The initial high estimates of the Second World War casualties were calculated with the
purpose of depicting Yugoslavia's great contribution and in order to form a basis for
large reparation, which has not been accomplished. The aforementioned estimates and
concealment of the casualty listings from 1946 and 1964, incited Serbian and Croatian
extremists to debate about the number of Jasenovac victims, as well as the massacred
people at Bleiburg and the so- called Way of the Cross ( Death Marches ). After Marshal
Tito's death, the Serbian extremists were more obstinate in claiming that 700,000, and
even one million people (mainly Serbians) were killed in the Jasenovac camp only. This
formed the basis for accusing the Croatian nation of having a genocidal character,
although during 13 centuries of living together, a major slaughter or extermination
between Croatians and Serbians never occurred*.
The extraordinary conditions were created under the German occupation. German forces
organized camps in all its occupied territories, therefore also in Nedic's collaborating
state of Serbia, where 14,000 Jews from Serbia Proper, Banat and Srijem were killed on the
execution localities in Jajinci and in mobile gas chambers, mainly until spring of 1942,
while in May 1943, on the explicit request by the Germans, 1,700 Jews from Zagreb, and
2,500 from the rest of Croatia were taken to the notorious concentration camp in
Auschwitz. 1,200 Jews from mixed marriages survived in Zagreb.
Citing from the publication Banjica, (published by the Historical Archives and Kultura
from Belgrade, 1987), in late 1943 and early 1944, 68,000 bodies were exhumed and burned,
while 1,400 remained unburned. The difference is only in the fact that in Serbia the
majority of the victims were killed in the execution locations in Jajinci, and the
minority in camps (Banjica, Loznica, Sabac, and others), while in the NDH the largest
number of victims were executed in the Jasenovac camp, and in pits (Jadovno and others). A
large number of people were killed in the villages, during the battles between Ustashas
and Partisans. The villages were conquered many times by both sides, mainly in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the major battles were led between 1942 and 1945. Battles were
led in the territory of Serbia only in the Autumn of 1941, and after October 1944, when
Belgrade was liberated.
While after the Second World War nobody accused Nedic's Serbian Guard, police,
informants and agents, whose assistance was used by the Germans in their arrests and
killings, a fierce Serbian wrath was pointed at the Ustashas who performed executions in
Jasenovac and other places mostly by themselves (which every civilized human being must
condemn as a grave crime). Of course, there were crimes committed by Chetniks, but to a
However, the escalation of the attacks by Serbian extremists, and claims that at least
700,000 (and later over one million) Serbians were killed in the Jasenovac camp, provided
a basis for accusing the Croatian nation of having a genocidal character. This, finally,
was used as a moral excuse for waging the war against Croatia. However, it is obvious from
the described mani- pulations with the number of the casualties of war, and with actual
Serbian and other losses, established on the basis of original documents, that this
imaginary idea was created in order to accomplish the plans already outlined in the
Nacertanije(Design) by Ilija Garasanin, and announced at Gazimestan (Kosovo) in 1989 at
the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the Kosovo battle. On that occasion, Slobodan
Milosevic declared that he will use all institutional, non-institutional, and even
military means in order to create a state where all Serbians will live together, which
brought about the present situation.
It is hoped that involvement on the part of the world powers (UN) and the European
community (EC) will bring about a just and peaceful solution to the crisis in the
territory of the former Yugoslavia, and enable us to enjoy economic and cultural
prosperity in the European family of states in the near future.
One should also believe that the Serbians in Croatia, who have lived in these
territories for more than four centuries, will realize that they are not endangered in a
community with Croatians. They especially should not be afraid that any form of genocide
could occur, because they themselves know best that during the Second World War a large
number of Croatians stood at their defense, and that they, along with Serbians,
contributed to the National Liberation War, and even prevented a larger number of victims.
It should be mentioned that the regular Croatian Army (Domobrani) also helped with their
passive role and even by logistic support to the partisan units.
It should be noted that vengeance for the crimes committed by the Ustashas was executed
immediately after the war, with the terrible massacres at Bleiburg and during the
so-called Way of the Cross (Death Marches), when many innocent opponents of the Communist
regime were also killed. Therefore, enacting vengeance against the Croatians, with whom
the Serbians in Croatia have peacefully lived for the past 45 years, could not be excused,
neither morally nor politically.
After the artificially created euphoria is over, and once peace is established, all
reasonable and objective Serbians will -- I strongly believe -- realize that their common
life with Croatians, in a state with a prosperous economic future, is the most acceptable
solution for them.
Zagreb, April 27, 1992