Monday, May 25, 2015

Urging Justice for General Mihailovich - A Halyard Mission daughter invokes the memory of her father, U.S. WWII Airman Curtis "Bud" Diles in letter to Belgrade / By Diane Diles Hammond May 2015

Aleksandra's Note: On this Memorial Day 2015, I wanted to share a special letter. Just days prior to perhaps the most important judicial event in the very long process of the Rehabilitation of General Draza Mihailovich in Belgrade, Serbia, an American daughter of U.S. Air Force WWII veteran Curtis "Bud" Diles was asked to write a letter urging that the High Court in Belgrade issue a favorable ruling overturning the 1946 criminal conviction of General Mihailovich.

Diane Diles Hammond gladly complied with the request with the following appeal dated May 12, 2015 that was sent to Belgrade, and her hopes and prayers, like those of so many of us, were finally answered on May 14, 2015.

Her father would have been so proud.

Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic

*****

From Diane Diles Hammond
May 12, 2015


On September 22, 2014, the 70th anniversary of the great Halyard Mission Rescue Operation was celebrated in Serbia.  My father, WWII veteran SSgt Curtis Diles Jr, was one of the “Forgotten 500” American Airmen, rescued in 1944.  At 89 years old, he’d become a frail, old man, yet his voice bolstered and his face lit up as he spoke about General Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks, as he so often did during the 70 years after the war ended.   He’d planned on writing a speech to be read at the Halyard Mission celebration.  By then, he was an expert, having written hundreds of letters over the years to senators, congressmen, the media… anyone that would listen, in the hopes that one of them could help vindicate Draza Mihailovich and right America’s wrong to Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks.

On September 5th, 2014, dad fell ill.  As the ambulance was on its way, he lay weak and nearly motionless in bed.  In an attempt to rouse him, I knew there was only one subject that would get him charged….  Serbia.  I said “Dad, you have to get well.  You have to write your speech for the Halyard Mission celebration that takes place in two weeks.”  He opened his eyes and muttered “You can speak for me”.  Dad died on September 10, 2014.  I lost a great father, a hero of a man.  Serbia lost its staunchest American supporter.

How can I capture in one letter what my dad has been “preaching” for 70 years?  “Serbia” was probably one of my first words.  As a child, I probably could have told you more about General Mihailovich than the current president of the United States.  To his dying day, no matter the subject, somehow dad always had a way of turning it into a pro-Serbia story.  How can one ever repay the debt of having their life saved?  It can’t be repaid, but dad vehemently tried.  He made sure his children, family members, coworkers, medical personnel, waiters, store clerks, and even pizza delivery guys knew the truth about what happened in WWII.  We knew it was dad’s mission in life to clear Mihailovich’s name.  Dad cheated death on numerous occasions, and we always felt that fighting for the Serbian truth gave him the will to live.

The torch has been passed, and I am now my father’s voice.  I can only pray that God gives me the words that dad would speak right now.  If he could somehow hear on May 14th that Mihailovich had been rehabilitated, I’m sure he would dance in heaven.

On September 8, 1944, dad’s 17th mission was to bomb a bridge crossing the Danube River in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.  Their B24 was shot down, and he and the other eight crew members had to bail out.  He was sure death awaited him.  They were warned by officials that if they landed in enemy territory, their ears would be cut off.

The next paragraphs are excerpts taken directly from dad’s diary, as my words will fall short in describing what followed:

September 8, 1944:

“Fortunately, I had landed in a cornfield, somewhat obscured from aerial observation.  A German “JU-87” observation ship was soon overhead, seeking our location.  Before I could remove my chute and harness, a group of local natives approached.  I was not sure whether they were friend or foe and was not sure how to react.  Soon, they were able to recognize me as an American Airman, and instantly I became a hero.  I was greeted with hugs and kisses, from both young and old.  It was soon established that these citizens of Yugoslavia were of Serbian decent, and their soldiers were “Chetniks”, under the command of General Draja Mihailovich.  All combat crews had been informed that Yugoslavia was involved in an internal struggle for political supremacy, which included the Croatians, the Partisans under the command of Marshal Tito, along with the Serbian military.  Each of these parties claimed to be anti-Nazi, but each also claimed the other to be pro-Nazi.  We were cautioned to attempt identity of our hosts before making any commitment.  Any doubts we may have had about the Serbians loyalty were soon laid to rest.  We were treated as royalty.  We were provided with the best of food, the best of accommodations, along with a military force to protect us from a threat from any direction.”
 
