At the conclusion of WW2, make no mistake of it, the Croatian culture was herded and slain like livestock, this is the most apt description I can conjure up and while it may be shocking to first contemplate, the reality is that every single person reading this will find a very short degree of separation form this catastrophe as one or more of your loved ones in the distant past experienced it or succumb to it.
We, as a people became the inmates of a concentration camp within our own nation, this is the hard reality that has escaped every person living within or outside our modern-day republic, all these years I failed to realise this until a late-night phone conversation with Darko Orec covering a range of historical issues, that still ail us today were discussed and you have it, an epiphany moment. To put this into context, we need to establish some base line comparisons, and while some may question some of the information I am about to post, regretfully I need to discuss this in order to do so.
During WW2, the information generally accepted by the world is that within then Nazi Germany, and spread across Europe at the time, concentration camps systematically dealt with the expulsion and genocide of mass populations. It is also fair to say that the efficiency of these accepted processes was done with inherent German proficiency and execution, therefore we need to read the testimony of Jewish Italian chemist Primo Levi, an inmate of the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied southern Poland where, from 1942 on, the Nazis killed at least 960,000 Jews, 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma (Gypsies), 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and 10,000-15,000 others. Most were killed in gas chambers designed and constructed for the purpose.
“The climax came suddenly. The door opened with a crash, and the dark echoed with outlandish orders in that curt, barbaric barking of Germans in command which seems to give vent to a millennial anger. A vast platform appeared before us, lit up by reflectors. A little beyond it, a row of lorries. Then everything was silent again. Someone translated: we had to climb down with our luggage and deposit it alongside the train. In a moment the platform was swarming with shadows. But we were afraid to break that silence: everyone busied himself with his luggage, searched for someone else, called to somebody, but timidly, in a whisper.
A dozen SS men stood around, legs akimbo, with an indifferent air. At a certain moment they moved among us, and in a subdued tone of voice, with faces of stone, began to interrogate us rapidly, one by one, in bad Italian. They did not interrogate everybody, only a few: ‘How old? Healthy or ill?’ And on the basis of the reply they pointed in two different directions.
Everything was as silent as an aquarium, or as in certain dream sequences. We had expected something more apocalyptic: they seemed simple police agents. It was disconcerting and disarming. Someone dared to ask for his luggage: they replied, ‘luggage afterwards’. Someone else did not want to leave his wife: they said, ‘together again afterwards’. Many mothers did not want to be separated from their children: they said ‘good, good, stay with child’. They behaved with the calm assurance of people doing their normal duty of every day. But Renzo stayed an instant too long to say good-bye to Francesca, his fiancée, and with a single blow they knocked him to the ground. It was their everyday duty.
In less than ten minutes all the fit men had been collected together in a group. What happened to the others, to the women, to the children, to the old men, we could establish neither then nor later: the night swallowed them up, purely and simply. Today, however, we know that in that rapid and summary choice each one of us had been judged capable or not of working usefully for the Reich; we know that of our convoy no more than ninety-six men and twenty-nine women entered the respective camps of Monowitz-Buna and Birkenau, and that of all the others, more than five hundred in number, not one was living two days later…
This is the reason why three-year-old Emilia died: the historical necessity of killing the children of Jews was self-demonstrative to the Germans. Emilia, daughter of Aldo Levi of Milan, was a curious, ambitious, cheerful, intelligent child; her parents had succeeded in washing her during the journey in the packed car in a tub with tepid water which the degenerate German engineer had allowed them to draw from the engine that was dragging us all to death.
Thus, in an instant, our women, our parents, our children disappeared. We saw them for a short while as an obscure mass at the other end of the platform; then we saw nothing more”
Historians suggest that the total number of Jews liquidated in Nazi camps over a 6 ½ year period was 6,000,000 therefore averaging 930,077 annually, or approximately close to 76,923 per month, it is never easy to discuss humans in numerical terms as this is dehumanising in itself, however it would seem that Croatians who were viewed as being aligned to Nazi Germany are constantly dehumanised through the use of numbers to demonstrate their alleged sins upon their fellow man.
