[ Home ] [ Library ] [ Index ] [ Maps ] [ Links ] [ Search ] [ Email ]

On May 8, 1945, the Allies announced the surrender of German forces in Europe. Since then the world celebrates VE (Victory in Europe) Day - the day when Mankind won over Nazism.

As May 8, 1995 was getting near and the world was to celebrate 50th Anniversary, contemporary Nazi Croatia, a carbon copy of its WWII predecessor was to give its own contribution to the celebration. Croat troops, decorated with their WWII Nazi flags and emblems were poised to take over Jasenovac, the place where hundreds of thousands of helpless Serbs, Jews and Roma (Gypsy) people, men, women and children were slaughtered like cattle.

On 50th anniversary of world's victory over Nazism, Nazi Croatia unfurled its WWII Nazi flag over the mass graves of WWII Nazi death camp Jasenovac.

Nazi Croatia retakes

Jasenovac Concentration Camp

As expected, Western media downplayed the event, but here is what one could still learn:

Full fledged attack on UN protected zone

...With tanks, artillery and warplanes, the Croatian armed forces stormed across United Nations cease-fire lines today into an enclave held by rebel [sic!] Serbs, raising the possibility of a return to full-scale war in Croatia.

Attacking in a pincer movement from the east and west, more than 2,500 Croatian troops poured into an area known as the western Slavonia pocket, which has been controlled by separatist Serbs since the Croatian war of 1991. Heavy shelling and gunfire were reported all day.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations peackeeping force here, said "casualties appear to be quite bad."

The Serbs, about 13 percent of Croatia's prewar population, argue that they never wanted to leave Yugoslavia. The truce at the end of the Croatian war left the Serbs controlling about 30 percent of the country, an area they call [and the rest of the world] the Krajina, in which they have declared an independent state.

Natasha Rajakovic, a spokeswoman for President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, said today that the offensive was aimed merely at securing control of the highway -- the most important single road in Croatia. "There will be no cease-fire unless and until we control the whole length of the highway," she said.

But the scale of the attack -- including the use of MIG-21 fighters and at least 20 tanks -- suggested that Croatia was determined to take the whole of the western Slavonia pocket by force. ...

The Croatian Army stormed along the highway today, entering the Serbian enclave from the Nova Gradiska area to the east and Novska to the west. Driving south from Novska, the Croatian forces captured Jasenovac, United Nations officials said.

More than 2,000 United Nations soldiers in the pocket took cover in their barracks after three members of a Jordanian battalion were seriously wounded by a tank round fired by Croatian forces. As night fell, Croatian forces were reported to be within two miles of Okucani, the main Serb-held town in the pocket.

In an indication of the scale of the offensive, two Croatian MIG-21 fighters tried to bomb a Serb-held bridge over the Sava River, which separates the western Slavonia pocket from Serb-held areas of Bosnia.

The objective was apparently to prevent Bosnian Serb forces from coming over the river to the aid of the Croatian Serbs. United Nations officials said the bridge was not hit.

There was no evidence today of substantial Serbian reinforcements crossing the Sava River from the south, United Nations officials said.

A statement read on Croatian television suggested that the offensive could spread to other areas of the Krajina. "We call on Serbs in occupied [sic!!] areas," it said, "to lay down their arms and not resist the legitimate action of Government forces, since they are guaranteed civil rights [sic!] and should take part in normal, peaceful life."

The statement appeared certain to be sharply rebuffed. The Serbs of Croatia, many of whom live in areas where their forebears were massacred during World War II, remain viscerally opposed to life under Mr. Tudjman's Government. ...

The above quote is from:
[British] "The New York Times"
Tuesday, May 2, 1995
By Roger Cohen

Read integral text 

Did you notice that, according to the New York Times, there are many brands of Serbs. There are "Croatian Serbs," "Bosnian Serbs" etc. There are also Sarajevo Serbs, Kosovo Serbs, Serbia Serbs, New York and New Jersey Serbs. According to ancient Western motto "divide and rule" when one group of Serbs are in mortal danger other Serbs are not to interfere and try to save lives of their Serb cousins. While these astonishing events were taking place Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro were under Western sanctions of every sort. These Serbs were forced to watch slaughter of Krajina Serbs and not interfere.