 


Western Union telegram Sept. 22, 1944 notifying family
that Curtis Diles was missing in action

 
September 9, 1944:
 
“In the following days, we ate chicken for some twenty meals, of thirty.  We were offered “ROCKEA” [Rakiya], a Serbian plum brandy, before and after every meal, along with various French wines, which the Chetnik soldiers had confiscated from the Germans”.
 
September 11, 1944:
 
“As we were being served our evening meal, about 22:00 hours, a Serbian Chetnik soldier entered and announced, “We have some German captives outside we would like you to see”.  There were some 50 captives, ranging from age 15-60.  A young Chetnik said to me “Here is a knife.  You may kill one of them”.  Needless to say, I declined the offer.  We were told that two German Divisions had passed through the area last evening.  The policy has been, of necessity, “take no prisoners”.  All had been executed before dawn the following day.
 
September 14, 1944:
 
“We have traveled for six days, mostly on foot and by night to avoid German Patrols who were constantly “dogging” us.  We travelled backroads, fields, and wooded areas most of the time.  We also had to be wary of the Partisan forces, which also were seeking American Airmen for their own political gain.  I had the good fortune of meeting and talking with General Draza Mihailovich, commander of the Serbian forces at about 22:00 hours on this date.  My perception of the “General” was that of a man to be humble, honest, fair, and trustworthy.  He and his Serbian followers had been abandoned by the Allied Forces which supported Tito and his Communist regime.  The “General”, addressing some eighteen American Airmen, stated “We, the people of Serbia, wish to have a Democratic government much like that of the United States.  Once the America people learn the truth of our dilemma, they will come to our aid.”
 
Hidden and protected by Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks.
The arrow is pointing to Curtis Diles. 1944.
 
On September 17, 1944, dad and six of his other crew members were lifted to safety from a makeshift airstrip near Koceljevo.   He went on to fly 18 more missions, 35 in all.  He was discharged from the Army Air Force in October 1945.
 
When General Mihailovich was executed on July 17, 1946, the National Committee of American Airmen was not allowed to testify on his behalf.  If Mihailovich was a Nazi collaborator, those brief excerpts from my dad’s diary would have read much differently.  My dad spent his life spreading the truth… he would not have done this for a Nazi collaborator!  Over 70 years, dad’s story never changed…. Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks gave the Americans the best of everything they had….  The Chetniks would go hungry so the Americans could eat….  They gave them their beds….  THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE AMERICANS.  Dad always said he had a personal war with his own country after WWII, defending Mihailovich and Serbia.  Mihailovich was certain that “When the Americans knew the truth, they would come to their aid”.
 
The rest is history.
 
While on my deathbed, I pray I don’t have to mutter to my children “You can speak for me”.    But I can assure you… my children, my grandchildren, and all future generations will know the truth.  General Draza Mihailovich was an AMERICAN ALLY that saved hundreds of American lives.  He dreamed and fought for a Serbian democracy.  For that reason only, he was executed.  He was not a Nazi collaborator any more than my father and the American Airmen were.   We were partners fighting the same enemy… the German Nazis.   America let this great man down.  We betrayed him.  He was not a fascist, as he fought for the same righteous values that the Americans fought for.  He saved our Airmen (The Forgotten 500), and my father spent 70 years of his life trying to help vindicate General Draza Mihailovich… our American friend and hero.  In 1948, U.S. President Harry Truman posthumously bestowed the Legion of Merit upon General Mihailovich in acknowledgment of and appreciation for “organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy”, yet meanwhile, he is still not rehabilitated in the country he fought for.
 
The time for rehabilitation is now.
 
Curtis Diles, and 26 Children, Grandchildren, and Great Grandchildren (2014)
 
 
We thank Draza Mihailovich for our lives…. a debt that can never be repaid.
 
Sincerely,
Diane Diles-Hammond
May 12, 2015
 
 
Military marker on dad’s grave.
 
In 2004, he placed 500 flags in his front yard and proudly flew the Serbian flag with the American flag.
The sign reads:
“A TRIBUTE TO SERBIAN VILLAGERS OF WWII”
“Each flag displayed here represents one of five-hundred (500) American Airmen who were “shot down” or forced to land (behind enemy lines) in German occupied Serbia during WWII.  Serbian villages rescued, protected, and cared for these Airmen while they were unable to care for themselves.
These five-hundred flags are in honor of the thousands of Serbians who gave their lives that 500 American Airmen might live.  We and our families will be forever grateful for their sacrifices.”
*****
 
Here he is telling his grandchildren the Serbian story.
 
