Tuesday, August 06, 2019

[Serbian Krajina] / "THE CLINTON DOCTRINE" by Charles Krauthammer / "CNN" March 29, 1999


Charles Krauthammer


CNN
Charles Krauthammer
March 29, 1999

THE CLINTON DOCTRINE

"I want us to live in a world where we get along with each other, with all of our differences, and where we don't have to worry about seeing scenes every night for the next 40 years of ethnic cleansing in some part of the world."

President Clinton, March 23, 1999
[The day before the 78-day NATO bombing campaign against the Serbs began. AR]

So there you have it, finally, a concise summation of the Clinton foreign policy of the '90s: the Clinton Doctrine. From the President's "nation building" escalation in Somalia to the invasion of Haiti, to the diplomatic capital spent on the Irish and Middle East peace processes, to the occupation of Bosnia and now fatefully to the bombing of Serbia in defense of Kosovo, we have the core of how the Clinton Administration sees the world and what the U.S. should be doing in it.

The Clinton Doctrine is an expression, in policy and in bombs, of a post-cold war approach to the world perhaps best enunciated by Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1994, Gelb wrote that America's "main strategic challenge" in the world was no longer dealing with Russia or China or Germany or trade or loose nukes. It was managing the "teacup wars" of the world, "wars of national debilitation, a steady run of uncivil civil wars sundering fragile but functioning nation-states."

Clinton's actions and Clinton's words are the very embodiment of this idea. To justify bombing Serbia over Kosovo, he reiterates in every possible variation the imperative for the U.S. to oppose "ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of innocent people."

The problem with this doctrine, for all the ringing moral satisfaction it gives, is that it is impossibly moralistic and universal. It cannot be the policy of the U.S. Even as the Clinton people say it, they cannot believe it. Why? Because they remember Krajina.

In August 1995, Croatia launched a savage attack on Krajina, a region of Croatia that Serbs had inhabited for 500 years. Within four days, the Croatians drove out 150,000 Serbs*, the largest ethnic cleansing of the entire Balkan wars. Investigators with the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague have concluded that this campaign was carried out with brutality, wanton murder and indiscriminate shelling of civilians. The tribunal is bringing war-crime indictments against high Croatian officials.

Krajina is Kosovo writ large. And yet, at the time, the U.S. did not stop or even protest the Croatian action. The Clinton Administration tacitly encouraged it. Croatia was being advised by a shadowy group of retired American officers who had been sent to Croatia to help it fight against the Serbs.

No denunciation. No sanctions. No bombing. No indignant speeches about ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of innocents. In fact, in justifying the current bombing of Serbia, Clinton made an indirect reference to this Croatian campaign when he credited the "courageous people in Bosnia and in Croatia" who "fought back" against the Serbs and "helped to end the war." Indeed, they did. Croatia's savage ethnic cleansing so demoralized the Serbs that they soon agreed to sign the Dayton peace accord of 1995.

Proving simply that highfalutin moral principles are impossible guides to foreign policy. At worst, they reflect hypocrisy; at best, extreme naivete. After all, if America stands against "ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of innocent people"--the essence of the Clinton Doctrine and the reason American, allied and Serb lives are now being risked over Kosovo--why the utter indifference and silence to the teacup civil wars, far more deadly, brutal and enduring, raging in Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan, Sri Lanka?

The Clinton Doctrine aspires to morality and universality. But foreign policy must be calculating and particular. Clinton proclaims he is going into battle for the principle that ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of innocents can never be tolerated by a civilized world. Yet on his watch, half a million innocents were massacred in Rwanda in the only true genocide since the Holocaust, and he lifted not a finger to stop it.

The State Department's inspector general has just charged a high-ranking American diplomat with lying to Congress concerning what he knew about the murder of a prominent opponent of the regime we installed in Haiti. Death-squad killings by the former rulers were a principal justification for the U.S. invasion. Are we not opposed to death squads in general?

