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Find the strength and responsibility to answer this question: WHY HAVE YOU DONE THAT TO US?

Милан Басташић

The Croatian political leadership marked the European Day of Remembrance of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, in their Croatian way. It was Jazovka first and then Jadovno.

Serbs were insulted and the diplomatic representatives and the international public deluded. With great explanations of how it has civilization and historical value (of which Europe reminded them), they said that after seventy years they came to the pit Jazovka on Žumberak into which the Partisans, upon their arrival in Zagreb in 1945, threw the wounded Croatian Home Guard soldiers and Ustashas, after taking them from Zagreb hospitals.This was supposed to evoke sympathy in the diplomatic corps when they failed to mention that the Ustashas killed here were captured by Partisans in the attack on Krašić. For many years, that was the only interpretation of the Partisan action. The story of the wounded soldiers is of a newer date.

First, everyone went to commemorate Jazovka, even though the mass monstrous crime committed by Croatian Ustashas at Jadovno, which was two hundred times greater, took place five years before Jazovka. The first impression is important, it has its meaning even with diplomats – so they thought, it might work. Two photographs were taken there and, most likely, iconography was carefully chosen. When places of execution are mentioned,

and historiography is referred to, then certain principles should be adhered to. The events on Jazovka and Jadovno are not the same and there are no equalising parameters, especially when calling on reverence for the victims. In history, causes and effects have their place and a “timetable” of events, which the Croatian aggression against the truth and the revision of the truth systematically ignore and take out of all contexts.

In an article, it was stated that the commemorative procession was also at Jadovno, but there was no photograph. The mentioned order of visits to places of execution and the attitude toward the site Jadovno is a great and reasonable insult to the living descendants of the victims of the Ustasha camps Gospić, Jadovno, island of Pag (Slana and Metajna).

If someone was comfortable with the presence of the military part of the commemoration (Minister of War Veterans and the Commander of the Croatian Ground Army), for us, descendant Serbs, it was an insult and a regrettable action on behalf of the victims. Because, at the time, those victims were killed by official uniformed people and with weapons and tools of Croatian state authorities. To make the cynicism even greater, the present Minister of War Veterans and the Commander of the Croatian Ground Army, who both got their positions in the civil war on Croatian territory, by actions of soldiers they led, were no less militant than those militants in Jadovno and Jazovka. We, the many descendants of victims in Jadovno and World War II in Croatia, perceive that cynicism as a grave and deliberate insult of the organizers of these commemorations.

No less of an insult was endured in various ways by witnesses and descendants of several thousand of killed and hundreds of thousands of banished Serbs, who were also thoroughly looted using brutal methods, in the civil war which took place in this region between 1991 and 1995. Certainly, by a no less militant Croatian army than the aforementioned army in 1941 – 1945.

Now, someone from the invited and uninvited Croatian institutions will say, nonchalantly as President Josipović did, that this is watering and a desire to, from those place of execution, sprout. . . That is simply an audacious and inappropriate refusal of the Croatian political leadership to take responsibility for the calamitous past of Croatia and Serbs in it in the 20th century.

Find the strength and responsibility to answer this question: WHY HAVE YOU DONE THAT TO US? Only admit that you had done that and then repeated it. Because that is the only way to reconciliation. Everything else, like this inappropriate commemoration, are delays with attempts to conceal and diminish the truth, which is, as you know and see, an ungrateful task.

The entire Croatian aggression against the truth about known events is quite understandable. Genocide, atrocities and the number of execution sites and victims are so great that it is hard to acknowledge them, and your only (temporary) hope is that the world cannot really comprehend and believe such deeds.

The following was posted on the Facebook profile of the President of Croatia concerning the Day of Remembrance of victims: “We cannot change history, but we must learn from it.” Nicely put, and it is a very bold statement because its author knows very well what children learn in official textbooks, especially history textbooks.

In the context of learning from history, I have to mention one of a number of “historical truths” of the President of Croatia, such as the one stated when Croatia joined the European Union. The largest, most powerful anti-fascist movement in enslaved Europe was the resistance of Croatian people! The President of Croatia stated that without flinching, let alone blushing, even though he knows the real truth. I would be lying if I said that this was anything else but an outright lie.

The President knows very well that, starting in April 1941, after tens of thousands

of massacred Serbs across NDH, on 27th July, Serbs of Lika and Drvar stood up to the further planned and organised slaughter of Serbs by the Independent State of Croatia. That compelled resistance grew strongly and remained monoethnic, Serbian, with very few and honorable exceptions until the second half of 1943. The same was true in Herzegovina and Bosnia.

