BEFORE WE START A RELEVANT DOCUMENT FROM: https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Law‐ Reports_Vol‐8.pdf
(xii) The Legal Status of the "Croatian Government." (pp. 72-74)
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LAW REPORTS OF TRIALS OF WAR CRIMINALS SELECTED AND PREPARED BY THE UNITED NATIONS WAR CRIMES COMMISSION
One of the aims of this series of Reports is to relate in summary form the course of the most important of the proceedings taken against persons accused of committing war crimes during the Second World War, apart from the major war criminals tried by the Nuremberg and Tokyo International Military Tribunals, but including those tried by United States Military Tribunals at Nuremberg. Of" necessity, the trials reported in these volumes "are examples only, since the trials conducted before the various Allied Courts number well over a thousand. The trials selected for reporting, however, are those which are thought to be of the greatest interest legally and in which important points of municipal and international law arose and were settled. Each report, however, contains not only the outline of the proceedings in the trial under review, but also, in a separate section headed" Notes on the Case ", such comments of an explanatory nature on the legal matters arising in that trial as it has been thought useful to include. These notes provide also, at suitable points, general summaries and analyses of the decisions of the courts on specific points of law derived primarily from a study of relevant trials already reported upon in the series. Furthermore, the volumes include, where necessary, Annexes on municipal war crimes laws, their aim being to explain the law on such matters as the legal basis and jurisdiction, composition and rules of procedure on the war crime courts of those countries before whose courts the trials reported upon in the various volumes were held. Finally, each volume includes a Foreword by Lord Wright of Durley, Chairman of the United Nations War Crimes Comlnission. continued inside back cover
WILHELM LIST AND OTHERS
about ipso facto the surrender of the Bergamo Div.jsion in Split and that elements of this division by continuing to resist the German troops became francs titeurs and thereby subject to the death penalty upon capture. An analysis of the situation is required for clarification.... " It must be observed that Italy was not at war with Germany, at least in so far as the Italian commanders were informed, and that the Germans were the aggressors in seeking the disarmament and surrender of the Italian forces. The Italian forces which continued to resist met all the requirements of the Hague Regulations as' to belligerent status. They were not francs tireurs in any sense of the word. Assuming the correctness of the position taken by the defendant that they became prisoners of war of the Germans upon the signing of the surrender terms, then the terms of the Geneva Convention of 1929, regulating the treatment of prisoners of war were violated. No' representative neutral power was notified nor was a three months period allowed to elapse before the execution of the death sentences. Other provisions of the Geneva Convention were also violated. The coercion employed in securing the surrender, the unsettled status of the Italians after their unconditional surrender to the Allied forces and the lack of a declara足 tion of war by Germany upon Italy creates grave doubts whether the members of the Bergamo Division became prisoners of war by virtue of the surrender negotiated by General D'Almazzo. Adopting either view advanced by the Defence, the execution of the Italian officers of the Bergamo Division was unlawful and wholly unjustified. It repre足 sents another instance of the German practice of killing as the exclusive remedy or redress for alleged wrongs. The execution of these Italian officers after the tense military situation had righted itself and the danger had passed cannot be described as anything but an act of vengeance. " (xii) The Legal Status of the" Croatian Government." In dealing with the case against the accused von Leyser, formerly com足 mander of the XXIst German Mountain CotpS,(l) the Tribunal made the following remarks concerning the so-called independent state of Croatia: " The reprisal practice as carried out in this corps area and the alleged deportation of inhabitants for slave labour is so interwoven with the powers of the alleged independent state of Croatia that its status and relationship to the German Armed Forces must be examined. Prior to the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany on 6th April, 1941, Croatia was a part of the sovereign state of Yugoslavia and recognised as such by the nations of the world. Immediately after the occupation and on 10th April, 1941, Croatia was proclaimed an independent state and formally recognised as such by Germany on 15th April, 1941. In setting up the Croatian government, the Germans, instead of employing the services of the Farmers' Party, which was predominant in the country, established an administration with Dr. Ante Pavelitch at its head. Dr. Pavelitch was brought in from Italy along with others (1) See p. 46.
WILHELM LIST AND OTHERS
of his group and established as the governmental head of the state of Croatia even though his group represented only an estimated five per cent of the population of the country. This government, on 15th June, 1941, joined the Three Power Pact and, on 25th November, 1941, joined the Anti-Comintern Pact. On 2nd July, 1941, Croatia entered the war actively against the Soviet Union and on 14th December, 194], against the Allies. The Military Attache became the German Pleni potentiary General in Croatia and was subordinated as such to the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces. The territorial boundaries of the new Croatia were arbitrarily established and included areas that were occupied by Serbians who were confirmed enemies of the Cro~ts. " The Croatian government, thus established, proceeded to organise a national army, the troops of which are referred to in the record as Domobrans. Certain Ustasha units were also trained and used. The Ustasha in Croatia was a political party similar to the Nazi party of Germany. Similar to the Waffen SS Divisions of the general Ustasha were trained and used. In addition, by an alleged agreement between Germany and Croatia, the Croatian government conscripted men from its population for compulsory labour and military service. Many of these men were used in German organised Croat Divisions and became a part of the Wehrmacht under the command of German officers. " It is further shown by the evidence that all matters of liaison were handled through the German Plenipotentiary General. It is evident that requests of the Germans were invariably acceded to by the Croatian government. It is quite evident that the answers to such requests were dictated by· the Geqnan Plenipotentiary General. Whatever the form or the name given, the Croatian government "during the German war time occupation was a satellite under the control of the occupying power. It dissolved as quickly after the withdrawal of the Germans as it had arisen upon their occupation. Under such circumstances, the acts of the Croatian government were the acts of the occupation power. Logic and reason dictate that the occupant could not lawfully do indirectly that which it could not- do directly. The true facts must control ir,respective of the form with which they may have been camou flaged. Even International Law will cut through form to find the facts to which its rules will be applied. The conclusion reached is in accord with previous pronouncements of International Law that an occupying power is not the sovereign power although it is entitled to perform some acts of sovereignty. The Croatian government could exist only at the sufferance of the occupant. During the occupation, the German Military qovernment was supreme or its status as a military occupant of a belligerent enemy nation did not exist. Other than the rights of occupation conferred by International Law, no lawful authority could be exercised by the Germans. Hence, they had no legal right to create an independent sovereign state during the progress of the war. They could set up such a provisional government as was necessary to accom plish the purposes of the occupation but further than that they could not legally go. We are of the view that Croatia was at all times here
WILHELM LIST AND OTHERS
involved an occupied country and that an the acts performed by it were those for which the occupying power was responsible.(l)" Of the accused's claim that the disposition of the men captured as a result of" Operation Panther "(2) was a matter for the" Croatian Govern足 ment and not his concern," the Tribunal-ruled as follows: " We point out that the Croatian government was a satellite govern足 ment and whatever was done by them was done for the Germans. The captured men fit for military service were turned over to the Croat administration and were undoubtedly conscripted into the Domobrans, the Waffen Ustasha, the Croat units of the Wehrmacht or shipped to Germany for compulsory labour just as the defendant well knew that they would be. The occupation forces have no authority to conscript military forces from the inhabitants of occupied territory. They cannot do it directly, nor can they do it indirectly. When the defendant as commanding general of the corps area participated in such an activity, he did so in violation of International Law. The result is identical if these captured inhabitants were sent to Germany for com足 pulsory labour service. Such action is also plainly prohibited by Inter足 national Law as the evidence shows. See Articles 6, 23, 46, Hague Regulations. We find the defendant von Leyser guilty on this charge. "(3) (xiii) General Remarks on the Mitigation ofPunishment Towards the end of its Judgment, the Tribunal made the following remark regarding the circumstances which might be considered in mitigation of punishment: " Throughout the course of this opinion we have had occasion to refer to matters properly to be considered in mitigation of punishment. The degree of mitigation depends upon many factors including the nature of the crime, the age and experience of the person to whom it applies, the motives for the criminal act, the circumstances under which the crime was committed and the provocation, if any, that contributed to its commission. It must be observed, however, that mitigation of punishment does not in any sense of the word reduce the degree of the crime. It is more a matter of grace than of defence. In other words, the punishment assessed is not a proper criterion to be considered in evaluating the findings of the Court with Teference to the degree of magnitude of the crime. " In dealing with the evidence against Dehner, the Tribunal said: " There is much that can be said, however, in mitigation of the punishment to be assessed from the standpoint of the defendant. Superior orders existed which directed the policy to be pursued in dealing with the killing of hostages and reprisal prisoners. Such (1) Compare a similar attitude adopted by the Tribunal which conducted the Milch Trial, towards the Vichy Government. See Vol. VII, pp. 38 and 46. (2) See p. 46. (8) The charge referred to was defined by the Tribunal as " pertaining to the evacuation of large areas within the corps command for the purpose of conscripting the physically fit into the Croatian military units and of conscripting others for compulsory labour service."
NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE STATUS OF COLONY AND INDEPENDENT STATE UNDER THE NAZI RULE? Some thoughts about the collaboration with the Nazis in the Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia during the Second World War
Željko Uvanović Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Summary This paper deals with the Nazi conceptions of the European unity in which the Slavic nations were condemned to slavery and possibly extermination as a continuation of the Holocaust program against the Jews. Analysis of different approaches to various conquered nations within the Nazi rule framework has been made. The nationalistic aspirations of independency were crushed by the Nazis most decisively. For what reasons the Nazis allowed the label of the ‘Independent State’ of Croatia remains a mystery. Nevertheless, they subverted and destructed it in all possible ways: through sharing the country with the Italian ally, through supporting the Muslim autonomy of Bosnia-Herzegovina, through the support of Greater Serbian ideas and through economic and financial destruction. The Ustaše collaborators functioned simply as useful monsters in the interest of the German occupiers. Like in the rest of the Eastern and South-East Europe, the ethnic Germans allowed to be manipulated and abused for the genocide against the Jews. The Ukrainians, the Croats, the Serbs and all other Slavic nations participated through mutual killings in the divide et impera policy of the occupier. Key words: Nazi occupation of Europe, Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, ethnic Germans, Holocaust, Eastern Europe, the Ukraine, the Balkans, concentration camps, Nazi collaborators, colony status, independent statehood
In the East, nationalistic currents are increasingly observable in all former Baltic States. The populations there apparently imagined that the German Wehrmacht would shed its blood to set up new governments in these midget states, which at the end of the war, or possibly even during the war, would veer over to the side of our enemies. That is a childish, naïve bit of imagination which makes no impression upon us. […] National
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Socialism is much more cold-blooded and much more realistic in all these questions. It does only what is useful for its own people, and in this instance the interest of our people undoubtedly lies in the rigorous establishment of German order within this area without paying any attention to the claims, more or less justified, of the small nationalities living there. (p. 126) Goebbels on March 16, 1942 (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 126) The situation in Croatia can by no means be regarded as having been settled by the last purge; it continues to be strained. More than 13,000 rebels were killed, among them a great many intellectuals. The fight against European unification through the Axis Powers is for the most part carried on by intellectuals. The broad masses of the people, on the whole, are uninterested in this struggle. Goebbels on May 13, 1943 (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 376)
I. Introductory remarks It is known that the Nazis perverted many notions of international politics during their rule in Germany as well in the rest of Europe. Unlike the Western democracies that drafted the Atlantic charter in 1941, the Nazis envisioned no really independent states for the nations that greeted the German army upon the blitzkrieg invasions. Surprisingly, they made some promises even to nations who initially resisted the Tripartite Pact, like the Serbians, to expand their state territory (with Hermann Neubacher’s support1) but most of this was a part of the Nazi double games played all over Europe. The initial benevolence seems to have been a good mask for looting all gold, currency reserves2, weaponry, all movable assets and all 1
Cf. COHEN (1996, pp. 56-57). The Serbian collaborators dreamed even of an Independent State of Greater Serbia, replacing the Independent State of Croatia in 1943. 2
Cf. the UK TV history video Banking with Hitler (produced by BBC Time Watch) on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YauM5dHLn1s. Cf. also PETER FERDINAND KOCHs book Geheim-Depot Schweiz. Wie Banken am Holocaust verdienen (1997). GOLDSTEIN (2001, p. 186) reminds his readers that Pavelić’s state bank deposited 1,338 kilos of gold and almost 3 million Swiss francs in Swiss banks in May and August 1944. Some
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kind of products3, for transforming the occupied countries into colonies to be fully exploited and the inhabitants into cheap or slave laborers who could be hunted for Fritz Sauckel’s factories4 since the spring of 1942 like African animals on safari trips.5 The Nazi ‘supermen’ wanted to have completely loyal puppet regimes with various levels of quasi-independency and quasi-sovereignty depending on the level of their presupposed servility, on their attitude towards the ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) in the period between the two world wars, on their privileged or underprivileged status in the post-Versailles order and on their (non)importance in the geostrategic context (e.g. Denmark). However, it seems that some nations, like the Slovenes, the Czechs, the Poles, the Ukrainians and the Russians, had to disappear from the map of Hitler’s Europe. In contrast to the French, who were ‘guilty’ for the massive revenge against Germany after the First World War, many Slavic nations in the Eastern and South-East Europe experienced much harsher treatment by the Wehrmacht, the SS and the ethnic Germans. The reason for this that the Nazis fought primarily against the alleged Jewish Bolshevism in the Soviet Union and against the ‘Mongolized’, Asiatic Slavic peoples in Europe’s East who were considered Untermenschen and a threat to the German Drang nach Osten.
