Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nikolic: [Croatian] Pressure on Pope Francis to give up on establishing truth [about Stepinac] / "InSerbia with Agencies" [Tanjug] July 22, 2016

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

InSerbia with Agencies
July 22, 2016

BELGRADE – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Friday said a Croatian court decision annulling a 1946 conviction of Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac was, in a way, aimed at pressuring the Pope into giving up on establishing the truth and into canonising the former Croatian Roman Catholic cardinal.

The county court in Zagreb has annulled in its entirety a verdict sentencing Stepinac to 16 years of imprisonment, forced labour and loss of civil and political rights for a period of five years.

Stepinac was loyal to the WWII-era Ustasha regime of Ante Pavelic.

His role and responsibility in the deaths of many Serbs, Jews and Roma killed in the war have been questioned and are to be probed by a commission comprised of representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Roman Catholic Church with mediation from the Vatican.

Croatia is covering up the pits into which the Ustashas had been digging Serbs, but if it carries on like this, it will dig an abyss into which it itself will fall, and end up without the support of the civilised, anti-fascist and anti-national part of humanity, Nikolic told Blic.

“Stepinac was never convicted in Croatia – the Independent State of Croatia or today’s legal successor of that Ustasha state. He was convicted in Yugoslavia and Serbia is the legal successor of all former Yugoslav states, and all newly-created states agree with this,” Nikolic said.

Nikolic said he had presented his view on Stepinac’s role in WWII to Pope Francis in a direct conversation with him during a visit to the Vatican.

The president added that he was personally preparing evidence he would present to representatives of the SPC and then also the commission.

“The head of the Roman Catholic Church told me he would not rush a decision because (if canonised) Stepinac would be the first Christian saint whom the SPC and other Orthodox churches would not recognise,” Nikolic said.


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nazi hunter outraged by annulment of Ustasha collaborator’s verdict [Croatia's WWII Archbishop Stepinac] / "The Jerusalem Post" July 25, 2016

The Jerusalem Post
By Tamara Zieve
July 25, 2016

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has expressed outrage over the recent annulment of the 1946 conviction of Croatian Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, for treason and collaboration with the Nazi-aligned Ustasha regime.

Victims of the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime killed at the end of the World War Two lay on the ground surrounded by posing Ustasha soldiers near the Sava River in Croatia in 1945. (Photo Credit: REUTERS)

The genocidal campaign waged by the Ustasha regime against Serbs and their active participation in Holocaust crimes against Jews are among the most heinous crimes of World War II.

“As the leading Catholic priest in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), Stepinac’s responsibility was to speak out on behalf of the innocent victims of the Ustasha, not to lend spiritual support to their murderers,” said the Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. “The genocidal campaign waged by the Ustasha against Serbs, their active participation in Holocaust crimes against Jews, and the murder of Roma and anti-fascist Croatians carried out in their network of concentration camps are among the most heinous crimes of World War II. No person who supported that regime should have their conviction annulled.”

The Zagreb County Court Judge Ivan Turudic overturned the verdict last week, saying it had violated the right to a fair trial, the prohibition of forced labor, and the rule of law.

Zuroff said the stance Stepinac took was of “huge significance,” and that for this reason, the annulment of the verdict is cause for celebration for nationalist and ultra-rightwing Croatians.

“Right now in Croatia there is a cultural, ideological war,” with a segment seeking to whitewash or modify the crimes of the Ustasha.

“There are many people who view them as heroes because of their fierce patriotism and nationalism,” said Zuroff.

Stepinac died in 1960, but remained as controversial a figure in death as in life. In 1998, Pope John Paul II beatified Stepinac, and his eventual canonization appears to be inevitable, though it was suspended by Pope Francis. Some Croatians believe he deserves the title of “Righteous Among the Nations,” but Yad Vashem twice denied him the honor.

Yad Vashem reaffirmed on Monday that the reason for the Committee for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations not granting him Righteous Gentile status “was due to the archbishop’s close ties to the Ustasha regime.”

The Wiesenthal Center is not alone in its ire over the annulment of Stepinac’s verdict, which also drew strong Serbian condemnation.

According to news outlet Balkan Insight, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said on Friday that Croatia risked losing “the support of the civilized, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi part of humanity. I interpret this as a kind of pressure on the pope to give up on establishing the truth and canonize the former cardinal.”

Zuroff said the controversy over Stepinac is part of an ongoing war between Croatia and Serbia.

“In Croatia there were 40,000 Jews,” Zuroff said. “Of those, 20,000 were murdered by the Ustasha” and many others were deported to Auschwitz.

“But that was only a sideshow to the mass murder of the Serbs. This is tragedy of monumental proportions.”

The famed Nazi-hunter also asserted that this latest development in Croatia is part of a much wider phenomenon, which he has also observed in Ukraine, Lithuania and Hungary – “the tendency to honor people who fought communism, without checking what they did in WWII.”

Zuroff said that honoring people who were involved in anti-Semitism and the murder of Jews is “a form of attack on the Jewish narrative of the Holocaust. It is a form of anti-Semitism, part of a larger picture which is trying to say that the Holocaust is not unique, and that communism is just as bad, if not worse. And if communism is genocide, then Jews committed genocide because there were Jewish communists. So if everyone is guilty, then no one is guilty.”


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Monday, August 22, 2016


Fascist dictator of the WWII Independent State of Croatia (NDH) Ante Pavelic (left)
 and Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia Stepinac in the early 1940's.

BELGRADE – A Croatian court has overturned a 1946 verdict against a Catholic cardinal who had been convicted of collaborating with the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World War II.

The Zagreb County Court on July 22 [2016] annulled the treason conviction against Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, saying he did not receive a fair trial.

Stepinac, who was archbishop of Zagreb at the time, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and forced labor. He died of thrombosis, under house arrest, aged 61.

