Why are we Croatians so afraid of the Bleiburg truth ?
As the 61. anniversary of the Bleiburg massacres is here. It is hard not to wonder why so many Croats seem to be going out of their way to ignore and even cover up the Bleiburg tragedy. By minimizing the actual number of victims of the biggest massacre in the Croatian, if not even the whole Balkan history. Is it perhaps the sense of shameful fact that we had done this to our selves. That the Communist Croats under the also Croat leader Josip Broz Tito have been behind the majority of the systematic murders of all the non-Communists in 1945. So it is in the interests of many to ease the gilt of such a gigantic scale of systematic slaughter of over half a million Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Slovenians, Cossacks, FolksDeutchers and all other ethnicities which attempted to surrender to the British after WW II at the Austrian border on May 14,1945. Just to ask the western powers for protection from the Communist, which were killing anybody who was not one of them, or sharing their ideologies. After all, the British did very much promote the so called western Capitalism and Democracy by that time. Therefore by all means a very anti-Communist view. It most likely was that fine like civilized British chivalry and so called British gentlemen's honor, from which this gullible Croatian trust, illusion and hope of western democracy, compassion and humane treatment of refugees came from in the first place
Though the question remains. Why is it that other Communist crimes such as the political camp island Goli Otok, or thousands imprisoned after Croatian Spring movement of 1971.are put in front the major biggest crime of them all.
Of course, not to ignore the thousands of prisoners of Goli Otok, or those unfortunate imprisoned in 1971. Though it just seems that the less gruesome crimes are used for the purpose of distraction from the far more bigger and punishable crime against humanity and even genocide. Such as the Bleiburg tragedy it self.
Is it perhaps the half of million murdered? Of which 300,000 alone were brutally slaughtered on the Way of the Cross death marches, during the month of May,1945. alone. Just in the woods and caves around Maribor in Slovenia only. After the years long investigations and according to excavations of skeleton remains between 1990-1999. The number of murdered right after the surrender between May 15 - 22. goes up to 180,000 and according to the mostly home guard (Domobrani) uniform remains. The majority were Croat home guardsmen and civilians. Yet, not one single Ustasa black shirt, or Cetnik uniform was found among them, as it is always stated and preached by the Partizans.
Not to mention additional hundreds of thousands murdered on the forced death marches through north Croatia and Serbia all the way to Romania and Macedonia. The Bleiburg Way of the Cross was never "The punishment death march for the war criminal Nazis, Ustasas and Cetniks" as propagandized by the Communists to justify it.
There is a reason why so many real Ustasas and Cetniks were alive and well in Australia, Argentina and so many just in Chicago, IL. alone. Besides, those more acquainted with the Military History. Especially with the U.S. History from the 50's regarding the Korean War. Will perhaps know, what were the Ustasa Black Legion under Rafael Boban doing in North Korea ten years later. Fighting for the Americans against the Communists. A big controversy for Tito in Yugoslavia later in the 60's when some of the U.S. POWs from North Korea were in fact Croats.
Which in the confusion were then later handed to the Yugoslavian government and in fact ended up being the members of the former Ustasa Black Legion.Another proof that there were no Ustasa Party members, nor any professional guerilla military like the Black Legion, or the Royalist Cetniks killed on the Bleiburg death Marches.
It very much was a deliberate and planned Stalin type mass murder of all anti-communists from the territory of then Independent State of Croatia (Mostly Croat home guardsmen, civilians, women and children) and the rest of the later Yugoslavia. Such similar operations were already used by Stalin in the 1930's pre WW II Soviet Union.
There was a certain "Operation Slaughterhouse" ordered by Josip Broz Tito in December/January 1945. in then already Partizan and Russian controled Belgrade. For the purpose of clearing the then future Tito's Communist Yugoslavia of any potential political competition. Such as the anti-Fascist Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) under Vlatko Macek, or the anti-Fascist Catholic Church with Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.
For in the totalitarian system, there can only be two sides. The bad Fascist (Ustasa) side and the winning good Communist side. The only anti-Fascist movement, or institution allowed in the new Tito's rezhime could unconditionally and only be the Communist anti-Fascist movement. Any other possible option in Tito's one rule system such as the anti-Fascist Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) could not be acceptable. For as a "Croatian" and a non-Communist party it was more of a rival to Tito and his one Yugoslavia ideology, then the actual Fascist Ustasas and Ante Pavelic him self.