32 additional treasure boxes discovered in a Franciscan monastery in 1946 seem to have ended in Tito’s Belgrade National Bank of Yugoslavia. 3
GOLDSTEIN (2011, p. 161) agrees with the estimations that the occupying forces in Pavelić’s Croatia ‘bought’ products in worth of 5.5 billion ex-Yugoslav dinars only in a few first days of occupation – using the occupation Reichsmark (Reichskreditkassenscheine). However, Pavelić’s state bank could not force Germany to redeem such kind of paper money and had to get rid of worthless paper masses by burning them! Only in August 1941, Pavelić’s bank banned any transactions in occupation Reichsmarks (cf. http://povijest.net/v5/pepeze/2007/reichskreditkassen schein-sredstvo-placanja-u-ndh). 4
Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Sauckel. GOLDSTEIN (2011, p. 29-30) reports about violent forced labor recruitment cases in the end of 1943 and the beginning of 1944 when German soldiers captured some 90 non-political peasants from the surroundings of Zagreb and even members of Ustaša youth and sent them in sealed wagons to Germany! 5
Cf. MAZOWER (2009, pp. 298-303).
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It is a very sad fact that many Slavic nations united their specific religious, cultural and political anti-Semitisms with the Nazi racial, cold-blooded, extermination anti-Semitism6 of a new kind – mostly with the calculation to please the Nazi rulers who would then possibly allow more independence and sovereignty for their state (especially the Ukrainians and the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim Ustaše and the Bosnian Muslim members of the 13th SS division), but also to take the Jewish property – if it was not taken by the ethnic Germans7 and other structures of power in the satellite states under the genocidal control of the Nazis. Gradually, all Slavic nations became worried about who comes next after the Nazis kill all Jews in the gas chambers and crematoria, in annihilation procedures through work, starvation and disease. MARK MAZOWER (2009, pp. 414-415) points it out this way: “There were also indications that once the SS was done with the Jews it planned to turn on some of the Slavs. Heydrich had predicted eventual exile to Siberia for those millions of Czechs who could not be assimilated. […] rumours circulated widely that once the Jews had been gassed, the Poles would be next. […] In this sense, the fate of the Jews […] perhaps gestured towards the even wider horizons of annihilation that lay ahead in the event of a Nazi victory.” So, the Nazi secret slogan was “First come the Jews, then come the Slavs”?8 MAZOWER (p. 453) continues with the dilemma as follows: “Although the first wave of Jewish killings had not been greeted with mass unease, by 1942 a news question was emerging in Christian minds. ‘It’s the Jew now, when will our turn come?’ some asked. By the end of that year, rumours circulated around Brest that, ‘after the Jewish actions’, the turn of the Poles, Russians and Ukrainians would follow.” And some Slavic brutal guards in Nazi camps seemed not to know 6
The Nazi anti-Semitism resembled partly the Muslim anti-Semitism. The Grand Mufti preached in his speeches in Babelsberg (Germany) the following ideology of hatred: “In der Bekämpfung des Judentums näherten sich Islam und Nationalsozialismus sehr einander an. […] Der Kampf gegen die Feinde des Islams, die sich an den Muslimen vergingen und die das Weltjudentum in Marsch setzen, ist für jeden Muslim Pflicht.” (quoted in: BERNWALD 2012, p. 107). 7
Cf. MAZOWER (2009, p. 452),
During the Kristallnacht, the ethnic Germans in the Sudeten part of Czechoslovakia shouted: “First the Jews, then the Czechs!” (MAZOWER, 2009, p. 185).
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this when dealing with Jewish inmates? On the other hand, had the Bosnian Muslims more survival chance due to their alleged Aryan and not Slavic origins, according to Himmler?9 The Nazis were fueled by anti-Slavism and pursued the ostrich-like policy even when Edvard Beneš mobilized Roosevelt and Stalin to make new plans for Eastern Europe excluding the possibility of restoring any state unions (like the Habsburg monarchy) which would ignore the rights of the Slavic nations. On May 12, 1943, Goebbels wrote the following entry in his diary: “The Bolsheviks have held a pan-Slav congress in Moscow, the purpose of which was to win the Slavic peoples of the Balkans over to the Bolshevik cause. I won’t permit the propaganda slogans of the Moscow Congress to be quoted; the less attention paid to them, the better it is for our cause.” (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 373) But the Nazis’ head-in-the-sand policy of ignoring the messages from the meetings of (ministers of) the Big Three could not bring good fruits for them. Which post-war option was for example better for Croats in 1943: monarchic confederations or federations under the Soviet protection/model? On March 10, 1943, the Spanish ambassador to the Independent State of Croatia sent a report about the political situation to the Spanish foreign minister claiming that the American plan of re-building a Greater Danube monarchy led by Otto von Habsburg would not have more supporters than the British plan of creating a Greater Yugoslavia where Croatia would retain some attributes of statehood together with other constituent units of Yugoslav nations and would not suffer either from the Austrian or the Serbian hegemony. (Cf. BUDOR, p. 76) The Nazis did not want to follow Alfred Rosenberg’s ideas about a community of independent (and anti-communist) national Slavic states in the East and the South East united with Germany in the struggle against the so called Judeo-Bolshevism in the Soviet Union. Hitler and Himmler preferred the system of racial supremacy with Machiavellian brutality measures for all Axis allies. Even the Ukrainian Stepan Bandera’s nationalistic units were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp because 9
Cf. MAZOWER (2009, p. 458).
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they protested against the Nazi policy crushing dreams of the Ukrainian independence. The Nazis considered them ‘niggers’ who had to fight for their colonial masters. Similarly, the Nazis and their SS-units had no scruples while killing hundreds and thousands of civilians in Italy, in Croatia and in France in 1944 – which is what they did in Serbia already in 1941. MAZOWER (p. 557) concludes that Hitler was “from the outset, deeply suspicious of Germany’s neighbours and unwilling to depend on them or see them as partners in any real sense: the talk of ‘free and independent nation-states’ was only a sham.” In Hitler’s Darwinist philosophy of life, he could not have co-workers in his neighborhood but racial rivals who should preventively be kept as slaves and then annihilated – or re-Germanized and included in Hitler’s New Order consisting of biologically, physignomically and racially correct, blond and blue-eyed masses. Except for the German national identity, there would be no other national identities. Himmler’s plan primarily for the Slavic nations was “to split [… them] into as many ‘ethnic splinter groups’ as possible, to deprive them of all sense of national identity and to trawl them for ‘the racially valuable people’ whose German blood made it worth bringing them back to the Reich for re-education. […] Eventually Ukrainians and Poles too would disappear as collective units through fragmentation and cultural deprivation, surviving only in the General Government as an ‘leaderless labouring class’, providing the Reich with migrant and seasonal labour to build roads, quarries and construction” (MAZOWER, p. 190). Instead of organizing a modern war effort with concentration on the victory, the Nazis organized simultaneous resettlements of ethnic Germans from parts of Eastern Europe under the Soviet influence (the Baltic, Volhynia and Galicia, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina) to the West, and then during the war again to the East and to the Reich (Volksdeutsche resettler camps), further resettlements of Slavic population (to make room for e. g. the Volhynian Volksdeutsche), massive deportation of Jews to work and death camps, massive deportations of forced laborers from all of Europe to German factories and work camps having almost all characteristics of concentration and work camps for Jews. Due to so much non-combat traffic in all directions (besides food, manpower and oil shortage), the Nazis – fortunately – had to lose the war with bitter consequences for the German people and the German state itself as well. ~ 212 ~
II. The significance of the Volksdeutsche for the Third Reich and Hitler’s New European Order The Nazis trusted mostly their fellow ethnic Germans all over Eastern Europe, which they abused in the propaganda war against Poland (cf. BERGEN 2008), for their colonialist plans and the racial struggle for more Lebensraum, and forced them to become willing accomplices, the fifth column in their countries. VALDIS O. LUMANS (1993) dealt extensively with the history of ethnic Germans during the Nazi rule in his book Himmler’s auxiliaries. The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945. DORIS L. BERGEN explained the relationship between establishing the notion of ethnic Germans and the increase of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe in her article in Journal of Contemporary History in 1994. Finally, one research work more can be referred to: ERIC C. STEINHART’s article “Policing the boundaries of ‘Germandom’ in the East: SS ethnic German policy and Odessa’s ‘Volksdeutsche,’ 1941-1944” (2010). Generally speaking, “the Volksdeutsche of Europe were also drawn into the SS net as auxiliaries, primarily as manpower for the growing Waffen SS and as the human building blocks for the new order” (Lumans, p. 15). Both the people and their institution (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle) became part of the SS as a supreme force in Hitler’s state – and as such “a privileged elite in their homelands” (ibid., p. 16). LUMANS (p. 217) believes that the “Reich’s presence and dominant influence in these states helped elevate them to a privileged status equal to or even superior to that of the majority nationalities.” They could perform various tasks: as combatants, as antipartisan fighters, with duty in the rear or as concentration camp guards. (Cf. ibid., p. 216) However, the possibly most problematic part of the Volksdeutsche issue was horribly increased anti-Semitism and the participation in unscrupulous robbery of the Jewish property. BERGEN (1994, p. 569) gives us the following impression about it: “Individual ethnic Germans stole Jewish property, participated in nazi-sponsored pogroms, and turned in Jews who ~ 213 ~
tried to pass as Aryans. In more subtle ways too, the Volksdeutsche contributed to the explosion of genocidal anti-semitism in eastern Europe under nazi tutelage.” But the robbery was not only of individual nature, it was also part of the system: “Nazi regulations made ethnic Germans the prime beneficiaries of property stolen from Jews. When Germans and their helpers deported and murdered Jews, they often reassigned the homes left vacant to ethnic Germans who either came from the region in question or had been resettled there. […] On Himmler’s order, various agencies distributed to the people identified as ethnic Germans under the nazis’ resettlement programme clothing and household effects seized from Jews who had been killed in death camps and elsewhere. Jewish belongings, from thermos bottles10 to baby carriages, mirrors and sunglasses, were collected for the Volksdeutsche.” (BERGEN, p. 571) The whole process seemed again to be a Darwinist survival struggle without any moral inhibitions, having its perverse culmination in Hans Frank’s idea to take clothing and other personal belongings from Auschwitz Jews and send them as Christmas presents for the Volksdeutsche in the Reich or in the conquered territories (cf. LUMANS 1993, p. 203). Hitler’s New Order proved to be a most horrible European version of the American Wild West robberies with institutional approval. In Odessa, the situation was not better than in the rest of Hitler’s empire. STEINHART (2010) documented the following examples of thieving property transfers from Jews to ethnic Germans, who thus accepted the nazification program and the privileged position: “After Romanian officials arrested the Jews, the SS stepped in to reward the ethnic German whistleblowers with the deportees’ apartment.” (p. 95) “Odessa’s VoMi [Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle] unit sought to enrich local Volksdeutsche by giving them the personal effects of murdered Jews.” (p. 96) The Nazis behaved in such a brutally self-confident way as if they would really reign for at least a thousand years. However, everything they did doomed them to a quick defeat. Due to a foreboding, there were deportations of Volksdeutsche from the Ukraine and the Balkans to 10
In the final chapter of this paper, I included some photos on which we see, among other things, thermos bottles that were taken from inmates of the transit, work and death camp Jasenovac. The photos showing the units of Croatian ethnic Germans wearing Nazi swastika make the impression that they are completely in charge of the robbery in which Bosnian Muslim Ustaše and Croatian Ustaše formations take part.
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Germany, conducted by the Nazis themselves, in years and months even before the final catastrophe. What was the reprisal against the ethnic Germans for example in Tito’s Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War and immediately after it? The anti-German retaliation was of the same intensity and with the same manifestations like in Poland and Czechoslovakia. LUMANS (1993, p. 259-260) explains it as follows: “The fate of the Volksdeutsche trapped in Yugoslavia was perhaps the worst of all. As in the case of the German minority in Poland and Czechoslovakia, the minority in Yugoslavia has played an active role as the Reich’s accomplice both in the country’s destruction and during its subsequent occupation. […] Volksdeutsche falling into Yugoslav hands were herded in concentration camps, in which thousands died. […] By deporting thousands to the Soviet Union and pressuring the rest to leave, they [the Yugoslavs] effectively eliminated the Germans as a significant national minority.”
