The following “White paper on Dr. Andrija Artuković” Was written by Professor Charles Michael McAdams in the 1970’s at a time when the first threats were being made that Artukovic would be extridited to then Yugoslavia to face trial for war crimes.
Even though the paper deals primarily with Dr. Artuković, the insights some 40 years ago are as fascinating as they are relevant today, and indeed the arguments posed carry even greater need for pursual in this day and age.
Prior to the white papers text, I have included a forward written at the time of McAdams passing by Dr. Ante Čuvalo
C. Michael McAdams (1947-2010)
In Memory of a Sincere Croatian Friend
Charles Michael McAdams, a historian, journalist, and true American friend of Croats passed away on October 29, 2010 in Sacramento, California. He was not known in Croatia until the fall of Yugoslavia, but his name was very familiar among Croats around the world long before those great historical changes occurred. He was not only known to us but became a fellow-member in our fight for freedom.
McAdams was born on May 8, 1947 in an American Marine base in California, where his father was an officer. He also served in the Marines, but he was more interested in books than in a military career, and after completing his military duty, he studied and graduated with a diploma in Historical Studies at the University of the Pacific, a well-known private university in California. After that, he received his Master’s degree at the Jesuit run John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he also received a Certificate in Soviet and Eastern European Studies. He continued his education taking classes in Advanced Studies of Comparative Politics and Ideologies at the University of Colorado and at the University of San Francisco. After completing his coursework for the Doctorate in Education, McAdams became a regional director of the Sacramento campus of the University of San Francisco in 1979 — where he would remain until his retirement in the year 2000.
There is an old proverb that says that true friendships are not chosen, but simply happen. The same could be said of McAdams and his friendship with Croats. Namely, he is of Scottish-Jewish background and a Protestant by religion. He first heard about Croatia as a child because he was a stamp collector, and Croatian stamps came into his hands. But, when as a student, he began reading history books and listening to professors, he realized that everything he read and heard about Croats was negative.
It was precisely the constant demonization of the Croats that made McAdams want to explore further and find out whether this was just a fog of deception as being presented by those who advocated the status quo or perhaps the laziness of researchers and professors who, instead of searching for the truth, kept repeating old clichés, or, if perhaps it really was all true. McAdams did not believe that history was really that black and white, and he wanted to dive deeper into Croatia’s past. Then a chance meeting happened that would define his future academic career.
Namely, sometime prior to completing his studies, McAdams found himself on California Street in San Francisco. He walked past a European car dealership and noticed a small Croatian flag on one of the cars. He walked in and asked if any Croats worked there, wanting to make contact with Croats in the city. He asked that question precisely to a Croat, Mr. Zvonko Pribanic, a well-known Croatian in California. With that chance meeting, a lasting friendship with Zvonko and the Croats “happened.” In his search for truth, McAdams came into contact with people whose only wish was that the truth about Croats be told, and a real alliance was born. As Michael read more and researched the “other side,” he found out that what was being said about Croats was a myth and not reality. He then decided not only to find the truth but also to share it with others.
To better acquaint himself with Croatian history, McAdams continued his graduate studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where his mentor was Prof. George J. Prpić, and where he met and collaborated with other Croatian academicians in America. Upon returning to California, Michael became active among the local Croats there, and among other activities, he became one of the founders of the Croatian Information Service in 1974. The other founders were Petar Radielović, Zvonko Pribanić, and Damir Radoš.
From then until the end of his life, McAdams did not cease to explain to Americans and others who the Croats really are and what they want. He wrote numerous books and booklets, a number of contributions in almanacs, and more than one hundred articles. One of his most popular books, Croatia, Myth & Reality, was translated into Croatian (Hrvatska – mit i istina) and other languages, and saw three English editions (1992, 1994, and 1997). He held many lectures, participated in seminars and appeared in TV and radio broadcasts.
For years, McAdams prepared and led a segment called “Moments in Croatian History” on the weekly Croatian radio program in California. He was a member of the Association for Croatian Studies, Croatian Academy of America, Croatian-Latin American Institute, Croatian Scholarship Fund, and others. He was a guest lecturer at many universities in America, Australia, and in Croatia after its independence. For his services to the Croats, President Franjo Tudjman awarded him the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the image of Marko Marulić.
McAdams would often jump into “hot” subjects which certainly did not help him in his career, but as a true American marine, he did not give in to fear. He was not only of the belief that Croats had the right to freedom and independence, but he also enthusiastically joined that struggle. Many people were bothered by McAdams because they could not label him as an “Ustasha” child, a frustrated emigrant, or a mercenary. He openly and loudly spoke his thoughts and opinions, and did not ask for anything, and that gave him the moral strength to face the guardians and propagators of historical myths.
McAdams could have (as many others did) followed the line of lesser effort, and he could have repeated what was written in many books, but he found the courage to research “the other side” of history. He never regretted that he “wandered” into Croatian history or for being among Croats. With his work he aided in lifting the fog over Croatian history in America and beyond, and by doing so he also aided in the fight for Croatian independence.
Many thanks to Michael for his sincere friendship to us who knew him and collaborated with him, and to Croatia and the Croats. The search for historical truth carried him to the Croats, and may eternal Truth be the reward for his inexhaustible work and great love for the Croats in America and their homeland.
Dr. Ante Čuvalo
White paper on Dr. Andrija Artukovic
On May 20th 1974, a member of the United States Congress announced that she would seek the deportation of “accused war criminal” Andrija Artukovic. Since that time Artukovic has been the subject of a number of articles and programs by the print and electronic media, as well as press releases by the Yugoslav Information Center of New York. Artukovic was the center of much attention during extradition hearings held from 1951 through 1959 on behalf of the Yugoslav government.
This Whitepaper has been prepared to provide documented answers to those questions most frequently asked concerning Artukovic from members of the press, the historical community, and other interested persons. Brief portions of this text may be reprinted without prior written permission.
Q. Who is Dr. Andrija Artukovic?
A. Dr. Andrija Artukovic (pron. Ar’too-kovitch), is a 75-year-old recluse now living in a suburb of Los Angeles, California. He was born in Hercegovina, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on November 29, 1899. After graduating from the University of Zagreb with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1925, he practiced law briefly prior to his conscription into the Royal Yugoslav Army as a member of the staff of the Military Supreme Court. While serving in this capacity, he learned that he was listed as an “anti-state element” by virtue of his political beliefs and because he had defended Croatians accused of political crimes.
Like many Croatians, Artukovic felt that the Yugoslav State established as a result of the First World War deprived Croatia of independence and placed the Croatian people under Serbian domination. In September 1932 a desperate rebellion of peasants in the Lika province of Croatia and in the Dalmatian hills occurred. The rebels were armed with rifles smuggled in from the coast by those who opposed the dictatorship of King Alexander. In order to quash any attempt at revolution, a special unit of Serbian gendarmes was dispatched to arrest all Croatian leaders in the Lika area. Artukovic fled the country to avoid arrest.
Artukovic learned of the assassination of King Alexander on October 9, 1934 from his exile in England when he was arrested by British authorities. He was extradited to France, the scene of the assassination, at the request of the Yugoslav government. Although the French found no connection between Artukovic and the death of Alexander, they placed him on board a Yugoslav warship for deportation to Serbian authorities. His arrest and incarceration became a topic of international interest and Croatian organizations of every political hue, including the Communist Party, called for his release. One of his vocal supporters was Milovan Djilas, later author of The New Class, a communist leader who went on to become the Vice President of the People s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Tito. Sixty-three lawyers asked to defend Artukovic. After nineteen months of prison without charge, he was taken before the”Court for the Protection of the State” and was released after a three day “trial.” He soon learned that he was released to avoid a general uprising and that he would be assassinated upon his return to Croatia. He again fled the country to save his life.
He remained free until September 1936 when he was arrested by the Gestapo while living in Berlin. He and all other Croatian leaders in Germany were held in prisons or under house arrest without charge until 1938. Upon his release from prison, Gestapo agents informed Artukovic that the presence of Croatian nationalists in Germany was a hindrance to warming Yugoslav-German relations and that he would be held under house arrest. Artukovic escaped to Belgium to avoid recapture.
Upon the declaration of independence by the Croatian State on April 10th 1941, Artukovic served as a cabinet member in the new Croatian government. Details of this period are explored in later questions. When Croatia fell to Marshal Tito in 1945 and became part of the People s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Artukovic was declared a “war criminal.” He again fled his native Croatia. He was held for two months by British authorities in Austria for possible deportation back to Yugoslavia. At that time thousands of Croatians were deported for various “war crimes” claimed by the Partisans. The British could find no validity in the charges against Artukovic and released him with a diplomatic passport.
