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Unsung World War Two Hero

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    Sgt. Curtis Diles, 89, with a photo album sent to him by Serb patriot Sasa Jovanovic with current photographs from Pranjani, Serbia where the Halyard Mission rescue operation took place in 1944. Sgt. Diles received this photo album from Serbia shortly before his death. Thankfully, it reached him on time.
    Photo courtesy of daughter Diane Diles Hammond.

    Aleksandra's Note:As we remember and honor our military veterans this November of 2014, many of us have had the privilege of knowing such men personally and calling them "friends." My life has been deeply enriched by having become acquainted with American, Allied, and Serbian WWII veterans who were living witnesses to history. These men walked the walk. Many of them are no longer with us in their mortal form here on earth, but their spirits will never die.

    The following is a letter I received from one such witness to history, American Air Force Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles of Ohio, who I was blessed to meet in person at the Halyard Mission 50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago in May of 1994. We remained friends for the next 20 years, until his death on September 10, 2014. In my mind and in my heart we remain friends and always will, for as long as a person is remembered, they will always be with us. This piece of personal correspondence, dated January of 2007, reveals a lot about the man that Sgt. Curtis Diles was, as does the 2005 interview given to the The Plain Dealer Ohio newspaper that is also posted here.

    What seems to be a common denominator among the Allied veterans of the great 1944 rescues in WWII Yugoslavia by the Mihailovich Chetniks and Serbian people loyal to them, is that they maintained their sense of honor and duty long after their service in the military was finished.

    God Bless them all. And Curtis, you remain as alive to me today as you were back in May of 1994. Thank you for your service. For your loyalty. For your dedication to a cause you truly believed in - that of vindicating General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks. For your unwavering belief in the goodness of the Serbian people.  And thank you for your friendship.

    My sincere hope is that you have been reunited with your brothers in arms and with the good General and that you will continue to fight the good fight.

    Something to think about:At the time of his death on September 10, 2014 at the age of 89, the total number of the Sgt. Dile's descendants - children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren - was 26.  Due to just one man being saved by General Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks in those fateful days of 1944 in Serbia, 26 good people are alive today.

    Sincerely,

    Aleksandra Rebic
    November 11, 2014

    Sgt. Curtis Diles and his 26 descendants-children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren - 26 people alive today because Sgt. Diles was saved by General Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian Chetniks in WWII. Collage by his daughter Diane Diles Hammond for her father's 89th birthday, July 15, 2014.
     
    *****

    Personal letter from Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles
    January 5, 2007
     
    Dear Sandy (Aleksandra),

    ...We, my wife Inez and I, moved to a different location in August of 2004, about one mile from our home of thirty years. No couple who has been happily married for fifty-eight years buys another home and starts over, but we did!...It's been exciting but almost overwhelming. We are yet unpacking boxes which contain a life-time of memorabilia...stuff. The rest of that story I'll leave for another book.

    "My Story" has to do with my favorite people, Serbians. After more than sixty-three years of bonding, Serbians have become a major influencing factor in my life. I would almost describe the Serbians as being my calling, in this life-time.

    At my church a few weeks ago, the lesson had to do with "little things distracting one from major goals in life." Needless to say, I felt I had not done as much for Serbia as I might have. (If I needed to excuse myself, it would have been '...Look, I have four beautiful children, fifteen wonderful grandchildren, and now two great grandchildren.' How much can one crowd into one lifetime? Excuses?? You be the judge.

    I have never been quite sure of your connection with Serbians, though you made it quite obvious that the connection was sincere...

    ...In reading your Srbobran praise for Major Dick Felman a few months ago, I picked up on your comment, 'I wish I could have met General Draza Mihailovich.' Well, I did, and I consider that chance meeting to be the single most important event of my wartime combat experience. I have written more than once...'If Churchill and Roosevelt had known The General before the war, the outcome may have been different.'

    I did not know at the time, anything about the politics of war...in fact, I was not aware there was a connection between politics and war. I was nineteen and my most important priority was survival. But today, after reading, watching, listening, and studying, I find the two cannot be separated.

    I have been aware of recent efforts to produce a movie about the War in Eastern Europe and as predicted, it never got "off the ground." Postponed indefinitely!! Oliver North touched on the subject a few months ago on the History Channel, but he only mentioned the abandonment of the Serbians, not the cause of abandonment. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    I still have my subscription to American Srbobran and Serb World, but have not contributed anything recently. My credentials are well displayed on "Yahoo" under my name, Curtis Diles.

    I wrote a story to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper which was published (copy enclosed.) I also visited Cleveland's St. Sava Cathedral with Col. Charlie Davis during April of 2006. Col. Charlie Davis was also a member of the Halyard Mission...

    Sandy, I have strong convictions of the need to write a book vindicating the Serbians of WWII wrongdoing, but truly I don't believe most of what they have been accused of. I feel they have been victimized by the world events of those days. David Martin wrote in one of his books "Ally Betrayed"...If the Serbs were betrayed as he claimed, then also the American Airmen were betrayed, because these Airmen were not allowed to tell their story to a world audience.

    My local Greek friend advised me to create a "talking book" and have a professional do the writing. If I am allowed to live that long, the title would be:

    SIXTY YEARS OF DEAFENING SILENCE.

    Curtis Diles
    January 5, 2007

    *****

    AIRMAN WON'T FORGET THOSE WHO RESCUED AMERICANS

    By Robert Sberna
    "MOSAIC"
    Building Bridges Among People
    A special monthly advertising section of The Plain Dealer Tuesday October 18, 2005.

    At age 80, Curtis Diles says he's come to the realization that his days may be numbered. But Diles, a Dayton-area resident, says he doesn't plan to slow his 60-year campaign to pay homage to the Serbian soldiers and villagers who saved him from German troops during World War II.

    "I owe my life to those Serbian people," Diles says. "And I'll never forget what they did for me."

    On Sept. 8, 1944, Diles was a nose turret gunner on a B-24 bomber that had just completed its mission, bombing a bridge over the Danube River in Yugoslavia. The crew was told beforehand that their mission would be a "milk run"; no anti-aircraft fire was expected.

    But shortly after dropping its bombs, the plane was buffeted by exploding flak. The young airman and his crewmembers were forced to parachute from an altitude of 18,000 feet. The men landed in a cornfield behind enemy lines and were immediately surrounded by Serbs who rushed them to a farmhouse, away from the low-flying German aircraft that was looking for the B-24 crew.

    "When the Serbian soldiers and villagers surrounded us, we were frightened, " Diles says, explaining, "We had always been told that all Serbians were cooperating with the Germans and they would cut the ears off American soldiers before turning us over."

    But the American airmen were found by Serbian Chetniks, a resistance group that was battling the German occupation force as well as Josip Tito's communist Partisans. The Chetniks were led by General Draza Mihailovic, a former Yugoslav Army officer who was loyal to the exiled Yugoslav Royalist government.

    Over the next nine days, the Chetniks and Serb villagers protected the airmen, shuttling them among various farmhouses, always staying a step ahead of the German patrols. "If it wasn't for the Serbians, we would have been killed by the Germans or ended up in a POW camp," recalls Diles.

    Diles and his crew were among hundreds of American and Allied airmen who were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia during bombing raids. According to the late Major Richard Felman, who was also shot down in 1944, the Serbs provided American airmen with whatever medical supplies they had, even at the deprivation of their own troops. "If there was one piece of bread in the house or one egg, it went to the American airman while the Serb went hungry," Felman noted. "If there was one bed, or one blanket, it went to us while the Serb slept on the bare ground. Nor risk or sacrifice was too great to insure our safety and well-being."

    According to archival documents, many Serbs lost their lives as a result of their actions in saving Allied airmen. Felman noted that an entire village with 200 women and children was wiped out by the Germans because the Serbs would not disclose the whereabouts fo the Americans.

    Along with providing safe haven to many of the Allied flyers, General Mihailovic and his Chetniks orchestrated one of the largest rescue missions of World War II, which was known as Operation Halyard. Over a six-month period in 1944, Mihailovic worked with U.S. Intelligence to evacuate airmen who were shot down in the Serbian mountains. The Chetniks made it possible for several waves of C-47s to land at small, secret airstrips and airlift all of the servicemen to safety.

    Nine days after his plane went down, Diles and his crewmembers were transported to safety. General Mihailovic, however, was executed by Tito's regime in 1946. Since then, Diles and the other survivors of Operation Halyard have worked to preserve his memory.

    "There's no doubt in my mind that the Chetniks and Serbian villagers saved 500 airmen," Diles says. "The Serbs gave their lives for us."

    Diles says that the West's seeming indifference to Mihailovic's role in saving Allied airmen has, in part, fuled his efforts to publicize Operation Halyard. He also objects to the negative treatment of Serbia during the recent Balkan conflict.

    Diles has traveled throughout the Midwest speaking to Serbian-American organizations about his WWII experiences. Last year [2004], he was invited to Serbia to participate in the 60th anniversary of Operation Halyard. Unfortunately, he explains, he received the invitation too late to attend. As a personal tribute, he placed 500 American flags in his front yard for several months to commemorate the 500 soldiers saved by the Serbs during Operation Halyard.

    "I'm a big supporter of Serbs," he says. "They have always been very cordial to me. Some news reports portray the Serbs as being at fault for much of the Balkan conflict. I want the world to know the other side of the story.

    "After all, I wouldn't be here without the Serbs or Mihailovic. And not only am I here, but my four children and 12 grandhildren are here."


    "Mosaic"
    The Plain Dealer
    October 18, 2005

    [Note from AR: After this interview in 2005, the number of grandchildren increased and great grandchildren were born in the following years, for a total of 26 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Curtis "Bud" Diles would live another nine years.]

    In 2004, as a personal tribute, Sgt. Curtis Diles displayed 500 American flags in his front yard for several months to commemorate the 500 American airmen saved by the Serbs during Operation Halyard in 1944.
    Photo courtesy of Sgt. Curtis Diles.
     
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
    *****


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    Aleksandra's Note:Today, it's been 15 years since Major Richard Felman left us. I miss him still. Loyal and dedicated. Fierce and true. A truly tireless warrior that deserves the title of "Hero".

    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic
    November 13, 2014 
     
    Major Richard L. Felman, U.S.A.F.
    May 29, 1921-November 13, 1999

    Major Richard Felman and Aleksandra Rebic
    General Mihailovich's 100th Birthday Celebration
    April 23, 1993
    Chicago, IL U.S.A.

    Remembering a Tireless Warrior -
    Major Richard L. Felman U.S.A.F.
    Halyard Mission veteran

    By Aleksandra Rebic

    He never stopped. It became his mission in life. For 55 years, over half a century, Major Richard L. Felman of the United States Air Force worked ceaselessly to do one thing: to repay a debt of gratitude and to say "Thank You" in a most meaningful way.
     
    As we in America just commemorated Veteran’s Day and are getting ready to celebrate our Thanksgiving, it is our turn to remember and say “Thank You”  to a man that we who knew him will never forget. Writing these things is never easy, especially when you are trying to properly honor the life and work of someone you knew personally and liked very much and whose passing leaves a void that cannot be filled. But done it must be, and it is my hope that those reading this who never had the pleasure of meeting this fine man will come to know him and appreciate the tireless effort that reflects some of the best virtues of human character: Loyalty and Honor.
     
    Richard L. Felman was born in the Bronx, in New York City, on May 29th, 1921. He was the son of David, an American, and Dora, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. He had one brother, Irwin, born six years earlier. At 21 Felman enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps on July 24, 1942 and became a master navigator. He would go on to fly combat tours in WWII and in Korea and would receive 27 awards and decorations over the course of his military career. In early 1944 he was assigned to the 415th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force stationed in Lecce, Italy as a Second Lieutenant. He would be flying B-24s, the "Liberator" bomber.  His plane, "Never a Dull Moment," would live up to its name.
     
    Returning from a bombing mission in July of 1944 over the Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania, Hitler's main and most essential supply of oil at the time, Felman's B-24 was hit by German ME-109s. Ten of the eleven man crew was forced to bail out from 18,000 feet over the Yugoslav hills. In the attack and subsequent fall, Felman was wounded and would receive a Purple Heart for those wounds.
     
    Of all the places in Yugoslavia to land in July of 1944, he was fortunate enough to land smack in the heart of Serbian territory. Unfortunately, it was also Nazi occupied territory and the enemy had seen him coming out of the sky. The Germans had counted all ten of their chutes coming down and knew exactly where they were, but they could not get to them in the hills. That was the first stroke of good fortune. The second, and what would become the most significant, was that Felman was immediately surrounded by the Serbian Chetniks of Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian peasants loyal to them in the area. These were friendly hands Major Felman and his compatriots had fallen into. An immediate friendship was forged between them and it was a friendship that would last for the rest of Richard Felman's lifetime.
     
    In their briefings before the bombing mission, Felman and his crew had been told that if they ever had to bail out over Yugoslavia to avoid the men in the beards and fur hats - the Chetniks - for they would 'cut off their ears'. The crew was instructed to look for the men with the red stars on their hats - Tito's Partisans.
     
    This contradicted everything Felman had heard about Mihailovich and his Chetniks from the time that Time Magazine had named Draza Mihailovich "Man of the Year" for being the leader of the first successful resistance to the Nazis in occupied Europe. Nevertheless, the first thing Richard Felman did when the strangers came running towards him was to reach for his ears. Not only did his ears stay intact, he was nursed back to health, fed, sheltered, clothed, and protected. He was also initiated into the benefits of Serbian shlivovitza, an exceptionally strong homemade plum brandy.
     
    A story that Major Felman would tell over and over again, everywhere he went from that time on, including the halls of Washington D.C., was about something her personally witnessed shortly after falling into the hands of theChetniks. The Germans gave General Mihailovich an ultimatum to turn over the Allied flyers or a village in Pranjani of 200 women and children would be burned to the ground. Mihailovich refused. Felman would learn later just how much pain this decision had caused the Serb general who did everything possible throughout the entirety of the war to limit the brutal German reprisals against his people.
     
    The Germans made good on their threat. The village was burned, and the Serbian civilians perished. That one incident would light the fire that would fuel the rest of Richard Felman's life work. As the daily bombing offensives increased and more and more Allied airmen were shot down over Yugoslavia, MIA, a three member rescue unit headed by 1st Lieutenant George Musulin was formed and was blind-dropped at night deep into the enemy occupied territory of Serbia. With them they had medical supplies, short wave radios and a classified evacuation rescue plan that would come to be known as "Operation Halyard" or the "Halyard Mission". A total of 750 Allied airmen, most of them Americans, would be rescued, taken care of and evacuated to safety over the next several months at great cost to the Serbian people who had protected them. All of the fallen flyers would return to their families and their homes alive. It was nothing short of a miracle.
     
    The rescue operations that began in August of 1944 and ended in December of 1944 would become known as the greatest rescue of Allied Airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare. Major Felman, after spending time with the Serbs and running sabotage missions against the Nazis, witnessing first hand who was doing what on the ground, was among the first group of Americans airlifted out on August 10, 1944. The last evacuation was successfully completed in December of 1944 under the leadership of Captain Nikola Lalich.
     
