Thursday, September 29, 2016

Honoring our Chetnik forefathers by continuing the legacy and traditions as we celebrate the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in the Diaspora! By Aleksandra Rebic September 2016

Gen. Mihailovich Monument from the back with English inscription
at St. Sava SOC, Milwaukee. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.

Gen. Mihailovich monument with wreath and Chetnik Family Reunion banner
at St. Sava SOC in Milwaukee, for the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion.
Photo by Alekandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
"With faith in God and for my King and Country,
I fought and took my oath, fighting in defense of truth and justice. For my Serbian people I will sacrifice my life. I have fulfilled my oath."
 
 
General Draza Mihailovich
Leader of the Third Serbian Uprising
WWII
 
Inscription on the General Mihailovich monument at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 
Such a perfect inscription for a monument dedicated to General Draza Mihailovich. This powerful and prophetic statement by the General reflects who the man was better than anything any of us could say about him in tribute. It does the heart good to know that 70 years after his execution by the Yugoslav Communists in Belgrade, Serbs and others continue to hold him alive in their hearts and minds and pay honor to him publicly whenever the opportunity arises.
 
The Serbian Diaspora has been fantastic in maintaining the legacy of General Mihailovich and the Chetniks loyal to him. Many of the veterans, the ones who were there and walked the walk during WWII and the decades that followed, are no longer with us, but they are not gone. No one truly dies until they are forgotten.
 
I miss so many of the old timers. I loved their presence at Serbian functions and events. They were, and are, men and women we could look up to and respect. They were and are people worthy of admiration. They taught us well, mostly by example of the integrity of their character, the pureness of their purpose, and the nobility of their cause. I am one of the very fortunate ones whose Chetnik father, Rade, is still with us, and I know just how blessed I have been and continue to be. I also know that when the day comes when his mortal being is no longer with us, he will remain alive in my heart and my memories, and the memories of others who have been fortunate enough to have crossed his path.
 
As time goes on, it is heartening to know that we descendants really do care and recognize how important it is for us to get together and share our heritage, our traditions, our stories, and our mutual understanding and knowledge of a shared history and legacy. These are the ties that bind us.
 
In 2014, a wonderful tradition of getting together under the banner of “Chetnik Family Reunions” was begun in Chicagoland, at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Libertyville, IL. Last year, 2015, the Second Annual Chetnik Family Reunion was held in Cleveland, Ohio, and this year, 2016, the Third Annual Chetnik Family Reunion was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Next year, we are looking forward to getting together in Merrillville, Indiana.
 
That’s the way to do it. Our fathers and grandfathers were getting together throughout the Diaspora and keeping the traditions and the cause alive for decades after the war, though it was not on the battlefields of the terrain of Yugoslavia, but the battlefields that we, their descendants, live on today – everywhere. The torch has been passed. There is still much to do, and much of that work is comprised of correcting the institutionalized false history that has poisoned minds susceptible to propaganda and lies. We who know the truth must continue the good fight. We owe that to our Chetnik forefathers and mothers that sacrificed so much for us, and for their homeland.
 
Getting together and engaging in lively conversation, reminiscing, reconnecting, making new friends and acquaintances, enjoying good food and drink and dancing and patriotic music, with moments of laughter and sometimes tears, is life-affirming, and I’m confident that the Chetnik Family Reunion tradition will continue long into the future.
 
As we reunite down here on earth, I can’t help but hope that our forefathers are reunited in Heaven and are enjoying the same life-affirming activities that we are. They deserve it. They earned it.
 
Živeli!
 
 
Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic
Chicago
September 2016
 
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in the light of sunset, Milwaukee, WI.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
Back of Gen. Mihailovich Monument at St. Sava SOC in Milwaukee erected by the Milwaukee chapter of the "Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravne Gore" with inscription. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
General Mihailovich Monument with bench and wreath
at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Milwaukee, WI.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
Gen. Mihailovich monument and fountain area at St. Sava SOC,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
Aleksandra Rebic with the Gen. Mihailovich monument at St. Sava SOC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sept. 24, 2016. Photo: Rebic collection.
 
