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Lest we forget

An excerpt from book by: Ms. Ruth Mitchell,


The Serbs choose war


Published by: Garden City; New York; 1943


pp 254-255

Document I

GRIZOGONO LETTER

Source: Letter written by Privislav Grizogono, a Croat and a Roman Catholic, member of the Yugoslav Diplomatic Corps, Minister to Czechoslovakia, Minister to Poland, addressed to Dr. Aloisius Ste- pinac, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, February 8, 1942. Published in translation by the American Srbobran, a Serbian paper of Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S.A., February 24, 1943:


"These atrocities do not amount to killings alone. They aim at extermination of everything Serbian: women, children, and aged men, and in terribly wild tortures of the victims. These innocent Serbs were stuck on poles alive, and fires were built on their bare chests. Literally they were roasted alive, burned to death in their homes and churches. Boiling water was poured on live victims before mutilation; their flesh was salted. Eyes were dug out of live victims, ears amputated, noses and tongues lobbed off. The beards and mustaches of priests, together with their skin, were ripped off rudely by knives. They were tied to trucks and dragged behind them. The arms and legs of the victims were broken and their heads were spiked.

"They were thrown into the deep cisterns and caves, then literally bombed to pieces. Crowbars smashed their heads. Their children were thrown into fire, scalding water, and fed to the fired lime furnaces. Other children were parted by their legs; their heads crushed against walls and their spines dashed against rocks. These and many other methods of torture were employed against the Serbs - tortures which normal people cannot conceive. Thousands of Serbian bodies floated down the Sava, Drava, and Danube rivers and their tributaries. Many of these bodies bore tags: 'Direction-Belgrade, to King Peter.' In one boat on the Sava there was a pile of children's heads, with a woman's head (presumably the mother of the children) labeled: "Meat for John's Market-Belgrade" (meaning meat for the Serbian market). "The case of Milenka Bozinich from Stapandza is a particularly gruesome one: they dug her unborn child out of her with a knife. Then, in Bosnia, a huge pile of roasted heads was found. Utensils full of Serbian blood were also discovered; this was the hot blood of their murdered brothers that other Serbs were forced to drink.

"Countless women, girls, and children were raped, mothers before daughters and daughters before mothers, while many women, girls, and female children were ushered off to Ustashi garrisons to be used as prostitutes. Rapes were committed even before the altars of the Orthodox Church. About 3,ooo Serbs were murdered in the Serbian Orthodox Church at Glina, and the massacre of Serbians before the altar at Kladusha with sledge hammers is something never mentioned in history....

"There are detailed and official minutes (reports) about these unheard-of crimes. They are so terrible they have shocked even the Germans and Italians. Many pictures were taken of these massacres and torture orgies. The Germans claim the Croats did these same things during the Thirty-Year War and that, since then, there is a proverb in Germany: 'God save us from cholera, hunger, and the Croats.' Even the Germans from Srem [Syrmia] hate us and act more or less humanely toward the Serbs. The Italians have photographed a vessel holding 35.5 kilograms of Serbian eyes, and one Croat decorated with a wreath of Serbian eyes came to Dubrovnik with two wreaths of Serbian tongues.

"Though we Croatians shall never be able to erase this shamefulness which we brought upon ourselves with these crimes, we can at least lessen our responsibility before the world and our consciences if we raise our voices in protest against all these crimes.

"This is the last hour for us to do so. After all the great crimes in history, punishments follow. What will happen to us Croats if the impression is formed that we participated in all these crimes to the finish?"'

Privislav Grizigono

At Zemum, Feb. 8, 1942

* There are passages in this document relating to Croatian atrocities which are unprintable


Document II

Source: Handwritten report sent by underground channels through Cairo, written by Dr. Theodore Lukac, a Croatian, director of the District Hospital at Mostar, Yugoslavia.

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Last revised: Nov. 26, 1997