With full knowledge of his true identity, the Swiss government issued Artukovic travel papers in the name “Alois Anich” in order to protect him from the Yugoslav Office of State Security agents ordered to murder him. He fled from Switzerland to Ireland and then to the United States. After six months in the U.S., he applied for an extension of his visa as “Andrija Artukovic alias Alois Anich.” The visa was extended as “Andrija Artukovic.” Three years later, the McCarren-Walter Immigration Act of 1952 provided that no person could be deported solely for entering under an assumed name to avoid persecution.
In 1951, Artukovic was again arrested for extradition to Yugoslavia, this time by American authorities on behalf of the Tito government. In legal proceedings lasting from 1951 through 1959, American courts up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court, refused to extradite him. Today he has been described as a quiet, withdrawn man who spends much of his day reading and playing piano. A New York Times article of January 20. 1975 noted that he “is described by residents here as a friendly and cheerful old man who always has a word of greeting for his neighbors.”
During the sixty-day period prior to this writing, Artukovic and his family were subjected to a dozen death threats, and his brother s family to a shotgun attack and a fire-bombing. The leader of the terrorist organization which took credit for the bombing (two members were arrested on the scene), promised more bombings of the Artukovic home and bombings of the property of any person who dares to support him. Under such constant threat of assassination, Artukovic has refused all contact with the public or media since1959.
Q: Was Artukovic a Nazi?
A: No. Artukovic was a member of the UHRO- Ustasa Hrvatska Revolucionarna Organizacija / Ustasa or Croatian Revolutionary Organization, better known as the Ustasa Movement, (pron. oo’sta-sha).
Q: What was the Ustasa Movement and how did it come about?
A: The Ustasa Movement was founded by Dr. Ante Pavelic (pron. Pav litch) on January 10 1929. Pavelic was a well-known and respected lawyer in Zagreb, Croatia s capital and largest city, as well as the vice-president of the Bar Association when he was elected to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, as Yugoslavia was then known. There was deep dissatisfaction among the Croatian people with the Serbian domination of the kingdom created by the Treaty of Versailles. Not only was the king a Serb, but 90% of all governmental and military officers were from the Serbian ethnic group which represented only 41% of the “Yugoslav” population. This domination was carried through to the Parliament by means of election fraud and gerrymandering. In the election of 1935 for example, the Serbs gained 303 seats with 1,746,952 votes, while the Croatians obtained only 67 seats with 1,076,346 votes. Many Croatian leaders called for an independent or semi-autonomous Croatia as had existed for some one thousand years prior to the multi-national state forced upon them in 1918.
On June 20th 1928, a Serbian representative rose to address the Parliament in Belgrade. The Deputy, Punisa Racic, walked to the front of the Croatian delegation that he “might be heard better.” At that time he produced a pistol and proceeded to fatally shoot Stjepan and Pavle Radic, leaders of the Croatian Peasant Party, Croatia s largest and most powerful party at that time, and avowed pacifists. A third Croatian Deputy, Dr. Djuro Basaricek was also killed and two others were gravely wounded. Racic turned and walked from the hall unmolested. Pavelic joined with other Croatian Deputies in walking out of the “Parliament of Blood” for the duration of the session.
On January 6, 1929, King Alexander followed this blow by suspending the Constitution, and with it the Parliament, and declaring a royal dictatorship. All political parties and meetings were banned; Croatian political leaders were jailed; special courts “for the defense of the State” were set up and the press was silenced. As Serbian Troops moved into Croatia to maintain order, leaders of all political parties went into exile. Pavelic announced that he would fight the dictatorship from abroad and serve the Croatian people as he had been elected to do. Pavelic was a member of the Party of Right, more commonly known as the Frankist Party. This party was founded in the 1860 s by Dr. Ante Starcevic, who was succeeded by 19th century Jewish intellectual Dr. Josip Frank, (hence “Frankist”). In order to protect his fellow party members who had been jailed and those who chose to remain, Pavelic announced that he was no longer a Frankist but the head of a new political movement – the Ustasa. King Alexander sentenced Pavelic to death as an “anti-State element” on July 17,1929.
Q: How did the Ustasa come to power?
A: Rather than stop Croatian nationalism, the dictatorship of Alexander fueled it. The assassination of Alexander in 1934 led to more strife in Yugoslavia until matters came to a head in 1939. Despite the efforts of the new regent Prince Paul, the power of the Croatian movement became obvious and the threat of civil war loomed. By an agreement of August 26th 1939, Croatia became a semi-autonomous Banovina or province, as it had been in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Vladko Macek, the leader of the Croatian peasant Party was named vice Premier, a post which theretofore did not exist and was created in order to allow a Croatian a seat while leaving the old guard in complete control. The Banovina of Croatia was tied to Yugoslavia only in matters of foreign relations, national defense, and a common postal system. Although the Croatians now controlled such vital areas as education, justice, industry, and commerce within their state, twenty years of Serbian domination had left too deep a wound. The Ustasa movement became widespread within the country as well as in exile as the Croatian people demanded complete independence. The American Minister to Belgrade reported that there were 20,000 Frankists in Zagreb alone and that if a free election were to be held they would poll at least 25% of the vote. (1) In a secret telegram to the State Department in March 1940,the American Minister, Arthur B. Lane, gave his candid opinion about the agreement creating the Banovina of Croatia:
“It becomes more evident every day that the Agreement of August 26, 1939, did by no means solve the Croatian question and finally unite the Yugoslav state. The differences in religion, culture and traditions between Serbs and Croatians still exist and twenty-one years of mutual hostility cannot be blotted out by a political agreement.”(2)
A pro-Serbian coup on March 27 led to the invasion of Yugoslavia by German, Italian, and Hungarian forces. The Yugoslav Army fell apart as Croatian and other minorities refused to defend the multi-national kingdom they despised. The Croatian Ustasa forces met no resistance as they marched into the cities. The American Consul to Zagreb, John J. Meily described the take-over in these words:
“About 4:00 P.M. thousands of enthusiastic citizens wildly acclaimed the first units of the German mechanized forces. In the meantime a small group of organized Frankists, or as they call themselves, Ustase, under the leadership of the Ustase Major Cudina, Frankist university students and the town guard met with no effective resistance in taking over all public offices and seizing the railway and radio station. The bloodless (one policeman was killed) severance of Croatia from the Yugoslav State was thus consummated.” (3)
The Ustasa leader Slavko Kvaternik announced on April 10, eight days before the Yugoslav surrender, that the Banovina of Croatia had become the “Independent State of Croatia” and that Ante Pavelic would return from exile to head the new government. Kvaternik and vice-Premier Macek called on Banovina officials to remain at their posts to assist the new government; which most did.
Q: What was Artukovic s position in the Ustasa government?
A: From April 16, 1941, through October 10 1942, Artukovic was Minister of the Interior. From October 10, 1942, through mid-1943, he served as Minister of Justice. From 1943, until the end of the war on May 8, 1945, he was Protonotary of State or State Legal Archivist.
Q: Was he in control of “all police and concentration camps?”
A: No. In the Decree creating the first Croatian National Government of April 16th, 1941, control of all police forces was noted in Article 3 with these words: “I appoint General Slavko Kvaternik Commander of the Armed Forces and Minister of Croatian Defense, which shall comprise the land, air-and sea-borne forces, gendarmes and all traffic police.” (4)
Control of the police was more exactly established under Colonel Eugen Kvaternik as “Ustasha Commissioner for Public Order and Security in Zagreb with directions that all organs of police, gendarmerie, etc. must execute his commands and orders and act in compliance with his instructions.”(5) In later decrees providing for confinement in detention centers or work camps all control of such camps is given to the “Commissioner for Public Order and Security.” (6) Kvaternik delegated actual control of the camps to Ustasa Colonel Vjekoslav Luburic. Like most Croatian officials, both Slavko and Eugen Kvaternik, Vjekoslav Luburic, and Ante Pavelic were tried in absentia by the Partisans “People s Courts” and found guilty of “war crimes.” Slavko Kvaternik was executed in 1947. His son, Eugen died mysteriously in an automobile accident. Ante Pavelic was gunned down in South America on Croatian Independence Day, April 10, 1957. Luburic managed to escape to Spain where he was savagely bludgeoned to death on April 10, 1968. Other opponents of Tito met similar fates.
Q: Of what crimes has Artukovic been accused?
A: Artukovic was charged on August 29, 1951, by the Yugoslav Consul General with twenty-two counts of “participation in murder.” The Consul stated under oath that Artukovic had been charged with these crimes in a court of law in Yugoslavia and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. On October 15,1951, the Yugoslav government amended its complaint to read 1,293 counts of murder and “participation in murder.” When the amended complaint was filed it was immediately noticed that the dates of the crimes quoted in the original document did not match the dates in the amended complaint for most of the original twenty-two counts. Some dates varied as much as a year. It was obvious that the original document was not consulted in the preparation of the amended complaint. It was further noted that the Yugoslav Consul General had lied to the U.S. Commissioner under oath regarding the charge. No charge had been made in a court of law or warrant issued in Yugoslavia when the consul swore that such was the case on August 29,1951. The indictment presented to the court was dated well after the original date. The extradition request and resulting arrest of Artukovic was effected and then an “indictment” was created by the Yugoslav government in order to justify those actions. The Consul General could not be charged with perjury due to his diplomatic immunity. All charges brought against Artukovic concern the period of April 16, 1941 through October 10, 1942 when he served as the Minister of the Interior of Croatia. No charges were made at any time concerning any date later than October 10, 1942. (7)
Despite the numbers used in the courts, the Yugoslav Information Center, the U.S. branch of the State Propaganda Ministry, used such terms as “thousands” and “hundreds of thousands” in press releases on many occasions. In 1952, only one year after the first charges were made, a pamphlet printed by the Serbian National Defense Council of America charged, without documentation, that 800,000 Serbs alone had been killed by the Ustasa regime. This figure has been used a great deal in the American press, although it has been revised to read “Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.” The original pamphlet did not mention Jewish deaths during the Second World War, although it claims to list all deaths “by genocide” from 1900-1950. (8) The all-time high was reached in December 1973 when a major American Magazine with world-wide circulation charged Artukovic with .”.the systematic massacre of nearly one million Jews and Serbians. And…, he also approved orders that sent dozens of captured American pilots to firing squads.” The magazine admitted to California State Assemblyman Doug Carter on March 25,1974 that the charges were ..”.claims and allegations, not necessarily fully documented facts..” but refused to correct or withdraw the charge. Not to be outdone by numbers, a New York newspaper on July 19, 1974 printed an article charging every sort of inhumanity that the imagination could bear, although the reporter felt no need to document any of the charges, as well as the usual “800,000 Serbs, Jews and gypsies…” Again the official charge was twenty-two counts of murder and participation in murder. Further, the court stated: “Absolutely no evidence was presented that the defendant himself committed murder.”(9)
Q: Have or can the charges be substantiated?
A: Due to the complexity of the charges, it is necessary to explore this question in several parts.
The numbers…”one million Jews and Serbs”
This figure is left over from the post-war period when such figures could be thrown about with some success. The total population of Croatia according to the last pre-war census in 1931 was little more than three million. At that time there were 122 Serbs or Croatians of the Orthodox faith, for every 1,000 Roman Catholic Croatians. If one includes Bosnia and Hercegovina it might be possible to assemble a million Serbs and Orthodox Croatians. Two facts should be noted however. First, the State of Croatia claimed, but did not at any time fully control much of Bosnia, Hercegovina, Lika and Dalmatia. The entire coastal region of the country was either ceded outright to Italy or was under the Italian occupation zone in which no Ustasa were allowed. This area comprised nearly one-half of the Croatian State until the fall of Italy in late 1943 . Of the territory which did fall under the official domain of the Croatian government, much was under the control of the Partisans or Cetniks within the first months of the war. (10) Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano referred to Pavelic as the “Mayor of Zagreb” in his diaries. This was in reference to the small amount of territory and population actually under Ustasa control at some points of the war. Secondly, official Yugoslav figures show a net increase of over 39,000 Serbs between 1931 and 1948. (11) Further, Serbs in Serbia showed an net increase of 802,054 during the same period. (12) Croatians, incidentally, posted a net decrease of 8,713 between the two censuses; the only ethnic or national grouping to do so. (13) There were substantial deaths among Serbs in Croatia during the War, but figures of hundreds of thousands or “one million” are obviously intended to distort rather than to inform. Despite the claims of the Propaganda Ministry, whose members do not seem to consult their own Federal Statistical Ministry, the official Yugoslav government figures indicate that 51,534 persons from Croatia perished in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War (Center for Scientific Documentation of the Institute for History of the Workers Movement). (14) This figure, it must be noted does not refer to alleged crimes by Artukovic, but “deaths in Nazi and quisling concentration camps.”
Jews and the racial laws
Like all areas occupied by the Germans, the Gestapo and SD units of the SS were active in Croatia. The heavy toll of Jews, as well as Croatian Catholics and Moslems, was surely taken. Although the Croatian government posted the racial laws required of them by Germans, Jews were on many occasions assisted by the Croatian people and Croatian laws. One such law redefined the German racial laws in such a way as to allow hundreds of Jews and children of mixed marriages to escape the Nazis. Another law granted full citizenship to those who had excelled in their “service to the Croatian State.” (15) The reason for this law became apparent when noting the number of Jews who were counted among Croatia s leaders and statesmen. An interesting note in this regard is Slavko Kvaternik. Marsal Kvaternik, married the daughter of Josip (Joshua) Frank, the Jewish successor to Dr. Ante Starcevic as the leader of Pavelic s party. Therefore, not only was the wife of Ante Pavelic, the Chief-of-State, Jewish, but the wife of the vice-president and Chief of the Armed Forces, police forces, and gendarmes was also a Jew. Slavko Kvaternik s son, Col. Eugen Kvaternik, Ustasa commissioner for Public Order and Security was, according to both German and Judaic law, a Jew. Other prominent Jews in the Ustasa leadership included the Ustasa Representative to Hungary Alexander Klein, Vlado Singer of the Ustasa Police, and Pavelic s personal physician. In addition to the families of Dr. Pavelic and Marshal Kvaternik, the wife of Minister Zanic was also a Jew. Hundreds of other Jewish leaders and officials were made “honorary Aryans,” a practice that the Germans looked upon as quite serious. W. H. Allen, in his book, The Destruction of the European Jews, noted that: (German Police Attache- SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer) “Helm added that the problem of honorary Aryans was admittedly unsolved; some of them were still holding office.” Helm remarked that quite a few Croat leaders had strong family ties with Jews and that “some cabinet members had Jewish wives.”(16)
Croatia’s most vocal opponent of the Nazi s racial policies was Archbishop, later Cardinal, Stepinac of Zagreb. The Croatian Peasant leader Vladko Macek, (himself so anti-Nazi and anti-Ustasa that he spent most of the war in prison or under house arrest), spoke of the Archbishop s attitude: “His sermons against racial discrimination and Nazism, delivered during the occupation of Hitler s troops in the Cathedral of Zagreb were famous.” The British Broadcasting Corporation gained the text of his speeches through Vatican channels and rebroadcast his sermons as a symbol of anti-Nazi resistance in the occupied countries.(17) Nazi authorities threatened to imprison him, but fear of an open revolt by the Croatian people caused them to reconsider. What the Germans could not do in four years- silence Stepinac, Tito did immediately. The Cardinal was rewarded for his anti-Nazi posture with arrest as an “anti-State element,” as were all church leaders. Stepinac spent his last days in Communist prisons or under house arrest.
Stories of Croatians secreting Jews in their homes; of the underground which took Jews from German to the Italian occupation zone of Croatia, (the Italians also refused to obey Nazi racial laws); and of officials altering papers for Jews are numerous. Among those who assisted the Jews most, were the District officials (kotarski predstojnici) in the Italian occupied zone (Seconda Armata). These officials were active in receiving Jews fleeing from the German occupation zone and providing them with new documents in order to avoid persecution. The officials of districts included Kraljevica, Crkvenica, Senj, Otocac, Karlobag, Knin, Omis, Mostar, and Dubrovnik. In these districts under the protection of Croatian authorities, Jews were free and without stigma. All of the district officials were appointed by the Banovina and reappointed without any reservation by Artukovic, just as in the rest of Croatia. These appointees were chosen by Artukovic regardless of their political affiliation and only on the basis of their academic accomplishments and merit. All held doctorates in law and used their positions to give active assistance to the Jews escaping from German Zone. Although Artukovic was subjected to a great deal of abuse from the Nazis for these appointments and the obvious fact that he knew of the aid that they were giving Jews, he stood by them. Not only did he refuse to fire any of them but many were promoted. After Artukovic was removed from his post as Minister of the Interior many of his appointees were replaced. In order to avoid German persecution, many Artukovic appointees fled the country aided by the very Jews that they had helped in years past.
