Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

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Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 23 Jan 2019 23:15

In 2015 Serbian court rehabilitated general Draža Mihajlović leader of Yugoslav royalists or Serbian chetnicks during WW2. He was accused of collaboration with the Nazis and war crimes. After a trial in 1946 he was executed. Serbian court declared the process in 1946 was politicaly motivated.


Basicaly on the same ground also Croatian archbishop Alojzije Stepinac was rehabilitated in 2016 by Croatian court. Stepinac was sentenced and jailed in 1946 because of collaboration with the axis and with Croatian ustasha regime of the so called NDH.


Question for debate is how we should look at those rehabilitations? Were they both really just victims of communism?

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović nad archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 23 Jan 2019 23:21

Explanation why the topic is talking about both Mihajlović and Stepinac.

First because they were rehabilitated in quite the same time but also because their role during WW2 is having similarities. The bottom line is that both were collaborators yet in some periods of war like at the beggining of 1941 until autumn of that year or in autumn of 1943 the movement of Draža Mihajlović was also anti axis and Stepinac collaborated with the Yugoslav governament in exile also to a degree. Plus chetnics in Bosnia were first fighting together with partisans against ustasha regime but then in spring of 1942 they made agreements to fight together against the partisans. So very interesting topic for historians i think.
Last edited by SloveneLiberal on 24 Jan 2019 18:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović nad archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by David Thompson » 23 Jan 2019 23:28

SloveneLiberal -- Do you have copies of the rehabilitation papers for our readers to compare?

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović nad archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 23 Jan 2019 23:50

I do not have the documents from courts in english. However if somebody will maybe translate or find it helpful here is judgement from high serbian court about Mihajlović.

https://pescanik.net/wp-content/uploads ... lovica.pdf

And here for Stepinac:

http://sudovi.pravosudje.hr/zszg/img/Fi ... 173-16.pdf

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović nad archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by David Thompson » 24 Jan 2019 01:12

For interested readers looking for background information:

The Trial of Drazha Mihailovic
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=47498

Cardinal Stepinac - war criminal? or a failed Christian?
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56106

Please remember that we do not discuss 21st century politics in this apolitical forum.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović nad archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 24 Jan 2019 13:45

From the rehabilitation judgement of archbishop Stepinac we can see that it is based on the assumption that so called NDH was legal state and that the laws of Yugoslavia were in effect only after the end of war. That is contrary to the judgement of military tribunal in Nuremberg which decided in 1948 in the case of Hostage trial that NDH was established illegally during the time when war was still going on by Germans and Italians which started an illegal agressive war against kingdom of Yugoslavia, without international conference and with arbitrary borders. If NDH was legal then of course Stepinac was not commiting a crime by supporting it. He even confessed that he was working in the interests of NDH.

Court also ruled that the defence did not have enough freedom at the trial, that new Yugoslav regime was biased toward Stepinac, that the fact that catholic press in NDH which was delivering to the public many racist, antisemitic, proustasha and severe religious hatred propaganda was under his jurisdiction as archbishop is not a proof of guilt and so on.
Last edited by SloveneLiberal on 24 Jan 2019 22:28, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 24 Jan 2019 17:16

In the case of general Draža Mihajlović the court in rehabilitation judgement is claiming that the defence of accused did not have enough freedom at the trial in 1946 Many witnesses of defence were not called before the court under excuse that the defense team is exaggereting. For example American pilots saved by the Serbian royalists. So court find the trial in 1946 biased and unfair but in fact it did not deal with the question of collaboration and war crimes of Mihajlović directly. Court mentioned letters from communist political leader Ranković to communist Milovan Djilas
( later well known dissident ) as a proof that the trial was political. Ranković is saying that trial can attack the political support for Mihajlović from the western powers but should not involve British and USA governaments. Also it is recoreded that high ranking communist leaders were talking about the inditement in advance. They were against American support for Mihajlović on his trial even the USA asked Yugoslav governament that its citizens would like to help the defense of Mihajlović as witnesses in the trial. Political leaders had authority over the court in 1946.

