Author Warns That WW2 Revisionist History Is Becoming Mainstream in Modern Croatia

Poglavnik Ante Pavelić and Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini on 18 May 1941 in Rome.  <a href=>Photo Credit</a>
Poglavnik Ante Pavelić and Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini on 18 May 1941 in Rome. Photo Credit

British historian Rory Yeomans, who has delved into the historical Croatian fascist Ustasa movement, says he’s concerned about academics and politicians who want to rewrite history by playing down the crimes the fascists committed in the Second World War.

Yeomans, at present an independent researcher assisted financially by the British Council, said in an interview that the reactionary views about the wartime Ustasa movement and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) that allied itself with Germany, have made a foothold into Croatia’s political mainstream in recent times.

Such perspectives were formerly seen as the lunatic fringe. The researcher feels that these views are becoming mainstream. “That’s frightening,” said Yeomans, whose published works include The Utopia of Terror: Life and Death in Wartime Croatia, Visions of Annihilation: the Ustasha Regime and the Cultural Politics of Fascism, 1941-1945.

Also, he expressed concern that the views were being given expression by pseudo-would-be-historians in the country’s mainstream media, and that similar views are expressed on social media.

Monument to Jasenovac concentration camp. Photo Credit
Monument to Jasenovac concentration camp.
Photo Credit

In the four-year period between 1941 and 1945, Jews, Serbs, Croatian anti-fascists, and Roma People were murdered at the Jasenovac concentration camp which was Ustasa-operated. The Jasenovac Memorial Site has been able to name 83,145 victims of the camp. The death toll is generally estimated at between 100,000 and 110,000 victims.

Yeomans said that some Croatian journalists and historians in Croatia are ignoring facts and claiming that Ustasa didn’t permit colossal injustice Roma, Serbs, and Jews and that the NDH was a kind government.

Trends in Serbia and Croatia pertaining to rewriting WWII history are similar, he suggested.

Yeomans suggested that a multitude of Croatian historians who are attempting to fabricate the past are moved by hatred towards communism and intensely abhor a Yugoslavia that’s socialist, Balkan Transitional Justice reported.

Part of the reason he believes they are becoming successful is due to socialist Yugoslavia never having dealt with the matter of Bleiburg and never came to grips with post-war crimes of which there were many as well, not just against Croats, Serbian and Slovenian nationalists, and Bosniak separatists, he said.

After other Yugoslav forces that collaborated with the fascists and Ustasa and NDH forces – surrendered at Bleiburg in Austria to the British Army, Communist Partisans killed an unidentified number of them, as well as an unknown number of civilians who accompanied them.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE