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    Persecution and Liquidation of Croats on Croatian Territory from 1903 to 1941

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    Source: Site - Vidovdan Hydra


    PERSECUTION AND LIQUIDATION OF CROATS ON CROATIAN TERRITORY FROM 1903 TO 1941


    FOREWORD

    When the Serbian-Yugoslav Army launched an attack on Slovenia in 1991, the state of war on the former Yugoslavian territories, subsequently led to an aggressive war against Croatia. In 1992, with the aid of the Bosnian Serbs, the Yugoslavian Army attempted as well to conquer Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a Serbian and Montenegrin war against the three former separate and independent republicsstill in effect today. This aggressive war was another attempt to preserve Yugoslavia in which Serbia with the help of Montenegro would retain its domination over the other republics and people. This is the final act; the finale of Greater Serbia politics which has been executed by all possible means for almost two complete centuries in an extremely organized form since 1903.

    TWO CENTURIES OF GREATER SERBIAN EXPANSION TOWARDS THE WEST

    The first Serbian state originated in the Turkish whirlpool in 1459. The new second Serbia began to take shape from the First and Second Rebellions against Turkey in 1804 and 1815. However, the Serbian Orthodox Church preserved the idea of the revival of the Serbian State (a re-establishment of a Greater Serbia from the 14th century during Emperor Dusan's era with its expansion towards the West asfar as the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchal jurisdiction stretched with its centre in Pec in Kosovo). Hence, it is not surprising that the thesis stating, that all nations who speak similar languages as the Serbian language are Serbian, was proposed primarily by leaders of the Serbian church. For example, The Monk writer Dositej Obradovic in 1783 and Monah and historian Jovan Rajic in 1794, counted Bosnia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, thus parts of Croatia, as Serbian land.

    In 1806, the first map, published by Sava Tekelija (Popovic), of expanded Serbia consisted of Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Croatian lands of Dalmatia and Dubrovnik. In 1806, Montenegrins with the aid of the Russians, who sailed into the Adriatic Sea in a battle against France, violently attacked and looted Konavle, a part of the Croatian-Dubrovnik Republic. This was repeated in 1991 by their great grandchildren from Montenegro with the help of the Serbian Army which at the time was called the Yugoslavian Army. Along with the looting and the tyranny, they violently bombed the museum city of Dubrovnik which they have long wanted to Serbianize or destroy for well over a century and a half.

    One of the characteristics of the Eastern or Orthodox Church is religious exclusivism. These distinctions relate to the Serbian Orthodox Church. From the 12th century, since the founder St. Sava, its first and last ideologist, persecutes and endeavors to destroy other faiths, principally the Catholic faith and Islam from the 19th century. The fundamental characteristics of the teachings of St. Sava, include: equalization and a narrow tie between the Serbian State and Church, national and religious exclusivism, destruction of all members of other nations and faiths, the stealing of pocessions and conquering of territories all resulting in religious, national, and political exclusivism and intolerance. The Serbian Orthodox Church utilized such politics by transferring Catholic Montenegro into Orthodoxism and by settling Bosnia, Herzegovina and part of Croatia with Orthodox Vlachs (cattle-ranchers with non Slavic roots or Roman or Illyrian origin and later transforming them into Serbians as a nation in the 19th and 20th centuries).

    The Vlachs, as servants to the Turkish Ottomans, aided in conquering Bosnia, Herzegovina, parts of Croatia, and southern Hungary. When the Turks grew weaker at the end of the 15th century, they crossed over to serve Austria demanding special rights, religious freedom, land, and the right to loot and persecute surrounding nations. Thus, it is mentioned already in 1630 that the Orthodox Vlachs took advantage of the privileges of the Austrian authority in Croatia and began to banish native Catholics, claiming that the King gave land only to the Vlachs. This was the first example of what today we callethnic cleansing. In this manner, Serbians ethnically and religiously cleansed territory which they captured in 1878, then in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, and similarly again, somewhat calmer and calculating after 1918 and 1945. At the sametime, they occupied territories in Kosovo, Macedonia, Sandzak, Bosnia and bordering territories in Croatia through the colonization of Serbians.

    Quickly, Serbian politicians, journalists, and scholars joined the battle to Serbianize other neighboring Slavic nations. In respect to this, even in 1818, one hundred years before the foundation of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenes, Serbians announced in a Serbian newspaper from Vienna that even the people of Zagreb were Serbians. While Croatians during the Croatian national rennaissance, struggled to win over all Southern Slav people over a neutral Ilyrian name, Serbian scholar V.S. Karadzic, wrote how all Catholics (meaning Croatians) and Muslims were Serbians in spite of their faith. The Croatian Assembly in 1861, and throughout the 19th century, endeavored by the supernational Yugoslavian name to assemble all Southern Slavs, had a Serbian-Orthodox patriarch, Josif Rajacic, stress how Croatians and Serbians were two different nations with their own separate history, church, script and culture. Serbians, he says will not renounce their Serbian name "neither for love of Illyrianism,Yugoslavianism or Croatism".




    SYSTEMATIC GREATER-SERBIAN POLITICS TOWARDS THE END OF THE 19th CENTURY AND AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE 20th CENTURY


    In the second half of the 19th century, there existed the calculated and organized politics of the Serbian government and Orthodox Church to transform the non-Slav, Orthodox Vlachs into aggressive, national, conscious Serbs. The Vlachs were peaceful peasant cattle-farmers who had considered Croatia their homeland and called themselves Orthodox Croatians. In Pakrac, in Slavonia, an area settled by a great number of Vlachs, called "Little Vlaska", in 1876 there existed a Serbian conspiracy to liquidate all Croatian Catholics.

    When Serbia and Montenegro gained independence at the Berlin Congress in 1878, they were forced to disclaim Bosnia and Herzegovina which was occupied by Austria-Hungary. The territory of the former Croatian Military Border, part of Croatia until Austria occupied it with Vlachs, was returned to Croatia in 1881. Given that quite a number of Vlachs resided in these lands and began to consider themselves Serbians, Serbia began a specific task of Serbianizing the surrounding non-Serbian lands and then by joining the lands with the expanded Serbian state. The orientation of Serbia towards the West and the South began in 1885 when Serbia was defeated in a provoked war against Bulgaria.

    Towards the end of the 19th century, the Greater Serbian political ideologies and cultural-educational preparations began in Serbia and in neighbouring lands. Books were written in which the Serbian past is mythologized, the cult of St. Sava is exaggerated, the Kosovo battle of 1389 is celebrated, the needs in creating a Great Dusan Empire is stresssed, and is requested access to the sea. It is systematically written about the expansion of Serbia and its transformation to a Greater Serbia which would be hegemonic on the Balkans and with the help of Slavic Russia, would liberate South or Old Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia from the Turks and so prevent the Austro-Hungarian empire of taking Turkish positions in that terriitory.10 In Zagreb in 1884, with the help of Serbia, a newsletter called Srbobran, spread Greater Serbian propagand. Zastava also did this in Novi Sad and other pro-Serbian newsletters in Sarajevo, Zadar, and elsewhere.

    The first anti-Croatian demonstration took place in Belgrade in 1892. The following year in Knin, once a city of Croatian kings, in which, at that time, the Serbians did not make up the majority, Croatian scholars who had opened a Croatian Archeological Museum, were beaten up. Serbian state flags were systematically raised in Croatia even though they were distinctly forbidden in 1895 when the Habsburg Emperor Franjo Josip I, then the King of Croatia, visited Zagreb. Intentional provocation was achieved by the Greater Serbian newsletter in Zagreb, Srbobran, which conveyed Nikola Stojanovic's article. It stated Croatians are directly informed of the battle of destruction in which the Croatian nation, language, history and culture are denied and proclaimed Serbian. The response were massive anti-Serbian demonstrations in Zagreb in 1902. When officers of the Serbian Army and members of secret conspiracy organizations liquidated the last Serbian King in the Obrenovic Dynasty and brought Peter from the Karadjordjevic Dynasty to the throne in 1903, propaganda was organized and paid by the government using all means to create a Greater Serbia.

    To prevent foreign countries from accusing the Kingdom of Serbia as being a subversive state, with war preparations and revolutions among Southern Slavs, King Peter and his government organized several groups, associations, and organizations to spread GreaterSerbian propaganda on Austro-Hungarian and Turkish territories, in particular the Southern Slav territories of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Vojvodina, but without renouncing Bulgaria nor Slovenia. A secret officers organization was founded called the "Black Hand" in May 1903 (causing unrest, rebellions, and assassinations and consisting of secret agents and propagandists).

