January 28, 2008
An Open LetterPublished in The American Srbobranand on Serbian websites
Ms. Brenda BrkusicChannel ManagerKOCE-TV17011 Beach Blvd, Suite 1550Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Dear Ms. Brkusic:
Two days before you aired Freedom From Despair, I called KOCE to lodge a complaint. When I asked to whom I should direct my views you said I should give them to you. When I asked your name I discovered you were not only the producer of this film, you were also the station manager. This was like a fox guarding the hen house. I will be lucky if my correspondence makes it to the nearest round file—that is why I have prepared an ‘open letter’ to be published in the Serbian press, placed on Serbian websites, distributed to PBS executives and sent to members of the U.S. House and Senate.
You assured me in our telephone conversation that I “had nothing to be worried about,” because, as you asserted, “your documentary was about your father and his escape from communist Yugoslavia.” That remark was as transparent as glass once I watched the program. Your film was shameless bigoted propaganda. How outrageous that KOCE, a member of PBS, would provide a platform for racism, disinformation, ethnic slander and historical revisionism. This makes a mockery of tax-supported broadcasting.
Your program began with the assertion that, “700 Roman Catholic priests were murdered by the Communist.” Yet you cleverly omitted the fact that in 1945 some 740 Roman priests fled through the “Vatican Ratline” for Argentina. These were war criminal priests who joined the Ustashe and murdered tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies with their own hands and escaped justice—their crimes make the current crop of pedophile Catholic priests pale in comparison.
In 1941, Fr. Ivan Raguz was only one of dozens of Catholic priests who yelled from the pulpit: “Kill all Serbs and Jews, including children, so that not even the seeds of the beast are left.” This was the very foundation, the pretext and the horror of Jasenovac, a sick mentality that exists today in Croatia.
You also omitted any reference that Croatian Nazi collaborators (the overwhelming majority of the population), created the Jasenovac Concentration Camp system, one of the largest camps during the Holocaust, where Croats put to death an estimated 700,000 Serbs, 30,000 Jews and 70,000 Roma gypsies. They also put to death 60 rabbis. You can run from historical accuracy Ms. Brkusic, but you can’t hide! Not a single Croatian war criminal was brought to justice at Nuremberg or since the Holocaust.
“If you cannot kill a Serb or a Jew, you are an enemy of the Croatian State,” were the words uttered by Andrija Artukovic, Minister of the Interior, Independent State of Croatia, 1941. This is the same war criminal who escaped justice by entering the United States dressed as a Roman Catholic priest with a false passport—he remained in the U.S. on a tourist visa for over 3 decades, protected by Catholic circles including Mrs. Dorothy Chandler who owned the Los Angeles Times.
Artukovic was finally extradited in 1986 to stand trial, not for Genocide of a half million Serbs, but for a lesser crime, killing his driver. He was found guilty and died in jail. At his extradition trial, Cardinal Manning of Los Angeles called Artukovic, “A great good man.” That ‘great good man’ put to death hundreds of thousands of people. Michael McAdams in your film testified in Artukovic’s behalf as well—I remember that hearing, I was sitting in the courtroom and the unused jury box was filled with Catholic priests.
I remind you of the words of one of the 87 survivors of Jasenovac, a Croat by the name of Antun Miletich, from his book Concentration Camp Jasenovac, 1941-45. Belgrade, 1986, pg.7:
“There is not a pen capable of describing the horror and terror of the atmosphere at Jasenovac. It surpasses any human fantasy. Imagine Hell, the Inquisition, a terror more dreadful than any that ever before existed anywhere, run by bloodthirsty wild animals whose most hidden and disgusting instincts had come to the surface in a way never before seen in human beings—and still, you have not said enough.”
The Croatian Commission on November 15, 1945 said the following: “…The exact number of victims swallowed by the camp of Jasenovac will never be established, but that on the basis of investigation led by the Commission, it can be concluded that the number of around 500,000 to 600,000 conforms to reality.”
