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18 May,2015.
Croatia: Bleiburg Massacres Victims Still Hostages Of Communist Ideology
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic At Bleiburg
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic At Bleiburg Massacres monument 14 May 2015
Photo: Office of the President, Croatia


Croatian media sources say some 30,000 and Austrian sources say some 50,000 people gathered at the Bleiburg field in Austria on Saturday 16 May 2015 to bow and pay respects to the post-WWII victims of heinous communist crimes.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the terrible deaths suffered at the hands of the communists who still hide their crimes by rubbing shoulders with the allies and the allied efforts to bring freedom and democracy to nations of Europe.

After WWII ended, in May 1945, several hundreds of thousands of Croats – unarmed soldiers of the WWII Independent State of Croatia and civilians – made their way out of Croatia wanting to surrender to the allies but were murdered after the British army refused to accept the surrender and turned them over to Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslav army. A large number were slaughtered in the Bleiburg field itself and many died in the following months on marches across Croatia and Yugoslavia – known as the Way of the Cross.

While none of Croatia’s government top-ranking figures were present in Bleiburg on Saturday, as for instance they were at Jasenovac in April, the leader of the parliamentary opposition – Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ, Tomislav Karamarko, was and so were many political and church leaders, including Cardinal Josip Bozanic, the Archbishop of Zagreb.



cardinal Josip Bozanic at Bleiburg
Centre: Cardinal Josip Bozanic at Bleiburg 16 May 2015 / Photo: Zarko Basic/Pixsell

Seventy years ago, a large part of Europe and the world celebrated liberation from totalitarian ideologies of evil, and what Croatia remembers about May 1945 are horrible massacres, crimes against humanity committed under the symbol of the five-pointed star,” said Bozanic at Bleiburg.

The cardinal recalled that in 1945, unlike Western Europe, in Croatia and some other central and east European countries one totalitarian regime was replaced by another totalitarian regime and that Nazi-fascism was replaced by communism.

For us, the establishment of the communist totalitarian system meant the beginning of new persecutions, imprisonment and killing of innocent people; pits and foibas (sinkholes) and mass graves that have not been located and investigated yet testify to that,” said Bozanic.

It’s finally the time that those responsible for these terrible victims are named…Croatian social-democracy will never be a true social-democracy until it distances itself from the crimes of Josip Broz Tito, only when they do that will the Croatian Left be born,” said Tomislav Karamarko at Bleiburg.

Front: Tomislav Karamarko,  Leader of the Opposition/HDZ At Bleiburg 16 May 2015 Photo: hrt.hr
Front: Tomislav Karamarko, Leader of the Opposition/HDZ At Bleiburg 16 May 2015
Photo: hrt.hr

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović travelled alone to Bleiburg, to Macelj and to Tezno (all a handful from hundreds of mass graves or communist mass murder sites) on Wednesday 13 May, to pay her respects away from the media attention. She laid wreaths and bouquets of flowers, with the following words on her mind and her lips:
The end of the Second world war and the victory over Nazism, to which the Croatian people significantly contributed, also marked the beginning of one of the most tragic chapters in Croatian history. In just a few post-war months multitudes of captured soldiers and civilians were either murdered or perished from torture and exhaustion…While showing respect to the victims of the Way of the Cross at Bleiburg, in Tezno and Macelj, I have a moral duty to condemn the regime that persecuted and murdered people. A crime is a crime and it cannot be justified by any ideology.”


Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic at mass grave Tezno 15 May 2015 Photo: Cropix

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic at mass grave Tezno 15 May 2015 / Photo: Cropix

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said and Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic paid their respects to the victims of the Way of the Cross marches on Friday 15 May in Tezno. Crimes committed by Communists at the end of World War II have stained “a just fight” and Croatia today condemns all crimes committed in the name of any ideology, Milanovic and Leko said.

The past cannot be changed, but for the sake of new generations, crimes committed in the name of any ideology must be condemned, Parliament Speaker Leko said.

I came here for the people who were killed at the end of a war. This is a tragic, horrible event, which puts a stain on a just fight and one should not run from it, nor do I run from it. I am here as Croatia’s prime minister and statesman,” Croatia’s Prime Minister said before laying a wreath at the site.