    Because the organization acted illegally, its political and public work proceeded through the club "Slovenian South" which was led by people close to King Peter.16 In Kosovo and particularly in Macedonia, in the second half of the 19th century, a volunteer Serbian terrorist organization called Chetniks was in operation. They fought and rebelled against supporters of Bulgaria and those who supported Greece and a liberated Macedonia. Also in 1903, in Belgrade, a main council for the Chetnik actions were chosen and in 1905 an association Serbian Defense was founded with the goal to strengthen the battle "for Serbian interests"

    From 1908, the National Defense was working on the same task that directly prepared political and sabotage actions in Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia. All these organizations and associations were supporters and trainers of the terrorists who assassinated the heir to the Habsburg throne, Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, provoking the First World War. They planned (with Peter Karadjordjevic's knowledge) the liquidation of his grandfather, the Prince and King of Montenegro Nikola Petrovic (the bomb and the Kolasin affairs of 1907/8).18 Members of these terrorist organizations stood behind a number of actions and liquidations in Croatia. Some Serbians from Croatia were volunteers in Chetnik units in Macedonia and their leaders often travelled as informers in Croatia and Bosnia.

    At the same time, while these revolutionary-terrorist organizations in Belgrade were being formed, at the end of 1903, a weekly newspaper Slovenski Jug which had the task of "popularizing the idea of South Slavs" and work for "its establishment" was being circulated. Periodically, until 1912, the newsletter had as its contributors Bulgarians, Croatians, Slovenians, and naturally Serbians. The newsletter Pijemont which was named after the small Italian state that unified Italy, had a similar task. The message stated as the Piedmontese unified Italy, Serbia and Belgrade will unify Southern Slavs. However, the difference was that Pedmont unified Italy and embodied itself and "drowned" itself in it; but Serbia under Karadjordjevic wished to create a Greater or at least an expanded Serbia transforming all Southern Slavs into Serbians.20 In this question lies the reason for the Serbian-Bulgarian animosity as well as the conflict between Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia, Serbians and Macedonians, and Serbians and Albanians.

    The former Montenegrin Minister Sekula Drljevic wrote about this: "All conflicts we speak about, in which there are conflicts between the lands of Southern Slavs, are provoked by Serbia (...) It is necessary to look at the moral, ethnical and political shape of Belgrade in order to comprehend why Yugoslavia became what it became, lived as it did and disappeared as it did."

    At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuryes in Serbia and with the Serbians in Croatia, the idea began to spread about the so called Serbian lands. All three Croatian province-lands were included (Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia) and so were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, parts of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and in some political maps, Slovenia as well. At the same time school textbooks extol Serbian history, language, and culture while Croatian and Montenegrian literary works were being passed as Serbian.

    The Serbs particularly usure Dubrovnik, its culture and literature, and all the language excluzively Serbian. All Serbian schools and even the religious Orthodox schools in Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Vojvodina and elsewhere had distinct nationalistic programs in the style of Karadzic's message-motto: Serbians all and everywhere!

    Mythologisized Serbian histories were announced in which they were the greatest and most significant nation in the world with roots from Alexander of Macedonia. Thus, it was a general mythology of Serbians and their past.

    All these became the ideal preparations for the wars which Serbia was intensely planning with the help of Russia that also had its interests in the Balkans. Serbia also had close relations with France that mainly educated Serbian officers since King Peter's time. The first goal for Serbia, with the aid of the above-mentioned superrowers, was to destroy Turkey and Austro-Hungary and to drive them from this territory and to prevent German-Austrian Advance to the east. It was only with the signing and the breakdown of the Turkish and Austrian empires that the Serbs could realise their greater Serbian pland and occupation or as they called it "liberation" of "Serbian lands".

    The first of the Serbian raids towards the west, east and south were directed toward the Bulgarians and the Croatians, was had their own integrational national program. For example, Croatians wanted to unify all Croatian lands: Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Istria, Rijeka, Medjimurje, Boka Kotorska, and parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina where Croatians resided (Western Bosnia called Turkish Croatia at the time).




    SERBIAN LAND REFORM AND COLONIZATION IN 1918


    It is a rare occurrence in the world that in the last 150 years one nation should succeed in expanding its state territory and in banishing all non-Serbian peoples. This has been achieved by Serbia. It is interesting to note that their success is not based on their victories in the field, but rather at the negotiating table, achieved with the support of their war allies.

    Serbian proper, which encompassed the Belgrade pasha jurisdiction, expanded territorially to include Kosovo, a part of Sandzak and the so called Yugoslavian Macedonia, after the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. During the first Balkan War, Serbian forces began to execute crimes of genocide against Albanians, Bosniacs and Macedonians in these territories. They set entire villages on fire, killing civilians in the most barbaric fashion using knives, axes and dull wooden mallets. Such crimes have never been recorded in Europe since the times of the Great Migrations.

    The persecution of non-Serbian citizens continued after Serbians gained power and led to massive exile, causing a change in the demographic structure and making Serbian colonization possible on the confiscated properties of those banished. The above mentioned expansion of Serbian territory, on which colonization was implemented, marks the beginning of the actualization of the political program, defined in Ilija Garasanin's "Nacertanije" from 1844.

    THE SERBIAN CONQUERING IDEOLOGY

    The Serbian national program outlined in "Nacertanije" of 1844, originated from the re-establishment of Dusan's Empire in the XIV century, with certain changes which were a consequence of political events from the middle of the previous century. In effect, "Nacertanije" became a synonym for Greater Serbian hegemony with respect to the neighboring nations. This national program sets forth the fact that Serbians cannot be satisfied with their gains from the First and Second Serbian Rebellions and that they will continue their battle to gain power on the Balkans. "Nacertanije" defines the territories in which Serbia must organize propaganda and intelligence activities, as preparation for the annexation of these territories to their state. For this reason, the program was not published until 1906. The national program foresees that Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, northern Albania, Srijem, Banat and Backa join Serbia. For the first time, the territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Vojvodina, which were not encompassed by Dusan's Empire, are included as Serbian national territory. Later "Nacertanije" was to become the Serbian ideology for the Obrenovic and Karadjordjevic dynasties, and all Greater Serbian programs including Stevan Moljevic's and Draza Mihailovic's genocidal Chetnik programs and the SANU Memorandum of 1986.

    In this respect, Greater Serbian hegemonistic politics in the last 150 years, has, in essence, not changed because its basic aims have been the conquering of territory, penetration towards the West over the Drina River, persecution and destruction of non-Serbian nations to create a Greater Serbia and ensuring that "all Serbians live in one state". For this reason, the ethnic structure was altered through colonization of conquered territory. Wars were waged in order to set the program's politics into motion, and land reform on the conquered territories was conducted due to the colonization of Serbian population.

    CHANGES IN LAND OWNERSHIP IN 1918

    In order to gain a better insight into the situation concerning land ownership before the agrarian reform in 1918 and 1919 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it was most drastically performed, we will make use of the final census of land ownership and population according to religious affiliation, conducted in 1910 in Austro-Hungary. According to that census, Bosnian - Muslims owned 91.1%, Orthodox Serbians owned 6.0% , Croatian Catholics owned 2.6% and others, 0.3% of the property. Following the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes, the Bosniac nation was in an inferior position, because it gained the status of a religious minority, so it lost its political and cultural autonomy. With the first agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919, genocide against Bosniacs was deceitfully performed, by the taking away of property with only symbolic reimbursement which was never paid in its entirety. Many wealthy families and landowners became homeless overnight, without any means of survival. Some families even had their farm buildings and private lots taken away from them. The process to massively impoverish the Bosniac nation and their exodus to Turkey had begun. Serbian families from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatian Krajina, Serbia and Montenegro were given the lands taken away from the Bosniac families. They were recorded in land registers as owners who did not pay a cent for the properties they had received. This was their reward for belonging to the privileged nation. The main goal was to forcefully alter the demographic structure, using Serbian colonization, in accordance with the "Nacertanije" program. That is to say, Bosnia and Herzegovina was to be considered Serbian land which was to join Greater Serbia at the right moment in history, at any expense. The degree of genocide against Bosniacs can be illustrated in indexes regarding the change of the structure of ownership of land, which was taken away in the first agrarian reform in 1918 and 1919. Bosnian Muslims had a total of 1,175,305 hectares of agricultural and forest land taken away from them. 110,922 hectares of land were taken away from stock corporations, banks and other institutions. Thus, a total of 1,286,227 hectares of agricultural and forest land was seized. The total amount of land taken away by the first agrarian reform in 1918 and 1919 was divided among 249,518 Serbian families, among whom were settlers, colonists outside Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially volunteers of the Salonika front. If we consider that every family, on average had four members, we can infer that almost one million Serbian inhabitants became land owners and so became significantly wealthy. The agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919 was primarily aimed against members of the Islamic faith, due to the revival of the St. Sava ideology "One nation, one religion in one state." For this reason, the agrarian reform was conducted in a genocidal manner against Muslim land owners in Macedonia, Kosovo and Metohija, Sandzak and Montenegro. A total of 231,098 hectares of land was taken away from them and divided amongst 48,267 Serbian families. If we apply the above methodology that the average family had four members, it can be deduced that almost 200 thousand members of Serbian families received land. In this way, the proprietary and ethnic structure of the population was significantly altered. The process of emigration of citizens from this territory and immigration into Turkey was parallel with the colonization of Serbian citizens from Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Lika, Banija and Kordun.

