Published by: The Free Press, New York
Library of Congress Catalog #: 78-53085
Dr. Irving Greenberg, Director National Jewish Conference Center:
"A pathbreaking work in Holocaust studies... Dr. Fein has gone beyond
anecdotal or narrative accounts toward a comparative study of Jewish survival...
This book is a must read."
Professor Dr. Sidney H. Aronson, City University of New York "It
is an extraordinary piece of work, a great book. The scholarship is overwhelming...
With the publication of this book, Dr. Helen Fein goes to the head of the
ranks with Hannah Arendt and Raul
Hilberg as the most important scholars of the Holocaust."
Professor Dr. Pierre L. van den Berghe, University of Washington:
"Absorbingly engrossing... This is the best account I have read of
national differences in the carrying out of the Holocaust."
Page 102 - 103
Croatia's independence derived from Hitler's offer of sovereignty
(reserving Germany's right to station troops there) in April 1941 to Ante
Pavelic, the head of an exclusivist Catholic-Croat terrorist movement,
the Ustashi. The Ustashi, established in 1919 and banned in Yugoslavia,
had been financed in exile by Italy since 1929. The Ustashi were held responsible
for the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in
1934, an act intended to break up Yugoslavia... Hitler had assented to
Croatia's falling within the Italian zone of influence... but Pavelic sought
greater identification with Germany, even announcing in June 1941 that
the Croats were not Slavs but descendants of the Goths, a Germanic people.
However, Croatia was not simply a puppet
state, despite the avidity with which it furthered German goals by slaughtering
Jews and Gypsies. The policy that it persued, initially of forced
conversion and genocide of the
Orthodox Serb minority - later a puppet Croatian Orthodox
Church was established - was not instigated
but tolerated by Germany. Rich tells us that the
German officials there,
concerned with the preservation of security
and order, were dismayed by the effects of these policies. [The German
military attache] protested regularly against the ruthless perasecution
of the Serbs and other minority groups... Hitler, however, not only
condoned but actively encouraged the Croatian government's racial policies.
Hitler ordered that Germany respect the treaty of May 1941 guaranteeing
nonintervention in Croat internal affairs, despite the urgent military
threat posed for the Germans by the growth of guerrilla insurgency in Yugoslavia,
aggrevated by the Ustashe policies.
The literature of Croatia as an independent state (1941-1945) is
sparse; most expatriated nationalist Croatian scholars
[in 1979 when this book was written] would apparently
prefer to forget or depreciate the bloody record of that state. Yugoslavian
scholars [under Croatian Communist tyrant Tito's rule] are not apt to revive
ethnic nationalism except in documenting fascist crimes during the war.
The Tito government's trial of Archbishop Stepinac, the highest Roman Catholic
prelate, for his support of the Ustashi state enabled the Archbishop's
sympathizers to exploit anti-Communist antipathy to the regime in the West
after the war and to disregard the substantive evidence agains him. Without
denying the political functions of the postwar trials, one finds that
sources agree that mass genocide was authorized by the state of Croatia.
They concur the state instigated, planned, and executed massacres against
the Serbian Orthodox minority that made the Serbs more willing
to accept conversion to Roman Catholicism, and that the
Catholic clergy approved, led, or failed to denounce these massacres. The
Croats' collective hatred of the Orthodox Serbs was explicit in folk sayings
such as ["Srbe o vrbe" -] "Serbs to the willows [hang the
Serbs]." Their anti-Semitism was less openly expressed, for the Jews,
unlike the Serbs, had not presented any political challenge to them in
By June 1941, signs on public establishments read, NO
SERBS, JEWS, NOMADS, AND DOGS ALLOWED. [Emphasized by Professor Fein.]
The Serbs unlike Jews
and Gypsies, were sometimes offered the chance to become acceptable citizens
by conversion. But only the Roman Catholic, Muslim, and German Evangelic
faiths were recognized; the Roman Catholic Church had the exclusive right
to convert; and the means of salvation offered were sometimes hoax. Serbs
awaiting the priest were at times locked in churches and the churches set
afire, as Jews had been set afire in synagogues in Poland. Many Serbs and
Jews to the adjacent Italian zones, wherein Italian commanders gave them
protection. Others joined partisans fighting in the mountains. Thousands
of Jews had fled from Croatian cities, leaving behind those unable to fight
or flee - women, children, the elderly, and the ill. These people were
interned in Croatian concentration camps... The small proportion of inmates
who had survived these camps by November 1942 were deported to Auschwitz.
More to come: The role of Croatian Catholic clergy in the massacres...