Jean L. Marinovic: Why Croats Commemorate Bleiburg Genocide

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Jean L. Marinovic: Why Croats Commemorate Bleiburg Genocide

Postby zzubra » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:24 pm

Why Croats Commemorate the Bleiburg Genocide at Bleiburg
(by Jean Lunt Marinovic)

The Bleiburg Genocide has always symbolized a Croatian tragedy! ‘Bleiburg’ marked the beginning of a new age of terror against Croatian people and is symbolic of a long-term intent to destroy and occupy the Croatian nation. Not only did hundreds of thousands of Croats perish, but following this several hundreds of thousands more became refugees from Communist Yugoslavia, and those who remained were bombed between 1991 and 1995.

Tito Apologists in Croatia today, including the current President and Prime Minister, have recently suggested that this Bleiburg genocide should be commemorated at massacre sites in the former Yugoslavia and not at Bleiburg Austria. Their rationale for this is that not only ‘Croats’ were killed by the Partisans after WWII. In addition, a few years ago a monument to Croatian victims in Bleiburg was altered to remove the reference to ‘Croatian’ victims and replaced with ‘innocent’ victims. While there can be no denying that others were killed by Partisans after WWII the fact remains that ‘Bleiburg’ was the scene of a surrender of Croatian army representatives to the communist Yugoslav Partisans.

Their suggestion to stop commemorations at Bleiburg is an attempt to avoid further debate about the reasons and responsibility for those atrocities. The Bleiburg monument was erected and maintained by ‘Croatian’ survivors of Bleiburg at considerable cost, sometimes to their life. Since 1945 many books have been written by Croatian authors about ‘Bleiburg’ documenting the event. Removing Bleiburg from the commemoration would set the precedent for removing the ‘surrender conditions’ and ‘Austrian-Slovenian’ boundary disputes’ as major factors in the genocide.

The commemoration of the Srebrenica victims is a similar example, where there has been no suggestion to move the annual memorial elsewhere. Srebrenica is the location for commemoration of those victims unearthed elsewhere, because Srebrenica was the scene of the handing over of those victims to Serbian military leaders in the presence of the United Nations officers, so in the same theme Bleiburg should remain the scene for the commemoration.

‘Bleiburg’ began as a ‘peacetime’ genocide which occurred just after the end of WWII. In May 1945 the Croatian WWII army and civilians retreated towards the Slovenian-Austrian border to surrender in the British Sector of post-war Austria. From Zagreb the main route was via Maribor and Dravograd. The retreating Croatian Army and civilians were met with the territorial occupation of this part of the British Sector by armed communist Yugoslav Partisan forces whose pressure created an uneasy peace in Trieste and Carinthia.

The WWII Partisan forces were occupying and claiming the territories because of their claim to have liberated them, and because they were reviving the unsuccessful attempt to incorporate part of Carinthia into Slovenia after WWI. In addition, both Yugoslav & Soviet troops were attempting to change boundaries and set up provisional governments in post-WWII Austria.

Soon after a tripartite meeting between a British officer, representatives of the Croatian Army and civilians, in the absence of top Croatian leaders, and the Yugoslav Communist Partisans at the old Bleiburg Castle resulted in the hasty Croatian surrender to the Partisans.

It has been alleged that some unarmed Croats were shot within the vicinity of the scene of the surrender, by Count Tolstoy in his book ‘The Minister and the Massacres”, an issue contested by the British. Other Croats were misled and herded back to Yugoslavia in train cars, or prevented from leaving Yugoslavia and killed in long arduous death marches.

Many mass graves holding tens of thousands of Croatian victims have been uncovered since that time in the former Yugoslavia, but they have never been the object of intense media focus in the same way as ‘Srebrenica’. The number killed in question after 1945 is the subject of many debates, but close to half a million dead or missing is a figure accepted in British or American documents.

The Croatian families of the Bleiburg Genocide victims, and some elderly survivors who escaped, are still waiting for those who actually murdered the Croatian refugees to be held responsible. Instead however, in Croatia today political attention is focused on the alleged guilt of the Croatian army ‘during’ the war. The consequence of this for Croatian people is that their frustration is still focused on the British or American officers who had allegedly ‘conspired’ against them. A British report totally denied this conspiracy theory.