A few weeks ago, I wrote regarding Transposed Collective Guilt, this is exactly what it is, you are no longer a culture nor an individual, but rather the cursed numeric offspring of alleged criminals, time to use this methodology on the accusers and expose what I will call pre-meditated genocide or as The Hague like to call it, JCE or Joint Criminal Enterprise.
Between the 15th of May 1945 and what is assumed was a mission accomplished date somewhere in at the end of that year, some 6 ½ months, estimates based on archival documents, physical sites and exhumations put the genocide of Croatian POW’s and civilians at some 600,000, or, 92,308 monthly on average. We know however that the clean up brigades continued well into 1946 with numbers only adding to this total.
Let us compare this for a moment, but first lets also let’s not forget the alleged numbers at Jasenovac that are constantly thrown at us, yes, those dehumanising numbers
Nazi Germany average – 76,923
Claimed NDH casualties of the Jasenovac Labour Camp 100,000 between August 1941 – 21 April 1945 (or 45 months) average – 2,222 per month.
Yugoslav communists, average 92,308 per month.
Both Nazi Germany’s accused methodology and that of its so-called puppet apprentices, namely the Croatian NDH, were claimed to be not only brutal in their delivery of pure evil but to have created the murderous equivalent of a genocidal machine the likes the world had not seen before and wouldn’t until the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Little did the world know that the wrath of Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Broz Tito would by stealth behind the iron curtain of communism practice the art of genocide that would have made atrocities real or imagined seem almost pale in comparison.
Fence wire, bullets, machine guns, knives and any other form of hardware one could probably find at a hardware outlet were acceptable, Milka Planinc, war time Partisan and later Prime Minister of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1982 to 1986 was exposed by members of her own kill squad as having personally run a contest between members of her team as to who could kill more Croats.
(Credit Ina Vukic for the following 2 paragraphs which appeared on her site) Zoran Bozic wrote a great deal about that in Croatian Word (Hrvatsko slovo). Especially about Milka Planinc as a – devilish commissar: “She was endowed with the imagination of a Satanic expert for torture and killing of people. She turned mass liquidations into cannibalistic killing,” wrote Zoran Bozic. Commissar Milka, wrote Bozic, according to statements by the volunteer of the 11th Dalmatian brigade, Partisan Jure, she drove a nail into the skull of a living victim while saying: “Have I finally driven out of your head the Independent State of Croatia?” The other of her specialties was called “the salty Croatian heart”. After four strong hits with an axe against the chest in the shape of a square she would take out the victim’s heart and drag it across the ground.
Ante Cepic, A Croat from Makarska, held the record for liquidations at Kocevski Rog. He liquidated 3,800 Croats. The second on the list of liquidators with 3,000 victims was Ljubo Perisa from Sibenik while Ado Dragic who liquidated 2,200 unfortunates took up the third place. Nikola Maric from Boka Kotorska and Commissar Milka (Milka Planinc) found themselves at the fourth and fifth place. Otherwise Ljubo Perisa ended his life in Novi Sad – he killed his children, his wife and himself. All liquidating killers from the 11th Dalmatian brigade had spent two weeks in Bled as reward.
This type of bestiality would turn the stomachs of any hard-core Nazi, and it is doubtful that even the Simon Wiesenthal Center could produce any tangible evidence of a single Nazi committing such acts and claiming this number of kills at their own hand.
As I wrote previously in another editorial, this was the liquidation of our middle class, on mass, expediently and adopting any method available so as to destroy any possibility of uprising or opposition to Broz Tito’s new evil empire, this was a scene that would be repeated month after month without fail or hesitation, yet, it was only part of a grander plan.