That is why CPP's Vlatko Macek and Catholic "Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac would be accused of being "Fascist Ustasas" right after WW II and prosecuted as "Against the People". Even though, during the WW II, they were the victims of those same Fascist Ustasas.
Though the plans for "Operation Slaughterhouse" were detailed by Josip Broz Tito, Milovan Djilas, Koca Popovic and etc. It was personally orchestrated and carried out by the Political Commissar, General Milan Basta who arrived at the Bleiburg castle on May 14,1945. after already made deals between Tito's Partizans and the British. Regarding the situation of Partizan presence in Carynthia,Southern Austria and Trieste. The Supreme Allied Commander for the Mediterranean, Field-Marshal Sir Harold Alexander had already arranged the mass repatriations of Croats to the Tito's Partizans, for exchange of absolute British control of Carynthia. Long before any negotiations with Croatians were to be made in the first place.
While in Bleiburg castle, before the Croatian officials had arrived. Brigadier General, Patrick Scott was already making personal deals with Milan Basta about the unconditional surrender of all Croats.
It was there very obvious that the detailed plan for the forced repatriation of Croatians back to Yugoslavia had been made before and without any talks to the Croatian representatives, or their opinions what so ever.
Scott, together with Basta clearly and bluntly expressed to Croatian General Herencic and his interpreter Danijel Crljen. An unrealistic demand of surrender of all the hundreds of thousands of Croats in a period of only one hour. Otherwise the Partizans would start shooting at the colony of people (which they did anyways). Plus General Scott would allow all of his British Military and Tanks in the area to be at the Partizan's disposal at any time.
It was then very clear, what was to be the ill faith of all those masses of uncertain people hoping for some kind of savior.
In fact, the plan of such kind of a scenario had already dated back to Yalta Conference in February 1945. Where the faith of millions of unfortunate Central and Eastern Europeans had been bluntly mapped out. By the real perpetrators of the New World Order. Stalin, Churchill and F.D.Roosevelt. The infamous disastrous decision that all the nationals offering to surrender and asking for protectorate. Will unconditionally all be handed over to the governments of the countries they came from. Even if it be lethal for their health.
Though, still all the Draza Mihajlovic's Cetniks were already let through by the British into the British occupied territory of Austria. Visa Vie the Cetnik Royalist connection with the Serbian King Petar in London. Rafael Boban and his parts of Black Legion Ustasas at Bleiburg on the other hand had already a plan B as an exit strategy if they would not be let through into Austria and started moving right away towards the south into Istria and to Italy via Trieste. Also known as zone A, B and C.
At the end, what was left, was a mass colony of Croatian home guardsmen and hundred of thousands of civilians reaching as far as 60km from Bleiburg into Slovenia. All of them in the hands and absolute disposal of the Partizan murdering squads, which at that point had the absolute power over any law while Croats became literal practice targets for shooting at all times.
All imaginable forms of frustrations to be taken out over the available unarmed Croats were now at the lawless Serbo-Communists and in the full motion. Rape, theft and murder became a non stop action of 24/7 for the many days to come. To the point that there was simply too many people to kill and not enough bullets, so the victims would then be tied by their ankles into the files of six and after the first in the row would be hit in the head with the hammer. He would pull the other five into the cave with him. Those which would not die from the fall, would mostly die from smothering by the other bodies falling over the them until the cave would be filled up. Then moving on to another murder site and another and etc.
The witnesses around the killing sites in Slovenia (mostly farmers) would remember day and night, hours and hours of agonizing high pitched screams of victims right before their deaths. Those same Slovenian witnesses would later for years to come be threatened with their lives by the Communists for their forced silence about the events they witnessed.
Even though the witnesses started coming out in 1990. when Communism started collapsing in Yugoslavia and the truth was being told through 1995. By 2000. Never the less, many of the witnesses were suddenly again afraid to talk about it? It has started to become more and more like that as well in Croatia regarding the Bleiburg lately.
Perhaps the elements of dictatorship are coming back now in the 21.Century? A very dangerous thing is when a huge crime against humanity like this is never completely resolved and allowed to be forgotten, or at least attempted to become so.
Even a dead criminal is still a criminal and his crimes still remain eternal until fully resolved and brought to justice.
