Takeover of power

Datum objave: nedelja, 11 jula, 2010
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Veličina slova: A- A+

In order to find solid data on where, when and how the Pag Ustasha link with the organization of the concentration camp on SLANA started, just as the cunning schemes and scarce words through which these organizers are avoiding confession leave us without more simple data, we need to take a look at circumstances under which Ustashas took over power in Pag on June 10, 1941 (mayor, camp commander, commissioner).

“Nedjelja” (Sunday) an Ustasha newspaper in its May and June 1941 issue featured a letter from the clergyman we mentioned before, the Ustasha organizer, Josip Felicinović, who wrote, in detail, about those (war) days of April as well as later days – establishment of the Ustasha authority in Pag. All the quotes in this section were taken from his two letters titled “Last breath of Yugoslavia in Pag” and “Great celebration in Pag” with his signature: Jofe (Josip Felicinović. In the book we give these letters in facsimile).

Haron i sudbine

“… Soldiers were mostly lazing around on the square in Pag until the day when the Independent State of Croatia was proclaimed, and then, at that very moment, they gathered at the town square in went in combat gear to positions all over the island, in Košljun, on Glavica, near Gorica, in Šimuna, in Novalja, etc. Machineguns were placed even on the terrace of the Miović house, to fight the air force…”

…”From that moment our captains were in my house late at night, because lieutenant Oršanic was under surveillance. The Ustasha Croats on Pag found out which of the officers were completely reliable Ustashas, which were suspicious, and which are dangerous. One of them had a radio hidden in a case so he could listen to orders from the Poglavnik (Head of State, Ante Pavelić) and Ustashas from abroad. Ms Tina Kuštić, a passionate supporter of our movement, has been generously listening to the radio and relayed all news to me, some of which I listened to personally, trying to avoid dangerous gendarmes and Serbian officers, which thought I was suspicious. Young Croatian Ustashas would meet at my home late at night and listen to the developments… So we were ready for the new events…”

Haron i sudbine

We need to mention here that Felicinović called all officers who resisted Ustashas Serbian officers, and also that Glik that we mention here, just as sergeant Marković, saw through Ustashas’ deception very quickly and joined the People’s Liberation Struggle (NOB).

On that day they forced the Head of Pag Municipality, Jure Jukić, a member of the Croatian Peasant’s Party (HSS), to hand over the authority and to “tell the Serbian military authorities that Croatia is free and that they should surrender”.

Great celebration in Pag

Every honest inhabitant of Pag was happy to hear that, according to the Roman Conventions, the Island of Pag was the only one of out northern islands to remain within Mother Croatia. On Saturday, May 24, the secretary of the Crusaders Sisterhood, Nevenka Rucher, came to my flat around 11 o’clock very cheerful. She came to tell me that g. Crljenko from Senj had sent a message he would be coming to Pag as a commissioner of Mr Interior Minister. Accompanied by Ustasha Ivica Palčić we left Pag at half past three and departed for Karlobag. When we came around the St. Kristopher Cape we spread the Croatian flag. We watched with love and warm national feelings this beautiful flag that was flying freely over our Croatian sea, after it had been humiliated for a month and had not been allowed in public all over the island or on our boats.

In Karlobag many curious people greeted us on the quay, surprised that a boat should come from Pag with the Croatian flag. Mr. Crljenko was on the quay, and he immediately showed me, full of delight, the decree from the Ministry of Interior signed by His Excellence Dr. Artuković, naming Mr. Crljenko the Civilian and Military Commissioner of the Island of Pag and requesting from the occupying Italian force to surrender the island to him.

At the Post Office we took all mail for Pag. After over a month there was around 170 kilos of mail. We telephoned to Gospić, great Governor Mr Frković, and told him the happy news. After that we went to Pag, happy, cheerful, touched, flying the Croatian tricolour.

ARRIVAL. A large group of people greeted us on the coast in Pag, after we had come across a boat of degenerates who had been fleeing to the island of Rab afraid of our authority. The people cheered to Dr. Pavelić and to Croatia. Together with the commissioner we went to see the commander of the occupying authority who met as at his study, surrounded by his officers. We conducted the takeover there and immediately went to the municipal building in order to raise the Croatian Ustasha flag for the first time. The flag was 5 metres long, made by Mrs Vica Matić. Standing on the balcony of the municipal building reverend Felicinović read the Ministry’s decree on naming Mr Crljenko the civilian and military commissioner and that all should obey him. After that the commissioner greeted the people, and while everyone was singing “OUR BEAUTIFUL” (Croatian anthem), the Croatian flag was slowly rising on the municipal flagpole. In front of the municipal building lined up were: the Crusaders, Heroes, Ustashas, gendarmes, customs guards, school boys and girls waving small Croatian flags. After the anthem was sung the people, happy and full of joy for the moment they lived to see, quietly dispersed over town streets, while Croatian flags started to decorate the houses.