Court found some documents to be forged or not original documents signed by Mihajlović. For example his letter to archbishop Stepinac from April 1945 which is talking about the joint fight against partisans. Also directives from Mihajlović to Pavle Djurišić leader of chetnics in Montenergo from December 1941 was found to be not an original order by Mihajlović. Mihajlović gave to his commanders some white papers with his signature on them and from time to time they missused this. The defense team presented this fact on the trial in 1946 but their arguments were dissmised. Order from December 1941 is talking that chetnics should fight for Great Serbia cleansed of national minorities. Yet it is also true that in 1943 Pavle Djuričić was comitting great war crimes in Bosnia and Sandzak against muslim population ( considered like collectively responsible for horrible ustasha crimes against Serbs ) and regulary reporting to Mihajlović about this. He did not act.

So the court in 2015 found quite some procedural mistakes in the trial of 1946 but it was not in fact dealing much with the accusation for collaboration with axis powers and war crimes.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by David Thompson » 24 Jan 2019 21:12

SloveneLiberal -- In your post at viewtopic.php?p=2183855#p2183855, you wrote:
From the rehabilitation judgement of archbishop Stepinac we can see that it is based on the assumption that so called NDH was legal state and that the laws of Yugoslavia were in effect only after the end of war. That is contrary to the judgement of international tribunal in Nuremberg which decided in 1948 in the case of Hostage trial that NDH was established illegally during the time when war was still going on by Germans and Italians . . . .
(1) The "Hostage case" was decided by an American military tribunal, not the International Military Tribunal.

(2) Where in the "Hostage case" judgment does the court say, "that NDH (the government of Croatia) was established illegally"? A copy of the "Hostage case" judgment is posted at viewtopic.php?t=54441.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 24 Jan 2019 21:35

Check it here for details.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=237043&p=2155723&hi ... l#p2155723

That is an interesting topic also isn't it?

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 25 Jan 2019 11:02

Very problematical double standards of archbishop Stepinac can be seen also from the fact that he did not react to the writtings of proustasha catholic press, but he immediately protested when Italians reopened orthodox churches in 1941 on the areas under their military occupation, urging Italians which stopped ethnic cleansing at that time ( being even favoured because of that by the Yugoslav governament in exile ) that they will be responsible if people will leave catholic church and join the orthodox.

If we look at this more in details we can see for example that offical newspaper of the archdiocese in Zagred ''Katolićki list'' on 21. 4. 1941 is writting about how the ''providence of God'' enabled the establishement of NDH and how the catholic church is happy together with the people about this fact. Also Stepinac himself soon confirmed with his pastoral letter from 28. April 1941 ( published in Katolićki list on 5. of May 1941 ) that he agrees with the establishment of NDH. He urged the catholic priests that they should take care that newly established Croatian state would be really a ''nation of God''. They should protect NDH and Stepinac is also putting his hopes to the new ustasha leaders as the right men for this task. In the diary of Stepinac we can find a note from 27. April 1941 that he urged also the Vatican to recognize NDH as de facto state as soon as possible ( the official policy of Vatican was not to recognize new states before the end of war ).

''Katolićki list'' published on the 7. of June 1941 an article written by the editor of newspaper and an adviser of Stepinac Janko Penić in which he is praising Ante Pavelić, ustasha leader for giving to the catholic church its ''traditional priviligies which were denied in Yugoslavia''. In the same newspaper another adviser of Stepinac Kolarek praised on 8. August 1941 Pavelić as ''the first son of Croats, reformer of Croatian state, historical figure which Croats did not have for centuries''. It should be noted that already from May 1941 widespread ustasha campain of massacres was going on. Racial and antisemitic laws were already accepted and the end of April 1941. Ustasha leaders publicly advocated for the religious and ethnic cleansing of orthodox Serbs. Mile Budak for example said in Zagreb on 29. April 1941 that ustasha regime will kill some Serbs, deport others and convert to catholicism the remaining with this like making them Croats, The law which was enforcing forcible conversions was published on 5. of May 1941.