III. The German policy of inducing mutual conflicts among their ‘allies’ The history of the Ukrainians, the Croats and the Serbs during the Nazi rule on their territories can be compared with respect to the formalities and contents of existence under the Nazi supervision and control. All three nations suffered from losing parts of their territory which were given to their neighbors, the Ukrainians and the Croats wanted to become independent from the former state unions (the Soviet Union and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and hoped that their dream of independence (including a territorial enlargement) would come true thanks to the Third Reich assistance whereas the occupied Serbia hoped – at least since 1943 – to establish a Greater Serbia under the Nazi protection. And all three nations became very soon disillusioned with the Nazi policy which introduced privileges for the local German minority which served as a base for the Drang nach Osten and future colonization and exploitation plans. The Nazis enslaved the Slavic majority, organized deportations to German forced labor camps (e. g. Ostarbeiter) and death camps, plundered the national economies in the worst sense of vampire colonialism and agitated one Slavic nation against another Slavic nation, always promising both sides to achieve their maximalist goals, like in the case of a megalomaniac ~ 215 ~
Greater Croatia or an equally megalomaniac Greater Serbia. The Nazi conquerors just employed once again the ancient divide et impera technique to gain profit from the conflicts and demonstrated a Machiavellism without limits and without the slightest scruple. Through their commands, illusions of conquering other peoples’ territories and gloating incentives, they triggered a vicious circle of multisided mutual mass killings under the direction of Adolf Hitler and Siegfried Kasche (both encouraging the Croatian cruelty), Hermann Neubacher (encouraging the Serbian cruelty also by exaggerating the number of Serbian victims up to 1943) and Heinrich Himmler (encouraging the cruelty of the Muslim population in the Balkans in revenge campaigns), who just employed and amplified the conflict constellations already present. Besides, despite the label of formal or planned ‘independency’ in the Nazi empire both Croatia and Serbia were in German global strategy categorized as occupied territories, together with Greece.11 Mutual killings just helped to confirm the status of colonies of the Third Reich. At this point, one could wonder which nation in the Balkans started the war of extermination. PHILIP COHEN (1996, pp. 3-4) suggests that this possibly genocidal Serbian-Croatian interaction was initiated by Ilija Garašanin’s Greater Serbian Orthodox pamphlet titled Načertanije (1844, The Outline, first published in 1906) and by the Serbian lawyer and politician Nikola Stojanović (1880-1965) who published a text in 1902 titled as Do istrage vaše ili naše (Until your or our extermination). Therefore, the Serbian elite did not have to declare the war of extermination in 1941. It had already been declared – and it had unfortunately not been revoked, except by Tito’s policy of ‘brotherhood and unity’ of all Yugoslav nations in the partisan movement. 11
Cf. RISTOVIĆ (1991, p. 197). About Hitler’s Croatia as a special case of occupation system see also IVO BANAC (1996, p. 305), DUŠAN BILANDŽIĆ (1999, p. 124), GOLDSTEIN (2001, p. 590) and SUNDHAUSSEN (2011). As a matter of fact, the army forces of Pavelić’s Croatia were in the period 1941-1945 more or less auxiliary forces of the German Wehrmacht and under the command of the German generals (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2008, p. 211). On the Soviet front, Croatian pilots started joining the Soviets, so this Croatian unit had to be withdrawn (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2008. p. 250).
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IV. About the Ukraine in the Second World War WENDY LOWER (2005) covered very thoroughly the complex themes dealing with the Nazi Empire in the Ukraine including the German colonialism, German military conquest and occupation, the building of political and security structures up to the lowest levels of organization, introduction of the camp system, the mass murder and the Holocaust of Jews, the collaboration of the Ukrainian units in the Holocaust – and resistance to take part in the murder of Jews, the SS-police resettlement schemes, the emergence of the partisan movement and the liberation from the Nazi rule, the withdrawal of the German army taking the Volksdeutsche minority of the Ukraine with them. The idea of an Independent State of the Ukraine under the Nazi protection was just an illusion, which is summarized as common sense knowledge on the Wikipedia as follows: When Nazi Germany with its allies invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, many Ukrainians and Polish people, particularly in the west where they had experienced two years of harsh Soviet rule, initially regarded the Wehrmacht soldiers as liberators. Some Ukrainian activist of the national movement hoped for a momentum to establish an independent state of Ukraine. German policies initially gave some encouragement to such hopes through the vague promises of sovereign 'Greater Ukraine' as the Germans were trying to take advantage of anti-Soviet, anti-Ukrainian, anti-Polish, and anti-Jewish sentiments. […] However, after the initial period of a limited tolerance, the German policies soon abruptly changed and the Ukrainian national movement was brutally crushed.12 Nevertheless, the idea of an independent Ukrainian state was present in some circles in the period up to the outbreak of the WWII, as we read in PAUL ROBERT MAGOCSI’s A History of Ukraine (1996, p. 614): In fact, during its few months of autonomous existence in late 1938 and early 1939, Ukrainians in eastern Galicia as well as in émigré 12
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circles in east-central Europe (Prague, Vienna) and North America thought the minuscule Carpatho-Ukraine would become the Piedmont from which an independent and united Ukrainian state would evolve. Such ideas were given weight even in certain governmental circles of Nazi Germany, especially since Berlin hoped to use the Ukrainian issue to undermine its Soviet enemy in the east. The Ukrainian hopes were crushed in most horrible way (cf. MAGOSCI, p. 625-637). But to Goebbels, the whole affaire was a comical detail in the global Nazi plans. He meditated about the destruction of the independency illusions in a relaxed and caricatural way on April 25, 1942 as follows: The inhabitants of the Ukraine were more than inclined at the beginning to regard the Fuehrer as the savior of Europe and to welcome the German Wehrmacht most cordially. This attitude has changed completely in the course of months. We have hit the Russians, and especially the Ukrainians, too hard on the head with our manner of dealing with them. A clout on the head is not always a convincing argument – and that goes, too, for the Ukrainians and Russians. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 185) Indeed, instead of being given independency and an individual national statehood, something very contrary to this expectation happened: the Ukrainian territory was converted into a colony, Ukrainians into “Negroes” and their home land into a lebensraum for the Germans and other Germanic nations, as we read in LOWER (p. 104): The German civil administration in Ukraine was not meant to be a temporary, ad hoc form of rule but the beginning of a long-term colonization process. Like Britain’s India, Hitler argued, Ukraine would be governed by a handful of German imperialists. But they would be aided by a steady flow of German (and Dutch) settlers, farmers, entrepreneurs, retired soldiers, engineers, horticulturists, and others who would transform the otherwise daunting open space of the East into Nazi Germany’s frontier paradise. There would be no indigenous elites besides the Reich and ethnic Germans. Ukrainians, ~ 218 ~
who were to be denied any education beyond the fourth grade, were deemed useful as long as they supplied the Germans with everything demanded, supplying grain to all of Europe, slaving on a plantationstyle collective farm, and performing all the necessary but unpleasant grunt work that was considered beneath the superior Aryans. On May 2, 1942, Goebbels makes a pretty tragicomical remark about the Nazi silo and free-of-charge supermarket Ukraine, using again caricatural details: As regards food, we are not to expect too much in the immediate future. German troops have devoured everything there. There are no cattle left and there is a dearth of horses and other draft animals, so that the plows must again be drawn by human beings. It is not hard to imagine what the results will be. As one can see here, it isn’t sufficient to possess land, one must also be in a position to work it. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 202) The food transported from Ukraine to Berlin has for Goebbels on December 13, 1942 even a propagandistic value, but again there is still a caricatural aura in his comments: The supply train from the Ukraine that Koch placed at my disposal has arrived in Berlin. It brought great quantities of high-grade food, especially butter. […] Distribution is to take place on a somewhat smaller scale than originally planned, so that every beneficiary may receive a really decent portion. One must not thin out an operation of this kind too much, because that does not impress the public. This food from the Ukraine does not have only intrinsic value; it is also to serve a propaganda purpose. (ibid., p. 242) That the Nazi regime was worse than the Soviet rule is further revealed in the following sarcastic diary entry on March 9, 1943: I studied the material on the reduction of the meat ration by fifty grams [1¾ oz.] as proposed by the Food Ministry. I regard this as absolute necessary to avoid having to slaughter the last cattle in the ~ 219 ~
Ukraine. That would have a very bad psychological effect since even the Bolsheviks left at least one cow to a farmer. I shall speak earnestly about this to the Fuehrer since we cannot found our food policies on illusions. The occupied areas must of course do their part in feeding the Reich, but you can’t expect a cow to give milk and let herself be eaten up at the same time. (ibid., p. 278) According to LOWER (p. 117), “German agricultural policies were a total failure. Ukrainian farmers were given no incentive to work for the Germans and were forced into servitude under the Nazi whip. Productivity declined, and varied forms of resistance increased.” Therefore, on April 14, 1943, Goebbels shows his concern for future exploitation and economic profits from the Ukraine, but again he uses understatement to describe the Nazi relations with the Ukrainians peasants who are simply not treated right: I received news from the General Commissariat at Kiev that the area under cultivation has receded by 130,000 hectares since the occupation. That is a very regrettable phenomenon, and is partly owing to the fact that the peasants are not being treated right by us. If they were treated better we would in all likelihood have more grain in our barns. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 328) On May 14, 1943, Hitler’s propagandistic magician can not expect to import any agricultural products from the Ukraine to Germany. The Nazi “superman” conqueror soldier of the Eastern underprivileged nations turned out to be an incapable, hysterical, sadistic idiot who can only dream of imitating the British: My collaborator Lapper sent me a summary on conditions in the Ukraine, which are very sad indeed. Our administrative and policydirecting offices there have not succeeded in spurring the Ukrainian people on to collaborate with us. Accordingly, the harvest will be poor. We shall barely be able to feed our soldiers from the grain surpluses there. There can be no thought of transporting food to Germany. We Germans are not very well fitted for administering occupied territory, as we lack experience. The English, who have done nothing else in all their history, are superior to us in this respect. (ibid., p. 378-379) ~ 220 ~
Like in many other occupied nations of the European East, the Nazis missed the chance to gain any sympathy for their policy, at least during the war effort to secure the victory. They behaved in a way that had to bring them defeat. EDMUND GLAISE VON HORSTENAU, the German General in Zagreb with supreme Wehrmacht authority, summarizes the failures of the Nazi war strategy in the following way: Wenn es in Rußland nicht im entferntesten so ging, wie wir es erhofften, dann ist zu 70 Prozent unsere Politik schuld. Man kann nicht auf ein Volk von 200 Millionen losgehen und ihm verkünden, daß man es auf 200 Jahre zu Arbeitssklaven machen wolle. Bekanntlich bestand der Plan, mit Hilfe der „Kolonie“ Ukraine die Kriegskosten abzudecken. Diese sollten aus der Differenz zwischen den Produktionskosten des ukrainischen Getreides, die dank der „billigen“ Arbeitskräfte sehr niedrig gehalten würden, und den Weltmarktpreisen gewonnen werden. Natürlich will ein Volk, wenn es schon Sklave sein muß, noch lieber Sklave der eigenen Führer als fremder Eroberer sein. Wir haben die 160 Russenvölker direkt in die Arme ihrer bolschewistischen Herren getrieben. Ein besonderes Schulbeispiel war die Ukraine. […] Ich meinte, gerade der höhere, noch von der österreichischen Herrschaft stammende Kulturgrad dieses ukrainischen Landes [Ostgalizien] würde sich besonders zu einem Sprungbrette für die Verselbständigung der über 40 Millionen zählenden Ukrainer eignen. Das Gegenteil von meinen naiven Vorstellungen geschah. Man hat sogar, ja um auch symbolisch Mittelpunkte für ukrainische Autonomiebestrebungen aus dem Wege zu räumen, die Kiewer Kathedrale, das nationale Heiligtum, und andere, dem ukrainischen Volke wertvolle Denkmäler frevelhaft – anders kann man es nicht sagen – in die Luft gesprengt! […] Was half es, wo man ein Jahr zuvor alle Hoch- und Mittelschulen aufgelöst und alle Kulturstätten beseitigt hatte. Dabei waren die Ukrainer rund um Deutschland vielleicht das einzige Volk, dessen entschiedenes Mitgehen zu dem freilich noch recht geheimnisvollen „Neuen Europa“ wir hätten erreichen können. (pp. 203-204) The totally wrong attitude against the domicile Slavic population is a pandemic symptom of the Nazi rule in the whole of the occupied Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The SS-troops with their supreme authority over the Wehrmacht and the Gestapo organized forced evacuations of the ~ 221 ~
enslaved Jewish and non-Jewish masses provoked a massive desertion to the partisans and ruined the chances for any kind of victory. On May 25, 1943, Goebbels is worried only because of the fact that the ethnic cleansing and transfer to forced labor and death camps started prematurely – before the Nazi victory and the achieved post-war peace: [Ernst] Zoerner has resigned as governor of Lublin. He called on me to give the reasons for this resignation. […] He has succeeded on the whole in squeezing an unusual amount of food out of the Lublin district. Understandably so, for this district is the most fertile in the entire General Government. Suddenly, however, he received orders for resettlement that had a very bad effect upon morale. Some 50,000 Poles were to be evacuated to begin with. Our police were able to grab only 25,000; the other 25,000 joined the Partisans. It is not hard to imagine what consequences that had for the whole area. Now he was to evacuate about 190,000 more Poles. This he refused to do, and in my opinion he was right. His district will now be governed from Warsaw by Governor Dr. Fischer. Although Dr. Frank, the Governor General, agreed with Zoerner’ views, he hasn’t sufficient authority to put his foot down on the encroachments of the police and the SS. It makes you want to tear out your hair when you encounter such appalling political ineptitude. At home we are waging total war with all its consequences and are subordinating all philosophical and ideological aims to the supreme aim of final victory; in the occupied areas, however, our politicos act [eine Politik wird betrieben] as though we were living in profound peace. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 396) The true Nazi plans for the Slavic nations were to make the racially lower men and women to remain uneducated and abused as primitive work force. And this policy has been implemented even in regard to the young generation:
At first the commissars reopened the Ukrainian-run middle schools. By the end of 1942, however, the functioning of Ukrainian schools beyond the elementary level had become a farce, because thirteen~ 222 ~
year-old children had become targets of labor raids; if they were not working in the field under their parent’s supervision, they were being placed in German concentration camps for youths (LOWER, p. 117)
Paradoxically, the Ukrainians started comparing the situation under the Nazis with the situation under the Bolsheviks. LOWER (p. 120) reports about an interesting case as follows: “Indeed, in September 1942 a Ukrainian man in Vinnytsia compared Nazi labor drives to the Reich with Bolshevik deportations to Siberia; by an order of the Gebietskommissar he was publicly hanged for making this anti-German statement.”