But as Haiti turns dictatorial and as the killing of regime opponents continues unsolved and uncurbed, the Clinton Administration remains unmoved. Indeed, it seems quite inclined to cover up the current horrors. Why? Because an American-installed regime is doing the dirty work. As Franklin Roosevelt said of another dictator in the Caribbean, "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

The essence of foreign policy is deciding which son of a bitch to support and which to oppose--in 1941, Hitler or Stalin; in 1972, Brezhnev or Mao; in 1979, Somoza or Ortega. One has to choose. A blanket anti-son of a bitch policy, like a blanket anti-ethnic cleansing policy, is soothing, satisfying and empty. It is not a policy at all but righteous self-delusion.


*Aleksandra's note: The total estimates of Serbs driven out of Croatia during Croatia's "Operation Storm" in August of 1995 rose to over 250,000.





*****

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

*****

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Remembering the Fall of Krajina - "Operation Storm" / "Oluja" when the Croatians committed the great War Crime of Ethnic Cleansing against the Serbs that has never been punished. / By Aleksandra Rebic / August 4, 2019.

Serbian refugees leaving Krajina in August of 1995
during Croatia's "Operation Storm" / "Oluja".
Author of photo unknown at this time.


Remembering the Fall of Krajina - "Operation Storm" / "Oluja", when the Croatians committed the great War Crime of Ethnic Cleansing against the Serbs that has never been punished.

The "War Years" of the 1990's for those of us who cared about what was happening in the former Yugoslavia were years that remain permanently etched in our hearts and in our consciousness. Many events over the course of those years made a significant impact, but for some of us the "Fall of Krajina" remains perhaps the most heartbreaking.

Like every morning during those years, I woke up on August 4, 1995 to news about what was happening in "the homeland" - what to some was the former Yugoslavia, what to others was "the Balkans", and what to still others was the center of the universe at that time. After more than four years of maintaining a strong Serbian stronghold in a historically significant area of Croatia, the "military frontier" where Serbs had been the majority for several centuries, and which the Croatian nazis had coveted more than anything else in their quest for "independence" from Yugoslavia, on that fateful day in August of 1995 the Croatians, with the support of the United States, finally succeeded in overwhelming the Serb patriots and the civilians. "Operation Storm" for the Croatians was an event that they would honor and celebrate enthusiastically every year thereafter. "Operation Storm" for anyone with any understanding or appreciation of the true nature of "war crimes" remains a horrific War Crime that has, to this day, gone unpunished.

There has been no real justice for the more than quarter of a million Serbs that were ethnically cleansed from the Krajina during that first week of August in 1995. Those brave Serbian people had refused to comply with Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia in 1991, knowing that it would be a death sentence for them if they did separate from Yugoslavia. They held on to the "Serb Republic of Krajina" for four years, a beacon of glorious, noble resistance, especially to those of us in the diaspora whose parents and grandparents, like my own, had been born and raised in Croatia and who were among the most dedicated Serbian Orthodox patriots anywhere to be found on this earth.

I remember that August day 24 years ago so vividly - not so much the day itself, but how it made me feel. I was in an apartment in Chicago, thousands of miles away, but the news hit me in the gut as though I was watching events unfold outside my window instead of on the television screen. So many of us took the devastating news very personally. For us, the "Serb Republic of Krajina" was the "homeland", regardless of where we had been born.

For the 10th anniversary of "Operation Storm" in 2005, historian Nebojsa Malic wrote an excellent essay describing the significance of "Krajina" and the nature of the war crime that befell this historic location in the Balkans. I highly recommend reading it:

http://original.antiwar.com/malic/2005/08/04/remembering-the-storm/


To all those whose lives were lost, to all those who survived but lost their ancestral homes, to all those who became true refugees who did not have the benefit of the world's compassion and political activists fighting on their behalf, please know that you have not been forgotten, and that Krajina will remain Serbian forever in our hearts.


Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic
August 4, 2019


*****

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

*****


Thursday, June 20, 2019

VIDEO [Pадијo Емисија] / ПОМАЖЕ БОГ НАРОДЕ МОЈ - О УСТАШКИМ ЗЛОЧИНИМА У СТАРОМ БРОДУ КОД ВИШЕГРАДА / ПРЕДРАГ ОСТОЈИЋ



VIDEO [Pадијo Емисија]:

"ПОМАЖЕ БОГ НАРОДЕ МОЈ - О УСТАШКИМ ЗЛОЧИНИМА У СТАРОМ БРОДУ КОД ВИШЕГРАДА ПРЕДРАГ ОСТОЈИЋ"

Posted on YouTube by: "PomazeBog NarodeMoj"
Published on Jun 13, 2019

"Емисија “Помаже Бог народе мој” на Бум Бум радију од 9 и 20 до 10 часова.Емисија која се бави православном културом и духовношћу,историјом и традицијом Србског народа. Аутор и уредник емисије Светлана Богдановић.


