Croatia: a hostage of WWII history or…?

Croatian Homeland War Memorial Medal

Friday 13 July article by Zeljko Jurjevic “ The Homeland war is a shrine and it cannot be in the shadows of Ustashe, Partisans, and various (Radimir) Cacic’s and (Stjepan) Mesic’s …”  points to the issue that there are groups (in Croatia) in whose interests it is for Croatia to be seen as a country still preoccupied with World War II Ustashe and Partisans. The article leads one to see that turning to history is an easy way out from having to deal with the reality of the economic crisis. At the same time, Jurjevic, points out, Croatian Homeland War is being muddied and its veterans losing out on the deserved place in society. Jurjevic asserts that Croatia is a hostage of its WWII history and that this is not as harmless as it may appear.

No, it’s not as harmless as it may appear. It’s not just political spin to “mark the time”. It is the WWII Partisans’ descendants or sympathisers’ vessel through which they attempt to claim total credit for today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Croatia’s Homeland War (1991 – 1995) is the foundation of today’s independent and democratic Croatia.

Because today’s Croatia was created with almost equal participation of the descendants of WWII Home Guards (politically neutral for much of WWII until they were forced to either join Ustashe, join Partisans, or die), Ustashe (fascists, pro-Nazi) and Partisans (communists, some were antifascist) Croatia simply cannot desert this history, leave it to historians without delivering justice for all the victims of all crimes committed during and after WWII.

Today’s Croatia was created (during 1990’s) by the unity of all Croatians, those that lived in Croatia and those that lived abroad, by the politically and historically right-winged, left-winged and neutral, descendants of WWII Ustashe, Home Guards and Partisans – equally! Only through such a marvelous unity was Croatia able to come out victorious against the manifold militarily stronger Serb aggressor.

There’s almost a relentless plight – at times reminiscent of a desperate cry – to have the importance of Croatian Homeland War veterans and defenders elevated to their rightful place of deservedness. Their love and dedication to the freedom and self-determination of Croatian people, more often than not, become marred by the woes of WWII history: Ustashe vs Partisans. The advocates of communist Partisans wickedly and unjustifiably equate the latter with the Homeland War veterans.

There lies the bone of great discontent, and the compelling reason why WWII communist crimes must be prosecuted.

In recent years, in Croatian media, a good number of journalist analyses and statements by various politicians (usually left oriented) have “urged” that “Croatia must move on, leave the history to historians, etc.”

Suffice to say that most of such “outbursts” have been closely associated with events that pointed to heinous crimes against Croatian people committed by the communist totalitarian regime of Josip Broz Tito (former Yugoslavia).

While Croatian people of all walks of life condemn the crimes committed by the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime of the Independent State of Croatia/NDH, when it comes to the crimes against humanity committed by communist Partisans, the pro-communist lot hails them as actions of justified revenge!

Of course, even a blind and politically ignorant individual can see that Croatia’s so-called antifascists (communists) hide the crimes of their predecessors by emphasising those of WWII Ustashe.

This is, all will agree, wrong.

Then, there’s a notion circling around in some loud circles that if Croatia processed and condemned communist crimes, Croatia would be left without any “goodness” in its people; that goodness of today’s Croatia comes from antifascists/communists.

What a load of garbage!

Leftists maintain (wrongly) that if it weren’t for antifascism there would be no modern, independent and democratic Croatia today!

The only way Croatia will lose its “goodness” is if it doesn’t prosecute communist crimes. Because of the WWII widespread Nazi crimes the whole of Germany had once been condemned and yet, it stands proud now, it has moved on a long time ago because no stone had been left unturned when it came to crimes committed against humanity during WWII.

In that respect Germany was the lucky country. It got closure for the victims of Nazism, however painful for some die-hards that closure might have been.

Croatia, would not be a lucky country in the decades following WWII – the ruling communists made sure that crimes committed by their echelons do not end up in the same dark social dungeons as those committed by the Ustashe.

Unlike for Germany, unlike for Ustashe, many WWII crimes committed in Croatia by communists still remain unpunished.

Neither communism nor fascism brought anything good to Croatian people. Both were one-party totalitarian regimes that persecuted those with opposing views.

There’s renewed glorification in Croatia of the former communist system and its ideologist Josip Broz Tito.  Various groups take advantage of the current economic crisis and say that life used to be better under the Serbo-Chetnik Yugoslavia that mercilessly persecuted Croatian people.

