NZ BOOKLOVERS Q&A, Suzanne talks about her novel, Dubrovnik My Love

NZ Booklovers review Dubrovnik My Love

Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy and Britanija i Bleiburžka Tragedija

 

REVIEW by Tomislav Nürnberger  

Published Author and Editor

 

This magnificient book Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy: An Artist's Impression by Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević, printed in New Zealand in 1998, and the Croatian edition Britanija i Bleiburžka Tragedija, printed in Croatia in 2009, are important and exceptional in many aspects.

 

Firstly, there are the unique paintings that depict the two most tragic events in Croatian history:  'Bleiburg' - the Croatian 'Golgotha' - of 1945, and the Liberation War of 1991-1995, which up until that time had not been recorded by any professional artist and still remain today the most graphic paintings of these events.

 

Secondly, no one else has openly given such respect and credit to the Croatian Armed Forces of World War II for what they tried to achieve. Though they allied themselves to the Axis it was solely for self-preservation in the pursuit of defending their own land; they were neither fascists nor Nazis, their aim was solely to regain Croatia’s independence from Serb domination and genocide – be it Serb-Royalist or Communist. They were fighting their own war within a war – a war the world did not see, nor want to see. Croatia was sacrificed by the West for the 'greater good' i.e. communism.

 

In the First Part of the book, which deals with the war of aggression against Croatia in the 1990s, Brooks-Pinčević describes in the Introduction why she painted 'The Liberation of Croatia Series', dedicated to the events that followed the Croatian Declaration of Independence in 1991, which is the brutal aggression that ensued, led by the Serbian 'Yugoslav People's Army'. In Croatia it resulted in some 12,000  people killed, 2,300 missing, 48,000 wounded, 32,000 disabled, 500,000 displaced – their homes taken or destroyed – and over 170 heavily damaged or completely destroyed churches, chapels and monestaries.

 

'The Liberation of Croatia Series' consists of four paintings: The Burning of Dubrovnik – Christmas 1991, The Siege of Dubrovnik – 1992, Lament at Mostar – 1992 and Mother of Zadar – 1993. The vibrant poignancy of these paintings would bring tears to the eyes of every Croatian – reviving memories of a terrible time when the bare survival of the Croatian people was at stake.

 

Mother of Zadar – 1993’ depicts a mother with a dying soldier son, behind them is St. Donatus (Sveti Donat) church and a burning Zadar. The author imagined this could have been “me and my son ... but for a twist of fate, we almost went to live in Dubrovnik when I was expecting him”. And further in the accompanying text she describes her artistic depiction of Zadar’s famed architecture:”Until the 2nd World War, when it was heavily bombed, it had boasted many Roman and Gothic structures. Of the pre-Romanesque monuments, the most significant is the Rotunda of St Donatus built in the early 9th century“.

 

'Lament at Mostar – 1992'  the author-artist describes as “a moody prophecy – a painting of foreboding for a disaster yet to come“ – and in the accompanying text she describes her 'lament'....“once again the Serbs unleashed in Europe their special form of barbarism so that at the end of our 'civlized' 20th century we have people forced from their homes, villages set on fire, civilians murdered... women – including children and the elderly – brutally raped and killed, and the barbaric mutilation of victims beyond description. In recent years a 'nice' term has been coined for this horror 'ethnic cleansing'.“

The Second Part of the book is dedicated to the 'Bleiburg Tragedy'. In the chapter 'Preview – Before and During World War II'  the author describes the political situation in what was then so-called 'Yugoslavia', it is followed by the 'Introduction – Why I painted The Bleiburg Set', which ends with a poignant poem, of which these six potent lines encapsulate her reason for doing the book:

 

For an injustice to be put right,

A hidden truth to be exposed,

a guilt to be admitted,

an apology to be made

-          so that it will never happen again;

This was a painting I had to do.

 

'The Bleiburg Set' consists of two large and very dramatic historic paintings, the first is entitled 'The Betrayal of Croatia – Bleiburg 1945'. At the top of the composition is portrayed Field Marshal Alexander, Winston Churchill, and the future British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, who is seen tearing apart a banner entitled 'The Geneva Convention', to which Croatia was a signatory since 1943. The second painting is entitled 'Operation Slaughterhouse – Zagreb 1945', in recognition of the title of the monumental book about 'Bleiburg' written by John Ivan Prcela, first published in January 1970.

