Monday, June 18, 2012

Serbs saved U.S. airmen in World War II / "The Washington Times - Letter to the Editor" June 15, 2012 / Stella L. Jatras

The Washington Times
Letters to the Editor
June 15, 2012
Stella L. Jatras

Did Serbia vote for war?” (Commentary, May 24) contains some anti-Serb sentiments. Writer Jeffrey T. Kuhner belittles the character of World War II hero Gen. Draza Mihailovich.

More than 500 American airmen survived the war because of the sacrifices and heroism of Mihailovich, his national forces and the Serbian people. If those American airmen who were shot down over Yugoslavia had been captured by the Ustashi (Croatian Nazis), they would have been turned over to the Germans or executed. Instead, they were protected by Mihailovich’s forces and rescued.

Those biased against Serbs have even tried to paint Serbs as being anti-Semitic. However, one of the rescued airmen was Maj. Richard L. Felman, a Jewish-American who, through binoculars, watched the burning of a village in which 200 Serbian women and children were killed because they would not disclose to the Germans where the Chetniks were hiding the Americans. Of the Serbs, Felman wrote: “If there was one egg, it went to the American airmen while the Serbs went hungry. If there were one bed or one blanket, it went to us while the Serbs slept on the bare ground. No risk or sacrifice was too great to insure our safety and well-being.” These hardly sound like the same people Mr. Kuhner describes.

Rather than accept his portrayal of Serbs and Mihailovich, I accept the judgment of the late Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman who, respectively, recommended and conferred on Mihailovich the Legion of Merit, the highest award our government confers on nonnationals.

Camp Hill, Pa.


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