"Гост : 10.06.2019. Предраг В. Остојић, историчар, аутор књиге.


"Тема : „Усташки злочин у Старом Броду код Вишеграда 1942 – у свјетлу њемачких докумената“- аутора Предрага В. Остојића.


"Водитељ емисије: Светлана Богдановић.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_-poRhveTg 


*****

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

*****

УСТАШКИ ЗЛОЧИН У СТАРОМ БРОДУ КОД ВИШЕГРАДА 1942 – У СВИЈЕТЛУ ЊЕМАЧКИХ ДОКУМЕНАТА / Историчар Предраг Остојић

www.savremenaistorija.com
Немања Девић   
May 29, 2019

УСТАШКИ ЗЛОЧИН У СТАРОМ БРОДУ КОД ВИШЕГРАДА 1942 – У СВИЈЕТЛУ ЊЕМАЧКИХ ДОКУМЕНАТА

Историјска студија “Усташки злочин у Старом Броду код Вишеграда 1942 – У свјетлу њемачких докумената” историчара Предрага Остојића још један је у низу доказа да о неким догађајима из наше прошлости о којима се уз часне изузетке, не само да није писало и није говорило већ да о њима није било “пожељно ни писати ни говорити”.



Књигу је објавила издавачка кућа “Свет књиге” из Београда и како је најављено из ове издавачке куће имаће своје промотивно представљање уочи Видовдана у Вишеграду у поводу отварања и освештавања музеја жртвама усташког злочина на Дрини.


Преносимо текст историчара Немање Девића, који је уз др Бојана Димитријевића један од рецензената ове књиге која је још један од прилога развејавању магле о догађајима из наше не тако далеке прошлости.

О Старом Броду и страдалничком српском Подрињу

Већ јануар 1942. био је испуњен борбама и страдањима устаника, у фебруару је пропао покушај мајора Дангића о изузимању источне Босне из надлежности и система НДХ и њено евентуално прикључење ”Недићевој” Србији, март је обележио дефинитивни раскол у редовима устаника и њихове међусобне борбе. Наређење Јосипа Броза 2. пролетерској бригади да ликвидира четничке снаге на правцу својих дејстава и њени успеси у том смислу јесу допринели да комунисти елиминишу конкуренте у сукобу око превласти у источној Босни, али су и уздрмали свеукупну одбрану пред одлучујуће сукобе са окупаторским и усташким снагама. Када су Немци у априлу заробили и лидера националног покрета отпора, мајора Дангића, одбрана је била обезглављена – и то пред сам почетак операција ”чишћења” Подриња од устаника. Усташка ”Црна легија” (1. стајаћи дјелатни сдруг усташке војнице), која је у операцији ”Трио” представљала ударну песницу у борби против српских побуњеника, иза себе је посејала пустош и смрт. После низа злочина над цивилима у области Романије и Рогатице, ова јединица је уз подршку муслиманских снага у више наврата од марта до маја 1942. пресецала српске збегове надомак Дрине и масакрирала цивиле који су се кретали у њој. Најмасовнији, и у народном сећању најупечатљивији, били су злочини у Милошевићима и Старом Броду.




Период 1941–1945. у историји српског народа препун је белина и мрља – недоречености, контроверзи, митова. Ти сложени догађаји и процеси посебно су били драматични на територији Независне државе Хрватске, где је грађански рат, поред идеолошке, попримио националну и верску димензију. Подизање на оружје и устанак 1941. за Србе у Босни и Херцеговини било је и животно питање, како би се одбранили од усташког терора и спречили истребљење којем су били изложени. Сви су се сврстали у један фронт против окупатора, чија је власт већ у летњим месецима те године била озбиљно уздрмана. Посебан успех српски родољуби забележили су у Подрињу, где је низом акција, поготово оних које су предводили официри на челу с мајором Јездимиром Дангићем, настала и пространа слободна територија ослоњена на ослобођене пределе у Србији. Међутим, долазак зиме и појачања непријатељу с једне стране, али и расцеп међу устаницима с друге, допринели су већ у пролеће 1942. губитку свега што је прошле године тешко стечено. Уз губљење ослобођених крајева умножавале су се и жртве, које су сада падале и у српско-српском судару. Година 1942. за српски народ Подриња и сарајевско-романијског подручја протекла је у знаку покоља, паљевине и збегова, сличних онима које су њихови преци преживљавали у 19. веку.

