The Washington Times
Letter to the editor(s)
8 February 2009
Mr. Kuhner's commentary, "Balkan basket case," of 8 February must not go unchallenged regarding Croatia's role in World War II.
Jeffrey Kuhner states that "hundreds of thousands of Croatians were systematically butchered by Tito's Partisans." It should be noted that Tito was half Croat and half Slovene and his hatred of the Orthodox Christian Serbs did not go unnoticed by the Serbian population. As for Tito's brutality against Croatians, Mr. Kuhner fails to explain that during WWII, Tito, a committed communist, was leader of the anti-fascist resistance movement known as the Partisans, while Croatia was allied with NAZI Germany. Nor does Mr. Kuhner relate the atrocities committed by Croatians against Orthodox Christian Serbians.
As Hitler's ally, the Independent State of Croatia was established in 1941. The Minister of the Interior, Andrija Artukovic, in his hatred for the Serbs is quoted as saying, "Kill all Serbs and Jews including children so that not even the seeds of the beasts are left." According to the Simon Wiesenthal Institute, over a million Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were exterminated in Croatia's Ustashe [Nazi party] death camps, so brutally that even the German Gestapo was appalled.
The Washington Times on 5 July 1994 published, "Croatian-Run Death Site Remains Dark Secret," in which "The ghosts of thousands of inmates slaughtered in a World War II Croatian concentration camp haunt former Yugoslavia and mars future relations among its ethnic groups.
"For years the gruesome details about the systematic killing of Serbs, Jews, Croats and Gypsies in the huge camp complex of Jasenovac on the banks of the Sava river remained officially taboo. Although documents and eyewitness accounts were a first ignored, and then mysteriously removed from international archives, the horrorsurpassing that of same of the worst Nazi extermination camps remains alive in the memory of a handful of survivors and of their kin."
The New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal wrote in 1997, "In World War II, Hitler had no executioners more willing, no ally more passionate, than the Fascists of Croatia. They are returning, 50 years later, from what should have been their eternal grave, the defeat of Nazi Germany. The Western allies who dug that grave with the bodies of their servicemen have the power to stop them, but do not. "
It would be an injustice to the victims of Croatia's Nazi death camps for The Washington Times to minimize the horror that transpired in World War II.
Stella L. Jatras