V. The special Nazi connections with Belgrade Initially, Hitler did not want to destroy the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on his way to build his new judenfrei Nazi European Order in 1941. Regarding this, he seems to have continued the German Foreign policy of the Weimarer Republic, at least to a considerable degree. Let us review the research findings about this problem. PATRICIA KOLLANDER (1999, p. 268) reports about ambivalent, pro et contra signals coming from the German diplomatic personnel in Zagreb and Belgrade in the early 1920s. However, the German ministers in Belgrade managed to regularly surpass the German consuls in Zagreb in influencing the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They “were anxious to preserve the Yugoslav union, and urged the Foreign Office to refrain from supporting the Croats at the expense of the Serb-dominated government. This advice was heeded in Berlin.” The Weimarer Republic wanted to protect the interests of the German minority in Yugoslavia and therefore demanded a strict neutrality in the Serb-Croat conflict (cf. KOLLANDER, p. 270). In 1933, the German foreign policy toward Yugoslavia did not change because Hitler’s first priority was to “gain Yugoslav friendship in order to compromise the strength of the Little Entente” (ibid., p. 273). After the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in October ~ 223 ~
1934, “Hitler indicated his sympathies for the Yugoslav government by sending his top man, Göring, to the king’s funeral.” (ibid., p. 274) In 1936, Hitler sent even the Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht to Belgrade to initiate closer economic ties between Yugoslavia and Germany and to encourage vast German investments und mutual trade. By 1940, these ties turned out to be chains of dependency exclusively on Germany. Therefore, it is no wonder that Milan Stojadinović, a Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, from 1937 onwards, started imitating Hitler “with his bombastic speeches and green-shirted followers who called him ‘Leader’”. (ibid., p. 275) Even when the German minister in Belgrade von Heeren proposed considering nationality problems in Yugoslavia in 1938, Ernst von Weizsäcker “advised Heeren against encouraging separatist expectations in Croatia.” (ibid., pp. 276-277) However, in January 1940, the German consul in Zagreb suggested his superiors that “the time was ripe to increase proGerman sentiment in Croatia by supporting pro-German Croats fighting for independence. The consul advised the dissemination of pro-German propaganda through investment in movie houses and newspapers. […] The report concluded that it would be relatively easy for Germany to facilitate creation of an independent Croatia that would, in effect, be a German protectorate.” (KOLLANDER, p. 278) It seems that the Nazis had always had two alternative plans for the Yugoslav region. And it seems that an ‘independent’, puppet Croatian ‘state’ must have always been the option B and not the option A. Since the Croatian Peasant Party13 saw what happened to Poland, it started circulating pamphlets against any political combination implying Nazi domination. In one of these pamphlets titled Da li Banovina Hrvatska14 ili Hitlerova provincija? one could read the following: “If Croatia came under Nazi domination, western Croatia would be annexed to the Reich, and children in these areas would be brought up as Germans, while their parents would be exiled. In other words, there was no 13
Cf. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banovina_Hrvatska and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banovina_of_Croatia. The Croatian region of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was led by Dr. Ivan Šubašić who was also engaged by the British and the Americans in 1944 to search for compromise with Tito’s pro-Soviet government. Cf. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_%C5%A0uba%C5%A1i%C4%87 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_%C5%A0uba%C5%A1i%C4%87.
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reason to believe that the fate of the Poles – who were forced off their lands and make to work as slaves – would not be shared by the Croats.” (ibid., p. 279) Partly, this was the case when the so called Independent State of Croatia was installed by the Nazis, as will be elaborated below.
Figure 1: Dr. Ivan Šubašić (painting by Pavao Pave Gospodnetić; owned by http://hotelpuntijar.com)
Figure 2: Dr. Ivan Šubašić with J. B. Tito in 1944 (source: http://www.nasa-jugoslavija.org /Sporazum_Tito_Subasic.htm)
Figures 3 and 4: Prince Pavle of Yugoslavia with Hitler in Berlin on June 1, 1939 (source: www.skyscrapercity. com/showthread.php?t=1455906&page=2 )
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Figure 5: Prince Pavle of Yugoslavia and Princess Olga meet General Field Marshal Göring with his wife Emmy on June 1, 1939 (source: www.skyscrapercity. com/showthread.php?t=1455906&page=2 )
Apart from economical reasons15, the Nazis saw in the Serbian fascism the best possible ideological junction (and collaborator) in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for expanding their new racist order. PHILIP COHEN (1996, pp. 12-27) deals with the organization called the Yugoslav Action which used a “blue swastika as their symbol and the raising of the right hand as their salute” (p. 12) and concentrates on the Zbor movement with its pro-Četnik leader Dimitrije Ljotić whose organization was considered by Germans „a kind of national-socialist party“ and consequently started receiving “financial support from German industrial firms and the German 15
GLAISE VON HORSTENAU (p. 150) reports that he told Field Marshal Keitel on Dec. 14, 1941 that the destruction of Versailles Yugoslavia was a grave mistake. What should have been done is a reorganization with a German military commander in Zagreb ruling in the whole “schon wirtschaftlich so wertvollen Staat” after the “unfähige serbische Clique“ had been removed. BROUCEK (p. 16) mentions also German interest in Bauxite reserves from Dalmatia and Herzegovina during the war.
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intelligence service as early as 1935.” (ibid., p. 15) Ljotić considered Hitler “the savior of Europe” (p. 19) and later on played a “central role in the German spy network” until the end of the Nazi occupation of Serbia (p. 20). At the same time, Ljotić showed his “militantly anti-Croatian” and anti-British stand (p. 21). The Tripartite Pact between the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Nazi Germany was signed in Vienna on March 24, 1941 – however, without the presence and signature of the Croatian representative in the Yugoslav government Dr. Vladko Maček16 of the Croatian Peasant Party. On the next day, there were street demonstrations in Belgrade against the Pact, with proclamations of brotherhood with Stalin and Russia – culminating in a coup against the elite who signed it, on March 27, 1941. Nevertheless, it seems that this political move was a double game. The reason for this assessment is that the new government immediately assured the German ambassador that Yugoslavia would “uphold the terms of the Tripartite Pact.” (ibid., p. 23) Contrary to the British expectations, the new government “not only continued the policy of accommodation to Hitler but began to recruit Serbian pro-Axis supporters.” (p. 26) What was really new (or old, that is to say from the era before the short period of the SerbianCroatian compromise in the government of Cvetković and Maček), was the anti-Croatian policy and possibly declaration of war against Maček’s Banovina Croatia. However, the Serbian double game included the possibility of an agreement of mutual assistance between the Serbian coup government and the Soviets (cf. COHEN, p. 167, endnote 2), which forced Hitler to destroy Yugoslavia. GOLDSTEIN (2008, p. 207) believes that Hitler had to react quickly also in order to prevent the joint defense effort by Greece and Yugoslavia. Besides fascism, the German Nazis and the Serbian Zbor movement shared anti-Semitism as their fundamental orientation, too. RAPHAEL ISRAELI condemns this phenomenon in the Serbian society in the chapter “The German Expansion into the Balkans” of his book The Death Camps of Croatia. Visions and Revisions, 1941-1945 (2013) as follows: 16
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In 1936, the Federation of Jewish Communities submitted a libel charge against the ZBOR’s German language newspaper, Die Erwache, which, following their Nazi Germany model, called for war against the Jews. But the suit was dismissed by the Belgrade court. The Federation had sued also in 1934, demanding a ban on the publication of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Belgrade, but it again failed, opening the way for the republication of that anti-Semitic tract in 1939. Indeed, already in 1940, prior to the German invasion, so it cannot be claimed today that it was dictated by the Nazis, the Royal government issued two anti-Jewish decrees, banning the Jews from producing food, and imposing a numerus clausus on Jewish registration to high schools and universities. It is as if France had imposed the same limitations on its Jews in 1939, prior to the German takeover of the country in June 1940, when the Nuremberg laws were enforced on French Jewry. Incidentally, in Croatia these measures were not enforced until the Ustasha takeover. (Kindle Locations 730-743) One of those papers, the Obnova, proclaimed the Jews as the “ancient enemies of the Serbs, and that the Serbs would not wait to the Germans to begin the extermination of Jews.” Other Serbian writers followed suit in what could be seen as the sealed fate of Yugoslavian Jewry. Thus, no one can claim today that it was only an extremist fanatic fringe that hated the Jews and wished to dispose of them, for the long dissertations a priori justifying the elimination of Jews, based on their historical undermining of Serbian nationhood, were omnipresent and vocally supported by government, populace, intelligentsia, church, military, and the common man in the street. It was the margin, according to the available documentation, which may have dissented from this ill-disposition toward the Jews, but its voice was either silent or silenced. This virulent anti-Semitism was served by false “citations” from the Talmud, which, betraying the lack of scholarly and intellectual decency and rigor, was proof and symptom of the backwardness of science in those confines until postCommunist Yugoslavia opened up to the world and balanced the system once again. (Kindle Locations 748-757) To sum up the reflections on Hitler’s choice of the best ally in Yugoslavia, one has to stress the economic and ideological reasons for choosing Serbia. The coup d’état of March 27, 1941 was a considerable turning point in ~ 228 ~
Hitler’s visions and revisions for the Balkans. Although the new government remained pro-Axis, Hitler decided to punish the (formally) disobedient Serbian elite and to postpone the attack on the Soviet Union for five weeks in order to give the Serbs a lesson. OLSHAUSEN (1973, p. 55-56, 153-162) proved that Hitler simply adapted the already existing war plans to the Serbian change of state leadership and decided to destroy Yugoslavia giving his Italian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Albanian allies parts of it. In this phase, Hitler planned that Croatia should be in the Hungarian sphere, but Miklos Horthy declined this offer. Only after this rejection, Hitler supported the idea of an independent Croatia and tried to win Dr. Vladko Maček for this project.17 But Maček could somehow foresee what this kind of independency under the German rule would become and declined the German proposal.18 Finally, the Nazis were forced to install the Croatian terrorist group called the Ustaše and its leader Dr. Ante Pavelić as the ruling elite of the new quisling state which was, as will be shown below, just another SS-protectorate in the Third Reich, a territory with unstable borders and penetrable by all imaginable armies in the WWII, including the Serbian units fighting for the idea a Greater Serbia. The idea of an independent Croatian state was abandoned by the Nazis in the second half of the Balkan episode of WWII in favor of a Greater Serbia (especially by Hermann Neubacher and the SS leadership) but somehow managed to exist miserably (and only formally) until the very end in 1945 thanks only to the mutual support of Pavelić and Hitler especially after the failure of the operation Valkyrie. Indeed, Hitler’s Croatia was a “last-minute affair” (MAZOWER 2009, p. 345), an unwanted child, a fatal source of unrest and uprising both by the Serbian and Croatian and Bosnian populations.
Cf. Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik 1918-1945, Serie D: 1937-1941, Bd. XII, 2, document 239. 18
GOLDSTEIN (2001, p. 627; 2008, p. 256) rewinds the time to this moment and meditates on what the situation would have been in Croatia 1941-1945 if Vladko Maček and the Croatian Peasant Party had been in power. He believes that there would have been no persecutions of Jews and Roma or that the Nazis would have had to organize it themselves, and there would have been no persecutions of Serb(ian)s.