 

These two paintings are accompanied by a poem, 'The Bleiburg Tragedy', and these works are substantiated by a Foreword written in 1968 by Major General Charles A. Willoughby, USA Army, “taken in its entirety from the book 'Operation Slaughterhouse' by John Prcela“.

 

The same tragic events of British betrayal that made possible the genocide by Yugoslav Communists against the Croatian nation after the end of WWII were also the subject of the excellent book ‘The Minister and the Massacres’ published in 1986 by Nikolai Tolstoy. The genocide against the Croatian Army and civilians (including women, children and the elderly) continued for several months after the end of WWII and resulted in an estimated 500,000 brutally murdered. It became known by the names of 'Bleiburg' and the 'Way of the Cross' i.e. to Golgotha (in Croatian: Bleiburg i Križni putevi), and it was considered by Vice-Admiral Joachim Lietzmann to be “the greatest war crime since the beginning of time”.

In the Eyewitness Accounts - which form the foundation for the two paintings of 'The Bleiburg Set' the author gives several witness testimonies including the eyewitness descriptions of the death marches (i.e. the 'Way of the Cross') and the Partisans' entry into Zagreb. The author refers substantially to the works of both John Ivan Prcela and Count Nikolai Tolstoy, particularly in these testimonies.

 

The Epilogue begins with the author's fair statement: “It is encouraging to know that public opinion in Britain, France and America, has not always followed the official stance taken by their Governments“. She further states:  “An apology from British authorities to Croatia is long overdue. Though such an apology would be a gesture in the right direction, it would serve little purpose if Britain continues with the untruthful, derogatory propaganda that it still persists in using against Croatia – fed to it initially by the Serbs and then by the Communists of Tito's Yugoslavia.“  

 

The British betrayal and the tragic events that followed are ably depicted in Suzanne's poem 'The Bleiburg Tragedy', as illustrated by these few succinct lines extracted from the whole:

 

Croatian Army all were they,

Domobrani and Ustaše.

Only freedom had been their aim

And yet, they were to take the blame

Britain sent them back to Tito,

Britain sent them back by wagon,

 

For Yugoslavia to exist

Tito killed the kin that would resist.

 

On learning about the book, a group of Croatian World War II Army veterans asked the author for permission to translate and reprint the book. Their initiative was strongly supported in Croatian immigration by former Croatian WWII veterans, as well as those from the Liberation War of the 1990s, and their families. This has given an enormous credit to what Suzanne has written – because it met with the approval of those who were the most strongly effected.

 

The Croatian edition, in keeping with the original book, is beautifully presented and has many important additions, namely a second Epilogue – Part Two - Croatia in the new millennium 2000 – 2007, which consists of several subtitles.  

 

The ‘Bleiburg Tragedy’, correctly named by the author ‘The Croatian Holocaust’, was for decades the best kept secret.  It was infamously said by Milovan Đilas, an author and key figure in Yugoslav politics, that: “the Croatian Army and Croatian civilians had to die, so Communist Yugoslavia can live.”

 

Under the subtitle Commemoration of ‘Bleiburg’ the author correctly identifies the importance of ‘Bleiburg’ as symbolic of the ultimate Croatian sacrifice that should be perpetually honoured to prevent future similar attempts against the foundation of Croatia’s national security and national defense.

 

The author realistically describes the state in which [the first] Yugoslavia, a country that was established by treason and Serb brutality at the end of WWI, found itself at the beginning of WWII. After a long list of Serbian terror against Albanians, Montenegrins and Croats, since the beginning of 20th century, the Croatian people seized their first opportunity, being the German invasion, to declare independence from Serb dominated Yugoslavia, thus saving Croatia from extinction. The Independent State of Croatia (NDH) survived four brutal years of joint Serb-chetnik and partisan insurgency, but was destroyed after the end of WWII by genocide when the Croatian Army and civilians were ‘repatriated’ by the British Army and massacred by the partisans.