A sizable essay could be written concerning the many government and non-government links in Croatia s ‘‘underground railroad.” One such link involved sailors of the ‘‘Croatian Legion” on the Black Sea.
Although this “KTB” (military diary) entry is in terse military style, it is a story of Croatian sailors who risked their lives to assist Jewish refugees in escaping German occupied Rumania and insuring their safe arrival in neutral Turkey:
“On 24.3.1944 and 21.4.1944, Jewish refugees from Constanta (Rumania) on the Bulgarian sailboats ‘Milka, ‘Marcia, and ‘Bella Citta were led to the open sea by the fighting ships of the 23. UJ (UJ 2309 & UJ2305) and for ‘Bella Citta RA-boat 51. They were led through the northwest passage in the mined waters to the safe sea at 29o 15 0 and from there to the Bosporous. All ships traveled under the power of sails and flew the flag of the Rumania Red Cross.” (18)
How many Jews were deported from Croatia? The number will probably never be known. The indictment of the Nuremberg Tribunal set the number at 70,000 for all of Yugoslavia. (19) Raul Hilberg s definitive work The Destruction of the European Jews (W. H. Allen: London: 1961), puts the confirmed number at 4,927 at the end of 1942 and adds that 2,000 more may have been deported after that date, (p. 457). It is probable that Croatians either in the service of the German or Croatian State were responsible or involved in these deportations. However, the Nuremberg Tribunal places the guilt upon the German government and the SS organizations SD and Gestapo.(20)
Serbs and the Croatian State.
The question of Serbian persecution is an entirely different matter. To understand these events, the situation in which the Croatians found themselves must be explored. Croatian territory was immediately occupied by German, Italian, and Hungarian forces. In the years that followed, these forces were joined by those of Tito s Partisans; Mihajlovic s (Royal Serbian) Cetniks; Nedic s Cetniks; the National Guard; Pavelic s Ustasa Militia; the Croatian regular Army (Domobrans); Montenegrin Federalists; the Slovenian White and Blue Guards; and even a group of anti-Soviet Russian Cossacks (XV Cossack Cav. Corps). This was before the introduction of regular Allied forces such as the British and American advisors and the Red Army. During the war each of these forces was at one time or another fighting several, if not all of the other units involved. The loss of life on all sides was great. The total number of casualties during the Second World War is set by the Yugoslav Government at 1,700,000 people of all nationalities in all Yugoslav republics. (21) A great number of these were Serbs; an even greater number were non-Serbs, especially Croatians.
Immediately after the German invasion, Cetnik bands began their raids on Croatian cities. These groups were composed of former Royal Yugoslav Army troops who found themselves in Croatia when their army dissolved before the Axis forces. According to the New York Times, the first massacre of Croatians by the Serbian Cetniks took place even before the Croat declaration of independence.(22) On April 13, 14, and 15, 1941, the villages of Struge and Ilici were destroyed by Serbian troops. All of the victims were civilians as the three-day old Croatian government had not yet established itself in these towns, much less created an army to protect them. Almost immediately, Croatian villagers took reprisals against the local Serbian population.
This continued throughout the war. The situation was perhaps best stated by U.S. Commissioner Hocke in his ruling for Artukovic: “The evidence disclosed that some villages, where the new government was unable to furnish protection, established their own militia for self-protection. Bands from the new government would come in and take control only to be ousted by bands from their opponents. Some villages changed hands several times a day. These bands were not organized armed forces but in many instances ordinary civilians. Many lives were taken.”(23)
During the Second World War, thousands of Serbs led both by the Cetniks and Partisans invaded Croatia. Even the most ardent Serbian and communist apologists admit that both groups felt that the Croatians were a greater threat to them than Germany and that the war was fought primarily for the destruction of the Croatian State. In a speech delivered in the village of Donje Lipovo in Montenegro on February 28, 1943, Cetnik leader Mihailovic admitted that “his enemies were the Ustashi, the Croatians and the Moslems; that when he had dealt with these, he would turn to the Germans and ltalians”(Col. S. W . Bailey, U.S. mission to the Cetniks, FRUS 1943, Vol. II, p 987). This admission cost the Cetniks what little support they had in the Allied countries. The Communists, being considerably more astute, continued to call their struggle one of ” liberation for all Yugoslavia.” They simply chose to “‘liberate” Croatia first and fought all major engagements on Croatian soil. Both the Communists and the Cetniks fought with total disregard for life and property in Croatia. Never, at any time did any Croatian forces enter Serbia. In fact, with the exception of those Croatians used as cannon fodder for the German war machine on the Russian front, Croatians fought only on and in defense of their own soil.
During World War II many Serbs were deported from Croatia, some to Serbia; others to Germany. Although the Croatian government felt that the Serbian population was a threat to the internal security of the nation, it is interesting to note that the order to deport Serbs did not originate with the Croatian governmnent. According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, a conference was held in the German Legation presided over by the Gemnian Minister to Zagreb, Siegfried Kasche: .”..at which it was decided forcibly to evacuate the Slovenes to Croatia and Serbia and the Serbs from Croatia into Serbia. This decision results from a telegram from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Number 389, dated 31 May 1941.” (24)
This statement illustrates two points: First, the resettlement of Croatians, Slovenes and Serbs was ordered by the German Foreign Office, and secondly, that the Croatian government had little to say in such affairs. The only power in the Balkans (or Europe for that matter) that could carry out such sweeping orders was Germany. Only Germany could and did give such orders. Under examination, von Ribbentrop acknowledged that these orders had originated in his office.(25) Such orders often had greater effect on the Croatian people than the Serbs. During the war 300,000 Croatians were deported to Germany as slave labor and thousands more were drafted into the German Armed Forces.
Participation in the deportation of Serbs whom the Croatian government felt to be a threat to their security is one crime of which the Croatian government was guilty. According to official Yugoslav figures 1,785 people were deported from Croatia during the war.(26) It can be assumed that most of these people were Serbian. But Croatia was not the only nation to round-up “enemy aliens.” On January 29,1942, the United States Department of Defense ordered the first removal of American citizens of Japanese descent. Executive Order (an American term for decree) 9066 followed on February 19. (27) America s first concentration camps were established by Executive Order 9102. (28) Whereas a Jew or Serb with one-half Croatian blood or a Serbian who was of the Roman Catholic faith was considered ‘‘Croatian,” American citizens with as little as 1/26th Japanese blood were considered to be “enemy aliens.” These American citizens were often given only twenty-four hours in which to sell or give away all of their possessions, pack and get out of their own homes. (29) In all 106,925 Japanese-Americans were carted off to camps.(30) Perhaps the most fanatic advocate of the imprisonment of American citizens because of their race was California Attorney General Earl Warren.(31) Warren went on to become the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and was serving in that capacity when he heard the case of Artukovic.
Treatment of the opposition
The Croatian State, like the United States and most other belligerents had certain elements thought to be hostile to the state. Many persons of opposition parties were arrested and held ‘‘for the duration.” Although such blanket arrests cannot be justified in every case, the fact is that they did take place in nearly every country during the Second World War and continue to take place today. The fact that Vladko Macek wrote about his incarceration by the Ustasa after the war serves to illustrate an important aspect of the Ustasa system. Vladko Macek was the leader of the strong Croatian Peasant Party prior to the war. His party was anti-Nazi, anti-Communist, and anti-Ustasa. If any power in Croatia could bring down the Pavelic government, it was Macek. He was arrested and held first under house arrest, and later in an Ustasa detention center.
When Macek was released, he met with Dr. Pavelic where he accepted Pavelic s offer of financial assistance, transportation (in the form of a state automobile) and a security guard. Dr. Macek left Zagreb with his wife, his secretary, and his secretary s wife. He was afforded the financial assistance and protection of the government for a time even after arriving in Paris. Macek survived the war in good health. Not only was Macek not harmed, but members of the Peasant Party were allowed to hold high offices under the Ustasa regime. Macek lived to flee the Tito government which did want to execute him for “crimes against the State.”
Partisans and Cetniks were often released to return to their homes by Ustasa authorities after simply swearing to support the Croatian State and agreeing to check into the local police station regularly. One Partisan who was released without conditions to return to Tito was Herta Has, mother of Tito s then two-year-old son in March 1943.(32) Such treatment of the opposition was hardly to be found when Tito took power in 1945. Tito s mass liquidation of all opposition is well known and has been well chronicled by many post-war historians.(33)
.”..ordered the execution of dozens of American pilots.”