As it has for many years, the collage of Draza Mihailovich
continues to hang on his dining room wall today.

 
A page from his scrapbook.
*****
 
His cap reads “Friend of Serbia”.
Curtis Diles 2014.
 
 
*****
 
If  you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
*****

Sunday, May 24, 2015

CHETNIK FAMILY REUNION 2015 UPDATE FROM CHAIRPERSON ALEXANDRA MANDIC May 21, 2015 / Contact Information


Chetnik Family Reunion Banner designed by Milan Kecman.

UPDATE FROM ALEXANDRA MANDIC
Chetnik Family Reunion 2015 Chairperson
May 21, 2015

Good morning my Chetnik Family!!!! We are less than four months away from the Second Annual Chetnik Family Reunion on September 19th. The reunion committee has been working on putting together a wonderful day for you all and we look forward to welcoming you to our church for this special event. In the next couple of weeks, I will be posting information about the day and the accommodations.



I will need to understand the approximate number of attendees in the next few months and would like a point of contact for each of our communities to help with this task. If you would like to volunteer to be a point of contact please contact me either through Facebook, Email (chetnik.reunion@gmail.com) or by phone (216-299-0029).

Also, this invitation allows those that have been invited to invite others. Please feel free to invite people that you think may be interested in attending this event. We are trying to get the word out to as many people as possible so that we can build on the success of last year's reunion.

Lastly, I have been asked to provide information for sending donations. If you would like to donate, please make the check out to: Alexandra Mandic and send it to 13273 Spruce Run Drive, Apt. 208, North Royalton, Ohio 44133.

God bless all of you and I look forward to seeing you in September.

Alexandra Mandic
Chetnik Reunion Chairperson 2015
May 21, 2015

on Facebook.


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****

From Under a Long Shadow, a Serbian-Jewish Chorus Sings On [Baruch Brothers Choir - Hor Braća Baruh] / "Tablet Magazine" April 14, 2015

Tablet Magazine
By Amy Guttman
April 14, 2015

The 136-year-old Baruch Brothers Choir has survived the Holocaust, Communism, and the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

 
Nearly all of Serbia’s Jews were killed during the Holocaust, in what was one of the swiftest murder campaigns in all of Europe. The region was declared “Judenfrei” in 1942, after just 13 months of Nazi occupation. Yet the Serbian-Jewish Singing Society—one of the oldest Jewish choirs in the world, today known as the Baruch Brothers Choir—has prospered, despite having been silenced during World Wars I and II. Today, having survived genocide, Communism, the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, and a dwindling Jewish population, the group is larger than at any time in its history—even though less than 20 percent of its members are Jewish.

But that doesn’t seem to bother anyone—not the Ministry of Culture, which requests the choir’s presence at important commemorations; not the Jewish community; and not the singers. Synthesis and harmony have been the driving forces behind the choir since it was first established.

When the group was founded in 1879, said the group’s 31-year-old conductor, Stefan Zekic, “It was to cherish Orthodox Jewish and Serbian music, and create some kind of bridge between two people—Serbian and Jewish people.” That sense of shared purpose will be marked on May 10, when the choir will perform at an official ceremony marking the liberation of Staro Sajmiste, a concentration camp on the outskirts of Belgrade believed to be where half of Serbia’s Jews perished.

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The positive connection between Jews and Serbs that the choir had helped foster from its inception was reinforced during WWI, when the two groups fought alongside each other.

“There are a lot of similarities between Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy,” said Jasna Pecarski, a Serbian-born, American Jewish doctor who retired to Belgrade a few years ago for its affordable lifestyle and who sings in the choir with her son. “There are no instruments in the church, no organ or piano, only voice, usually a choir. We, the Slavs, Serbians, have a big vocal tradition. We sing all kinds of music: Jewish Orthodox, secular music, Serbian Orthodox, everything from famous composers like Mozart to popular arrangements and jazz.”

Yugoslavia provided a haven to Austrian Jews escaping Hitler after the Anschluss in 1938. Serbia’s Jewish population swelled to 35,000—before it was almost entirely wiped out. Most people were sent to nearby concentration camps, in Belgrade and other parts of former Yugoslavia, including Croatia. Many never made it to camps and were shot on the spot.

After Serbia was liberated, 5,000 surviving Serbian Jews returned to Belgrade. Their first stop was the choir rehearsal hall, which became a center for locating family and friends.