 

The further subtitles of Epilogue – Part Two: Sabotage of the Bleiburg Monument, Do Not Bury ‘Bleiburg’, The Decapitation of Croatian Democracy, Croatia and the EU – Who Needs Who?, Political Strategies to Destroy Croatia, Genocide in Croatia and Bosnia and Heregovina and Defining Croatian National Interests are brilliantly written articles, that the best profesional political columnists would be proud of – always right on target!

 

At the end of the Epilogue the list of the author’s published articles (i.e. the Sources ‘Izvori’) speaks for itself of Suzanne’s brilliant analytical mind and deep emotional involvement in recording the Bleiburg Tragedy of 1945 and the War of Croatian Liberation from Serbian occupation – and the political events that followed, including ‘Operation Storm’, which was the spectacular victory of the Croatian Army against the Yugoslav Army and Serb rebels that marked the end of the War for Independence in August of 1995.

 

Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević was born 1946 in Australia, to French and British parents and spent her primary years in Hong Kong. Her family moved to New Zealand where she gained a diploma in Fine Arts. In 1967 she married Gašpar Pinčević, a Croatian from Dubrovnik. The brutal Serbian aggression on Croatia in 1990 shook the world and Suzanne responded by painting, researching the true history and writing, all of which culminated in the content of this beautiful book .

 

The Croatian edition ends with the long list of organizations and individuals who supported both the Croatian and English publications of this book, which illustrates the extensive support that Suzanne received from Croatian communities around the world. 

 

Zagreb, Croatia, April 2015

An Emotional Look into the Tragedy
REVIEW by Fabijan Lovriċ, Knin, Croatia.

Professor of Croatian language, author, poet and art critic

 

Saturday, 03 July 2010

 

[This Review was translated from Croatian into English, February 2011]

 

Brooks-Pinčević, Suzanne: Britanija i Bleiburžka Tragedija – An Artist’s Impression.  Editors; Dr Zvonimir Šeparović and Tomislav Nürnberger:  215mm x 303mm, hard cover, 97 pages.  Second edition, Croatian, Zagreb, September 2009.  Publishers: [Veteran] Officers’ Club 242, Zagreb, Croatian Victimology Society, Zagreb and Croatian Interclub Committee for NSW, Australia. 

 

[First edition, English, 1998: ‘Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy - An Artist’s impression’, published by Leon Publications Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand].

 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, assess, manage and control the flow of an intelligent process. It is the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. In this instance, it has led to an insight into certain events, which has resulted in a set of conclusions regarding the events covered.  When an artist experiences such mental processes, he or she is captivated by the problems and solutions, which come in the form of images and visions, and like an ancient sage, he or she is capable of conceiving and creating imagery that have no temporal or physical boundaries, thus enabling us to believe the conclusions and the manner in which they were envisioned. Such artists tend to possess a greater ability of assessment, and so, in the artistic sense, they truly are visionaries with the ability to soar through time and space, and bring to us incredible creations that we could not ever imagine. Such an artist sees something that is worthy of evaluating.

 

An artist understands shape and form and he or she is free of the insignificant, and shows only the relevant. An artist does not express his or her creative and artistic work within the conformity of a certain theme, but is free to wander where creativity leads, unshackled of every unnecessary burden except the very work he or she is creating, which is the motivating urge to achieve the intended proportions of beauty around which the essence of interest revolves. The subject matter presented here is the most subtle, artistic impression, of the ‘Bleiburg’ tragedy and it is concerned with the interest and influence of Great Britain, its knowledge of ‘Bleiburg’ and its involvement in the tragedy itself, which cannot escape psychoanalysis. How much can we justify the act, and how much are we willing? What potency and knowledge does our intelligence hold? Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević has succeeded in this analysis. She did it in an artistic way, using unique emotional impressions of events through a realm of perception.