More evidence is now coming to light that armed Yugoslav Partisan insurgents initially prevented the British from assuming efficient command in the vicinity between Trieste and Bleiburg. In a report by Lord Anthony Cowgill, in response to Tolstoy’s accusations, he wrote,

“The most serious problem remaining for 5 Corps was thus that posed by the approach of the main body of Croat troops (reported as being 200,000 in number), accompanied by huge numbers of Croat civilians, who were attempting to escape into Austria via Dravograd, towards the small town of Bleiburg just inside the Austrian frontier. … Tito’s forces were anxious to stop them escaping into Austria, and on 13 May Tito instructed his First Army to “move your forces most urgently from the Celje area … in order to concentrate for an attack aimed at the annihilation of this column.” Cowgill goes on to say that “on 14 May, as the head of this column began to cross the frontier between Dravograd and Bleiburg, Tito’s forces were massing in considerable strength on both sides of the frontier around them.” (The Repatriations from Austria in 1945: The Report of An Enquiry, 1990 -- Chp. 5, Bleiburg: The End of the Croat Incursion – 15 May.)

The refusals of the Partisans to comply with the rights of refugees or the international peacetime territorial disputes laws remain unpunished to this day.

During the period of Yugoslav Partisan unyieldingness in Carinthia, Churchill referred to Tito on the 7th May: “Let me know what you are doing in massing forces against this Muscovite tentacle of which Tito is crook”. (Trieste and Austrian Crises, in the Mediterranean and Middle East Vol. 6: Victory in the Mediterranean Part III: November 1944 to May 1945 [iv].)

According to former President Truman in the book ‘Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security’, Tito killed more than 400,000 of his opponents in communist Yugoslavia before he could establish himself as a dictator.

During his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in America in March 1946, Churchill defined the ‘Cold War’, and referred to the Soviet “iron curtain” which had descended across the continent from the Baltic to the Adriatic.

Although western military officers in the vicinity of Carinthia Austria just after WWII were ordered, or gave orders, to repatriate Croats to Yugoslavia, they did so with much regret and under pressure. Wartime allies had suddenly turned into peacetime enemies!

At the time however the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was recognized, on 18 April 1946 by America, and by other countries, and its Bolshevik tactics were never held to account because of the subsequent ‘Cold War’ strategy. Thus, instead of being held to account by the international community for the genocide, the communist Yugoslav regime became a buffer between the USSR and the West after 1948.

The Tito-Stalin split, between 1948 and 1953, thus had sealed the fate of Croatian people. Those who were not yet ‘annihilated’ immediately after 1945 became part of the mass political refugee exodus from Eastern Europe, and in the case of Yugoslavia this occurred first through the IRO and later through the UNHCR, until the Yugoslav borders opened. In this way Croatian demographic decline was significantly higher than other nationalities within Yugoslavia. In fact Communist Yugoslavia has been one of the largest contributors of international migration. North & South America, Australia and New Zealand all had high immigration targets and West Germany needed ‘guest workers’.

And the Croatian demographic decline trend has continued. The Croatian expert in demographics, Petar Strcic, has proven statistically that the most recent 1990s Serbian aggression has led to the largest depopulation of Croats since WWII.

The legacy of genocide for Croatian people has been profound. More than a quarter of their population, an estimated million Croats either escaped, emigrated or perished since WWII, a catastrophe for a small nation. But Croatian people have lost much more than territory and population since the beginning of Tito’s dictatorship, they have also lost their human rights. People have a right to grief but in place of closure they are stigmatized. In spite of the disappearance of Yugoslavia from world maps the Croatian survivors of ‘Bleiburg’ are still victims of genocide as expressed in ongoing depopulation, stigma, and a dishonorable reconciliation process.

With their platitudes and reconciliation overtures Croatian political and religious heads today attempt to mask the unresolved issue of genocide against Croatian people. Instead of the truth coming to light about the terrorism under the former Yugoslavia, as a precursor for the Serbian bombing in 1991, the United Nations ‘equal guilt’ resolution has been applied. If it’s a Croatian tragedy the ‘equal guilt’ rule is applied. But, if it’s the former Yugoslavia it seems that there is no ‘equal guilt’.

Tito has not been officially condemned or indicted and symbols of and monuments to Tito and to the Yugoslav regime are still put on a pedestal by the Croatian neo-Communist government, in contrast to the tarnished memory of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc.. For example, one of many, in 2011 the former President of Croatia, Mesic, stated incredulously that, “… Tito never ordered the killing of Ustashe and Domobrani …” in contrast to the Cowgill inquiry report quoted above about Tito’s orders to annihilate the columns of the Croatian army and civilians.