“There were many orphans after the war,” said choir President Branka Cvejic-Mezei, herself a Jew. “The Jewish community had no means for a normal life. Many Jews left the country. However, the survivors wasted no time in trying to rebuild the community. Directly after the war, the Jews who survived returned to the choir. Members of the Jewish community wanted to reconnect; the easiest way to do that was through the choir.”

Some Jews survived thanks to Serbia’s 131 “righteous gentiles,” more than from any other Balkan nation. Others became members of the Yugoslav resistance. To commemorate the fight against the Nazis, the chorus changed its name to the Baruch Brothers Choir. The three brothers, all partisans from a prominent Belgrade family, were killed during the war and became a symbol of the resistance. A street and a local school were named after them. Their home, a Belgrade landmark, made headlines last year when it was torn down by a private developer.

The choir performed its first postwar concert in 1948, but it wasn’t until it was invited to sing in Jerusalem four years later that the group really found its feet again. Concert pianist Andreja Preger conducted the performance; at 103, he is the group’s oldest member. Preger survived the Holocaust as a partisan and later became one of a substantial number who met future spouses at rehearsals. The choir has a history of producing marriages, with 30 wed in just the last 15 years. But, reflective of the choir’s membership, many of the unions are mixed.

“The observance in the community is not so strong,” explained Ruben Fuks, head of the Serbian Federation of Jewish Communities. “The minority of the community is very observant. You have to remember the development after the Second World War was not in favor of religious life, so the continuation of the life of the community was more secular than religious.”

Zekic, the conductor, says that under Communism, Judaism was seen as both a religion and an ethnicity. “Our ethnicity was fully accepted with no discrimination,” he said. “It’s very different comparing the Soviet Union, where you have official anti-Semitism. In former Yugoslavia and Serbia, that kind of anti-Semitism wasn’t present.”

The choir, members say, did not face obstacles under Communism. On the contrary, it became a source of national pride. The choir was free to sing whatever songs the members liked—in whatever language. The singers even enjoyed increased freedoms, with permission to travel to festivals and competitions around the region at a time when it wasn’t easy to do so. In 1978, the group even made it to New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Choir member Gordana Rutar, at 75 one of the group’s older members, fondly remembers traveling to Israel three times, and to England, Greece, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe to perform. Though not Jewish herself, she regards the group as her second family. “I love singing Jewish music,” she said. “I don’t have trouble with the Hebrew or Yiddish at all, because I’ve been singing it for 30 years. I don’t understand it, but I can sing it. I was raised in a family that liked and respected the Jews. Everybody in this choir knows what happened to the Jewish people.”

Aleksandra Pusica, a 23-year-old medical student, auditioned and was accepted into the choir at 18. “I’m not Jewish, but my friends all sing in choirs and I wanted to try something new,” she said. “I was very welcomed and accepted.”

Even today, with anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe, Zekic claims that in Serbia it comes in small doses. Yet Serbia’s Jews are fighting to keep their community alive. After the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the conflicts that followed, there came a fresh Jewish exodus. Many went to Israel and the United States, while the elderly moved primarily to Hungary.

Serbia’s Jews are thought to number 3,300, with around 2,000 living in Belgrade. According to Fuks, the choir—which sings dozens of concerts a year, locally and regionally, for state ceremonies, humanitarian events, and at festivals and competitions—is the most visible part of the community; but it, too, faces hurdles. Government support is limited. Zekic, who is a full-time conductor for the National Theater, works for the choir on a volunteer basis. Still, he has enjoyed one perk: He met his girlfriend at rehearsals. She documents the choir’s history through its official Facebook page.

Like many others, Fuks has thought long and hard about how to preserve and cultivate Serbia’s Jewish community. One effort has focused on public schools. Photographs gathered from survivors of the war are part of a traveling exhibition and workshop, touring seven different Serbian cities. The concert marking the liberation of Staro Sajmiste next month will offer another chance to make the community and its traditions accessible.