 

In order to understand ourselves, we must be ready to listen to others:

 

Dr Zvonimir Šeparović1 writes: “Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević's book, having been translated from English into Croatian, is now a part of the DOCUMENTA CROATICA series in our library for the good reason that it is another significant and very unique way of exploring and presenting Croatia’s tragedy and the tragedy of the Croatian victims who died, not only at Bleiburg and on The Ways of the Cross, but also in the Croatian War of Independence, as well as Dubrovnik and Mostar. Above all, Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević is firstly an artist, but on this occasion she is also a poet and historian who researches and discloses Croatia’s tragic loss with her brush and her pen.” (‘With Brush and Pen’ p.5-6)

 

Stjepan Brajdić2 writes: “Not even to this day, after 63 years have passed, has there been any apology for the crimes committed. What comprehensible reason is there for these crimes and why are they still being committed?  Why and in the name of what are we being persecuted by them?” (‘Thanks to this Valuable Testimony’, p.7)

 

Marijan Buconjić3 writes: “The disarmament on the field at Bleiburg in 1945, and the weapons embargo enforced on Croatia in 1991, all confirm our suspicions of the same political scenario. But despite everything and thanks to the strength and determination of the Croatian people in their War for Independence, the Croatian State was created and defended. (‘Comment’, p.8)

 

Tomislav Beram4 writes: “Following the first post war years, a group of Croats from Austria formed the Bleiburg Guard, with the function and duty of protecting the memory of the tragedy of the Croatian people which started in 1945... thus united [this book] has been financially supported primarily by the Croats in Australia, then the USA, New Zealand, Canada, as well as others, with the organization of the Croatian Interclub Committee in Sydney – today this book is in its final stages, and will soon be ready for printing and promotion.” (Through unity towards the truth about Bleiburg, p.9-10)

 

[Note: Šeparović, Brajdić and Beram are the co-publishers of the Croatian edition and the above statements are taken from their forewords in the Croatian edition.]

 

Finally, the book is here: pictorial maps, poetic expressions and words inspired by historical events and the beauty of the artistic works on canvas – moments and events, which should never be forgotten. As Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević says: “In the few weeks prior to the war in ex-Yugoslavia I was beginning on a series of paintings for a personal exhibition featuring sea, birds, boats and rocks – cheerful paintings of peace, blue skies, mellowed timbers, soaring gulls. Suddenly, Vukovar, a town I had never heard of exploded into my life.” (‘Why I Painted the Liberation of Croatia Series’, p.21)

 

From the beginning the emotionally empowered paintings comprise a thread of suffering woven through the dramatic scenes in which the pain and suffering of the victims is vivid and real. In the stylistic sense, there is even a true essence about them, almost as if Hegedušić5 himself were a part of their creation. The powerlessness of the victims is so obvious their innocence is conveyed by their fear. The symbolism of images, accompanied by beautiful poetry, is based on the idea of historical detail: the church in Nin, the Mostar Bridge, the church of Saint Donat and the Dubrovnik Stradun. The aesthetic and compositional solutions oblige and complement the ideological and visual norms that aspire to be credible documents.  In the lyrics, the artist, now a poet, does not give up the original concept. The poems are a creative superstructure of what is fundamentally the basic belief. Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević’s work with its paintings, poetry and history – is vividly convincing, truthfully documentary and stands as a true testimony.

 

I have always been a strong believer in emotional intelligence; its volatile strength of vision, which I believe can enlighten the truth concerning a course of events. There is no process of the mind, which begins with such great curiosity, and from which such perception is fostered with evidence and testimony. The individual and the artist who explores and unravels, truly does experience the stress and joy of the person or event he or she is analytically and emphatically concerned with.  Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević has completely justified herself and her inner turmoil amidst the crime and the victims.  Unfortunately, punishment all too often does not ensue, but nevertheless, the crime must be uncovered and shown in all its horror.

 

Great thanks to all who helped this book see the light.

 

Knin, 2nd July 2010

Fabijan Lovrić

 

1 President, Croatian Victimology Society, Zagreb.  Minister of Foreign Affairs 1991-1992, Minister of Justice 1999-2000

2 World War II Veteran Officer of the Croatian Home Guard and survivor of 1945 ‘Death March” (aka “Way of the Cross”)

3 Former Asst Minister of Immigration 1997-99, President Zagreb Branch of Croatian Assoc of Political Prisoners (HDPZ)

4 President, Croatian Interclub Committee, NSW, Australia.  Recipient of the Pride of Australia Medal 2006

5 Krsto Hegedušić 1901-1975.  Croatian artist. His famous paintings depict the harsh life of the Croatian peasantry.

Review of Book ‘Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy’

 (and second edition in Croatian, ‘Britanija i Bleiburžka Tragedija’)