You spout the Nazi party line Ms. Burksic, just like President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia who was quoted in the Jerusalem Post in 1991 as saying: “I am a doubly lucky man, my wife is neither a Serb nor a Jew,” and boasted in 1992: “only about 80,000 Serbs were put to death at Jasenovac.” Most Croats in the U.S. repeat this stupid remark as though liquidating 80,000 people is a proud accomplishment, considering that most of their victims were defenseless women and children.
Your presentation about “Goli Otok,” (The Naked Island) was pure revisionism. That island was used for political prisoners who were hard-liner pro-Soviet or anti-Tito communists—so, if you had a relative on Goli Otok he must have been one or the other. However, most of the prisoners on Goli Otok were Serbs from Lika and Montenegrins and only a few hundred Croats. Your presentation was deliberately misleading. And who cares if Tito spoke a strange dialect? He was a miserable Croatian bastard, and it must eat away at you at not being able to blame this monster on Serbian ethnicity.
One of the best Washington testimonies I found in doing research for my 1991 book, Serbian Genocide 1941-45, (co-written with David Martin and Michael Lees), was by Senator Herbert H. Lehman, New York, October 20, 1951: “For centuries the Serbian people have stood in the Balkans as the bulwark of Christian civilization against invaders and oppressors. As a consequence of their stand, great losses have been inflicted on them in the course of centuries… Genocide in its worst and most destructive form, however, was inflicted upon the Serbs in 1941-45 by the members of the Croatian Fascist movement, the Ustasha. The massacres carried out in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Glina, 1941, belong undoubtedly, to the darkest chapters of human depravity in modern times.”
The Ustashe converted over 500,000 Serbian Orthodox to Catholicism. Those Serbs believe this would save their lives—but it only accelerated their demise as the Nazis were able to discover who the Serbs were among them. On August 21, 1941 in the Serbian church in Glina 1,030 gather for what they believed was yet another forced ‘conversion’ to Catholicism. A baby was baptized and a picture remains as evidence of this hideous war crime. The chief of the Zagreb police, Bozidar Corouski, entered the church and proclaimed: “Now that you are all Roman Catholics, I guarantee you that I can save your souls, but I cannot save your bodies.” The doors were suddenly locked from outside and the Ustashi goons and thugs entered the church and in a macabre fashion slit the throats of 1,029 Serb victims. Only one man survived to tell this grim story, his name was Ljuban Jednak. In 1991, Ljuban was warned that his name appeared on a list of Serbs to be exterminated. His house was shot from all sides one night, but Jednak had already escaped from Croatia and the Balkans. He died in 1997 of natural causes.
Your deception in the production of this film was clear, Ms. Brkusic. You went out of your way to omit that Roman Catholic nuns at Jasenovac used toxic soda to murder over 100,000 Serbian children to save bullets. This was 3 years before the end of WWII and before there was even a thought of a communist regime on which to blame your depraved behavior. So what excuse did the Croatians have for killing their Serbian neighbors? This was “democracy,” Croatian style.
During the current Civil Wars, Croatia murdered thousands of Serbs, destroyed 98 Serbian churches and ethnically cleansed 12% of the Serb population. Less than 4% have been allowed to return in the past dozen years. Of those who have returned, more than half have fled again from continued Croat persecution. You used this film to blame everyone but yourselves for perpetrating such ethnic hatred.
Serbophobia has deep roots in the Croatian people. During the First World War when it became obvious that the Allies would crush the Austrian Empire, Croats fled into the arms of their Serbian enemies like rats fleeing a sinking ship. Serbia, an internationally recognized nation at the Congress of Berlin in 1878 gave up its statehood to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. This shotgun marriage was forced on the Serbs by the major powers. Ungrateful Croats who were vassals of the Austrians for centuries became obstructionists from the outset of the new Balkan state. For over a thousand years there was no such thing as a “Croatian state” in Europe. But once Croats moved in with their Serbian hosts it only took two generations to evict Serbs from land on which they lived since the 15th century. As the Jews say, “What Chutpzah!”