Many Croatian Catholics see Stepinac as a hero who resisted communism and want him declared a saint.
In 1998, the late Pope John Paul II controversially beatified Stepinac, putting on the path to sainthood.

Critics accuse Stepinac of not doing enough to stop the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime killing tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and Roma.


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Friday, August 19, 2016

Сећање на жртве јасеновачких логора смрти / Sećanje na žrtve jasenovačkih logora smrti / "Politika" August 19, 2016

Аутор: Младен Кременовић
August 19, 2016

Манифестацију у Доњој Градини, српском Јад-Вашему, код Козарске Дубице заједнички организују Влада Републике Српске и Влада Србије.

Јасеновац: одузети лични предмети
(Из фотомонографије „Злочини над Србима у НДХ” Јована Мирковића)

Oд нашег сталног дописника

Бањалука – У Доњој Градини, највећем стратишту из састава јасеновачких логора смрти, данас ће бити обележено 75. година од почетка геноцида над Србима, Јеврејима и Ромима за време Независне државе Хрватске у Другом светском рату. Централну манифестацију у спомен-подручју „Доња Градина” код Козарске Дубице заједнички организују Влада Републике Српске и Влада Србије.

Српски званичници из Београда и Бањалуке раније су поручивали да ово место у Доњој Градини треба да постане место заједничког окупљања, сећања, учења, молитве и праштања, јер је то српски Јад-Вашем. Окупљање почиње у 19 часова код „Тополе ужаса”, док је за 20 часова предвиђен почетак програма и час историје. Најављено је да ће се посетиоцима обратити председник Владе Републике Србије Александар Вучић и председник РС Милорад Додик. Паљењем свећа жртвама злогласног јасеновачког концентрационог логора негде око 21 час биће завршена манифестација. У Бањалуци ће у у девет часова бити служена литургија у Храму Христа Спаситеља.

Доња Градина налази се с друге стране реке Саве, преко пута Јасеновца, са којим је у време НДХ била повезана скелом којом су заточеници превожени. Како време одмиче, све је мање преживелих који се сећају монструозних начина ликвидације жртава у име НДХ и усташке идеологије, о којима данас сведоче и казани који су остаци фабрике сапуна који се правио од људских тела. У Доњој Градини је 105 масовних гробница, а накнадно су пронађене још 22 масовне гробнице.

Већина извора потврђује да је у јасеновачким логорима смрти убијено 700.000 људи, међу којима 500.000 Срба, 40.000 Рома, 33.000 Јевреја, 127.000 антифашиста и 20.000 нејаке деце. Логори за децу и смрт 20.000 малишана јесте оно што стратишта НДХ разликује и издваја од сличних нацистичких стратишта у свету. Израелски Јад-Вашем центар располаже податком о 700.000 жртава геноцида у логору Јасеновац. Центар „Симон Визентал” у Лос Анђелесу процењује да је у Јасеновцу убијено око 600.000 Срба, Јевреја, Рома и хрватских антифашиста. Само у поткозарској општини Козарска Дубица убијено је више од половине становништва, што говори колике су размере страдања.

По свим изворима, 1942. је била година највећих масовних убијања и у Јасеновцу, Старој Градишки и радним командама по селима. Процене о броју убијених само у овом периоду, то јест током 1942, веома су различите, али се све слажу у томе да се радило о више десетина хиљада жртава.

Концентрациони логор Јасеновац је највећи логор на простору некадашње Југославије и југоисточне Европе, а по броју жртава он се може поредити с великим нацистичким концентрационим логорима. Оно у чему су сагласни сви они који су се озбиљно бавили истраживањем страдања у јасеновачким стратиштима јесте да је по систематском бестијалном убијању Јасеновац без премца међу другим концентрационим логорима и логорима смрти.

У Хрватској, ипак, и данас постоје намере да се умање размере страдања у Јасеновцу, па чак и да се он представи као радни логор. Мада је хрватска председница Колинда Грабар Китаровић под великим притиском из света, насталим услед обнове усташтва и бојкота државне комеморације у Јасеновцу од стране Јевреја и Срба, изјавила да је усташки режим био злочиначки, у тој земљи нису спласнула настојања да се размере страдања умање. Кад власти у Хрватској говоре о злочинима усташког режима, неретко посежу за осудом свих тоталитаризама и злочина почињених у њихово име, чиме настоје да изједначе жртве усташког и комунистичког режима, а Јасеновац са Блајбургом. То охрабрује десницу и доводи до тога да усташка идеологија у овој држави и 75. година од почетка ових монструозних убистава има све више поклоника.


Autor: Mladen Kremenović
August 19, 2016

Sećanje na žrtve jasenovačkih logora smrti

Manifestaciju u Donjoj Gradini, srpskom Jad-Vašemu, kod Kozarske Dubice zajednički organizuju Vlada Republike Srpske i Vlada Srbije.