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VI. The Nazis between the Croatian and Serbian idea of ‘statehood’ In the so called Independent State of Croatia, the Nazi Germany implemented a statehood policy for conquered nations that had not been formally enforced in other parts of Eastern Europe, except possibly in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Poland lost its name and the most of it became the so called General Government, the Czech part of the former Czechoslovakia became the so called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the most of the Ukrainian SSR became Reich Commissariat (Ukraine). Supreme Nazi commissars ruled instead of national governments – although increasingly having conflicts with the SS-elites. Contrary to this type of the Nazi rule, the Germans seem to have applied another strategy in the case of the Greater Croatia they proclaimed together with their servile puppets and supported it not later than 1943 when again the specters of a Greater Serbia under Nazi direction appeared. The only problem to this idea was Hitler himself with his typically Austrian antiSerbi(ani)sm. On September 23, 1943, Goebbels summarized his impressions about the meeting between Hitler and the Serbian general Nedić on September 18, 194319 as follows: The Serbian Prime Minister, Nedic, has paid a visit to the Fuehrer. He acted very obediently and loyally during this visit. The Fuehrer believes he can make good use of him in re-establishing order in Serbia. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 466) EDMUND GLAISE VON HORSTENAU (p. 290) made comments on Ribbentropp’s refusal of Nedić’s Greater Serbian proposals and then concentrated on the successful meeting between Hitler and Nedić: Besser verlief die Unterredung Nedić-Hitler. Erstgenannter war allerdings angewiesen, die Territorialfrage nicht zu berühren. Auch wurde eine Anerkennung Nedić-Serbiens als Staat abgelehnt. 19
The photo of this meeting introduces Philip J. Cohen’s book Serbia’s secret war (1996). The photo first appeared in the November, 1943, Spanish edition of Signal.
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Immerhin kam Nedić mit einigen innerpolitischen Zugeständnissen nach Hause, und die Fama wollte beiderseits der Drina alsbald von großen Gebietszugeständnissen wissen. Die feindlichen Sender legten den plötzlich zustande gekommenen Besuch als Zeichen der Schwäche Deutschlands aus. (p. 290)
Figure 6: General Milan Nedić meets Hitler in September 18, 1943 (source: http://bosniakandjewishfriendship.wordpress.com/tag/ravnogorski-pokret)
VII. The significance of sham governments in the Nazi Europe On May 22, 1942, Goebbels contemplated about the necessity to conceal the true Nazi policy (e.g. like that one in Poland and the Ukraine) with an illusion of national statehood and national government which should mask the true intentions: Personally, I believe we must change our policies essentially as regards the peoples of the East. We could reduce the danger of the Partisans considerably if we succeeded in at least winning a certain measure of confidence with these people. A clear peasant and church ~ 231 ~
policy would work wonders there. It might also be useful to set up sham government in the various sectors which would then have to be responsible for unpleasant und unpopular measures. Undoubtedly it would be easy to set up such sham governments, and we would then always have a façade behind which to camouflage our policies. I shall talk to the Fuehrer about this problem in the near future. I consider it one of the most vital in the present situation in the East. (The Goebbels Diaries, p. 225) From the passage above it can be concluded that the function of bogus national authorities and simulated independent countries in the “new” German European order would be to transfer the Nazi responsibility for detested actions initiated by Germans to the puppets installed to be a mere deceiving frontage for monstrosities primarily programmed by the Germans – and consequently to blame the whole conquered nation for deeds commanded by Germans. However, it seems the Nazis (I mean here first of all Hermann Neubacher) could choose on which conquered nation more guilt to transfer and which nation to possibly pardon from the majority of crimes.
VIII. Strange circumstances of the creation of the Croatian independence The odd circumstance about the Leader of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia Dr. Ante Pavelić was the fact that he moved to the capital of his country Zagreb almost one week after the state’s proclamation under the Nazi protection and direction. In the city of Karlovac he had to swear an oath of loyalty to his real masters behind the scenes. BROUCEK (1988, p. 14) reports about it as follows: Er beeilte sich nun, nach Agram zu gelangen, mußte aber in Karlstadt (Karlovac) am 16. April gegenüber italienischen und deutschen Emissären nicht nur die Abtretung der dalmatinischen Küste an Italien vorläufig mehr oder weniger versprechen, sondern auch dem Deutschen Reich seine Dankbarkeit und Loyalität versichern. Dann konnte er am 17. April in Agram einziehen.
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Pavelić’s state had a highly restricted sovereignty from the very beginning. It lost some economically more developed territories that had traditionally been Croatian and had industrial and sea commerce potentials – and in exchange gained economically poor territories in Bosnia and Herzegovina which in some parts were predominantly Muslim or Serbian orthodox. Of course, the Bosnian Muslim did not want to become Croats (and thus return to their alleged ‘original Croat identity’) and established direct contacts with the Nazis hoping to re-create the autonomous status and privileges like during the Austro-Hungarian rule, culminating in their recruitment support for two SS-divisions (Handschar and Kama). Similarly, the Serbian Orthodox population never wanted to convert to Catholicism voluntarily and did not want to join Pavelić’s Croatian Orthodox Church20. The Ustašas seem to have adopted the policy of three thirds: one third of the Serbian population to resettle to the Serbian territories, one third to convert forcefully to Catholicism and one third to exterminate.21 However, there is a fourth category of the Serbs: that of forced laborers. Unfortunately, we will never know exactly which percentage of the Serbian population in Pavelić’s state was sent by train to German forced labor camps.22 Pavelić’s 20
Cf. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hrvatska_pravoslavna_crkva and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Orthodox_Church. 21
Considering the genocide accusations, MACDONALD (2002, p. 262) states the following estimation: “My personal opinion, which may be refuted in future years, is that genocide (of Serbs or Croats) in the occupied and divided Yugoslavia during the Second World War is very difficult to prove, although it seems clear that here, as elsewhere, the Jews were targeted for mass extermination. […] While the Genocide Convention does use the term ‘in part’, the purpose of genocide traditionally has been to eliminate a group in its entirety. […] Claiming that eliminating one-third in a given territory, while ignoring the target population in neighbouring areas, constitutes a genocide is a contentious proposition.” IVO GOLDSTEIN (2001, p. 637) stresses the fact that gender analysis of the victims of WWII show that among both Croats and Serbs men were killed six times more than women, whereas among Jews men and women were killed in equal proportions. Genocidal intentions were directed on the whole nation of Jews disregarding age and sex and that was not the case with Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims during the Second World War.
Common sense knowledge on the German Wikipedia does not mention forced or POW workers from the Balkans: cf. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/NS-Zwangsarbeit. However, the English Wikipedia mentions some 270,000 forced laborers from exYugoslav territories, cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_labour_in_Germany_ during_World_War_II.
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hostile policy toward the Serbs was determined by several factors. First, he had to distract the attention of the Croatian people from the territorial losses – as compensation – to the ‘old enemy’ in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Second, he had Hitler’s and Siegfried Kasche’s approval for his actions. Hitler gave the green light in June 7, 1941 during the meeting with Pavelić in Berghof. He insisted that resettlements are a necessary policy and suggested that a part of the Slovenes should be moved to Croatia as well as the Serbs to Serbia.23 Whereas Edmund Glaise von Horstenau protested against the Ustaša brutal policy against the Serbian population, Siegfried Kasche supported it: “Ich bezog als ‘Deutscher General in Zagreb’ von Anbeginn schärfstens gegen die Ustašagreuel Stellung. Kasche hingegen sah in ihnen ein ‘Ventil’ von an sich begrüßenswerter revolutionärer Gesinnung und ließ über diese Auffassung niemand in Zweifel.” (EDMUNG GLAISE VON HORSTENAU, p. 432) Of course, the Germans and the Italians were later on shocked with the intensity and range of the Ustaša terror against the Serbian population24 – but was it more sincere concern or malicious joy behind the mask of concern? Why would 23
BILANDŽIĆ (1999, p. 125) estimates that only in the first three months of their government the Ustaše expelled 140.000 to 180.000 Serbians to Nedić’s Serbia. According to IVICA ŠARAC (2012, pp. 65-66), the number of all Serbs expelled from Pavelić’s state to Serbia varies from 150 to 400 thousands and there seems to be no study about the Serbs who returned to Croatia after the war. However, GOLDSTEIN (2011, p. 376) points to Bogdan Radica’s impressions that Serb(ian)s flooded Zagreb, opened their shops and libraries, demonstrated their Greater Serbian feelings. On the other hand, in August 1941, some 11,800 Croats and 500 Slovenians left Serbia and came to Zagreb (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2011, p. 155). 24
Interestingly, Dr. Hermann Neubacher inflated the number of Serbian victims of the Ustaša policy to the impossible number of 750,000 of the dead until the end of 1943 (cf. BROUCEK, p. 18). For what reasons Neubacher decided to be a Great-Serbian propagandist (cf. Cohen, p. 56) ready to libel Croats already in 1943, can not be determined for sure. In this context it should be mentioned that the Italians could employ ridiculous propagandistic anti-Croatian details like in the case when they insisted that Pavelić had a basket full of eyes of the Serbian victims on his desk (cf. COHEN, p. 206, endnote 66; MACDONALD, p. 150). Curzio Malaparte’s fictional story Kaputt (1946), where the incident was reported, became a superb instrument for the Serbian victim-centered propaganda. However, it may be supposed that only people with a bit lower IQ would accept this as truth. Pavelić should have kept the alleged eyes in something like a refrigerator and not in a basket – just to prevent the smell of putrefying organs. Divide et impera again? On the other hand, cutting ears, noses and eyes from victims resembles some Eastern European war crimes practices…
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the Germans (and Italians) be sorry for the effects of their divide et impera policy? And what else could be expected from a terrorist organization put in power which had approval from only 1-2% of the population at the end of 1941 and ultimately turned out to be a kind of Croatian SS-organization with complete loyalty to the German SS and Hitler himself?
IX. Glaise von Horstenau – friend or enemy of Croatia? Who was the German Wehrmacht General Glaise von Horstenau in the whole affair? Was Edmund Glaise von Horstenau a racist or a good player who as a participant in the Operation Valkyrie needed best possible cover and therefore pretended to be a full-blooded Nazi and a complete racist? Below is a passage from his diary dealing with the SS monster who massively contributed to the killing of 5.000 people involved in the July 20, 1944 plot: Ich möchte hier noch einen Nachtrag zum Kapitel Himmler einschalten. Als ich – meiner wachsenden Überzeugung nach – bemerkte, ich sei allmählich der Meinung, daß es eine slawische Rasse überhaupt nicht gäbe, – man kommt zumal im jugoslawischen Raume zu dieser Auffassung – bemerkte Himmler, er sähe in den Slawen eine Mischung zwischen mongoloiden Rassen und Germanen und gab mir recht. (GLAISE VON HORSTENAU, p. 191) In September 1943, he was in the Führerhauptquartier where he revealed the following opinion about the Croats, which could be a pretended or a true opinion: „Mein Führer, die Kroaten sind ein primitives Volk, sie vermögen in die Dinge nicht so einzudringen wie wir Deutsche und beurteilen daher die Kriegslage nicht sosehr nach dem tiefsten Wesen, sondern nach den Äußerlichkeiten.“ (ibid., p. 265) During his stay in Belgrade in June 1944, E. Glaise von Horstenau read the second volume of Walter Rogge’s book Österreich von Világos bis zur Gegenwart (1873, p. 129) where he found the following “splendid passage” about Croats attributing them the following expressions: “In ihrer naiven ~ 235 ~
Ursprünglichkeit nahmen diese Gernegroße keinen Augenblick Anstand, gleichzeitig mit Wien und Pest anzubinden. […] so hatten die Agramer Liliputaner nur die völlig nebelhafte Krone Zvonimirs im Auge.“ (p. 416) E. G. v. Horstenau believed that Bosnia was the Turkish Hinterland of which no part would belong to the Croatian people and that should prevent Croatia and Serbia from gaining too much power individually and mutually.25 Finally, he besmirches the important national figure of Croats Ante Starčević: Hinter diesen Worten, geschrieben für die ersten sechziger Jahre des vergangenen Jahrhunderts, taucht die bärtige, an Schönerer gemahnende Gestalt des Ante Starčević auf, des „Vaters des Vaterlandes“, der der geistige Träger eines solchen verrückten Nationalismus war und dafür ein sehr kitschiges Grabmal in dem hübschen Dörfchen Šestine erhielt… (p. 416) After his removal from the office in Zagreb, E. Glaise von Horstenau shows again his contempt for the Croatian struggle for the national state and writes in Vienna in October 1944 the following defamatory and offensive lines: Während nicht Zvonimir oder Tomislav oder ähnliche Räuberhäuptlinge die Kroaten in Europa berühmt machten, sondern – trotz ihrer Plünderei – einzig und allein die Militärgrenze, wurde diese mit ihren Überlieferungen und ihren unzweifelhaften verwaltungsmäßigen und wirtschaftlichen Leistungen schon gar selbst in jugoslawisch infizierten Offizierskreisen entschieden abgelehnt. Wahr ist, daß Wien den Kroaten zumal um die Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts schwere Enttäuschungen bereitete und auch, soweit es offiziell war, später nie mehr den Versuch machte, den Pester Alpddruck lockern zu helfen. Aber ebenso gewiß ist, daß die Kroaten ein unglückliches Volk sind, das nie weiß, was es will – wofür auch wieder Starčević ein besonders beredtes Beweisstück ist. (p. 430) From the statements above it is quite clear that Edmund Glaise von Horstenau suffered from a chronically present Austrian repulsion at any 25
According to REDŽIĆ (1989, p. 113-114), Hermann Neubacher shared the same strategy thinking.