 

by Damir Borovčak, Zagreb, Croatia

 

Publicist, Editor, Author, and Radio Host on Radio Marija, Zagreb

 

1 September 2009

 [This Review was translated from Croatian into English, February 2011]

 

Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević's book Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy, has finally been published in Croatian viz: Britanija i Bleiburžka Tragedija, eleven years after the first publication in English. [1] Her mother was French, her father English, and she married a Croat from Dubrovnik – inspired as an artist and writer [2], and motivated by the tragic events taking place in Croatia during 1991-1995, Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević, from New Zealand, began to intensely research the history of Croatia and its people. As an academic of fine arts Brooks-Pinčević was influenced by the news reports from war-devastated Croatia and materialized her visions onto canvas – expressing her strong opposition and protest against the brutal aggression inflicted on her husband’s homeland.

 

As the author is also a poet, the book is complemented with lyrical content. The author began an intensive research of Croatian history with reference material, which she was able to obtain, as well as gathering eye-witness accounts and thoroughly analysing news reports.  It was not long before she uncovered the truth about the tragedy of Croatia.  Even renowned political analysts in Croatia can admire her logical and analytical approach, which can be noticed in her texts and comments. 

 

Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević dismisses the idea that there was a civil war in Croatia in the 1990s, she further states that none of the other nations within Yugoslavia waged war on foreign soil except Serbia and Montenegro; and she believes that religion was not a cause of the 1990s war since all politicians were communists-atheists and faith never mattered in their lives, and more importantly neither did it influence their political views or convictions. [3]

 

In the two epilogues of the book the author’s political comments and analysis reveal her other extraordinary talent – she understands political movements on a global level extremely well, particularly in Croatia.  Brooks-Pinčević’s analysis references the facts and sequence of events during the Croatian War for Independence to events in the past, which to date have rarely been observed by foreign reporters, and of particular note is her recognition of the sufferings of the Croats at Bleiburg.  Although brought up in the environment of the ‘Western-Allies’, [4] Brooks-Pinčević without any hesitation rejects global media manipulation, instead she investigates and advocates for the full truth about Croatia.

 

In the first part of her book, Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević presents a set of reproductions of her paintings, each accompanied by a portrayal and clarification of the events that transpired during the Croatian War for Independence. In the second part of the book the author unravels the historical and political similarities between the Croatian War for Independence and the tragedy that occurred with the Croatian soldiers and civilians who surrendered to the British at Bleiburg at the end of WWII.  This is followed by Brooks-Pinčević’s artistic vision of the bloodshed at Bleiburg and the post-war partisan revenge and retaliation.  All of which has been authenticated with quotations from historical sources and surviving witnesses. The author points out the fact that the British decided not to conform to the generally acknowledged Geneva Convention, thus becoming accomplices to an unprecedented slaughter committed by the partisans over the Croats.

In her introduction to the ‘Bleiburg’ tragedy, the author quotes the full testimony of Major General Charles A. Willoughby wherein he describes the final days of the war in May 1945 in the vicinity of the Austrian border – and in which he clearly accuses the Western Allies. These massacres represent a stigma on the British and American military, not to mention their political honour, because these countries had the opportunity and power to stop the massacres. This irreversible stigma that stains these ‘democracies,’ explains why a curtain of silence has been drawn to cover up the truth.  The British should have complied with the Geneva Convention [5] and the Law of War.  American Major General Charles A. Willoughby in his report of May 6th 1968, stated the following: “They should have accepted the Croatian soldiers and civilians and protected them against partisan revenge.”  [6]

 

Reviewer’s Note: Twenty-three years after the war, Charles A. Willoughby looked back at those grave events and decided to give his testimony, which many fear, or do not want, to accept as historical fact.  With regard to this “curtain of silence”, it is worth mentioning that in Great Britain top secret documents are unavailable to qualified investigators for fifty years.  It is questionable whether documents concerning the ‘Bleiburg’ massacres will be disclosed even in 2020. How is it that Great Britain can refuse to reveal the truth, whereas Croatia is, and was, obliged to submit all existing and non-existing documents regarding the 1990s war to the Hague Tribunal? [7]

 

Furthermore, the author gives an account of Nikolai Tolstoy, a British writer and historian, who after researching the ‘Bleiburg’ tragedy, published in 1986 his book The Minister and the Massacres, [8] which describes the handover of 40,000 Cossacks to Stalin, and according to his account, more than 100,000 Croats to the partisans under Tito’s command.  The book’s release in 1989 led to the greatest judicial process in the history of Britain. In the book, Nikolai Tolstoy accuses Toby Low, a British Brigadier-General, of this horrendous war crime. Low was later ordained with the title of Lord Aldington by Queen Elizabeth.