In 1944 as a result of “Operation Black”, Broz Tito who was almost killed after a massive offensive by NDH forces against Partisan positions throughout Eastern Croatia (Modern day Croatia and BiH) met with the British in Italy, it was at this point that the British demanded that if Tito was to receive continued support from the Allies, that he must break ties with the Soviets, de-communise his forces and accept that at the end of the war Yugoslavia 2 would evoke democratic free elections which all inhabitants would be allowed to vote in.
Think about this very carefully, free democratic elections.
Tito was photographed along with his minions in British uniforms boarding a plane to head back to his base having agreed to the terms and guarantying such, I believe Churchill was fully aware that this would never happen, but in light of the pressures being put on him by Roosevelt and wanting to appease Stalin at the Tehran and Yalta conferences which were the deciding events in what Europe would become post WW2, I believe Tito left there knowing that should this be enacted post WW2, he and his Partisans would end up somewhere other than occupying heady positions in Zagreb and Belgrade.
He needed allied support, but he needed to kill the threat of a resurgent and now extremely nationalistic Croatian people at any cost, and Croatia needed to be secured at all costs within a steel fist that would never allow such fantasies of nationhood to ever take root again. Much like what had occurred in the Soviet Union post WW1, the people needed to be controlled and put to work for the betterment of the communist collective, the intelligentsia need to be liquidated and a unified singular nationality mindset introduced and maintained.
This meant only one thing, turn the country into a concentration camp of vast proportions and rid any and all possible resistance as had been the case in the Soviet Union decades earlier.
Interestingly, we can find evidence of this mindset from within the Soviet Union itself. Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech of February 25, 1956, and his denunciation of the deceased Soviet leader Joseph Stalin made during a session of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union points to a self-realisation that generationally after some 40 years, realisation among the masses within a totalitarian regime was deadly and that any such regime had a limited shelf life if it did not adopt even face saving reforms while retaining control.
We see this effectively in modern China, a Communist regime seemingly becoming capitalist so as to survive, appease its subjects and ultimately maintain complete control through partial appeasements of its people’s desires fueled by western democratic liberties and luxuries.
The speech was the nucleus of a far-reaching de-Stalinization campaign intended to destroy the image of the late dictator as an infallible leader and to revert official policy to an idealized Leninist model. In the speech, Khrushchev recalled Lenin’s Testament, a long-suppressed document in which Vladimir Lenin had warned that Stalin was likely to abuse his power, and then he cited numerous instances of such excesses. Outstanding among these was Stalin’s use of mass terror in the Great Purge of the mid-1930s, during which, according to Khrushchev, innocent communists had been falsely accused of espionage and sabotage and unjustly punished, often executed, after they had been tortured into making confessions.
Khrushchev criticized Stalin for having failed to make adequate defensive preparations before the German invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941), for having weakened the Red Army by purging its leading officers, and for mismanaging the war after the invasion.
THE KEY point of the speech was not the admission that some 20,000,000 Soviets had been purged by Stalin himself post WW2 but his condemnation of Stalin for irrationally deporting entire nationality groups (e.g., the Karachay, Kalmyk, Chechen, Ingush, and Balkar peoples) from their homelands during the war and, after the war, for purging major political leaders in Leningrad (1948–50; see Leningrad Affair) and in Georgia (1952).
He also Censured Stalin for attempting to launch a new purge (Doctors’ Plot, 1953) shortly before his death and for his policy toward Yugoslavia, which had resulted in a severance of relations between that nation and the Soviet Union (1948). The “cult of personality” that Stalin had created to glorify his own rule and leadership was also condemned.
Khrushchev confined his indictment of Stalin to abuses of power against the Communist Party and glossed over Stalin’s campaigns of mass terror against the general population. He did not object to Stalin’s activities before 1934, which included his political struggles against Leon Trotsky, Nikolay Bukharin, and Grigory Zinovyev and the collectivization campaign that “liquidated” millions of peasants and had a disastrous effect on Soviet agriculture. Observers outside the Soviet Union have suggested that Khrushchev’s primary purpose in making the speech was to consolidate his own position of political leadership by associating himself with reform measures while discrediting his rivals in the Presidium (Politburo) by implicating them in Stalin’s crimes.