A GREAT DAY OF NATIONAL FREEDOM. The unforgettable day in the history of Pag, Sunday, May 25 came. At 5 o’clock the Croatian town band started playing Croatian patriotic songs all over the streets. At 6 o’clock the Croatian tricolour was raised on the flagpole on the coast. All Croatian organizations were lined up there, and while “OUR BEAUTIFUL” was playing, the flag was being raised and everyone saluted. Every house had a flag, large, small, decorating every window, hundreds and thousands of them. As never before, Pag was overwhelmed by the sea of Croatian flags. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

At 8 o’clock, in front of the church, led by the town band, a colossal parade numbering several thousand people started to form. This was a music parade that Pag had not seen before. School boys and girls with flags and roses in their hands, numerous banners, Crusaders with hats and some in uniforms, Crusader women, Heroes, Croatian Workers Union, clerks, local residents, men, girls, women, all of them marching around the town to the main square where they lined up in circles. In the middle rev. Felicinović held a ceremonial speech in which he briefly reported on the work done for the liberation of Croatia and enormous contribution made by Poglavnik to have Easter come to free and independent Croatia. He showed how Poglavnik has sympathies for workers, proven by his gift of 100 million dinars for workers houses and declaring May 1 a bank holiday. Then he showed how Poglavnik loved the young people. He spoke to mothers and told them to be worthy of the name, and then thanked all for helping Ustashas to liberate Croatia.

Then sailor Ustasha Ivica Palčić spoke.

After that the crowd of 4000 people shouted “Our Beautiful” and the morning ceremony was over. “We Praise Thee Oh Lord” was to be held on the Pentecost Sunday. Ministry Commissioner Jure Crljenko sent on behalf of the people the following telegram:

“In a great moment in history when I took over the command of the island of Pag in your name, for it to be a part of our dear Croatia, the delighted people are grateful to you for this great act of liberation and express their eternal love and loyalty. For homeland, ready! Commissioner Crljenko.

All over the town the Ustasha leaders put up posters reading:

“People of Pag! Thank God’s providence! It is the dawn of a wonderful day in Croatian independence in a moment when we celebrate 1300 year from our conversion into Christianity. We owe our gratitude for having an independent Croatian state to the sacrifice and work of our Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelić and his loyal Ustashas.

From May 20 our dear island Pag, a favourite among our northern Adriatic islands, remained within its martyr mother Croatia. These are great days in the history of Croatian people. Let us all go to work to build a new Croatia.

Rejoice people, especially you Worker, because Poglavnik is your great friend and benefactor. You too Croatian youth, continue being the guardian of our better future. May the Almighty raise our Poglavnik and give him long life for the happiness and prosperity of Faith and Homeland.

Long live the Independent State of Croatia!

Long live Poglavnik and sovereign Dr. Ante Pavelić!

For Homeland, ready!

Ustasha leadership in Pag

Pag, May 24, 1941.

Reverend Felicinović also sent a long letter to Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelić in the name of people of the town and island of Pag, clergy, clerks, teachers, schoolchildren, workers in the salt pan, Crusaders and Heroes, thanking him for the great act of liberation. He also told him he would continue to develop Croatian Crusader youth in religious, educational, national and social aspects so that they could continue to be an unbreakable pillar of faith! To God and Croatia!

 

Last breaths of Yugoslavia on Pag

With the mobilization, the island of Pag looked like an enormous military camp, and the commander was a local Serb, Captain Bogunović. The boys’ school in Pag became the main barracks, and the house of Count Portado the Headquarters. The Croatian Centre became a dormitory for the troops and ammunition storage. The soldiers were mostly lazing around on the square in Pag until the day when the Independent State of Croatia was proclaimed, and then, at that very moment, they gathered at the town square and went in combat gear to positions all over the island, in Košljun, on Glavica, near Gorica, in Šimuna, in Novalja, etc. Machineguns were placed on the terrace of the Miovic house, to fight the air force.