‘‘Dozens” would indicate at least 24 pilots; quite a number considering that there were little over 100 American airmen (pilots and crewmen) held in Croatia during the war. It is a safe number for those who use this figure, however, since no source either in this country or abroad has ever bothered to document the statement. The national magazine which made the statement in December 1973 was provided with a list containing the names and 1945 addresses of every American pilot or crewmember held in Croatia at the end of the Second World War. It was hoped that the magazine making the charge would seek to contact some of those former POWs now living in order to document their case. The editors stated that their sources were “secret” and that they had ample documentation, which they chose not to release.
Had any of those who have repeated the absurd charge concerning American pilots contacted one of these former POWs, they would have found that they were perhaps the best fed, best cared for prisoners of war in Europe. Every former POW interviewed told of good treatment. In a letter directed to the Croatian Cultural Institute of Latin America, Lt. Col. Paul E. Harden, senior American POW in Croatia spoke of his treatment:
“It is a fact that in my association with the Croatian people and authorities, their actions were exemplary and adhered to International Law. Within their resourses and facilities, the Croatian people provided timely and competent assistance to the United States Armed Forces personnel during the period of World War II.”
In the text of the letter, Col. Harden mentioned a picture of a dozen American pilots in Croatia.(34) With them are Rev. Benkovic, a native born American priest of Croatian decent who was studying in Croatia when the war broke out; the Baroness Nikolic and her niece. The reason that the American POWs are pictured with the Baroness is that they lived on the grounds of her villa. Although the place was guarded by a few aging members of the Home Guard, it had no fence and the Baroness considered the airmen her guests and treated them as such. American and British airmen received the best food available, including a daily wine ration. Often the captured airmen were treated to such luxuries as chocolate and cigarettes; items unavailable to Croatian soldiers in the field and most of the civilian populace during those war years. Whereas a wounded or ill Croatian soldier could expect little more than meager supplies in a field first aid station, American POWs were treated in Zagreb s finest hospitals. Chief of State Ante Pavelic often visited these men to see that they were in every way well treated and cared for.(35)
In early 1945 an attempt was made to evacuate American pilots from what was soon to be a war zone as the Red Army moved toward Zagreb. Air Force General Rubcic saw to it that twelve American pilots were trained in the use of Croatian aircraft, which represented the last hope for air defense of Croatia s capital. After familiarization, 14 Americans and one Croatian liaison officer flew to Allied Italy via Zadar.(36) These airmen attempted to convince the American forces to land on the Dalmatian coast and meet the Red Army at the Drina River. This was the second attempt by Croatians to convince the Allies that an American lauding in Croatia would shorten the war. In 1943 Croatian Lt. Col. Ivan Babic flew to American occupied Italy to suggest to the Americans that such an invasion would meet no resistance from the Croatian forces and that the Croatian Army would even establish a beach-head for them.(37) The American command knew that the Balkans was Hitler s great weakness and that such an attack could split the German armies. Of course neither the American or Croatian commanders could have known that Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had already carved up Europe and that the Balkan area was reserved for the Soviet Union. The American and British forces continued to fight and die one foot at a time in Italy.
Many Americans offered their services to the Croatians in order to try to save Croatian troops from the Red Army. American Lt. Edward J. Benkoski with British officers Rodney Woods and John Gray attempted to negotiate for the Croatians. One American officer accompanied Croatian officials to the negotiations at Bleiburg in order to keep Croatians from being returned to Yugoslavia and sure death at the hands of the Partisans: they failed and 250,000 were killed. (38) Needless to say, any of these men could have returned home the moment they crossed Allied lines. They chose to remain and help their captors. Such friendships were not built with firing squads.
One reason for this attitude on the part of the Croatians is that the Croatian people felt very close to the United States. At that time America had a Croatian population of over 600,000. Today that figure is closer to 900,000. (39) In a country the size of Croatia, this meant that almost every person had friends or relatives in America, including Artukovic, whose brother is an American citizen and had been in the U.S. since1932. The American priest Theodore Benkovic became chaplain to the captured airmen and described their treatment: “Despite constant American bombings, the Croatians bore no hatred towards the Americans for they in a fatalistic way held it to be necessary…I saw my countrymen led captive in Mostar, how the people treated them well, even offering the American flyers the few cigarettes they possessed; how they begged me, as an American, to make known to my own countrymen of their hope of liberation by the Americans.”(40)
Of all the American airmen interviewed none recall any case of a prisoner being mistreated in any way. Needless to say, there was no mention of firing squads; the unpleasant product of someone s imagination.
Q.: Most reports concerning Dr. Artukovic mention the Nuremberg War Crimes trials; one states that he fled to avoid them. Was Dr. Artukovic wanted by the Nuremberg Tribunal?
A: Any statement in any way connecting the name Artukovic to the Nuremberg trials is a fabrication. In all probability such lines were added to articles and programs to confuse or deceive.
The Nuremberg Trials lasted almost one year, from November 14, 1945 through October 1, 1946. During the trial thousands of documents were presented and hundreds of witnesses spoke. The proceedings of the trial fill 43 volumes with an average length of 700 pages each. In all of these thousands of pages and months of testimony, the name Artukovic does not appear once. Artukovic was not wanted, mentioned or alluded to in any way. Many of those who were mentioned were privates in the German Army or SS. It is odd that they overlooked such a war criminal as described by the Yugoslav government. In fact, they only mention of Croatian participation in war crimes is that attributed to members of the 7th SS Division “Prinz Eugen.” (41) This division was formed of ethnic Germans or “Volksdeutsche” who were drafted from Croatia. From July 8, 1947 through February 19, 1948 the United States Nuremberg War Crimes Trials examined the Yugoslav area in detail. Case VII (Wilhelm List et al.), the so-called “Southeast” case, brought charges against twelve men accused of war crimes in the Balkan area. Artukovic was not indicted.(42) Artukovic, like thousands of other Croatians from the Archbishop of Zagreb to local postmasters, was accused of war crimes only by the Tito regime which they had opposed.
Q: Who are the ‘‘witnesses and war-crimes investigators” often cited as the sources of charges against Dr. Artukovic?
A: The national magazine which used these “sources” in December 1973 stated that documentation was “secret” and therefore could not be released. Other reporters maintain that the names of these witnesses were “lost or ” stolen from files. Still others simply refuse to answer any questions in this regard. No reporter or news agency has ever actually produced the name of a witness or investigator. This should not come as a surprise as during eight years of extradition proceeding against Artukovic, the Tito government was unable to produce a single witness. The unsubstantiality of the Yugoslav testimony was one of the several reasons the court ruled for Dr. Artukovic. Concerning this, U.S. Commissioner Hocke stated:
“All of the evidence presented by the complainant is in narrative form. The affidavits were signed by the affiants but very evidently are not in their own words. They are someone s conclusion as to what the testimony covered.”
“The same language appears time after time in the affidavits…I doubt very much that this could be coincidence.”
“I do not have even the words of witnesses to judge their meaning or whether the answers were induced by the questions asked. I am presented with someone else s conclusion of what the testimony was. This is very unreliable evidence which can be given little weight.”
“But the testimony of the witness is not furnished. In only a couple of instances is a question and answer given. The evidence on behalf of the complainant resolves itself into ex parte affidavits.
“The defendant presented live witnesses who were subjected to vigorous cross-examination. In certain instances the live witnesses testified that the affiants were not telling the truth. No attempt was made to rebut this evidence. The complainant presented no rebuttal witnesses nor asked for time to secure rebuttal evidence. The live witnesses were in the United States and under no fear, inducement or compulsion to testify falsely. History indicates this might not have been true in Yugoslavia at the time the evidence was taken.”(43)
Q: Why was Artukovic not extradited in 1951 as requested by the Yugoslav government?
A: A number of reasons have been given in recent months by the legion of reporters covering the case. A major American magazine indicated some sort of legislative trickery. A television station in New York explained .”.. he drowned out the American judicial process” –whatever that meant. The fact is that the American judicial process worked perfectly.
The Yugoslav government thought that the extradition would be an easy matter and even sent a special plane to bring home their catch when they first filed on August 29, 1951. Artukovic was arrested in an early version of the “no-knock” policy and led off to jail in handcuffs. He was not “in hiding;” Artukovic made his true identity known to American authorities upon his arrival in the U.S. Solely on the word of the Tito government, Artukovic was held without bail until September 20th when a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus gained his release on $50,000 bail.
On July 14, 1952, the District Court held that there was no existing treaty for extradition between the United States and Federal People s Republic of Yugoslavia. Two years later, the Tito government won a reversal of that ruling by dusting-off an obscure 1902 treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Servia, as Serbia was then known.(44)
On April 3, 1956, the District Court ruled that the crimes for which Artukovic was wanted were in fact political and therefore not extraditable under the treaty.(45) This ruling is the one most quoted in stories concerning the case. The two rulings which followed, of much greater importance, are overlooked.