Јасеновац: одузети лични предмети
(Из фотомонографије „Злочини над Србима у НДХ” Јована Мирковића)
Od našeg stalnog dopisnika
Banjaluka – U Donjoj Gradini, najvećem stratištu iz sastava jasenovačkih logora smrti, danas će biti obeleženo 75. godina od početka genocida nad Srbima, Jevrejima i Romima za vreme Nezavisne države Hrvatske u Drugom svetskom ratu. Centralnu manifestaciju u spomen-području „Donja Gradina” kod Kozarske Dubice zajednički organizuju Vlada Republike Srpske i Vlada Srbije.
Srpski zvaničnici iz Beograda i Banjaluke ranije su poručivali da ovo mesto u Donjoj Gradini treba da postane mesto zajedničkog okupljanja, sećanja, učenja, molitve i praštanja, jer je to srpski Jad-Vašem. Okupljanje počinje u 19 časova kod „Topole užasa”, dok je za 20 časova predviđen početak programa i čas istorije. Najavljeno je da će se posetiocima obratiti predsednik Vlade Republike Srbije Aleksandar Vučić i predsednik RS Milorad Dodik. Paljenjem sveća žrtvama zloglasnog jasenovačkog koncentracionog logora negde oko 21 čas biće završena manifestacija. U Banjaluci će u u devet časova biti služena liturgija u Hramu Hrista Spasitelja.
Donja Gradina nalazi se s druge strane reke Save, preko puta Jasenovca, sa kojim je u vreme NDH bila povezana skelom kojom su zatočenici prevoženi. Kako vreme odmiče, sve je manje preživelih koji se sećaju monstruoznih načina likvidacije žrtava u ime NDH i ustaške ideologije, o kojima danas svedoče i kazani koji su ostaci fabrike sapuna koji se pravio od ljudskih tela. U Donjoj Gradini je 105 masovnih grobnica, a naknadno su pronađene još 22 masovne grobnice.
Većina izvora potvrđuje da je u jasenovačkim logorima smrti ubijeno 700.000 ljudi, među kojima 500.000 Srba, 40.000 Roma, 33.000 Jevreja, 127.000 antifašista i 20.000 nejake dece. Logori za decu i smrt 20.000 mališana jeste ono što stratišta NDH razlikuje i izdvaja od sličnih nacističkih stratišta u svetu. Izraelski Jad-Vašem centar raspolaže podatkom o 700.000 žrtava genocida u logoru Jasenovac. Centar „Simon Vizental” u Los Anđelesu procenjuje da je u Jasenovcu ubijeno oko 600.000 Srba, Jevreja, Roma i hrvatskih antifašista. Samo u potkozarskoj opštini Kozarska Dubica ubijeno je više od polovine stanovništva, što govori kolike su razmere stradanja.
Po svim izvorima, 1942. je bila godina najvećih masovnih ubijanja i u Jasenovcu, Staroj Gradiški i radnim komandama po selima. Procene o broju ubijenih samo u ovom periodu, to jest tokom 1942, veoma su različite, ali se sve slažu u tome da se radilo o više desetina hiljada žrtava.
Koncentracioni logor Jasenovac je najveći logor na prostoru nekadašnje Jugoslavije i jugoistočne Evrope, a po broju žrtava on se može porediti s velikim nacističkim koncentracionim logorima. Ono u čemu su saglasni svi oni koji su se ozbiljno bavili istraživanjem stradanja u jasenovačkim stratištima jeste da je po sistematskom bestijalnom ubijanju Jasenovac bez premca među drugim koncentracionim logorima i logorima smrti.
U Hrvatskoj, ipak, i danas postoje namere da se umanje razmere stradanja u Jasenovcu, pa čak i da se on predstavi kao radni logor. Mada je hrvatska predsednica Kolinda Grabar Kitarović pod velikim pritiskom iz sveta, nastalim usled obnove ustaštva i bojkota državne komemoracije u Jasenovcu od strane Jevreja i Srba, izjavila da je ustaški režim bio zločinački, u toj zemlji nisu splasnula nastojanja da se razmere stradanja umanje. Kad vlasti u Hrvatskoj govore o zločinima ustaškog režima, neretko posežu za osudom svih totalitarizama i zločina počinjenih u njihovo ime, čime nastoje da izjednače žrtve ustaškog i komunističkog režima, a Jasenovac sa Blajburgom. To ohrabruje desnicu i dovodi do toga da ustaška ideologija u ovoj državi i 75. godina od početka ovih monstruoznih ubistava ima sve više poklonika.
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at

INTERVIEW: PAUL DJURISIC, Grandson of Vojvoda Pavle Djurisic / July 2016

Interview by Predrag Rudovic
August 2016

Interview: PAUL DJURISIC, grandson of Vojvoda Pavle Djurisic.

"As I said I despise politics. But this year’s American elections are important to me for one reason. I think that Clinton is a pathological liar, completely corrupt, and has a hatred for Serbian people, and any Serb that votes for her is not really a Serb."  [P.D.]

Interview by Predrag RUDOVIC
[AR: Original interview was published in the Serbian language. This is the English translation posted on the "Pogledi" website.]