In spite of the original reason for international calls for the UN Peacekeepers to go to Croatia, because of the widely publicized Serbian bombing of Croatian civilian centres, what eventuated was something quite the opposite. Reconciliation, facilitated by imposition of the doctrine of ‘equal guilt’, was part of the UN peacekeeping mission, and after the UNPROFOR came to Croatia ‘to protect Serbs’, Croatian people began to realize that justice for them was expendable. What UNPROFOR could not accomplish in the field, the ad hoc Hague court for the former Yugoslavia finished.

The current Croatian government, and religious leaders in Croatia and Bosnia & Hercegovina have given in too much to the Serbian successors of the (former) Yugoslav National Army. Any reconciliation steps without justice are premature, offensive and immoral. The late Croatian Cardinal Kuharic did not need to utter those infamous words at the height of Serbian aggression against Croatian civilians, “Ako netko srusi tvoju kucu, ti njegovu cuvaj. Ako ti netko ubije oca, ti nemoj njegovog”(translation: If someone destroys your house, look after his. If someone kills your father, don’t kill his father.). Recently in 2012 the Croatian Bishop Komarica for Banja Luka did not have to attend the Republica Srpska ‘Jubilee’ much less accept a Serbian ‘medal of honour’, in a ceremony there, from where 220,000 Croats were ethnically cleansed or massacred. The Banja Luka ‘Mufti’ had rightly refused to attend the celebration! Before the Serbian aggression in 1991—1995 there had been 825,000 Croats in Bosnia & Hercegovina and today 446,000 remain.

Summary
To be classified as genocide in international law, both ‘intent’ and genocidal ‘acts’ must be evident. Croatians living under Communist Yugoslavia have been the victims of coordinated mass killings and bombings in ‘undeclared’ wars, cultural and political oppression, imprisonment and ethnic cleansing, all directly leading to their profound demographic decline and ongoing stigma. This genocide can be traced to the former Serbian-led Yugoslav National Army, to the sinister anti-Croatian propaganda of Croatia’s self-proclaimed ‘anti-fascist’ diehards, and to the clandestine activities of UDBA, the Yugoslav Secret Service.

Croatian people should continue to commemorate the genocide of their people at Bleiburg Austria, the scene of the surrender to armed enemy forces, and the scene of territorial dispute. The British and American archives have been opened and their handling of the events in May 1945 acknowledged and it is now the turn of the current Croatian political and spiritual leaders to do the same! It’s now time for those who tricked the Allies and ignored international treaties, who ordered and committed the mass killings, to acknowledge their guilt. There is no potential for a meaningful lasting peace in the region until the Croatian victims of injustice under the former communist Yugoslavia have been acknowledged.

Jean Lunt Marinovic, April 2012
www.croatianviewpoint.com
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Re: Jean L. Marinovic: Why Croats Commemorate Bleiburg Genoc

Postby Zed » Sun May 13, 2012 9:46 pm

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Last edited by Zed on Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jean L. Marinovic: Why Croats Commemorate Bleiburg Genoc

Postby JeanLuntMarinovic » Wed May 16, 2012 6:44 pm

Re Zed:

I agree that ‘commemorating Bleiburg’ is inextricably linked to the Croatian collective national consciousness, but it is time to stop defining the Croatian identity by its tragedies only! In other words, it is time to define ‘Hrvatstvo’ by removing ‘Slavism’ from the Croatian historical narrative! Also it’s much easier to criticize the history of others, than it is to acknowledge your own historical mistakes. Promotion of conspiratorial anti-Semitic websites such as ‘Save Your Heritage’ serves the enemies of Croatia, and also creates new enemies for Croatian people. In addition, conspiracy theories conveniently divert attention from the core issue which disunites Croatian people, and which has caused the map of Croatia to shrink to a shadow of its former size. I believe that until Croatian people totally reject artificial Slavism and its symbols, and its institutions and statues, they will not be able to unite as a strong nation. It’s not enough to blame a so-called “Slavic Regionalist” government as the issue goes much deeper in Croatian history.

See:”Who Created the First Yugoslav State?”
http://www.croatianviewpoint.com/Housin ... oslavState
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Re: Jean L. Marinovic: Why Croats Commemorate Bleiburg Genoc

Postby JeanLuntMarinovic » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:18 am

See new book about Bleiburg "One Day in May Bleiburg 1945" (2016) Jean Lunt Marinovic, author (Amazon)
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