The secret speech, although subsequently read to groups of party activists and “closed” local party meetings, was never officially made public. (Not until 1989 was the speech printed in full in the Soviet Union.) Nonetheless, it caused shock and disillusionment throughout the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc, harming Stalin’s reputation and the perception of the political system and party that had enabled him to gain and misuse such great power. It also helped give rise to a period of liberalization known as the “Khrushchev thaw,” during which censorship policy was relaxed, sparking a literary renaissance of sorts.
Thousands of political prisoners were released, and thousands more who had perished during Stalin’s reign were officially “rehabilitated.” The speech also contributed to the revolts that occurred later that year in Hungary and Poland, further weakening the Soviet Union’s control over the Soviet bloc and temporarily strengthening the position of Khrushchev’s opponents in the Presidium.
This speech and admission by Nikita in 1956 had been pre-empted by Broz Tito’s split from his Soviet masters in 1948, he realised that the self-preservation against nationalism was paramount to survival and hence the term Titoism was coined and as always with communist ideology the term and the way it was promoted was contradictory to actual circumstance.
Titoism was denounced by Moscow as a heresy that promoted that Communist countries should take a nationalist road to socialism different from that of the Soviet Union. Across Eastern Europe Communist leaders suspected of Tito-like tendencies were purged by pro-Moscow elements.
After Stalin’s death and the repudiation of his policies by Nikita Khrushchev, peace was made with Tito and Yugoslavia re-admitted into the international brotherhood of socialist states. However, relations between the two countries were never completely rebuilt; Yugoslavia would continue to take an independent course in world politics, shunning the influence of both west and east. The Yugoslav Army maintained two official defines plans, one against a NATO invasion and one against a Warsaw Pact invasion.
Tito used the estrangement from the USSR to obtain US aid via the Marshall Plan, as well as to found the Non-Aligned Movement, in which Yugoslavia was a leading force.
Tito wanted a strictly Yugoslav identity; his promotion of nationalism within a communist regime was designed to deny any chance of Yugoslavia becoming a Soviet satellite while ensuring that the continued “Nationalisation” of all ethnic entities within Yugoslavia would end in the eventual blending and disappearance of any individual cultural differentiation.
It was a contradictory philosophy centred on maintaining the regime, giving the people some resemblance of a more western lifestyle and ultimately, we can see this being successfully maintained in the People’s Republic of China.
We can also see it in play within the outwardly democratic political environments of modern day post-communist countries; I will leave this statement to dwell in your minds for a time.
Forced March Route May-December 1945
You are only a child, only 3 months past your 12th birthday, your memories as an 8 year old and before that time will remain your dearest until the birth of your first child, for the past 4 years you have known little more than terror, lost a twin brother and twin sister, watched as you father was killed defending you, your family and the place you loved alongside others most of which wore a cap with two insignia, a rifle and nothing more than civilian clothes, then watched as his unreachable body was struck and trampled by a heavy vehicle.
The devastation and destruction of your once beautiful home, world, serenity disappears behind you as you walk alongside others in a snaking column away from the madness, and in tow your younger sister, and still younger 2 brothers, your wrists bound together by a shirt which was ripped into strips and used to tie each one of you like chain links so as none would wander off, should one falter in step or pace, the others would be forced to urge and assist them along.
You the 12-year-old girl awarded this task, still not having reached womanhood, yet forced to take on adult responsibility because you were simply the eldest.
Not knowing where you all were being led by the star capped men brandishing guns and screaming obscenities, unable to come to terms with the fact that all your possessions where now literally what you wore and what little you could scurry to collect before the exodus.
Little do you realise that your along with the lives of the others shuffling alongside and ahead of you were undertaking a senseless 600 plus kilometer forced walk that would eventually lead back to where you had started.