The Serbian Krajina is my ancestral land from the 15th century. The very word Krajina means “Frontier Zone” and it was land granted by the Austrian Empire to the Serbs in exchange for protecting their borders. The Krajina was never part of Croatia until Tito came to power and made that territory a part of the Croat Republic, just like he dictated Albanian autonomy in Kosovo in 1974. Tito went out of his way to destroy any Serb unity and history shows that in spite of Croat and Bosnian claims of “Serbian oppression,” the Serbs ranked 4th place in political positions throughout the Tito regime. Since the turn of the last century Serbs have become a minority in their own country.
When the war started in 1991 the president of Yugoslavia was not Milosevic as most are led to believe—it was Ante Markovic, a Croat who order Serbian troops to attack Croatia, then he resigned, knowing full well what he had unleashed.
Fascism also runs deep in the U.S. Croatian community. In White Plains, New York, the Archbishop Stepinac High School is named for a Croatian Archbishop who was convicted of Holocaust war crimes by the Allies. He was sent to prison for 13 years, then spent the remainder of his life under what amounted to house arrest. The Croat Catholics have convinced the Vatican to make this thug a Catholic Saint. Is there no shame?
The readers of this ‘open letter’ need to be reminded that Serbs were murdered by their Croat neighbors and local Roman Catholic priests who led the lynch mobs. They join with the SS Hanjar the 20,000 strong Muslim Nazi Division in trying to eradicate Serbs from the Balkans. Your film demonstrated an immoral desire to eradicate the truth.
As an example, historical documents disclose that Fr. Miroslav Filipovic Majstorovic, a Franciscan friar, entered the Serbian village of Drakulic on February 7, 1942 under the leadership of the Ustashe. Over 2,300 Serbian adults, mostly women and 551 children were murdered. Would you like a list of their names and ages, Ms. Brkusic?
The torture began by cutting off noses, ears and genitals of these children—body parts that allowed the victims to remain alive for hours through their rape and tortures. The most hideous crime of all was the decapitation of these children—their heads thrown into the laps of their mothers, who, in shocked horror, were then murdered. Pregnant women had their bellies slit open and the fetus removed, a horrific form of death to both mother and child.
Ante Pavelic, who was brought to power by Hitler, set up the First Independent State of Croatia in 1941, a Nazi puppet state where Pavelic set up 34 “summary” courts throughout Croatia that year. He empowered every Croatian to arrest and kill Serbians without being charged with a crime. Any Croat could sit on these so-called “courts,” including former convicts. Mobile court units roamed the countryside in which Serbs were arrested, tried, convicted and hanged—within hours. Hundreds of photographs from this period show thousands of Serbs hanging from trees and light posts throughout Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. How dare you portray Croats as victims? Your film is shocking and appalling exploitation!
Apparently Ms. Brkusic, you never counted on any authors or Balkan historians seeing this visual garbage. In your self-serving effort you were able to raise the $100,000 dollars in the Croatian community to produce this shameful film in an attempt to hoodwink an ignorant American audience.
Croats have shown that they will even steal heroic Serbian figures like Nikola Tesla, by constantly claiming he was a Croatian. A hideous lie as Tesla was the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest. The village in which Tesla was born was in Austria and did not become part of former Yugoslavia until 30 years after Tesla immigrated to the United States where he invented the radio and AC electrical power.
In the village of Vojnic, Croatia where my father was born, 97 Serbs were locked inside their church in 1941 and it was burned to the ground. Seventeen of those victims were my relatives. In 1972, I photographed the remains of that church. President Tudjman had the site bulldozed in 1992 just as he bulldozed the museum and buildings at the Jasenovac Concentration Camp in order to destroy the evidence of their crimes.
If a country cannot own up to its failures then that nation is doomed to repeat them, and Croatia has by creating an ethnically pure state, fulfilling their Nazi dreams.