This too, is another angle in the pro-Communists’ attempts to evade the destiny of having communist crimes prosecuted. It is an established fact that from 1945 – the day WWII ended – Yugoslav (including Croatian) antifascism/communism became a criminal, anti-Croatian, Serbo-Yugoslav system for the persecution and genocide over Croatians. There has been no regime in history that murdered so many Croatians as did the Yugoslav communist regime under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito.

It is an absolutely undisputable fact that, in 1991, 94% of Croatian voters voted for independence from communist Yugoslavia, voted for democracy and self -determination. That fact in itself speaks clearly that the Croatian people were fed-up, to say the least, with oppressive Yugoslavia.

It is an undisputed fact that descendants of all WWII sides created today’s Croatia. Everyone who participated and contributed to the great freedom and democracy must be hailed a hero. That is what happens in every civilised world.

But, how can descendants of some be branded less worthy than others, because of their historical bloodlines! The descendants of fascists cannot allow the descendants of communists to steal all the blissful thunder of the cries for freedom and the struggle for freedom from early 1990’s. This is particularly so because the descendants of fascists know that the descendants of communists committed terrible crimes that have gone unpunished.

While the descendants of all WWII sides cannot be held responsible for the deeds of their ancestors, they must be held responsible to reconcile history. They must bring justice to those victims of crimes who have been forgotten and who have had no closure for their suffering (victims of communist crimes) which would allow them to move on, leave history to historians.

So, Croatia is not a hostage to WWII history. On the contrary, Croatia is struggling to rectify history and bring all to their deserved place. It only seems as if there’s a hostage-of-history situation in Croatia but the bottom line is the one being frantically drawn by the tactics of communist sympathisers whereby they do not want prosecution and condemnation of communist crimes.

Croatia will, in many ways, be a poor country if the shaping of its future solely depends on the descendants of criminals who got away (from justice)! This goes for corruption, as well as for WWII and post-WWII crimes. Ina Vukic, prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Government attempting to belittle WWII Communist Crimes

Section of Tezno mass grave - 15,000 victims - Photo: Ben Freeman

While the Croatian Social Democrat led government has declined to continue sponsoring the WWII Bleiburg Tragedy commemorations, its leaders have decided to pay respects to victims at the Tezno mass grave (about 15,000 murdered there).

The only problem is that Tezno mass grave is only one of many places of WWII, and after, where communist crimes against innocent people occurred and commemoration at Bleiburg honours all the victims, everywhere along the locations of the so-called Way of the Cross (death marches), after World War II ended.

It would seem clear that the government’s move to pinpoint Tezno as THE place to pay respects is a move to belittle and degrade the symbol that Bleiburg has become and to ensure that Jasenovac is seen as the place of terrible and widespread WWII war crimes in former Yugoslavia.

This way, they attempt to reduced in importance and severity of the communist crimes committed at Bleiburg and along the Way of the Cross.

Even though the government will not sponsor the Bleiburg Tragedy commemoration it is still to be held on Saturday 12 May. Its sponsors include Western Herzegovina county, Osijek-Baranja county and émigrés from California. It is announced that Tomislav Karamarko, candidate for president of Croatian Democratic Union (largest political party in Opposition) elections to be held in May, will deliver a keynote speech at Bleiburg.

In an interview by Croatian HRT TV News (28 April 2012) Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that he would not attend the commemoration of the World War II tragedy (massacres) but that instead, he, Boris Sprem the Speaker of the Parliament and President Ivo Josipovic will attend a commemoration at Tezno, Slovenia, on May 15. Milanovic said that “the real victims of the execution” fell there and not at Bleiburg. Tezno was where the scaffold was, not Bleiburg, he added.

Well that is not the truth and Milanovic knows it. Real victims fell in many places.

His use of the word “scaffold” – the platform from which victims are executed – should not have been used for Tezno only as mass graves of innocent thousands of Croatians antifascist Partisans murdered in 1945, after World War II, have been discovered in multitudes.

As the prime minister of Croatia, I feel the obligation to pay my respects to the people who were killed there in their thousands. We are going to Tezno because the execution site there carries both actual and symbolic weight. Bleiburg may carry symbolic weight for some people, I can accept that, but that’s not the place to commemorate the victims”, Milanovic said for Croatian TV.

Mile Prpa, Portal HR.Svijet, in his article 22 April Bleiburg Tragedy – the Hypocrisy of Politics: “Imagine, to date there have been more than 1,600 mass graves (in some there are several tens of thousands of victims) strewn across Slovenia, Croatia (equally in parts where there were and where there were no Ustadshi), then across Bosnia and Herzegovina, but numerous also across Serbia to Macedonia. Out of the multitude of victims the names of the majority were not known, there was killings of people that were not acceptable to the government, among them about 80% Croatian”.

