Monday, September 25, 2006

Charges of Partisan Collaboration with the Germans during World War Two in Yugoslavia

Lt. Colonel Robert H. McDowell was head of the United States Ranger Mission Intelligence unit sent in to the Yugoslav Nationalist Forces [the forces under General Mihailovich and other Nationalist commanders], between August 26 and November 1, 1944. The following is an excerpt from the McDowell Report that was written in November of 1944 and given to William J. Donovan, director of the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S) in the United States.


Among intellectuals and officers contacted a principal charge brought against Yugoslav Communists [the Partisans] was to the effect that they were traitors in a double sense – they had served both Russia and Germany. Specifically there were two charges: (a) attempts to induce soldiers and civilians not to resist the Germans on the grounds that it was not a ‘people’s war’ (until Germany attacked Russia in June, 1941) (b) cooperation with the Gestapo and denunciation of Nationalist resistance leaders.

Details on the first charge have been given to the undersigned by at least six individuals covering incidents in Belgrade, the Banat, Ljubljana, Mostar, and Berane. The informants appeared to be respectable and reliable characters and each claimed to have been an eyewitness. In the Belgrade incident the informant was a girl, a student at the University who took part in street demonstrations in favor of Yugoslavia’s entrance into the war. She alleged that Belgrade communists organized a counter demonstration denouncing the war during which she was severely beaten by communists; leaving scars which are still visible. The other informants included a Socialist engineer from Ljubljana, a chemist from Berane, and a Moslem doctor from Mostar. General accusations of a similar sort were made by numerous contacts, and it is clear that the charge is sincerely believed by Serb Nationalists. In view of the facts that Communists in America and Britain pursued the same line and that the Yugoslav Communists have produced no evidence that Tito, then Secretary-general of the Party, took any part in resistance to the Germans until after the attack on Russia, considerable credence must be given to this charge.

The charge that Yugoslav Communists have assisted the German Gestapo in tracking down undercover agents of General Mihailovich in Belgrade is widely made in Nationalist circles. Leaders of the Nationalist underground movement in Belgrade told one member of the mission that they could furnish the names of Communists now serving the Gestapo in this respect. Several individuals who had been held in the German concentration camp for Nationalists at Belgrade related to the undersigned numerous stories supporting the charge. Finally, the German representative with whom the undersigned held conversations, as a part of his denunciation of the Gestapo and the SS officers, stated that these German elements in Yugoslavia and throughout southeastern Europe maintained relations of this sort with the local Communists whom the Germans were supposed to be eradicating. In view of past known instances of collaboration between Nazis and Communists this statement justifies further investigation. On the basis of the evidence available the undersigned does not consider the charge substantiated, but for the purposes of this study it remains significant that the Nationalists sincerely believe the Yugoslav Communists to be double traitors who have sent patriotic Yugoslavs to death at the hands of Germans.

Lt. Colonel Robert H. McDowell
Military Intelligence
November 23, 1944


No comments:

Post a Comment