Из државе помирења која је успостављена 1945. изгнани су сви зли дуси прошлости, који би на било који начин пореметили унутрашњу политику и владајуће односе. Тако је и покољ у Старом Броду, једнако као и херцеговачке јаме или покољи широм НДХ, био потиснут и безмало предат забораву. Тек почетком 1990-их, после скоро пола века, ”провалиле” су у народу приче и забрањена сећања, које су испрва стварале готово митолошку слику страдања. Кроз причу о Старом Броду сазнало се о спаљенима у кућама крај Вишеграда, о покланима на Дрини – где су чак и немачки војници били принуђени да местимично отварају ватру на хрватске снаге не би ли их одлучили од злочина, о масовном скакању девојака у Дрину, које су одабрале смрт у подвигу не би ли одбраниле своју част, што – када узмемо у обзир и заједничко скакање девојака у Мораву 1815. – представља јединствену идентитетску слику.


Историчару Предрагу Остојићу припада заслуга што је на једном месту сабрао сва избледела сећања и варљиве успомене и покушао да издвоји историјско у њима, а затим да на бази бројних извора реконструише читав мозаик догађаја у источној Босни у пролеће 1942. године. Он све описане догађаје поставља у њихов историјски контекст, упоређује са документима и релевантном грађом, анализира узроке и последице подринског покоља. Посебно је значајно што је тежиште свог истраживања, из којег је потом и извлачио закључке, аутор ставио на немачку грађу, где окупатор делује као хладнокрвни, иронични, али и поуздани посматрач у крвавом сукобу међу народима (или народом) који на овим просторима дели судбину вековима. Неки од цитираних докумената се по први пут дају на увид јавности. Такође, значајан је и Остојићев покушај да, критички вреднујући документе, дође до броја жртава у покољу који је своју завршницу и врхунац имао у реону села Милошевићи и Стари Брод. Не полазећи од цифара које у статистици делују високо, а људски живот вреднују ниско, Предраг Остојић је показао посебан пијетет према стварним српским жртвама. Полазећи од анализе пописа жртава из 1964. (који, уистину, једва да је обухватио више од половине процењених људских губитака) он долази до 4.765 имена ”која би се могла довести у везу” са злочинима на Дрини. Иако су потребна додатна истраживања на ову тему, Остојићева анализа и поименични списак дају нам за то солидну основу и први конкретан покушај да се, у овом случају, из хладних бројева издвоје идентитети жртава и њихове трагичне судбине.

Уз то, Предраг Остојић утврђује прецизну хронологију догађаја, која нам је неопходна за разумевање читавог историјског контекста у којим су се они одиграли. Такође, даје нам низ упечатљивих фотографија, својеврсних докумената, које саме за себе, свака појединачно, говоре о патњама последњег српског збега и сеобе из источне Босне. Зато, заокружена слика злочина у Старом Броду не представља тек једну локалну тему или пак студију случаја – којом се ова прича исцрпљује и затвара, већ треба да буде пример и подстицај за истраживање свеукупног страдалништва српског Подриња у 20. веку.


Уочи Васкрса 2019,

Немања Девић

http://savremenaistorija.com/?p=3314


*****

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


*****

Thursday, June 06, 2019

"Thank you Serbian Chetniks and Serbian villagers from the bottom of our hearts. We are forever indebted to you."

Aleksandra's Note: The following photograph and tribute were posted by Teresa Guidry, daughter of Halyard Mission veteran Staff Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles, Jr. of the U.S.A.F. Curtis Diles was one of the "Forgotten 500" who was rescued by General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks in the later days of 1944. As a result of his being rescued and returning home safely to live out the rest of his beautiful life before passing on September 10, 2014, 70 years later, 27 people walk this earth today, all because of the rescue of just this one man. The beautiful children and grandchildren of Curtis Diles are a living testament to the legacy of General Mihailovich and his Chetniks, and they have never forgotten their debt of gratitude.