From an altitude of 7,208 meters, you leave the Kupres plateau and day after day the march continues, eventually you reach the Drava river, and as the bridges have been destroyed, you cross it by barge and then find some respite waiting on the other side while the masses take turns crossing to the other side by the same single barge. The journey continues to what you believe is your destination hundreds of kilometers away from where you first started, it is the town of Grabovac.
Grabovac however is just a final transit point, others from far off parts you have never heard the name of before meet here also and the exodus continues after a day or so towards a place so dark and stained with death called Mirkovac.
A mere 3-4 kilometres away from this place is Jasenovac where the unthinkable was taking place, loved ones from amongst the masses you have made this journey with, unbeknown, are already meeting their end either on their way to that place or eventually at it, but for now it is the ghostly silence of the town you enter that alarms you. Homes lay empty here, seemingly abandoned by the inhabitants, where could they have gone? Were they also on a forced march to some distant place?
Eventually the column arrives at long stock sheds, the animals that once resided here are long gone, only the stockades they were lined up in on either side of the buildings remain, down the centre, small railway like tracks run the full length, and ahead as you enter are grouped together small carts that run along these tracks which were once used to bring in feed or dispose of waste.
You draw closer, and notice something hanging partially over and outward of the small cart, it’s not clear until you come closer and the acrid smell hits you and the shape now comes into full focus, it’s a child’s hand, and as you all pass in silent possession, the outline of men women and other children piled into these carts becomes apparent, were these the inhabitants of the houses you passed you wonder in terror, they most surely are, but so many could not have resided in the few houses you saw as the numbers were too great, these were the inhabitants from other places brought here and as once cattle most probably found this place to be their final destination before their slaughter, so had been the case with these souls without prejudice compassion nor mercy.
As witnessed and experienced by Dominka (Dumancic) Ovcaric July 1945.
This was not a scene from Schindler’s List, there was no small girl running among the masses in a red winter jacket highlighted by a black and white background meant to extenuate the drama of the sceptical, this was a scene that would fade into memory, never to be told, never to be believed, never to grace a silver screen to force a tear to be shed by the viewer.
This is a story told to me 100 times, each time it chills me, angered me, made me contemplate what great souls alive or yet to be born lay in those carts that day, what were their final moments, why was this done, why had one population been herded akin to cattle to a place where others had met their end in a slaughter house setting?
My mother and others were spared, they were brought to this place as forced labour to work the fields and stock of the area, the inhabitants had been generational German families that had occupied these lands and Mirkovac for generations and who met their fates at the hands of the Partisans who now controlled this area and nearby places like Jasenovac, Grabovac, Beli-Manistir and the Osijek prefecture.
They were worked relentlessly, at first surviving on scavenged potatoes which had been missed and lay below the dirt, they crawled in search of whatever they could eat, and my mother developed typhus fever. These collective work groups facilitated what is known as “Državno dobro” or “For the good of the state” (Roughly) and indeed this was as there was no humane good which came of it, it was designed to feed the communist ideal, its hordes, and facilitators who were concerned with matters of the state such as the liquidation and policing of its citizens with little if any regard for the good of the people.
I tell this story as it is but one, and among you all are those who have experienced much the same with an almost infinite number of variations and conclusions played out in every corner of the country at that time and for much time thereafter.
We are losing these details, they are being lost to the dying embers of time and we become less and few that are able to sustain them, and as they perish so does the truth which circum to the lies told in their place.
Eventually after some months, these souls were marched to Osijek, at that point the first snow had begun to fall, this was now December 1945, and for 2 weeks they lay beneath railway box carts so as to escape the elements before moving onto Bugojno and then finally tracing their original steps back to Kupres from which they had started their Krizni Put.
Kupres had been destroyed, what was left of the homes that survived the firestorms had had their walls torn down, of my mother’s family home, only the cobbled patio which once existed along the front of the dwelling and the outline of the foundations now existed. Eventually the family made their way back to the lands they had been driven to and settled in Donji Miholjac.