During “Operation Storm” in August, 1995 when 250,000 Serbs were cleansed from Croatia—the last 5 relatives of my name were too old and too sick to flee. I was notified a month later they were found with their throats slit. In my lifetime, I have been a double victim of Croat inspired Genocide. These immoral crimes against humanity demonstrate the contempt you have for the truth, Ms. Brkusic. Your claim that “Tito killed 10,000 Croats in a decade” was not only a gross exaggeration, it pales in comparison to Croatians killing 700,000 Serbs, 30,000 Jews and 70,000 Roma gypsies for which no one has been held responsible.
I suggest that you visit a library from time to time, if you can read. You might also spend some time in the military archives of the United States and Great Britain before giving us a display of your ignorance and lack of integrity. Your film was an amateurish endeavor that betrayed history at the expense of the Serbs. Be careful Ms. Brkusic, your bigotry and intolerance is showing!
Today there are 1.2 million Serbian refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. That is twice the combine number of Croat and Muslim refugees. So stop the propaganda ploy. It is now quite obvious who excels at ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Balkans. KOCE should be ashamed of participating in this ugly whitewash of history. In whose interest do they work so diligently, it certainly is not historical accuracy?
Just a few days ago on January 23, 2008, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia said it received a written message threatening Serbs and Jews living in Croatia with “extermination.” The message was signed by supporters of ‘Hajduk Split,’ a leading Croatian soccer club. In the past several years Croat fans at soccer games formed a large Swastika with their bodies in the stands and use the Sieg Heil salute. Recently a Neo-Nazi Croat Rock group came to the United States. This group has been ban in several European countries for singing songs that praise the Ustashe regime in Croatia. Therefore, your crocodile tears in this documentary was obviously intended for naïve Americans, most of whom know less about European history then they do their own history.
It has become more than clear that the Croats have established an ethnic and religiously pure Croatian State while you speak of “democracy” with a forked tongue. But this is nothing new. I quote the views of the famous Roman Catholic author, Avro Manhattan who wrote Vatican Imperialism in the 20th Century (1965):
“The lessons we have learned from the emergence of the Independent State of Croatia, where the religious and political totalitarianism of Catholicism was not only made to work, but put to death more than one million Serbian Orthodox Christians, should never be forgotten. For it happened in our times, when the Catholic Church—then as now, posing as a victim of religious intolerance—was clamoring for freedom, while at the same time suppressing that same freedom for which she was vociferating so loudly, in a tiny state where she had set up her kind of freedom, Catholic freedom: i.e., freedom for herself to eliminate whatever and whoever dared to resist her embrace.”
As for the explanation by Michael McAdams in your film regarding the Croatian “checkerboard symbol dating to the 15th century,” you make no apologies that the same symbol was used during the Holocaust to put to death nearly one million people. I remind Mr. McAdams that the Swastika is a symbol from the Bonze Age. It’s not about when these symbols were created, it is about what they represent. What is apparent is that the Croats are not interested in how much they offend or insult others or how insensitive it was to use this Nazi symbol on their flag—they are far more interested in brainwashing the world about their Nazi past as they cover up their bigoted presence.
Who is next on the Croatian hate list, and whom will Croats blame for their dysfunctional society when the Serbs are no longer their Achilles heel? Real history has shown that Croats, like their former Nazi Albanian neighbors, cannot survive without hating someone.
William Dorich is the author of 5 books on Balkan history including his 1991 book, Serbian Genocide 1941-45, co written by the late David Martin, author of The Web of Disinformation (1989) and the late Michael Lees, author of The Rape of Serbia (1989). His 1992 book, Kosovo raise over $200,000 to aid the more than 30,000 Serbian orphans from the current Civil Wars. He is the recipient of The Order of St. Sava, the highest recognition given to a layperson by the Holy Synod of Serbian Orthodox Bishops and An Award of Merit from the Serbian Bar Association of America. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including The International Herald Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times and in the Serbian media.
30 January 2008
January 28, 2008