    For the Halyard rescue operation in August of 1944 that included Major Felman, Draza Mihailovich personally provided 8,000 of his best men to keep the Germans at bay while the C-47 planes flew in and took off without incident, carrying their human cargo to safety. Ironically, after this rescue, Allied Intelligence continued to report that Mihailovich was collaborating with the enemy and turning over the Americans to the Nazis - the same false reports that had caused the greatest betrayal of the war - the switch of Allied support from Mihailovich and his Chetniks to Tito's communists in September of 1943, months before Mihailovich would risk everything to rescue the lives of the Allied airmen. Betrayed and abandoned, General Mihailovich resolved to do the right thing and did so without equivocation.
     
    It would be just one of the ironies that marked the beginning of a battle of vindication that Felman would dedicate himself to for the next 55 years. When it was learned that Draza Mihailovich had been captured by Tito's communists in the spring of 1946, and there would be a trial in Belgrade charging Mihailovich with being a Nazi collaborator and war criminal, Felman and his friends, including other flyers who had been rescued, taken care of and evacuated from enemy occupied territory went into action. This time from home.
     
    Major Felman, along with 21 others, went to Washington in April of 1946 to petition President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Government to be allowed to travel, at their own expense, to Belgrade, Serbia and present their testimonies to the "jury". They would soon learn the true nature of the new Yugoslav political reality and the political reality of their own country. Tito said "No". The U.S. State Department, to appease Tito, said "No". Refusing to give up, Felman and his group, along with other notable Americans, formed the "Committee for a Fair Trial for Draza Mihailovich" in May of 1946 and the committee set up a "Commission of Inquiry" that would hear first hand testimonies in New York regarding the guilt or innocence of General Mihailovich as a war criminal. The testimonies of the airmen were presented and documented. The record was compelling and irrefutable. General Mihailovich was innocent. But it would do Draza Mihailovich no good. The word from the Belgrade Regime was this:
     
    "Mihailovich will be given a fair trial, but we have enough legal evidence to convict him, and he will be shot."
     
    They could not let this happen. They tried everything, and at the time of the Commission hearings, Major Felman formed the "National Committee of American Airmen Rescued by General Mihailovich, Inc." Felman was elected its president and remained so for the remainder of his life.
     
    But Belgrade wasn't kidding, and the U.S. State Department wasn't budging. The U.S. had switched sides in '43, at the behest of the British, and Tito was their man. Tito now held the strings 5,000 miles away.
     
    Draza Mihailovich lost his final battle and was executed and buried in an unmarked , unknown grave on July 17, 1946. But he had made a friend during his darkest hours of the war, and, as it would turn out, nobody could have made a better or more loyal and dedicated friend than Major Richard Felman. I can only guess how Felman and others like him must have felt on that day in July of 1946, but I do know that the injustice would sustain Felman with a stamina of purpose that defies the imagination. Mihailovich was gone, martyred, but Richard Felman was bound and determined to keep his legacy alive and alive he would stay in the hearts and minds of all those who would hear Felman speak and read his words. He was relentless and would remain consistent in his purpose even when a new war began in Yugoslavia in 1991 and the Serbian people began to be demonized.  No propaganda campaign against the Serbs could sway Richard Felman. He knew what he knew. He had lived it.
     
    Thanks in great part to the efforts of Felman and his buddies, President Harry S. Truman, on the recommendation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, posthumously awarded General Draza Mihailovich the "Legion of Merit Medal", the highest award America can bestow on a foreign national, in 1948. The award honored Mihailovich for his material contribution to the Allied victory in WWII and the rescue of American Airmen from behind enemy lines. But the ironies would continue. For the first time in history, this high award and the story of the rescue was classified as "top secret" by the State Department so as not to offend the communist government of Yugoslavia and subsequently publicize the colossal mistake of switching sides from Mihailovich to Tito during the war. It would take 20 years and the work of those such as Felman, and especially that of the Honorable Edward J. Derwinski who would later become Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to uncover the "Legion of Merit" honor and make it "public" in 1968.
     
    The next step would begin another uphill battle that would drive Richard Felman and consume him. He retired from the United States Air Force in 1968, but he remained a fighting man as the beginning of long stream of obstacles would thwart the realization of his dream to erect a memorial monument, at private expense, in Washington, D.C. honoring Draza Mihailovich for having saved so many American lives.
     
    In 1970, for the first time, General Mihailovich was written into the Congressional Record and it was in Congress that the battle would be fought.
     
    Felman would again go to Washington, to rally on the steps of the Capitol and get a bill introduced into the Senate by Strom Thurmond and Barry Goldwater in 1976 and in 1977 for the establishment of a statue on the Capitol grounds, on American soil, honoring General Mihailovich. The bill passed. But it would die in the House due to a campaign of the State Department which again and again would cite "offense against the Yugoslav Regime" and the "ire of certain ethnic groupsin Yugoslavia" as justification for denying the appeal. Again and again, year after year, the bill would be introduced, passed, then killed. The resolutions are all in the Washington records. Attempt after attempt. Felman, despite getting discouraged, furious, and frustrated, remained a bulldog. In the wake of repeated denial and the reasons given, he would courageously disclaim his group's apolitical stance and pass judgement on those who he felt were perpetrating yet another great injustice. He was not afraid of losing his pension. He was not reckless, but he was not going to be intimidated. Such is the dedication of a man on a mission. A noble mission.
     
    Over the years, Major Richard Felman would write countless letters and give countless speeches, interviews, and submissions to newspapers. He would travel throughout America at his own expense to spread the word and keep just one drumbeat going: Repaying a debt of gratitude and clearing the name of the man who had saved his life.
     
    He never minced words. In June of 1982, the Felman let loose in the Tucson Citizen newspaper:
     
    "Were the truth ever to be nationally known, there would not be a single American who would object to expressing, at no expense to the taxpayer, a nation's gratitude for saving the lives of over 500 of its fighting men. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason or rhetoric that should prevent the American Airmen from repaying their debt of honor. For 38 years we have fought for this right and been denied. In all good conscience, I cannot sit idly by and watch a 38 year effort go down the drain while the threats of another nation make our proud American eagle look like a plucked chicken."

    Even after Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito was dead and gone in 1980, permission was not granted to erect the Mihailovich monument in Washington. And then, just over a decade later in 1991, the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia began and its people once again became the casualties of war, this time only a civil war without an enemy occupier. With the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Truth became the ultimate casualty. The Croatians, one of the "ethnic groups" whose "ire" the U.S. State Department was concerned about raising, were relentless in blocking the establishment of the Mihailovich monument. And they were winning the battle in Washington with their anti-Serb campaign.
     
    I would first meet Felman on April 23, 1993 at the Congress Hotel in Chicago for the celebration of Draza Mihailovich's 100th birthday. I had "met him" over the phone in 1992 when the first preparations for the celebration were being made. From that point on we corresponded by mail and by phone regularly. My father had already known him for years. Felman was happy as pie that someone had taken up the cause to mark and honor the landmark anniversary. Without his constant enthusiasm and support and wealth of knowledge the event wouldn't have been the same. On that April 23rd afternoon, he was walking out of an elevator in the lobby as I was walking toward it. Somehow I immediately knew who it was. Sharp and handsome in his dark blue blazer and blue jeans and white shirt with a silver and turquoise bolo tie around his neck, he was tan and buoyant, the youngest 72 I had ever seen. Given that the big night was only hours away, I couldn't give him the proper greeting he deserved, but he didn't hold it against me. He had come, all the way from Arizona at his own expense, and would give a speech that night that I would hear for the first time, and then time and time again over the course of the years that followed. He was great on stage and his words and story mesmerized, educated and entertained the capacity crowd, all 1500 of them, who embraced him. He gave the audience which was full of Serb patriots what they so desperately needed to hear at that juncture in their history. In those dark days of the 1990s, as they were being demonized in the West while those in the homeland were in the midst of a brutal war back home, he was there to tell them that they had a friend in the American community, a friend who believed in them and appreciated them, and most of all, who knew the truth.
     
    Major Richard Felman, kneeling, placing the wreath
    at the Eternal Flame at Daley Plaza in Chicago, IL
    in honor of the 50th anniversary of the
    Halyard Mission Rescue Operation
    May 1994.
    Photo by Aleksandra Rebic

    We continued to keep in touch by phone and by letter, as the piles of material he sent me continued to grow. This was gold to me as were his words of support and appreciation for keeping Draza's legacy and the story of the Halyard Mission alive. The next time I would see him in person was a year later, in May of 1994, when he again came to Chicago for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation. This was very special for it was not a Serbian event, but an American event honoring the Serbs which was opening a weeklong celebration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, which had officially been sanctioned by Washington, D.C. and the City of Chicago. Both Serbs and non-Serbs would be participating, and most importantly, Americans would be hearing Felman's testimony. This milestone event was taking place just one year before the first "Western" bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia began.
     
    Felman spoke the following words in 1994. They echoed then. They echo even louder now:
     
    "Everyone of the airmen sitting here and throughout the country...I believe I can speak with one voice for everyone of them...They will all join me in saying that throughout the entire time we were evading capture, no sacrifice was too great for the Serbian people in making us comfortable. It was they who sheltered us in the hills and in their farm houses, often at great risk to themselves. Those of us who were wounded received whatever medical supplies were available. If there was one slice of bread in the house, or one egg, it went to the American. If there was one blanket or one bed, it went to the American, while our Serbian host slept on the bare ground. Many of the peasants were tortured, tortured to death because they would not tell the Germans where we were. The many heroic stories and sacrifices they made on our behalf is something the airmen will never forget. I recall these sacrifices of 50 years ago everytime I read in today's American press that the Serbs are murderers and some sort of two-headed monsters.
     
    "Those that we met were all fine, decent, God fearing people who were fighting for their freedom and their country. Were it not for them, there would not have been a Halyard Mission, nor would we have survived the war.
     
    "To all those all-knowing political analysts and politicians who were in their diapers, literally, when WWII was going on, they know absolutely nothing about the people and the war. I would say to them, if they want to know anything about the Serbianpeople, to talk to the thousands of American grandchildren who are alive today because of these so-called monsters they are condemning. I would also tell them in the strongest possible terms about the anguish that we Americans would feel to see our fellow Americans go charging in with their guns blazing to kill some of the very same people who saved our lives.
     
    "I don't believe our government should return their kindness and sacrifice by killing them."
     
    To have known Major Richard Felman was to talk with him and see him - to read his eloquent words on the printed page and to really hear him. The tears were real, the passion was true and contagious, and the frustration was immense yet completely subordinate to inspiring pure gut level determination.
     
    I would spend time with him again in person in July of 1996 for the 50th anniversary of the execution of General Mihailovich which was marked at New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL near Chicago. Then, for the final time, I would have the opportunity to spend time with him in June of 1998 here in Chicago as he came to receive the Award of Merit presented to him by the Serbian Bar Association. His health was beginning to fail, but his words were still magic and the love between him and his audience of Serbs who had come to honor him was as real as it had always been. The uniform that he had worn over over half a century before as a young man in a big world war was on his body. At 77 he was wearing it proudly! Imagine that!
     
    I'm so grateful that Major Felman got to see some of his efforts come to fruition while he was still living and that he did receive some of the honors and recognition he so richly deserved. His story "Mihailovich and I" was published in both the Serbian and English language. He was given the honorary rank of "Chetnik Colonel" by the great Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich with whom he was friends and whom we lost in September of 1999, just two months before we would lose Felman. He was personally decorated twice by King Peter II of Yugoslavia, first with the "Royal Order of Ravna Gora", Yugoslavia's highest military decoration in 1946, then with the "Commemorative War Cross, 1941-1945" of the Royal Yugoslav Army in 1968. In April of 1997 he was made "Vitez"-"Knight of the Serbian People" by the World Serbian Community in Geneva, Switzerland.
     
    Richard Felman effectively corrected erroneous
    history books through a letter writing campaign begun in the late 1970s to both Encyclopedia Britannica and Encyclopedia Americana asking them to revise their biography on General Draza Mihailovich that had previous to Felman's initiative characterized the Serbian General and leader of the WWII Chetniks as a brave but compromised man who had collaborated with the Nazis. Both volumes revised their biographies of Mihailovich due to Felman's efforts in the mid 1980s.
     
    Though his dream of a memorial monument to General Mihailovich being established in Washington, a dream he and others like him fought hard for, was never realized he did succeed in having a life size bronze bust made of the General and at his own expense donated several to the Serbian Community in the United States and Canada. Most importantly, for the first time in history, there is official recognition of the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation of 1944 by an American museum which holds Felman's donation of the bronze bust on permanent display at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, one of the largest aeronautical museums in the world. In 1990 he met with the head archivist of the Air Force Academy Library in Colorado Springs who found it hard to believe there was no record of their rescue in their files. By providing his story and his extensive documentation of "OPERATION HALYARD", Felman ensured that future American cadets will know about one of the most glorious moments in the history of the U.S. Air Force.
     
    In 1995, for the 50th Anniversary of VE Day, Major Richard Felman, accompanied by his wife Mary Anne, returned with Captain Nick Lalich, and Lt. Col. Charlie Davis, both Halyard Mission veterans, to Serbia after 50 years and was met on the hills of Ravna Gora by 50,000 Serbian people who gave him a thunderous ovation. That, Major Felman would later say, was his shining moment, a highlight in a remarkable life.
     
    The 1990s was a remarkable decade indeed for Richard Felman. Fortunately, he remained healthy and strong almost to the end. In June of 1998 Richard Felman was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, a degenerative and terminal neuromuscular disorder. It seemed inconceivable that a man of such passion and energy would be sidelined by such an illness. Word of his illness spread throughout the Serbian community and he would receive hundreds of cards and letters from Serbs all over the world saying "Thank You" to the man who had dedicated the last 50 years of his life thanking them. That same June, after he was diagnosed, he traveled to Chicago for the last time and I was blessed with the opportunity to see him and hear him speak once again and spend time with the man who had been such a beacon of light to so many of us. It would be the last time I would see him alive.
     
    I last spoke to him over the phone on May 29, 1999. I had called to let him know I was thinking about him and to thank him as I had so many times before. I hung up without realizing it was his birthday. It would be the last time I would hear that wonderful voice.
     
    Later that same year, when it was clear that it was just a matter of time, I called and asked his wife if she could ask Major Felman if it would be okay if I wrote his obituary after he was gone. She told me that she would find out and let me know. A short time later she informed me that he had said “Yes, he would be honored if I did that”. I remember thinking “He’s got it all backwards”.  The honor was all mine. I received a package of material from Felman just a few days later.
     
     
    Major Richard L. Felman of the United States Air Force fought his last battle on Saturday, November 13, 1999. He died quietly, with his wife Mary Anne by his side. He was survived by her and his brother Irwin. He had no children. On Tuesday, November 16, 1999 he was laid to rest at "All Faiths Memorial Park" in Tucson, Arizona.
     
    In memoriam, my father Rade Rebic shared his thoughts about Richard Felman, and he spoke for so many of us:
     
    "He was one of a small number of non-Serbs who dedicated his life to promote the truth about Serbs as they were going through some of the darkest hours of their history. With Felman's death, some of the wings that enabled the Serbs to persevere through the last half of the 20th century have been stilled. Sailing will be harder without Felman."
     
    Somehow it seems especially appropriate that Richard Felman was born close to the Memorial Day holiday and died close to the Veteran’s Day holiday. There is something just right about that.
     
    Richard Felman was my dear friend. I will forever cherish the conversations we had and all the gifts of his documents and his cards and letters. He understood what was necessary to keep a legacy alive and did what was necessary. It is we who must carry on the fight.He never forgot us nor did he forsake us when it would have been most convenient for him to do so in the 1990s. He never stopped saying that "For as long as I live I will never forget the enormous debt that I owe to the freedom loving Serbian people who gave their lives to save me and my fellow Americans." Felman didn't just talk the talk. He walked the walk.
     