Meanwhile the homes of the liquidated in those parts they had been forced to were claimed by partisans who took up residence and shifted the ethnic balance which had previously existed to tip now in their favour.
This story was repeated across the country, and some 50 years later the same tactics were incorporated and used against us, and what we failed to realise is that what had been created was a concentration camp of national proportions where the populous was used as forced labour, the confiscation of assets or their wholesale destruction went hand in hand with the liquidation of any opponents or intellectuals.
Driving populations across hundreds of kilometers to replace those slain, leaving the slaughtered out in plain view for the masses arriving to view, working whole communities under conditions of near starvation, and then forcing them to march once again back to whence they came from to find the ruins of their homes all that was left of generations of memories and tradition were all designed to serve many evil purposes the least being that you had been stripped of your identity and self-esteem, you were now a ward of the state to have done with you as the state saw fit.
This is no less inhumane as what Nazi Germany was accused of, and in some instances far worse that what could be conspired by what was coined the Axis Coalition in collaboration across war torn Europe. And while we may think momentarily that these were random scenarios being played out due to the chaos and stupidity of those that had infested our quarter, the reality is that all this was much more likely to have been planned, orchestrated, and executed well beforehand.
This smacked of mother Russia and the purges by Stalin and his minions in the years before the conflict of WW2, there was not only an ideological but also physical blueprint that had been tried and tested which could be followed with certain outcomes. Even if the Allies of Europe had been made fully aware of what was transpiring, which the most probably did learn of in years to come, Europe was tired and torn to have been able to intervene, the League of nations which failed to stop a world war after its inception in 1920 was an apt forerunner for the inept United Nations that eventually replaced it, wonderful at building volumes of resolutions but a toothless tiger when it came to definitive action based on morals rather than cast politically motivated votes.
Where and individual plans a murder it is deemed to be pre-meditated and in the first degree, where the mass murder of POW’s and civilians is committed and is immediate this is termed as being genocide, what took place within the then Yugoslavia could not be considered in line with what the Nazi’s were accused of and was far worse for the simple reason that it was not a single ethnic minority which was driven out of occupied territory, it was the rightful people and culture that was being driven out of its own territory by a minority.
In circa 1958 during the U.S. based Trials of Andrija Artuković, the charges against him brought about by the FSRY were dismissed no less than 3 times and Artukovic allowed to resume his life as a U.S. citizen until 1983. The reason for each dismissal was based on 3 factors that the U.S. defense team exposed, the Judiciary accepted and what U.S. Intelligence sources provided with regard to validation, not of the prosecution but rather the defense.
On each occasion, the prosecution submitted documents which contradicted their previous submissions in terms on fatalities dates times and places, this to an extent could be argued was due to the ongoing investigation of the FSRY and new evidence coming to light, but there was one fact the prosecutors had no defence against when challenged.
Well before the CIA came to be, the U.S. operated what was known as the OSS, the forerunner to the CIA, it was the OSS that had operated so effectively for the U.S. during and particularly at the conclusion of WW2 in the dying days, it was also the OSS who had feet on the ground in Zagreb and interacted with then NDH ministries prior to the U.S. entering WW2 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The OSS knew exactly what was happening and through channels allowed the defense to send the FSRY a clear message, “You were worse than animals, we know what you did!”
And just as the OSS knew at the time, so would have MI5 formed in 1939 post its forerunner the “British Security Services” and perhaps the one concentration camp they could never reveal, unlike the many Auschwitz like complexes across Europe their and Soviet forces entered, was the one they helped create at the tables of Tehran, and Yalta and in a small town called Blieberg in Austria where they handed the heart and soul of a nation and culture.
Perhaps that’s why the truth was never allowed out, why it was protected for so long even when we did eventually rise up, because it was an inconvenient truth, one that undid all they believed was righteous and exposed it as hypocrisy.