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Much effort has gone into projecting the image of a new Croatia that has supposedly renounced its murderous past and, hence, may join the European Union. This effort has especially targeted Jews, who, having had the unfortunate experience of being the Nazis' main victims, are now used to grant absolution to the culprits.
So, in 2001, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic visited the Knesset, where he sort of apologized for the clerical fascist Croatian Ustashe's murder of over 30,000 Jews.
Actually, he sort of did not apologize, since he
a) never mentioned the Ustashe;
b) never mentioned the murder of over 30,000; and
c) began his 'apology' saying, "This is the proper place and the proper occasion to get rid of the ballast of the past," indicating how he views that hindering weight, the Holocaust.
Pursuing the appearance of reform, last November, Croatia opened an exhibition at the Jasenovac death camp in Slavonia, from which territory, by bitter irony, the Croatian army had, in 1995, driven out all Serbian civilians, thus rendering it serbenrein. They fulfilled the dream of the very Ustashe whom the exhibition is supposed to get Croats to remember, lest it "happen again"; although, having gotten rid of all Serbs, Jews and Roma, it is unclear what the Croatian clerical-fascists could do again, other than to themselves (or outside Croatia).
Here is some background for perspective on the exhibition. In June 1991, the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, controlled by the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union), led by Franjo Tudjman and Stjepan Mesic, launched a secessionist war that destroyed Yugoslavia. The HDZ revived symbols and policies of the Croatian Ustashe, whose base the Catholic clergy incited to hate "foreign elements" (primarily non-Catholic Serbs). In April 1941, the Ustashe had formed a German Nazi-backed state, mass murdering Serbs, Jews and Roma with a violence equaling the Einsatzgruppen of their German sponsor-allies.
When Tudjman and Mesic launched their Germany- and Vatican-backed secessionist war in 1991, Serbian charges that they were mobilizing the Ustasha apparatus that had flourished in the Croatian Diaspora after World War II were mocked by a world media that suppresses evidence linking Croatia to the Ustashe. Case in point: a video broadcast 9 December 2006 on Croatian TV, which shows Mesic in 1992 telling Australian-Croatians:
You see, in the Second World War, the Croats won twice and we have no reason to apologize to anyone. What they ask of the Croats the whole time, "Go kneel in Jasenovac. Kneel here..." We don't have to kneel in front of anyone for anything! We won twice and all the others only once. We won on 10 April  when the Axis Powers recognized Croatia as a state [meaning, when the Nazi invaders installed the bloodthirsty Ustashe in power! -- JI], and we won because we sat after the war, again with the winners, at the winning table. (BBC Monitoring; December 10, 2006)
Defending himself, Mesic said he had only made such speeches (plural!) to serve Croatia's war in the 1990s. (BBC Monitoring, 15 December 2006)
In the video, Mesic celebrates fascists who posed successfully as anti-fascists when the Nazis lost, thus sitting "at the winning table."
So: a) the scandal shows that the Serbs were telling the truth when they said the secessionists roused the Ustashe to fight Yugoslavia (and Serbs) in the early 1990s; and b) what is left of the hype about a President Mesic who regrets Ustashe crimes?
Although four news services -- Associated Press, Agence France Presse, ANSA and BBC Monitoring -- covered this important scandal, only one of the thousands of newspapers and TV stations archived by Lexis-Nexis, the Dutch Dagblad van het Noorden, reported it.
On 15 December 2006, Croatian Assembly Speaker Vladimir Seks admitted that he and President Mesic had "possibly" sung songs celebrating Jure and Boban, heads of the Croatian Black Legion. The Legion was an SS unit comprised of Croatian Catholics and Bosnian Muslims that slaughtered vast numbers of Serbian civilians, wiping out villages, burning people alive or dumping them into mountain crevasses. (After the Ustashe's defeat, Yugoslavia sealed the crevasses with cement to safeguard brotherhood.) Here is an excerpt from the relevant Croatian dispatch. The bracketed comments are from BBC Monitoring:
Croatian Assembly Speaker Vladimir Seks said on HTV's [Croatian TV] Otvoreno ["Openly"] programme this evening -- in response to a journalist's question on the truthfulness of the claim that he and state President Stjepan Mesic sang [Ustashe -- WWII pro-Nazis] songs about "Jure and Boban" [Ustashe commanders] -- that: "It is possible that this occurred, it is not out of the question." -- "Croatian Speaker admits he may have sung Ustashe songs with president," (BBC Monitoring December 15, 2006)
I can find no newspaper or TV news program that reported this second scandal.
The suppression of these blockbuster stories supports my charge that the media has misinformed the public about Croatia, and is consistent with the charge that the media, Western governments and semi-government institutions have promoted a campaign launched by notoriously anti-Semitic Croatian leader Tudjman to deny the Holocaust - vastly cutting the numbers killed, suppressing discussion of the leading role of the Catholic church and denying the Ustashe's mass base.
Jewish organizations and the Serbian Orthodox Church have resisted this Holocaust denial. In response, there has been a drive to get them to endorse Tudjman's line, a drive led by the German governments Goethe-Institut and the US State Department, using Washington's Holocaust Museum.
