A Croatian response

On April 15, the Monitor published an article by Robert D. Kaplan, ``Zagreb: tourists enjoy even misty days,'' ostensibly an information guide for American travelers. This article actually contained all the standard Serbian ultranationalist propaganda against the Croatian nation, alluding that the Croatian capital is almost something like Dachau or Auschwitz: ``worst civilian atrocities of World War II in its vicinity,'' ``history haunts this city ... as well as horrifies,'' ``Cardinal Stepinac ... did little to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies,'' ``disturbing past,'' etc.

One is almost overwhelmed with feelings of rage and despair reading such distortions and manipulations of the truth and public opinion despite all the efforts, for years, to point out the obvious.

Proportionately, European Jews and Croatians are the main victims of World War II. A horrible and crude hoax has been invented by Serbian ``liberators'' in order to ``justify'' the genocide of Croatians.

Yes, there was a brutal civil war in Croatia, and I am the last to apologize for any of the numerous sides, but the main victims were Croatians themselves. Serbian ultranationalist forces, Chetniks, massacred more than 120,000 Croatian civilians.

In the last days of World War II, Serbian ultranationalist forces joined communist forces and ``liberated'' Croatia with the systematic genocide of more than 500,000 civilians.

Even Tito's partisan, a major general, distinguished military historian, former director of the prestigious Institute for Modern History, is being repeatedly imprisoned for pointing out that Croatians were the main victims of World War II in Yugoslavia, and that astronomical and malicious exaggerations of Serbian victims are statistically absurd and impossible.

Yes, there is a dark secret in the vicinity of Zagreb - a huge mass grave near Sveti Ivan Zelina. More than 70,000 Croatian civilians were massacred there by units made up of Serbians only. The troops that were called afterward to bury the victims to prevent an epidemic contained several Croatian partisans by mistake.

They were shot in order to hide the horror. Joseph Vrbich Coordinating Director Northern California's Concord, Calif. Alliance for Justice in Yugoslavia

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