This wonderful family continues to set such a fine example of the fruits of the Greatest Generation.

A personal note to Curtis Diles - They truly do not make them like you anymore, but people such as your children and grandchildren give us hope.

Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic
June 6, 2019

*****

"Yesterday was a beautiful day to visit Dad’s grave and to honor and remember his service and the sacrifice of all who valiantly fought for our freedom.

"Thank you Serbian Chetniks and Serbian villagers from the bottom of our hearts. We are forever indebted to you."

Teresa Guidry
Daughter of Staff Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles, Jr.
On Facebook
May 26, 2019


Gravesite of Staff Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles (U.S.A.F.) in Ohio.
Photo by Teresa Guidry, daughter of Staff Sgt. Diles, May 25, 2019

*****

The following photograph of the inscription engraved on the back of the Staff Sgt. Diles gravesite in Ohio was taken in July of 2017 by his daughter Teresa Guidry. The inscription reads:

CURTIS DILES, Jr.
S. SGT US ARMY AIR FORCES
WORLD WAR II PURPLE HEART
JUL 15 1925 + SEP 10 2014
ONE OF THE FORGOTTEN 500
RESCUED BY SERBIAN CHETNIKS





*****

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

*****

Saturday, April 27, 2019

General Draza Mihailovich film wins GRAND PRIX ZLATNA BUKLIJA AWARD for "Best Screenplay"! / Генерал Дража Михаиловић филм добио је ГРАНД ПРИX ЗЛАТНА БУКЛИЈА НАГРАДУ ЗА НАЈБОЉИ СЦЕНАРИО!


From:
"Canadian Organization of Serbian Chetniks"
on Facebook
April 2019



"General Draza Mihailovic film wins GRAND PRIX ZLATNA BUKLIJA AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY!

"The documentary "General Draza Mihailovich" produced by "Pogledi" from Kragujevac and co-produced by the Organization of Serbian Chetniks "Ravna Gora", received the main prize for the best screenplay at the International Festival of the Documentary Film "Zlatna Buklija" in Velika Plana. The filmmaker is Miloslav Samardzic.

"Over 300 films from Serbia and surrounding countries were registered at the festival this year.

"The president of the jury is Nikola Lorencin, known to our public, among other things, as a director of the documentary TV series "Ravnogorska čitanka".

"Congratulations Miloslav, we are very proud of you, and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this project."

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"Генерал Дража Михаиловић филм добио је ГРАНД ПРИX ЗЛАТНА БУКЛИЈА НАГРАДУ ЗА НАЈБОЉИ СЦЕНАРИО!

"Документарни филм “Генерал Дража Михаиловић“ у продукцији Погледа из Крагујевца и копродукцији Организације српских четника “Равна Гора“, добио је главну награду за сценарио, на међународном фестивалу документарног филма “Златна буклија“ у Великој Плани. Сценариста филма је Милослав Самарџић.

"На фестивал је ове године било пријављено преко 300 филмова из Србије и околних земаља.

"Председник жирија је Никола Лоренцин, познат нашој јавности поред осталог и по режији документарне ТВ серије “Равногорска читанка“.

"Честитамо Милославу, веома смо поносни на њега и хвала му на прилици да учествујемо у овом пројекту."






"Canadian Organization of Serbian Chetniks"
on Facebook
April 2019


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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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Friday, April 19, 2019

Chetnik Dusan (Dusko) Djuric - Traženje informacija

Dusan (Dusko) Djuric kad je imao 16 godina (1944-45)

"Postovanje Aleksandra, obratila sam se ljudima iz ujedinjeni ravnogorski pokret i rekli su mi da se obratim vama ako mozete da mi pomognete. Moj deda Dusan Djuric je bio u cetnicima, i 1945 godine su otisli iz srbije. Znam iz price da su otisli za Bosnu i tu se gubi svaki trag. Posle duzeg vremena se čulo da je u Čikagu i da ima sina po imenu Branko. Pricalo se da je BRANKO 9 marta 1991 bio u beogradu ali nista konacno nije moglo da se sazna. Ja vas molim ako je moguce da nesto saznam jer to mi je velika zelja.