Finally, on March 10,1958, the Supreme Court of the United States remnainded the matter for a hearing pursuant to 13. U.S.C. 3184.(46)
One reason for the long delays in the case can be found in the words of Commissioner Hocke: “I cannot condone the action of the complainant in waiting until June of 1958 to file these additional documents. The documents themselves indicate they were obtained in early 1952.”(47)
It took the Yugoslav government six years to find, or perhaps create enough documentation to present in a court of law. Further hearings were held from March 10, 1958 until January 15, 1959. After seven and one-half years of court proceedings a Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law and Order was given by United States Commissioner Theodore Hocke on January 15, 1959:
“That the demand of the complainant for the surrender of the defendant should be denied for failure to prove by sufficient evidence that there is reasonable cause to believe the defendant guilty of any of the charges in the amended complaint on extradition.” (48)
In an extradition case it is not necessary to prove the guilt of the defendant; only, “probable cause.” The Yugoslav government could not.
Q: Various sources writing about the case have stated that the findings of the courts have been “lost,” ‘‘stolen,” are marked “secret,” or are locked in “INS files.” Are the findings of the court available?
A: The Federal records center in Los Angeles, California has the complete file as it was sent by the U.S. District Court in 1958. The court numbered the pages by machine at that time with the page numbers 1 through 375. All pages are present in the current file accompanied by a list of pages with a description of each of the 375 pages signed by the Court Clerk and notarized in 1958. This is not to say that all needed documents are present. Although all legal motions were included by the Court Clerk, documents of evidence were not. Further this file included only motions and legal actions of the courts. It does not include the all-important documents of the hearing held by Commissioner Hocke as ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court. All motions and proceedings prior to March 10, 1958 were Habeas Corpus actions. The Supreme Court ruled on March 10, 1958 that the case must be heard as an extradition case with full evidence and the opportunity to present witnesses. A complete copy of the final ruling can be found as:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel
BRANKO KARADZOLE, Consul General, Federal People s Republic of Yugoslavia, COMPLAINANT vs.
ANDRIJA ARTUKOVIC, DEFENDANT,
Docket 9, Case 283,
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION; FINDINGS; CONCLUSION OF LAW AND ORDER.
Q: Can Artukovic be deported in spite of the court rulings?
A: Technically, yes. Although he cannot be extradited for ‘‘war crimes,” he can be deported simply because his visa has expired. At this time a member of the United States Congress is doing everything possible to see that Artukovic is deported. This member of Congress has charged Artukovic with ‘‘war crimes” and puts her own opinion, without documentation, above the opinions of the many courts and justices who have ruled in favor of Artukovic. Although this bid was looked upon by many as a means of gaining publicity for her 1974 re-election drive, the effects of the charges may force the INS to seek deportation. Even if deportation fails, the life of the 75-year-old recluse and the lives of his family members have been threatened by the publicity surrounding the charges. His brother s family has been the victim of shotgun and bomb attacks in the months prior to this writing and scores of stories based solely on information supplied by the Yugoslav Propaganda Ministry s New York office continue to incite radical organizations to violent action.
United States Commissioner Hocke sumnined-up his feelings about the case in these words:
“I hope that I do not live to see the day when a person will be held to answer for a crime in either the California or United States courts upon such evidence as was presented in this case on behalf of the complainant.” (49)
It is indeed unfortunate that Americans have again lived to see the day when a man can be exonerated in America s highest courts of law, yet be again charged, tried and convicted by a dictator in the courtroom of the American press.
“McCarthyism…, n. public accusation of disloyalty,…in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful or irrelevant evidence. 2. unfairness in investigative technique.” The American College Dictionary.
When the evidence is weighed, most observers will come to the same conclusion as did the United States Courts: There is no probable cause to believe Artukovic guilty of any of the crimes charged. Like most conclusions, this raises another question. If Artukovic is not guilty, why do “all of those people” want him extradited?
First, there are not all that many people calling for his deportation. In fact, it comes down to one member of the U.S. Congress, one very radical organization, and a few members of the American media. A cursory examination of headlines over the past three years will show that the Congressperson and the radical organization have done everything possible, from grandstanding before Watergate cameras for the former, to blowing-up Soviet travel agencies for the latter, to keep the limelight on themselves and whatever cause they happen to be advocating.
A walk through any book store or past any magazine counter will explain the interest of some members of the media. Thirty years after the War, the words “Nazi,” ‘‘War Criminal,” “SS” or even a swastika on the cover of a book or periodical is still bound to increase sales. A recent bestseller described a “secret Fourth Reich” in Argentina headed by Martin Bormann and financed by the omnipresent “secret hoards of gold” found in every such story. The sales of this “non-fiction” work by a known and respected writer were thwarted only slightly by the untimely discovery of Bormann s remains under the thirty year-old asphalt of the Berlin Bahnhof. To say that the 76 year-old Croatian now living in Los Angeles is not, and never was a ‘‘Nazi” or a ‘‘war criminal” simply does not sell newspapers. Unfortunately, there are a few members of the American media who are more interested in selling papers than objective reporting.
In the final analysis, Artukovic, like thousands of other Croatians, has only one accuser, judge, and hangman: Josip Broz Tito. Having eliminated virtually the entire leadership of the Croatian nation, it is hard to fathom why the People s government continues, thirty years after the War, to press for the extradition of a 76 year-old former Interior Minister who has not uttered a word in public for over fifteen years. This question is perhaps unanswerable since Yugoslav officials are not in the habit of holding press conferences to provide answers.
Perhaps the case is kept alive as part of the overall propaganda drive in Yugoslavia. Even today, every Yugoslav publication devotes at least one story to the heroic deeds of the Communist Partisans during the ‘‘great struggle for national liberation.” Every village has a war museum and a great deal of art, theater, television, and film is dedicated to war. Everything possible is done to keep the memory of the Second World War alive in Yugoslavia. As long as the war is alive, the “struggle against fascism and imperialism” can go on. Dissident elements can be labeled as ‘‘Fascists” or ‘‘Ustasha terrorists,” regardless of the fact that they were born and raised under the communist system. In December 1971 thousands of young people were arrested during the great purge of that year. Many were found to have ‘‘Ustasha connections abroad” by the People s Courts; despite the fact that many were Communist party members and had never been abroad. Shortly thereafter an ‘‘invasion” was staged to prove that is was all the work of the
Ustasha and of course, the CIA.
With 30% inflation per year, massive unemployment and thousands of young people leaving the country seeking work and freedom, the People s government must remind the people that it was Tito who saved them from the grip of fascism. With the daily arrests of writers, teachers, and members of the press, (most recently writer Mihajlo Mihajlov sentenced to seven years at hard labor for ‘‘communication with anti-State elements abroad.”..namely Alexander Solzhenitsyn), the people must be reminded that the single-party dictatorship which has ruled with absolute control for thirty years protects them from the likes of Artukovic and Solzhenitsyn.
It is not inconceivable that the Artukovic case is pursued in part for the benefit of the American public. The Yugoslav Propaganda Ministry s American office, the Yugoslav Information Center of New York, has worked overtime for years trying to keep alive the myths of a “freedom fighting” Tito and an “enlightened Communist state. It is obvious that they have succeed to a large extent. Tito has continued to receive American aid to the tune of three billion dollars while voting against the United States in every major issue in the United Nations since Yugoslavia entered that body. The United States Congress last year voted $2,000,000 specifically for the maintenance of Marshal Tito s yachts, while ordering that a fence built to protect a former President of the United States be removed because it was built at the taxpayers expense. While the U.S. Congress cut-off aid to Turkey (a fellow member of NATO) for sending troops to half-Turkish Cyprus, Yugoslavia continued to receive American assistance while providing both air and naval bases for the Soviet supply of the Yom Kippur attack on Israel. Yugoslavia provides arms and technical assistance, as well as financial aid (in U.S. dollars) to a number of Arab and African dictatorships.
Perhaps the most astounding accomplishment of the Yugoslav Propaganda Ministry was the enlistment, through the Artukovic case, of America s most radical Jewish organization while Tito remained the primary supplier of arms and ammunition to the Palestine Liberation Organization. At the very moment that this group of young Americans held a rally demanding the extradition of “war criminal” Artukovic to Yugoslavia, Tito welcomed his old friend Yassar Arafat back to Belgrade. Arafat arrived in Yugoslavia directly from New York where he addressed the United Nations and Yugoslavia voted to block Israel from the right of full participation in debate on the Palestine question. As usual on his arms buying (on Yugoslav credit) trips to Belgrade, Arafat was accompanied by three terrorists who actually participated in the Khartoum slaugher of American Ambassador Noel and the American and Belgian charge d affairs. One of those given full diplomatic courtesies was Farouk Al Husseini the self-proclaimed murderer of three diplomats and numerous innocent Israelis.