    Within the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes, the agrarian reform in 1918 and 1919 in Croatia and Slovenia, was performed in a notably milder manner, compared to Bosnia. The agrarian reform was practiced on owners of large estates and relatively less land was taken away, which according to statistical indexes represented 1/4 of the total land taken away in the state. This came to 406,981 hectares of land, which was divided among 316,762 Serbian families who were primarily colonized from passive areas. In this way, almost 1,200,000 family members received land and property. The agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919 was in effect carried out everywhere except for Serbia, within the borders of the former Belgrade pasha jurisdiction up to 1912. This proves that the Serbian owners of large estates were privileged among those in the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes. In the above mentioned analysis, we can see that 1,924,307 hectares of land were taken away from former land owners in the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes and divided amongst 614, 603 families, primarily Serbian. If we apply the adopted methodology, that every family consists of an average of four members, we can infer that approximately 2,450,000 family members received possession and ownership of land, without paying anything for it. From a historical perspective, the agrarian reform resulted in the largest colonization of the Serbian people onto territory across the Drina River in the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians, and Slovenes. This was a political conceived plan for Serbian territorial expansion under post war conditions. Those who were most afflicted were Bosnian members of the Islamic faith, Albanians and Macedonians because 3/4 of the entire land confiscated in the agrarian reform belonged to them.

    HISTORICALLY, BANJA LUKA IS NOT A SERBIAN CITY

    Towards the end of the agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919, when land was taken away from Bosniacs, based on a discriminatory law, terrorist methods were implemented such as the infamous "death march" in 1919 on Bosniacs from Lijevce polje near Banjaluka. 50,000 Bosniacs resided on the fertile plains of the Lijevce polje, of whom over a thousand land owners were killed by Serbian terrorists during the "death march" and the remaining civilian inhabitants were banished from their centuries-old home. A long colony of victims walked to numerous camps in Kosovo and Sandzak, where they were transported to Turkey and settled in Anatolia. At that point, Bosniacs lost their properties in the Banjaluka municipality in the most brutal manner, through genocide. Serbian families, those without land and Salonika volunteers settled in the houses and occupied the properties which had belonged to the banished Bosniacs. Drastic changes in the demographic and proprietary structure in the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes, occurred. To illustrate this, statistical indexes show that until 1878 not one Serbian family owned property in Lijevce polje by Banjaluka. It was not until after the agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919 that the settlement and colonization of Serbians into the municipality of Banjaluka intensified. According to the first population census in 1879 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bosnian Muslims made up the absolute majority in Banja Luka according to religious affiliation and comprised 67.71% of the population. From 1895 until 1991, this percentage constantly decreased and today it comes to 19.35%. In 1879, Catholic Croats totaled 10.52% of the population. This number gradually grew and in 1931 they made up 29.9% of the population. This remained so until 1953 at which time Catholic Croats represented 28.34% of the population. Afterwards, the number of Croats in the total population rapidly decreased to 10.97% in 1991. The Orthodox population, including Serbians and Montenegrins, represented 19.80% in the population census of 1879. From then on, their proportion increased to 30.53% in 1931 and continued to intensively increase until 1948 when this percentage reached 34.78%. Finally in 1991, the percentage totaled 49.3% . From the provided indexes, it can be concluded that Banjaluka is not historically a Serbian city, as the war criminal Radovan Karadzic claims, because the Serbian population in that city began to settle there in the XIX century. The rapid increase of the Serbian population began after the realization of the agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919, when Serbians occupied Bosniac properties and after the catastrophic earthquake of 1969, when they comprised the majority of those who gained employment and received newly built residences. In addition to this, the JNA corps, comprised of 25 thousand soldiers and 700 officers, from lieutenants to generals, who were primarily from Serbia and Montenegro, contributed to the increase in Serbian population. In a way, history repeats itself. During the Serbian aggression, from 1992 until today, the Serbian aggressor performed genocide against Croatians and Bosniacs in the city of Banjaluka. The population census of 1991 statistically provides us with the information that 12 villages in the Banjaluka area consisted of an ethnically pure majority of Croatians. However, the Serbian aggressor has banished almost all Croatians, and Serbian families have moved into their homes and taken their lands. The process of forced changes in the demographic structure and ownership has been performed systematically since the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes and has lasted for almost 80 years. Up until 1992, however, Serbians did not make up the absolute majority of the population in Banjaluka.

    Considering that Banjaluka is historically a Bosnian city, which is now occupied by the Serbian aggressor, the legal government in Sarajevo is justly requesting its demilitarization and that it be placed under the control of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, using peaceful means. For this reason, the international community has accepted the proposition for the suspension of military activity and by way of negotiations, the peaceful solution to the status of the city of Banjaluka.

    TOKEN REWARDS FOR SEIZED PROPERTIES

    Dr. Stjepan Radic, a member of parliament - of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes, in his speeches and articles opposing hegemony, criticized, among other things, the manner in which the agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919 was conducted, in which Muslim properties were seized by force (from agas to beys). Because of this, the radical representative, Punisa Racic, shot at the Croatian members of parliament, killing Pavle Radic and Djuro Basaricek and wounding Stjepan Radic, Ivan Pernar and Ivan Grandja. On August 6, 1928, Stjepan Radic died due to the severity of his injuries. It was decided, afterwards, that the Bosnian Muslims be compensated for the properties taken away from them, and the state admitted that there had been "irregularities" in the realization of the agrarian reform. Laws regarding the financial settlements for the compensation for territory seized after 1928 were passed, by which the payment of the properties was to be regulated. The value of the land was appraised at 60% less than market value, and payment was conducted in cash and bonds in a 50 year period including 4% interest per annum. The payments were made twice annually, beginning in 1923 and were to continue until 1971. Bosnian Muslims were reimbursed for land which had belonged to agas (under serfs contract) and for land which had belonging to beys (under leasehold). Until the beginning of the Second World War, the former owners were paid 49%, that is, 125 million dinars in cash and 36% in bonds, amounting to 46.8 million dinars, for agas lands.. The total amount paid was 171 million dinars or 67.4%. 83.2 million dinars or 32.6% remained unpaid. As opposed to the compensation to the owners of the agas land, the reimbursements for the land taken away from the beys was planned exclusively in bonds, with a 50 year payment period. From the total foreseen 650 million dinar reimbursement in 36 semi-annual installments, only four installments amounting to 139.5 million dinars were paid, or 1/4, that is 21.5%. Therefore, 510.5 million dinars or 78.5% remained unpaid. The above indexes clearly illustrate that the seized property of the former owners (agas and beys) was never fully paid for, and thus could never have become the property of Serbians, nor could it justly or appropriately be given to their descendants. According to the opinions of legal experts, there is no date limit in regards to unpaid for land and realty documents with respect to the agrarian reform have been preserved in the archives in Sarajevo and Vienna.

    SUMMARY

    Following the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, the "Nacertanije" national program of Greater Serbian dominance began to take effect in the colonization of the Serbian population onto the captured territories of Kosovo, parts of Sandzak and the so-called Yugoslav Macedonia. This process of colonization of the Serbian populace onto the other side of the Drina River intensified after World War I, when the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes was created in 1918. The Agrarian reform of 1918 was among the first legal actions of the new state, for the purpose of colonization and the alteration of the demographic and proprietary structure of the population. It was most drastically enforced in Bosnia and Herzegovina upon the Bosnian Muslim land owners, from whom 1,286,227 hectares of agricultural and forest land were taken and later divided amongst 249,518 Serbian families. This was similarly executed upon Muslim land owners in the remaining parts of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes as well as those who resided in Macedonia, Kosovo and Metohija, Sandzak and Montenegro. 3/4 of the land belonged to members of the Islamic faith and this was confiscated during the agrarian reform of 1918 and 1919. The difficult economic situation this placed them in, forced them to move to Turkey. Our presented discussion illustrates that the agrarian reform affected larger estates in Croatia (Dalmatia and Slavonia) Vojvodina and Slovenia, where 406,981 hectares of land amounting to less than a 1/4 of the total land was seized and distributed to 316,762 Serbian families. In total, the agrarian reform resulted in 1,924,307 hectares of land being taken away and divided amongst 614,603 families, primarily Serbian. According to the methodology employed in our analysis, nearly 2,450,000 family members became owners of agricultural and forest land. In so doing, the first colonization of Serbian populace was completed, by which the demographic and proprietary structure of land in the first Yugoslavia was altered.

