I read an excerpt in a book once where a good Croatian who was imprisoned in Jasenovac because he was horrified with the Ustashi crimes asked an Ustashi guard “Don’t you know that you are going to burn in hell over what you are doing?” The guard replied: “Yes, but I am going to burn for Croatia!”

Hey, western Pennsylvania is loaded with good Croatians who emigrated here before WW One, and had nothing to do with the Ustashi crimes. The problem is that about one in 10,000 will turn on their community’s self-perception by openly saying anything judgemental about the Ustashi or what they did. When it comes to Croatian crimes, mum’s the word, they are always the good guys — which of course just encourages more crimes because it does not dissaude the killers.

Re the Croats that were Partisans (what a choice: fascists or communists), they all switched at the end of WW Two, when the end was in sight and the victory of the Allies clear and inevitable. Tito immediately promoted them to top ranks to create the illusion that his army was pan-Yugoslav, and they then used their positions to continue their anti-minority policy. The entire archives of the Ustashi and the Nazi gold was captured by Serb partisans at the end of the war (out of desperation the Serbs in Croatia mostly became partisans while the Serbs in Serbia mostly stayed in the royal army) — the next day it was gone. Ended up in the Vatican. Who gave that order? Tito? The Croats around him?

Mosha Pijade, the only Jewish person who was a top leader in Tito’s partisans suggested that the Serbian parts of Croatia be given their own republic separate and free of Croatia to reward them for being the bulk of the fighters in the partisan army against the Nazis. Tito shut him up at the meeting and a week later Pijade was dead of a mysterious “heart attack”.

My family in the old country remembers listening to Croatian emigre radio broadcasts from the west telling the Ustashi to join the communists and get in to every position of power that they can, and then to wait for the day that they can achieve their goals again. Meanwhile, they did not do such a bad job of achieving these goals as they waited: they divided Serbia in three so that rump Serbia was smaller than Croatia (despite having three times the population); in the 1950s they reworked the borders to take away Vukovar from Serbia and to make sure that Croatia gets the Danube river; they took stratigically important Prevlaka from Montenegro; they banned Serb regugees of 1941-45 from returning to Kosovo; they pursued the policy that a weak Serbia means a strong Yugoslavia therby stifling Serb grievances; they kicked out half a million Italians from Dalmatia and made sure that both Slavonia and Dalmatia were swallowed up in Croatia, etc…., etc…. The Croats did the same thing after the First World War — switch sides at the very end to avoid reparations and punishment, but continue your goals.

Re the Ustashi song and the River Drina: I once heard a song being played on a Croatian radio show in Chicago where they were LITERALLY saying “we will cross the Drina, plunge the Serbs with our knives, and make their bloody dead bodies float in the Drina.” I guess the FCC does not speak Croatian.