Milan Kecman, Milka Gvozdenovic, and Alexandra Mandic in Milwaukee, WI for the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
Dusan Ivancevich and his two daughters at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion
in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic. (1)

Dusan Ivancevich and his two daughters at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion
in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic. (2)
Perica Sovilj, Nick Mandich, Sr., and Nick Mandich, Jr. at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion, Milwaukee, WI. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
 Good conversation wtih Father Dennis Pavicevich of Chicago, Father Radomir of Milwaukee, and a young guest at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion
in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Milan Kecman of Cleveland, OH singing the classic Serbian ballad "Tamo Daleko" with Danny Danilovic on keyboards at the Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Jovan Ivancevich of Chicago having fun with the Mandic family from Cleveland at the Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee WI Sept. 24, 2016.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora Chicago black leather vest!
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic, Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016.
 
 Danny Danilovic on keyboards and Bojan Jasnic playing the iconic Serbian Kolos (dances) featuring the accordian at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
KOLO dancing at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016 (1). Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
KOLO dancing at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016 (2). Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 KOLO dancing at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016 (3). Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Father Dennis Pavichevich and wife Jovanka of Chicago at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Jovanka Popovich Pavichevich and Aleksandra Rebic at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo: Rebic collection.
 
 Good conversation between Serb patriots at the Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
Miodrag Rajkovic and Mira Grubnic enjoying the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family
Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
Younger and Older mingling at the Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI
Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Serious conversations amid fun times at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Perica Sovilj, WWII veteran and President of the Organization of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora, gives one of his inspiring speeches that provides a history lesson for
us all, during the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Proud Chetnik WWII veteran Perica Sovilj at the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family
Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Father Radomir and guest at the Chetnik Family Reunion in Milwaukee, WI Sept. 24, 2016. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic.
 
 Chetnik Family Reunion banner on display at St. Sava SOC in Milwaukee, WI
for the 3rd Annual Chetnik Family Reunion, along with flags and cross.
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
 The beautiful St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Milwaukee, Wisconsin illuminated on a September night. Photo by Aleksandra Rebic Sept. 24, 2016.
 
 
 
*****
 
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
*****

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Beseda o Vojvodi Jevdjevicu nakon parastosa Vojvodama Jevdjevicu i Djujicu u hramu Svetog Save u Londonu / George Stojsavljevic / Septembar 2016

George Stojsavljevic / London / Septembar 2016

Draga braco i sestre, casni oce!

Meni je veoma velika cast i zadovoljstvo da nakon parastosa odrzan slavnim srpskim cetnickim vojvodama Dobroslavu Jevjdevicu i Momcilu Djujicu ( slava im), da reknem nekoliko reci o zivotnom djelu vojvode Dobroslava Jevdjevica koji je zajedno sa vojvodom Djujicem izveo na slobodu nase divne predahe, srpske cetnike i borce za slobodu neumrlog Djenerala Draze Mihailovica, vozda treceg srpskog ustanka.

Vojvoda Dobroslav Jevdjevic je rodjen 1895 godine u svestenickoj kuci u Bosanskom Milosevcu ispod istorijske gore Romanije gde su srpski hajduci borili i cuvali srpske tekovine i uvjek bivali pobednici nad srpskim neprijateljima.

Vec u mladim godinama, Vojvoda Jevdjevic se povezuje sa elitom srpskih nacionalista, osobito sa Mitrom Mitrinovicem i Vladom Gacinovicem u organizaciji ‘Mlada Bosna’. Kao clan te organazicije, ucestavao je u neuspelom atentatu 1908 na austrijskim djeneralom Pocorekom. Bio je iskljucen iz Sarajevske i svih drugi gimnazija Bosne i Hercegovine, pa je morao da predje u Beograd I nastavi skolovanje. U Beogradu se nasao, srodio I stanovao sa najvecim srpskim rodoljubom 20 veka, neumrlim Gavrilom Principom. Nakon atentata u Sarajevu 1914 godine, mladi Dobroslav je uhapsen, zajedno sa ostalima i osudjen kao maloletnik na dozivotnu robiju u Aradskoj tamnici. Oslobodjen po zavrsetku prvog svetskog rada pobedom Srpskog oruzja.