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idea of the Croatian sovereignty. Since the Croats would be doomed to be politically an ‘unhappy nation’, why to change their political destiny and give them rights of free nations in the West European sense? At this background, his intentions at improving the image of false sovereignty and independent executive powers of the Pavelić’s regime in 1944 (and he repeats that he hated Pavelić because of his anti-Serbian measures!) become incongruous. The following quote demonstrates not so much Glaise von Horstenau’s love for the Croatian sovereignty as such, but the implementation of Goebbel’s policy of installing sham, puppet governments which would only “optically” be independent and behind the scenes almost completely controlled and abused: Als der Oberbefehlshaber Südost eine scharfe antikroatische Stellung einnahm, für den Küstenraum [Dalmatia in 1944] die Übertragung der vollziehenden Gewalt an die beiden deutschen Kommandierenden verlangte, erbat der Poglavnik aus optischen Gründen, daß die Ausführung zwei Küstenabschnittskommandanten der kroatischen Wehrmacht übertragen werden möge, die sozusagen heimlich den beiden deutschen Kommandierenden Generälen unterstellt würden. Ich drückte diese Lösung, die nicht ohne Gefahren war, beim Oberkommando der Wehrmacht durch. Kurze Zeit darauf verlangte der Oberbefehlshaber Südost, offenbar auf Anregung einer Stelle des Reichsführer SS, daß das Zwischenstromland von Semlin bis knapp nach Agram zur Sicherung der Ernteeinbringung der vollziehenden Gewalt des Kammerhofer zu überantworten sei; außerdem Ostbosnien der SS. Diese Lösung hätte natürlich das Ende der Souveränität des Poglavnik [sic!] bedeutet; außerdem hatten wir gar nicht die Kräfte, die vollziehende Gewalt de facto auszuüben. Ich sprach mich daher dagegen aus und erzielte eine Lösung, die auch für die kroatische Souveränität tragbar war. (p. 443) The sovereignty double game must have had an additional role: to prevent even more Croatian soldiers (especially in the Home Guard units) from joining Tito’s partisans. It may be the case that only those who could not understand this theater stayed with Pavelić until the very end. And Pavelić ‘thanked’ them by deserting them in May 1945. Therefore, it could be said that Edmund Glaise von Horstenau was more Pavelić’s friend and more Croatia’s enemy. ~ 237 ~
X. The ‘independent’ Croatia as an SS-colony? In July 1943, EDMUND GLAISE VON HORSTENAU confirmed the absolute rule of the SS in Croatia: “Kroatien ist seit geraumer Zeit ein SS-Reich geworden, nachdem es uns 2 Jahre lang geglückt war, die Herren fernzuhalten.” (p. 240) And this means that even private property of Croatia’s ministers could be attacked and destroyed, like in the case of the then Croatian foreign minister Stijepo Perić26. In December 11, 1943, there were consultations in the private home of the Ustaša minister Mladen Lorković: [Es] wird besonders nachdrücklich auf die unmöglichen Ausschreitungen der Fremdtruppen, nicht zuletzt der Waffen-SS, hingewiesen. Besonders der Außenminister Perić ist sehr böse, da man ihm bei Ragusa sein mehrere Jahrhunderte altes Haus völlig ausgeraubt hat. Seine Frau, eine Reichsdeutsche, sei über die deutschen Gräueltaten so erschüttert, daß sie den ganzen Tag weine; auch Perić selbst fürchtet sich, je wieder in seine Heimat zurückzukehren. Vrančić, der neue Polizeiminister, selbst ein sehr wilder Geselle, erklärt, wir seien schlechter als die Italiener. (ibid., p. 329) In May 1944, E. G. v. Horstenau spent his time with Hitler in Klesheim and he repeated the story about the incident as follows: Perić nannte der Führer – nicht ganz zu unrecht – einen „Schlawiner“ und einen „Levantiner“. Er hat sich offenbar besonders freimütig über die „Tätigkeit“ der SS-Division Prinz Eugen bei der Besetzung Dalmatiens geäußert, wobei sie wirklich gewütet hat. Im Heimatdorf der Periće, Ston bei Ragusa, wo es nie einen Partisanen gegeben hatte, hat sie glatt sieben Bürger jeden Alters umgelegt. Das Haus des Perić ist wie viele andere Häuser völlig ausgeraubt. (ibid., p. 382) In Christmas time 1943 in Zagreb, E. G. v. Horstenau reinforced his impressions about numerous criminal actions of the SS-forces in Croatia: 26
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Es ist leider wahr, daß seit dem Auftreten der ersten SS in unseren Landen furchtbar viel Porzellan zerschlagen worden ist. Den Gipfelpunkt haben bisher, abgesehen von den Kosaken des Pannwitz, die „Nordgermanen“ des III. Panzerkorps des SS erklommen. Die plünderten, stahlen und mordeten mitunter wohl auch, wie es nur ging. Dabei greifen die Kommandeure nicht ein, sondern sie sind beleidigt, wenn man ihnen die Schweinereien ihrer Truppen vorhält. (ibid., p. 330) Das III. SS-(Germanen-)Panzerkorps ist dieser Tage weggezogen. […] Sie gingen mit schwerbeladenen „Kamelen“ nach dem Petersburger Norden ab. Der ganze Aufenthalt war ein gigantischer Beutezug, an dem auch der Kommandeur seinen Anteil hatte. [Über ein SS-Lager in der Nähe von Zagreb:] Die Leute leben fürstlich, sie holen sich aus naher und ferner Umgebung, was sie brauchen, natürlich ohne zu zahlen. Auch Menschenleben werden nicht geschont, wenn sie im Wege sind. Kommen aber Anzeigen, dann wird ausschließlich der Täter als Kronzeuge einberufen. […] Die Heeresstreife weiß von Orgien mit in Autos herangeführten Weibern, bereitgestellten Bädern und so weiter, alles unter Patronanz des Kommandeurs. Anzeigen würden gar nichts helfen, sondern nur den Anzeiger bedrohen. (ibid., p. 334) In January 1944, E. Glaise von Horstenau must admit that German forces deliberately obstructed any attempt of a successful war strategy of their Croatian ‘allies’: „Inzwischen hat sich die Atmosphäre zwischen uns und den Kroaten außerordentlich verschlechtert. Manche berechtige Klage spielt hinein, so die Tatsache, daß die Kroaten nicht über ein Bataillon verfügen und zusehen müssen, wie die Strategie des Rendulić einen kroatischen Ort nach dem anderen preisgibt, um ihn 8 Tage später als Trümmerhaufen zurückzuerobern.“ (ibid., p. 358) The German military command destroyed Croatia’s positions on purpose? Further, Glaise von Horstenau documented the atrocities of the SS-division Prinz Eugen and its massacres in March 25-29, 1944 as follows: Otok und drei andere Dörfer bei Sinj, durchwegs von Katholiken bewohnt, wurden Ende März von Abteilungen der 7. SS-Division, die mit ihrem Namen den Prinzen Eugen schändet, vernichtet. Zuerst hieß ~ 239 ~
es, es seien ein paar hundert Greise, Frauen und Kinder mit umgekommen. Dann behaupten die Kroaten, es seien ihrer 3000 oder 4000 gewesen und belegen ihre Angaben zum Teil mit grauenvollen Photos und mit Namensverzeichnissen der Hingemordeten. Deutsche Zeugnisse (Requart und Katschinka), die zufällig in Dalmatien waren, und unser Spliter Feldkommandant Oberst Moßdorf bestätigen diese Angaben. Katschinka war bei mir und bestätigte, daß sich die SS minestens 20 Stunden ruhig bei Essen und Trinken in den Dörfern aufhielt (wo sie übrigens nichts zu suchen hatten, da sie in den Abschnitt des Nachbarkorps gehörten), um plötzlich in der Nacht die armen Leute in Häusern zusammenzutreeiben und sie durch Kugeln und Feuer vernichteten. (ibid., p. 395) Das Ganze ist zweifellos eine namenlose Schandtat, die ebenso zweifellos der SS-Division zur Last fällt. Daß sie zu derlei fähig ist, beweist mir eine Erzählung Lüters aus dem Sommer 1943. Während des Vormarsches über Bihać traf Lüters an einem Abend 100 zur Straßenarbeit herangezogene Kroaten bei der Division. Als er am nächsten Morgen diese nicht mehr sah, wurde ihm verlegen erklärt, man habe am Vortag nicht mehr gewußt, was mit den Kroaten zu machen, und habe sie erschossen. (ibid., p. 396) In October 1944, E. G. v. Horstenau writes in Vienna again about SSatrocities in Dalmatia and in the surroundings of Zagreb: Den Gipfelpunkt erklomm diese Art von Tätigkeit der SS-Division, die leider auf den ruhmreichen Namen Prinz Eugen getauft worden war, im März des Jahres 1944 an der Cetina (Norddalmatien), wo in ein paar Ortschaften einige tausend Kroaten, wirkliche Kroaten, darunter Greise, Weiber, Kinder, hingeschlachtet wurden. Auch Phleps hat die Sache, die natürlich ohne sein Vorwissen geschehen ist, eingestanden. Aber ein völlig unangebrachter SS-Geist hinderte, die Angelegenheit trotz des Geschreis der Kroaten in voller Öffentlichkeit auszutragen. Es hätte dem Ansehen der deutschen Wehrmacht nur genützt, wenn der allgemein bekannt gewordenen Untat eine entsprechend scharfe Sühne auf dem Fuße gefolgt wäre. Nicht viel besser war der Ruf des III. SS-Germanenkorps, das im Winter 1943/44 Agram und seine Umgebung mit seiner Anwesenheit beglückte. Es hauste wie in Feindesland und nahm bei seinem Abgang mit, was nicht niet- und nagelfest war, so in Samobor selbst die Einrichtung des stätischen Bades! (ibid., p. 438) ~ 240 ~
Einen besonders schweren Stoß erhielt die Geltung des deutschen Soldatentums durch die Kosakendivision des Generals v. Pannwitz, die um Oktober 1943 in Syrmien eingesetzt wurde und von dort aus sengend und brennend, raubend und mordend in einer Anzahl von Wochen bis vor die Tore von Zagreb kam. Natürlich verdarb schlechtes Beispiel auch die guten Sitten der eigentlichen Heerestruppen. […] So bemühte sich insbesondere eine Heeresdivision an der Küste eine Zeit hindurch dem Beispiele der Kosaken und SS-nachzuahmen, was so weit ging, daß sogar Fälle von Vergewaltigungen vorkamen. (ibid., p. 439) During his stay in Belgrade in June 1944, E. G. v. Horstenau reported about Hitler’s and Hermann Neubacher’s final rebuttal of the Croatian state: “Immerhin haben wir uns nach dem Essen in eine Ecke gesetzt und dort über Kroatien gesprochen, wobei ich wieder das geflügelte Wort vernehmen konnte, der Führer habe Kroatien ‚abgeschrieben‘.“ (p. 420) But it was primarily the SS’s intention to discard the idea of Croatia: “Was inzwischen oben für Absichten betreffs Kroatien bestehen, ist schleierhaft. […] Besonders die SS mutet sich zu, die Sache zu schmeißen.” (p. 417) The German idea of an ‘independent’ state for Croats has finally reached its true tragic ending. Better to say, it was realized in association with criminals and then killed with intent: Die Basler Nachrichten vom 7./8. Oktober brachten auf der ersten Seite die Nachricht: Aus zuverlässiger Quelle vernehmen wir, daß in Kroatien chaotische Zustände herrschen. Wegen einem Meutereiversuch der Armee wurden 22 kroatische Generäle von der SS erschossen. Nach diesen Ereignissen wurde der Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht in Kroatien, der österreichische General Glaise-Horstenau, abgesetzt und die ganze Macht der SS und der Gestapo anvertraut. (ibid., p. 484) The occupying German force could execute generals of the enslaved Croat nation with impunity. The twenty-two Croatian generals can only be blamed that they did not have the courage to timely switch sides and join Tito’s partisans. Further, Wehrmacht reports about military actions did not mention Croatian contributions to the war effort. E. G. v. Horstenau remembers one case where he had to hand over the Croatian complaint: ~ 241 ~
“Gleichzeitig brachte ich in meinem zweiten Gespräch eine Beschwerde der Kroaten wegen der Wehrmachtsberichte vor. In dem vom 6. war von einem Sieg ‚deutscher‘ Divisionen in Nordostbosnien die Rede, außerdem von wackeren Taten serbischer Freiwilliger in den Kämpfen östlich der Drina. […] Auch seien sonst in letzter Zeit alle Freiwillige: Esten, Letten, Livländer, Flamen und natürlich Kosaken genannt gewesen, nur die armen Kroaten nicht.” (ibid., p. 399) In addition, the occupying German force could plunder the harvest of the enslaved Croat nation: “Neuestens trägt sich das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht […], die östliche Hälfte des Zwischenstromlandes in Ausnahmezustand zu setzen. Die vollziehende Gewalt soll unter meinem Befehl General der Gebirgsgruppe Ringel haben. Der Grund, die Einbringung der Ernte, ist fadenscheinig genug und höchstens damit zu erklären, daß wir den Kroaten wegschnappen möchten, was uns möglich ist.“ (p. 417) Therefore, one must come to the conclusion that despite the difference in the naming the two conquered nations, the Ukrainians and the Croats, the occupier’s aims were the same ones: destruction, robbery, enslavement, ignorance of the existence and a complete annihilation in course of time. The only one possible difference is that of intensity and techniques of covering the true nature of the German crimes in the Ukraine and Croatia (and Serbia).