 

The jury found Lord Aldington innocent of the war crime. This judgement caused substantial financial damage to Tolstoy and his family. Brooks-Pinčević quotes a statement made by Nikolai Tolstoy in the documentary film ‘Betrayal’: [10] “I greatly regret all that has happened concerning these events; for the most part that which I have brought upon my family, and of course to a lesser extent on myself, which has all been devastating, but none of this can compare to the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon the unhappy victims of 1945 – and if somebody doesn’t stand up and fight for the truth to be investigated and recognized – these terrible events will happen again.” [11]

 

 In her book Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy, Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević believes appalling events such as this did happen again during the Croatian War for Independence, when the West placed an arms embargo on Croatia, by which the 51st Article of the United Nations was breached. This article gives every country the right to defend itself.

 

Reviewer’s Note: It is also a fact that even towards the end of the war for Croatia’s independence, Britain continued to lobby against Croatia:  the arms embargo; the partition of Bosnia; the ‘napkin affair’ between Lord Paddy Ashdown and President Tuđman; the opening of the Croatian borders to Serbia; the decrease in police personnel; the introduction of obligatory visas for Croatian citizens because of supposedly 300 Serbian refugees in Britain; the arrest of General Gotovina etc. 

 

The author addresses Britain’s recognized ideals of justice and compassion [12] in the two epilogues of her book Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy. In the first epilogue she writes about events before 1999, stating: “The anti-Croat propaganda in Tito’s Yugoslavia after WWII, had the intended effect of demoralizing the Croatian people. The propaganda’s objective was to enforce a feeling of guilt and self-loathing on the Croatian people by vilifying Croatia’s armed forces and the Independent State of Croatia. It even became illegal to proclaim oneself a Croat. The obliteration of Croatian books, the persecution of the politically undesirable, the complete cover-up of the ‘Bleiburg’ tragedy and the ‘Ways of the Cross’, and the propagation of only the communistic version of the war – had created generations of uninformed Croats who never had the chance to learn the real truth of events during WWII, and who were completely subverted to the will of the uncompromising communist Yugoslav government dominated by the Serbs. Considering these facts, it is not surprising that there are so many today who find the truth immensely difficult to accept, having been systematically brainwashed for decades”. [13]

 

In the Second Epilogue: [which is an addition to the original book in English] the author considers Croatia’s future in the new millennium, and gives a summary comprised of extracts from her political articles published in Croatian newspapers in Australia and on Croatian internet sites. The reader is left astonished at how someone who is not Croatian has such a good understanding and knowledge of Croatian history and the current political situation in the country.

 

She emphasizes the importance of ‘Bleiburg’ and what precedence it has had for Croatia’s survival, and stresses how the term Bleiburg Tragedy, also referred to as The Croatian Holocaust, continually confirms and proves that the Croatian people were wrongfully accused after WWII and shows why and how they became victims of international politics. [14] The author also addresses the very important fact that the Bleiburg monument was internally sabotaged in 2006. Explicit original photographs of the three different texts on the monument, which were changed over a short period of time, substantiate the author’s comments on the sabotage. Many patriots and even some priests were misled by this subterfuge.