    Back in '93 for the Mihailovich 100th birthday celebration, Felman proclaimed something that garnered him a standing ovation: "Although I am an American Jew, in my heart, I am a Serb!" And the best thing about that statement was that Felman meant it with all his heart.
     
    Richard Felman met General Draza Mihailovich a long time ago, in a foreign land in 1944, by virtue of being a casualty of war who was fortunate enough to survive. They prayed in a Christian Serbian Orthodox church together. They shook hands. They went on sabotage runs against the Germans, their common enemy. They shared slivovitza – the 160 proof plum brandy that no visitor to the Serbian lands ever forgets, and they found a way to communicate. General Mihailovich left quite an impression on Richard Felman, and his wrongful execution at the hands of the communist criminals two years later in 1946 would leave an even greater one on the American navigator.
     
    Now, somewhere out there, I’m sure that Jew and Gentile are spending time together again, the American with the Serb, two military men with much in common despite their differences. With all my heart I believe that the Serbian General is saying "Thank You" to the American just as the American was saying “Thank You” to him all those years.
     
    Felman, I still miss you. I can still hear your warm, passionate voice 12 years later. You would love some of the developments that have happened since your passing. Progress is being made in Serbia with regards to the patriots being rehabilitated and honored in the proper way they deserve, but there is still much work to do…You would love “Facebook”, something that wasn’t invented yet when you were living. The legacy is being kept very much alive via the Internet and for that we can all be thankful. We will not cease fighting the good fight, ever. So many young people are now carrying the torch, and I know that would fill your heart with joy and pride.
     
    We will never give up.  That is our pledge and our promise to you and to all those like you. And that is our commitment to the beloved General, his Chetnik forces, and the people who were loyal to them. May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand, Felman.
     
    Just as you never forgot our Draza and our suffering people, we will never forget you.
     
    Aleksandra Rebic
    Thanksgiving Day November 1999
    November 13, 2014
     
     

    To read Felman's personal story,
    "Mihailovich and I",
     please click on the link below:



    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
    *****
     

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    NWI Times
    Damian Rico
    November 17, 2014

    Nick “Beli” Mihajlovich talks to Tom Clark's Lake Central history class about
    World War II and his experiences as a freedom fighter as his daughter, Judy Vezmar, looks on. Photo: Damian Rico - The Times.
     
    Nick “Beli” Mihajlovich, right, is reunited with Lt. Col. Milton Friend, one of the Forgotten 500, who he helped rescue as a Serbian Chetnik freedom fighter.
    Photo - Judy Vezmar August 20, 2014.
     
    Nick “Beli” Mihajlovich recounts his brush with fame as he escorted members of the Forgotten 500, American troops who had been missing in action, to safety in the former Yugoslavia. Photo: Damian Rico - The Times.
     

    Nick “Beli” Mihajlovich will never forget the summer of 1944.

    Talking to Tom Clark’s Lake Central High School history class, Mihajlovich recollected his journey to the United States at the height of WWII.

    Mihajlovich’s country of Yugoslavia was in turmoil. On one side was the invading Nazi army from Germany. On the other was the rising tide of communism. Like many others in his town, the young man couldn’t help but think about escaping, lest he be pressed into joining the party and devoting his life to a system he did not believe in, or possibly face death.

    “I listened to many warriors talking about how proud they were to serve in past wars,” Mihajlovich said. “This time, there was much disappointment and confusion. We just knew communism was not right.”

    Mihajlovich, who had just turned 16 on Aug. 10, 1944, decided to join a group of Serbian Freedom Fighters known as the Chetniks. On one of his assignments, Mihajlovich escorted nine strangers to safety across a highway patrolled by German soldiers.

    Later, Mihajlovich found out those strangers were members of the Forgotten 500, American MIAs who had been attacked on their way to Romania to bomb Nazi-controlled oil fields and later rescued by Yugoslav Serbs.

    “I did it for the sake of another human being, because it was the right thing to do,” Mihajlovich said. “No other reason than that. I didn’t even know they were Americans until I returned from my mission.”

    Soon after, Mihajlovich would escape Yugoslavia and flee to Italy. His dream was to come to America.

    “I prayed, but there was no hope, because I had no family and friends there to sponsor me,” Mihajlovich said.

    One day, “out of nowhere,” Nick’s prayers were answered as an American officer came up to Mihajlovich and inquired about his nationality.

    “I told him I was Serbian and he laughed, saying, 'you don’t look Serbian,’ ” Mihajlovich said. “He proceeded to tell me he was there to help all Serbs with affidavits to (come to) America.”

    That is when Mihajlovich learned about the efforts of the Serbian Orthodox Church of the United States and the Serbian National Defense organization.

    Months later, Mihajlovich immigrated to the Indiana Harbor section of East Chicago and started a new life, which would include his wife, Olga, and ultimately their three daughters, Cathy, Judy and Danica.

    “I am very blessed,” Mihajlovich said. “I am most proud to be an American citizen for over 50 years. This is the greatest country in the world.”

    Mihajlovich received a letter in August from one of the Forgotten 500 inviting him to his home in Boynton Beach, Fla. Nick would reunite with Lt. Col. Milton Friend.

    Friend had become quite an historian and saved articles, books, posters and other memorabilia recounting the “story of one of the greatest rescues” in WWII history.

    Friend presented Mihajlovich with a binder filled with memorabilia and praised him for his courageous act.

    “It was a very emotional reunion,” said Judy Vezmar, Mihajlovich’s daughter. “We were so proud to see these legendary heroes have so much love and respect for each other. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and we are so proud of my father.”


    Damian Rico/The Times
    Damian.Rico@nwi.com


    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/serbian-freedom-fighter-reunites-with-member-of-the-forgotten/article_5e535769-8f59-5120-8810-66b084655bb9.html


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com


    *****

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    СРПСКИ ЛИБЕРАЛНИ САВЕТ
    УЗУН-МИРКОВА 3а
    тел: 062 120 90 36
    11 000 БЕОГРАД



    Српски либерални савет ће у понедељак 20.10.2014.год. давати на територији Србије, парастосе свим страдалим у комунистичкој репресији 1941-1945.

    После служења службе задушнице биће налепљене плакате на свим зградама, и објектима где су се налазили затвори и мучионице злогласне ОЗНЕ пара-полиције комунистичког режима.

    Иначе обележавање 20.10. као дана "ЖРТАВА КОМУНИСТИЧКОГ РЕЖИМА"Српски либерални савет обележава десету годину заредом, јер само сећање на невине жртве може довести до помирења на простору Србије.


    Oрганизатор Српски либерални савет
    У Београду 19.10.2014.год.


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****

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    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@Hotmail.com
     
    *****
     


    Memorial Service following Divine Liturgy
    at St. Ilija Serbian Orthodox Church
    Merrillville, Indiana.
     
    Banquet and Program at:
    General Draza Mihailovich Memorial Hall
    Schererville, Indiana
    1:00 p.m.
    1350 Woodview Dr.
    Crown Point (Schererville), Indiana, 46307
     
    By Vera Dragisich:
     
    "The break-through battle at Padjane was fought on the night between December 2 and 3, 1944.
     
    "Покрет српских четника Равне Горе прославиће 70-ту годишњицу од разбијања комунистичких блокада у Книнској крајини, на брду Марвеђаку у селу Пађенима 1944. године, а уједно обилежиће прославу непобедиве Динарске четничке дивизије и њеног легендарног комаданта Војводе Момчила Ђујића, у недељу 7. децембра 2014. године у Спомен дому ђенерала Драже Михаиловића у Шервилу, САД.
     
    "Прослава ће почети парастосом после св. литургије у храму св. Илије, а у 1 час после подне одржаће се свечани банкет са академијом у Спомен дому.

    "У вези са тим, чини нам необичну част да вас позовемо да тога дана будете са нама да заједнички и братски обилежимо овај велики догађај.
     
    "У нади да ћете се одазвати нашем позиву, поздрављамо вас са нашим борбеним поздравом;

    Слобода или смрт! - Равна Гора победити мора!
     
     

    Vera Dragisich
    Secretary, Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravne Gore
    Editor, English Section, "SRBIJA" ("SERBIA") Newspaper
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
     
    *****
     
     

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    Petar Drugi sa suprugom i sinom Aleksandrom
     
     
    Novosti
    V. CRNJANSKI SPASOJEVIĆ
    December 10, 2014
     
    ADVOKATI prestolonaslednika Aleksandra Karađorđevića podneće u narednih desetak dana zahtev za rehabilitaciju kralja Petra Drugog i njegovog sina i njihovog klijenta - Aleksandra, potvrdio je, za “Novosti”, jedan od kraljevskih zastupnika Đorđe Đukić.
     
    - Koliko smo shvatili, biće to samo formalna rehabilitacija, po kratkom postupku - kaže Đukić. - Do sada nismo podnosili zahtev zato što smo verovali da je zakonska rehabilitacija već završena kada je Zakonom iz 2001. ukinut Ukaz Predsedništva Prezidijuma Narodne skupštine FNRJ od 8. marta 1947.
     
    Tim Ukazom je porodici Karađorđević oduzeto državljanstvo i imovina. Agencija za restituciju se, međutim, pozvala na Zakon o restituciji koji je decidan - da bi nekome bila vraćena imovina neophodno je da dostavi pravosnažno rešenje o sudskoj rehabilitaciji. To se odnosi na sve građane, pa i na kraljevsku porodicu. Zato su sudski već rehabilitovani kraljica Marija i njeni sinovi, prinčevi Tomislav i Andrej, kao i knez Pavle i kneginja Olga.
     
    Agencija je još 10. oktobra dostavila advokatima Karađorđevića Nalog za dopunu zahteva za restituciju, u kojima im, između ostalog, traži dokaze o rehabilitaciji kralja Petra, princa Aleksandra, kao i prinčeva Tomislava, Andreja i kraljice Marije. I dok u nadležnom Višem sudu u Beogradu tvrde da je Agencija dala rok mesec dana, i da je on već istekao, Đukić kaže da roka nema, ali da će se zahtev pred sudom naći ubrzo.

    Agencija za restituciju je u nalogu tražila i da im bude dostavljen izvod iz javnog registra u kojem su upisane pokretne stvari čije se vraćanje traži, zatim uverenje o identifikaciji iz starog premere katastarskih parcela, dokaz o pravu svojine članova dinastije Karađorđević za sve nepokretnosti na području opštine Kučevo, kopiju plana za katastarske parcele u Sokobanji. U vezi sa zahtevom za vraćanje rudnika, tražili su rešenje o nasleđivanju doneto u ostavinskom postupku iza smrti kralja Aleksandra Prvog, koje se odnose i na rudarska prava i rudarske terene. Traženo je i preciziranje zahteva u vezi sa vraćanjem nekretnina u Topoli.

    I dok su imovinu kralja Aleksandra nasledila sva trojica sinova, imovinu kraljice Marije, po testamentu, nasleđuju samo potomci prinčeva Andreja i Tomislava. Kako je kraljica navela u testamentu od 24. februara 1960, svom najstarijem sinu, kralju Petru Drugom, nije ostavila ništa, jer “on već prima odgovarajuće provizije iz drugih izvora”, a i ona mu je “tokom života poklonila lične posede velike vrednosti”.

    “ROLS-ROJS” ČUVA GARDA

    MADA su iz Agencije za restituciju već stigle naznake da jedan deo nekretnina i pokretnosti, pre svega Beli dvor, neće biti vraćeni jer su zakonom zaštićeni kao kulturna dobra, Karađorđevići se pitaju da li su baš sve pokretnosti zaštićena dobra. Deca kneza Pavla, kneginja Jelisaveta i knez Aleksandar, tražili su “rols-rojs” svog oca, koji se nalazi u garaži Doma garde na Topčideru, verujući da on ne može biti zaštićeno kulturno dobro.


    http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/drustvo/aktuelno.290.html:523591-Rehabilitacija-poslednjeg-kralja


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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    Mozete pogledati ovde:
     
    Емисија од 14.12.2014.
     
    "Краљ Петар, Черчил и Рузвелт"
     
     
     
     
    Радио Телевизија Републике Српске
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
    *****


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    Aleksandra's Note:Many of you who visit this website honoring General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik forces have become familiar with the wonderful family of Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles of the United States Air Force, a WWII veteran who died this year in September shortly after celebrating his 89th birthday. While living, Sgt. Diles dedicated his entire postwar life to honoring the legacy of the Halyard Mission rescue operation of WWII. In July 2014, his daughter Diane Hammond issued a public invitation to Serbians to send birthday wishes to Sgt. Diles for a very special tribute album of memories she was creating for her father. The response was overwhelming. Over 300 messages of love and gratitude and best wishes came in from Serbs all over the world. She was able to present this tribute book of love to her father in July 2014 and he was so gratified. I thank God that he lived long enough to see just how much we Serbians appreciated his love for us.

    Below is a brief home video taken of Sgt. Diles and his daughter Diane, one of his four children, in which he describes who he feels are the "real heroes." The video was taken on the occasion of his 89th birthday in July after he received his gift of messages from the Serbians.

    This week, the Diles family received the military marker that will be placed at his gravesite in Ohio, and it reflects the heart of a man who never forgot what the Serbians and the Chetnik forces of General Draza Mihailovich did for him in the scary days of 1944 when he was shot down by the Germans while flying over Serbia and subsequently rescued by the Serb patriots and returned home to America. After the rescue and successful evacuation from Nazi-occupied Serbia,  he would live a long and rich life in America, marrying the love of his life, Inez, and enjoying a life-long marriage that lasted until death did them part and produced 26 beautiful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

    Though they are no longer with us, such men never die. They remain with us always and their legacy will continue to teach the future generations about the grand and glorious truths of history.

    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic
    December 17, 2014

    *****

    The military marker that will be permanently placed at the gravesite of Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles, USAF. The marker reads:
    "Curtis Diles, Jr. S. Sgt US Army Air Forces - World War II - Purple Heart-
    July 15, 1925 - Sep 10, 2014 -
    One of the Forgotten 500 rescued by Serbian Chetniks."
    Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond
     
    Front of Diles gravestone. The engraving reads: "One Life - One Love"
    Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond.
     
    Back of Diles gravestone.
    Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond.
     
     
    *****

    Video of Sgt. Curtis Diles and daughter Diane Diles Hammond in July 2014 posted by: "chuck Hammond"




    http://youtu.be/kiqks3HVrpw


    *****

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    Novosti
    V. CRNJANSKI SPASOJEVIĆ
    December 21, 2014

    Komisija za pronalaženje groba Draže Mihailovića rasformirana, a Komisija za masovne grobnice bez novca. Neistraženi Lisičji potok i Veliko ratno ostrvo. Druga komisija registrovala je 211 stratišta.

    Jedan od pokušaja da se pronađu ostaci Draže Mihailovića na Adi Ciganliji u Beogradu
     
    NI tri godine od „otvaranja potrage“ za zemnim ostacima komandanta Jugoslovenske vojske u otadžbini generala Dragoljuba Mihailovića, javnost ne zna gde je pokopan, da li potraga još traje, ako je zaustavljena zašto je zaustavljena, da li su pretražene sve potencijalne lokacije i koliko je to traganje koštalo.
     