Catholic action in Croatia was also subordinated to Stepinac. Its leader priest Ivo Guberina wrote on 7. of July 1941 in the newspaper ''Hrvatska smotra'' that Croatia will be cleansed from ''all its poisons with all methods including the sword''. We do not say that later Stepinac did not become a bit more sceptical about ustasha regime. Croatian bishops and also Vatican were getting reports and complains from all sides about widespread ethnic cleansing and mass killings of Serbs and Jews. Those protests include letters of king Peter II, Slovenian catholic priests in exile, Croatian catholic political figures in exile or in allied countries, protestant christian press and so on. In early 1942 Stepinac himself sent to king's represantatives some reports about religious persecution being quite shocked by them at that time. Yet later he apparently thought that those war crimes should be somehow viewed as weakness of the young state. In his letter to Vatican from May 1943 he advocated strongly for the preservation of NDH. The fact is that Stepinac never publicly revoked his support for NDH, did not revoke his instructions to the priests that they should protect it and even at the trial in 1946 confessed that he was working in the interests of NDH.

Before mentioned Guberina wrote again in ''Hrvatske smotre'' on 7. October 1943 that Church would be most glad if catholics will fight in ustasha movement, which is by its leaders and by its program inclined toward a political and social state which will favour the catholic church and its teachings. But who is not joining the fight against the enemies he is in sin and if he joins the other side he is really a traitor,

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 25 Jan 2019 15:13

Some examples of proustasha catholic priest war crimes. Mate Mugoša priest from Udbina in Croatia had an inflamatory sermon in June 1941 telling the people in the presence of ustasha that now it is enough of spreading the faith just with talk, writtings and prayer. It is time to start doing it with guns and pistols. He said that he would be happy to see when the land of killed orthodox Serbs will be given to Croatian farmers. ( as reported in Croatian newspaper Hrvatski narod in 1941 ).

Pretty much the same was said or written in Katolićki tednik the official newspaper of Croatian archdiocese of Sarajevo which was lead by proustasha bishop Ivan Šarić on 31.8. 1941. Until now God was talking through catholic press, saints, letters of pope etc. but they did not listen. Now God will inspire our work on a different way. With the help of tanks, artillery and machineguns sermons will be fullfield. The same newspaper was spreading also harsh antisemitic propaganda. For example on May 25 1941 an article was published calling the Jews even more guilty then their predecessors which crucified Jesus. Now Jews want to control whole world and they created a moral and economic catastrophy in the world. With the help of Satan they established communism and socialism. The movement which goal is to liberated the world from the Jews is supported by God and will bring a revival of human dignity.

Some priests were commiting war crimes in the ranks of ustasha as war chaplains like for example Ivan Miletić from Višegrad. In the newspaper Hrvatski narod another military chaplain Evgen Buluhan wrote about him that he joined the ranks of ustasha forces to encourage them and to sow dead between the communist Serb rebels ( partisans ).Other priests took jobs in the ustasha administration and were commiting crimes there. For example Josip Bujanović so called ''fra Jole'' took the position of deputy prefect in Gospić and took care for the killing of remaining Serbs there.

There is also an example of Miroslav Filipović - Majstrović or so called ''fra Sotona''. As Bosnian Croat franciscan friar he became ustasha military chaplain. He was involved in big massacre of Serbian civilians, men, women and children in the area around the town of Banja Luka. 2.300 of them were killed in February 1942. They were killed mostly with axes. Even Germans were shocked and he was court-martialed by them. He was removed in April 1942 from the ranks of military chaplains by papal legate and jailed for a time in Croatia. He was then suspended also from the order of franciscan friars. Later he became the commandant at Jasenovac camp. After the war he was arrested and confessed that under his command in the main Jasenovac camp around 20.000-30.000 people were killed.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 25 Jan 2019 16:42

Let us now look at the agreements between chetnics and ustasha regime of NDH. Chetnics in Bosnia and Montenegro started to collaborate first with Italians seeing them as lesser evil then ustasha and communists or partisans under the command of communists and their supporters. But soon they made agreements also with NDH. Uroš Drenović chetnic commander from Bosnia made an agreement with ustasha in Mrkonjić grad on 27.4.1942. Other chetnic commanders from Bosnia quickly followed in May and June 1942. In those agreements chetnics recognized NDH and Pavelić as its leader. They agreed to fight together against partisans and to stop with all hostilities between them. Some agreements even declared that all those who opose them being partisan supporters or not should be arrested. Ustasha regime agreed to restore trade with areas controled by chetnics and to supply them with ammunition. Chetnics and ustasha were likely still not real friends yet they cooperated in many operations against partisans either under Italian or German command in the military zones controlled by one or another axis force. Mihajlović himself was sceptical about such agreements suggesting first that they should cooperate with ustashe secretly not openly. Yet nothing changed even those commanders were under his control. Later he tried to exploit this situation for the destruction of main partisan forces.