Izmedju dva rata proslog vjeka, bio je publicista I politicar. Tokom drugog svetskog rata, najpre je obavljao politicke duznosti u zapadnim srpskim krajevima. Godine 1942 dobio je zvanje cetnickog vojvode a 1944, postaje komandant JVuO za gorjnu Liku I Hrvatsko primorje, odnosno dva korpusa koja su postojala u tim krajevima – Licko-Kordunaskog I Promorskog korpusa. U svojoj memoarskoj knijzi Ratne Godine 1941-1945, porucnik Nedjo Plecas opisuje vojvodu Jevdjevica sledecim recima:

"On je svatio bolje nego iko drugi, da je posle ratne tragedije aprila 1941, bio najvazni posao da se spasu srpski zivoti. Tome cilju on bio sav posvetio. On je sve gledao srpskim ocima. Nije se zanosio ni saveznicima ni okupatorima ni prijateljima ni neprijateljima, vec je vagao na nacionalnom kantaru I motrio ko ce u kom momentu vise koristiti nasem narodnom interesu. U tom radu, on se ponekad ogresio o interese saveznika, cesto se gresio o interese okupatora, ali se nikada nije ogresio o interese srpskog naroda’’.

U emigraciji, vojvoda Jevdjevic je bio pocasni dozivotni predsednik organizacije srpskih cetnika Ravna Gora. Objavio je knjigu cetnickih novela ‘Kapi Krvi’ (1950) kao i knjige ‘Sarajevski Zaverenici’ (1953-1954) i ‘Od Indije do Srbije – Tri Hiljade Godina Srpske Istorje’ (1961). Osnovao je i uredjivao ‘Srpske Novine’. Umro u Rimu, 2 oktobra 1962 godine.


George Stojsavljevic
London
Septembar 2016


*****

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

*****

Thursday, September 15, 2016

CROATIA'S ELECTION IS A WARNING ABOUT THE RETURN OF NATIONALISM TO THE BALKANS / "The Guardian" September 12, 2016

The Guardian
Opinion
Paul Mason
September 12, 2016

With xenophobia and regional tensions on the rise, the EU has to get tough with the new Croatian government – all cultural nods and winks towards second world war fascism must go.

Andrej Plenkovic, president of HDZ, waves to his supporters in Zagreb, Croatia on 8 September 2016. Photograph: Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Amid the alleys and ancient churches of Šibenik, Croatia, the late-summer tourists look quizzical as a tough old man harangues a meeting in the public square. “In 1945, people worked for free to build factories, roads, new houses. We wanted to build a better country then,” he says. “Find me five people prepared to do that now.” The speaker is the city’s “last partisan” – a veteran of the anti-Nazi resistance movement. But such idealistic sentiments are not popular in the Croatia of today.

In January, the country’s conservative coalition government appointed as culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, a man described by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre as a “fascist”. He had lionised the country’s pro-Nazi Ustase movement as a student in the 90s and labelled Croatia’s anti-fascist history and culture “an empty phrase” with no constitutional relevance. (Hasanbegovic has since emphasised that his current party is anti-fascist.)

On Sunday [Sept. 11, 2016], Croats went to the polls in a snap election, returning the ruling nationalist party HDZ as the biggest party, but changing nothing. Just 53% of all Croats voted: the likely outcome is a coalition of the same old “centrist” parties – nationalists and social democrats. On the face of it, the country faces the same old problems. Unemployment at 16%, rising to 40% among the young; debt at 90% of GDP; the coast dependent on tourism, the interior sending migrant workers to Germany and Austria by the coachload.

