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

Croatia: Sorry Prime Minister – There’s Nothing Sober About Communist Crimes

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Croatian Prime Minister
Andrej Plenkovic
Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Like in some disturbingly teasing political oh-no-not-this-reality-show-again, Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic keeps showing us through his actions that he is out of touch with reality when it comes to duly acknowledging the serious divisions in society sprouting from the past totalitarian regimes and is alarmingly way off the mark when it comes to dealing with the victims of the communist regime, which topic, by the way, is a cancerous wound dividing the country – and he knows it. Plenkovic’s bluntly dismissive and discriminatory approach towards victims of the communist totalitarian regime is shocking and intolerable – utterly unacceptable!

 

He says that his announced commission for dealing with Croatia’s past, with the 20th century totalitarian regimes needs to condemn the WWII Ustashi regime up front and then sit back and analyze, soberly, what occurred after 1945 under communist regime even though there are more innocent dead in the hundreds of communist crimes’ mass graves than in the graves of those killed under the WWII Ustashi regime! What a perverse, wicked, mocking way of discriminating against the victims of communist crimes, whose mass graves have been unearthed just as those of the other victims have!

 

January 26 on HRT TV news interview regarding the first 100 days of his government Plenkovic, after being informed that the Croatian Jewish Council has announced its boycott of all events commemorating remembrance of victims of the Holocaust because the memorial plaque for the Croatian defenders killed by Serb forces in Jasenovac 1990 with For Home Ready/ Za Dom Spremni inscription on it had not been removed, he was asked what he would do about that. His reply recited his “resolve” that he “will fight against anti-Semitism, intolerance, hate speech and against any type of discrimination in our society … yesterday I have even spoken to Mr Kraus (Ognjen Kraus, president of Jewish Communities in Croatia)…we will work on a commission that will in professional and pluralistic way, legal, historic … formulate a framework on basis of which we could reach a political consensus and state our position vis-à-vis 20th century totalitarian regimes and their symbols, and the plaque there in Jasenovac is not a plaque that praises some leaders from WWII … it is a plaque for the 11 killed defenders who lost their lives in the defensive and just Homeland War…”

 

And surely enough, not even a day passed since this TV News appearance and PM Plenkovic announced matters regarding the commission to be formed, which will deal with the Croatian past. And in his announcement he does what he said he would fight against: discriminates. Discrimination against the victims of communist crimes.

 

Judging from Plenkovic’s announcement about what the commission will do, forget about this commission being independent of government in its deliberations, fair and reasonable and truthful to the past – the commission it seems will do what the Prime Minister says with doubtful freedom to set its own priorities and deal fairly with the past within the terms of reference set for it; unless, of course, the composition of the commission’s membership is strong enough to fight against Plenkovic’s announcement and analyze both regimes equally before any is condemned ahead of the completion of the commission’s work. The Prime Minister has already set the political tone of its work and its research and capturing of pure truth about all totalitarian regimes has thus been poisoned. He has done that practically by saying that the commission must condemn one regime straight away and then “soberly” analyze the other (the communist one).

 

Plenkovic had just returned from his visit to Israel last week and sought to use that event where he paid respects to the victims of the Holocaust to inflict yet another awful wound to the victims of communist crimes. “Croatia must seek consensus and establish its position towards the question of the past, the 20th century totalitarian regimes, clearly condemn the 1941 to 1945 regime, that is the Ustashi regime during which numerous crimes were committed, but also in a sober way analyze everything that had happened after 1945.” He said that that discussion had never been thoroughly carried out in modern Croatia and that “using dialogue we can come to qualitative solutions with which those questions could be put forth for discussion among the most professional people from differing professions and, with that, close the still open questions regarding the 20th century history”.

He further said that the terms of reference and members of that commission will be ready by end of February, reiterating that the interest in it is quite large.

 

Well of course the interest in that commission is large, it’s announced to deal head-on with what happened in the past and most politicians still really have not placed communist crimes where they should be – condemned. There’s nothing sober about communist crimes or communist criminals. One does not need to analyze, as Plenkovic insists, what occurred in Croatia after 1945 because there are hundreds of mass graves everywhere. That evidence alone, just as the one to do with the Holocaust, must be enough to condemn first up and then analyze, if you must – so to speak. Just like he intends to do with the Ustashi regime. Or, better yet: no condemnation by the commission of any totalitarian regime until the commission’s work is done. This of course would remove the pressure to “act as expected by the Prime Minister” and yield much more valid results; ensuring, of course, no political subscriber to any of the totalitarian regimes should sit on that commission. Fat chance of that after Plenkovic’s “directive” that the commission will first condemn one crime and not the other! Sad and unjust times for victims of communist crimes continue in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatian Parliament: The Detrimental Representation of Ethnic Minorities (?)

From Left/Front row: Furio Radin, Milorad Pupovac, Andrej Plenkovic Photo: V.P.P./ Hina

From Left/Front row:
Furio Radin, Milorad Pupovac, Andrej Plenkovic
Photo: V.P.P./ Hina

 

At the time of its formation in 1990 Croatian parliament and a rather large number of NGO institutions were devised and established in such a way that Croatia’s diverse population in the ethnic sense was and remains rather well represented. There are currently eight (out of 151) seats in parliament dedicated to representing ethnic minorities living in Croatia … Many have and will say that the extent to which ethnic or racial minorities are present in legislatures can be viewed as a litmus test for the effectiveness of a country’s democratic system. However, Croatia has the troublesome misfortune of having to deal with and accommodate into its democracy and parliament an ethnic minority – Serb – that attacked the Croatian majority and other non-Serbs in Croatia and committed war crimes in the early 1990’s against the Croatian people and their property in order take one third of Croatia’s sovereign land for the purposes of creating a Serb, ethnically clean republic that would eventually be attached to Serbia. As such, a number of ethnic minorities in Croatia have not been contributing towards the development of a democratic system in Croatia but have most often tugged the ropes their way with view to securing individual benefits.