Did you also notice that the Serbs who were overwhelming majority population of Krajina since times 50 years before Mayflower got to America are called rebels. In other words, these people were born to be under Croat Nazi control. They are not people who have a natural right for self-determination so easily granted to Croats by the Western powers.

Croats successfully deny access to foreign journalists

... Declaring its mission accomplished, Croatia on Tuesday said its two-day blitz into the region of Western Slavonia was over. It was this country's first major victory over the Serbs. The Croats had successfully recaptured land and sent their enemies -- those, at least, who survived the fight -- fleeing southward toward Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The bedraggled town of Okucani, just off the mist-shrouded highway that connects Zagreb and Belgrade, was the prize.

Getting there told the story of a war that seemed swift, deadly and still in flux.

The shells of an armored personnel carrier and of a couple of other trucks and cars lay tossed to one side of a highway littered with debris and tank-churned mud.

The Serb checkpoint, about seven miles from Okucani, which signaled the entry into Serb-held territory, was in shambles. Above it, a Croatian flag had been draped from an overpass.

Villages a few miles to the south, near the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, were burning, the flames and black smoke visible on the horizon above green and yellow fields of flowers. Tanks rolled past rain-soaked refugees who crowded into prefabricated shelters clustered around a U.N. post.

The [Croat] soldiers reaching Okucani, Ivancic among them, were jubilant.

"Four years ago, they took the land from us," said Ivancic, a large man dressed in camouflage fatigues who regularly leaves his builders' contracting business in New York to help Croatian causes. "We didn't have guns so we had to run. Now we have some guns, and we have to fight."

The Serbs, of course, also claim ancestral title to this land. But that was not an argument for the moment.

One thing seemed clear -- the Croatian army that showed itself this week is better organized, better trained [by American "retired" generals] and better equipped [by Americans and Germans] than the more motley version challenged by the Serbs in 1991.

The Croatian government controlled journalists' access into Okucani, restricting them to travel with police escorts. Although the Croatians entered Okucani around noon, they did not allow reporters in for five more hours. ...

The above quote is from:
"Los Angeles Times"
May 3, 1995
By Tracy Wilkinson

Read integral text 

The United Nations also reported that Croatian soldiers in the recaptured town of Okucani, about 12 miles south of Pakrac, were looting homes and properties of Serbs who fled. More than 5,000 Serbs are believed to have fled southward to Bosnia-Herzegovina. ...

The operation to take Western Slavonia was swift, allowing [Croat Nazi] government forces for the first time to regain part of the land seized in 1991 by Serbs who rebelled over Croatia's decision to secede from the Yugoslav federation. ...

And in south-central Croatia, Croatian troops marched past U.N. observation posts meant to monitor a buffer zone between Serb and Croat enemies, ejecting or harassing U.N. peacekeepers and restricting their movements. ...

Croatian officials, while not commenting directly on troop movements, said the army's actions were purely preventive.

But a U.N. military source said of the assault on the observation posts: "This means they (the Croatians) are trying to hide something. These guys are better at this than we are -- they conceal their intentions very, very well."

"Los Angeles Times"
May 5, 1995
By Tracy Wilkinson

Read integral text 

What were Croats hiding? Notice how the Western press participate in the same by coaching their statements in "The rebel Serbs alleged..."

Poring chlorine to hide genocide!

Rebel Serb leaders have alleged that there have been widespread atrocities in the wake of Croatian battlefield victories. There has been no independent confirmation.

What happened during the two-day offensive is far from clear. But reports from both sides suggest that hundreds of Serbs were killed. Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak spoke of 350 to 450 Serb fighters killed, while Serb refugees who reached Bosnia claimed that hundreds of civilians fleeing the fighting had been massacred.

After four years of war in the former Yugoslavia, claims of atrocities and human rights violations are explosive and can easily push opposing sides into bitter new conflict. ...