    Državna komisija za utvrđivanje okolnosti pogubljenja generala Mihailovića, formirana 27. aprila 2009, pune dve godine istraživala je arhive, saslušavala svedoke, kopala po dokumentacijama u Londonu i Moskvi. Pošto je predstavila nalaze 14. aprila 2011, posao preuzima Državna komisija za pronalaženje i obeležavanje tajnih grobnica ubijenih posle 12. septembra 1944. I ona je počela da radi dve godine ranije. U rukama je imala iskaze više svedoka da je Draža pogubljen kraj zida nekadašnjeg zatvora na Adi Ciganliji. Iskopavanja, koja je vodio istoričar Srđan Cvetković iz ove druge Državne komisije, počela su 18. juna 2011, a prve rupe blizu čuvenog ružičnjaka napravili su upravo Cvetković, Vladimir Todorović iz Tužilaštva za ratne zločine i Blažo Đurović, vlasnik privatnog preduzeća za geodetske radove i rođak ravnogorca Đure Đurovića. Nađeno je više kostiju, ali je ekspertiza na Institutu za sudsku medicinu Medicinskog fakulteta u Beogradu, mesec dana kasnije, pokazala da su ostaci - životinjski. Posle toga sve je zamrlo i zavladala je tišina.
     
    Danas, tri godine kasnije, jedini koji je raspoložen da priča o onome što se desilo jeste Srđan Cvetković iz Komisije za otkrivanje tajnih grobnica. On kaže da Državna komisija za istinu o Draži više ne postoji čak ni na papiru, dok Komisija za tajne grobnice formalno postoji, ali faktički su joj vezane ruke jer ne dobija ni dinara za rad. Cvetković ne zna koliko su istraživanja tzv. Dražine komisije koštala, ali objašnjava da je sondiranje terena bilo donacija Đurovića, a njegov angažman volonterski. Takođe kaže da je ta komisija uradila maksimum koji je mogla: pregledala je sve dostupne arhive, saslušala više desetina svedoka i na osnovu poklapanja iskaza njih četvoro locirala Adu Ciganliju kao mesto pogubljenja i potencijalnu tajnu grobnicu.
     
    - Svi svedoci su bili sekundarni, nijedan nije bio očevidac. Zapisnik sa streljanja nije nađen, jer je „šetao“ od jedne političke instance do druge, i na kraju nestao. Arhivski fondovi su iscrpljeni i dok se eventualno ne pojavi nestali, ključni dokument, novih tragova nema, kao ni novih svedoka. Ostalo je samo uverenje da je telo generala Mihailovića posle streljanja ili uništeno ili izmešteno na drugu tajnu lokaciju - objašnjava Cvetković.
     
    Ostala mesta pominjana tokom rada komisije kao potencijalne skrivene grobnice (Lisičji potok i Veliko ratno ostrvo), kako potvrđuje Cvetković, nikada nisu ispitane. Kaže, svedočenja o tim lokacijama bila su „odokativna“.
     
    Što se tiče rada ove druge komisije, ona je napravila veliku bazu od 56.000 žrtava koje su likvidirane mahom bez suđenja, iz političkih razloga, i zakopane u masovne grobnice. Utvrđeno je ko je kada i gde streljan. Locirane i ekshumirane su grobnice u Sivcu, Boljevcu i Gumištu kod Vlasotinca.
     
    - Samo u Beogradu ima desetak takvih stratišta, a u ostalim opštinama u Srbiji po jedno ili dva. Novca, međutim, za dalje istraživanje nema, a Komisija nema ni ingerencije da naloži sondiranje, kopanje, ekshumaciju i veštačenje. To mogu da odrade samo sud i tužilaštvo. Mi čak ne možemo ni da obeležimo mesta egzekucije - tvrdi Cvetković.
     
    Dodaje i da je Komisija popisala 211 tajnih grobnica do sada, iako ih sigurno ima mnogo više. Tridesetak najvećih, kaže, trebalo bi obeležiti. Između ostalih: Lisičji potok, Slavnik kod Leskovca, kruševačku Magdalu, Bubanj kod Niša, Kraljevicu kod Zaječara, Čačak pored Morave i valjevsko naselje Peti puk. Stratište kraj mosta na Savi u Šapcu već je obeležilo jedno udruženje građana.
     
    - Verovatno neće biti nikakvog pomaka dok se ne donese politička deklaracija u parlamentu kojom bi se osudila ova masovna streljanja. To nam je, uostalom, preporučio Savet Evrope 2006. i Evropski parlament 2009. - zaključuje Cvetković.

    KLjUČNI ISKAZ SNIMLjEN

    DRAGOLjUB Mihailović streljan je 17. jula 1946, u prvim jutarnjim časovima, na Adi Ciganliji, a njegovo telo bačeno je u krečanu pokraj ograde zatvora, koja je posle nekoliko dana zatrpana. Oružjem sa prigušivačem streljana su tada još sedmorica osuđenika, a osmi, Dragi Jovanović, uprkos zvaničnom državnom saopštenju da je likvidiran, živeo je još dve-tri godine i potom ubijen. Tom činu prisustvovali su Slobodan Penezić Krcun, ministar unutrašnjih poslova Srbije, Josip Hrnčević, tužilac FNRJ, pukovnik Miloš Minić, vojni tužilac, Mihajlo Đorđević, predsednik sudskog veća, Slobodan Krstić Uča, funkcioner Ozne...“

    Ovo je ključni trag za „Dražinu komisiju“ - iskaz Slobodana Krstića, koji su devedesetih snimili Miladin Gavrilović iz Zadužbine kralja Petra na Oplencu i novinar Mileta Nedeljković.


    SRPSKI GOLOOTOČANI NA MIROGOJU

    KOMISIJA za tajne grobnice pronašla je dokaze da je nemali broj golootočana iz Srbije sahranjen na zagrebačkom groblju Mirogoj, u neobeleženim grobnicama. Da bi se istražilo ko sve tamo počiva potreban je međudržavni dogovor Beograda i Zagreba. Među onima koji su gotovo sigurno tamo sahranjeni je i Đorđe Mladenović, koji je na paklenom ostrvu bio istovremeno kad i njegov sin Radoslav. Dešavalo se da jedan od njih dvojice bude u „toplom zecu“ i batina drugog. Radoslav je preživeo. Đorđe je nađen mrtav, sa ekserom u glavi! Neistraženih masovnih grobnica ima i oko Prizrena, Dečana, Peći...


    http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/drustvo/aktuelno.290.html:525333-Digli-ruke-od-djenerala-Draze


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****

     


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    Vesti Online
    R. Lončar - Vesti
    December 22, 2014

    Državna Komisija za otkrivanje istine o smrti generala Dragoljuba Draže Mihailovića prestala je da radi još prošle godine mada nije zvanično rasformirana.

    General Dragoljub Draža Mihailović
     
    Nedavno je i istraga o ovom slučaju okončana jer nisu nađeni posmrtni ostaci na Adi Ciganliji gde je vršena ekshumacija. Četnički pokret Srbije najavljuje da neće odustati i da će formirati svoju komisiju.
     
    - Državna komisija je završila posao i objavila nalaze, a nema novih okolnosti da bi nastavila rad. Ingerencije smo sad preuzeli mi - izjavio je za "Vesti" Srđan Cvetković, sekretar Državne komisije za otkrivanje tajnih masovnih grobnica onih koji su streljani posle 1944. godine.

    Cvetković dodaje da je više svedoka izjavilo da je Draža streljan pored krečane, u blizini zatvora na Adi Ciganliji, pojedini od njih su naveli da je telo premešteno na drugu lokaciju da mu se zatre trag.

    Podsećanja radi, Vlada Srbije je osnovala tzv. Dražinu komisiju 2009. godine i potom su iskopavanja vršena na Adi, po nalogu tužilaštva. Umesto ljudskih nađeni su životinjski skeleti, tragovi lisica i čaure od metaka. Nalaz je obelodanjen i neće se vršiti nova iskopavanja uprkos tome što su pominjane i druge lokacije, poput Velikog ratnog ostrva i Lisičjeg potoka u Beogradu. Za Viši sud istraga je završena i predmet je u tužilaštvu privremeno zatvoren.

    Bratislav Živković predsednik Četničkog pokreta Srbije smatra da je državni potez "sraman i da oni neće odustati sve dok se ne pronađe Dražin grob".

    - Ovo je još jedan dokaz vladavine nasleđene komunističke svesti iako predsednik države Tomislav Nikolić nosi titulu četničkog vojvode, a ostali, koji su u Srbiji na vlasti, predstavljaju se kao nacionalno osvešćeni. Istovremeno, to je atak na pokušaj nacionalnog pomirenja među Srbima, odnosno izmirenja četničkog i partizanskog pokreta. Ali, Četnički pokret Srbije neće odustati. Formiraćemo svoju komisiju - kaže Živković.


    Istraga i o Brozu

    - Zadatak naše komisije neće biti samo da otkrije gde je general Dragoljub Mihailović sahranjen, već i da se utvrdi istina da li je partizanski vrhovni komandant Josip Broz zaista sahranjen u toj Kući cveća u Beogradu. O Brozovom mestu ukopa već godinama kruže razne spekulacije, s tim treba raščistiti i obelodaniti istinu, da svi oni koji stižu u Beograd da mu se poklone, saznaju dolaze li na Brozov pravi ili lažni grob - kaže Živković.

    http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Srbija/458111/Drzava-vise-ne-trazi-Drazu

     

    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me atravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****



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    Pravda.rs
    Пише: Драган Крсмановић, бивши начелник Војног архива
    December 27, 2014

    Није неопходно отворити поглавље 23 да би се схватило у каквом се стању налази српско правосуђе. Свако ко је водио било какав спор зна да се каљуга неефикасности, корупције и немара не може прогазити на начин како се надамо. Истовремено све је више оних који у безнађу неефикасности и нерационалности прижељкују Немца на челу српског правосуђа или формирање преких судова који би „по кратком поступку…“

     
    Пише: Драган Крсмановић, бивши начелник Војног архива
     
    Скенирање правосуђа не мора бити ни скупо ни дуготрајно, довољно је одабрати један, по свему школски пример на коме би се могла извршити обдукција српског правосуђа. Ради се наравно о поступку за рехабилитацију генерала Михаиловића.

    Већ приликом доношења Закона учињени су пропусти да се детаљније пропише процедура и уграде механизми који би омогућили да се обезбеди ефикасност и правичност поступка. Ипак и такав, мањкав, Закон омогућио је рехабилитацију више стотина лица прогоњених из идеолошких и политичких разлога. Са исте оптужнице, осуђени истом пресудом и пред истим судом су већ рехабилитовани Слободан Јовановић и Момчило Нинчић, али није рехабилитован генерал Миахиловић.

    Поступак за рехабилитацију генерала Михаиловића покренули су његов унук Воја Михаиловић, Српски либерални савет, „Погледи“, Смиља Аврамов… још давне 2006.године.

    И док се голооточани рехабилитују по аутоматизму, поступак генералу Михаиловићу се стално одлаже „због више силе“. Годину дана је утрошено само да се докаже да је генерал мртав. Као да је судско веће очекивало да се брадати генерал у стодвадесетој години појави на вратима и изјасни се о околностима своје смрти. Следећи трик је био одлушивање о укључивању СУБНОР-а у поступак који је по закону једнострани, па такозване кривичне пријаве против сведока (експерата), па укључивање тужиоца који треба да штити јавни интерес, па коначно замена судије који је изабран на другу дужност.

    Оваквим темпом опструкције може се очекивати и замена судија због пензионисања, за коју деценију. Са правне тачке гледано поступак би требао да буде једноставан, слично оном за Слободана Јовановића. И слепац може видети да је процес из 1946.године реализован по стаљинистичком калупу без икакве шансе да окривљени изнесе своју одбрану и докаже „правду“. Брза ликвидација без права на жалбу само је печат на одлуку једне партије да преузме власт рушећи све демократске оквире.

    Овај процес је важан као симбол. Као симбол дисконтинуитета са временом кад се судило по партијском налогу, кад се судијама замерало што се држе закона као „пијан плота“ а адвокатима претило због умешне одбране клијента. Као симбол одвајања извршне од законодавне власти у којој ће судије доносити одлуке кад сакупе довољно чињеница за пресуду а не вагати тренутак кад је треба саопштити из пропагандних разлога. Време је да прихватимо да чувена Брозова реченица „Ја ваш суд не признајем, ја признајем само суд своје партије!“ више не представља основни постулат правосуђа и да је суд једнак за све.

    Генерал Михаиловић је већ рехабилитован у очима оних који су прегледали судске списе и сагледале сву монструозност овог монтираног процеса који је као претеча хашког трибунала увео „колективни злочиначки подухват“ као основу доказног поступка у коме је било важно доказати било чију кривицу да би се осудила цела, у суштини потпуно хетерогена, група. Генерал Михаиловић је рехабилитован у очима и срцима већине припадника српског народа који су са деценијама закашњења схватио да је комунистички сан био само оруђе у националном урушавању нашег народа иза кога су остале фабрике у рушевинама, неокомунисти на власти и границе на сваком кораку.

    Време је да га и суд рехабилитује да бисмо дали шансу да га и службена историја рехабилитује као симбола српског страдања. Јунаку са Дрине и Солунског фронта, човеку који је одбио капитулацију и повео борбу против окупатора, чија је породица лежала у бањичком логору а саборци стрељани као таоци, судили су властити саплеменици. Као и Србију данас странци су га издали, једни јер је Србин, други јер је антикомуниста, али сви јер је био свој и слободан и јер није желео да напусти своју земљу ни америчким ни руским авионом.

    Поглавље 23 не мора ни бити отворено. Европска уније није више дом слободних и цивилизованих народа већ бирократска творевина за лакше управљање „ресурсима“. Али са Унијом или без ње Србија мора постати земља у којој ће владати право и правда или ће се слобода заувек одселити из ње.


    Извор: Правда

    http://www.pravda.rs/2014/12/27/draza-je-vec-rehabilitovan-u-srcima-vecine-srba/


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    Draža je već rehabilitovan u srcima većine Srba

    Nije neophodno otvoriti poglavlje 23 da bi se shvatilo u kakvom se stanju nalazi srpsko pravosuđe. Svako ko je vodio bilo kakav spor zna da se kaljuga neefikasnosti, korupcije i nemara ne može progaziti na način kako se nadamo. Istovremeno sve je više onih koji u beznađu neefikasnosti i neracionalnosti priželjkuju Nemca na čelu srpskog pravosuđa ili formiranje prekih sudova koji bi „po kratkom postupku…“

    Piše: Dragan Krsmanović, bivši načelnik Vojnog arhiva

    Skeniranje pravosuđa ne mora biti ni skupo ni dugotrajno, dovoljno je odabrati jedan, po svemu školski primer na kome bi se mogla izvršiti obdukcija srpskog pravosuđa. Radi se naravno o postupku za rehabilitaciju generala Mihailovića.

    Već prilikom donošenja Zakona učinjeni su propusti da se detaljnije propiše procedura i ugrade mehanizmi koji bi omogućili da se obezbedi efikasnost i pravičnost postupka. Ipak i takav, manjkav, Zakon omogućio je rehabilitaciju više stotina lica progonjenih iz ideoloških i političkih razloga. Sa iste optužnice, osuđeni istom presudom i pred istim sudom su već rehabilitovani Slobodan Jovanović i Momčilo Ninčić, ali nije rehabilitovan general Miahilović.