What a shame Milanovic did not bother to make as lengthgy a speech at Tezno as he did less than a month ago at Jasenovac! But then again, if he were ready to make a speech at Tezno or any other communist crimes mass grave site he would have to condemn his beloved communist regime as loudly as he condemned the pro-Nazi regime at Jasenovac. That of course, is not yet to be – sadly – but perhaps these words spoken at Tezno suggest former communists and today’s followers of the communist Yugoslavia leading criminal Josip Broz Tito, such as Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, are making small steps towards full condemnation of horrific crimes committed in the name of communism? It’s difficult to say because all of that red gang stays away from Bleiburg – most likely because it has become a worldwide, reciognisable, symbol of communist Yugoslavia and Tito terror and murderous rampage against humanity and human rights.

The topic of Bleiburg massacres and those along “the Way of the Cross”, where communist death camps grew like mushrooms after rain, was a taboo in communist Yugoslavia. Exact records of numbers that perished have not surfaced as yet, not even the number of civilians, and one is well justified in saying Tito’s communists buried them. However, if one considers the fact that towards the end of WWII the government of Ante Pavelic’s Independent Croatia united or blended into one army the Ustashi (Nazi-collaborating forces) and the Home Guard forces (defenders of Croatian territory from internal and external enemies), thus reaching the number of over 100,000 soldiers, that sources say at least 80% of them had followed the order to retreat, it’s likely that those retreating unarmed soldiers took at least 60,000 civilians with them as they reached Bleiburg. It’s important to note that, towards the end of WWII, while many Home Guards were united into the state army with the Ustashi, quite a number of them defected into the communist Partisan forces and there were also many who wanted nothing to do with either Ustashi or the Partisans, and if captured by either were executed. Further hundreds of thousands more were murdered along the years of Tito’s communist purges and Bleiburg symbolises these deaths as well.

These heinous crimes committed at Bleiburg and along “the Way of the Cross” at the end of WWII and after it, had taken away every right from Tito’s communists to call themselves antifascists. Unlike with other antifascist movements in Europe, these crimes committed by the “antifascist” communists removed any chance of democracy Croatia might have had after WWII. Using the legitimacy of antifascist fight (“the good fight”) Yugoslav communists had established a murderous totalitarian regime and a dictatorship.

The Bleiburg tragedy especially serves as a political jumping-board because it has not been closed, it has left many questions unanswered, especially those to do with murder and extermination of innocent people and why Tito’s communists decided to treat the Home Guards the same as they treated the Ustashi, those responsible for the running of the Holocaust concentration camps. Most Ustashi leaders had fled to South America after WWII, were not among the masses of civilians and soldiers murdered at Bleiburg – who, in this terrible way, were made to carry the full burden and pay for all the crimes committed by the Ustashi regime. The victims of Bleiburg paid with their lives without knowing what it was that they had done!

This injustice continues to this day and it’s a problem of ideological dispute in the daily politics of Croatia; this problem is a much bigger problem than the actual murderous event of Bleiburg 1945. The innocent victims of communist crimes have still not received the full recognition and afforded the full piety they deserve because today’s government and left-winged political elites have monumental difficulties in separating innocent victims from the political ideology others pin them to or the murders from the political ideology that sees communism as force for freedom.

Bleiburg massacres were not revenge killings by communist or antifascists against “fascist” regime of WWII – they were murder of innocent Croatian people.

These murdered victims are held hostage before our very own 21st century eyes by the former communists or the so-called antifascists who keep saying murder of innocent people was justified because “fascism was bad and antifascism was the good fight”. Today’s “antifascists” of Croatia derive their reasoning from the former totalitarian communist regime and are in some ways marked or branded by the same totalitarian regime (that is the case with all who subscribe to or are affected by any totalitarian regime). Their daily political discourse is essentially an ideological conflict that makes them enemies of Croatian national interests, not merely members of political parties that make up what is supposed to be a healthy political discourse that will move the nation closer to fairness and full democracy. The innocent victims of the Holocaust, of camp Jasenovac… have never been treated in such horrid ways as victims of communist crimes have been and the only way to justice is that the political elites subscribing to the glorification of Tito’s antifascists make a radical shift in their thinking and turn towards actual human justice – not appalling and meritless political justification.

by Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd) /HIC

 







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