Perhaps the interest shown by some in the “war crimes” of Artukovic can be broadened to include the forbidden ground of post-war massacres on the part of the Communists. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” and Julius Epstein s “Operation Keelhaul” have stirred many to ask questions about those areas the American media refuses to investigate. Solzhenitsyn has been quick to point out the double standard that exists in the U.S. Congress and in the American press. Investigations of right-wing governments and individuals are commonplace. Investigations of Communist wrongdoing is unheard of. Andrija Artukovic is an “accused war criminal” sixteen years after being exonerated by the courts. Angela Davis was never an “accused murderess,” even while under indictment for murder. Members of Congress and the press were quick to surmise what might have taken place in South Vietnamese ‘‘tiger cages” when Thieu was in power. How many investigations will take place now that South Viet Nam is in Communist hands? No one has ever investigated what takes place in Yugoslav concentration camps, and few have even heard of the Bleiburg-Maribor massacres where hundreds of thousands of Croatians were slaughtered by Tito s Army. Alexander Solzhenitsyn s vivid descriptions of the slave labor system in the U.S.S.R. echoed through the empty halls of our nation’s capitol. Our leaders were out for the day, seeking detente or perhaps looking for “war criminals.” It is certain that they seek no confrontation with Tito or with the truth.
One thing is clear to all who have studied the Tito regime: There will always be an Artukovic. Every western nation has it s “war criminal sought by the People s Courts amid reams of press releases. When one dies or is assassinated, the witch-hunt moves on to another, and another, and still another. It is a pattern not peculiar to Yugoslavia. As long as there are oppressive governments, left or right, there will be oppressed people. As long as there are oppressed people there will be those who will stand and say “no” to the system. And as long as there are those who say “no” to the system, there will be persecution, physical abuse, and even death. Some, such as Solzhenitsyn and the late Cardinal Mindszenty will gain in international recognition and acceptance of their stand against oppression, others such as Andrija Artukovic will find no acceptance but at least protection in a country of laws, not individuals. A few, such as Simas Kudirka, an American citizen who jumped from a Soviet ship to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter only to be beaten unconscious by Soviet Marines and hauled back to Russia, will spend more years in Soviet concentration camps before knowing freedom. Still others, perhaps the majority, the countless thousands who suffer in Tito s jails; the millions who live in the islands of the “Gulag Archipelago;” will not survive to tell their story. They all said ‘‘no.”
‘‘ The sight of a man saying no with his bare hands is one of the things that most mysteriously and profoundly stir the hearts of men.
1999 EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to technical considerations, a number of appendices to this Whitepaper have been modified or omitted. However, a complete citation has been furnished for each of the original entries.
The following appendix is not reproduced in this version:
“The Persecution of Andrija Artukovic.” The Congressional Record-House (Washington D.C.: GPO) July 29, 1955, pp. 12151-12159.
The follow appendix is not reproduced in this version:
Map of Croatia during the Second World War from Der kroatische Ustascha-Staat 1941-1945, by Ladislaus Hory & Martin Broszat, (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-1964).
Members of the Croatian Cabinet executed for “war crimes” is reproduced below in its entirety.
The following cabinet level officials were ‘‘tried” and found guilty (usually in absentia and always in camera) by the ‘‘People s Land Commission for the Ascertainment of Crimes of the Invader and His Lackeys” of “Betrayal of the People; of Assassinations and massacres; Looting; Large-scale torture and ill-treatment; Organization of armed resistance against the Allies and against the People s National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia; military, political and economic collaboration with, and service to, the invader.”
Chief-of-State Dr. Ante Pavelic (died of wounds received in assassination attempt of
April 10, 1957).
President Dr. Nikola Mandic (extradited, executed).
Vice-President Dr. Osmanbeg Kulenovic (extradited, executed).
President of the State Council Dr. Mirko Puk (extradited, executed).
First Minister of the Armed Forces Marshal Slavko Kvaternik (extradited, executed in 1947).
Third Minister of the Armed Forces General of the Air Force Navratil; (executed).
Fifth Minister of the Armed Forces Admiral Steinfel (executed).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mehmed Alajbegovic (extradited, executed).
Minister of Justice Dr. Pavao Canki (extradited, executed).
First Minister of Religion and Education Dr. Mile Budak (executed).
Second Minister of Religion and Education Dr. Julije Makanec (executed).
Minister of the Treasury Dr. Vladko Kosak (extradited, executed).
Minister of Trade, Commerce & Industry Marijan Simic (executed).
State Minister Dr. Savo Besarovic (executed).
State Minister Dr. Zivan Kuvezdic (extradited, executed).
The fact that there are a few officials who do not appear on this list does not indicate that there were some ‘‘not guilty” verdicts by the People s Courts. The People s Court was not known to have ever handed down a “not guilty” verdict in the case of a Croatian official.
Several members of the government did manage to escape and die in exile and three, the last Minister of Trade, Commerce, and Industry, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, and Minister of the Interior Artukovic have managed to defeat the “People s Courts” through the more just legal systems of the western countries where they reside…so far.
In addition, thousands of minor officials down to and including postmasters as well as all Army, Navy, and Air Force officers above the rank of major and all Ustasa officers regardless of rank, were found guilty of ‘‘War crimes and Crimes against the People.” Most were executed, although some were given long prison terms. All enlisted members of the Ustasa were found guilty “en masse.” Most were sent to concentration camps, some were executed.
Realizing the importance of the clergy to the Croatian people, all church leaders from the Archbishop to village priests were arrested and imprisoned for “anti-State activity.” Although Archbishop Stepinac was to be put to death, he was saved by world public opinion; and died under house arrest. Two bishops, 360 priests, 29 seminarians and four lay brothers were less fortunate and were executed prior to 1951.* Although the number of Muslim leaders executed has never been determined, it is thought to be at least six hundred. The total number of those executed has been set at 250,000 although the number could very well be higher.
A more complete exploration of this area s to be found in Operation Slaughterhouse by John Prcela and Dr. Stanko Guldescu (Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co.: 1970). * Dr. Ivo Omrcanin, Seed of Blood, (Sydney: Anprint 1961). This 50 page essay lists by name, date and place each of the 395 executions.
Memorandum Prepared by the Archbishop s Secretary, Dr. Salic Regarding Aid to Jews is reproduced below in its entirety.
XXXII Sudjenje Lisaku, Stepincu, Salicu I Druzini, Ustasko-Krizarskim Ziocincima I njihovim Pomagacima, (Zagreb: Supreme Court of the People s Croat Republic: 1946).
This document was presented by the defense during the trial of Cardinal Stepinac. It details one of the many instances in which Croatian offices, (in this event the Croatian Red Cross and the office of the Archbishop), were used to aid those persons under the Nazi heel. This document is of interest not only for the obvious fact that aid, however meager, was given to captive Jews, but for certain details. In the first paragraph this document indicates that Croatian Jews, including the Grand Rabbi, were still quite free in Croatia and active in trying to aid their less fortunate brothers in other occupied areas, in this case Greece, as late as 1943. The participants not only refuse to hide their involvement in aiding these people, there seems to have been some friction as to which office should receive credit for the action.
On March 27, 1943, at four o clock in the afternoon, Mr. Davidovic, sent by the Jewish Grand Rabbi, Dr. Freiberger, brought the following report: ‘We have been warned that there is a train at Novska carrying 1800 Jews on their way to Germany, most of whom come from Greece. The train is German, and all surveillance over these people is in the hands of the Germans. No one is allowed to give anything to these people, to eat, drink, or to wash with; it is not even permitted to give them a glass of water.’
By the order of His Excellency the Archbishop, his secretaries Rev. John Salic and Rev. Stephen Lackovic did everything they could to help these people. They called on the Red Cross and its president Dr. Hukn, who made inquiries among the German authorities who replied that no permissions would be granted and that consequently the Red Cross could do nothing. The priest, Dr. G. Keilback, was also called upon to intervene with Mr. von Kocijan, the German officer, who although a good Catholic, said that he had no competence in this matter and that there was nothing to be done. The train was due to arrive at 9 or 10 o clock that night. The members of the Red Cross were ready to help but they did not dare since they did not have German permission. All hope seemed lost when Mrs. (name deleted from original text) called on the German officer on duty at the railroad station and skillfully explained the matter to him, since he alone could help these poor people. The secretary, Dr. Lackovic, went directly to the German officer on duty, who got in touch with the women of the Red Cross. The demarche was successful and warm food was served to the Jews.