What’s new is the return of nationalism. By 2013, Croatia’s conservative nationalist politicians had made enough liberal noises to convince Brussels they could meet the basic criteria for EU membership. Since then, they’ve been sucked into the surge of nationalist rivalry that’s gripped the Balkans. Just across the mountains lies Republika Srpska – the Serb enclave created in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Dayton Agreement in 1995, after a bitter civil war. Republika Srpska’s leaders are threatening to hold a referendum on independence, which would blow up the deal that has brought peace to the region for 20 years.

In response, Croatia’s politicians have upped the rhetoric, with the leader of its centre-left party secretly recorded threatening to “act to protect Croats” if the referendum goes ahead, labelling Bosnia a “failed state” and calling the government of Serbia “miserable people”.

If this were just a recrudescence of the Balkan ethnic conflict of the 1990s, it would be bad enough. But it comes on top of years of economic failure, amid growing geopolitical tension, and rising xenophobia in the face of the refugee crisis.

Russian money has poured not just into Serbia but into Republika Srpska, too, together with increased diplomatic influence. Meanwhile, Croatia has joined the EU. As a result, the Balkans today have become a more clearly diplomatic and systemic frontline than they were in 1995, when the wars ended. The assumption that globalisation, economic growth and time would heal the region is looking more uncertain than at any point since the peace deal.

If the Serbs of Bosnia were to go for their independence referendum, and Putin were to back them, the Kremlin would have a new pawn in the same game it is playing with the west in Syria, Ukraine and the Baltic States.

Amid this, the intellectual life of the Balkans has retreated to a set of parallel compartments. There is the globalist left, applauding the partisan veterans in the squares, but insignificant in mainstream politics. There is the far right, whose main achievement in Croatia this year was to erect a statue to a convicted ethnic terrorist from the 1970s.

Many people in their 40s and 50s live a post-traumatic lifestyle: getting on with business, family or early retirement, rarely speaking about what they did, or suffered, but gripped by an innate concern that the conflict might come back.

Meanwhile, young people across the region try to live in a cannabis-softened, networked dreamworld – where electronic dance music or Pokémon Go replace the national and political identities formed 20 years ago.

If Europe wants to make the Balkans work, it needs to understand the limits of its current approach. It has lowered accession standards for countries in east and southeast Europe, in order to bring them into its enlargement project.

Albania got candidate status in 2014. Bosnia submitted its application in February this year. Macedonia, which gained brownie points in Brussels for erecting a fence on the Greek border last year, is so mired in ethnic violence and rampant corruption that EU membership is impossible. Yet there are loud voices calling for its admission.

The region’s politicians, be they corrupt, chauvinist or simply incompetent, know that by ticking a few boxes on an EU checklist they can advance the process of accession with only paper reforms. The fact that many of the region’s progressives, above all the young, yearn for EU membership is one more incentive for Brussels to look the other way.

If the EU is to live up to the hope and trust placed in it by young people in the Balkans, it needs to start by being firm with the incoming Croatian government. All cultural nods and winks towards the fascist regime in the second world war must go. Ultimately, the EU must be prepared – as it has threatened with Poland and Hungary but not done – to trigger the Article 7 processes that can see member countries warned over inadequate rule of law, and ultimately be suspended from membership, or see their voting rights curtailed.

The EU’s leaders lost no time after Brexit in reigniting the common defence and security policy process – what the Daily Mail calls the “European Army”. They are right to do so – for if the Balkans goes wrong again, Croatia as an EU member would have the right to call for support under the mutual defence clause of the Lisbon treaty, and all EU members would have the obligation to support it. But in the short term, what is vital is for western European democracies to engage with the Balkans and promote democratic culture and institutions. It was, ultimately, US diplomacy that imposed the peace of 1995. Today it is squarely the EU’s task to maintain it.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/12/croatias-election-warning-nationalism-balkans-eu-government-second-world-war-fascism


*****

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

*****

Serbia to Highlight Croatia Concentration Camp [JASENOVAC] at UN [to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2017] / "Balkan Insight" Aug. 11, 2016

Balkan Insight
Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Belgrade
August 11, 2016
 
Serbia plans to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day next year [2017] by organising an exhibition at the United Nations about the Jasenovac concentration camp run by Croatia’s WWII Nazi-allied regime.
 