Paul Djurisic, grandson of Voyvoda Pavle Djurisic
Paul Djurisic is a grandson of cetnik’s vojvoda Pavle Djurisic. He was born in U.S.A. and today he is famous immigration law­yer. Today he lives in Phoenix, AZ, he is a father of two sons and is an active member of Serbian community. In this conversation I discovered details from his life such as his meeting with Serbian ex president Boris Tadic, dynamiting his grandfather’s monument by police of Milo Djukanovic in Berane, Montenegro in 2003. and some memories of famous vojvoda that were kept inside of his family. [Predrag Rudovic]
– Where and when were you born?
– I was born in Chicago on December 26th 1965. My father came to U.S. in 1961. My mother is American and her family has been tracked back to before the American Revolutionary War, to 1720. so she is considered a daughter of the American Revolution. They met near Philadelphia and moved to Chicago in 1964.
– If war ended up differently you would be a grandson of Serbian national hero. If we would live in mid ages you would be a grandson of a noble. Nobody knows for sure how your grandfather was really killed but most likely he was burned alive. This makes you a grandson of a martyr and Chetnik vojvoda. You grow up among Ame­ricans and have many American friends, what do you tell them when they ask about your origin, who was your grandfather? How do you explain that to them?
– I have explained to my American friends about who my grandfather was. I sometimes compare him as a general Patton of Serbia. Most do not understand but some ask for more information and want to know more. Un­fo­rtunately a lot of Americans are not concerned about such history but those that are want to hear all about it.
– Your last name is very unique (like mine). I am sure your grandfather is first association for many people who hear your last name and they identify you with it. So how did it look like growing up with such important last name?
– Actually, growing up was not unusual except for nobody pronouncing my name correctly. I grew up American. My dad was running away from communists and wanted to shield me and my brother from them so we really did not grow up “Serbian” in that sense. Did not grow up speaking the language. It was not until I was a teenager that I became more aware of who my grandfather was and began researching and asking questions. I do recall threatening phone calls from communists coming at our home through 1982 or so (yes even after Tito died). I also recall the fight between churches and how my father chose one side and my grandfather’s statue in Libertyville was left unkept because of that for years.
Although growing up was not that unusual, after my first visit to Serbia in 1998 I began to fully understand how important he was to many Serbian people. I had someone close his cafe in order to talk to me, I was giving interviews, saw my picture and name in newspapers. Although I am proud to be his grandson, it was a bit embarrassing because I am only the grandson, I did not do the heroic accomplishments and give my life for his king and his country like he did.
There were times growing up whe­re I would meet men who fought with him and cried in front of me thinking of him which of course is very humbling. I also had an opportunity to meet US airmen that were saved by my grandfather after being shot down during WWII and that was an eye opener.
– Your father was a little boy when his father was killed. When your grandfather was withdrawing towards Slovenia with his army and refugees, your grandmother decided not to cross into Croatian territory. It is kind of an epical scene that may be used for some movie filmed in the future. What happened to them later (your grandmother and your father)?
– My uncle Predrag Cemovich was one of the last persons to see him alive before he was captured and killed. He told me how my grandfather refused to have his wife and son accompany them at that time because they knew fighting would still be going on. My grandfather even had a sense of what was going to happen to him and sent Cemovich away (he was 16 at the time and Pavle did not want him to be killed too) so he sent him home to tell Gora and my dad goodbye.
– Your father escaped from Yugoslavia when he grow up enough, first to Italy then to USA. What were his reasons? What did he tell you about his growing up there? How difficult was life for him being a son of a Chetnik vojvoda under communist regime?
– My father was followed by the secret service for most of his life, but especially in his teens. He was constantly harassed and ridiculed. However, that did not keep him from becoming one of the best ping pong players in Belgrade during that time. Although he was never given a passport from yugoslavia and could not travel to western countries, he could accompany the team to Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania for tournaments. In 1960 the team chartered a bus to take them to watch the olympics in Rome. His teammates helped hide him in the luggage compartment of that bus and he was able to finally escape. He waited in Italy for 6 months until Cemovich (who was in the US already) was able to get him enrolled at the University of Buffalo. My dad was 20 when he left.
– It is in Serbian tradition to keep memories of ancestors. Can you please tell me some story about vojvoda that is passed onto you. Some story that is maybe unknown to the public?
– There are two. The first most do not believe but it is true. When my grandfather met my grandmother and was trying to ask her out, a friend of his was on a Vespa – type of motor bike with him at the time. That friend was Milovan Djilas.
The other story which many might know is that during the war he was captured and taken to a German camp in Austria. He escaped. But most do not know how he escaped. He hid in the bottom of a port-o-john for three days until they took it out of the camp to remove the contents. Yes, three days in sewage!
– Have you ever been to Serbia or Montenegro? How many times? What were your impressions? Do you have any family there and how close are you with them?
– First time was in 1998 and then again in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. In 2007 I was asked to be a judge at the Miss Serbia contest at the Sava Center in Belgrade and my picture was in the paper the next morning. That day I was at the U.S. ambassador’s home for the 4th of July celebration and received a tap on the shoulder telling me that the president wanted to speak with me. Boris Tadic and I had a ten minute conversation on the ambassador’s lawn but it was more him questioning me on why I was there and what I was up to. Because my serbian was not good I think he relaxed and realized I was not a political threat to him.
– In 2003 they tried to build a monument to your grandfather in Montenegro but police blew up base and stopped it. Were you there? What really happened then? Your impressions?
– I have family there, but I will not return to Montenegro because of what happened to us in 2003. My father, brother and I were there because they had built a monument for my grandfather in Berane. However, the day we arrived Djukanovic sent in troops and dynamited the statue. We were in papers and followed by press for the whole week. There was still a parastos service at the monastery in Berane that week and more then 2500 people arrived. When I was introduced, people chanted "Pavle, Pavle" and I ended up having to sign about 2000 autographs that day. I had never been asked to sign any autograph in my life. Again, both proud and humbled.
– How do you see Serbian – American relations today? What does Serbia need to do in order to get real support from USA? Is that even possible in your opinion?
– Unfortunately, Serbia is still just a pawn for America. You see, America uses small countries like Serbia as bargaining chips in their geopolitical chess game. I personally think it would be a disaster for Serbia to join European Union and become just another tool for America and Germany. Serbian people need to keep Serbia and its identity intact.
– You are immigration lawyer. You used to live in Illinois, now you live in Arizona. Both states have strong Serbian communities. How active are you in them?
– I am an active member of the Serbian community. I was president of the Serbian Bar Association of America in 2006 – 2007. I am a member and former church board member of St. Sava church here in Phoenix and my sons are altar boys. I still remain quite active.
– I know you helped a lot of Serbs with immigration problems. Do you work with other people from ex Yugoslavia, Croatians, Bosnian Muslims, Albanians…?
– Yes I have. In fact I have helped people from over 30 different countries during my 25 plus year career. To this day I still have clients from Albania and Bosnia, but not so much from Bosnian Muslim or Croatian communities because of the name and all that goes along with it. Mostly those that I have helped from Bosnia and Croatia or even Albania were anti-political and couldn't care less about it.
– Did you ever have any offers for political engagement, from Serbian or American politicians?
– Well certainly Boris Tadic was worried that I had!! Ha ha ha. But I actually despise politics. The need to lie goes against everything that I was brought up to know and respect. I would not be a very good politician because I tend to speak my mind too much.
– Seems that you are following daily politics very closely. Presidential elections are not far and I believe all Serbs are in fear of possibility for victory of Hillary Clinton. What are your prognoses for result?
– As I said I despise politics. But this year’s American elections are important to me for one reason. I think that Clinton is a pathological liar, completely corrupt, and has a hatred for Serbian people, and any Serb that votes for her is not really a Serb.
(Serbian newspaper, No 693, Chicago, August 2016)
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at