XI. The position of the Bosnian Muslims in the Ustaša formations, in the SS-division and in other military units ENVER REDŽIĆ (1989, p. 28) emphasizes the role of the Bosnian Muslims’ anti-Christian tradition in the process of acceptance of Pavelić’s Ustaša state and launching the genocide mass killings of the Serbian population committed in the Ustaše uniforms: ~ 242 ~
Za muslimansku podršku ustaškoj NDH neusporedivo veći značaj od pojedinačnih istupanja ustaških funkcionera i predstavnika iz redova Muslimana imala je muslimanska protuhrišćanska tradicija, koja je od kraja XIX vijeka bila obilježena izrazitom srbofobijom. Time ona nije bila lišena svog osnovnog vjerskog karaktera, štaviše, muslimanski vjerski sindrom u njoj postao je još militantniji. Poput svakog oblika vjerske i nacionalne mržnje i njome prožete ideologije i politike, muslimanska srbofobija bila je dublje ukorijenjena prvenstveno u društveno najzaostalijim slojevima Muslimana, čiji je duhovni život bio određen elementarnim biloškim težnjama, strastima i oblicima materijalne egzistencije. Zato su pokretači ustaškog genocida nad srpskim narodom u Bosni i Hercegovini mogli da računaju na ovaj element muslimanskog stanovništva i njegovo najaktivnije učestvovanje u provođenju genocidnog programa. Bez učešća ovog muslimanskog elementa genocid u Bosni i Hercegovini ne bi dobio ni izrazito surove oblike ni neviđeno široke razmjere […] REDŽIĆ (pp. 30-31) repeats the thesis of Ustaša manipulation of the Bosnian Muslims for their own genocidal plans against Serbs – and adds finally the two intrinsic factors for the Bosnian Muslims’ intensified brutality against the Serbian victims: first, the revenge for injustices committed after the First World War and in the Kingdom of Yugoslav predominantly led by Serbs; second, believe in return of the times of Muslim monopoly, hegemony and autonomy in Bosnia, which would be later maximized in the proposal to Hitler to form an independent Bosnian Muslim state under Nazi protection (with the consequence of a further partition of Pavelić’s state). Here I quote a longer passage: Ustaška država je na istočnoj granici Hercegovine računala na tradiciju vjerske mržnje hercegovačkih Muslimana protiv pravoslavnih Srba i u njoj će naći uporište za ostvarenje svoga vrhovnog cilja: istrebljenjem srpskog stanovništva osigurati istočnu državnu granicu na pojasu prema Crnoj Gori. Oslanjajući se na ovu tradiciju, ustaška vlast je među Muslimanima istočne Hercegovine, gdje ustaški pokret nikada nije imao ni utjecaja ni organizacije, uspjela da regrutuje pripadnike oružanih jedinica sa zadatkom da preduzmu akcije istrebljivanja Srba na ovom prostoru. Tome cilju trebalo je da posluže mjesni organi ustaške vlasti, kao i ustaške ~ 243 ~
organizacije koje su ovdje formirane poslije proglašenja NDH. U ovoj sredini, gdje je srpski elemenat činio 75% od ukupnog njenog stanovništva (Muslimana je bilo 23,7%, Hrvata 1,1%), sve ustaške organizacije i instance vlasti bile su po sastavu muslimanske i u rukama Muslimana. U širokim masama stvarao se utisak da se povratilo doba muslimanske društvene i političke hegemonije, kojoj su dopuštena sva sredstva da se potvrđuje. To se ubrzo i pokazalo. Ustaše iz redova Muslimana počinile su mnoga nasilja i izvršile masovne pokolje srpskog stanovništva na području nevesinjskog, gatačkog, bilećkog, ljubinjskog sreza i u drugim krajevima istočne Hercegovine da bi se tu podigao bedem sigurnosti značajnijeg dijela istočne granice NDH koju je priznao Treći Rajh. Istovremeno, ustaše su izvršile pljačku imovine pobijenih srpskih seljaka i građana u uvjerenju da tako ispravljaju »nepravde« koje je jugoslavenska, odnosno »srpska država« poslije prvog svjetskog rata nanijela ovdašnjim Muslimanima. Među istoričarima i autorima memoarskih priloga lada suglasnost u ocjeni da je ustaški teror nad srpskim stanovništvom istočne Hercegovine imao izuzetno svirepe oblike i da su njegovi nosioci mahom poticali iz redova Muslimana. The following photos document the Bosnian Muslims’ attraction to the Ustaša movement, but also the fact of a multisided double games and pragmatic coalitions between Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims:
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Figure 7: Synthesis of Islam and the Ustaša ideology
Figure 9: Croatian General greeting Muslim soldiers in the military units
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Figure 8: Dictator Pavelić in Muslim pose
Figure 10: A special Muslim pose of oath
Figure 11: Domobrani (Home Guard) unit consisting of Muslims (source: ENVER REDŽIĆ 1987, p. IX)
Figure 12: Ustaša unit consisting of Muslims (source: ENVER REDŽIĆ 1987, p. III)
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Figure 13: Bosnian Muslims’ loyalty to the Ustaša movement until the very end in the fields of Bleiburg (Austria) in 1945
Figures 14 and 15: Bosnian Muslim Ustaše soldiers with their fezzes ornamented with the Ustaša badge in the concentration camp Jasenovac searching the victims (source: NATAŠA MATAUŠIĆ 2008, pp. 125, 126, material from the Croatian State Archives, HDA)
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Figure 16: Ustaša and Četnik soldiers drinking together, collaborators in the German infamous Kozara campaign in June and July 1942 (source: http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t921060 http://sh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uro%C5%A1_Drenovi%C4%87#cite_note-12)
Figure 17: NDH soldiers with one Četnik soldier (source: as above)
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Figure 18: NDH forces and Četnik soldiers (source: as above)
Figure 19: Bosnian Muslims trying alliance with Serbian Četniks (source: http://mojahercegovina.com/muslimani-a-cetnici-borili-se-s-drazom-za-kraljanikad-s-titom )
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Figure 20: Bosnian Muslims with Serbian Četniks (source: as above)
Figure 21: Bosnian Muslims with Četnik forces (source: http://www.srbijadanas.net/muslimani-cetnici-u-2-svjetskom-ratu-2)
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Figures 22 and 23: Propaganda material for SS-recruitment and Nazi material for instilling anti-Semitism with the Bosnian Muslims (source: Bundesarchiv_Bild_101IIIMielke-036-23,_Waffen-SS,_13._Gebirgs-Div._"Handschar".jpg)
Figure 24: A facsimile from BERNWALD (2012, appendix)
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Figure 25: A facsimile from BERNWALD (2012, appendix)
Since the Ustaša and Četnik formations started an alliance during 1942 (cf. REDŽIĆ 1989, pp. 65-74; BILANDŽIĆ 1999, p. 142; GOLDSTEIN 2008, pp. 290, 292), the Bosnian Muslims felt disappointed and accepted the German idea of forming a SS division with Bosnian Muslim soldiers in 1943.27 Even Haj Amin al Husseini28 visited Bosnia in April 1943 – and finally 27
Cf. REDŽIĆ (1987), TOMASEVICH (2001, p. 466-510), LEPRE (1997), VELIKONJA (2003, p. 163- 183), HERF (2009), TRIGG (2011), BERNWALD (2012), KOOP (2012), ISRAELI (2013, p. 85-126). 28
REDŽIĆ (1987, p. 91) stresses the fact that the Bosnian Muslims had the first meeting with the Grand Mufti already in 1931 in Jerusalem during the General Islamic Congress: “Međutim, prve veze političkih i vjerskih predstavnika bosanskohercegovačkih Muslimana datiraju iz predratnog doba, s početka 30-ih godina. Naime, 1932. [sic!] godine u Jerusalimu je održan sveislamski kongres pod predsjedništvom velikog muftije Muhamed Emin El Huseinija. Ovome kongresu prisustvovali su i najistaknutiji predstavnici političkog i vjerskog života Muslimana Bosne i Hercegovine, među kojima i dr Mehmed Spaho, predsjednik JMO, Uzeiraga Hadžihasanović, najbliži suradnik dr Mehmeda Spahe, hadži-Mujaga Merhemić i drugi.“ On the other hand, the Jewish community of Croatia and the whole of Yugoslavia had contacts both with the Zionist movement in the world and in the then Palestine and took part in the Aliyah (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2005, pp. 95-130, 339-372).
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Himmler came too in May 1943 to demonstrate his full support for the project. However, WILLIAMSON (1994, p. 123) makes some ironic comments about Himmler’s Bosnian Muslim division as follows: “The Croat dictator Ante Pavelic was highly suspicious of Himmler's moves, suspecting the Reichsführer-SS of some sort of Machiavellian plot to turn Moslem against Christian and destabilise the state. Himmler simply ignored his protests, however, and recruiting went ahead regardless. The quality of recruits, though, left much to be desired. In September 1943, the division moved to France for training and trouble started almost immediately. The German officers and NCOs in charge of training were often contemptuous of their Moslem charges. Bearing in mind that many of these Germans were early SS recruits imbued with Himmler's ideas of Germanic racial purity, it must have been galling indeed for them to be placed in command of a hotchpotch of poor-quality Moslem recruits, who wore their semicomic fez headgear and came complete with their retinue of imams to administer their daily devotions towards Mecca.” The real power of the SS-uniform in Croatia shows the fact that even some members of Pavelić’s (Bosnian Muslim?) Ustaša Bodyguard enrolled in the SS and then returned just once last time to mock their former superiors: “Ausgerechnet von der Leibgarde des Poglavnik desertierten ein Duzend wackere Ustašas, um sich schon am Abend in funkelnagelneuen SSUniformen höhnisch ihren früheren Vorgesetzten zu zeigen.” (GLAISE VON HORSTENAU, p. 241) The “Muselmanen” were called “Muselgermanen” too. And they soon started showing their newly acquired superiority to the Croats in Northeastern Bosnia as well: „Zu gleicher Zeit benimmt sich die Muselmanendivision in Nordostbosnien wie zu Hause. Das heißt, sie verbietet den Kroaten nicht bloß das Rekrutieren, sondern auch die Ausfuhr
Considering the Jewish-Arab conflict in Palestine, one is tempted to contemplate about the possibility that a part of this antagonism appeared in contacts between Jews and Bosnian Muslims (especially those in Ustaša uniforms). The association of this kind is suggested by the brutality of some murders committed by Bosnian Muslim Ustašas in the Jasenovac concentration camp (cf. one case in GOLDSTEIN 2001, p. 593). To slay a Jew and then lick the knife saying that it is good to drink the Jewish blood from time to time could be interpreted rather as a part of the Middle East genocidal anti-Semitism and war brutality than something connected with the Croatian culture anti-Semitism.
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von Lebensmitteln aus ihrem Bereich! Also viel mehr als vollziehende Gewalt.“ (ibid., p. 417)
XII. A Volksdeutsche and Muslim robbery coalition in Bosnia When it comes to the plunder of Jewish businesses in Bosnia by the local ethnic Germans and Bosnian Muslims, one has to consult ESTHER GITMAN’s book When courage prevailed (2011) where we find the following assessments based on many archive documents: “The German violation of NDH rights to control Aryanized businesses was most prevalent in areas with large Volksdeutsche and Muslim population, in particular Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the German presence was augmented by the occupation’s headquarters in Sarajevo. After confiscating the Jewish businesses, the Germans typically took over and liquidated the businesses themselves and turned them over to loyal Volksdeutsche for liquidation. The proceeds went into Nazi controlled banks.” (p. 77) “[…]only when the businesses had been completely plundered and nothing was left, particularly in the case of retail stores, would a sign be posted stating: ‘Nationalized Property, NDH.’ (p. 78) “After pocketing what they wanted from the liquidated Jewish businesses, the Germans channeled some of the proceeds to the Volksdeutsche and to the Muslim elite ‘to keep them happy and willing collaborators in future activities’. […] In BosniaHerzegovina, due to the support Germany received from local Volksdeutsche and the Muslim elite, their control was absolute. Because the Nazis had the power to impose anti-Jewish measures earlier and more consistently, the destruction of Bosnian Jews initially was far greater than in Croatia itself.” (p. 79) It seems that Zagreb authorities had limited influence in the Bosnian part of what was called the ‘Independent State of Croatia’. The absolute Bosnian elite of that time was represented in the Nazi loyal members of the ethnic Germans primarily and the Bosnian Muslim secondarily.