 

 

The changes made on the monument were contested and rejected by Croatians across the globe, who interpreted the text as: “Words that no longer honour the Croatian soldiers murdered at ‘Bleiburg’; nor the injustice of their untimely death, nor the tragedy of the demise of the Croatian State. Instead of this, (the author refers to the changed text as a ‘Trojan Horse’), the text is purposely ambiguous and undefined, and indirectly denies the existence of the Independent State of Croatia and its armed forces, including all who had given their young lives for their homeland.” [15] The author implores us to never forget the importance of ‘Bleiburg’ because it symbolizes the biggest sacrifice of the Croatian people for their country, in the same manner that historical tragedies are important to the Jews, the French, the Americans and the British – the honouring of such events secures a nation’s sovereignty, and ‘Bleiburg’ is no different. Croatia’s future stems from this tragic event – it lies now at an important crossroads and the direction it takes will determine its continued existence. [16]

 

Reviewer’s Note: Why and to whose interest was it to change the original text on the Bleiburg Monument? The answer is clear: to those who condoned, ordered and carried out the atrocity in the first place; and who would prefer the truth never be told. It is easy to conclude: If a Croatian army did not exist – neither did a Croatian state! The Bleiburg monument as a memorial to the Croatian soldiers who died on 15th May 1945, clearly confirms that after the peace treaty was signed, while the war was drawing to a close, the Croatian state still, if nothing else, existed officially. The reason why the state was forcefully brought down in blood has yet to be uncovered by a detailed research of Britain’s archives – especially when the conference of Yalta, which took place on 4th February 1945, brought about the “fifty-fifty” partition of Yugoslavia. At the Yalta conference delegates were distinctly ordered not to hand over Croatian soldiers, not even the Ustasa, to Tito’s partisan forces. This agreement and direct order was clearly conveyed to Field Marshal Alexander, who was in command of British forces in central Europe. [17] The slaughter of biblical proportions dealt upon the Croats at Bleiburg, including the genocide committed on the Ways of the Cross, and the bloody repression by communist Yugoslavia after the war, should be an historical lesson for the future of Croatia. It seems that even today, Croatians are not aware of this important lesson, for the most part because the government is pervaded with the followers and successors of Tito’s communistic ideology.

 

The author writes: “The manipulating hierarchy within the West’s major powers of Britain, France and America strongly contribute to all of this. These key powers insidiously influence and control the Croatian government and want the old Yugoslav ‘arrangement’ back – for their own selfish reasons of power and economics. To them Croatia is nothing more that a very small bothersome state to be conveniently disposed of in the manner that would suit them best. What the Republic of Croatia feels and needs does not concern them, and they will ‘humour’ Croatia if it is to their advantage. And that is why, if Croatia truly wants to be a part of Western Europe, it must stand up and fight for its rights – and begging for entry into the EU like a whipped dog with its tail between its legs is not the way to do it.” [18]

 

When such words are addressed to us by someone who lives far from Croatia and who struggles with the language, one should surely stop and think. If this is all so evident to an honest and respectable intellectual of British-French descent from far away New Zealand – why doesn’t the Croatian government see it? It is clear that it is a matter of sold souls; incapable and ANTINATIONAL politicians; self-seeking entrepreneurs – all who would sacrifice every truth and value for their own personal gain – and who selfishly claim there is no alternative to entering the EU. Not to mention those who after a month’s time without justification abdicate, and then go pockets-filled on holiday without the slightest sense of responsibility – leaving a country in utter economic, social and political chaos. Croatia’s politics in the past years, from 2000 to 2009, have been a complete failure and a catastrophe to the country’s interests.

It is clear that Croatia, after 20 years, and after successfully defending itself from Serbian aggression, does not have the righteous political stamina, wisdom or strength to fight against the ever-present ‘cold war’ being waged upon it. Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević justly concludes: “Croatia must stand up to those who wrongfully accuse and persecute it as it would with any other aggressor. Has Jesus Christ not taught us as much? We must never forget the past – nor should we forget the Christian Church, which still stands after two millennia. The martyr and beatified Cardinal, Aloysius Stepinac was true to his faith – he was true to God and to his homeland. [19] This path that is set is a difficult one – but possibly and unfortunately the only one that can resist political pressure from the West!”

 

Towards the conclusion, it is clear to the reader, that there is so much more to the illustrations and poems than just artistic expression – the book is the height of human artistic expression, human emotion and history.  The author in fact has a very modern approach towards politics and history; she has a strong sense of vision and has the ability to logically foretell future events. She predicted the current political and economic crisis, which has befallen Croatia because of selfish and self-centred individuals, their haughtiness, false diplomatic dogmas and their greed-driven obedience to foreign puppeteers.

