The recent US State Department’s Report on Human Rights in Croatia reminds me of the Reports written in the gone-by fifties and sixties. Then, and also much later, the United States staunchly defended the Yugoslav territorial integrity. That is an equivalent of defending a Serbian heavy yoke on the shoulders of the Croatian People and also on those of other non-Serbian nationalities within the then existing Evil Empire of Yugoslavia.
That Report, filled with lies about my Croatian generation, reminds me also of how, 60 years ago, the US State Department’s and the American news media’s lies catapulted me into the Croatian Public Arena. Out of this engagement, in 1960 the seeds were sewn of my life’s historical opus, Operation Slaughterhouse. I worked so assiduously on that book that in the first week of November 1963 I brought it to the attention of the US State Department.
In the month of October and the first week of November 1963, the US State Department was feverishly preparing a red-carpet welcome for Marshal Tito in the White House, then occupied by President John F. Kennedy. The US State Department’s zeal for Tito’s safety prompted it to send its two agents to Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. They pulled me out of teaching my French class and questioned me about “a Croatian plan to assassinate Tito during his visit to the United States.” I told them that I cannot assassinate Tito from my classroom, but I can and I will organize a special day of thanksgiving if someone kills that infamous Dictator of Yugoslavia.
This highly heated questioning also inspired me to inform them of the above mentioned historical work – seven years ahead of its publication in 1970! On November 5, 1963, the highlights of that book were distributed by the Croatian protesters in front of the White House – a deserved “welcome” to the murderer of many legions of the Croatian Freedom Fighters! My life’s work, Operation Slaughterhouse, is well known to the US State Department, because it was always kept on its Yugoslav Desk. The late Richard Holbrook once informed me that the book is highly regarded by him and the US State Department personnel.
Unfortunately, the spirit of that historical work was ignored in Dayton, Ohio, the place of Dayton Agreements of 1995. Those Agreements, instead of condemning the murderous Bosnian Serbs, rewarded them by establishing Republika Srpska (The Serbian Republic) within the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The historical works, Operation Slaughterhouse of 1970 and 1995 and Hrvatski Holokaust (The Croatian Holocaust) of 2001 and 2009, although they were followed by an avalanche of works on the subject in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, are completely ignored by the US State Department’s Report of August 15, 2017, in which the US State Department sheds crocodile tears over the defunct Yugoslavia.
That is why it is against the Republic of Croatia’s declaring Blessed Cardinal Stepinac innocent of all charges piled up on this saintly man in the rigged trial of 1946. Furthermore, the US State Department shows its ire against the Croatian historians who published many well documented studies against the puffed up astronomical numbers of “victims” of the Ustasha Jasenovac Work Camp. Those historians, including the one who will soon publish his encyclopedic work on the subject, come out with revealing proofs that in the postwar years Jasenovac was Yugoslavia’s Death Camp!
The US State Department is NOT interested in the historical facts, but it is interested of heaping insults on the Independent State of Croatia and its Freedom Fighters, especially the intrepid Ustashe. The US State Department, if interested in the modern history of Croatia, should know that the Ustasha Movement sprang up from the innocent blood of the Croatian Representatives murdered in 1928 by the Serbian assassins in the Belgrade Parliament itself!
That innocent blood and the Croatian millennial aspirations to have a free and sovereign Croatia are the foundations of the Ustasha Movement. That is why it is despicable to call those Croatian revolutionaries Nazi-type Fascist Ustashe! Dr. Ante Pavelic, inspired by the Will of the Croatian people and by the innocent blood of the Croatian national martyrs, in January 1929 was forced to go into exile in Italy. The Revolutionary Ustasha Movement was founded then and the official name, The Independent State of Croatia, was adopted for the future sovereign Croatia. Exactly under that name, the Croatian People broke their ties with the murderous Kingdom of Yugoslavia on April 10, 1941, and dealt a mortal blow to the Serbian Yugoslav dynasty forever!
The most glorious chapter of the Independent State of Croatia is its Armed Forces. They were the only ones who defended the Will of the Croatian people. Yugoslav Partisans and Serbian Chetniks fought against that Will. They were abundantly helped by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and, of course, by the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, the United States and France. All of them were for the preservation of Yugoslavia and against the Will of the Croatian People.
Even in the year 2017, the US State Department is opposed to the Will of the Croatian people, wanting Wiesenthal Center, the Yugoslav Partisans and Serbian Chetniks to define the Croatian history. They accuse the Croatian Ustashe of killing in Jasenovac 720,000 Serbs and Jews. These accusations are the most despicable lies and travesty of history!
On May 15, 1945, the Croatian Ustashe and other defenders of Croatia surrendered to the British Forces at Bleiburg, Austria. Then, those POWs and 500,000 Croatian civilians were driven in Death Marches or transported by train – NOT to Italy, as they had been deceived, but to Tito’s Yugoslavia. Here, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a multitude of civilians and POWs were summarily murdered and thrown into a long chain of underground pits. I call that tragedy “Operation Slaughterhouse” and even “The Croatian Holocaust.”
Nikola Knez, a film producer in Corpus Christi, Texas, calls those POSTWAR massacres – “Tito’s License for Genocide!” I highly recommend to you that 36-minute historical documentary. Soon you will see other documentaries of historical importance. Exactly this way, I informed the US State Department’s agents in November 1963 and, years later, two FBI agents that sooner or later the Croatian People will break their ties with the murderous Yugoslavia forever.
The Croatian flag, which is adorning the US State Department Building, is a visible proof that I was right in my predictions. In conclusion, I ask you that the US State Department’s next Report about Blessed Aloysius Victor Stepinac’s and my native Croatia be a truthful Report. Only truth will set us free!
John Ivan Prcela, Survivor of the Croatian Holocaust, Cleveland, Ohio, 20. August, 2017.