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by Professor Clive Ponting

ISBN 0-679-43602-2
Published by: Random House, Inc., New York, NY 10022
Edition 1995


CLIVE PONTING, the author of eight previous books, is a professor of politics at the University of Swansea, Wales. Formerly he was an assistant secretary at the Ministry of Defence in the Tatcher administration. His biography of Winston Churchill will be published in 1996.

Excerpts from pages 231-232 (Quote:)

Across eastern Europe, as states and societes collapsed under the pressures of war [WWII], ethnic and religious conflict surfaced out of deep historical conflicts...

The greatest ethnic slaughter took place as Yugoslavia was carved up after the German invasion in April 1941. The creation of a separate Croatia under nominal Italian supervision but controlled by the fascist, Catholic, extremist Ustasha movement was the catalyst for the tragedy...

Now, historic Croatia was expanded to include Bosnia-Herzegovina and other teritorries, and the Ustasha were left by the Italians to govern a population of nearly 7 million people, of whom about half were Croats, just over 2 million were Serbs, about 750,000 were Muslims, and small numbers were Protestants and Jews. The Protestants and Muslims were tolerated and the Jews treated as in Germany. The Minister of Education, Mile Budak, made clear the Ustasha aims: "Our new Croatia will get rid of all Serbs in our midst in order to become one hundred percent Catholic within ten years." He spoke of killing a third of the Serbs, converting a third, and expelling the remainder. The leader of the Ustasha, Ante Pavelic, said, "A good Ustasha is one who can use his knife to cut a child from the womb of its mother."

Prosecution of the Orthodox Serbs began with the banning of the use of the Cyrilic script and the closure of Orthodox schools and was followed by forcible conversion to Catholicism and indiscreminate slaughter.

About 300,000 Serbs were "converted," but by the end of the summer of 1941 [after less than six months of Ustashi government] about 350,000 Serbs had been killed and by May 1943 this total had risen to over 500,000. Thousands were kept in prison camps where the conditions were so appaling they horrified even the German officials in the area. At Zemun [suburb of Belgrade, but under Ustasha control] camp about 50,000 out of a total population of about 70,000 died within a few weeks of the camp's being established. Orthodox priests were tortured and killed, normally by having their throats cut, and their bodies were then exhibited in local butcher shops. The actions of the Ustasha were strongly supported by the local Catholic hierarchy. Cardinal Stepinac, the head of the Catholic church in Croatia, rejoiced over this "progress of Christianity." Franciscan priests led the killing of the Serbs and even ran two of the worst prison camps, Jasenovac and Alipashin Most. Pope Pius XII received Ante Pavelic at the Vatican with the honors due a head of state and called him "a much maligned man." The Vatikan retained a close relationship with the Ustasha until the end of the war, and after.

(End quote)


 -  Common suffering of Jews and Serbs

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