    Postupak za rehabilitaciju generala Mihailovića pokrenuli su njegov unuk Voja Mihailović, Srpski liberalni savet, „Pogledi“, Smilja Avramov… još davne 2006.godine.

    I dok se golootočani rehabilituju po automatizmu, postupak generalu Mihailoviću se stalno odlaže „zbog više sile“. Godinu dana je utrošeno samo da se dokaže da je general mrtav. Kao da je sudsko veće očekivalo da se bradati general u stodvadesetoj godini pojavi na vratima i izjasni se o okolnostima svoje smrti. Sledeći trik je bio odlušivanje o uključivanju SUBNOR-a u postupak koji je po zakonu jednostrani, pa takozvane krivične prijave protiv svedoka (eksperata), pa uključivanje tužioca koji treba da štiti javni interes, pa konačno zamena sudije koji je izabran na drugu dužnost.

    Ovakvim tempom opstrukcije može se očekivati i zamena sudija zbog penzionisanja, za koju deceniju. Sa pravne tačke gledano postupak bi trebao da bude jednostavan, slično onom za Slobodana Jovanovića. I slepac može videti da je proces iz 1946.godine realizovan po staljinističkom kalupu bez ikakve šanse da okrivljeni iznese svoju odbranu i dokaže „pravdu“. Brza likvidacija bez prava na žalbu samo je pečat na odluku jedne partije da preuzme vlast rušeći sve demokratske okvire.

    Ovaj proces je važan kao simbol. Kao simbol diskontinuiteta sa vremenom kad se sudilo po partijskom nalogu, kad se sudijama zameralo što se drže zakona kao „pijan plota“ a advokatima pretilo zbog umešne odbrane klijenta. Kao simbol odvajanja izvršne od zakonodavne vlasti u kojoj će sudije donositi odluke kad sakupe dovoljno činjenica za presudu a ne vagati trenutak kad je treba saopštiti iz propagandnih razloga. Vreme je da prihvatimo da čuvena Brozova rečenica „Ja vaš sud ne priznajem, ja priznajem samo sud svoje partije!“ više ne predstavlja osnovni postulat pravosuđa i da je sud jednak za sve.

    General Mihailović je već rehabilitovan u očima onih koji su pregledali sudske spise i sagledale svu monstruoznost ovog montiranog procesa koji je kao preteča haškog tribunala uveo „kolektivni zločinački poduhvat“ kao osnovu dokaznog postupka u kome je bilo važno dokazati bilo čiju krivicu da bi se osudila cela, u suštini potpuno heterogena, grupa. General Mihailović je rehabilitovan u očima i srcima većine pripadnika srpskog naroda koji su sa decenijama zakašnjenja shvatio da je komunistički san bio samo oruđe u nacionalnom urušavanju našeg naroda iza koga su ostale fabrike u ruševinama, neokomunisti na vlasti i granice na svakom koraku.

    Vreme je da ga i sud rehabilituje da bismo dali šansu da ga i službena istorija rehabilituje kao simbola srpskog stradanja. Junaku sa Drine i Solunskog fronta, čoveku koji je odbio kapitulaciju i poveo borbu protiv okupatora, čija je porodica ležala u banjičkom logoru a saborci streljani kao taoci, sudili su vlastiti saplemenici. Kao i Srbiju danas stranci su ga izdali, jedni jer je Srbin, drugi jer je antikomunista, ali svi jer je bio svoj i slobodan i jer nije želeo da napusti svoju zemlju ni američkim ni ruskim avionom.

    Poglavlje 23 ne mora ni biti otvoreno. Evropska unije nije više dom slobodnih i civilizovanih naroda već birokratska tvorevina za lakše upravljanje „resursima“. Ali sa Unijom ili bez nje Srbija mora postati zemlja u kojoj će vladati pravo i pravda ili će se sloboda zauvek odseliti iz nje.


    Izvor: Pravda

    http://www.pravda.rs/2014/12/27/draza-je-vec-rehabilitovan-u-srcima-vecine-srba/?lng=lat

    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****
    
     

    0 0


    Rade Rebic and Aleksandra at the Mihailovich monument
    during the Chetnik Family Reunion at St. Sava Monastery
    in Libertyville, IL July 19, 2014.
    Photo: Rebic collection.

    Aleksandra's Note: As we reach the last day of the year, December 31, 2014, it's always a good time to reflect on the trials and blessings of the year gone by and what we have learned and experienced with its passage. It always seems to go by so fast, but if you take the time to reminisce and evaluate, the time we've been given doesn't change, it's what we do with it and how we experience it that influences our perception of that precious time in our lives.

    In keeping with the theme of honoring General Mihailovich, 2014 has proven to be a victorious one. Even though Serbia has, for all intents and purposes, "stopped" looking for the remains of General Draza Mihailovich, Serbia's legendary and beloved WWII hero, it has become increasingly clear that with the evolution of each new generation of Serbs both in the homeland and in the Diaspora, his name and legacy is alive and well, thanks to the dedication of all those Serb patriots like my father who refused to give up and stop the good fight. Though the official "rehabilitation" process remains ongoing in the courts of Serbia, including the court of public opinion, in the hearts and minds of those who appreciate all that General Mihailovich was and what he represented, both as a military leader and as a human being, General Mihailovich never required "rehabilitation" and never will. Though he was a martyr, and his mortal life ended tragically at the hands of the Yugoslav Communists in Belgrade, that story will never be over, will never stop being told, and nor will the glory, victory, and honor it contains ever fade into oblivion. Thus, General Mihailovich, though his remains may never be found, will live forever. That is the ultimate victory.

    I can't believe 2014 is over! What a year it's been and so looking forward to 2015! I have a good feeling about "Next Year" ! Taking this opportunity to sincerely thank all those who have made 2014 special. Thank you for your support, your friendship, your kindness, and all the things you've done to reinforce that there are truly good people in this world. I'm very happy and honored to have you in my life and hope you feel the same about having me in yours. God bless you and wishing you a very happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year 2015!

    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic
    Chicago
    December 31, 2014


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****

    0 0

    Sergeant Mike McKool of the U.S. Army Air Force WWII
    Photo courtesy of daughter Mollie McKool.

    "...I feel that I possibly owe my life to General Mihailovich and his Chetniks and I want to do everything I can to help him in his approaching trial. In this I’m sure I am expressing the feelings of hundreds of other American airmen who were aided by the Chetniks.

    "Here’s what I would like for you to do, Mr. President. Please let me know how I can best use my personal knowledge and experience to help General Mihailovich. Justice and fair play demand that all sides of this case be presented to the court so it can reach a just decision..."

    Sergeant Mike McKool
    of the U.S. Army Air Force in a letter
    to President Harry Truman,
    March 25, 1946

    Sergeant Mike McKool of the U.S. Army Air Force
    with bomber airplane WWII.
    Photo courtesy of daughter Mollie McKool.

    Aleksandra's Note: On May 13, 1946, the Committee for a Fair Trial for General Mihailovich announced that a "Commission of Inquiry" had been established in New York for the purpose of taking the testimonies of American officers and airmen whose request to be heard as witnesses at the trial of General Draza Mihailovich in Belgrade, Yugoslavia had been refused by the Tito government.

    The following is the testimony of Sergeant Mike McKool from Dallas, Texas, one of the hundreds of American and Allied Airmen who had been rescued from Nazi-occupied territory in the former Yugoslavia via the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation. He gave this testimony at the Commission of Inquiry hearings in New York on May 16, 1946. Sergeant McKool was one of several witnesses to give their testimonies that month of May in the sincere hope that it would make a difference in the fate of General Draza Mihailovich.

    It is testimonies such as this that reveal just what kind of people General Mihailovich and his Chetniks were in WWII Yugoslavia.

    Thank God for men such as the rescued
    American and Allied WWII veterans who never forgot what the great General and his Chetniks and the Serbian people did for them. I am especially grateful that the "Commission of Inquiry" was successfully initiated in the spring of 1946 and that the live testimonies of the rescued airmen were recorded and saved for posterity. They were the witnesses to history, and they spoke the truth.


    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic

    *****

    PROCEEDINGS ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 1946

    Committee for a Fair Trial for Draza Mihailovich
    Commission of Inquiry in the Matter of Depositions of American and Allied Military Personnel
    New York County Lawyers Association
    New York, May 16, 1946
    Met pursuant to adjournment
    Present: Arthur Garfield Hays, Esq., member of the Commission of Inquiry; Porter R. Chandler, Esq., and William H. Timbers, Esq.


    The following is the transcript of Sergeant
    Mike McKool's testimony before the
    Commission of Inquiry.
     
    SERGEANT MIKE MCKOOL, called as a witness, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
     
    EXAMINATION BY MR. WILLIAM TIMBERS:
     
    Q:Sergeant McKool, where do you hail from?
     
    A: Dallas, Texas.
     
    Q:Did you come all the way from Dallas to testify in these proceedings?
     
    A: Yes, sir.
     
    Q:And you expect to go back this afternoon on the plane?
     
    A: I do, sir, just as soon as I can get out.
     
    Q:If you were given an opportunity to testify at General Mihailovich’s treason trial the same way you are going to testify here, would you do so?
     
    A: I would, sir.
     
    Q:And why do you want to do that?
     
    A: I feel that that is the least I can do for General Mihailovich, after what he has done for me. I really believe that he and his Chetniks saved my life, and if I could pay that debt I would have every reason to do it for that reason, and also for the reason that justice and fair play would demand it.
     
    Q:What is your profession?
     
    A: I am a lawyer, sir.
     
    Q:Do you practice in Texas?
     
    A: Yes, sir, I do.
     
    Q:When did you enlist in the Army?
     
    A: In 1943, July 24th.
     
    Q:And is it true that within less than a year after your enlistment in the Army you found yourself parachuting into Yugoslavia from a disabled American plane?
     
    A: Yes, sir, I spent my first anniversary in the Army there in Yugoslavia.
     
    Q: Tell us very briefly what your experience in the Army was prior to the mission which resulted in your landing in Yugoslavia.
     
    A: I took my reception center training at Camp Walters, Texas; then I was sent to Sheppard Field for basic training, then was sent to the Las Vegas, Nevada, gunnery school, and then to Boise, Idaho, for overseas training, and then ultimately with the 15th Air Force.
     
    Q:How old are you?
     
    A: 27, sir.
     
    Q:What date did you parachute into Yugoslavia?
     
    A: July 4, 1944.
     
    Q:Where was your mission headed for?
     
    A: Romania, sir; there was a bridge at Pitisti, Romania, about 30 miles from Ploesti.
     
    BY MR. ARTHUR HAYS:
     
    Q:What was your job on the plane?
     
    A: Tail gunner, sir.
     
    BY MR. TIMBERS:
     
    Q:Was it July 4th or June 4th?
     
    A: July 4th.
     
    Q:1944?
     
    A: That is right.
     
    Q:Had you completed your mission before you had to parachute into Yugoslavia?
     
    A: No, sir, we were about 175 miles inside of Yugoslavia when two of our engines went out at the same time.
     
    Q:You were on your way to the target?
     
    A: Yes, sir, we were on our way to the target.
     
    Q: From where?
     
    A: From Italy.
     
    Q:Where?
     
    A: From Manduria. When the two engines went out we had to turn out of the formation, and of course at the time a group of fighter planes were following us, as they usually did, waiting until after you had gone over the target until they began to attack the injured ships. And when we turned out of the formation we turned right into them. It was not any time before they shot out the third engine and we were parachuting down.
     
    Q:Where did you land?
     
    A: I landed at Lapovo.
     
    Q:Would you, Sergeant go up and put a little red pin on that map at the point where you landed? Suppose you point it out on the map up there and then put a pin on the smaller map.
     
    A: It is about 50 miles south of Belgrade. It is a pretty good size town there; they had a large German garrison.
     
    Q:Perhaps it might be easier to find it on that smaller map. We want just the approximate location, if you cannot find the precise town.
     
    A: It must be right in here.
     
    Q:Between Belgrade and Kragujevac?
     
    A: Yes.
     
    BY MR. TIMBERS:
     
    Q:Was this place where you landed in Mihailovich’s territory?
     
    A: Yes, sir, it was.
     
    Q:Tell us in your own way what happened when you landed.
     
    A: First of all, in our base in Italy we were briefed the same way that these other crews were, and that is that General Mihailovich was aiding and collaborating with the Germans and that we should stay away from him and only seek the Partisans. When I landed I landed at the bottom of a hill, and right away the people, about 15 or 20, began to come around me in a circle with pitchforks and sickles and two by fours and just about everything imaginable. And they stopped, and then the men began to tip their hats in a friendly gesture, and when I put my 45 back in the holster they came up and kissed me on each cheek. And then they said “Americans?” “English?” When I told them I was an American they kissed me again.
     
    BY MR. HAYS:
     
    Q:Were you on the same plane as Sergeant Brown who just testified?
     
    A: Oh, no sir, he was about six months ahead of me. And then one of the men, one of the Chetniks there, began to swing his arms around yelling at the people, and they began to disband, except for him and another fellow who carried my parachute, and they wanted to take me away from the hill where I landed—“Idu—Idu—Germans—Germans.” [“The Germans are coming”] And I did not want to go away from the hill because I had seen one of my buddies parachute half way up the hill. When I did not follow them, why then they followed me, and went half way up the hill, and he said he saw another chute on the top of the hill, and we ran up to the top of the hill where our ball gunner was, and the Chetniks were getting pretty impatient, calling “Idu—Idu,” and we said we have got to take these heavy clothes off, and they went back into the trees about 25 yards or so behind us; and just as we got our clothes off we heard someone down at the bottom of the hill holler “Halt.” And we stood up and saw about eight or ten German soldiers there, and we put our hands up. Then they started to run up the hill. When they did, all three of us got the same idea at the time, if they run all the way up the hill they would be all tired out too, and the Germans were shooting at us all the time, knocking down the branches and the bark off the trees above us; but when we got to the trees the Chetniks were there waiting for us, and then they guided us over the hills and valleys and mountains and everything else for about 6 or 7 straight hours, taking us away from the Germans.
     
    Q:How many were in that group?
     
    A: Three, but all ten of my crew were saved by the Chetniks.
     
    BY MR. TIMBERS:
     
    Q:Where were you eventually taken at the end of this six hour walk?
     
    A: We were taken to the back hills. That was Captain Milankovic, he was the brigade commander for that area.
     
    Q:A Mihailovich officer?
     
    A: Yes, sir, he was.
     
    Q:What happened to you there?
     
    A: Well, we stayed there, sir, for about 3 days, 2 days or 3 days, until they got my whole crew together; we bailed out over an area of 30 miles apart and it took 3 days for them to get the crew there. But the second day we were there Captain Milankovic told me that 20 peasants from that area where I and my other two crewmates landed, were taken as hostages, and when they would not tell where we were they took 20 hostages out, and ten of them were executed.
     
    Q:The ten were executed by the Germans when the peasants refused to disclose your whereabouts?
     
    A: That is true, sir.
     
    Q:How much time altogether did you spend in Yugoslavia?
     
    A: I spent 38 days there, sir.
     
    Q:How did you spend most of that time?
     
    A: Most of that time was spent staying away from the Germans, that is just on the move all the time.
     
    Q:And what was your ultimate destination, where were you moved to?
     