  2. #2

    Massive and Systematical Liquidation

    MASSIVE AND SYSTEMATICAL LIQUIDATION OF CROATIANS IN MONARCHIST YUGOSLAVIA (1918.-1939.)


    Miroslav Krleza, a Croatian writer of European format, wrote about Croatian history and politics from 1914 in a book called Ten Bloody Years. We will call the era of the State of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes up to 1929 and the Monarchy in Yugoslavia. As it was renamed in 1929 until 1939 the period of twenty truly bloody years in which the lives of non-Serbian people had no value; the spilled blood of Croatians, Albanians, Macedonians, Bosniaks, and the opposition Montenegrins could not even receive employment promotions.

    The establishment of a new state in 1918 was made possible by Croatian politician, Ante Pavelic (the dentist) with his speach in Belgrade in 1941. He was overthrown by another younger Ante Pavelic (the advocate), the President of the Independent State of Croatia. The state was being created in 1918 and 1919 through blood and violence and in the same way disappeared in 1941.

    Everything began with the massacres on December 5, 1918, four days after the proclamation of the unified Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1.12.1918) on Jelacic Square in Zagreb - the December victims. The Croatian soldiers from the former Austro-Hungarian army came here and cheered the Croatian Republic. They were awaited by the military and the police who opened fire with machine guns from the windows surrounding the houses, immediately, killing 13 people, nine were soldiers and 17 additional innocent citizens and soldiers were wounded.45 This was the official report but many old citizens of Zagreb claimed that about a hundred people were wounded and killed. In this way the new government, illustrated the means it would use to maintain its power. It had remained faithful to this for almost twenty years of its existence. The Serbian army that entered into Croatia acted as if it were on enemy territo With every protest, resistance, and demonstration, they reacted with force.

    In 1920, a rebellion broke out against the Serbian tradition of branding of livestock.46 Around Cazma, Bjelovar, Kriz, Dugo Selo, Zelina, and Kutina, ten Croatian peasants were killed and more than ten beaten and arrested. In Kriz alone, beside Ivanic-Grad in the so called Krz Republic ten peasants were killed or wounded. Similar events occurred in Petrijevci (Slavonia) and elsewhere.

    Banishment and murders of Croatian members of Radic's Croatian Peasant Party were a usual occurrence. The imprisonment of highly respected politicians (Radic, Macek, Suflay, Predavec and others) were common. Persecution of Croatians was organized by ORJUNA (Organization of Yugoslavian nationalists) which was aided and protected by the Ministry of Internal Affairs led by Svetozar Pribicevic.

    In the entire Yugoslavia, especially in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, Chetnik organizations were at work. Without any sanctions, the Chetniks killed people, beat them, threatened them, and burned their houses.

    Terror, threats, and pressure in Lika were usual actions during the elections. In Stajnica in 1925, five Croatian peasants were killed; many murderers were never uncovered. Nevertheless, the greatest murder of a well-respected Croatian occurred at the Parliament of the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs in Belgrade in June, 1928. These were the so called June victims which illustrated that the Greater-Serbian regime flinched at nothing.

    Punisa Racic, a Serbian representative and Chetnik leader who practiced shooting at live targets in Southern Serbia, killed Stjepan's nephew Pavao Radic and Djuro Basaracek and wounded Stjepan Radic, Ivan Pernar and Ivan Grandja, all representatives of the Croatian Peasant Party. Shortly afterwards, the wounded Stjepan Radic died in Zagreb and his burial was transformed into a nation-wide demonstration against Greater Serbian politics in Croatia and Yugoslavia. This action, which was condemned by the entire world, was a turning-point in the history of the first Yugoslavia. From that day, Croatians wished to exit the state and grew increasingly to organize themselves and to establish an opposition to the crude forces of Belgrade. The consequences of these crimes was the announcement of the King's dictatorship in 1929, the prohibition of all political parties, especially non-Serbian, and the renaming of the state to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

    In 1931, a great trial was led against Croatian nationalists (Stipe Javor, Matija Soldin, Marko Hranilovic and others).

    The same year, a notable Croatian historian, Dr. Milan Sufflay was killed and numerous other Croatian youths were liquidated or succumbed to tortures in jails.

    During 1932, Serbian Chetniks, gendarmes, and police killed forty people in Croatia from Zagorje to Dalmatia. For example, in Benkovac, Nin, Polaca, Lisani, and in Brusani in Lika, a so called Licki Rebellion broke out and was not successful. The punishment against the Croatians was drastic fifty Croatian houses on Velebit were burned).

    In 1933, Ivo Pilar, pseudonym Sudland, who wrote a book in German about the southslav question and revealed all Greater Serbian intentions until 1917, was killed under strange circumstances.

    That same year, scores of Croatian peasants from Srijem to Lika were killed. Those individuals who liquidated them received no punishment or investigation. For example Milivoj Cumic killed two Croatians near Nin and in return received Eminence in the Order of St. Sava. A Serbian gendarme killed a postman in the centre of Zagreb simply because he was apparently singing Croatian songs.

    Hundreds of Croatians were imprisoned, tortured, and beaten, using the excuse that they were Ustashas. For Greater-Serbians, every Croatian is an Ustasa, and every song which talks about Croatia including the Croatian National Anthem is an Ustasha song.

    In 1934, more Croatians are killed, several legal proceedings are led against Croatians, and hundreds of people are imprisoned. There was an increasing number of protests, explosions, displays of the Croatian flag, and attacks on gendarmes.

    In October 1934, as an act of revenge, the creator of dictatorship, Serbian King Alexandar, Karadjordjevic, was killed in Marseilles. The people considered this justice because Stjepan Radic and his notable party associates were killed with the King's knowledge.

    Considering that Croatians were under brigandage in many places and in February of 1925, the so called Sibinja victims "fell" besides Slavonski Brod and immediately afterwards, the Ruscic victims at the same place, 13 peasant Croatians were killed.55 Murders were occurring like an assembly line in all areas of Croatia. Peasants decided to extend opposition by gathering people in a so-called national defence.

    Relative to this, after the murder of the well-known Croatian, Karlo Brkljacic in Lika (April 1936), exasperation became predominant. When one Chetnik gang left Zagreb for a mission in Kerestinec (April 16), they were awaited by peasants who killed six chetniks in a battle around the castle. And then three more in a house which had the inscription "Chetnik association Samobor". This was one of the few responses to numerous violent acts and massive killings of Croatians.

    That same year in 1936, the Croatian martyr Stipe Javor died in prison in Mitrovica because of a hunger strike in protest of the Serbian torture's in prison.

    Death found Svetozar Pribicevc in Prag, one of the greatest criminals to the Croatian nation, who until he was rejected by the King in 1927, systematically destroyed everything that was Croatian for almost thirty years. Only in the past ten years changed his position and wrote a book "The Dictatorship of King Aleksandar", and a letter to the Serbs in which he condemns the monarchy, the King, and Serbians for violence against Croatians.

    Finally, among the great crimes against the Croatians were the so-called Senj victims of May 9,1937. Singers from the Croatian singing society of "Trebevic" from Sarajevo and Croatian citizens from Gospic were guests in Senj. They were awaited by 25 gendarmes, who as if crazy, began to shoot at the Gospic truck only because a Croatian flag was waving from it. They were shooting with illegal bullets (dumdum) and killed six men and one girl (no one was older than 24). The funeral in Gospic became a Croatian-wide mourning but there was no investigation nor punishment. The majority of Croatian Serbians approved these crimes. At the same time of the June Victims, numerous new-born children were named Punisa in Belgrade, Serbia, after Punisa Racic - the killer of Stjepan Radic.

    During 1938 and 1939, political conditions in Yugoslavia and the world changed. The Croatian Peasant Party grew stronger and even the Serbian side realized that with violence nothing could be achieved except hate, so they began to yield. Due to this, the number of Croatian victims were less. In a short time, negotiations for the renewal of Croatian political autonomy began and the union of Croatian historical territories which meant transforming the Sava and Primorje Dominions and some other territories in central and northern Bosnian around Dubrovnik into the Dominion of Croatia. This was the renewal of Croatian statehood and the assembly of Croatian historical territories which the authority of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia intentionally shattered in 1918. Again, Zagreb became a national centre for all Croatians and the Croatian Peasant Party became the national party for the entire Croatian nation.

