be “haunted” by their own past crimes were the diaspora to achieve equality of sorts in Croatia.

And now, just a couple of weeks ago, the largely communist die-hard government in Croatia have opened the “Office of Welcome” (Ured Dobrodošlice)! Certainly, something is better than nothing and I wish this office success and good work. However, the fact that the same government has collected dozens of unpaid advisers from all over the world ( my emphasis here is on “unpaid” because that very fact indicates the extent to which any such advice binds the recipient of that advice and the accountability of them all), mainly those nominated by only a relatively smaller section of the Croatian diaspora community (clubs and organisations that do not as a rule attract or involve most Croats living in the diaspora) suggests that this body does not represent the diaspora. What I mean to say here is that minimal, if any, effort has been made to reach out to the whole of the diaspora – not just the established clubs or associations whose effectiveness is as large as its membership numbers.  Indeed, the requirement by the Croatian government for the government adviser on Croats living abroad position was that an individual had to be nominated by a club or an association in the diaspora. What a wasted opportunity! The results would have been much better and more representatives had the Croatian government advertised in mainstream media of the countries where Croats live abroad – independent of tight-knit community networks, which spread thinly and narrowly – as a rule because multitudes simply do not go to such clubs etc.  This fact suggests to me that the establishment of this “Office of Welcome” will prove to be a superficial exercise unless some serious work is done on reviving the whole of the diaspora, as it was the case in early 1990’s. Why the Croatian government saw the need to call this office “Office of Welcome” is beyond my full comprehension but not beyond my heart, which tells me:

it is wrong, it is insincere, it is belittling …

It is like you, the reader, owning two homes and as you visit or move from one of your homes to the other your access to your home is marked by other people standing at your doorstep, showing you a “Welcome” sign! You know then that there are those there who do not welcome your arrival to your home, who consider you a visitor, at times possibly unwelcome.

But it seems not all is lost. The mass-connection between the diaspora and Croatia and the efforts to harness the enormously positive prospects through its revival will not it seems rest only upon what I see as a rushed and superficial “Office of Welcome”.

An equally important event, when it comes to efforts towards lifting the diaspora to its rightful and equal place with Homeland Croatia is being organised in Zagreb for June 2014.
It is the Croatian Diaspora Congress, which aims to deal with the issues of harnessing and reviving links between Croatia and its wider diaspora.  And I quote here below its invitation to participants, wishing all sides and all efforts great success, real results and distance from political point scoring for once and for all! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)



Croatia’s entrance into the European Union has instigated the need for the development of new strategies upon which to base its relationship with the millions of Croatians living in the diaspora. With the aim of mutually creating new strategies, as well as systematizing the process of monitoring and globally connecting emigrants with their homeland, a joint effort has begun to organize the first Croatian diaspora conference which will be held in June, 2014, in Zagreb. Participants will include prominent scholars, public and cultural figures, church prelates, missionary priests and pastoral associates, along with business people from Croatia and the diaspora.
Croatia belongs to the circle of European countries which has one of the largest emigrant populations. According to some estimates, there are more that 2.5 million emigrants, including their descendants, living worldwide. In terms of modern day integration processes, this is a huge developmental, cultural, demographical, and security resource upon which the Republic of Croatia can build a successful future and bridge the many barriers that have separated the unique Croatian national entity in the past.
Today several generations of Croatian emigrants living outside of Croatia have integrated, and with varying degrees have been assimilated, into the societies in which they live. However, it is important to note that Croatians emigrants have established various organizations and institutions in their respective host countries with the aim of preserving their Croatian national, cultural, and religious identity, as well as connection with their mother country. These organizations and institutions can serve as a basis for globally connecting the diaspora and achieving the aforementioned strategic aims.
It is also important to emphasize that the expected massive return of Croatian emigrants failed to occur after the establishment of the independent and democratic Republic of Croatia. On the contrary, Croatia continues to be a country with a large emigrant population outside its borders.  A new wave of emigration transpired during the process of Croatian independence and the Homeland war, as well as in the post-war period. This wave of emigration, in contrast to the previous ones, included a significant increase, for the first time, in the number of people emigrating into Croatian, in particular, Croatians and Bosnians from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This new emigration process was stimulated by the events of the war, in addition to the poor economic situation which was caused in part by an unjust and ineffective privatization model.
At the same time, due to the lack of job prospects and educational opportunities, a large number of young and educated people left, which was particularly detrimental for Croatia. Moreover, war refugees within Croatia, as well as refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, affected the growing adverse economic and migration situation in Croatia.
Since 1991, according to some experts, several hundred thousand Croatian citizens, including approximately 180,000 Croatians, migrated to the West. At the same time, according to official data, 232, 966 inhabitants migrated to Croatia  (from 1991), of which 189,039 from Bosnia Herzgovina. In the same period, the mortality rate in Croatia has been larger than the birth rate.
As a result, homeland policy needs to be manifested primarily in the development of better cooperation with countries in which Croatian emigrants live. In fact, expatriates have already paved the way for this cooperation. It is necessary, furthermore, to scientifically investigate and analyze current cooperation since previous experience has shown that Croatian emigrants are extremely successful ambassadors of their home country in the world. Moreover, homeland policy needs to encourage modern integration processes by focusing on Croatian emigrants and planning their return to Croatia.
However, returning does not simply imply to come back, on the contrary, they need to be offered the opportunity to have a high quality of life and jobs in their home country. In this context, the Republic of Croatia is obligated to provide its emigrants with a secure environment which will protect the investment of their hard-earned capital in homeland resources. A positive relationship towards its emigrants and effective action is expected from the Croatian government. In the last few years, unfortunately, the trust between homeland institutions and emigrants has, to some extent, been undermined. Consequently, it is necessary to invest additional effort in order to establish cooperation once again.
Furthermore, it is necessary to establish new forms of cooperation with emigrants who have no intention of returning to Croatia. Above all, it is important to help them maintain their Croatian identity and sense of affiliation with their fellow native Croatians, as well as aid in nurturing Croatian traditions and connections with the homeland. It is particularly important to stress that these actions should be based on long-term goals and be national in character, rather than short-term, or the policies of political parties. Accession into the European Union has provided new opportunities to actualize these programs and, accordingly, the design and implementation of the programs needs to be based on knowledge.
The Croatian Diaspora Congress will surely achieve the aims of its organisers in that it will aid in fostering new strategies with regard to Croatian emigrants based on scientific research and with the support of relevant institutions and individuals both within Croatia, as well as among the Croatian diaspora.
We kindly invite you to participate in the conference and help contribute to its success. Attached please find important information concerning the conference and a draft program. For further information please contact the program organizing committee.

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