"Dusan je rodjen 1928 godine. Selo se zove Uzvece u Macvi, Dusanovo rodno mesto i moje.

"Na slici je moj deda Dusan Djuric kad je imao 16 godina. Moje devijacko prezime je Djuric.


"Deda je se zvao Dusan al svi su ga zvali Dusko. Vecina ljudi ga je tako znalo.


"Ja vas molim ako postoji bilo kakva informacija da mi javite. To mi je zelja najveca.


"Hvala vam puno."


Dragana Vukobratovic
April 2019

Kontakt:

vukobratovicdragana81@gmail.com



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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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Croatia’s Church Must Fight Ustasha Nostalgia Sincerely / "Balkan Insight" [BIRN] Feb. 14, 2019

Balkan Insight
[Balkan Transitional Justice]
[BIRN]
Sven Milekic
Dublin
Feb. 14, 2019

Croatia’s Church Must Fight Ustasha Nostalgia Sincerely

Instead of just commemorating the Holocaust with public gestures, the Croatian Catholic Church should show its commitment to truth by stopping churches from hosting events at which the WWII fascist Ustasha movement’s crimes are downplayed.


The monument at the former Jasenovac concentration camp during an official Croatian government commemoration in 2016. Photo: EPA/ANTONIO BAT.

Scene 1: A 50-metre-high banner bearing the words “Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day” in both Croatian and Hebrew hangs from the tower of Zagreb’s Catholic Cathedral, a well-known city landmark.

At a grand state ceremony on January 24, Zagreb Archbishop Josip Bozanic unveiled the banner to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day when on January 27, 1945 the Soviet Red Army reached the Auschwitz death camp. The Catholic Church paid for the banner to be made itself.

Paying respects to the Jewish victims of World War II, Bozanic read a psalm in Hebrew and said that everyone must remember “the great suffering of the Croatian Jewish community”, noting how the Jewish population of Zagreb plummeted from 11,000 to 2,000 people.

While mentioning the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust across Europe, he emphasised that we “must give special attention” to the fact that part of it took place in Croatia. Besides the Nazi camps, he said we must “highlight the truth about the horrors of Jasenovac” – the biggest WWII concentration camp in Croatia, where Jews were killed.

The event was labelled ‘unprecedented’ by media and some members of the Croatian Jewish community, and was praised by politicians and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a prominent Jewish human rights organisation.

Scene 2: A middle-aged man going by the name of Roman Leljak presents a book and film named ‘The Myth of Jasenovac’ at the Saint Ante Padovan Church in the Croatian coastal town of Sibenik.

At the promotional event on February 9, Leljak explained how he wants to tell “the final truth” about the camp, which he argued was not ruthless as it has been described.

He also insisted that the wartime Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia, the NDH, which ran the camp, “gave the Jews a chance to survive”.

During his presentation, a priest exclaimed emotionally: “You are a divine providence! Where do you find inspiration for such courage for all you do?”