 

This is certainly no enviable situation for any democracy let alone Croatia where the perpetually elected leaders of the two largest ethnic minorities – Serb (Milorad Pupovac) and the Italian (Furio Radin) – are still ideologically and practically loaded with communist Yugoslavia agenda and, to boot, the Serb minority with the help of Serbia continues its irritating, angering and utterly unjust quest of trying to equate the Homeland War aggressor with the victim. The ethnic minority part represented by Pupovac do not appear as living in and holding Croatia as their homeland, as their country, but ethnic minority that still in many ways primarily identifies with Serbia and, in many ways the same could be said for the Italian minority led by Radin. Although there are 3 parliamentary seats representing the Serb minority in Croatia the one Pupovac sits on is the loudest, the obnoxiously divisive one that, sadly, gets relatively most left-leaning media coverage.

 

Zlatko Hasanbegovic Minister for Culture Croatia Photo: Grgo Jelavic/Pixsell

Zlatko Hasanbegovic
Minister for Culture
Croatia
Photo: Grgo Jelavic/Pixsell

Last week, Friday 23 September, both Pupovac and Radin have expressed views that they would not collaborate with the new government of Croatia if it re-appoints Zlatko Hasanbegovic as minister for culture. Their apparent sense of self-importance is so obscene that they assume their power includes making decisions about government cabinet members even if they are not in the political party that won majority seats in parliament. They, like a large slice of communist Yugoslavia fans in Croatia and outside, that keep fighting against prosecution of communist crimes and keep calling those who advocate for lustration as well as prosecution of communist crimes – nationalists and Ustashe (as in WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia) – keep promoting the new anti-Croatian trend, which says that under HDZ government Croatia has moved far-right and revisionist inclinations are gathering more and more ground. Zlatko Hasanbegovic has been the one “copping” most of of the “blame” for this vicious construct of defamation and vilification against Croatia and, yet – he remains the brightest light Croatia has had in the parliament for quite a while that keeps insisting on unraveling the truth in Croatia’s history.

 

Having in mind the cruel divisions and utterly unfair agenda behind accusing without foundation in facts Croatian minister for culture Hasanbegovic of revisionism, the two leaders of ethnic minorities (Pupovac and Radin) are perpetuating, as well as other cruel agendas, like equating aggressor with the victim or defending/justifying communist crimes, and amplified by the rhetoric of these two ethnic minorities representatives (and at times others),it is blatantly clear that the word “ethnic” – as in ethnic minorities – has outlived its usefulness in Croatia.

 

 

The word “ethnic” has become divisive and derogatory in more ways than one.

 

Croatian government, and parliament, would do well by turning their efforts away from the political and practical pursuits of engaging in business of seeing what benefit an individual ethnic minority might receive and turning towards the agenda of seeing what individual ethnic minorities will and can contribute to Croatia as a whole. Indeed, the government must be and is committed to ensuring that all Croatian citizens have an opportunity to be active and equal participants in the Croatian society, free to live their lives and maintain their cultural traditions – this is enshrined in Croatia’s laws and the constitution. It’s just that the existence of ethnic minority representatives in parliament has led to an unwanted result: instead of uniting Croatian citizens it mainly divides them as ethnic minority agendas are not often in harmony with Croatian national interests.

 

Indeed, many – including myself – believe that having an ethnic Member of Parliament has led to high expectations among members of their ethnic community about what will be achieved for them.

 

For the second time in one year Croatia has held general elections and both times a minority HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union led government formed, although forming the new one has not yet happened as HDZ continues coalition discussions with various smaller parties and independents. It is at such times of minority government that the existence of reserved (dedicated) seats contradicts the strict electoral equality of one-vote, one-value and challenge the ‘liberal, individualist notion of political equality’.

 

The fear that a representative holding a dedicated seat may control the balance of power – a scenario seen as lending too much power to a minority group. It is also a scenario capable of causing division within the community, particularly if it is possible for a member to be elected to a dedicated seat with fewer votes than are needed to be elected to a general seat. Allocating seats on the basis of ‘skin colour, ethnicity or any other trait, could by definition be seen as threatening democracy’s principles… it threatens to encourage tokenism and discrimination.

 

HDZ and its leader Andrej Plenkovic would do well in steering away from forming a government with ethnic minority representatives. The past quarter of a century has shown that this causes more damage than good for Croatian national interests. Having ethnic minorities dedicated seats for representation in the parliament for a quarter of a century in Croatia has evidently and essentially given a rise to a reality that tells us that the balance that is struck between the representation of minorities, and the maintenance and development of an overarching sense of national identity and purpose is detrimentally wrong.

 

The fact that the Croatian parliament also has 3 seats dedicated to Croatian citizens living abroad in the diaspora does not present the same problematic issues primarily because these seats are for electorates where Croatian citizens live regardless of their ethnic make-up. If anything, there should be at least 3 more dedicated seats to Croatians living in the overseas diaspora (not living in the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina) as their population is almost as large as the one in Croatia and the agenda of Croatian government to encourage Croats living abroad to return to Croatia and/or invest in Croatian economy is omnipresent.

 

Croatian parliament appears in an urgent need of re-grouping so its every seat represents all people living in every electorate regardless of their ethnic make-up and the enactment of laws that would see the establishment of government department and non-government organisations responsible to an appropriate minister of the government (ideally a minister for ethnic affairs) for dealing with matters arising from or exclusive to ethnic origins or cultural/religious practices of citizens. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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