Today the president of the Red Cross, Dr. Hukn, talks about how these unhappy people were given food and rest and makes this statement as if it were he who had been in charge. However, if the chancery office on the orders of His Excellency the Archbishop had not done all in its power, nothing would have been done. Let God be thanked!”
Zagreb, March 29, 1943, On the order of the Archbishop
– John Salic, Secretary of the Archbishop
Letter April 10, 1967 from former American POW in Croatia, Lt. Colonel Paul E. Harden to Dr. Milan Blazekovic is reproduced below without photograph.
This letter is but one of a number of letters, transcripts, and documents from former American POWs in Croatia now on file. This letter has been chosen for reproduction for its brevity.
The Photograph mentioned was reproduced with the letter, but does not appear in this version. Most of the men pictured are from the B24 bomber piloted by Robert E. Beloni. This picture was taken at an Easter celebration at the home of the Baroness Nikolic. Many of the crew members have been contacted and remember the occasion well. Hardly noticeable is the camps young commander and chief translator for the American pilots, a Croatian Air Force Lieutenant. He was killed by the Partisans in 1945 when he tried to negotiate the release of the American airmen to Allied forces.
10 April 1967
Dear Dr. Blazekovic:
I apologize for the extended time period which has elapsed since your letter was written. Your letter finally reached me approximately a month ago. However, it was mislaid and I was able to locate it only this past week.
Though I was not present at the time your enclosed picture was taken, I recognize the majority of those individuals reflected thereon.
It is a fact that in my association with the Croatian people and authorities, their actions were exemplary and adhered to International Law. Within their resources and facilities, the Croatian people provided timely and competent assistance to the United States Armed Forces personnel during the period of World War II.
If I can be of further assistance, please advise.
PAUL E. HARDEN, Lt Colonel, USAF
6 Marian Drive
Newburgh, New York 12550
1. Record Group 59, National Archives. Washington D.C. (Doc. 860 H.00/1150,
March 8. 1940).
3. Record Group 59. op. cit., (Doc. 860 H.00/1309)
4. “Decree Concerning the Appointment of the First Croatian National Government,
April 16th 1941.” Zbornik Zakona I Naredaba (Croatian Law Chronicle). No. I. (Zagreb:
State Press 1941), p.6.
5. This Decree meant little for in Croatia and all occupied countries, the police were in fact the German SS and Gestapo. On SS control of police in Croatia see Die Staebe Und Truppen Einheiten Der Ordungspolizei (Koblenz: Schriften Des Bundesarchiv 1957). pp. 73-76, (Available from the West German Archives).
6. Zbornik. op. cit., No. .22 (1942) p. 924.
7. United States of America ex Rel Branko Karadzole, Consul General. Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia, Complainant vs. Andrija Artukovic Dependant. Docket No. 9- Case No. 283. (Los Angeles. United States District Court. Southern District of California, Central Division) 15 January 1959, (Hereafter Karadzole vs. Artukovic). ‘Memorandum of Opinion, para. 4.
8. Genocide, (Chicago: Serbian National Defense Council of America 1952) p. 8.
9. Karadzole vs. Artukovic. op. cit., “Probable Cause…,” para. 6.
10. Jugoslavija u Drugom Svetskom Ratu, (Belgrade: Inter-press 1967) p. 65. (“Yugoslavia During the Second World War” is the official history authorized by the Federal People’s Republic)
11. Rev. Krunoslav Draganovic. ‘‘Croatian Lands in the Lights of Statistics.” The Croatian Nation, A. F. Bonifacic & C. S. Mihanovich. Ed, (Chicago: Cultural Publishing Center: 1955). p. 369.
12. Bruno Busic. ‘‘War Victims of Croatia” Hrvatski Knjizevni List. July 1969, (Zagreb). table IV.
13. Ibid. Busic shows Croatian losses as Yugoslavia s greatest regardless of how the figures are explained, by ethnic group, Socialist Republic, or otherwise. These figures are not only official, they are in full agreement with the figures released by the Federal Statistical Office at Belgrade in 1964, (See Vladimir Simeunovic, Stanovnistvo Jugoslavijei Socijalistickih Republika; Studije, Analize i Prikazi, no. 22 (Fed. Stat. Of. 1964).
14. Ibid.. table I.
15.. The complete texts of all Croatian laws appear in the Official Publication of the Croatian Government Narodne Novine 1941-45.
16. Raul Hilberg, the Destruction of the European Jews. (W.H. Allen, London: 1961) pp. 457-458.
17. Vlatko Macek. In the Struggle for Freedom, (Univ. Park.: Pa State Univ. Press: 1957), p. 233. ‘‘Translations of the British Broadcasting Corporation Comments, in the Serbo-Croat Language Programs Regarding the Anti-totalitarian Character of Archbishop Stepinac s Sermons” Radio News Broadcast II. (London 1:15 PM, July 7, 1943).
18. Andro Vrkljan, Kapetan bojnog broda (KzS) Kriegstagebuch D. 23. U-Jagdflottille (kroatische Marine Abt. Schwarzesmeer). March-April 1944.
19. Secretariat of the Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, (Nuremberg: International Military Tribunal: 1947: Vol. I, p. 67.
20. Ibid.. Vol. I. p. 27
21. Jugoslavijau drugom Svetskom Ratu. op. cit.. p. 212.
22. ‘‘Serbs Said to Slay Croatians,” New York Times April 12, 1941 and Theodore Benkovic, O.F.M.. The Tragedy of a Nation, (Chicago: Franciscan Press; 1947), p. 34.
23. Karadzole vs. Artukovic, op.cit., ‘‘Affirmative Defense” para. 7.
24. Secretariat of the Tribunal, op. cit., vol. X. p. 433.
25. Ibid., p. 434.
26. Bruno Busic, op. cit. table I.
27. Cary Mc Williams, Prejudice (Boston: Little, Brown: 1944). p. 108.
28. Ibid. p. 154.
29. Ibid. p. 129.
30. L. Bloom & R. Reimer. Removal and Return. (UCB Press: 1949), p. 38.
31. Cary Mc Williams. op. cit., p. 118.
32. Walter R. Roberts, Tito, Mihailovic and the Allies 1941-1945, (New Brunswick.
N. J.: Rutgers Univ. Press: 1973, p. 111.
33. On the post War massacres of Croatians and other minorities See: John Prcela and Stanko Guldescu, Operation Slaughterhouse. (Phila: Dorrance: 1970), 557 pp. and Joseph Hecimovic. In Tito s Death Marches and Extermination Camps, (New York: Carlton: 1962), 209 pp.
34. See Appendix.
35. The Estate of the Baroness Nikolic is now one of the fifty private villas reserved for Marshal Tito.
36. Dr. Milan Blazekovic. Memoirs (Unpublished). Instituto Croata Latinoamericano de Cultura, Carlos Pellegrini 743, P. 3 Of. 18. Buenos Aires, Argentina,
37. Ivan Babic, “Military History,” Croatia. Land People Culture, F. H. Eterovich & C. Spalatin. Ed., (Toronto: Univ. Toronto Press: 1964), vol. I, p. 157.
38. John Prcela & Stanko Guldescu, Operation Slaughterhouse, (Phila.: Dorrance: 1970), p. ix.
39. G. J. Prpic, the Croatian Immigrants in America. (New York: Philosophical Library: 1971), p. 451.
40. Theodore Benkovic, O. F. M. op. cit.. p. 31.
41. Secretariat of the Tribunal. op. cit., vol. XX, p. 400.
42. National Archives, Records of the United States Nuernberg War Crimes Trials United States of America V. Wilhelm List et al. February 19, 1948, (Record Group 238).
43. Karadzole Vs. Artukovic, op. cit.. ‘‘Probable Cause,” para. 15-21.
44. U.S. Court of Appeals-9th Circuit, Ivancevic v. Artukovic, (211 F. 2d S65).
45. U.S. District Court. Artukovic V. Boyle, U.S. Marshal, 1956. (140 Fed. Supp. 245).
46. Karadzole v. Artukovic, 1958, (3ss U. 5, 2l. Ed. 2d356, 78s. Ct. 381).
47. Karadzole V. Artukovic. op. cit.. ‘‘Motions” para. 10.
48. Ibid., Findings of Fact,” para. (Article) III.
49. Ibid., ‘‘Probable Cause…,” para. 30.