But, as American expat Jasna Pecarski points out, it’s not all somber. For Hanukkah, they sang to a standing-room-only crowd of over 200 people. “We sang Jewish songs,” she said, “but at the end we sang an Abba favorite, ‘Mamma Mia.’ ”


*****

http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/190019/serbian-choir


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****

Friday, May 22, 2015

Војислав Михаиловић: Титоисти и хрватски лобисти су у процесу за рехабилитацију Драже показали да не поштују судство ни државу / "Нова српска политичка мисао" May 22, 2015

НСПМ
Телеграф-Новости)
May 22, 2015

Пре девет година, Војислав Михаиловић покренуо је захтев за рехабилитацију деде, четничког вође Драгољуба Драже Михаиловића, који је јула 1946. године осуђен на смрт и стрељан. Половином маја 2015. пресуда је поништена, и “чичи” су враћена грађанска права која су му била одузета у политичко-идеолошком процесу комунистичког режима.


– Моја породица и ја чекали смо читав живот да се са нашег презимена скине срамни жиг издајника, ратног злочинца и окупатора – прича Војислав Михаиловић и додаје да су на то чекали и многобројни након рата дискриминисани потомци Дражиних сабораца и симпатизера у Србији и у српским земљама.

Михаиловић каже да је ову одлуку чекала и Дражина безгробна војска, и да је о исправљању велике неправде сањала и милионска српска емиграција.

– Нисам се оглашавао у току процеса из више разлога, ни у судници ни ван ње, као ни у медијима након доношења одлуке. Лојалан сам грађанин и верујем у независно судство наше земље. Потом сам био у уверењу да ми не приличи као политичкој личности да коментаришем одлуке суда – објашњава Михаиловићев унук.

Ипак, Михаиловић није изненађен појединим коментарима на одлуку Вишег суда у Београду, посебно оним који долазе из Хрватске.

– У главном граду Хрватске цвећем и пољупцима дочекана је Хитлерова солдатеска. У монструозној НДХ творевини, по немачким изворима страдало је, само у логорима, 700.000 наших невиних сународника, као и Јевреја и Рома. По преласку на аустријску територију ратни злочинац Анте Павелић прво се сусрео са британским официрима, који су му омогућили да преко Ватикана, некажњено отпутује у Аргентину и као слободан грађанин умре у Шпанији.

Ипак, унук Драже Михаиловића разочаран је појединим рекацијама неких српских званичника, који су, како каже, ову одлуку довели у питање и покушали да јој се наругају:

- Следбеници титоизма, уосталом као и хрватски лобисти овде, прво су показали да не поштују ни судство ове државе, ни државу, као ни симбол српског отпора нацизму и фашизму – а то је ђенерал Драгољуб Дража Михаиловић – или српски Чича како га је народ присно ословљавао – прича Михаиловић.


 

Он сматра да се нови “НАТО партизани” играју са српском ослободилачком традицијом идентитетом и војничком части, и са свим што има предзнак српски.

– Уместо да раде на националном помирењу и подижу наше самопуздање, они својим изјавама продубљују ровове и иделошке поделе у српском роду. Као прави игноранти и заточеници религије титоизма њих не интересује ни већ научно доказана историјска истина. Можда они боље знају на чијој је страни био ђенерал Михаиловић од америчког председника Харија Трумана, од вође француског покрета отпора Шарла де Гола или од пољског генерала Сикорског! Они су сви одликовали Дражу за неизмерни допринос савезничкој победи над нацизмом и фашизмом у Ервопи – истиче Михаиловић.

Такође, Михаиловић каже да од садашњих “Нато партизана” ништа нису бољи ни они “Нато четници” који су своју политичку каријеру започели под Дражином заставом, а окончали је у идеолошком табору његових џелата.

– Ипак сам уверен да далекосежни значај ове пресуде не могу да умање ни да осенче мега звезде нашег политичког циркусишта, ни “Нато феминтерна”, ни булајићевско-бајићевски перформери,који су похитали да се “уграде” у пресуду или да јој пресуде – каже Михаиловић.

Мом деди одавно већ ништа више не треба, али ова пресуда истовремено ослобађа и исцељује. Као вожд Трећег српског устанка он је, по речима светог владике Николаја, своје место нашао у “царству Небеске Србије”, уз Светог Саву, Светог кнеза Лазара и остале српске великане – прича Дражин унук и додаје:

– Надам се и верујем да одлука суда о рехабилитацији ђенерала Драже отвара и осветљава нове путеве наше историје. И наше прошлости коју су нажалост често тумачили злонамерни туђини и они који не познају српски народ. Као и они који нису гледали у будућност. А историја нас између осталог учи да “будућност припада онима који се најдаље и најдуже сећају прошлости – закључије Војислав Михаиловић.