Thursday, August 18, 2016

INTERVJU / PAUL DJURISIC - Unuk Cetnickog Vojvode Pavla Djurisica / July 2016

Predrag Rudovic
July 30, 2016

Paul Djurisic je unuk cetnickog vojvode Pavla Djurisica. Rodjen je u Sjedinjenim Americkim Drzavama i poznati je imigracioni advokat. Danas zivi u Phoenixu, u americkoj drzavi Arizona, otac je dvoje dece i aktivan je clan srpske zajednice. U ovom razgovoru otkriva detalje iz svog zivota kao sto su susret sa Borisom Tadicem, rusenje spomenika vojvodi Djurisicu od strane Djukanoviceve policije u Beranama 2003. godine, kao i neka secanja na vojvodu koja su se prenosila u okviru porodice.

Paul Djurisic, unuk cetnickog vojvode Pavla Djurisica

Kada ste rodjeni i gde?

– Rodjen sam u Cikagu, 26. decembra 1965. godine. Moj otac doselio se u Sjedinje Americke Drzave 1961. Moja majka je Amerikanka i njena porodica vodi poreklo iz vremena pre Americke Revolucije cak do 1720. godine tako da se smatra cerkokm americkih revolucionara. Otac i majka upoznali su se u okolini Filadelfije i doselili u Cikago 1964.

Da se rat drugcije zavrsio, dans bi ste bili unuk srpskog narodnog heroja. Da smo zvieli u srednjem veku verovatno bi ste bili plemic. Niko sa siugrnoscu ne zna kako je Vas deda zapravo ubijen, ali najverovatnije je ziv spaljen od strane ustasa u Jasenovcu. Vi ste dakle potomak mucenika i cetnickog vojvode. Odrastli ste medju Amerikancima i imate puno prijatelja Amerikanaca. Sta kazete onima koji se raspituju o Vasem poreklu?

– Da, desavalo se da moram da objasnim ko mi je bio deda. Po nekad ga uporedjujem i kazem im da je on nesto poput srpskog generala Patona. Vecina to ne razume ali neki pitaju za vise informacija i zele da saznaju vise. Nazalost, vecinu Amerikanaca ne zanima ova stranica istorije, ali oni koji se zaineresuje pozele da saznaju sve o tome.

Vase prezime je jedinstveno. Siguran sam da je ono za mnoge ljude asocijacija na Vaseg dedu i da Vas mnogi poistovecuju sa njime. Kako je izgledalo odrastati sa tako znacajnim prezimenom?

– Zapravo, samo odrastanje nije bilo toliko neobicno osim sto niko nije mogao ispravno da izgovori moje prezime. Odrastao sam kao Amerikanac. Moj otac je bezao od komunista i zeleo je da mene i mog brata zastiti od njih tako da nisam vaspitavan “srpski” u tom smislu. Nisam ni ucio srpski. Tek kasnije, kao tinejdzer, postao sam svestan ko mi je bio deda i poceo sam da istrazujem i postavljam pitanja u vezi njega. Secam se pretecih telefonskih poziva od stane komunista nasoj kuci kroz 1982. godinu (da, cak i posto je Tito umro). Takodje se secam i crkvenog raskola i kao je moj otac izabao jednu stranu pa je bista moga dede u manastiru u Libertyvilu zbog toga ostala neodrzavana godinama.

Imao sam dakle prilicno obicno detinjstvo ali sam tek posle prve posete Srbiji 1998. poceo da shvatam koliko je moj deda bio vazan za mnoge Srbe. Jedan valasnik zatvorio je svoju kafanu samo da bi pricao sa mnom. Davao sam intervijue, video moju sliku i ime u novinama. Iako sam bio ponosan na svog dedu, bilo mi je malo neugodno jer ja sam ipak samo njegov unuk. Ja nisam ucinio nikakva herojska dela poput njega niti dao svoj zivot za kralja i otadzbinu kao on.

Desavalo se da, dok sam odrastao, ovde sretnem ljude koji su se borili uz njega, neki su cak i plakali preda mnom secajuci se na te dane. Takodje, imao sam prilike da sretnem i americke pilote koje je moj deda spasavao i to mi je i te kako otvorilo oci.

Vas otac je bio mali kada je njegov otac ubijen. Kada se Vas deda povlacio sa svojom vojskom i izbeglicama prema Sloveniji Vasa baka je resila da ne predje na hrvatsku terotoriju. To je skoro epska scena koja bi mogla biti iskoriscena za neki film u buducnosti. Sta se desilo sa Vasom bakom i ocem posle toga?

– Moj ujak, Predrag Cemovic je jedan od zadnjih ljudi koji su ga videli zivog pre nego sto je bio zarobljen i ubijen. Pricao mi je kako moj deda nije dozvolio baki da ga prati zajendo sa mojim ocem jer je znao da ce se borbe nastaviti. Takodje je pricao da je deda imao predosecaj o tome sta ce mu se desiti i da je poslao ujaka Cemovica nazad. Ujak je imao samo sesnajest godina i Pavle je po njemu poslao poslednji pozdrav baki Gori i mome ocu.

Kada je dovoljno odrastao, Vas otac je pogegao iz Jugoslavije, najpre u Italiju a onda u Sjedinjene Drzave. Iz kojih razloga? Sta Vam je pricao o svom zivotu, koliko je bilo tesko biti sin cetnikog vojvode u komunistickoj Jugoslaviji?