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XIII. Three parallels between the Ukraine and Croatia At this stage of comparison, we could try to draw three parallels between the Ukrainian and Croatian treatment of the Jews during the WWII. LOWER (2005, p. 92) describes the situation of Ukrainian collaborators in the process of the destruction of the Jewish population as follows, which resembles the situation in the Ustaše state: Several thousand Ukrainians in Zhytomyr’s German administration (largely in the police) carried out anti-Jewish measures under the watchful eye of their German supervisors. There were also cases in which Ukrainians in and outside the administration came willingly to the Germans and denounced Jews, whose fate no one could doubt after the summer of 1941. As more than one of Zhytomyr’s Jewish survivors remarked, for every one Ukrainian who helped a Jew, there were many more who denounced Jews to the Germans. However, somewhere near to the Ukrainians (and Ustaša soldiers) were the ethnic Germans (which will lead us to the analysis of their role on the territory of Hitler’s Croatia) as too ready collaborators in extermination as well: […] Ukrainians and ethnic Germans exploited Nazi anti-Semitism as well as their own prejudices to curry favor with the Nazis, improve their own conditions, and settle scores with foes. Ukrainians and ethnic Germans competed for coveted positions within the Nazi administration, and they quickly figured out how to play the ‘Jewish’ card in this lethal game. (LOWER, p. 94) The third point of the comparison would be the contrast between the Ukrainian and Soviet relation to the Jews on one hand and the Croatian and Serbian relation to the Jews on the other. The Soviet relation to the Jews is well-known positive, whereas the Ukrainians associated their hatred of Jews with their hatred of Soviets and Russians: ~ 255 ~
With the Germans taking the lead in the Holocaust and facing little or no resistance from the local non-Jewish population, there was actually little need for the Ukrainian nationalists to wage an anti-Semitic propaganda campaign. Their anti-Russian propaganda was sufficient. Since the nineteenth century, the Jews of Ukraine had tended to ally themselves with Russian, rather than Ukrainian, culture; hence, from the local Ukrainian perspective, the Jews had entered into an alliance with the ‘‘enemy’’ camp of Russian, Muscovite oppressors. (LOWER, p. 95) The Serbian anti-Semitism has been researched to some degree so far (cf. e.g. COHEN 1996, BYFORD 2008, ISRAELI 2013). The anti-Jewish propaganda in both Croatia and Serbia in the period 1941-1945 was equally successful (cf. Zuckerman Itković 2008), however with more statistical survival success for Jews in the Croatian territory (25%) than in the Serbian territory (6%). It is true that the Ustaše criminals killed or expelled Jews and Serbs very often together, but with different motivations. The Ustaše crimes against Serbs were part of the Serbian and Croatian (and Bosnian Muslim) policy of mutual exterminations, evacuations, forceful conversions and humiliations. In contrast, the genocidal policy against the Jews was part of a larger Nazi scheme in the whole of Europe under the Nazi rule.
XIV. The role of ethnic German in the Holocaust in Croatia VLADIMIR GEIGER (2008) believes that there is no essential difference between the art of collaboration that existed between the ethnic Germans and Nazis on the one hand and the collaboration between all other nations and the Nazis on the other hand. In addition, he claims that the decisions of the Yugoslav partisan parliament AVNOJ on November 21, 1944 proclaiming the confiscation of the property of all ethnic Germans who did not rebel against the Nazis and their expulsion from the future Yugoslavia were problematic. This might be very true. However, let us review some ~ 256 ~
findings of historians dealing with some difficult crimes of the ethnic Germans in Hitler’s Croatia. According to GOLDSTEIN (2008, p. 242), the ethnic Germans had during the Nazi rule a privileged position in relation to all other minorities and even to the Croatian majority population. Croatia’s ethnic Germans had good connections with Nazi intelligence, with the SS, Sicherheitsdienst and the Gestapo, and consequently got transformed to a major political factor in the country. The net of Ustaša party cells developed parallel with the cells of ethnic German organizations and eventually the organizations of ethnic Germans became metaphorically a ‘state within a state’, essentially loyal to the German Reich only, gradually acquiring even an anti-Croatian orientation (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2008, p. 243). According to LUMANS (1993, p. 236), the Ustaša authorities acknowledged “the special ties between the Volksdeutsche and Germany” and “allowed them unhindered contact with the Reich, the wearing of Nazi uniforms, the display of swastikas, and the open espousal of National Socialism.” The Germans of Pavelić’s Croatia finally founded the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Gefolgschaft (NSDG), modeled on the NSDAP itself. The Ustašas “created exclusively German units within the Croatian army and even accepted the minority’s paramilitary formation, the Einsatzstaffel der Deutschen Mannschaft, into the Ustasa.” (p. 237) However, in the spring of 1943, the Volksdeutsche units had to join the Waffen SS, primarily the Prinz Eugen Division. (cf. ibid., p. 238) What was the role of Croatia’s ethnic Germans in the Holocaust? It seems that the newspaper Deutsche Zeitung in Kroatien (together with the German minority magazines Slawonischer Volksbote, Grenzwacht, Neue Zeit, Volk am Pflug and Jahrbuch der Deutschen Volksgruppe im Unabhängigen Staate Kroatien) had the function of the genocide propaganda brainwashing machine where aggressive anti-Semitic texts were published. This paper encouraged atrocity actions against Jews and promised that the Croatian nation would become really independent only after the Jewish question has been solved. (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2001, p. 123) The Ustaše formations played the role of ‘useful monsters’ that often had to do the ‘dirty job’ after which the masters appeared to profit with malicious ~ 257 ~
joy from criminal actions. According to GOLDSTEIN (2001, p. 106), the members of Croatia’s ethnic Germans participated in anti-Semitic propaganda from the very start of the persecutions. In addition, they assisted the Ustaše formations in arresting Jews, primarily in the Croatian province of Slavonia. GOLDSTEIN (ibid., pp. 632-633) proves that the Volksdeutsche used to demand withdrawal of already issued papers granting the status of honorary Aryans29 to Croatia’s Jews in some cases! They could also put Jews who were Croatian patriots in the concentration camp Jasenovac without asking the Ustaše authorities first. They could take the property of the deported and killed Jews as well (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2011, p. 30). After instructing the leading Ustaše monster leaders Eugen Dido Kvaternik and Vjekoslav Maks Luburić (who ‘attended’ SS-courses and met top SSleadership in May/June and September 1941, Luburić had even a ‘study’ visit to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg), after engaging mostly immigrant Ustaše members as camp guards (ready to act more anti-Semitic than the Germans themselves), and after securing further SS education for young Ustašas, the German institutions (Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst) just maintained regular consultations with the Ustaše authorities (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2001, p. 108) However, in the whole time of occupation, the Germans (and the Italians until the capitulation) had the “right to independently imprison, deport to concentration camps and to organize court proceedings” (GOLDSTEIN 2011, pp. 32-33). The German occupation power showed the Ustaše servants the model how to deal with the Jews considering plunder, money and gold contributions, psychological frightening, humiliation, forced labor, deportations and mass killings – and left them to do the dirty job while they spent time choosing (and quarreling among themselves even until 1943) which Zagreb villa to requisition (cf. GOLDSTEIN 2011, p. 24). The ethnic Germans felt that they were finally more powerful than ever. This was especially the case in the city of Osijek where they led the anti-Jewish policy on all levels, and all others simply joined the macabre program. The German Volksgruppe in 29
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Osijek organized the first money contribution blackmails from the local Jews. It also organized and carried out the destruction of the upper town synagogue, with the help of the Deutsche Jugend and the Ustašas, in July 1941. ZLATA ŽIVAKOVIĆ-KERŽE (2006, pp. 30-32) reports that first all valuables were taken from the synagogue, then it was set on fire with simultaneous shouts of support from the mob and teams of firemen just controlled the flames so that the fire could not spread on other buildings. The ruins of the Osijek upper town synagogue could be seen as an unchanged burnt patch even until 1953. In Tito’s Yugoslavia, an apartment and commercial building was erected on the site instead of a synagogue. According to ŽIVAKOVIĆ-KERŽE (p. 104), the German Volksgruppe in Osijek in 1941 even managed to push through the demand to relieve some ‘too soft and pro-Jewish’ officials from their duties, like the one called Hoćevar. Finally, according to MATAUŠIĆ (2013, p. 72), the Volksdeutsche could organize also raping sessions for German soldiers and officers (e.g. in Bijeljina, Bosnia-Herzegovina) and orgies in the women’s concentration camp Lobor Grad (Croatia) which was completely in the hands of the ethnic Germans. The following photos show some documented situations connecting the ethnic Germans with activities in the concentration camps.
Figure 26: Ethnic Germans as concentration camp guards in Belzec (source: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/belzec/images /Belzec/Belzec%20SS%20and%20Volksdeutsche.html)
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Figures 27 and 28: ethnic German units in the concentration camp Jasenovac after the action of looting, showing the expressions of pure satisfaction in mimics, gestures and body language (source: MATAUŠIĆ 2008, p. 127, material from the Croatian State Archives, HDA)
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Figure 29: Ethnic Germans in the concentration camp Jasenovac – real guardian devils and instructors of the hell? (source: MATAUŠIĆ 2008, p. 127, HDA material)
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Figures 30 and 31: Croatian Ustaša soldiers in the concentration camp Jasenovac – the mimics and body language revealing the attitudes of masters and/or servants of the real masters? (source: MATAUŠIĆ 2008, p. 127, 126, HDA material)
XV. Conclusion The Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia were occupied countries under the Nazi rule which was extended to the whole of Europe, with the exception of a few countries (having neutral status or being non-conquered). Formally, only Croatia ‘enjoyed’ the status of an independent state. But in reality, Croatia was equally humiliated and plundered and destroyed in every possible way by the Nazis like Nedić’s Serbia. To call the conquered Croatia an independent state did the Croatian cause after the Second World War a bad turn. The Ukraine was reduced to the status of a pure colony by the Nazis. But the status of a colony was the only status the Nazis predicted for Slavic nations in Europe. The Herrenvolk had to have their Untermenschen. The racially correct German(ic) rulers had to enjoy full life in the conquered colonies in the East. Hitler’s destruction of six million of Jews could have had a continuation of killing additional millions of Slavs as well. No collaboration with the Nazis could have stopped this plan in case of the Nazi victory in WWII. Unfortunately, some members of the ethnic Germans participated in the Nazi plans – and they were collectively punished after the war. Only few intellectuals (e.g. Bertrand Russel) dared ~ 262 ~
to protest this revenge policy against the German national minority in the Slavic countries. There are many nuances between the status of a colony and an occupied state formally called ‘independent’ and having a sham government. The Ukrainians (together with the Poles, the Czechs, the Russians and the Slovenes) had a more difficult fate than the Croats and the Serbs during the Nazi occupation. But all of them were ultimately forced to accept the partisan resistance movement, which was what Churchill and Roosevelt had to accept as well in the given circumstances, and to make the war alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union.
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ŽeljkoUvanović KEIN UNTERSCHIED ZWISCHEN DEM KOLONIE-STATUS UND DER STAATLICHEN UNABHÄNGIGKEIT UNTER DER NAZI-MACHT? Einige Gedanken über die Kollaboration mit den Nazis in der Ukraine, in Kroatien und Serbien im Zweiten Weltkrieg Zusammenfassung Der vorliegende Beitrag befasst sich mit den Nazi-Konzeptionen der europäischen Einheit, die die slawischen Nationen zur Sklaverei und möglicherweise zur Ausrottung als Fortführung des Holocaust für die Juden verurteilten. Dazu wird ein Überblick über unterschiedliche Zugänge der Nazis zu okkupierten Ländern präsentiert. Die Nazis haben alle nationalistischen Sehnsüchte mit größter Entschlossenheit unterdrückt. Warum haben sie dann im Falle Kroatiens im Jahre 1941 die Bezeichnung „der Unabhängige Staat Kroatien“ erlaubt, bleibt unerklärlich. Trotzdem haben die Nazis den kroatischen Marionetten-Staat auf mehreren Ebenen unterhöhlt und destruiert: durch Interessenteilen mit dem italienischen Verbündeten, durch Unterstützung autonomer moslemischer Bewegungen in Bosnien-Herzegowina, durch Unterstützung großserbischer Ideen und durch wirtschaftliche und finanzielle Vernichtung. Die Ustaša-Kollaborateure fungierten als nützliche Monster-Gestalten im Dienste der Interessen des deutschen Besatzers. Wie im Rest von Ost- und Südosteuropa, die Volksdeutschen erlaubten, manipuliert und missbraucht zu werden für den Genozid an der jüdischen Bevölkerung. Die Ukrainer, die Kroaten, die Serben sowie alle anderen slawischen Nationen beteiligten sich an der Divide-et-imperaPolitik des Besatzers durch gegenseitige Ausrottungsaktionen. Stichwörter: Nazi-Besatzung von Europa, Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, Volksdeutsche, Holocaust, Osteuropa, die Ukraine, die West-Balkan-Staaten, Konzentrationslager, Nazi-Kollaborateure, Kolonie-Status, staatliche Unabhängigkeit
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This paper deals with the Nazi conceptions of the European unity in which the Slavic nations were condemned to slavery and possibly extermin...
Published on Nov 3, 2015
This paper deals with the Nazi conceptions of the European unity in which the Slavic nations were condemned to slavery and possibly extermin...