(Телеграф-Новости)

http://www.nspm.rs/hronika/vojislav-mihailovic-titoisti-i-hrvatski-lobisti-su-u-procesu-za-rehabilitaciju-draze-pokazali-da-ne-postuju-sudstvo-ni-drzavu.html


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****

FOREIGN OPINION OF THE SERB VOLUNTEER CORPS by Stevan Pirocanac / "Britić - The British Serb magazine" May 15, 2015


Britić - The British Serb magazine
May 15, 2015
Stevan Pirocanac

With the author’s permission, we publish this article by Stevan Piroćanac which appeared as a Viewpoint in the Vol. 22 of the South Slav Journal in Autumn-Winter 2001.

Stevan Piroćanac has previously written about his personal experience as a high school student in WW2. Britić welcomes articles from our the original generation of Serbs to arrive in the Diaspora with their own experiences from the war.

Britić - The British Serb magazine

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FOREIGN OPINION OF THE SERB VOLUNTEER CORPS

By Stevan Pirocanac

Dimitrije Ljotić at funeral of a volunteer in 1943 with insignia (left)
 
Foreigners – mostly the British and Germans – all had their opinions about the Serb Volunteer Corps (SVC). It should be noted that some had ‘first hand’ information. British information came from their military missions to the Chetniks and Partisans, and German information from direct dealing and relationships with the SVC. As foreigners they judged the SVC objectively and without emotional attachment. Their judgment was therefore without prejudice and hence objective.

One man who knew Yugoslavia very well, before and during WWII, was the late Stephen Clissold. He wrote copiously about Yugoslavia, mostly in an official capacity, and he mentioned also the SVC.

Before WWII, Clissold was living in Zagreb, Croatia, where he was employed by the British Council. Also he taught English at Zagreb University, and spoke Serbo-Croat very well. During the war, in 1943, Clissold spent a few months with Maclean’s mission in Yugoslavia and in August 1944 Clissold was a personal interpreter for Churchill at a meeting with Tito held in Caserta, Italy. When MacLean’s Commission was formed in 1946, for the interrogation of Yugoslav Royalists – Chetniks and the SVC living in the Eboli camp (Italy), Clissold became an advisor to the Commission. As such, he personally screened senior officers of the SVC and leading members of Zbor.

In his memorandum to the Foreign Office [November 1947], Clissold wrote: ‘The Serb Volunteer Corps may be considered as the Corps d’elite of the various Serb Forces: The State Guard, Gendarmerie, Frontier Guard, etc. They have given help on numerous occasions to Mihailović’s Chetniks, and through their emissary Boško Kostić helped Mihailović and the Yugoslav Royal Government in London to establish a direct link in 1941. The members of the SVC were required to take an oath of loyalty to King Peter, and technically they have remained loyal and cannot be charged with treason. And this contention has some juridical force. The Nedić Administration and the Volunteers have successfully resisted German pressure to send a voluntary detachment to the Eastern Front. It was never sent. On occasions, the Volunteers have saved the lives of American and British pilots. Two specific instances have been brought to my attention, and there seems little reason not to believe their authenticity.’

Regarding the Volunteers, Keith Steel, British political advisor to the British Commandant in Austria, wrote to the Foreign Office on April 4, 1946: ‘From the beginning of 1942 on, Serb Volunteers fought with Germans against the Communists, without compromising their own national interests. They collaborated with the Wermacht, while SS Gruppenführer August Meysner in Serbia was against Ljotić’s Movement and the Volunteers who refused to wear SS uniforms or to be used for auxiliary police duties…’

The British military historian Nigel Thomas, on May 9, 1984, wrote to Professor Staniša Vlahović, reference the SVC, the following:_ ‘Also, I was much excited with the received pictures of the Serb Volunteer Corps. They are of excellent quality, and the remarks you wrote on the backs are of great help. I looked with sorrow at the pictures of these wonderful young men, who tried to serve their country, wondering what happened to them. I would like, one day, to be in position to publish these pictures, if I am given an opportunity. You can be assured that would be done only with the permission of the Volunteer Association…’

The well-known German diplomat at the time of WWII, Dr. Herman Neubacher, wrote about the Serb Volunteers in his book Sonderauftrag Südost also. During his career, Dr. Neubacher held many important positions such as Mayor of Vienna. As an expert on Southeast Europe, he was nominated by Hitler in 1940 as Extraordinary Representative of the Reich in Southeast Europe. After spending time in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania, he went to Serbia in 1943. His arrival brought great changes to German policies towards the Serbs. Reprisals against innocent civilians were stopped, and Neubacher gave his support to Nedić and Ljotić in their quest to form a federation between Serbia and Montenegro. Later, in 1945, he helped Nedić and Ljotić in gaining the release of both Patriarch Gavrilo and Bishop Nikolai from Dachau. He also helped, though unsuccessfully, the attempts of Bishop Nikolai and some others to cross into Switzerland, in order to establish contact with the Western Allies.