Bleiburg is the concept covering the destruction of almost the whole of the Croatian youth of the time, among whom there was a very, very high percentage of innocent or not even couple of percent of guilty, it’s also the concept for mass destruction of the large part of Croatian intelligence of all possible professions from journalists to priests. Bleiburg symbolizes an attack against entire people, everything that was vital had to be destroyed, when it was armed and unarmed and when they posed not even a minute threat. Rarely have people in the newer era, mainly during peace era, experienced so much and such tragedy. And those who have experienced it, have done so under the communist authorities”.

If Milanovic, Sprem and Josipovic are serious about paying respects to places where the “scaffolds” were then they must visit every pit, every mass grave of innocent lives taken by their antifascist predecessors, not just Tezno. Milanovic has been to Tezno as leader of the Opposition (Social Democratic Party) in 2009, he could have chosen another mass grave this year if he doesn’t want to go to Bleiburg. Saying that Tezno is the places where actual executions took place is wrong because Tezno is only one among many.

That is why Bleiburg commemoration is so very important – it is the place where all victims of the WWII and post-WWII communist purges are remembered. Death marches back to communist Yugoslavia started at Bleiburg. In “Bleiburg Massacres” by Count Nikolai Tolstoy one can see the very significance of Bleiburg and why that is the place to commemorate the victims without politics that Croatian current government is playing upon this terrible, sad, sad chapter of Croatian history. Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

VIDEOS: WW2 Massacre Made by Partisans in Bleiburg:

PART 1:

PART 2:

PART 3:

Croatia must not yield to Serbia’s intimidation

ICJ Trial Chamber 2008

Croatian online news portal Vjesnik reports Friday 27 April that Slobodan Homen from Serbia’s ministry of Justice gave a statement to Serbia’s Evening News in which he said:

We are very interested in achieving an agreement on relinquishing the cases for war crimes. Croatia has 1500 such cases against Serbs, and we only have 40 against Croatians. We are close to completing the final version of the text, and when elections are over, talks on withdrawing the lawsuit for genocide will commence”.

Talks on withdrawing reciprocal international lawsuits between Croatia and Serbia for genocide will commence as soon as elections are over in Serbia, said Homen, the secretary of Serbian ministry of justice.

The Serbian Evening News reported that Croatian and Serbian departments of Justice are currently conciliating the text of a bilateral agreement regarding relinquishment of war crimes lawsuits that are currently before the courts in Serbia and Croatia.

Homen said that initialing of such a document is the main prerequisite for agreement to end the reciprocal proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for genocide.

The main hearing for genocide in Croatia is expected to commence at the ICJ during the first half of 2013.

In July 1999 Croatia filed a case for genocide against Serbia. The genocide as it occurred during the Serb aggression in Croatia 1991 – 1995, Croatian War of Independence. In 2008 ICJ ruled it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

In 2010 Serbia filed a countersuit against Croatia. Croatia must file its additional reply to Serbia’s counter suit by 30 August 2012.

Serbia’s countersuit contains material on Serbian-Croatian relations with accent on World War II and the killing of Serbs in the Jasenovac camp during that war.

By extending the timeline addressed in this ICJ case to WWII Serbia seems to be looking at justifying or mitigating its main role in genocide in Croatia during 1991 – 1995. That is, telling the world: look what Croatians did to our people in 1941 – 1945!

How abhorrent!

If Serbia’s countersuit is anything to go by, then it is plainly clear that Serbia has no intentions of admitting any wrongdoing, any genocidal rampage against Croatia, ever.

Let’s hope that Croatia’s current government and the Opposition see this and that Croatia does not withdraw its genocide claim against Serbia in the ICJ. By withdrawing Croatia would give into Serbian intimidation when there is absolutely no reason for Croatia to feel guilty.

Today’s Croatia, Croatia of 1991 – 1995, cannot be answerable for events that occurred in 1941, if not for any other reason then for the fact that 1941 Croatia was not a united political entity, but split into three major opposing and antagonistic factions: pro-Fascist, pro-Communist and neutral. Serbia’s unrelenting ways of painting the whole of Croatian nation as being anti-Serb are abominable, and inherent in its countersuit at the ICJ.

This is one of the main reasons why Croatia must pursue with the genocide case against Serbia at the ICJ – to clear its name and do justice for the individual victims and to do justice to the nation of Croatia once and for all. Croatia must never forget that, as opposed to WWII events, the 1991-1995 years were about 94% of Croatian people voting to secede from communist Yugoslavia and Serbia employing genocidal aggression in order to try and stop Croatia from achieving independence. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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