USTASHA ORGANIZATION

I was exiting the church and a young lieutenant greeted me with a feeling of attachment. Later on we got acquainted. It was Mr. Oršanić and his surname was enough for us to become close friends (at first I thought he was the brother of professor and Minister Ivan Oršanić, but they were only distant relatives). From that moment our captains were in my house late at night, because lieutenant Oršanić was under surveillance. The Ustasha Croats on Pag found out which of the officers were completely reliable Ustashas, which were suspicious, and which were dangerous: the Ustasha officers were ORŠANIĆ, RUKAVINA, PAVIČIĆ, GRANDOVEC and JERGOVIĆ. One of them had a radio hidden in a case so he could listen to orders from Poglavnik and Ustashas from abroad. Ms Tina Kuštić, a passionate supporter of our movement, had been generously listening to the radio and relayed all news to me, some of which I listened to personally, trying to avoid dangerous gendarmes and Serbian officers, which thought that I was suspicious. Young Croatian Ustashas would meet at my home late at night and listen to the developments. Reverend Stipanov in Vlasica on Pag would also listen to the radio news and inform officers and troops. So we were ready and enthusiastic for the new events, not only us laymen and priests but also soldiers who were unanimously ready to throw down their arms. So everything and everyone was prepared for the great day.

GREAT HOUR

At five o’clock in the afternoon Mrs Kuštić told me to come and see her and she informed me that a moment ago the Independent State of Croatia had been declared. I heard the joyous news a few moments later on the radio while “Our Beautiful” was playing. We all cried with joy! … and in that moment our soldiers were marching to positions…

Around 8 o’clock in the evening the news on the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia came to Page over the telephone, on April 10. It was the annunciation of General Slavko Kvaternik he sent to post offices. Mr. Glik, post office manager, received the same announcement. The army censor was luckily Ustasha officer Jergović. After the telegram was received other Croatian officers and municipal treasurer Vleić were called into the post office. They made contact with Senj and the Ustasha leadership named Mr Jergović the commander of Pag. With great happiness everyone concluded that Serbian officers would be disarmed, and troops released home. At midnight Lieutenant Oršanić came to see me and asked me to take a carbine rifle, and as the oldest Croatian officer to find eight youngsters in order to capture Serbian officers, gendarmes and customs guards. I replied, while trying to calm myself: “Listen, brother, I am the oldest one amongst you. Let’s not spill Croatian blood for nothing. We are on an island. Croatia is already independent. It does not matter if people find out about it 10 hours sooner or later, and we will save our and other people’s lives. I am asking you as a priest. Listen to me and don’t spill blood needlessly now that Croatia has risen. Don’t ask me to take a rifle to kill people… let me be a priest of Christ’s love and peace… not revenge.” And they obeyed. “If the Serbian officers don’t surrender by tomorrow, then you’ll capture them.” After that they once again went to the post office to see Chief Jukić and ask him to do this difficult duty, to tell the Serbian military authorities that Croatia is free and to surrender. As they discussed this the morning came and the Serbian officers and gendarmes armed themselves with hand grenades. I quickly visited all friendly houses and brought them the good news, that Croatia if free from the Serbs. This joyful news spread across the town and neighbouring villages very quickly.

TRAGIC HOUR

On April 11, in the early morning, when all officers were in the post, post office manager Mr. Glik, together with town commander Bogunović and other officers, stepped forward and read the announcement on the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia. After that the infamous Chetnik officer Benić, who was shot on the run, stepped forward and requested actions to be taken against manager Glik, because it was not true that the Independent State of Croatia had been proclaimed. He ordered Mr. Glik, Jergović and Grednovec to be arrested.

During the questioning Mr. Glik took all responsibility and stated that only he had known about the telegram. Benić requested for Glik to be shot immediately for high treason. But thanks to diplomacy of Sergeant Marković, who was an exemplary Croat, there were no measures taken against the arrestees. At that time the whole of Croatian coast was in Ustashas hands, except for Selce and Pag. Chief Jukić finally told the commander to take over the authority as a Croatian Chief and Serbian commander Bogunović called all Serbian officers and ordered them to surrender to the Croats. So on April 12 in the early morning, without a drop of blood spilt, realizing that they cannot fight back, the Serbian officers stepped down. When the Serbian officers were leaving I went to see Commander Bogunović and told him: “As a Croat and a Catholic priest, I thank you for not letting blood to be spilt. And the town had already been swimming in a sea of Croatian flags. In the church, filled with rapture, happiness and exhilaration I spoke to the people that we needed to feel happy and overwhelmed that after more than eight centuries our travelling Croatian Homeland became an Independent State! Praise the Lord was repeated as many times as there were men and women in the church, in the year in which we celebrate 1300 years since the Croats had converted to Christianity.

