Letters to Author and the Editor
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003
Subject: Your article in Los Angeles Times
Mr. Michael Newmann
Dear Mr. Newmann:
I was appalled while reading and agreeing with your commentary in the Los
Angeles Times of Dec 28, "A Minor Problem Overblown" (Exaggerating the
Issue of Jew Hatred) when I came to the paragraph that stated: "We should
indeed guard against a resurgence of European fascism, and Jewish
organizations are oddly lax about this. The ADL, for instance, did not
comment on last month's electoral gains of Croatian nationalists who
trace their lineage directly back to some of Adolf Hitler's most savage
and willing executioners". You are making the same mistake in your
article which you find so abhorring and wrong in others - associating a
whole nation and party with something that happened in WWII. Perhaps the
ADL had better insight.
The Croatian HDZ party (Croatian Democratic Union) of 1990 post-communist
Croatia was never in any way associated, or as you claim "in direct
lineage" with the WWII Ustashe puppet regime of Croatia. The HDZ party
was founded and came to power by the late first president of Croatia
Tudjman in 1990 in protest against the Serbs' subjugation and domination
of Croatia. Tudjman fought as an antifascist against his own country's
fascist puppet regime during WWII and became a general in Tito's Yugoslav
army - hardly someone forming a party associated with the hated Ustashe!
By the way, Croatia's antifascists formed 11 partisan divisions, as
opposed to only 2 Serbian, even though Croatia represented about 25% of
the Yugoslav population.
Tudjman did turn out to be autocratic and made serious mistakes along the
way, but accusing him and his HDZ a being fascist is absurd. Just look
as his record, -the prominent Jews he had in his ministry, his
administration's trial of Jasenovac commander Sakic, extradited from
South America (Argentina, I believe) about which Eli Rosenbaum, director
of OSI, part of the U.S. Justice Dept., wrote: " Croatia merits the
highest praise for its "historic and courageous" prosecution and
conviction of war criminal Dinko Sakic ..." Unfortunately only too few
European countries, in particular the post-communist ones are ready and
willing to punish criminals dating back to the Nazi era". - That goes
double for Serbia, which will not even admit that it ever killed a Jew,
as it paved over their Banjica and other camps so no one will ever see or
hear of them again.
Today Croatia's HDZ under the leadership of dr.Sanader is totally
western and democratically oriented and has learned from past mistakes
that cost it the election in 2000. It is center-right instead of the
latest center-left government, which was led mostly by "former"
communists. That, Croatia did not need.
Hilda M. Foley
13272 Orange Knoll
Santa Ana. Ca. 92705, USA
I saw this op-ed piece in the LA Times as well. However, I refrained from answering as it was not clear that Neumann was actually talking about the HDZ. He could very well be talking about the HSP. While the HSP during the past election denounced its former praise of Pavelic, it spent a decade extolling the NDH (though not the crimes committed in its name). Despite the change in the HSP, I believe that there is little doubt that had the HSP been included in the new government Croatia would have been immediately villified as was Austria when Haider became a government minister.
In any event, on this whole issue it is important to note that one of the vice-presidents of the new government and a top leader in the HDZ is Andrija Hebrang, Jr., son of the leader of the Communist Party of Croatia during WWII. Andrija, Jr.'s mother, Dunja, was Jewish.