In his book Neubacher analyses in depth the situation in Serbia, the Partisans and Ljotić ‘s Volunteers. Also he writes about the handing over of the Serb Volunteers and the Slovene Home Guards by the British to the Partisans, and gives their numbers: 2,400 Volunteers and some 10,000 Slovenes. They were all killed by the Partisans. Dr. Neubacher says and affirms: ‘…those young men never fought for the Germans, they only fought against the Communists, during the German occupation’.

The German historian, Karl Hailicka, published in 1970 the book The End in the Balkans 1944/45. In this rather lengthy book, Hnilicka uses many sources, and includes much important information about Serbia and Yugoslavia from that period. He mentions the SVC as follows: In a letter written on March 15, 1943, SS General Meysner informs Himmler of the following: ‘The Serb Volunteer Corps [SVC] represents a special danger, and without any doubt it will soon become a source of disturbance, as can be seen from the enclosed report of the Commandant of the Security Service. The Supreme Commander of Serbia gave permission to the SVC to have a flag and a Volunteer’s Cross with the inscription “With Faith in God, for King and Fatherland”. This permission was used on the occasion of taking the oath of allegiance by SVC soldiers, when ovations for King Peter were given… In view of the situation, I think that such experiments are not desirable’.

A senior officer of the SS and Police, Teichman, on March 5, 1943, sent his report to SS General Meysner, in which he describes the oath taking of the IVth Battalion of the SVC. Among other things he reports that civilians who were watching the march of the Volunteers through the streets of Belgrade were shouting ‘Long Live Nedić’, ‘Serbia, Serbia’, ‘Hail the new Serb Army’ and ‘Long live King Peter’.

In his letter, dated April 23, 1943, Himmler, one of the most important Nazi leaders, reveals his opinion of the SVC in his letter to Marshal Keitel. He writes: ‘Dear Field Marshal: Enclosed is the report of the Commandant of Police from Belgrade. I find it highly problematic that we allow the Serbs a flag with the insignia, “With Faith in God, for King and Fatherland.” I am convinced that we chose the wrong approach. Also, my impression is that those Volunteer battalions are exceedingly well treated by the Commandant of the Wermacht in Serbia.’

Some time earlier, on August 23, 1942, Himmler wrote to Dr. Tumer, German Political Advisor to the Military Commander in Belgrade that ‘No Serbs should be trusted, for their tradition has taught them to rebel and organise uprisings… So a Serb will always remain a Serb, whatever happens, and we should avoid strengthening Serbs’.

SS General Meysner’s hostility towards the Serb Volunteers was especially evident during 1942. In one of his directives, August 12 1942, in order to undermine the SVC he decreed that ‘…no arms, food, clothing or any other items should be supplied to the SVC…’ On August 29, 1942, he wrote to the German Supreme Commander for South East Europe, saying: ‘I am of the definite opinion that Serb Volunteers must be disarmed’.

On March 7, 1943, the German Military Commander in Belgrade, General Bader, wrote to his superiors that ‘Serb Volunteers have been defiant and have refused the request of SS General Meysmer to do Police duty, and therefore I have placed them under Wermacht control’.

On May 16, 1943, the German Supreme Commander in Serbia informed Himmler: ’I have decided not to disband the Serb Volunteers although they have taken the oath of allegiance to their King. They wear the Cross of St. George (on their tunics), and this Cross is linked to the historical Kosovo Cross of 1389. They, the Volunteers, are loyal to their King, who is at the moment in the hands of the Western Allies as a prisoner’.

Close to the end of the war, at least in Serbia, the Supreme Commander in the Balkans informed the German Foreign Ministry: ‘because of the new situation in the Balkans we have decided not to strengthen the Serb Volunteer Corps for they would not be a reliable force if sent to face the Anglo-Americans’.

The Serb Volunteers, throughout their existence, always proclaimed their loyalty to the King of Yugoslavia. By doing so the Volunteers showed that they were fighting for the resurrection of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, contrary to the wishes of Hitler, Himmler and many others. These facts speak lucidly for themselves. There is nothing more than I can add, except that I hope that future historians will take this information into consideration if and when they write the history of those difficult days in Yugoslavia and Serbia during the Second World War – 1941-1945.