    A: We were moved to General Mihailovich’s headquarters. All of the brigade commandants apparently had instructions to send all American airmen to General Mihailovich, and they were sending us there to the American mission, but they had not at that time, and this was after July 4th, they had not received information that the mission had left Yugoslavia, they had left there May 29th. So they were still following the instructions of carrying American airmen to General Mihailovich.
     
    Q:Where eventually were you evacuated from?
     
    A: From the Pranjani air strip.
     
    Q:On what date?
     
    A: That was August 10, 1944, that big evacuation under the leadership of George Musulin.
     
    BY MR. HAYS:
     
    Q:How far were Mihailovich’s headquarters from the place where you landed?
     
    A: It must have been sone 70 or 80 miles, sir. But the way we went it was probably about 300 miles.
     
    Q:You say you were trying to keep away from the Germans. Was there any fighting between the Germans and the Chetniks while you were with the Chetniks?
     
    A: The only fighting was when the Chetniks had to rescue us from the Germans; a group of Chetniks had to fight off the German patrol to save one of my crew, and most of the fighting was done in saving us. But it looked like there would be fighting when we had to cross railroads or highways. At one, a German motorized detachment in armored cars passed a short distance from us.
     
    Q:Where were the Germans located at this time?
     
    A: They were in all the towns. The areas they were in they were patrolling. They never could have captured the hillsides, that was just too much.
     
    Q:Did you see any towns that were destroyed by the Germans?
     
    A: Oh yes, I passed through the town of Gornji Milanovac. Here it is right here. It is directly south from Belgrade.
     
    BY MR. TIMBERS:
     
    Q:About how many miles would you say?
     
    A: I would say that is about 40 or 50 miles south.
     
    Q:Tell us what you saw there.
     
    A: At that time I was traveling with a band of 800 Chetniks, I was under their guard for about three weeks.

    Q: Were any other members of your crew with you at that time?

    A: Oh yes, the other ten were with us at this time. And the captain prima classa who was the leader of this group used to call me Tom Mix, and let me ride alongside of him during this whole march. And while we were passing through this town of Gornji Milanovac he told me that at this point a band of German soldiers were ambushed and wiped out by the Chetniks.

    Q: How long prior to the time you were walking through did this happen, do you know?

    A: No, sir, I do not, but it could not have been very long, because some of the other boys passed through it four or five months prior to me, and it was still a town that was not burned down, it was still as it was. And the captain told me that after this band of German soldiers were ambushed the Germans sent a stronger garrison there to show these people a thing or two, to seek revenge against them. So what the Germans did was to get as many of the inhabitants of this town together as they could, and this captain told me there were 2,000 of them, and they took them out in groups and made one group dig their graves first, and they lined them up and shot them down, and then had the next group do the same thing, until they killed all the inhabitants that they had under their control.

    BY MR. HAYS:

    Q: These 800 Chetniks that were with you, were they doing anything but protecting the Americans?

    A: These Chetniks that were with us were on their way to Mihailovich’s headquarters; I do not know whether they were getting a rest, but they were going to Mihailovich’s headquarters. We would not have needed that large number to protect us, but we were traveling with them because they were going in our direction.

    Q: How long a time did you spend at the place that was Mihailovich’s headquarters?

    A: Do you mean in his headquarters?

    Q: In that section.

    A: In that vicinity?

    Q: Yes.

    A: Well, his headquarters at that time were around in the vicinity of Pranjani, which was the place where this evacuation airstrip was located. And I was in the area of his headquarters for some two or three weeks—about three weeks, sir.

    Q: Did you get any idea about the size of Mihailovich’s forces?

    A: No, sir, only the number of men that I actually saw myself, sir. And this band of 800 men that I was traveling with seemed a lot larger than 800 when they would wind around these pathways, you could see them for miles and miles.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Did you have occasion to meet General Mihailovich personally?

    A: Yes, sir, I did, I met him at the Pranjani area.

    Q: What did he say on that occasion if anything?

    A: He did not speak to me. He was just introduced to us boys and we shook his hand at that particular time. We were at the airstrip waiting for brother George to come in.

    Q: By “brother George” you mean Captain Musulin?

    A: Yes, sir, Captain Musulin.

    Q: During the course of this walk or march to the point where you were evacuated did you see any collaboration between the Chetniks and the Germans?

    A: No, sir, I did not see one single thing.

    Q: Were you looking for such?

    A: Yes, I was looking for it, mainly because I was briefed not to go with the Chetniks, to avoid them; and of course when they took us in and treated us so nicely I began to wonder if there was a trick in it somewhere, that maybe this Mihailovich fellow was kidnapping us to try to get something on the side. So all the time I was there until Captain Musulin came in I was sort of skeptical and tried to keep my eyes and ears open at all times.

    BY MR. HAYS:

    Q: Your briefing came from the American Army authorities I assume?

    A: Yes.

    Q: They were the people that told you that Mihailovich was unfriendly but Tito was friendly?

    A: That is right.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Did you have occasion to talk with any of the Chetnik peasants during this trip?

    A: Yes, when we were traveling with these soldiers, at the time when I was not with the captain I was back with the soldiers, and I was interested in the common everyday things of Yugoslavia, and I liked to try to make it a point to spend a great deal of time with them. And I ate what they ate and slept where they slept. And I did come into very close contact with them during that 3 weeks’ march we had.

    Q: Did you also have occasion to talk to the plain people, the peasants through the district where you walked?

    A: Yes, I used to make it a point to stop at farmhouses, and of course we could wander off wherever we wanted, our movements were never hindered; in fact if we wanted to walk to the coast we could have done it; in fact two of my crewmates decided after a few days that we were not going to get out of there before winter, and they started walking for the coast, and they walked some 40 miles or so before the commandant told them that there were some DC-3’s coming in, that General Mihailovich had just received a telegram, and that if they wanted to go back he would furnish them a guard, which he did do. That was the experience of my bombardier and engineer. They came back with the crew.

    Q: Did any of the Chetnik peasants tell you of any contact they had had with the German combat troops?

    A: Yes, all through the march through Yugoslavia the only system of communication that they had there was through the grapevine method, and they would always know that we were coming, and they would line up on the roadways to see these Americans. To most of these people they were the first Americans that they had ever seen, and so they were always there to see us. And on numerous occasions women, especially old women, would come up to us and kiss our hands and cry out their hearts. Of course we could not understand what they were saying, but through interpreters we were told that they were telling us that they had lost their sons in the war or that their daughters had been carried off by the Germans or that their homes had been burned by the Germans, or that their sons were taken to the forced labor camps, and things likethat.

    And also while I was there I had a chance at one time while I was on one hill to see a group of Germans passing over at another hill, making their periodic rounds of the farmhouses; they used to go around these farmhouses and take so much livestock, so much vegetables, fruit, whatever the people had; and then they would give the people a German I.O.U. for whatever they took. And if any of the people objected, these peasants were then questioning the authority of the German government, and they were lined up and shot.

    Q: Did you talk with any other members of your crew or other American airmen when you got to Pranjani, to see whether they had had similar experiences and similar reactions to yours?

    A: Oh yes, sir. At one time we had as many as about 100 or 150 of us Americans together, we used to be in just about the same area, and whenever anything of importance would come up, for instance when we were waiting for George Musulin to come to be our commanding American officer, they would call us together for a meeting, and sometimes we would be together for 3 or 4 hours. Of course we always talked among ourselves about our experiences. And I would say that the experiences of all the American boys there were very similar, in fact so similar that you would think that it was just the same person going through all the parts of Yugoslavia.

    BY MR. HAYS:

    Q: What were the Chetniks doing all this time, were they just sitting around or were they engaged in any military activities?

    A: Do you mean were they fighting openly?

    Q: Were they doing anything, any sabotage?

    A: I do not know about the sabotage part. There were not any Partisans in the area where I was.

    Q: There were Germans there?

    A: Yes.

    Q: And there were German communications there, there were railroads, were there not?

    A: Yes.

    Q: And telegraph lines, and there were small German garrisons Here and there?

    A: Yes.

    Q: What I am wondering about is what the Chetniks were there for, were they really engaged in some activity?

    A: They were engaged, sir, in just about what activities they could be engaged in.

    Q: What were they?

    A: Well, for example, if they tore out a section of a railroad—I asked the captain that once while we were crossing a railroad; he said if he tore out this section it would not be but a matter of hours before the Germans would be able to replace that section, and on top of that the Germans would gather the people in the area in which that section was torn out, and they would wreak revenge on those people, they would pick up so many of them and execute them. And he said there was not any point in knocking out section by section, they would have to wait until they got enough arms and ammunition to really fight off the Germans.

    Q: Did you hear of any fighting that had been done.

    A: I did not see any, but I had heard of it. I even saw Chetniks with German shoes and German jackets and German pants; in fact there was not anything more valuable than a pair of German shoes in Yugoslavia. These Chetniks would get these clothes by surprising German soldiers. They would not shoot them because that would spoil the uniform, they sneaked up and strangled them.

    Q: Did the Chetniks go after the Germans in the hills?

    A: No, the German units would always come over in armored cars or in lorries in which they would have radios; and if any trouble sprang up anywhere through that area it would not be but a matter of an hour or so before they would really be reinforced.

    Q: I can see plenty of reasons for inactivity, but I was wondering what the Chetniks were doing in 1944 while you were there. Were they just waiting for reinforcements and ammunition?

    A: We were really not in the battleground; the fighting I was told was further to the north and to the east, and I was in the southern part.

    Q: Do you mean the fighting by the Chetniks?

    A: Yes, the fighting by the Chetniks.

    Q: And they had larger forces in the other section?

    A: I was near Mihailovich’s headquarters, and they could not afford to attack in that area because they would put in more German troops in that area.

    Q: In this other area where you understood fighting took place, was it fighting in battle against the Germans, was it sabotage or what was it? Would not the same considerations apply, that if the Chetniks did anything there would be reprisals taken against the people?

    A: There was more reason for not doing it in the Pranjani area. For security reasons the General wanted to keep that area clear of Germans.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: When you say “the General” you are referring to General Mihailovich?

    A: That is right. That was the first area where these Americans could be evacuated; and of course if you would start something there and the Germans would come in and garrison that area there would be no airfield to get these boys out.

    BY MR. HAYS:

    Q: Do you know how long this had been the headquarters of Mihailovich?

    A: No.

    Q: Do you gather it was a short time or a long time?

    A: I understand that he was always on the move, that he did not stay put in any one place.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Did you have any orders or instructions with respect to participating in any fighting in Yugoslavia or in any other occupied country in the event that you were then there?

    A: I do not follow you.

    Q: Were you expected, as an airman, to join in the resistance?

    A: By the Chetniks?

    Q: No, the American Army.

    A: No, our first objective was to get back to our base, to keep from being captured.

    Q: The point is that assistance with respect to acts of resistance by the Chetniks against the Germans was not really within your province, is that so?

    A: That is right.

    Q: And an American intelligence officer who was in there for the purpose of getting that information would be in a better position to testify to that?

    A: Yes, sir.

    Q: Your job was to get back into the air and fight the war in the air?

    A: Yes, sir.

    Q: And for that reason you stayed just as far away from the fighting as you could?

    A: Yes, sir.

    Q: All the airmen did, is that right?

    A: Yes, sir.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Sergeant, did you see any German equipment in wholesale quantities used by the Chetniks while you were in Mihailovich’s territory?

    A: No, sir, I did not see any equipment. The only equipment that I saw was the pairs of shoes or the shirts or the pants that the Chetniks got by killing Germans.

    Q: Did you see any medical equipment of German source being used by the Chetniks?

    A: No, sir. I had occasion to go to the Pranjani hospital when I sprained my ankle, and there was not any medical supplies at all in the hospital; in fact the doctor had to wrap up my leg with a strip from my long underwear.

    Q: Did you see in this territory any posters by the Germans offering rewards for the return of Allied airmen to the Germans?

    A: Yes, sir, some of the American airmen there had posters which they picked up in their travels, and these posters offered rewards for American airmen who were turned over to the German command.

    Q: Did you write a letter dated March 25, 1946, to President Truman setting forth in substance the testimony which you have given today?

    A: I did, sir.

    Q: Was it later read into the Congressional Record on May 2, [1946] by Senator O’Daniel of Texas?

    A: It was, sir.

    MR. TIMBERS: I would like to have that portion of the Congressional Record marked in evidence at this time.

    (Portion of the Congressional Record of May 2nd, 1946, was marked Exhibit 10, May 16, 1946.)

    MR. HAYS: I would like the record [Commission of Inquiry record] to show that the Congressional Record of May 2nd, 1946, which contains a statement of proceedings in the Senate of the United States, contains a statement by Senator O’Daniel, and in connection with the statement Senator O’Daniel quoted a letter to the President of the United States written by the witness.

    In this connection I suggest that a photostatic copy of this be attached to the record.

    At this time a short recess was taken.


    The following is the text of Sergeant Mike McKool's March 25, 1946 letter to President Truman, written on the day that the press announced the capture of General Mihailovich by Tito's Partisans. [This text is included in the U.S. Congressional Record of May 2, 1946.]

    March 25, 1946

    Dear Mr. President:

    It is not often, Mr. President, that the average citizen writes you. But I feel you are in a much better position to help me than anyone else.

    Here is my problem: On February 5, 1946, there appeared in my local newspaper, the Daily Times Herald, an Associated Press story which stated that the Russians at Nuremberg were preparing evidence for the coming trial of General Draza Mihailovich, the leader of the Chetnik forces in Yugoslavia. The Russian prosecutors are claiming that General Mihailovich aided the Germans during the war. And today, March 25, [1946] in the Dallas Morning News a Reuter’s story revealed that General Mihailovich had been arrested.

    In 1944 I was a tail gunner on a B-24 in the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, and the rumors circulating among our boys at the time were to the effect that “the Chetniks were cooperating with the Germans; that they were our enemies; that they would turn over all Americans to the Germans,” etc.

    On July 4, 1944, my crew was forced to bail out over “Yugo.” The Chetniks rescued me and my crew from the Germans. When the Germans didn’t catch any of us Americans, they took twenty hostages from among the peasants in the area, all of whom were sympathizers of the Chetniks. Ten of these hostages were shot when the Germans couldn’t get any information from them as to where we escaped—and more than likely they didn’t know. Is it possible that these Chetniks and their sympathizers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?

    I walked some 500 miles during my 38 days with the Chetniks, and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of them. Very frequently during our travels we met women—old women—who on finding out we were Americans would kiss our hands and cry their hearts out to us. The story would nearly be the same every time—the Germans killed her sons, or carried her daughters away, or sent her sons to concentration camps or forced labor battalions, or burned her home…Is it possible that these Chetniks and their sympathizers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?

    Once I passed through a small town by the name of Gornji Milanovac which in normal times had a population of about 3,000. But when I passed through it, the entire town, with the exception of a church, was completely burned to the ground—and I mean “to the ground,” with flame throwers. The reason? A group of German soldiers were ambushed and wiped out near the town by the Chetniks. A strong German garrison was sent to seek revenge, which they did by killing all the inhabitants they could catch and burning out their city with flame throwers. Is it possible that these Chetniks and their sympathizers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?

    The Chetniks took just as terrific a beating from the Germans as did any other group of people. They rescued and cared for hundreds and hundreds of other Americans like myself. In my group alone, which was evacuated from “Yugo” on August 9-10, 1944, there were nearly 200 Americans and a few Englishmen, a few Frenchmen, a few Italians, and even a few Russians who were aided by the Chetniks. Is it possible that these Chetniks who aided all these Allied soldiers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?