– Moga oca su stalno pratile tajne sluzbe, a narocito kada je postao tinejdzer. Stalno je bio ponizavan i ismevan. Ipak, to ga nije sprecilo da postane jedan od najboljih ping – pong igraca u Beogradu u to vreme. Iako mu nikada nije bio izdat jugoslovenski pasos i nije mogao da putuje u zapadne zemlje, mogao je kao sportista da nastupa u Bugarskoj, Madjarskoj i Rumuniji sa svojim timom na turnirima. 1960. njego tim iznajmio je autobus da bi isli da gledaju Olimpijsko Prvenstvo u Rimu. Njegovi prijatelji sportisti sakrili su ga u prostoru za prtljag i tako je uspeo da konacno pobegne. Cekao je u Italiji sest meseci sve dok ujak Cemovic (koj je vec bio u Americi) nije uspeo da upise na univerzitet u Buffalu. Bilo mu je dvadeset godina kada je pobegao.

Srbi gaje tradiciju cuvanja uspomena na pretke. Postoji li neka prica o vojvodi koju mi mozete reci a da javnost mozda ne zna za nju?

– Postoje dve. U prvu mnogi ne veruju ali je istinita. Kada je moj deda upoznao baku prvi put i pozeleo da je pita za izlazak njegov prijatelj je bio sa njim na “Vespa” motoru tom prilikom. Taj prijatelj bio je zapravo Milovan Djilas.

Druga prica, mnogi znaju za ovo, tokom rata bio je nemacki zarobljenik i poslat je u logor u Austiji. Pobegao je. Ali mnogi ne znaju kako. Tri dana se krio na dnu mobilnog poljskog nuznika sve dok ga nisu izneli iz logora ne bi li ga izpraznili. Tri dana je proveo medju fekalijama.

Koliko cesto dolazite u Srbiju i Crnu Goru? Imate li familiju ovde i koji su vasi utisci?

– Dolazim cesto. Imam porodicu i u Srbiji i u Crnoj Gori. Prvi put sam bio 1998 a onda 2002 , 2003, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. 2007. pitali su me da budem sudija na izboru za Mis Srbije u Sava Centru u Beogradu i moja slika ujutru je osvanula u novinama. Tog dana bio sam na prijemu u kuci americkog ambasadora povodom proslave 4. jula i neko me je potapsao po ramenu i rekao mi da predsednik zeli da razgovara sa mnom. Boris Tadic i ja smo caskali desetak minuta na travnjaku americkog ambasadora ali on me je vise ispitivao o tome zasto sam ja zapravo tu i sta nameravam. Posto moj srpski nije bio najbolji, mislim da mu je laknulo kada je shvatio da mu nisam nikakva politicka pretnja.

2003. prilikom pokusaja podizanja spomenika vojvodi Pavlu Djurisicu u Beranama crnogorska policija je dinamitom raznela postolje. Da li ste bili tada tamo i sta se zapravo dogodilo?

– Da, posle tog dogadjaja resio sam da vise ne odlazim u Crnu Goru. Ja, otac i brat bili smo tamo jer je bilo u planu postavljanje spomenika. Ali tog dana Djukanoviceva policija minirala je spomenik. Cele nedelje nas je pratila stampa i pisala o tome. Ipak, te nedelje je odrzan parastos u manastiru u blizini Berana i dve ipo hiljade ljudi je vikalo Pavle, Pavle! Ja sam tada potpisao oko dve hiljade autograma a pre toga nisam potpisao ni jedan autogram u zivotu. Ponovo radost i ponizenje u isti mah.

Kako danas vidite odnos izmedju Srbije i Amerike? Sta po vama Srbija treba da uradi da bi dobila iskrenu americku podrsku i da li je to uopste moguce?

– Na zalost, Srbija je jos uvek neka vrsta Americkog “zaloga”. Vidite, Amerika koristi male zemlje poput Srbije kao neku vrstu “zetona” u svojoj geopolitickoj sahovskoj igri. Licno mislim da bi bilo katastrofalno za srbiju da se prikljuci Evropskoj Uniji i postane orudje u rukama Amerike i Nemacke. Srpski narod mora da ocuva Srbiju i srpski identitet netaknutim.

Vi ste imigracioni advokat. Ziveli ste u Ilinoisu, danas zivite u Arizoni. Obe drzave imaju jake srpske zajednice. Koliko ste aktivni unutar njih?

– Veoma sam aktivan. Bio sam predsednik Srpske advokatske komore u Americi 2006. -2007. Clan sam crkve Svetog Save u Phoenixu a bio sam i clan crkvenog odbora. Moji sinovi stecuju na bogoslluzenjima.

Kao advokat, zastupali ste mnoge Srbe u imigracionim pitanjima. Jeste li imali prilike da zastupate pripadnike drugih nacija iz bivse Jugoslavije, Hrvate, Bosanske Muslimane, Albance...?

– Za dvadeset pet godina rada zastupao sam ljude iz preko trideset zemalja sirom sveta. Ali sa prostora bivse Jugoslavije ne puno, zbog svog porekla i svega sto uz to ide. Bilo je malobrojnih Hrvata, Muslimana, Albanaca, ali to su uglavnom bili totalno apoliticni ljudi, ljudi koje politika ni najmanje ne zanima.

Da li ste ikada dobijali ponude za politicko angazovanje, Bilo u Srbiji, bilo ovde u Americi?

– Pa, Boris Tadic je svakako bio zabrinut misleci da imam nekih ponuda!! Ha, ha, ha. Salim se, ja zapravo prezirem politiku. U politici se javlja potreba za laganjem, a ona rusi sve ono u sta verujem i postujem. Ne bih bio dobar politicar, suvise cesto govorim ono sto zapravo i mislim.

Ipak, cini mi se da pratite dnevnu politiku veoma aktivno. Predsednicki izbori u Americi se blize i Srbi strahuju od mogucnosti da pobedi Hillary Clinton. Koje su Vase prognoze?

– Kao sto rekoh, prezirem politiku. Ali ovogodisnji izbori vazni su mi iz jednog razloga. Mislim da je Klintonova patoloski lazov, da je previse korumpirana i da mrzi srpski narod. Svaki Srbin koji se resi da glasa za nju za mene i nije Srbin.

