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(E) "What is Anti-Semitism" article
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  09/27/2002 | Letters to the Editors | Unrated
(E) "What is Anti-Semitism" article

What isAnti-Semitism


Dear all, 
below my letter you will find the letter from Mr. Newmann answering my
first letter and above that is my answer to it. 

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 19:59:57 -0700
Subject: Re: "What is Anti-Semitism" article

Dear Mr. Neumann,
Thank you for your answer. 
I would just like to make one more remark in regard to your letter. I did
not mean to mention cardinal Stepinac as determining the Croatian
character in general, but he and many other Croatians did save hundreds
of Jews, and since I lived there during the first Yugoslavia and during
the war I know that Croatians simply are not anti-Semitic. No doubt some
individuals were, as in many other countries, but certainly not to the
extent that one could call because of it such nations anti-Semitic. This
is exactly the point you made in your article. Also, when you write about
"contemporary sympathies with the Ustashe" it should be more accurately
called "temporary sympathies", because when the Ustashe first appeared,
Croatians, hoping to be finally free from Serb subjugation expected to
have a free Croatian state. It did not take them long to realize what
kind of state Pavelic was establishing - and that was the end of the
euphoria. Just remember that Croatians formed 11 of the 13 divisions of
the Partisans under Tito - and the majority were not communists. 
I don't understand your statement that " Were there an anti-Semitic
tradition even over the last sixty years, that would suffice to justify
my statement". Four years of the Ustasha regime did not make a tradition
where no tradition existed.

Hilda M. Foley

On Wed, 18 Sep 2002 10:47:00 -0400 mneumann  writes:

Thank you for your message.

I will certainly review the facts. To say that Croatia is 
traditionally anti-Semitic is not necessarily to make a sweeping historical claim; 
some traditions are not that old. Though the facts about Stepanic are
genuinely in dispute, his role hardly determines the general 
character of Croatian society at any point in its history, and reports about
contemporary sympathies with the Ustashe are not confined to Serb
propaganda material. Were there an anti-Semitic tradition even over 
the last sixty years, that would suffice to justify my statement. 
However I do realize that Croatia has recently prosecuted war 
criminals and that almost everything about Croatian history is in dispute. I 
will look for genuinely neutral sources on this matter.

Michael Neumann

Dear Mr. Neumann:

Just happen to come across your article "What is Anti-Semitism" in 
the June 4th issue of Counterpunch which I found very thoughtful and 
true. Yet as a Croatian I found your statement that "Croatia (and 
Ukraine) are traditionally anti-Semitic" very disturbing because of its gross
inaccuracy. Historically, for centuries, Croatia was never known 
to be an anti-Semitic country yet its reputation as such suffers to this 
day because of the four years of the Ustasha puppet regime of WWII , 
which was established by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy and pursued 
their anti-Semitic policies. There was never an election and the large 
majority of Croatians were appalled by the treatment of Jews. Croats, 
especially Cardinal Stepinac, saved hundreds of Jews destined for 
concentration camps. The Cardinal publicly in church spoke against the treatment 
of Jews and fearlessly personally criticized Pavelic, the Ustasha 
leader and head of the state. Yet after the war, the communists prosecuted him 
for being a "Nazi", which of course was more than absurd. The reason 
for the trumped up charges were because Cardinal Stepinac refused to break 
with the Vatican and establish an "independent Croatian Church" that 
Tito wanted.

You yourself, as the rest of the world, only heard the 
Yugoslav/Serb propaganda regarding Croatia. Croatia never denied the crimes 
committed by the Ustasha regime ( for which tens of thousands of innocent 
soldiers and civilians were killed on the infamous Bleiburg "Walk of the 
Cross" after the end of the war and many others wound up in Jasenovac for 
just being anti communists.) In contrast the Serbs never admitted their 
own war crimes but hid them from general knowledge through their large 
(and still operating) propaganda network that demonized Croatia. It was 
not hard to achieve, considering Serbia's dominance and subjugation of 
the other nationalities comprising former Yugoslavia since its 
establishment in 1918.

Isn't it strange that not one Jewish organization ever looked 
into the history of Serbian anti-Semitism, fostered for centuries by the 
virulently anti-Semitic Serb Orthodox Church. No one mentions that Serbia also 
had a Nazi puppet regime during WWII under their general Nedic, that 
rounded up and killed or delivered to the Germans thousands of Jews in 
Serbia's concentration camps of Sajmiste, Banjica and others. Belgrade 
proudly declared itself "Judenfrei" - "Jew free". While Croatia has built 
a Memorial in Jasenovac, the Serbs destroyed any trace of their
concentration camps by bulldozing them and building over them. 
Serbians' anti-Semitism goes much further back than Nazi Germany. Jews in 
Belgrade were not allowed to have certain businesses or education in the 
1930's or own property in the countryside. No such restrictions ever existed 
in Croatia before or after WWII. I am afraid you have mixed-up the
designation "historically anti-Semitic" by naming the wrong nation. 
Since you seem to be an open minded person, I hope you will also 
seriously consider my writing in the spirit it is written, not as some 
Croatian apologia - because there has been much of it already, but something to ponder.


Hilda Maria Foley
National Federation Of Croatian Americans

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