Half a million massacred, of which 300,000 were Croats, is huge loss of population.
An almost 10% of the whole 4.5 million Croatian population. Making it the biggest genocide in Europe according to the nations population loss. Is it that such huge numbers are bringing panic to the former Croatian Communists and their children? The fear of such a gruesome truth blackening the 45 year built image of the"Good Victors". If it goes out to the world, or will the certain foreign lobbies still be making sure that such matters stay unresolved as for instance the J.F.K files.
It makes sense that after WW II, the world needed a simplified version of the good and bad side. Of course, the winners write the history, so naturally all the crimes by the victorious Communists would remain under the rug and it was so for 45 years. Though, what does not make sense is that after the truth about Bleiburg finally came out in public in 1990. and after this bloody war for Croatian independence 1991-95. It seems that the biggest Communist crime against humanity in those parts is still unresolved 61 years later and being again hushed up and covered.
Who would still 61 years later have an interest out of that and why?
How can that be? Why is 2006. less free and open minded then 1996?
Are we Croatians after 13 centuries still lost in our souls to the division among us? Still so afraid of truth, that even the grandchildren of the Partizans would rather cover up something so gruesome as the Bleiburg tragedy, then admitting it fully and freeing them selves and their subconscious from crimes that were done two generations before them by somebody else.
Though why are so many of us still fighting against Bleiburg?
Why are we still so afraid of it? Like the brother that kills his own brother in the fury and then covers it up for the rest of his life. Living in an agony of lies. Must the truth be only pleasant and comfortable in order for us to admit it. Haven't we evolved from that yet, or are we still stuck in the state of mind some 900 years ago in 1102. When we lost our original independence.
Perhaps it is the possible subconscious fear of eternal damnation, that somehow we had something to do in contributing to this mass murder by being pro-Yugoslav, or having a certain nostalgia for that time period? Though, even if I also personally have nice memories from the 1980's Yugoslavia, such as music and films. It doesn't change the fact of what Communism really was and it's crimes still remain gruesome every which way. While the truth remains the same. We are also still the same Croats that we are.
As more we run from the truth, the more it haunts us and it will haunt as even more and more. Unless the justice and absolute recognition of this very serious gigantic-scale genocide is brought out once and for all and stamped in the history as such without the possibility of tampering with the truth.
It is very important that the truth also remains un politicized by the right wing Pro-Ustasas who use the Communist crime of Bleiburg, just for their political gain and as a reason to justify the Fascist Ustasas and their crimes. Not because they feel compassionate towards all those innocent victims. As they would like to claim and show.
Just as the left wing Communists try to present Bleiburg as a "Fascist Propaganda". To some how justify it by making it look like the" Reprisals" of the people against the "Genocidical Fascists".
Of course, both systems are very deceptive and definitely false.
The victims of Bleiburg were unfortunately caught between the two very selfish political rivalries. All the people who died there had no political affiliation, other then perhaps Vlatko Macek's Croatian Peasant Party. There was no Ustasa Party members, Nazis, or Cetnik Royalists hurt there. Unless one accidentally somehow ended up with the regular more gullible honest population.
A very unlikely thing though. Those who were actually guilty for any crimes, made sure not to be caught easily and already had their way out planned before.
It is very important to remember that all those Croats who got slaughtered there were regular home guardsmen and civilians. The regular Croat population and honest representatives of our country. Who's only crime was being honest hard working Croats and non-affiliated to any party. A dangerous thing in those days. It is for that regular non-political population I write this article.
For all those who died and suffered the consequences of being stuck in the middle of a civil war in our country between two very polar opposites of our nation. The Fascist and the Communist.
While the war profiteers got away with the real guilt. Just as they did in our last and final war for independence in the 90's and every other war. The war profiteers get away, the honest innocent people end up dyeing.
Because of some of my own family members who were murdered there and years of my own careful research in this huge injustice to our people.
I can obviously see and very much do believe now that the actual huge numbers of victims in this genocide are being covered up and minimized lately by certain people for the sole purpose of distraction.
I personally wish to give my full respect for all those 500,000 and more who were brutally murdered by the Communist death squads in those dark days from May 15,1945.on. This is for the truth, justice and recognition for all those masses of the unfortunate, that never received the proper peace they so deserve.
By Ivan Pavletic