Praunuci – sinovi Pavla Djurisica ispred dedinog spomenika u manastiru
Sv. Save u Libertyvillu


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Gen. Mihailovich Tribute in the U.S. Congressional Record by Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley / HELEN DELICH BENTLEY, [daughter of Serbian immigrants] - journalist-turned-politician who promoted Baltimore port, dies at 92 / "The Washington Post" August 6, 2016

Aleksandra's Note: I had the opportunity to meet Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley in Chicago in the early 1990's. I was struck by her energy and the strength and integrity she exuded. I was very proud that she was of Serbian heritage and serving America in the United States House of Representatives. She would serve in that capacity during a very difficult time for the Serbian people in the homeland and those of us in the Diaspora who watched the disasters of the 1990's unfold in the former Yugoslavia. It could not have been easy for Congresswoman Bentley, because she was surrounded by politicians and policy makers in Washington, D. C. who were hell bent on making the Serbs in the homeland suffer.

I love the fact that she was a supporter of General Draza Mihailovich and paid tribute to him publicly - a tribute that is permanently etched in the U.S. Congressional Record that I have included following The Washington Post obituary below.

Congresswoman Bentley was a true inspiration - a journalist and politician of integrity and courage, and she was ahead of her time. She fought the good fight and walked the walk.

Rest in Peace.


Aleksandra Rebic


The Washington Post
Emily Langer
August 6, 2016

Rep. Helen Delich Bentley in 1988. She vacated her House seat in 1994 to seek the Republican nomination for Maryland governor. (Jason Lee/AP)

Helen Delich Bentley, a Maryland journalist-turned-politician who elbowed her way as a woman into newsrooms, shipyards and the U.S. House of Representatives, distinguishing herself as one of her state’s foremost boosters of Baltimore’s port, died Aug. 6 in Timonium, Md. She was 92.

The cause was brain cancer, family spokesman Key Kidder told the Associated Press.

Mrs. Bentley, a Republican, was once described in The Washington Post as “an unreconstructed American original — raised in the desert, schooled on the waterfront, propelled to Capitol Hill.” She represented a largely blue-collar swath of the Baltimore suburbs in the House from 1985 to 1995.

A daughter of Serbian immigrants, she had grown up in a Nevada copper-mining town. She trained as a journalist when few women covered hard news and was hired in 1945 by the Baltimore Sun.

She vowed that she would write for any section but the society pages and found an assignment covering the port, a cornerstone of the state’s economy, where she said the newspaper sorely needed greater coverage.

As the Sun’s maritime reporter and editor, she discarded skirts in favor of work pants and cussed in her memorably raspy voice as wantonly as the sailors she covered. Baltimore legend had it that when a longshoreman insulted her appearance, she punched him in the jaw. Mrs. Bentley became widely respected for her extensive sourcing, which reached from the ranks of dockhands to the higher echelons of Maryland’s political establishment. Outside her beat reporting, she did publicity work for port agencies and the shipping industry, an arrangement that would be considered improper in modern newsrooms but one that she said did not represent a conflict of interest.

“She was one of the best reporters I ever saw,” Russell Baker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and onetime rewrite man at the Sun, once told The Post. “She was dogged. She knew everybody.”

He added that while her connections were among her strengths, writing was not. “It was always terrible to have to rewrite Helen,” he remarked, “because she didn’t take it well.”

During her quarter-century career with the Sun, Mrs. Bentley wrote a syndicated column, “Around the Waterfront,” and produced an educational television program, “The Port that Built the City and State,” which aired from 1950 to 1965.

In 1968, President Richard M. Nixon offered her a seat on the Federal Maritime Commission. In an oral history with Pennsylvania State University, Mrs. Bentley recalled her ire when she learned that a man “who had never been on a ship, who knew nothing from a bow and a stern,” was to be offered the chairmanship as a political favor.

She told a Nixon representative that she would take “the chairmanship or nothing” and that if the administration preferred otherwise, they could “shove it.”

Nixon relented, and Mrs. Bentley left the Sun to serve as the commission’s chairman, becoming one of the highest-ranking women in the executive branch at that time. “I suppose I’ll have to stop swearing now that I am going to be a madam,” she remarked.

She held the post from 1969 to 1975, using her clout to bolster federal support for U.S. shipyards and attracting controversy over allegations that she had also used her position to solicit political donations from the shipping industry.

She soon began eyeing the House seat held since 1962 by Clarence “Doc” Long, a Democrat who for environmental reasons opposed deepening Baltimore’s port — a move that Mrs. Bentley supported. She lost to Long in 1980 and again in 1982 before winning in 1984, a narrow victory attributed in part to President Ronald Reagan’s landslide reelection that year.

In Congress, Mrs. Bentley defied easy categorization. She was mainly conservative but was staunchly pro-union. She supported women’s causes, including the Equal Rights Amendment, but opposed abortion rights. In the 1990s, when Serbia was widely seen as the belligerent in the Balkan wars and the perpetrator of ethnic cleansing, she defended her parents’ homeland, saying that there was “blame to go around.”

She was known most of all as a trade protectionist — her station wagon’s license plate read “BUY USA” — and as a promoter of Maryland’s shipping interests. She won seats on influential House committees including Appropriations and obtained funds to deepen the Baltimore port. She successfully mediated a labor dispute there in the winter of 1989-90.

The nerviness that she had shown as a journalist often surfaced on Capitol Hill.

“It’s like this, Mrs. Bentley,” an admiral told her in a discussion of foreign-made equipment for Navy vessels, “they make these parts cheaper in Korea.”

The Sun recalled her retort: “Well, Admiral, they make admirals cheaper in Korea, too, and maybe we should buy some!”

In 1987, to highlight what she regarded as the country’s ill-advised trade practices with Japan, Mrs. Bentley took a sledgehammer to a Japanese-made radio outside the Capitol, declaring that “this is what we feel about Toshiba products.” Later, House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) told her, “Helen, you’re the most famous American in Japan since Admiral Perry.”