 Monument at the Jasenovac memorial site.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Bern Bartsch.


The Serbian foreign ministry, which is intending to stage the planned ‘Hidden Holocaust’ exhibition at the UN in New York in 2017, told BIRN that it wants to draw attention to the rehabilitation of xenophobic and racist ideologies while commemorating the anniversary of the opening of the WWII Jasenovac camp.

“This project is intended to mobilise the global public to contribute to the preservation of the universal values such as peace, freedom and the protection of human rights,” the ministry’s Department for Migratory Politics, Diaspora and Social Agreements said in a written statement to BIRN.

The move is likely to anger Zagreb, but the Serbian foreign ministry insisted that it was not an anti-Croatian initiative.

“The exhibition about Jasenovac is not a ‘Serbs against Croats’ exhibition,” the ministry said.

But in what appeared to be a swipe at Croatian right-wingers who have downplayed the number of victims of Jasenovac, it argued that it was necessary to remind people about the atrocities of WWII.

“The Allies were victorious in WWII but attempts to revise history are a wake-up call. One exhibition will certainly not change the world and eradicate dark ideologies, but it could certainly raise awareness about the problem,” it said.

The ministry said that visitors to the exhibition will be able to hear recorded testimonies of survivors and the personal possessions of some of the prisoners, as well as publications and posters from the NDH era.

It is also planned that film director Emir Kusturica will contribute to the project, while artists Ljubisa Mancic and Katarina Tripkovic are already making sculptures inspired by the victims’ experiences at Jasenovac.

“They will try to show the pain and suffering of the victims, if it is even possible since the horror at Jasenovac is hardly imaginable,” the ministry said.

After taking power in April 1941, the Nazi-allied wartime Independent State of Croatia, NDH passed laws similar to Nazi legislation, targeting Serbs, Jews and Roma.

On territory controlled by the NDH, encompassing today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, parts of Serbia and most of Croatia, the fascist Ustasa organisation opened dozen of concentration camps, the biggest of them at Jasenovac.

Serbs, Jews, Roma and Croats who opposed the regime were killed.

The death toll remains disputed; Croatia argues that around 83,000 people died at Jasenovac, but Serbia and the Yad Vashem remembrance centre from Jerusalem claim that 600,000 people perished.

Recently there have been attempts by Croatian nationalists to suggest the death toll was even lower. In April this year, Croatian director Jakov Sedlar made a film called ‘Jasenovac - The Truth’ which claimed there were 20,000 to 40,000 victims.

Controversial Croatian culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic attended the premiere of the film and praised it for raising “taboo topics”, sparking a rebuke from the Israeli ambassador to Zagreb.

During the nineties wars in the former Yugoslavia however, there was a tendency in Serbia to inflate the alleged number of the victims at Jasenovac.

According to the foreign ministry, representatives of the Serbian diaspora are working together with Jewish organisations on securing the exhibition space at UN headquarters.

Partners in the project include Yad Vashem, the Andric Institute headed by Kusturica, the University of Belgrade, the Jasenovac Research Institute and a Serb diaspora NGO called 28. Jun, the ministry said.


http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbia-to-highlight-croatia-concentration-camp-at-un-08-10-2016


*****

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

*****
 

CROATIA'S TROUBLED HISTORY / By Efraim Zuroff / "The Jerusalem Post" April 13, 2016

The Jerusalem Post
By Efraim Zuroff
April 13, 2016

Unless the government starts actively and unequivocally fighting against Ustasha nostalgia, and rising neo-fascism and anti-Semitism, it looks like the situation in Croatia will only get worse.