    While under their care, the Chetniks gave us everything they had to make us comfortable, even though they didn’t have but very little to offer. Many a time they gave us their last sip of “rakiya” (whisky made from plums), last loaf of bread, last bit of cheese, etc. Whenever we were lucky enough to stay in a home, they gave us their own beds and they slept on the floor. Is it possible that these Chetniks and their sympathizers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?

    …I can truthfully say I never ran across one single Chetnik soldier or sympathizer who did not carry in his heart a very intense hatred for the Germans who had invaded and were occupying their country. Is it possible that these Chetniks and their sympathizers would aid and cooperate with the Germans?…

    I feel that I possibly owe my life to General Mihailovich and his Chetniks and I want to do everything I can to help him in his approaching trial. In this I’m sure I am expressing the feelings of hundreds of other American airmen who were aided by the Chetniks.

    Here’s what I would like for you to do, Mr. President. Please let me know how I can best use my personal knowledge and experience to help General Mihailovich. Justice and fair play demand that all sides of this case be presented to the court so it can reach a just decision.

    I would be more than glad to go to Nuremberg, Germany, at my own expense as a witness, on behalf of General Mihailovich. I would also be willing to aid in Mihailovich’s defense if I could be of any help to him. I took my Texas State bar examination last month, but it will be two more weeks before I hear whether I am or am not a lawyer.

    Please let me know, Mr. President, whether or not I will be able to submit a deposition for the trial; whether or not I will be able to get priority for air travel to Nuremberg if I could be of aid to General Mihailovich’s defense; and also, how and where I will be able to get in touch with General Mihailovich’s counsel.

    Respectfully yours,

    MIKE MCKOOL
    Dallas, Texas
    March 25, 1946

    ____________________________


    After the Recess...

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Sergeant McKool, coming back for one moment to the line of inquiry before the recess as to what the Chetnik soldiers around Pranjani were doing, can you tell us approximately how many airmen had been accumulated there for evacuation?

    A: Yes, sir, there were 200 American airmen and approximately 80 Allied airmen, that is English, French, Italian and Canadian, and even Russian.

    Q: And were there certain security measures being taken by these Chetnik soldiers to safeguard and protect you airmen?

    A: Oh, yes, sir, I would say at all times they had several hundred Chetniks guarding us, that is several hundred that I saw near us. I do not know how many others may have been further away from us.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Did you during the time you were in Yugoslavia keep a day-by-day diary of what you saw, what people said, the places you went?

    A: I did, sir. Three days after I got down in Yugoslavia I began writing a day-by-day diary on wrapping paper, and six days after I was there I had this little Yugoslav book given to me, and I transferred everything from the wrapping paper into this book, and then continued each day to write in the happenings of that day.

    Q: Does that contemporaneous record substantiate your testimony here today?

    A: It does, sir.

    Q: And if you were called upon to testify at General Mihailovich’s treason trial in Belgrade would that contemporaneous record be available to that tribunal?

    A: It would, sir.

    MR. HAYS: May I suggest that the witness read one excerpt from that memorandum book, so that we get some idea of entries that it contains.

    THE WITNESS: All right, sir. Is there any particular date you want read?

    BY MR. HAYS: No, just pick out some day at random.

    A: (Reading): July 11, [1946] Tuesday, 8th day. Ate breakfast at schoolhouse. School children had holiday this morning. Started out on our way at noon for back hills. Sure went across some very big hills. One American dollar is worth 1,200 Serbian dinars. We bought toothbrushes, paste, writing paper. At many places they have a priest to bless the food and speak, and it is translated by our interpreters. Dr. Stew who is our interpreter is 28, very nice; went to medical school in France and Germany, practiced about 4 years before the war in Belgrade, carries a 6 shooter, is well liked by everyone. We arrived in the small village of Pranjani at dusk. Willstay on farm about 2 miles from the village until plane comes to pick us up. We slept in small room on the floor. Very crowded. Some of us had to sleep on our sides.

    Q: Where were the Mihailovich headquarters, in what section of Yugoslavia, at that time?

    A: The Pranjani area, sir.

    BY MR. TIMBERS:

    Q: Has any force or duress of any sort been exerted upon you to get you to testify here today?

    A: None.

    Q: It was done of your own free will and volition?

    A: Yes, sir.



    COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TESTIMONY OF SERGEANT MIKE MCKOOL CONCLUDED - May 16, 1946.
     

    __________________________


    Aleksandra's Note: The following is a summary of background information about Sergeant Mike McKool from www.politicalgraveyard.com:

    Mike McKool (1918-2003) — of Texas. Born in Mexico City (Ciudad de México), Distrito Federal, December 30, 1918. Democrat. Naturalized U.S. citizen; served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II; lawyer; member of Texas state senate, 1969-72; candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 5th District, 1974; chair of Dallas County Democratic Party, 1984-86. Catholic. Lebanese ancestry. As state senator, set a filibuster record by speaking nonstop for 42 hours and 33 minutes in support of funding for mental health and retardation. Died in Dallas, Dallas County, Tex., February 22, 2003 (age 84 years, 54 days). Entombed in mausoleum at Calvary Hill Cemetery.

    http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/TX/DA-buried.html


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****

    0 0

    Intermagazin.rs
    [Vesti-online.com]
    December 22, 2014

    Istoričar Hrvoje Klasić spada u mlađe hrvatske intelektualce koji nisu omiljeni “širokim masama”. Njegove ocene događaja iz nedavne prošlosti odudaraju od stereotipa, pa ga zapenušani “domoljubi” presreću na ulici i optužuju da je Srbin, izdajnik, prodana duša…

    Istoričar Hrvoje Klasić

    O prošlosti bez predrasuda: Dr Hrvoje Klasić

    Često dobijate preteće poruke, pisma, telefonske pozive?

    - Da, prozivaju me kao Jugoslovena, Srbina, iako me ime odaje. Ali onda mi napišu Hrvoje Jovo Klasić. Nedavno u centru Zagreba u jednom kafeu punom gostiju sede tri starija gospodina, lepo obučena. U jednom trenutku jedan od njih viče, okrenut prema meni, ustaje, prilazi i gotovo preteći govori: “Lažeš, loš si istoričar, krivo govoriš…” Nisam se iznenadio, ali me šokiralo saznanje da se to nikad nije desilo onima kojima se sudi za milionske krađe, pronevere. Oni gradom šetaju kao heroji i ljudi ih uglavnom ljubazno pozdravljaju.

    Čime se to može objasniti?

    - Meni to nije jasno. Ja koji se ne libim u svakoj prilici reći da je “Za dom spremni” ustaški pozdrav onih koji su hiljade ljudi, Srba, Jevreja, Roma, poslali u smrt, da su tim pozdravom potpisivani genocidni zakoni, zbog toga sam problem u ovom društvu, a ne oni koji su ga opljačkali. A ovi koji su opljačkali državu i dalje pobeđuju na izborima.

    Šešelj i “Za dom spremni”

    - Ja svakako mislim da Vojislav Šešelj nije osoba koja zaslužuje da zagađuje javni prostor. Međutim, voleo bih da se hrvatska javnost, posebno ona politička, jasnije odredi prema stalnom skandiranju “Za dom spremni” i sličnim postupcima i pojavama na svom terenu. To pokazuje kakvi smo. Zlo nema predznaka, ni nacionalnog, verskog, nikakvog, ono je samo zlo.

    Od Tuđmanove smrti je 15 godina, HDZ podseća da je reč o najvećem Hrvatu 20. veka?

    - U svim anketama do sada Tito je bolje prolazio. Tu je uvek reč o emocijama, tu nema nauke. Tuđman je komunista idealista, partizan, visoki partijski funkcioner i oficir JNA. S druge strane, bio je i disident, hrvatski nacionalista. U Hrvatskoj se o njemu govori samo od kraja šezdesetih godina. A šta je sa partizanskim danima, Blajburgom, periodom Golog otoka? Ti događaji ocenjeni su najcrnjim bojama, a niko ne pita gde je Tuđman u svemu tome.

    Gde biste ga vi stavili?

    - Proživeo je različite sisteme, u njima se različito ponašao. Čujem da u anketama dobro prolazi i to je u redu. Pa i saveznička pobeda u Drugom svetskom ratu ocenjuje se pozitivno, iako je imala i Drezden i Hirošimu. Prva asocijacija svima na Tuđmana je rat i nezavisnost. Sada se ratni periodčini boljim, kao što se i Titova era čini boljom. Bili ste mlađi, zdraviji, bezbedniji, bili ste zaposleni.

    Kakva je država koju je stvorio Tuđman?

    - Dobili smo nacionalno homogenu državu sa spoljnim granicama, ali sa malo sadržaja koji nije onakav kakav smo očekivali. Nismo tolerantnije i demokratičnije društvo, nismo društvo dijaloga. A sve su to bili argumenti kada se govorilo o nužnosti stvaranja samostalne države. Ni danas nemamo društvo u kojem bez rizika možete misliti i pričati drugačije, što mene sablažnjava. A još više od toga činjenica što se mladi ljudi, rođeni posle rata, pokazuju ekstremnijim od svojih očeva.

    Ratni veterani protestuju već gotovo dva meseca?

    - Najviše ljudi koji su učestvovali u ratu, kada je završio, nastavili su svoje živote, poslove, karijere. Jedan broj u tome nije uspeo. Dok su oni ratovali Hrvatska je opljačkana, njihove firme su nestale. Režim ih je kupovao raznim povlasticama, isključivao zbog toga da bi zataškao pljačku. Žao mi je što se lako može mobilisati javnost u Hrvatskoj protiv ćirilice, gej brakova, a ne može se napraviti zapaženiji protest protiv te pljačke, korupcije.

    Upravnik Arhiva Zagrebačke nadbiskupije Stjepan Razum stalno “dokazuje” da u Jasenovcu nisu ubijani Srbi već samo Hrvati i komunisti?

    - Istorijski revizionizam nastoji banalizovati zlo koje se dogodilo pod vođstvom ustaškog pokreta i Ante Pavelića. Mislim da Katolička crkva u Hrvatskoj, pozivajući druge na suočavanje s prošlošću, sama nije napravila puno da se suoči sa vlastitom ulogom u toj prošlosti. Kada se govori o Katoličkoj crkvi u vreme NDH, sve se svodi na ulogu Stepinca. Međutim, jedan odličan mladi franjevac u Sarajevu, fra Petar Jeleč, napisao je doktorat koji obrađuje ulogu Katoličke crkve u NDH u BiH. Iz tog istraživanja, ali i brojnih drugih dokumenata je vidljivo da ima čitav niz sveštenika, katoličkih intelektualaca koji su aktivno učestvovali u ustaškom pokretu.

    Autor serije “Hrvatsko proljeće”

    - Dr Hrvoje Klasić rođen je 6. decembra 1972. godine u Sisku, gde je završio osnovnu i srednju školu. Godine 1997. diplomirao je na Odsjeku za povijest Filozofskog fakulteta u Zagrebu, na kojem je odbranio i magistarski rad pod naslovom “Društveno-političke promjene u Sisku 1970-1972.” i disertaciju pod naslovom “1968. u Jugoslaviji. Društveno-političke promjene u Jugoslaviji u kontekstu svjetskih zbivanja”.

    - Od 1995. godine zaposlen je kao profesor istorije u sisačkoj gimnaziji, a od 2003. godine na Filozofskom fakultetu u Zagrebu. Uz izborne kolegijume vezane za istoriju 20. veka drži i seminare iz predmeta Evropska i svjetska povjest nakon 1945. godine.

    - Učesnik je brojnih konferencija i simpozijuma u Hrvatskoj i svetu. Dobitnik je Godišnje nagrade Društva sveučilišnih nastavnika u Zagrebu za 2006. godinu. Koautor je dokumentarne serije “Hrvatsko proljeće”, nastale u produkciji Hrvatske radio-televizije.

    Ali vrh Katoličke crkve nikada nije osudio te zločine?

    - Mislim da će to jednom morati da prelome. Ovo što radi Razum potpuno je nerazumno. Uostalom, nije poenta u tome da se mi svi složimo oka zla u prošlosti, ali jeste u tome dok god postoje Hrvati koji će negirati Jasenovac, Srbi koji će negirati Ovčaru ili Srebrenicu, nisam siguran da oni nisu spremni ponoviti te zločine. Poenta je u tom konceptu zla. Ako ga ne osudimo, nema nam pomoći.

    Pokolj Srba u glinskoj crkvi se negira i banalizuje?

    - To što se događalo 1941. na Baniji, pa potom na Kozari, takva je strahota koja bi morala biti referentna tačka za razumevanje, ne samo hrvatsko-srpskih odnosa, već odnosa dobra i zla. Većina ljudi, pogotovo mladih, o tome ne zna ništa. To su toliko brutalni zločini i oni koji ih negiraju ne zaslužuju komentar moje struke već medicinskih i pravosudnih stručnjaka. Nije mi ugodno živeti u državi gde šetaju ljudi koji su drugima kopali oči, bacali ih u reku, vezali selotejpom, dali im da piju sonu kiselinu. Suočavanje sa prošlošću je naša nasušna potreba koja je izostala i posle Drugog svetskog rata kada su propisani narativi – ovi su dobri, oni su loši, ovo je crno, ono je belo.

    Možete li to ilustrovati?

    - Možda je nama najbliži primer identifikacija četnika i ustaša. Stalno su se radile nekakve ravnoteže, Srbi, Hrvati, muslimani pokazali su u NOB-u da se može biti zajedno, ali su imali i izrode. I tu bi se stalo. Ali kao istoričaru nameće se pitanje – jesu li četnici i ustaše isti, može li se tu povući znak jednakosti.

    Može li se?

    - I jednostavnim poređenjem dođete do saznanja da nisu jednaki. Ustaški pokret je po svemu fašistički, dok se za četnički pokret to ne može tvrditi. Pogotovo kada se gleda početak Drugog svetskog rata. Druga je stvar jesu li četnici bili antifašisti, to je već upitno. Ali socijalistička istoriografija to je, radi mira u kući, jednostavno izjednačila.

    Paraleni svetovi u Jugoslaviji
    Od prve Jugoslavije do njenog kraja uvek je bio prisutan hrvatsko-srpski sukob?

    - Tačno. U tu zajednicu ušlo se sa velikim očekivanjima, pa su zato i razočarenja bila traumatičnija. Jugoslavija je trebala pomiriti velike razlike, animozitete, drugačiju kulturu, tradiciju. Bila je to očito nemoguća misija. Nikako mi nisu bliske tvrdnje da nas je neko drugi posvađao. Mislim da su u Jugoslaviji funkcionisali paralelni svetovi, a često jedan za drugi nisu znali ili su se popreko gledali. Bila je dovoljna šibica da to zapali, čemu smo i svedočili devedesetih. Ustaše, četnici, balije, jedan narativ, memorija zapalila je celi proctor.

    Šta se na tom planu promenilo?

    - Gotovo ništa. I Hrvati i Srbi svoje heroje, manje-više, traže i pronalaze među zločincima. Niko pravoveran u Hrvatskoj ne sme propitivati ubijanje civila u hrvatskim gradovima ili posle “Oluje”, dok je kod Srba slično kada se govori o Srebrenici i Ovčari.

    Na ovim našim prostorima politika se više bavi prošlosti nego budućnosti, pa istoričarima ostaje tek da izuče taj fenomen?