Mrs. Bentley vacated her seat in 1994 to seek the Republican nomination for Maryland governor. She lost to Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the minority leader in the House of Delegates, who in turn lost to Democrat Parris N. Glendening. Mrs. Bentley remained active in maritime issues as a consultant, and in 2006, then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) renamed the port of Baltimore in her honor.

Helen Delich was born in Ruth, Nev., on Nov. 28, 1923. She traced her interest in maritime issues to her mother, who had come to the United States on a steamship.

Mrs. Bentley was 8 when her father died of silicosis, an occupational disease contracted by miners. She worked in a dress shop while her mother took in boarders.

Scholarships allowed her to pursue university studies, which she interrupted to work on the 1942 Senate campaign of then-Rep. James G. Scrugham (D-Nev.). He appointed her his Senate secretary, giving the future congresswoman her first experience on Capitol Hill.

In 1944, she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She worked briefly for a wire service before being hired by the Sun.

Eight years after leaving Congress, Mrs. Bentley tried to reclaim her old seat in 2002, when Ehrlich, her successor, left the House to run for governor. She lost to Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D).

Mrs. Bentley co-authored the book “The Great Port of Baltimore: Its First 300 Years” (2006). With her husband, William Bentley, she ran an antiques business in Cockeysville, Md. He died in 2003 after 44 years of marriage. She had no children, and a list of survivors could not immediately be determined.

Reflecting on her career, Mrs. Bentley once told The Post that she did it “all on my own.”

“Women have to be willing to work and produce,” she said, “and not just expect favors because they are women.”

She received no favors on her last reporting assignment for the Sun, when she scored a spot aboard the SS Manhattan in 1969 as it became the first commercial ship to traverse the Northwest Passage.

Transmitting over the radio a dispatch to the newsroom in Baltimore, she used what she described as “a common Anglo-Saxon expletive” to convey her “impatience with a rewrite man.” The frequency, which was monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, was no longer made available to reporters on the ship.

“The male correspondents onboard were furious, blaming me for shutting down communications,” Mrs. Bentley wrote years later in a recollection published in the Sun. “I realized later that sponsor Humble Oil was trying to one-up the only female correspondent onboard, and management later admitted that it had seized the chance to eliminate press traffic from the ship.”


Congressional Record -- House
Thursday, March 29, 1990
101st Congress 2nd Session
136 Cong Rec H 1341
Reference: Vol. 136 No. 36
[By Helen Delich Bentley]

[*H1341] The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Bentley] is recognized for 60 minutes.
MRS. BENTLEY. Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Congressman Philip Crane, suggested that we use this special order today to discuss a very heroic and courageous man, Gen. Draza Mihailovich.
Today's special order is a very timely one, Madam Speaker. Today marks the 42d anniversary of General Mihailovich being posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit Award by President Harry Truman.
And 2 days ago, on the 27th of March, we commemorated what would have been General Mihailovich's 97th birthday.
Unfortunately, however, most of our Nation's citizens do not even know who this brave freedom fighter for democracy was.
Perhaps more telling than anything else about General Mihailovich is the fact that he was the bitter enemy of both the Nazi occupiers of Yugoslavia during World War II and the dictatorial Communist government of Broz Tito who ruled Yugoslavia after the war.
It was Tito's government that was eventually responsible for the mock trial in a kangaroo court that culminated in the execution of General Mihailovich.
What better day is there than this one to remember why President Truman posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit Award to General Mihailovich?
While World War II was raging in central Europe, over 500 American airmen were shot down behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia.
These men were rescued, protected, and returned to safety by the freedom-fighting Chetnik forces under the command of Draza Mihailovich, whose forces fought first against the Nazi occupiers and then against the Communist forces that held sway over Yugoslavia.
I would like to quote from a letter sent to me recently from Maj. Richard L. Felman, U.S. Air Force, retired. Major Felman was one of these American airmen whose life was saved by General Mihailovich.
Major Felman includes in his letter a public thank you to General Mihailovich, saying, "Thank you, General Mihailovich, for saving the lives of over 500 of our boys while they were serving in the defense of our country. No one else has ever done that and we as a people and a nation are mighty grateful!"
Mr. Speaker, Major Felman is indeed correct in stating that no one has done so courageous a deed for American soldiers behind enemy lines as Gen. Draza Mihailovich.
When President Truman awarded General Mihailovich the Legion of Merit Award on March 29, 1948, the brave general was already dead.
Mr. Speaker, we have only recently been able to officially confirm this high honor bestowed upon the general. This information became available after the records in the National Archives were opened to the public 40 years after the end of World War II. Here is a copy of the award on the front cover of a Serbian publication "Pogledi."
General Dragoljub Mihailovich distinguished himself in an outstanding manner as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Army Forces and later as Minister of War by organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy which occupied Yugoslavia, from December 1941 to December 1944. Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control. General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies, and flighting under extreme hardships, contributed materially to the Allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied Victory.
Harry S. Truman
March 29, 1948.
General Mihailovich was tried and executed by Communist authorities on the grounds that he collaborated with the Nazis during the war.
The American airmen who were under the general's protection knew that this was a patent lie, and had the evidence to disprove it.
Not only did the Yugoslav Communist government refuse the American airmen permission to come testify, but they also disallowed any use of their written testimony altogether.
Over 600 pages of sworn testimony by American airmen were presented by our State Department to the general's legal counsel, and thrown out at his trial.
Mr. Speaker, a great injustice has been done against the name of Draza Mihailovich. But time has proved what our boys, shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, knew all along.
General Mihailovich was both a Yugoslav patriot and freedom fighter, not the traitor that the Communists executed him as.
[*H1342] I urge all Members of Congress to join me in commemorating the life of Gen. Draza Mihailovich on this very special anniversary.

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at