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)

Most people assume history is exclusively about the past, but in many countries it is also about the present and future. These days, one such country is Croatia, whose troubled history continues to plague its present and threaten its democratic future.

Last week, I wrote about the fascist and anti-Semitic chants yelled by Croatian football (soccer) fans at the recent friendly match against Israel, but recent developments clearly indicate that such incidents are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Earlier this week [April], Croatian army veterans (of the war of the Nineties against Yugoslavia) of the Ninth Division gathered to celebrate their unit’s 25th anniversary, but also to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) which was governed by the fascist Ustasha movement and pursued genocidal policies against Serbs, Jews and Roma. The veterans’ call to legalize the Ustasha salute of “za dom spremni” (the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis’ “sieg heil”) is an attempt to legitimize the murderous policies of the NDH and whitewash that regime’s crimes.

Another typical initiative, but one which is much more dangerous, is a new documentary movie entitled Jasenovac-Istina (Jasenovac- The Truth), which had its world premiere this past February 28 in Israel, of all places, most probably to help deflect potential criticism of its highly controversial content. Jasenovac, which was established in August 1941, was the largest of the concentration camps created by the Ustasha regime of the NDH in order to rid their country of its minority populations, as well as their Croatian political opponents. The camp, which was run exclusively by the Ustasha, was notorious for the cruelty of the guards and the tortures they invented to increase the suffering of their victims. To this day, the number of those murdered in Jasenovac is a subject of fierce debate between Croats and Serbs, but it is reasonable to assume that at least 80,000 to 100,000 innocent people were murdered or died there of the terrible conditions, which earned the camp its nickname of “the Auschwitz of the Balkans.”

As the concentration camp with the largest number of victims in the former Yugoslavia, Jasenovac became a symbol of Ustasha crimes and cruelty, which explains why it has currently become a target of the neo-fascist Croatian revisionists, as evidenced by this new film by Jakov Sedlar. According to reliable sources in Croatia, the film claims that Jasenovac was actually only a labor/concentration camp, not one at which there was any attempt to commit genocide of any sort, and that the number of Ustasha victims there was less than the number of innocent people murdered by the Yugoslav partisans after the war on the same site. In other words, it was the Communists who set up a “death camp” in Jasenovac, not the Ustasha, a totally unsubstantiated claim without any hard evidence to back it up.

In fact, some of the material presented to support this assertion has already been exposed as a forgery by a local website. As far as the categorization as a death camp, the fact that there was no industrialized murder in Jasenovac during World War II explains why that term indeed does not apply, but the enormous number of Ustasha victims undoubtedly justifies its reputation as one of the worst camps in Europe. In addition, the film accuses former Croatian presidents Mesic and Josipovic, both known for their opposition to fascism and Ustasha nostalgia, as well as several left-wing journalists, of keeping alive the Communist myth of Jasenovac, and covering up the full truth about postwar Communist crimes. Needless to say, recently- appointed Croatian Minister of Culture Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who is well known for his support for right-wing causes, was quick to praise the film.

Given these circumstances, the Serb and Jewish communities, along with the Croatian anti-fascist organizations, have decided to boycott the official government memorial ceremony annually held at Jasenovac on April 22. Instead, the Jewish community announced that it would hold its own memorial ceremony a week earlier on April 15, as a form of protest against the government’s failure to act against the revival of fascism and anti-Semitism in the public sphere.

The only good news in that respect these days was a declaration by both the Croatian president and prime minister (separately) that the Ustasha government was a “criminal regime,” but these pronouncements were apparently only made at the request of the US State Department’s envoy on Holocaust issues, who met with them earlier this week in Zagreb.

In other words, unless the government starts actively and unequivocally fighting against Ustasha nostalgia, and rising neo-fascism and anti-Semitism, it looks like the situation in Croatia will only get worse.


The author is director of the Israel office and Eastern European Affairs of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and coordinator of SWC Nazi war crimes research worldwide.



http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Croatias-troubled-history-451178


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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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