Stevan Pirocanac


http://www.ebritic.com/?p=460380


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

VIDEO / SVAĐA NA RTS: Rehabilitacija Draže Mihailovića - Ivica Dačić i Nenad Popović (05.05.2015)


Ivica Dačić i Nenad Popović

VIDEO
SVAĐA NA RTS: Rehabilitacija Draže Mihailovića - Ivica Dačić i Nenad Popović (05.05.2015)
Posted on You Tube by "Dokumentarne Emisije Balkan"
Published on May 6, 2015




https://youtu.be/X1RI-4Jhzzo


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi allies / "AFP" May 19, 2015

AFP
May 19, 2015

Zagreb (AFP) - The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday urged Croatia to stop paying pensions to people who served in the country's World War II Nazi-allied armed forces, labelling the policy an insult to their victims.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem Office
of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (AFP Photo/Christof Stache)
 
"In view of the horrendous war crimes committed in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH)... such a policy is inherently mistaken," the centre's chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in a letter to Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
 
Paying pensions to members of the WWII Ustasha armed forces is a "horrific insult to the victims, their families and all Croatians with a sense of morality and integrity," Zuroff stressed in a Wiesenthal Center statement quoting from his letter.
 
The Nazi-allied Ustasha authorities persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croatians.
Croatia is currently paying around 10,000 such pensions, to those still living or their spouses, which costs the European Union member around 50 million euros ($56 million) yearly, according to estimates.

Zuroff urged Milanovic to "take the appropriate measures to change this policy as quickly as possible and spare Croatia the shame of rewarding those who were among the worst and most cruel perpetrators of World War II crimes."

In 1993, two years after proclaiming independence from communist Yugoslavia, Croatia amended a law on pensions providing them also to members of the country's Nazi-allied armed forces.

Apart from receiving pensions, members of the so-called "homeland army" during WWII, as the law labelled them, were also entitled to special benefits, with each year spent in the armed forces or in detention after the war counting double when calculating their pensions.

The NDH Nazi puppet state was established in 1941 and lasted until 1945, when its forces were defeated by Josip Broz Tito's Allied-backed partisans.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, headquartered in Los Angeles, hunts Nazi criminal throughout the world. It is named after the Holocaust survivor who was perhaps the best-known Nazi hunter until his death in 2005. Zuroff heads the centre's Israeli office.


http://news.yahoo.com/wiesenthal-centre-urges-croatia-end-pensions-nazi-allies-153148691.html


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic says the rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic was "a bad decision for Serbia." / "B92" [Tanjug] May 15, 2015


Aleksandra's Note: I don't normally include my own personal editorial commentary with "news story" postings that I publish here on www.generalmihailovich.com, but I just couldn't resist with this one.

I always find it very interesting and highly amusing when the Croatian Nationalists and the Serbian Yugoslav Communists and Titoists are on the SAME side of an issue...It happens much more often than the Croatians are willing to admit...

Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic

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B92
Tanjug
May 15, 2015

Chetnik leader's rehabilitation "bad decision for Serbia"

Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic says the rehabilitation of Draza Mihailovic was "a bad decision for Serbia."

Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic
Photo: (Beta/Hina, file)
 
She also stated that the decision was bad for relations with Croatia, and will have consequences for relations in the region, but that Croatia will not send a diplomatic note to Serbia.

Pusic added that she was glad that high political officials of Serbia, especially Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, "distanced themselves from the entire case."

"I would not like to be in their shoes, this is pretty tragic for the country's reputation and political culture," said Pusic.

According to her, the court ruling will cause divisions in Serbian society and complicate regional relations, Croatia's Hina agency reported.

"On Monday is the working breakfast within the usual format before the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Serbia as a country that is negotiating with the European Union. In this context, it is an issue that Serbia will have to deal with," said Pusic.

Asked whether Croatia would block Serbia's path towards the EU, she said this was "done by the Serbian court".

"The court harmed them by this decision, we have no reason to do that, it's a problem they will have to solve," said Pusic, who rejected the claims that "this development opens up the possibility of rehabilitation of other war criminals."

Pusic also pointed out that the of Dragan Vasiljkovic, aka Captain Dragan, is expected soon, and that court proceedings would be initiated afterwards in accordance with the law.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2015&mm=05&dd=15&nav_id=94139


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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