Croatian Serb leader Milan Martic accused the Croatian military of genocide in the Pakrac area and claimed that corpses of adults and children were seen floating down the Sava River, which winds through the captured territory, known as Western Slavonia.

There was no independent confirmation of Martic's claims.

International observers cited no major Croatian human rights violations. Their access to Croat- held areas was initially limited, but late yesterday the International Red Cross said it had begun interviewing captive Serbs.

After the surrender at Pakrac on Thursday, women, children and the elderly were separated from an estimated 1,000 men of fighting age and allowed to return home, according to U.N. officials in Zagreb.

But the men were driven off in 20 buses to Varazdin, 44 miles northeast of Zagreb, and other towns for questioning.

The United Nations was angry about the Croatian action. "We are very concerned about the manner in which this was done," said Lieutenant Colonel Walt Natynczyk, a U.N. spokesman. ...

The above quote is from:
"San Francisco Chronicle"
Saturday, May 6, 1995, Page A10
"Croatia Wages Propaganda War
Serbs allege massacres, atrocities in Western Slavonia

Read integral text 

Thousands of Serbs driven from their homes by a Croatian army offensive may still be hiding in forests and UN monitors have been denied access to these areas, UN spokesmen said here and in Bosnia Sunday.

"We're pushing hard for access to these areas. We want to find out if there are more civilians taking cover," UN spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP Sunday.

Gunness had said Saturday that the Croatian trops had shelled and shot at Serbs fleeing towards the neighbouring republic of Bosnia.

Gunness said Sunday that the remaining refugees might be in forests west of the road from Okucani in eastern Croatia. The stretch of 11 kilometres (six miles) leads to a bridge crossing the Sava River into Bosnia, which like Croatia is a former Yugoslav republic wracked by ethnic warfare between rebel Serbs and the government.

In Banja Luka, northern Bosnia, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official Kris Janowski told AFP by telephone that there "are stories of 2,000 people unaccounted for" and that the figure might be as high as 4,000, although this could not be confirmed.

Refugees were still swimming across the Sava river at "about 100 a day", he said, citing this as proof that some people were left behind.

He said international agencies were barred by the Croatians from visiting the forest sites named by refugees as where people were hiding.

Croatian soldiers in the region told AFP Saturday that there were Serbs in the forests but said they were fighters, and apparently not civilians.

The Croatian foreign ministry denied Sunday there was any limit of movement by UN officials in the area. The Croatians also deny that civilians were shot at while fleeing last week.

Gunness said there were "justified and reliable reports of direct targeting of civilians" on May 1 and 2 after Croatian troops moved against the Serb-held enclave surrounding Okucani.

The enclave is one of three main fronts between Croatian forces and Serbs who have controlled up to one-third of Croatia since fighting erupted in 1991 when Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia.

Gunness said local authorities had registered 7,000 refugees who have fled to Banja Luka in northern Bosnia and that 100 people had been interviewed in detail.

He said there were "consistent reports of shelling near the Sava bridge around Novi Varos on Monday and Tuesday (May 1 and 2) by the Croatian army."

He said the refugees reported "artillery and sniper attacks on columns of hundreds of refugees fleeing the fighting.

They speak of people falling down dead on the roads and off tractors and trailers as they were shot.

"There are reports of direct targeting by the Croatian army of civilians as they fled."

Gunness mentioned "substantial casualties" but gave no figures.

Janowski said he had reports there were wounded in hospitals in Banja Luka and Nova Topola, on the road from the border, but it could not be confirmed if these were refugees wounded in cold blood while fleeing or victims of the fighting from the offensive.

Croatian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kresimir Macan told AFP Saturday: "The Croatian army has never shot at civilians. The United Nations is taking up propaganda broadcasts every night on Serb television." [wow!!]

About the refugee accounts of a shelling of them on May 1 and 2, Janowski said "We can not say for a fact it happened" since it was only "testimony by a number of people". [sic!]