Which brings us to the opening of Croatia's exhibition at the Jasenovac death camp on November 27, 2006.
The exhibition is of grave political significance because, even though it avoids all discussion of Croatia's Holocaust regime, including the Catholic clergy's leading role, and it puts forward the Holocaust-denying line that the Ustashe killed 70,000 people at Jasenovac -- rather than 600-700,000 or more -- nevertheless:
* The exhibition is, shockingly, co-sponsored by Yad Vashem, whose Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (published in 1990, when the campaign to rewrite the Croatian Holocaust was just starting) gives the lie to Croatian denial; and
* It was, shockingly, whitewashed by the presence of the Serbian Orthodox bishop of Slavonia, the Serbian Ambassador, and Efraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal Center's Israel office.
Dr. Zuroff wrote an article about the exhibition that criticized it for not naming individual Ustashe or explaining the ideology that allowed "the crimes committed in this terrible place [to] happen." But these criticisms are weak and indeed misleading, since, for starters, the exhibition doesn't merely fail to explain why the crimes happened, it falsifies the nature of the crimes, misrepresenting the Jasenovac death camp as a labor camp.
Moreover, Zuroff writes respectfully about the supposedly modern Croatian exhibition with its "precise statistics on 69,842" murdered in Jasenovac, while derisively dismissing the Serbian assertion that 700,000 died. That figure is, Zuroff claims, the "unlikely" creation of Serbian and Communist propagandists.
And Zuroff again misleads when he describes Ustashe ideology as "fanatic [sic!] patriotism," thus trivializing the racist-religious hate that drove the Ustashe to turn Greater Croatia into a vast slaughterhouse for hundreds of thousands. (Imagine describing German Nazi ideology as 'fanatical patriotism.')
Contradicting Zuroff's attempt to minimize the extent of Ustashe mass murder, the Wiesenthal Center website itself asserts that 600,000 people, mostly Serbs, and virtually all the Jews and Roma in Bosnia and Croatia, were murdered at Jasenovac. Is the Wiesenthal website the tool of Serbs or Communists?
The Wiesenthal page has been archived by Emperor's Clothes as it
still appears -- a beacon of resistance to the attempt to market
Holocaust denial as Holocaust education.
Footnotes and End Notes
2. The photo is taken from "The suppressed history of the
Holocaust in Croatia," which starts at
http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/encr.htm#I See 4. below.
3. David Binder, "Croatia Forced Thousands From Homes, Rights
Group Says," New York Times
4. Menachem Shelah, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, 1990, pp. 323-329. To access the PDF file scanned from the Encyclopedia, go to http://emperor.vwh.net/croatia/encr.pdf
6. Excerpt from the New York Times http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/encr.htm#tudg
"In his book Wastelands: Historical Truths, published in 1988, Mr. Tudjman wrote that the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust was 900,000 -- not six million. He has also asserted that not more than 70,000 Serbs died at the hands of the Ustashe -- most historians say around 400,000 were killed."
"Under Mr. Tudjman's leadership, Croatia began discriminating against Serbs in 1990 when it adopted a Constitution that declared Croatia 'the national state of the Croatian nation.' Under the old Constitution, the Serbs had had equal status with the Croats."
"In the interwar period the Catholic church in Croatia had been a staunch supporter of Croatian nationalism, and it welcomed the establishment of the Croatian state. The Vatican had always supported the stand of the Croatian church and had encouraged Croatian separatism. The Ustasa extermination drive against Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies presented the church with a dilemma.
"Many Catholic priests, mainly of the lower rank, took an active part in the murder operations. Generally speaking, the reaction of the Catholic church was a function of military and political developments affecting Croatia; when the standing of the NDH regime was weakening and the war was drawing to an end, protests by the church against Ustasa crimes became more and more outspoken. This was not the case in the earlier stages. A bishops' conference that met in Zagreb in November 1941 was not even prepared to denounce the forced conversion of Serbs that had taken place in the summer of 1941, let alone condemn the persecution and murder of Serbs and Jews. It was not until the middle of 1943 that Aloysius Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb, publicly came out against the murder of Croatian Jews (most of whom had been killed by that time), the Serbs, and other nationalities. The Vatican followed a similar line. In the early stage, the Croatian massacres were explained in Rome as 'teething troubles of a new regime' (the expression of Monsignor Domenico Tardini of the Vatican state secretariat). When the course of the war was changing, the leaders of the Catholic church began to criticize the Ustasa, but in mild terms; it was only at the end, when Allied victory was assured, that Vatican spokesmen came out with clear denunciations. In some instances, Croatian clerics did help Jews. Their main effort was to save the lives of the Jewish partners in mixed marriages, and most of these did in fact survive. The church also extended help to the Zagreb Jewish community in providing food, medicines and clothing for Jews in the concentration camps."
