Important note :
Before entering the following text and series of these posts dealing with many controversial subjects, I would like to warn all individuals with sensitive perception of this World not to read it. There are some disturbing details describing committed atrocities, with very high probability of consequence, that your worldview may irreversibly change. Your first reaction may be anger and rejection, however you would not be the first person in this World with such symptoms of exposure to numbing reality. There is one essential prerequisite needed though. It would be necessary that any of you, who may be reading this series, and have never experienced life within communist society / regime, to acknowledge the fact that you may be clueless about wickedness and degree of extreme fascism that survived for decades.
The bloody case of Yugoslavia
I am clearly horrified by the nature and extent of mass killings being recorded; as a pacifist, I have been so overcome with emotion that at times I have had to put this work aside many times. Therefore, I did not restrain myself from peppering the narrative with adjectives like “monstrous”, “horrible”, and “evil”, and liberally used irony and sarcasm as rhetorical weapons against this inhumanity. The style of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag seemed also appropriate here. But he wrote with a mission, and from the perspective of his own experience, and I am no Solzhenitsyn. Nonetheless, a style remains which is more assertive, less “balanced”, than some specialists and historians might desire. If this be so, then I can only say that it is to others I must leave writing with dispassion about the murder of tens of millions of human beings.
The bloody case of Yugoslavia consists of approximately 2 million victims, which were either murdered by government / regime or died directly from consequences of World War II. During the World War II in Yugoslavia the Nazis, Chetniks, Croatian Ustashi and the communist Partisans and successor Tito regime committed massive democide. The Croatians alone may have murdered some 655,000 people, the greater majority Serbs. The Tito regime itself killed in cold blood some 500,000 people, mainly »collaborators«, »anti-communists«, rival guerrillas, Ustashi and critics. And after the war it probably killed even more people, now also including the rich, landlords, bourgeoisie, clerics and in the later 1940’s, even pro-Soviet communists – who would be all tagged as »class enemies«.
The following table represents extensive and monumental work of R.J. Rummel, taken from his book and decade-long research on democide[i], where among other countries included in research, the case of Yugoslavia was analyzed as well:
As Rummel puts it, hits the essence of my attempt with the whole series:
“I once thought that in our modern age-the age of mass literacy, telecommunications, and near universal education in most nations, only Hitler was capable of mass slaughter, and this due to his fanatic hatred of the Jews coupled with his absolute power. It was a shock to discover that he not only had killed many more non-Jews, but that Stalin and Mao surpassed his overall total. And then to also find out that besides these big killers, there were at least eleven other regimes that had murdered a million or more left me with these questions: How can so many journalists, intellectuals, and academics be ignorant of so much murder? Where are the media stories and commentary? Where are the churches on this? Where is the moral outrage?“.
The text of one’s testimony, which you will be able to read here further, when originally introduced to the public of Croatia resulted in a wide public debate. The content of text and debate is about several hundred thousand of murdered victims, mostly people running from the terror of communism as the World War II ended. All those people were betrayed twice just before they were brutally murdered. Firstly it was decided by England, to whom these people have just surrendered, to return them to Yugoslavian army. Second betrayal was about denying all those women, children and men any humane treatment and ultimately murdering them all without any trial.
About the same moment in time another confession of the man in charge of massacre’s logistics was made public. Both were confessions of guilty individuals seeking forgiveness before they would die, their memoirs confirming what local people knew for decades already. The case of Yugoslavia in context of communism victims is very important for all those who would like to understand the driving force of any atrocity, actually. However, few important remarks are necessary before I present the bloody case of Yugoslavia and the translation of the article itself.
Mass graves that will be mentioned here afterwards existed ever since the early days of June 1945. It would be lethal for health of any individual who would be brave enough to reveal the truth about it in days of communism regime. That fact alone may be hard to comprehend by itself. Freedom of speech in communism existed only to the point until one’s ideas would be noted as »contra revolutionary«. It was in such moments that many of the victims were marked as »enemies of the state« and the witch-hunt began. In some cases years passed by before families of the victims were allowed to find out what happened to their beloved ones. And when they did, there was no institution to file a report to, no judicial or humanitarian »organ of the State« would be there to help you fight against inhumane treatment and extreme fascism around it. In fact, if you would be »heard to loud« when addressing such rule of terror, the »darkness of democracy« would take those rare brave individuals away and try to »correct their thoughts« about perceived reality. The people of those years in Yugoslavia refer to that era as »times when walls had ears«.