    However, in Europe the Second World War began which in 1941 caught hold of Yugoslavia and rendered impossible Croatian aspirations for a national state. The proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia, after the overthrow of the Greater Serbian, Yugoslavian army in April 1941, was awaited by the Serbians in Croatia and Bosnia literally "with knives." In Herzegovina, Dalmatian Zagora, Lika, and elsewhere real revolts and the Chetniks executed liquidations a great number of Croatians before the new Croatian state gained control. Greater Serbians with Chetniks as their leaders displayed that they were against any kind of Croatia no matter what internal order it had. After all, it was similar to 1990 and 1991 when they began to rebel and become very aggressive, well before the consolidation of the Croatian state.

    Terror and liquidation did not begin in 1941 and was not first started by the Croatians in the Second World War. Rather, it was the Serbians and forty years earlier. Croatians acted, in all of this, a defensive role which is shown by the fact that the Chetniks began an organized extermination of Croatians and other non-Serbian nations in 1903. They founded the Black Hand and Chetnikism while the Ustasha Organization did not begin until 1929 after the murder of Stjepan Radic and other Croatians at the Belgrade National Assembly.

    Croatians were victims on their own land from 1903 to 1941. They were victims of grandomania and mythologized Serbian consciousness of creating a Greater-Serbia on Croatian, Bosnian-Herzegovian, Montenegrin, and Hungarian territory. Serbians were in fact the "Trojan horse" in these lands through the conquering politics that manipulated them. Because of this, as in the war from 1941 to 1945, in the homeland war of 1991 to 1995, they had to pay a high price.




    GREATER-SERBIAN ACTIONS ON THE TERRITORY OF CROATIA AND SLAVONIA (1903.-1918.)


    In the framework of Austria-Hungary, Croatian lands were divided in two parts according to the Austrian-Hungarian agreements of 1867 and 1868. It said Croatia and Slavonia were an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary and that Dalmatia, Istria, and Boka Kotorska were a part of the Austrian Empire. The greatest Croatian port Rijeka was directly in Hungary as was Croatian Medjimurje and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1987 was shared between Austrian-Hungary. Serbians as minorities lived in Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia. Most of them resided in the former Croatian Military Border and also in the hinterland of Dalmatia especially around Knin which was never a composing part of Croatian Military Border.

    According to the population census of 1880, which was completed according to language and religious affiliation, and not according to nationality, one can nevertheless indirectly conclude that the civil or Ban's Croatia had a population of 1,194,415 inhabitants and Croatian Military Border had 698,084. From this, 1,214,607 were Croatian, 497,764 Orthodox Serbians, 83,139 Germans, 41,417 Hungarians, and 13,488 Jews. In percentages, 71.11% Croatians and 26.30% Serbians.27 Although Serbian politicians claimed that the territory of the former Croatian Military Border was "Serbian land", there was less than 47% Orthodox Serbians living there in 1881 during its unification with Croatia. That number was consistently falling in spite of the planned settlements of Serbians from Serbia and Bosnia after 1918. The number of Serbians in 1991 was only 12.2%.

    At the Croatian Parliament in 1861, Serbians requested equality for their language, a separate script- Cyrillic, and separate religious schools through cultural autonomy. They were granted all of this 1887. However, at the end of the century, when the process of transforming the Orthodox Vlachs into nationally conscious Serbians, more and more demands for political autonomy and the separation of territory for the emigrated Serbians were emphasized.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, more work was done to destroy the existing states of Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Montenegro, and Croatia in order to create a Greater Serbia. The leader all these organized actions was the Kingdom of Serbia, particularly following 1903 when the Karadjordjevic dynasty came to the throne and intentionally provoked conflicts with neighboring states. The Serbian Independent Party, which received financial and other aid from the Serbian state and the Serbian Orthodox church, was working in Croatia. Serbians supported the pro-Hungarian regime of Ban Hedervary in Croatia. They opposed requests of greater autonomy for Croatia and Slavonia in Hungary, and similarily opposed the union of Dalmatia and Istria with Croatia. In civil Croatia, Serbians supported the pro-Hungarians and in Dalmatia or they collaborated with the Italians who were fighting for Dalmatia autonomy. Of twenty Serbian representatives in the Croatian Parliament, about 18 had support the government of Ban Hedervary which worked towards making any Croatian autonomy impossible.

    In 1903, political circumstances were also changing in Croatia. Croatians led the second anti-Hungarian movement (the first was in 1883). They burned the Hungarian flag again and organized demonstrations and diversions in the manner that illustrated that the Croatian problem was not solved in Austria-Hungary 32. Ban Khuen Hedervary who protected and assisted the Serbians was forced to withdraw. In this movement, Croatians from civil Croatia was assisted by Croatians in Dalmatia and Istria. The leadership in national politics was taken over by Croats of Dalmatia, in particular Frano Supilo and Ante Trumbic. They turned the existing Croatian politics in a new direction, the so called "new course". This meant co-operating with the Serbian and Hungarian oppositions. The result of the "new course" politics was the Croatian-Serbian coalition which won the elections of 1906 in Croatia and took over the leadership. The strongest person in the coalition was the Croatian Serbian Svetozar Pribicevic who was engaged in strengthening and organising the Serbs in Croatia and in persuading the Croats to consent to an alliance and union with Serbia.

    Pribicevic and his three brothers were in a direct service to create a Greater Serbia as well as the mentioned Prefect Budisavljevic and a great majority of Serbian representatives in the Croatian Parliament. The Serbian Independent Party was working on this as well as the Serbian club in the Parliament, numerous Serbian clubs in Croatia, various societies, the separate Serbian Bank, etc. The politics of the Croatian-Serbian Coalition especially in 1906 directly aided the spreading of the Greater-Serbian idea when it took over the leadership and Pribicevic increasingly pushed Supilo back.

    After the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria-Hungary in 1908, the Greater-Serbian politics was beginning to be led even more intensely. Serbians had expected to acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina and then eastern parts of Croatia, the territories of the former Croatian Military Border. The loss of Bosnia provoked the annexation crisis which threatened war. Russia was barely able to stop Serbia from beginning a war with Austria-Hungary.

    In Croatia and Dalmatia, the political heat was felt. A supreme-treason process in 1903 was led against 53 Serbians from Croatia due to direct Greater-Serbian politics. At the supreme court trial in Zagreb, statistics were gathered that proved the massive Greater-Serbian action. These documents displayed that from 1906, when the Croatian-Serbian coalition came to power, Croatians were persecuted, mistreated, wounded and even killed in their own Croatian state by aggressive Serbians who were expelling them from their own homes similar to the attacks of 1991.

    Similarly, Croatian properties were destroyed along with their livestock. Catholic churches were desecrated and the Croatian flag was rejected. Serbians threatened Croatians in western Slavonia, in Banija, to Kordun and Lika, that they would be forced to cross the Kupa and Sava rivers to the West because the regions they were in now were part of Greater-Serbia. This was happening in the same territory where Serbians perfomed genocide and culturocide upon Croatians and everything Croatian in 1991 and 1992. They always proclaimed that Bosnia, Herzegovina, and former Croatian Military Border would become Greater Serbia or it would all be transformed into a great grave which in fact took place but not until 1991.

    The principle ideologist at the time was Svetozar Pribicevic who at his political gatherings, spoke to Serbian peasants in Croatia about the same topics that Slobodan Milosevic announced in Kosovo Polje - peacefully or forcefully, Greater Serbia would be formed. From 1906 to 1909, Croatians were forced to endure fear in all villages which they resided together with Serbians. Their houses were burned and crops destroyed. There were numerous cases of beatings along with wounding both Croatians and Serbians who did not accept the aggressive Greater-Serbian politics.

    There were a number of Croatian political leaders who were murdered. The criminals were never found. According to a statement by a Serbian witness at the mentioned trial in Zagreb, several Croatian peasants were killed in Jasenovac. Nearby the outlet of the river Una into Sava near Jasenovac, there was a concentration camp from 1941. Croatians were killed thirty years before then. For example, Croatian Stanko Dragic was killed only because he complained to Serbian Lazo Bacic about the hanging of a Serbian flag representing the Kingdom of Serbia which was officially forbidden in Croatia.

    In Jasenovac and surrounding areas, five Croatian peasants were killed and their murderers were not found, although it was known that an organized Serbian gang who terrorized and killed Croatians were responsible. When any Serbian was accused of a crime, ten Serbians would be found to go to the District office and testify to the innocence of the accused. It is necessary to emphasize that usually the most influential agitators in the persecution of Croatians were Orthodox priests (Serbian). For example, Parish rector Joco Jovanovic publicly preached hatred towards Croatians even in Church. He claimed that all Croatians, Slavonians should be banished because the entire territory must be Serbian territory, that is, Greater Serbia. There was no end to anti-Croatian slogans by those emigrated Serbians to Croatia. It was stated that Croatians, that is, Slavonians, must be driven away over the Kupa or Sutla, that Bartholomew's night should be prepared for them, that is, they should be slaughtered. It was discovered that a Greater-Serbian agitators were arriving from Serbia. For example in Okucani, when one of them was departing he would be escorted to the station, and asked by a domestic Serbian: "Sir, when are we going to slaughter these Slavonians?"