"Overnight, a pseudolegal expropriation drive was launched, which before long turned into an unbridled countrywide campaign of plunder and pillage in which everyone who stood to profit took part -- trade unions, youth organizations, sports clubs, the armed forces, and government officials of all ranks. Ordinary citizens also took part in this campaign wherever they could; indeed, the share of 'private' elements in the plunder was enormous -- at least half of the property of which the Jews were robbed apparently never reached the state treasury but remained in the hands of individual Croatians. According to an estimate by the Ministry of Finance published in 1944, the value of the Jewish property it acquired was 25 billion dinars ($50 million, according to the prewar rate of exchange). Presenting the state budget for the 1942-1943 fiscal year, the minister of finance, Vladimir Kosak, said that the deficit would be covered by proceeds from the sale of Jewish property."
9. "How the US State Department Misuses Washington's
Holocaust Museum to Market Holocaust Denial,"
10. "JASENOVAC, the largest concentration and extermination
camp in CROATIA."
Jasenovac was in fact a complex of several subcamps, in close proximity to each other, on the bank of the Sava River, about 62 miles (100 km) south of Zagreb. The women's camp of Stara Gradiska, which was farther away, also belonged to this complex."
11. Dr. Efraim Zuroff,
"Ethnic hostilities prevent truth from being told about Jasenovac,"
December 5, 2006,
12. "Far more than shameless." A Survivor Talks About
Croatia's 'Museum' at Jasenovac
[Editor's note: This is a MUST read. In fact, the entire article on www.Emperors-Clothes.com is important.]
The exhibition falsely cuts the number of people murdered at Jasenovac and trivializes the genocide against the Serbs.
Tisma [A Survivor]: "At another place, just by chance, I noticed a panel which claims that sixty-nine thousand people perished in the Jasenovac death camp. That's a fraction of the real number. The Serbs are presented seventh on the list of groups that were killed, after others, such as Slovenes and Slovaks, who in fact comprised a small percentage of the victims and who were killed because of politics, not because of their ethnicity, whereas hundreds of thousands of Serbs were murdered in an attempt to eliminate the Serbian people."
"JASENOVAC: The largest concentration and extermination camp in
Croatia. It was set up in 1941 and functioned until 1945.Some 600,000
people were murdered there. In 1945, the remaining prisoners were
killed and the camp was blown up to hide the evidence of mass murder."
"THE SUPPRESSED HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST IN CROATIA."
Jared Israel, Introductory Note.
Samantha Criscione, Editor
For the first time on the Internet, the article "Croatia"
transcribed from Yad Vashem's Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; also
from the same source, the article "Jasenovac," on Croatia's main
Starts at http://emperors-clothes.com/croatia/encr.htm#I
Second Installment: Menachem Shelah, "Croatia,"
http://www.emperors-clothes.com/croatia/encr.htm#II, on Croatia, the state established by the Germans and Italians during World War 2.
Third Installment: Menachem Shelah, "Jasenovac," http://www.emperors-clothes.com/croatia/encr.htm#III. Jasenovac was the largest concentration and extermination camp in Croatia.
Jared Israel, "Holocaust Denial on Display,"
PROPAGANDA AT ITS BEST
Emperor's Clothes Website
In August 1992, millions of people were shocked to see photographs of a supposed Bosnian Serb death camp.
You may recall those pictures. Taken by the British news station, ITN, they focused on Fikret Alic, the emaciated-looking man on the left. The mass media broadcast these pictures as supposed proof that Alic and the other Muslim men in the pictures were imprisoned behind barbed wire in a Serbian death camp.
The pictures were broadcast worldwide. Twenty minutes after they were shown on US Television, President George Bush Sr. held a press conference to announce harsh new US measures against the Serbs.
But the death camp story was a lie. The ITN crew had filmed from inside a fenced-in storage area. By shooting through the fence (composed of chicken wire with strands of barbed wire on top) ITN created footage that gave the impression that the Bosnian men were imprisoned. With a little editing, this footage was turned into pictures that gave the impression of a death camp.
By fortunate coincidence, a Serbian TV crew accompanied ITN that day, filming the same things that ITN filmed and sometimes filming the ITN crew. Using footage shot by the Serbs, Judgment! proves that the people in the famous ITN pictures were refugees. Curious to see a film crew (not to mention one that had set up shop inside a tumble-down storage area) the refugees wandered over, leaned on the scraggly fence, chatted and joked with the ITN reporters. Judgment! shows, step by step, how ITN took this innocent footage and edited it to create the phony death camp pictures.
The "death camp" pictures were used to demonize the Serbian people as "new Nazis" and justify devastating economic sanctions and NATO military intervention, including bombing the civilian population, in Yugoslavia.
Get a copy of Judgment! If after viewing the film you don't think we proved our case, return the film and we will refund your money.
If we are wrong, you lose nothing. But if we are telling the truth - and we are -- then the media has created fictional news to justify the destruction of multiethnic Yugoslavia.
Judgment! is based on footage edited by Mihajlo and Petar
Ilic of Ilke Productions, who have graciously permitted Emperor's
Clothes to use their work to produce this film for an English-speaking
audience. Order information is available at:
This article appeared February 8, 2007 in Arutz-Sheva
Jared Israel is the Editor of the Emperor's New Clothes website, dedicated to analyzing patterns of lies by the media and political figures.
This article appeared February 8, 2007 in Arutz-Sheva
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