After the agreements between chetnics and ustasha and also because of German pressure to limit anarchy in the land regime of Ante Pavelić named archbishop Germogen or Maximov as patriach of newly established Croatian orthodox church. ( installed on 6. June 1942, before people in NDH could be only members of catholic, muslim or protestant community, surelly not members of Serbian orthodox church-50% of the orthodox priests were expelled by ustasha regime and 25% killed ) Germogen was a white Russian who escaped communist rule together with other white troops in 1920. This move was favoured also by Stepinac and other Croatian bishops. Some chetnic leaders like pop Momčilo Djujić became priests of this newly established orthodox church under Germogen.

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by David Thompson » 25 Jan 2019 18:04

SloveneLiberal -- Please start posting sources. Our rules provide:
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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 25 Jan 2019 18:59

Yes i understand. Here are the sources ( yet really many not in english, sorry :) ):

Citations from Croation catholic newspapers from the time of NDH are taken from the book written by an Italian author Marco Aurelio Rivelli ''Nadškof genocida'', published in Slovenian language in 2007.

For the informations about chethnic ustasha and axis agreements i used also the book ''Bermanov dosje'' written by Aleksander Bajt pages from 564 to 588. Published in Ljubljana in 1999. Author is an anticommunist yet he is talking also about those agreements.


I can add some wikipedya and other pages to about Germogen,Majstorović, Djujić, Croatian orthodox church, persecution of orthodox priests in NDH and cooperation between chetnics and ustasha:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_ ... 1942-1945)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germogen_(Maximov)

https://sh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suradnja_ ... _sporazuma

http://www.nedeljnik.rs/nedeljnik/porta ... oda-dujic/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miroslav_Filipovi%C4%87

http://www.wikiwand.com/sh/Srpska_pravo ... /SPC_u_NDH

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stato_Ind ... di_Croazia

Plus i used some public debates of historians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YST4Qa1GPes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89DQRMQBF0Y

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Re: Rehabilitation of Draža Mihajlović and archbishop Alojzije Stepinac

Post by SloveneLiberal » 28 Jan 2019 20:27

Defenders of Draza Mihajlovic are pointing many times on the fact that Soviet agents in Cairo-SOE like Klugman were responsible for manipulations of reports which were sent by British officers who were with Mihajlovic. Favouring partisans and slandering chetnics.

There is some truth about this but the British had other sources to. They broke German codes and were able to read their reports. Thus knowing that mostly partisans were fighting with Germans from German sources. On the other hand Germans were intercepting secret orders sent by Mihajlovic and they also knew very well about his plan. That's why for example in February 1943 Hitler warned Mussolini that his generals ( some of them being in fact quite pro-British ) should not support chetnics with weapons because Mihajlovic has a plan to use those weapons against the axis when allied troops will land in the Balkans.

However the fact that Churchill had to realize that there will be no allied landing in the Balkans was the main turning point. That meant that Soviets will come first in Yugoslavia and they will put partisans and communists as new leaders of the country. That's why the British abandoned Mihajlovic and started to support Tito in summer and autumn of 1943. They did not want to stop Tito and communists to gain power because they knew they are not able to do this. Yet they were counting that maybe later after the war people in Yugoslavia would start to oppose the communism.
Also they were counting that Tito might be to much strong leader as his behavior indicated and he might later come in to the conflict with Stalin. Which indeed happened in 1948.

From the end of 1945 up to 1948/49 British again started to support chetnics. And from 1948 or 49 on they supported also again Tito.

Sources: Thomas M. Barker Socialni revolucionarji tajni agenti. Book published in 1991
in Slovenia.

Peter Batty Titova velika prevara. Kako je Tito zavajal Churcilla. Published in 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maclean_M ... eting_Tito

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