    In 1907 at the time of the elections, Orthodox Serbians threatened that they would destroy the Croatian town Spanovica by Pakrac. They did not do so then. However, this was accomplished by their grandchildren -partisans- during World War II. The town was completely destroyed and was not renewed until after the war and all Croatians were chased away. In the town, until 1995, stood a Serbian name, Novo Selo, which after the operation "Bljesak" secured its old name, Spanovica. This was not the only such case. The same occurred in numerous Croatian towns surrounded by Serbians including Boricevac in Lika, Zrno in Banovina, and Donja Moticina by Nasice.

    Many anti-Croatian announcements were being made in Pakrac and surrounding areas in 1908. One Serbian peasant announced in a bar: "Hello brother Serbian, drink wine, it is free, Serbia and our King Peter Karadjordjevic is paying for it (this was true!) This is Serbian land - not Croatian...Hit the Croatian wherever you can!" Similar statements could be heard from western Slavonia to southern Lika, all the same words, slogans and patterns.

    It is not surprising that Serbian Chetniks destroyed almost all Catholic Churches they came across in 1991 through 1995. They desecrated sacral objects and graves because their ancestors had done the same in the beginning of the century. This is supported by a testimony from a witness I. Mrnjavcic at a trial in Korenica in Lika from 1909.:

    "In Korenica, the life of a Catholic is so endangered, that they cannot even live there. Everything that is Catholic is detested. On Catholic holiday's, Orthodox people always work. On greater Catholic celebrations, when there are great masses, rocks are thrown, only to disrupt the Catholics. The teacher, Uzic (Serbian) washes her clothes and puts it out to dry provokingly when there is any type of Catholic holiday (...) The Catholic cemeterery is desecrated and vandalized in a shameful manner. Wooden crosses are broken, stolen, burned and metal crosses are also broken. On my deceased wife's marble grave, there is a statue of the Mother of God, which they broke into small pieces (...); barbarically destroying everything. The Orthodox people allow their cows to graze on the Catholic cemetery. I even saw the Orthodox priest's cow graze on our grave. They put a pot on the big cross which is in the centre of the Catholic cemeterey and throw rocks into it. In November 1905, they dirtied and filled the cemetery with Cath. church human and animal excrements..."

    From these statements, it can be seen that Serbians had beaten, mistreated, and killed Croatians in the Dominion of Croatia under Austria-Hungary when Croatia had its own government, parliament, and Ban. This was enacted without any punishment because of the support given by the Hungarian side, by the protection local Serbians received from Serbian politicians from the Croatian-Serbian Coalition, by encouragements from the Orthodox Church, and finally moral and material aid from the Kingdom.




    SERBIANISM IN THE DANUBE REGION AND ETHNIC CHANGES IN BARANJA (1918.-1995.)


    The Serbian penetration of the central European territory over the Danube must be discussed as the issue here is the exaggerated desire of the Byzantine-Orthodox groups from Belgrade to place themselves on the soil of the native western and central European community.

    We are not talking about the Orthodox group which took refuge in Podunavlje areas in 1690, under the leadership of the religious head, patriarch Arsenije Crnojevic (Carnojevic) with the permission of the Viennese court. Descendants of the settlers remained inhabitants of Backa, Baranja, Srijem, and parts of Banat were referred to as "native Srblji".

    When considering the social , economic and cultural Serbian tyranny since 1918, in Backa, Baranja and Srijem, and Podunavlje, it is necessary to differentiate the older population from the population which was abruptly "thrown in" after the First World War. The native inhabitants referred to these new settlers as "newcomers", "carpet baggers," and "volunteers" because they were arriving from various regions as rewarded Serbian volunteers. The newcomers acted like privileged individuals in the Podunavlje territory to whom other people were to be obedient. Nonetheless, it is necessary to follow these general observations in the developments of Podunavlje from 1918 and onwards.

    Until the Turkish advance at the commencement of the 16th century, Croatians and Hungarians resided in Baranja. Nevertheless, with the Turkish advances during the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a growing number of refugees from Serbia and Bosnia, Catholics and the Orthodox (Croatians, Serbians, Vlachs, Montenegrins and others) entering Baranja. During the Turkish Wars, many castles, churches and villages that had been built in the Middle Ages were destroyed and the migrations mixed the population of diverse national groups.

    Orthodox settlers, especially Serbians, remained in the villages. Two landed estates in the 18th century gave Baranja its characteristics: the Belje Estate, first owned by Prince Eugen of Savoy and afterwards by the Archducal House of Habsburg and the Darda Estate, first owned by General Veterani and afterwards by Esterhazi, Palfi and Schaumburg Lippe, western European aristocrats. Through cultural, economic, and social developments in the 18th century, Baranja rapidly attained western European standards. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches were constructed. Many citizens took to work and found prosperity on the fertile land. Religious life was organized by Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant parishes, civil life by the Baranja county, while estate owners managed commercial affairs and, until 1848, administrative-judicial affairs of the first stage.

    Baranja was situated in Hungary, although the borders between Croatia and Hungary were not as strictly specified as they were following 1918, namely, properties, church territories, ethnic mixture and cultural ties were so strong that free communication always existed in the Croatian-Hungarian community. Throughout history until 1918, it has been stated that the inter-ethnic relations in Baranja were good. It was understood that the people were to be respectful and loyal subjects on the land they resided upon respecting her laws and working towards the welfare of the state and one's own home. It is known from documents, old maps, and censuses that the border with Serbia until 1918 were the Danube and Sava Rivers. Thus, Vojvodina and Baranja had always situated in the composition of Croatian-Hungarian state.

    In the schematism (official list of people belonging to the church administration) of the Pecs Diocese for 1855, printed in Pecs in Latin, there exists data and authentic sources for the population of Baranja. The Pecs Diocese included the deaneries of Branjin Vrh and Darda in Croatian Baranja. When the Greek separate ceremony is listed in the schematism as religious affiliation, it is then in general understood that these are people of Serbian nationality, although some other nationalities which were represented by religious affiliation to the Orthodox faith (Vlachs, Romanians, Macedonians, Bosnians, Greeks, and such) should also be taken into consideration.

    According to Revai Lexicon (Volume II, p. 587) 1900, in the district of Branjin Vrh (southern Baranja, Croatian Baranja) there were 47, 470 inhabitants. They include:

    Hungarians 17,325 (35.0%),
    Croatians 11,198 (23.6%),
    Germans 12,324 (26.0%),
    Serbians 5,873 (12.4%),
    Others 750 ( 1.5%)

    Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, in her former southeastern territories, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was established. On December 1, 1918, however, Serbian diplomacy and politics, with the aid of the army, realised the unification of all territories into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes, later to become the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This is when Serbia began to actualize the idea of one great state on territory where Serbs (people of the Orthodox faith) lived or settled on. Thus, the territory of Vojvodina and Baranja came under the authority of a separate Serbian administration. Croatia protested against the administrative annexation of Baranja and Vojvodina since Baranja had never belonged to Serbia, neither constitutionally, culturally nor ethnically, but had always gravitated towards Croatia and Hungary. This was the work of the Serbian occupation of Baranja, since prior to 1919, only some 12% of the population of Baranja were Serbian who were the fourth largest national group following the Hungarians, Germans and Croatians. Nevertheless, after 1918, the Belgrade regime began to settle Baranja with Serbian volunteers from the Salonika Front and placed its people on the rich Belje Estate. Once the richest estate, it soon became poor, since theft and the loss of funds to Belgrade contributed to turning Baranja into a Serbian colony.

    According to official statistics in 1921, there was a population of 49, 694 in Croatian Baranja of which:

    Croatians 9,965 (20.0%),
    Hungarians 16,639 (33.5%),
    Germans 15,955 (32.1%),
    Serbians 6,782 (13.6%),
    Other 363 (0.7%)

    By religious affiliation:

    Catholics 35,343 (71.22%),
    Evangelicals and Calvinists 6,856 (13.8%),
    Orthodox 6,782 (13.6%),
    Jewish 363 ( 0.7%)

    Major ethnic changes occur in Baranja towards the end of 1944 when Germans were forced to flee ahead of the advancing anti-fascist army. This was a real exodus of the German population who had lived in Baranja for centuries. Subsequently, Serbs from passive areas, who knew less about farming than about politics and protecting the new socialist (Greater Serbian) state, moved into the wealthy houses.

