Zagreb - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Saturday that defeated Croatian soldiers and civilians were killed at Bleiburg and along the Way of the Cross without a trial, contrary to international conventions, as victims of a crime committed our of revenge and due to ideology.
Jandroković and the prime minister's envoy, War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, laid a wreath on behalf of the parliament and government at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery on the 75th anniversary of the Bleiburg tragedy, paying tribute to civilians and soldiers of the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia, killed in the aftermath of World War II by Yugoslav Partisans at Bleiburg, Austria, and during subsequent death marches back to then Yugoslavia.
A wreath was also laid by a delegation of the Bleiburg Guard of Honour, led by its president Vice Vukojević. Prayers for the victims were said by the Croatian military ordinary, Msgr. Jure Bogdan, and the imam of the Zagreb Mosque, Mersad Kreštić.
"This is a crime which must be spoken about so that our young generations know what happened not only during World War II but also in its aftermath," said Jandroković.
A crime of the Yugoslav communist regime
Jandroković went on to say that the Bleiburg crime was a crime by the Yugoslav communist regime that had been kept secret for 45 years, which, he believes, proves that those who ordered and committed it had a guilty conscience and feared the truth while the survivors were afraid to speak up for fear or revenge.
Asked to comment on President Zoran Milanović's statement that one should stop holding commemorations at Bleiburg and hold them instead at locations where more massive crimes were committed during death marches back to Yugoslavia, Jandroković said that the Bleiburg commemoration was held under the auspices of the Croatian parliament and that it should stay that way.
He said that commemorations were held at Bleiburg because people were killed there without a trial, tortured in the most cruel ways and thrown into pits. Also, their families do not know where and how they were killed and where they were buried, he said, adding that people killed at Macelj and Tezno were commemorated as well but that many mass graves were yet to be exhumed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We reject those who use Bleiburg to revive Ustasha regime
Jandroković said that they rejected those who wished to use the anniversary for political ends or revive the Ustasha regime. "We reject that. That is not good. We must show respect here for the victims and condemn the crimes of the communist regime."
Vukojević: Anyone wishing to relocate Bleiburg event talks nonsense
The president of the Bleiburg Guard of Honour, Vice Vukojević, told reporters that masses for the Bleiburg and Way of the Cross victims would be held in 189 Croatian Catholic parishes around the world. Thanking the parliament for sponsoring the event, he said that "there is no other Bleiburg than Bleiburg", and that anyone wishing to relocate the Bleiburg commemoration is talking nonsense.