Well, President, here’s to your and Croatian teaching of history!

Regardless of everything known in history, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament  presented the following idea: Commemorations like the one today at Jazovka should become a tradition for all victims of totalitarian regimes! Then, the individual who came out as a hero after the civil war, the Head of the Government Committee stated: Jazovka and Jadovno are two symbols which have divided the Republic of Croatia for all these years. We would like to commemorate them from a historical and humane aspect and everything beyond that is a matter for the State Attorney and the police!

All things considered, everyone there agreed that executors, bloody Croatian mercenaries and their victims, among which Serbs were by far greatest in number, should be equalised. A well known formula of the totalitarian Franjo Tuđman! I must, rightly, say that this shameful and disrespectful idea of the Croatian state officials deeply offends all victims of the totalitarian NDH and its militant army – Ustashas.

Regarding Jadovno and Jazovka (I hereby officially apologise to the standpoint of Croatian state leaders at commemorations for, unlike them, putting Jadovno before Jazovka!) as a symbol of a deep division in the Republic of Croatia for “all these years”, it is unclear which years, what deep division and a division between who.

It is simply horrible, unheard of in the world in its cruelty, that the first mass place of execution of innocent Serbian and Jewish civilians and Jewish families, actually, a entire system of Ustasha camps called “Jadovno”, came out of anonymity for the population of Croatia, Yugoslavia and the world only in 2007 when the two-volume book “Jadovno” by Professor Dr Đuro Zatezalo was published. Immediately after that, a Citizens Association – comprising of descendants and honourers of the victims of the system of Ustasha camps Gospić, Jadovno and island Pag was founded with its main office in Banjaluka.

Upon the initiative of this association and in cooperation with the Serb National Council in Zagreb and the Diocese of Gornji Karlovac, the first commemoration and memorial service for the victims of NDH camps was held, with great attendance of descendants and honourers of Jadovno victims. In the following year, the Association organized the First International Conference “Jadovno ’41” and the second commemoration at the pit Šaranova Jama with international

participation and a memorial service.

That year, 24th June was determined to become the official Memorial Day of Jadovno, and on the island of Pag the previously broken memorial plaque was restored, only to be broken the following day. In 2012, after the memorial service and commemorative program at the pit Šaranova Jama, around 200 honourers of the victims carried a consecrated cross to the site of the camp Jadovno, 6-7 kilometres from Šaranova Jama, where they placed it and an Orthodox priest consecrated it. The commemoration was attended by around 2000 people, about the same as previous years.

The Croatian state heads were at all commemorations and one year the President of the Republic attended it.

On 2013, some reactions from Croatian officials could be heard. They were reflected in obstructing the efforts of the Association to organise a memorial service and commemoration, as in previous years. There were serious hindrances of descendants and honourers who were coming from Serbia, Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina through border crossings in the Republic of Srpska. A large number of descendants who wanted to visit the location of the camp on the island of Pag were hampered to go there and attend the placing of a memorial plaque, which was previously shattered.

This one was, for the third time, broken only after a few days.

To date, a large number of presentations of the Proceedings of the Round Table “Jadovno ‘41” with the slogan “Moje Jadovno” were held, including the Holocaust Memorial Park in New York.

It turns out that “Jadovno ‘41” could not have been the cause of deep divides in the Republic of Croatia for all these years since it had been anonymous for seventy years and it is well known why.

The best example of such a large Croatian execution site of, firstly, innocent Serbian and also Jewish and Roma civilians and entire families was Jasenovac.

Despite all the efforts and concrete actions of Croatian and even Yugoslav authorities until the end of the sixties to “neglect” it, failed to hide Jasenovac. Even though it was a forerunner of Jasenovac, it was easier with Jadovna. It is evident that, now, the Croatian leadership, together with certain institutions, is alarmed because of the disclosure to another homo sapiens about the incomprehensible mass atrocities of the Croatian homo sapiens.

Upset gentlemen, you should refrain from interfering with victims’ descendants paying reverence to the victims. Much has been revealed to the world about Jadovno in the last four years. Let’s hope that truth will be contributed by research announced at the commemorations which are the subject of this article.

In the presence of Croatian leadership it is unbefitting, in such sad places, that some unknown man determines who of the descendants of innocent victims can and who cannot come, here or there, to “inappropriate” places of execution, these “inappropriate” graves, such as karst pits around Jadovno.


This article is presented at:


19-20. MAY 2014.


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