    After 1945, the ethnic make-up of Baranja shows how it was populated by a majority of Croatian and not Serbian inhabitants. Thus, according to data from the Federal Institution for Statistics in Belgrade in 1961, the situation in Baranja was the following from the total of 56.087 inhabitants.

    Given that life in Baranja after 1945, was being suffocated by the unproductive, communist system, with no private enterprise and progressive economic management, it is understandable that the new democratic wave and demands for progress moved towards the path of freedom, the multi-party system and the free market in Croatia in 1990. A group of privileged Serbians, however, aided by the former Yugoslavian National Army, and inspired by the idea of a Greater Serbia, with the use of weapons, cast off the legal Croatian authority in Baranja and occupied it. A great number of non-Serbian inhabitants were forced to leave due to Serbian terrorism and tyranny, thus ethnic cleansing of all the non-Serbian populace, primarily Croatians and Hungarians was accomplished.

    Through violent ethnic cleansing in 1991 and 1992, the Serbs altered the ethnic composition of Baranja and for the first time "jumped" to first place. The ethnic make -up is seen by comparing the official population census of March 31, 1991 and the one carried out on the occupied territory of Baranja during the period of January 27 through March 5, 1992, after the ethnic cleansing of the entire non-Serbian population. If we compare the Hungarian census from the schematism of the Pecs Diocese from 1855 as well, we may observe how the ethnic picture in Baranja changed as a result of Serbian politics and tyranny to the benefit of the Serbs and to the disadvantage of the Croatians, Hungarians and Germans. The Serbian occupiers within only a year (from 1991- 1992) completely altered the ethnic picture of the population in Baranja by the forceful method of ethnic cleansing. The facts show that there was no question of any type of oppression of the Serbs; it was rather the forceful actualization of the idea of a Greater Serbia; the capture of Croatian territory and the violent alteration of the ethnic make-up of the population.

    The reason is the same: the advance of Serbia and Serbians onto Croatian state territory with the goal of creating a Greater Serbia.

    There are three fundamental differences in the population of Baranja during the period up to 1918, from 1918 to 1991 and from 1992 onwards. Up to 1918, Croatians made up 1/5 (20%) of the population, Serbians 1/8 (12.5%), Hungarians 1/3 (33.3%), (which is understandable, because Baranja was in the Croatian-Hungarian union), Germans over 1/4 (27%) and others 7.2%. From 1918 to 1991, Croatians made up 2/5 (43%) of the population, Serbians 1/4 (25%), Hungarians 1/5 (22%), and others 1/10 (10%). After the Serbian aggression and the occupation of Baranja in 1991, and the expulsion of the non-Serbian populace, according to the Serbian census of 1991, only 1/5 (20%) of the remaining population was Croatian while the Serbian populace "grew" to 3/5 (60%), with Hungarians making up less than 1/6 (16%) and others 4%.

    The enormous ethnic changes stated above are the result of Serbian ethnic cleansing following the Serbian occupation of Croatian Baranja.




    STATUS OF CROATIANS IN BOKA KOTORSKA FROM 1918. UNTIL TODAY


    From the beginning of the Serbian aggression against Croatia in 1991 until today, the status of Croatians in Boka Kotorska has been characterized by various kinds of pressure. The most respected Croatian families in Tivat have received threatening letters in which the following, among other things, are written: "If you do not leave on time, the night will swallow your children and family. Hurry to the summons of Mr. Tudjman to Croatia, because there are more Serbian centuries-old homes there than there are of you." (The letter was published by independent Montenegrin media.) For this reason, Croatians of Boka have been moving to Croatia, while from Tivat alone, there have been over 300 Croatians (7 medical specialists among them) who have moved to Croatia. In effect, what has happened is a continuation, if not a completion, of the ethnic cleansing of Boka Kotorska since the existence of Yugoslavia.

    The census of 1910 (the last census carried out during the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and the census of 1991 (the last census in Yugoslavia) reveal that ethnic cleansing is truly in effect. The total population almost doubled from 33,400 in 1910 to 61,440 in 1991, while at the same time the number of Croatians has decreased three times (from 13,500 in 1910 to 4,910 in 1991. However, only one part of the population emigrated. The other half was subjected to constant pressure to change nationality (to Yugoslavian). Only Croatians in Montenegro had reasons to declare themselves as such in the census of 1991. According to data of the Catholic Church of Boka, today there are approximately 12,000 Catholics. Thus, we have a paradoxical situation with more Catholic-Yugoslavians in Boka than Croatians.

    The demographic picture of Boka Kotorska, however, has changed dramatically since 1991, not only because of the exodus of Croatians, but also because of the great influx of Serbians, namely, the Yugoslav Navy has made Boka its naval base and Serbians from eastern Herzegovina and Croatia have settled there - SERBIANIZATION is in full effect in Boka. It is not surprising that of the 1,000 refugees who departed from Croatia after the liberating 'Storm' operation, 200 settled in Tivat. For this purpose, an initiative for a "census of empty houses" was set in motion by the Podgorica "Pobjeda" at the beginning of August so as to "take care of the people of "Krajina" in Montenegro". Thanks to the Montenegrin independent media, as well as the attitude of the municipal organizations of the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Union, the attempt at the so-called "humane confiscation" of empty Croatian houses was somewhat thwarted but not completely stopped.

    When we say Boka Kotorska, we understand this to be the Boka Kotorska Bay. The coastal belt of Boka Kotorska-Budva-Spic was, however, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire administratively included into one district with its center in Kotor. The censuses carried out convey religious rather than ethnic affiliation. While it is clear that the Catholics are essentially Croatian people, it is difficult to distinguish the Montenegrin and Serbian people among the Orthodox inhabitants. It is not difficult to note certain regularities in the displacement of the population in 1910. The Orthodox majority in the entire district was the result of colonization in higher mountainous regions, as for example, the Boka Kotorska hinterland and the region of Pastrovici, in which the people of the Orthodox faith are practically the only inhabitants. They also make up the majority on the Lustica Peninsula and in the agricultural Grbalj parish. In larger towns, the Orthodox population in 1910 and earlier was only noted in Risan. The remaining town settlements : Kotor, Perast, Tivat, Dobrota, Prcanj, Herceg-Novi and Budva had a Catholic, that is, Croatian majority. Distinct Catholic regions were the Vrmac Peninsula in Boka Kotorska and the southern part of Spic from Sutomor to the border towards Montenegro.

    We may justifiably calculate that the situation was similar at the time of the creation of the first Yugoslavia and from that moment, the influence of Greater Serbian politics was of crucial significance to the demographic changes in Boka. The annexation of Boka to Montenegro did not follow until 1945 when federal units of the new Yugoslavia were established (during the war the terms used were: Montenegro and Boka Kotorska, that is, Montenegrins and the people of Boka). The census of 1948 was characterized by great pressure on the population to declare themselves Montenegrin.

    Boka Kotorska was the first of all Croatian lands to be inflicted by Greater-Serbian politics. Objective and subjective reasons exist. Objective reasons lie in the fact that Boka Kotorska is the most southern of all Croatian lands. Subjective reasons lie in two great Serbian complexes.

    1. The sea is a generally known Serbian complex. From the time of the Nemanjic Dynasty until today, whenever they were in a position to do so, Serbians have executed genocide upon the people who were obstacles to their access to the sea.

    2. The Croatian cultural heritage is a Serbian complex which was best manifested in the war when they systematically destroyed all cultural monuments of the Croatian people. The symbol of this both here and in the world is Dubrovnik. The culturocide, however, which is being carried out against the Croatian people holds one more component which may be seen in the attempt to usurp the cultural heritage of the Croats of Boka Kotorska, namely, it is the Boka Kotorska coastal settlements which were primarily inhabited by Croatians and which were the hub of maritime affairs. For centuries, this promoted strong development of the territory and the inhabitants were the bearers of a culture which attained an enviable level. This culture was particularly important to the Croatian people. Let us emphasize that the oldest Croatian Cathedral dating back to 1166, is St. Tripun's Cathedral in Kotor or Our Lady of Skrpelja, the magnificent church, the shrine to the Holy Virgin erected on an artificial island across from Perast which was built by the inhabitants of that town. The church houses the life's work of the greatest Croatian baroque painter who was born in Perast - Tripo Kokolja. Of six Croatian Saints and canons, three are from Boka (St. Leopold Bogdan Mandic, sainted Ozana of Kotor and sainted Gracija of Mula). The only Croatian Pope, Siksto V, is also from Boka. Testimony to the greatness of the Croatian people's heritage may found in official Montenegrin sources, which state that 40% of the republic's immovable heritage and 66% of the republic's movable heritage is located in Boka Kotorska. Clearly, one may conclude that today over 50% of Montenegro's cultural wealth belongs to the Croatian people. More precisely, the Croatian people of Boka are heirs to this wealth.