 

 The author suggests it would be wise to advocate and determine certain Croatian interests to rising politicians and patriots; “because up until now, Croatia has been sorely unsuccessful at earning respect from foreign political powers and is increasingly incapable of being its own master. [20] Forfeiting its sovereignty, sabotaging its very own history, dishonouring its veterans, selling its generals, infested with corruption, destroying its integrity, destructing its government and grovelling to the EU – portrays the current bleak and sad picture which Croatia holds in the eyes of the world today. Why should any power want to help or invest in a country whose government consistently proves that it is unreliable and dubious by continuously betraying its own people? Croatia has not earned respect in any of the following categories: Croatian sovereignty, Croatian prosperity or Croatian integrity.” The author elaborates on the latter three at the end of the book. She offers a solution in the final paragraphs: “What can be done in order for Croatia to earn respect?” [21] In three steps – Protect, Promote and Implement. In this appeal Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević suggests that Croatia banishes every foreign ‘adviser’, that Croatian emigrants have greater voting rights, and that a larger number of Croats from abroad be appointed as members of the Croatian Parliament. She clearly understands that Croatian emigrants are crucially important, and that they can help the country politically and economically. However, for this to take place, Croatia must build the necessary foundations that foster and are based on honesty and righteousness.

 

We can conclude:

The reasons and consequences concerning the establishment of the Croatian state in 1941 and 1991 are almost identical. Greater-Serbian hegemony imposed by the first and second Yugoslavia, being the cause of the conflict between Serbs and Croats, is hardly mentioned in present day media; just as the Serbs rising in arms against the first and second state of Croatia is completely neglected and trivialized. The first state of Croatia suffered at ‘Bleiburg’, the second is destined to suffer at The Hague. The truth about Croatia after 1941 and 1995 is being concealed in an identical way – false accusations related to Croatian atrocities over Serbs, and at the same time Serbian atrocities over Croats are being neglected to enormous extents. The cause and consequences of the specific events are never evaluated in that order; rather, the events are selected beyond the chronology of events. Such has been the process in The Hague from the beginning. Croatian generations following 1945 were silenced under communist repression. Present generations following 1995 are under total media repression, which delivers wrong and confused values, the only goal being to wipe out every memory of national pride. British interference has been present within this region from the beginning of WWI up to the present.

 

At the end of her book, Britanija i Bleibužka Tragedija, Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević concludes with a significant message: “Croatia must be the master of its own house”. [22] The most important goal and the spirit of the book is a compelling message that ‘Bleiburg’ should never happen again, and the genocide of the Croatian people should be a permanent reminder for Croatia’s posterity and its enduring existence. Having read the book the readers are left with the thought when will Great Britain in the name of their infamous democracy apologize to Croatia for handing over Croatian soldiers and civilians to communist butchers? The crimes and atrocities committed over the Croats are waiting, and they deserve an international apology.

Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević

 

[1] Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević: Britain and the Bleiburg Tragedy (Leon Publications Ltd, Auckland, NZ, 1998.)

[2] Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević: Britanija i Bleiburžka tragedija (Croatian Victimology Society Zagreb,

Officer's Club 242 Zagreb, Croatian Intercommittee Council for NSW, Australia. - Zagreb 2009.)

[3] Same as 2, pp.14

[4] Same as 2, pp.14

[5] Same as 2, pp. 47

[6] Same as 2, pp. 49

[7] Novi list, 15.09.2008, Bleiburg and Jasenovac – New comparison

[8] Nikolai Tolstoy: The Minister and the Massacres. Bleiburg and Kočevski rog 1945, Zagreb 1991.

[9] Same as 2, pp. 61

[10] Betrayal, BBC, 1992.

[11] Same as 2, pp. 60

[12] Same as 2, pp. 80

[13] Same as 2, pp. 80

[14] Same as 2, pp. 82

[15] Same as 2, pp. 84

[16] Same as 2, pp. 85

[17] http://wapedia.mobi/hr/Masakr_u_Bleiburgu?t=4.# 5.

[18] Same as 2, pp. 87

[19] Same as 2, pp. 90

[20] Same as 2, pp. 91

[21] Same as 2, pp. 92

[22] Same as 2, pp. 92

 

Suzanne Brooks-Pincevic Interview Magic Artist Name
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