Janowski said, however, that the refugees were interviewed right upon arriving at the end of the bridge in Bosnia, which would have made distorting their stories difficult. ...

"Agence France Presse"
May 7, 1995
"Tension high, claims of refugee abuses"
By Michael Adler

Read integral text 

NOVI VAROS, Croatia, May 7 -- U.N. investigators today began picking through the rubble of pulverized automobiles and the scattered belongings of Croatian Serb refugees in an attempt to determine whether Croatian army troops deliberately attacked Serb civilians.

Canadian army Maj. Gen. Ray Crabbe, deputy commander of the U.N. operation in the Balkans, said that perhaps "several dozen" Serb civilians were killed in the May 1-2 army assault to regain part of an enclave held by Serb rebels since 1991.

But exactly what happened to the civilians here and how many perished is unknown, Crabbe said as he toured a battle-scarred stretch of highway leading to a bridge over the Sava River border to Bosnia.

"Several of the personal belongings strung out across the road would indicate that the refugees were disrupted as they attempted to flee," he said. "How the disruption took place is what we want to try and find out."

The Croatian government has insisted that the civilians were caught in an artillery crossfire of attacking Croatian troops and Serb defenders, who were firing from the hamlet with an antiaircraft gun and mortars. However, U.N. officials in Zagreb said 100 refugees they interviewed gave "reliable and justified" accounts that the civilians were purposely killed, the Reuter news service reported.

What unfolded on this two-lane highway through rolling hills of rape seed and plots of corn and villages pockmarkedin past battles could provide a glimpse of the future of the Balkan wars, the bloodiest conflicts in Europe since World War II. ...

On Saturday, a CBS News team witnessed Croatian authorities, in all-white jump suits, spraying chlorine on an area that U.N. investigators picked over today, removing much of the forensic evidence that might have remained. Croatian police also removed the bodies, said Natasha Rajakovic, spokeswoman of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. Most of the witnesses are gone, too, having fled to Serb-held Banja Luka in northern Bosnia. ...

Last Monday morning, the Croatian army attacked from both the west and the east of this sector in a pincer operation designed to cut the Serb pocket in half. By late afternoon, Serb civilians began to pour past the U.N. base down the road from Okucani, one of the main towns in the pocket, toward Novi Varos and a bridge over the Sava River.

"The vehicles from Okucani to the Sava bridge were flying like anything, tractors, trailers, cars, buses. This road was very, very busy," Kandel recalled today.

The next morning, according to Kandel and a senior Western aid official in Banja Luka, Croatian army troops began firing at the road to the Sava bridge. Novi Varos suffered the brunt of their assault.

Almost exactly in the center of this devastated village, a rusty red Polski Fiat,pockmarked with bullet holes and shrapnel, sat in a rut by the side of the road littered with the detritus of fleeing people. The car's windshield wipers appeared caught in midstroke. A half-eaten ham hock emitted a stench from the back. Blood stained the furry white cover of the driver's seat.

Nearby, a light blue Soviet-made Moskvich compact car appeared to have been flattened by a tank. The identity card of Dzuro Kesic of Belgrade, a member of the 18th Corps of the Croatian Serb army, lay on the driver's seat.

When a company of Kandel's men who had been trapped near the Sava bridge, returned to the battalion base Tuesday afternoon, they saw bodies on the road.

"They saw some cars hit by bullets, and belongings just shredded over the ground and some of the wipers still going on and engines on," Kandel said. "They saw a few bodies. It's difficult to say how many."

"The Washington Post"
May 8, 1995
"U.N. Investigates Killing Of Civilians in Croatia"
By John Pomfret

Read integral text 


 [ CONTINUED: Serbs of Western Slavonia before cleansing ]



  Where am I? PATH:

  Book of facts

History of the Balkans

Big powers and civil wars in Yugoslavia
(How was Yugoslavia dismantled and why.)

Proxies at work
(Muslims, Croats and Albanians alike were only proxies of the big powers)

The Aftermath

The truth belongs to us all.

Feel free to download, copy and redistribute.

Last revised: August 5, 2005