    Nacional stucture in Montenegro (1991) After his visit to the Catholic parishes in Boka and Montenegro, Monsignor Ratko Peric, the Bishop of the Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkanj dioceses, said: "It takes more courage to be Croatian there than it does to be Catholic". In effect, his comment is indirectly talking about the goal of Greater Serbian politics in respect to the Serbian usurpation of the Croatian cultural heritage of Boka. Serbians need non-Croatian Catholics to ensure the painless seizure of the heritage which is primarily situated in Catholic churches.

    Eventually, with the completion of ethnic cleansing in Boka and the disappearance of Croatian Catholics, the Kotor Diocese would no longer be a part of the Church for Croatians. Yugoslav Catholics would rapidly become, first, Montenegrin Catholics and then Serbian Catholics. In other words, Montenegro would first swallow Boka and then Serbia would swallow Montenegro. Moreover, while Montenegrins are, for Croatians, those who are taking away their land and their cultural heritage (something which is truly being witnessed by our people), the reality is that Montenegrins are also victims of Greater Serbian politics. Namely, they are doing the dirty work for Serbians in the same way they were drawn into the attack on Dubrovnik with the same scenario. They are not aware that they are working against themselves because by unjustly claiming the so-called Nemanjici Bay, they are giving an added motive to their own Serbianization.

    By taking over Boka, Greater-Serbian politics is working in three basic directions:

    1. the elimination of national consciousness of Croatians in Boka;

    2. memoricide upon the Croatian people as a whole, that is, erasing Boka and the Croatian people in Boka from the minds of Croatians in Croatia. 3. territorial separation of Boka from Croatia. The elimination of national consciousness was first carried out by the so-called "Bokism" and then by " Yugoslavianism". In the previous century, Serbians spoke to Croatians in Boka about "togetherness:" We are all "Bokans" and nothing else", they would say. Then they proceeded to divide them into Serbians and Catholics! Thus, Croatians were denied their Croatianism, whereas Serbianism was not touched because their faith is Serbian! At that time they were successful, especially in the creation of the first and second Yugoslavias when some Croatians found salvation by declaring themselves to be "Bokan" (and later Yugoslav) rather than Serb or Montenegrin! But in both circumstances, the Serbians achieved what they had wanted: for the Croatians to cease to exist because, severed from their people, they are condemned to become that which the Serbs want them to become, condemned to give the Serbs the great cultural heritage of the Croatian people of Boka as dowry.

    There are many examples that display how successfully memoricide was carried out upon the Croatian people as a whole with respect to Boka, the Croatian people and the great Croatian cultural heritage in Boka. The effect of this memoricide can still be felt in Croatia although I believe that many more people today know about Boka and its meaning to the Croatian people than they did several years ago.

    From the very beginning, the territorial separation of Boka from Croatia has been a major goal. This can be seen in the Vidovdan Constitution of 1921 in which the division of states into administrative regions was proposed. The division would be carried out by a parliamentary decision at the government's suggestion. If this is not accomplished, a shortened legal procedure is predicted and should this not succeed the King would pass a statute in which the district of Boka Kotorska would fall under the Zeta administrative region. One can see how such crucial decisions were determined in advance and it is immediately clear that neither the first nor the second circumstance occurred, rather the third, which ensured the separation of Boka Kotorska from her mother country.

    In all future changes, including the Banovina (Ban's dominion) of Croatia, Boka remained outside Croatian borders. When the HSS (Croatian Peasant Party) gained the most votes in seven Boka municipalities at the elections of 1939, Croatians in Boka expected that the Boka Kotorska Bay would enter the Banovina. Since the Cvetkovic-Macek Agreement did not define the borders, representatives of Boka Croats went to the HSS headquarters in Zagreb asking for the border to be on Trojica, behind Kotor. A correction of the border, however, was never accomplished due to the war and the arrangement of the first Yugoslavia.

    Boka did not enter into the Independent State of Croatia in 1941. It was after the fall of Italy in 1943 when Boka formally entered into this structure, but it was, however, the German army which entered Boka rather than Croatian armed forces. In Boka, people believe that the reason for this was that Don Ivo Stijepcevic, a well-known Croatian historian, requested this. It is ironic that Don Ivo was imprisoned after the war by those whom he had aided by this act. On the other hand, the "Boka " syndrome was in effect turning those Croatians in Boka into partisans.

    During the war, the term Montenegro and Boka Kotorska was used, whereas at the second meeting of "ZAVNOCG i Boka" (Territorial Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation for Montenegro and Boka), which took place on June 14, 1944, the name was changed to "CASNO" (Montenegrin Anti-Fascist Assembly for National Liberation). By the end of the year the term "and Boka" was erased from the title of the republic as well, although many organizations kept to the original name even several years after the war. This was clearly a simple consequence of the fact that Boka had been wrenched from its mother country. This enabled great pressure to be placed upon the Croatians of Boka. In this way, many well-respected Croatians in Boka were killed, among them priests: Don Ivo Brajnovic, Don Gracija Sablic and Don Djuro Perusina.

    There were 17 Croatian culture clubs in Boka in the first Yugoslavia and the Croatians joined their mother country in joy (the thousandth anniversary of King Tomislav was celebrated magnificently in Boka and a stone plaque was placed on the Cathedral in Kotor commemorating the event) and in sorrow (a Boka navy unit took part in Stjepan Radic's funeral). In the second Yugoslavia, however, all of this was destroyed in the two years following the war.

    In 1948, Croatians were faced with great pressure to declare themselves Montenegrin. Those among them who were in the Communist Party received party orders to do so. Not even three years had passed since the erasing of the term "and Boka". In those three years, many well-respected Croatians were imprisoned, with or without trial, and loss of employment was a standard occurrence. This was usually accompanied by the label "clericalist".

    Pressure continued during the entire existence of the second Yugoslavia resulting in the demographic changes we have mentioned. The confiscation of Croatian houses, threatening letters and a case of arson in Donja Lastva by Tivat (the owner of the house in question was a Croatian Dejan Brkan), have made the situation in Tivat very explosive.

    It is clear why the Montenegrin opposition did this and why they are supporting Croatians in Boka: by fighting for the Croatians, they are fighting for themselves and for the independence of Montenegro and its European orientation. To the Croatians of Boka, its Serbianization means losing their homeland, but to the Montenegrins it is a battle TO BE OR NOT TO BE . They are fighting for the survival of their nation. Unfortunately, the Montenegrin opposition is not powerful enough to significantly alter the situation. This is why the question of what the Croatian nation can do is extremely important.

    Clearly, it is Croatia's duty, according to its Constitution, to report on the current situation in Tivat and the entire Boka region to all relevant factors to the world. However, that is not enough. In its political program, Croatia must begin with the fact that Boka Kotorska is one of Croatia's most important interests. That this is truly so we may conclude from the following three facts:

    1. The overwhelming Croatian cultural heritage in Boka. In fact, by destroying our heritage, the Serbs have raised the level of awareness of Croats with respect to the significance of their cultural heritage.

    2. Boka is the Bay of Croatian Saints. Is it necessary, particularly now after the visit of the Holy Father to Zagreb, to emphasize what Catholicism and the Bay of Croatian Saints means to the Croatian people and the Croatian nation.

    3. According to the Croatian Constitution, Croatia is obliged to take care of all Croatians outside Croatia, therefore the Croatians of Boka Kotorska. Thus, because Boka Kotorska is one of Croatia's significant interests, Croatia cannot accept that it be a part of a state such as today's SR Yugoslavia - a state in which Croatians and other peoples are subjected to culturocide and genocide.

    Naturally, the Croatian army will not cross Croatian borders (unless Croatia is attacked), regardless of the fact that demographic movements in Knin and Boka have been very similar in this century and that with the completion of ethnic cleansing in Boka, they would be entirely the same. All these reasons show how it is of vital interest to Croatia that Montenegro become an independent state, as are the other republics of the former Yugoslavia. We are hopeful that Croatia will succeed in convincing its allies of this fact and that they will become more active in aiding the Montenegrin opposition in its battle for freedom and the independence of Montenegro. Montenegro, separated from Serbia, would surely turn towards Europe, and in this way Boka Kotorska, this Bay of Croatian Saints, would, together with Montenegro, be where it belongs - in Europe. European Montenegro is a guarantee for everything Croatian in Boka Kotorska and it is the Croatian part of Montenegro which is exactly the ticket to affiliation to the Western world.

    Today's situation, i.e. Serbian Montenegro, represents the feeding of the Greater Serbian appetite and ensures the continuation of Greater Serbian politics, which alone is a constant threat to vital Croatian interests.

 

 

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