All just described points to one psychological lever that the PTB used against humans. The extreme fascism as communism evidently is, extends its tentacles even over minds of people under its influence. Surviving within communist regime means to have »State approved« thoughts about it, or at least, to have enough reason to keep »non-approved« thoughts concerning the regime to yourself.
There is a very interesting man involved in spreading truth about this cruel story, namely Count Nikolai Dmitrievich Tolstoy, a descendant of even more famous Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. In 1986 Count Nikolai published a book »The Minister and the Massacres«, that described the 1945 Bleiburg repatriations as well as the Cossack repatriations. The book’s criticism of the British repatriation of collaborationist troops to Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslav government was in turn the target of strong criticism. It continued on the topic Tolstoy started with “Victims of Yalta” (1977) and “Stalin’s Secret War” (1981), and led to a 1989 lawsuit in which Tolstoy was found guilty of libel (Tolstoy lost in court and was ordered to pay £2 million to Lord Aldington (£1.5 million in damages and £0.5 million in costs). This conviction was overruled in July 1995, when the European Court of Human Rights decided unanimously that the British Government had violated Tolstoy’s rights in respect of Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights.
Anyway, not to derail too much here with this strange case of Britain’s judicial error in judgement – in the book, Tolstoy accused Harold Macmillan, “minister resident” in the Mediterranean then and later Britain’s prime minister, of persuading the British General Alexander to ignore a telegram of the Foreign Office that would have excluded individuals who were not Soviet citizens by British law from “repatriation”; application of this directive would have separated Cossacks into emigres and those from the Soviet Union, the former, of course, not subject to repatriation. Another person of interest was Toby Low, 1st Baron Aldington, whom Tolstoy claimed gave a key order on 21 May 1945 that sealed the fate of Cossacks, including the emigres.[ii]
In referencing the documents of that time, Tolstoy quoted a General Alexander telegram, sent to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, where Alexander mentioned “25,000 German and Croat units”. Further, in a second telegram sent to Combined Chiefs of Staff, Alexander asked for guidelines regarding the final disposition of “50,000 Cossacks including 11.000 women, children and old men; present estimate of total 35,000 Chetniks – 11,000 of them already evacuated to Italy – and 25,000 German and Croat units.” In each of above cases “return them to their country of origin immediately might be fatal to their health.”
Further, Tolstoy »reconstructed what happened when, on May 31, the commandant of the military camp at Viktring, ‘Lieutenant Ames’, reported that he had received orders for 2,700 of the civilian refugees in Major Barre’s camp to be taken to Rosenbach and Bleiburg the following day, to be handed over to Tito’s partisans«.
What was not possible in 1986 and previously, was suddenly possible when Yugoslavia fell apart (in another bloody civil war) and that was the purpose of Count Tolstoy’s visit to Slovenia, most northern country of ex Yugoslavia – to see the evidence of his book’s in person. Such evidence would most certainly be mass graves in Huda Jama near the city of Laško or in Kočevski Rog, Slovenia, which Count Tolstoy visited in 1990 (Kočevski Rog) and 1992 (Huda Jama). Here is an interview with Count Tolstoy which I’d refer you to in its entirety, with a small excerpt of the same interview below:
This is the approximation of what Count Tolstoy and anybody willing to enter the site of Huda Jama would be able to see:
Investigation of the Barbara Pit site in Huda Jama began in August 2008. On 3rd March 2009 investigators removed concrete walls built after the war to seal the cave and it further took crews eight months to remove 400 m2 (4,300 sq ft) of gangue and penetrate eleven reinforced concrete partition walls (each 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) thick) to reach the graves. Investigators initially found a mass of 427 corpses that were largely mummified due to the climate in the mine. Excavating a further 5 metres (16 ft) into the mine shaft uncovered another 346 corpses before further works were stopped by the government of Slovenia. Approximation of experts for Huda Jama is that it holds grave to 3,000 victims, some of them already excavated and removed to the nearby city of Maribor for further analysis.
…to be continued
[i] STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, R.J. Rummel, 1997