In order to save the Croatian State millions in weapons and ammunition, we asked for motor boats to be send from Karlobag and we loaded them with hundreds of rifles, machineguns and other weapons. Later on, that equipment was sent to Gospić in army trucks.

Several days later, on April 17 in the afternoon the Italian occupation of Pag started until May 24.

MARIJA PENIĆ

President of the Crusaders Sisterhood

Daruvar

ALOJZIJE VICKOVIĆ

Crusader

Banja Luka

Married in Daruvar on June 15, 1941

Congratulations.

As they discussed this the morning came. The Serbian officers and gendarmes armed themselves with hand grenades.

On April 11, in the early morning, when all officers were in the post, post office manager Mr. Glik, together with town commander Bogunović and other officers, stepped forward and read the announcement on the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia. After that the infamous Chetnik officer Benić, who was shot on the run, stepped forward and requested actions to be taken against manager Glik, because it was not true that the Independent State of Croatia had been proclaimed. He ordered Mr. Glik, Jergović and Grednovec to be arrested.

This is when Sergeant Marković determined what tactics is to be used: “If the Serbian officers don’t surrender by tomorrow morning, then you’ll capture them.”

Ustashas again exerted pressure on Jukić, there were threats. Jukić received a telephone message from his leadership to surrender the power to them, and he gave in. Persuaded by Jukić “… Serbian commander Bogunović called all Serbian officers and ordered them to surrender to the Croats… realizing that they cannot fight back, the Serbian officers stepped down…” “In order to save the Croatian State millions in weapons and ammunition, we asked for motor boats to be send from Karlobag and we loaded them with hundreds of rifles, machineguns and other weapons. Later on, that equipment was sent to Gospić in army trucks.

If we carefully read and analyze Jofa’s article in the Ustasha newspaper “Sunday” (which we see here in facsimile) we realize that Bogunović is not “the Serbian commander”, but the commander of the Pag Garrison of the Yugoslav Army which had been stationed on the island (Pag) during those war days. Jofe calls “Serbian” each officer that resisted (in a derogatory sense just as he is using insulting words for Partisans!). During the capitulation of Yugoslavia he was very cold and tactful while he was taking the authorities down. In order to achieve his goal, he used his Catholicism and priesthood, and when that failed he quickly made a more “practical” move – cruelty. He left this to his associates. As soon as the act was finished, he very skilfully washed his hands. He quickly forgot his crime: during his, Ustasha takeover of power in Pag, officer Benić resisted. The correspondent of “Sunday”, the chief mastermind of crime, tells the news on Benić’s murder just as a sideline event: “shot on the run”. Which run? Who was he running from when Felicinović was taking over the command? Who of the Felicinović’s guards was given the signal and who killed him?

But he mentions his priesthood and with hypocrisy thanks Bogunović, who was prevented to act because of treason or was scared with the murder! At the same time he waves his “humane” trick in front of Bogunović’s face, he loads a motor boat with rifles, machineguns and ammunition and sends it to Ustashe to Karlobag. In whose name? In the name of his priesthood he tells Bogunović (and us) about, or in the name of Felicinović who is well aware that rifles never fired with a blessing, no matter what justification Jofe uses!

We know very well whose criminal hands these guns reached in whose chest will be filled with lead: certainly not the chest of the occupation force!

Seven days later an Italian company appeared in Pag (April 17) and after a couple days they chased their Ustasha friends from Pag, the same friends that greeted them on the Pag bridge with a bunch of flowers. This lasted until May 24. According to a new agreement between the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and Italy, a handful of local Ustashas, led by Felicinović with security of Italian military authorities, took over the authority with a decree “… of the Ministry of Interior signed by His Excellence Minister Dr. Artuković” as Jofe informed us. He tells us the new commissioner and him “…immediately went to see the commander of the occupying authority who met us at his study, surrounded by his officers. We conducted the takeover there and immediately went to the municipal building… Standing on the balcony of the municipal building reverend Felicinović read the Ministry’s decree on naming Mr Crljanko the civilian and military commissioner and that all should obey him. After that the commissioner greeted the people… Reverend Felicinović held a speech… Reverend Felicinović sent a long letter to Poglavnik Dr. Ante Pavelić…” etc.




Pomozite rad udruženja Jadovno 1941.

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