Fake ‘facts’ and double standards

Roman Leljak presenting his book and film in a church in Sibenik. Photo courtesy of Marko Podrug.
If you had fallen from the Moon and witnessed both events, you would have got a strange impression of what happened during the Holocaust in Croatia, and what the Croatian Catholic Church thought about it today.
You might think that the Croatian Catholic Church was bravely deconstructing myths, searching for the truth and empathising with Jewish suffering as it mourned the six million Jews killed in Nazi camps far away.
You might also think that Nazi Germany established a concentration camp in Jasenovac, but be reassured that the NDH “gave the Jews the chance to survive”.
This would make a nice bedtime story if it wasn’t an outright lie. Jasenovac was not founded by Nazi Germany, but by the domestic fascist Ustasa movement, which modelled its puppet state upon Germany, persecuting Serbs, Jews and Roma on ethnic and religious grounds.
In reality, NDH didn’t give Jews a chance to survive – that is why over 30,000 of around 40,000 Jews who were living in its territory were killed. At Jasenovac, the Ustasha murdered 13,116 Jews, along with 47,627 Serbs, 16,173 Roma and 6,229 victims from other nationalities, whose names we know. [*]
In the world of historical research, these are the facts and not what Leljak – a self-proclaimed researcher, a former convict and local politician – claims they are.
Although the Croatian Church has commemorated the victims of the Holocaust for the first time, receiving a lot of praise for doing so, it was done, almost as always, dishonestly.
Claiming you respect Jewish suffering during the Holocaust on January 24, only so you can promote a book on February 9 that claims that this same NDH “gave them a chance to survive”, is nothing less than hypocrisy.
It was even a greater hypocrisy when another church, this time in Zagreb, allowed the holding of a publicity event for a book called ‘The Jasenovac Lie Revealed’ on January 17. At the event, the authors, Josip Pecaric and priest Stjepan Razum – who claims there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz – said that Croats were the biggest victims of Jasenovac and that the official figure of 83,145 [*] deaths is a lie.
The list of similar promotions and panels trampling on historically established facts about Jasenovac that have been held under Church auspices goes on and on, dating back years.
Therefore, Archbishop Bozanic’s ‘unprecedented’ gesture was nothing less than a publicity stunt, a PR move in which the Holocaust remembrance banner occupied almost the same space on Zagreb Cathedral’s tower that was given over to an advertisement for a Croatian insurance company a few years ago.

Church provides office for revisionists

The Church providing free advertising space for Holocaust remembrance won’t change the fact that it also provides a rent-free office to an obscure NGO called Project Velebit, another platform for far-right history revisionists. The office is only a few dozen metres away from the cathedral.

Archbishop Bozanic’s speech also omitted any mention of the Ustasha and NDH, which helped cause “the great suffering of the Croatian Jewish community” and ran the deadliest camp outside direct German control.

While some may be impressed by the six million killed Jews that the Croatian cleric mentioned, this is actually a typical case of Holocaust universalisation.

As the highest representative of the Croatian Church, Bozanic should have mention the number killed by the Ustasa at Jasenovac, or said how many perished on NDH-controlled territory, and not hidden behind the enormous figure of 6,000,000.

This is already a known tactic of nationalists from the Baltic to the Balkans – only speaking about the overall six million, as if the Holocaust happened somewhere else, and was implemented exclusively by Nazi Germany.

Furthermore, if Bozanic really wanted to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day properly, he should have mentioned the Serbs and Roma killed by the Ustasa as well.

After all, when the UN General Assembly declared January 27 as a remembrance day, it asserted that the Holocaust included the murder of “countless members of other minorities” – in Croatia’s case, Serbs and Roma.

Acknowledging Jewish suffering in WWII is nothing new for Croatia’s right (or Europe’s). However, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic fell to her knees at the Yad Vashem remembrance centre in Jerusalem, she has avoided attending the annual commemoration at Jasenovac.

Hiding behind the six million figure and stressing how Ustasha were pressured by the Germans to persecute Jews won’t help the Church exonerate itself.

Avoiding admitting the large-scale murders of Serbs – and therefore playing into Serb nationalists’ hands as they try to portray Croats as genocidal – won’t help the Croatian Church in its campaign for canonisation of WWII Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. Despite the Jews that Stepinac saved.

By insisting on mentioning only the crimes committed by Serbs against Croats, the Church is not doing anything to change the nationalist narrative in Croatia either.

Avoiding even mentioning that among the victims were the Roma – who are often neglected by everyone, left and right – the Church also participates in another historical injustice against people who have been consigned to the margins of society.

And by failing to appropriately commemorate the victims of the Ustasha regime, at the annual Jasenovac commemoration and elsewhere, the Church meanwhile simply strengthens accusations that it is a bastion of Croatian historical revisionism and Ustasha nostalgia.

And no 50-metre banner will hide that.


Sven Milekic is a PhD candidate at Maynooth University, funded by the Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.


[*] Valid estimates of the number of victims killed in Jasenovac by the Croatian Ustasha are far higher than the "83,000" mentioned here! It is estimated that between 700,000 and one million Serbian Orthodox, Jewish, and Gypsy victims were murdered by the Croatian Nazis (Ustashe) during World War Two and the existence of the NDH, the first "Independent State of Croatia".

Aleksandra Rebic

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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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