    - Početkom devedesetih naivno smo verovali da stvaramo novo društvo, novi društveni koncept, pa i kad je reč o istorijskim temama i našoj prošlosti. Mi istoričari smo verovali da se greške neće ponoviti sa nultim godinama, crno-belom tematikom, sa herojima i zločincima, ali je nažalost preslikan isti obrazac koji su koristili i komunisti, samo što su zamenjene strane. Umesto da smo, analizirajući prošli vek, pokušali objasniti zašto su nam se dogodile devedesete, mi smo kroz devedesete tumačili dvadeseto stoleće. Činjenica da je Hrvatska izlazila iz Jugoslavije, da se to odvijalo u ratnim okolnostima i da su na drugoj strani bili vojnici sa petokrakama iskorišćena je da se ocrni sve što je bilo pod tom zvezdom, pod imenom Jugoslavija.

    Na primer?

    - Ima ih koliko hoćete. Evo, unazad deset, petnaest godina top teme su bile poreklo Hrvata ili NDH, kao što su u Srbiji prevladavale srednjovekovne teme, četnički pokret… A i jedni i drugi zanemarivali su socijalistički period. Oni, među koje i sam spadam, koji pokušavaju ukazati na neke pozitivne stvari, ličnosti iz tog vremena, postaju antihrvati, izdajnici, jugonostalgičari…

    Vama se to posebno događa posle knjige „Jugoslavija i svet 1968″?

    - Tito 25 godina posle rata, iako ga terminološki ne bi mogli svrstati u diktatora, ipak ima svu moć u svojim rukama. Prvi je u partiji, u državi, vojsci. Vrlo sam kritičan prema tom režimu ali ne mogu prenebregnuti činjenicu da je imao niz dobrih stvari.

    Jugoslavija je tabu tema?

    - Da! To je osnovni problem. Sama činjenica da izučavate taj period je dovoljna da budete sumnjivi.

    Umesto uopštavanja, vi preferirate referentne, tzv. nulte godine?

    - Vrlo su bitne te godine. Da spomenem samo tu 68. godinu. Već su tada počele nesuglasice između Zagreba i Beograda oko toga ko živi na tuđi račun. Bio je to uvod u “hrvatsko proleće”. Radeći na tome naišao sam na radove brojnih hrvatskih ekonomista koji su dokazivali da je Hrvatska eksploatisana. Navodili su period od 58. do 68. gde se zaista pokazalo da se više ulaže u Srbiju. Sve je to izgledalo logično i tačno.

    A u čemu je bila “kvaka”?

    - Baš u toj godini. U jeku tih rasprava neko se u Beogradu setio da pita – zašto niste uzeli 48. kao polaznu godinu za usporedbu. Te je godine buknuo sukob sa Staljinom, pa se ulagalo samo u zapadni deo Jugoslavije, zbog opasnosti od sovjetske intervencije. Znači tih prvih deset godina ulagalo se u zapadne krajeve, pa su sada na red došli istočni. Hrvatski nacionalisti su grmili da Hrvatska stvara devize od turizma a Beograd ih troši. To nikako nije fer. Pa Dalmacija je oduvek bila najsiromašniji deo i Austrougarske monarhije i kasnije Jugoslavije. To je bilo siromašno ribarsko područje i onda se počinje razvijati turizam. Ali kako.

    Kako?

    - Nisu to bili samo hrvatski novci i krediti. U turizam je ulagala cela Jugoslavija i ne može do kraja biti fer da u jednom trenutku zahtevate celi kolač.


    [Vesti-online.com]

    http://www.intermagazin.rs/hrvatski-istoricar-sokirao-hrvatsku-javnost-cetnicki-pokret-nije-fasisticki/

    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com


    *****

    0 0

    Novosti
    V. Crnjanski Spasojević
    January 4, 2015

    POTRAGA za mestom gde je sahranjen general Dragoljub Draža Mihailović, komandant Jugoslovenske vojske u otadžbini, nastaviće se na proleće [2015].


    POTRAGA za mestom gde je sahranjen general Dragoljub Draža Mihailović, komandant Jugoslovenske vojske u otadžbini, nastaviće se na proleće, van okrilja države, a pod pokroviteljstvom srpske emigracije. Kako je za "Novosti" potvrdio Blažo Đurović, potpredsednik Udruženja političkih zatvorenika i žrtava komunističkog režima, za početak je odvojeno 70.000 dolara, ali je budžet praktično neograničen, a potraga će trajati dok grobno mesto ne bude pronađeno.

    - Celu akciju finansiraju i organizuju potomci srpskih emigranata u Argentini i na Bliskom istoku, a novac će biti odvojen ne samo za pronalaženje mesta gde je sahranjen general Mihailović, već i za podizanje spomenika žrtvama komunističkog režima u Beogradu i za obeležavanje masovnih grobnica širom zemlje - kaže Đurović, koji je inače već pružio logističku pomoć prilikom pretrage terena na Adi Ciganliji pre tri godine.

    Ovoga puta logistiku će pružati potomci komunističkih žrtava i emigranata koji rade u stranim obaveštajnim službama. Za sada su u opciji dve lokacije u Beogradu, kojima je zajedničko to što su obe čuvane, odnosno pod stražom. Đurović kaže da to nisu ni Veliko ratno ostrvo, kao što se pričalo, ni Lisičji potok:

    - Tačnije, na jednom delu Lisičjeg potoka će biti tražena grobnica, ali masovna, na ograđenom placu koji je nekad držala Vojska, ali ga je napustila. Za potragu koristimo privatnu arhivu koja je ostala iza obaveštajnih oficira Kraljeve vojske, koji su spremali oslobađanje Draže Mihailovića iz zatvora.

    Prema njegovim rečima, Državna komisija za otkrivanje istine o smrti generala Mihailovića nije imala uvid u ove spise. Reč je o zaostavštini Pokreta otpora u porobljenoj otadžbini, čijih stotinak članova je radilo u Jugoslaviji, u ilegali, sve do osamdesetih godina prošlog veka. Njihove kontakte sačuvao je Slobodan Drašković, preneo ih Andriji Lončariću, a ovaj Dragiši Kašikoviću.

    Spasavanje komandanta JuVO trebalo je da izvede nekoliko ilegalnih grupa koje je koordinisao Miodrag Damjanović, Dražin general koji je posle njegovog hapšenja preuzeo sve dužnosti i oformio Gorski štab 1b, na čijem je bio čelu. Ilegalce je pre odlaska iz Beograda organizovao major Žarko Todorović zvani Valter (bio inspiracija za filmski lik Valtera). Pokret otpora je za vreme rata imao oko 5.000 pripadnika. Njihova akcija oslobađanja đenerala nije uspela jer su - zakasnili. Jednostavno nisu uspeli da se probiju na vreme do mesta egzekucije.

     
    Osim potrage za Mihailovićevim grobom, jedna od prvih akcija biće lociranje i istraživanje najveće masovne grobnice u Beogradu. Reč je o nemačkom rovu za odbranu dugačkom 1,5 kilometar, na starom kragujevačkom drumu, na skretanju za Ralju. Sumnja se da je tu ubijeno i zatrpano oko 10.000 ljudi, mahom civila. Egzekuciju je najverovatnije izvršio isti odred KNOJ-a koji je zaslužan i za najveću masovnu grobnicu u Sloveniji, takođe u rovu, nađenu prilikom izgradnje auto-puta. I u njoj je, veruje se, pokopano oko 10.000 ljudi. Slične grobnice u rovovima postoje i u Čačku i u Kruševcu, i one će bizi istražene.

    Pored pisanih tragova iz privatnih arhiva, istraga će biti bazirana i na svedočenjima očevidaca. Neki od njih odlučili su da progovore, dok su pisana svedočanstva ostala iza svedoka obolelih od tzv. partizanske bolesti (domaća varijanta vijetnamskog sindroma, koja je dovodila do toga da bivši partizani "puknu" i poubijaju članove porodice, pa i sebe).

    - Potragu pokrećemo krajem aprila, početkom maja. Nećemo tražiti od države nikakve dozvole, jer niko za to i nije nadležan.

    Tužilaštvo bi bilo nadležno da potragu organizuje i finansira država, a ovo je, na neki način, detektivsko traganje za istinom. Pošto Komisija za istinu o Draži nije imala mandat da se odmakne dalje od saslušanja svedoka i dostupnih papira, mi nastavljamo tamo gde su stali. Komisija za masovne grobnice je takođe stala jer nije imala mandat da izvrši terenska ispitivanja i iskopavanja.
     
    Krenućemo i njihovim tragom, na osnovu svedočanstava koja su sakupili, i nadamo se da ćemo većinu grobnica locirati i obeležiti - poručuje Đurović.
     
    Upravo njegov deda Đuro Đurović stradao je kao politički zatvorenik, koji je održavao vezu sa Slobodanom Draškovićem i srpskom emigracijom.
    
     
    SPISKOVI STRELjANIH
     
    BIA je dugo tvrdila da nema spiskove streljanih posle oslobođenja Beograda, nakon Drugog svetskog rata, podseća Đurović. Oni su, ipak, predali Arhivu Srbije spiskove, i to najverovatnije istog dana kada je Tomislav Nikolić postao predsednik države. Trenutno je na obradi 3.000 imena stradalih.
     
    IZLOŽBA
     
    UDRUŽENjE političkih zatvorenika i žrtava komunističkog režima priprema za jesen izložbu "Život, rad i stradanje srpske emigracije 1945 - 1992". Biće to prva ovakva izložba organizovana posle Drugog svetskog rata kod nas.
     
     
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
     
    *****


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    Aleksandra's Note:Many thanks to historian and author Miloslav Samardzic for making this document, "The Mystery of the 500 Rescued Airmenby David Martin available on "SCRIBD." David Martin's collections of the testimonials of the American and Allied WWII Airmen who were shot down over Nazi occupied areas of Serbia in 1944 and rescued, taken care of, and evacuated by the Serbians loyal to General Draza Mihailovich are an invaluable part of the historical record that has been preserved for posterity.

    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic

    *****

     
     
     
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
    *****
     

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    The Jerusalem Post
    Sam Sokol
    December 29, 2014

    Memorial held for World War II era dictator Ante Pavelić, whose fascist regime was allied with Nazi Germany.

    Croatia's Ante Pavelić / Wikimedia Commons
     
    Hundreds of Croatians attended a memorial mass in Zagreb on Sunday for World War II-era dictator Ante Pavelić, local media reported.
     
    Pavelić’s fascist regime was allied with Nazi Germany and was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs were also murdered under his rule.
     
    Protesters yelling “Oppose the glorification of fascism” and other anti-fascist slogans pushed against police, who blocked them from entering the church. In a video of the confrontation, posted on You- Tube, several policemen stood in a tight knot around the door of the church in falling snow, while others kept the opposing sides apart, at one point detaining a man who attempted to breach the lines.
     
    The founder of the extreme nationalist Ustaše movement, Pavelić advocated armed rebellion against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and engaged in acts of terror in furtherance of this goal. After the Germans conquered Yugoslavia in 1941, he was installed as head of the new puppet state, described by Yad Vashem as a “fiercely cruel regime” in which “hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews were murdered in death camps and in other awful ways, such as being thrown off cliffs or burned alive in their homes.”
     
    Following the war, Pavelić made his way to Argentina, where he was wounded in an assassination attempt. He died in 1957.
     
    In a 2012 speech before the Knesset, Croatian President Iso Josipović apologized for his nation’s role in the Holocaust and asked that survivors forgive Croatia.
     
    “Some members of my nation worked to systematically destroy parts of humanity. We must look in our hearts, at the darkest stain in our history,” he said.
     
    Thirty-three percent of Croatians harbor anti-Semitic views, according to a recent Anti-Defamation League global survey, with over half of the respondents in that country saying they believed that Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their countries of residence, that they hold too much power in business and that they speak too much about the Holocaust.
     
    “It is hard to believe that in the center of the capital of a member of the European Union, very close to Zagreb’s Jewish community, hundreds of people gathered yesterday to commemorate the memory of one of Europe’s biggest mass murderers,” Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, said in a prepared statement.
     
    “Such a ceremony is an insult to the memory of Pavelić’s hundreds of thousands of innocent victims,” Zuroff said. “It is also a badge of shame for the Catholic Church, which allowed such a ceremony to take place in the Basilica of the Heart of Christ – who, had he been alive during World War II, would have been targeted for annihilation as well.”
     
     
    http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Hundreds-attend-Zagreb-mass-in-honor-of-one-of-Europes-biggest-mass-murderers-386087


    *****

    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me atravnagora@hotmail.com


    *****

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    Stone Flower monument dedicated to victims of Jasenovac.
    Photo by Petar Milošević / Wikipedia Commons
     
    Location of the Jasenovac Concentration Camp
    in the NDH (Independent State of Croatia) /
    Operational from August of 1941 to April 21, 1945.
    Map courtesy of "NordNordWest" on Wikipedia Commons.
     

    Aleksandra's Note: Many thanks to MP who shared this excellent source of comprehensive, important, and valuable information about Croatia's war crimes during World War II in the former Yugoslavia. The reading material provided by the International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the war crimes committed by the "lesser known" criminals of World War II.
     
    The best way to describe Croatian war crimes against humanity is this: if one had to choose the lesser of two evils - the German Nazis or the Croatian Ustashe, the Nazis would be the preferable choice.
     
    Imagine that.
     
    Sincerely,
    Aleksandra Rebic
     
    *****
     
     
     
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
    please feel free to contact me atravnagora@hotmail.com

    *****
     

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    Novosti
    D. RADEKA ĐORĐEVIĆ
    January 24, 2015

    Pomak u procesu koji pred sudom u Čikagu vode prognani Srbi iz Hrvatske. Firma MPRI (obučavala Hrvatsku vojsku) pristala na medijaciju.

    Ilustracija VN
     
    AMERIČKA firma MPRI, protiv koje su pred Sudom u Čikagu Srbi iz Krajine poveli spor, optužujući je da je bila savetnik Hrvatske vojske u operaciji "Oluja" 1995. godine i tako joj pomogla u proterivanju i genocidu nad Srbima, spremna je na nagodbu s Krajišnicima!
     
    Naime, pošto je Federalni sud u Čikagu prošlog oktobra delimično prihvatio tužbu Srba iz Krajine, a sudija Džon Li odlučio da agenciji MPRI treba suditi po američkom zakonu zbog uništene imovine krajiških Srba, u decembru je održano ročište na kojem je tužena strana pristala da se povedu razgovori o nagodbi.
     
    Ove novine u procesu koji traje od 2010. godine "Novostima" prenosi Savo Štrbac, direktor dokumentacionog centar "Veritas":
     
    - To je pomak u pozitivnom smeru za našu stranu, jer se do sada poricala svaka odgovornost i zahtevalo se odbacivanje svih tužbenih zahteva, kao i da se Sud proglasi nenadležnim. Za desetak dana Sud bi trebalo da imenuje medijatora, a prema praksi američkog sistema, to su obično penzionisane sudije.
     
    Očekivanja su da bi posrednik krajem marta ili početkom aprila mogao da pozove obe strane i izloži plan medijacije, a čitav proces verovatno će trajati godinu dana, jer i medijator treba da se upozna sa dokazima i iskazima svedoka. Na kraju, on će predlog nagodbe dostaviti Sudu, a Sud će ga proslediti obema stranama.
     
    - Taj predlog može biti prihvaćen iz prve, ili će se "pogađanje" nastaviti, a možda ga nijedna strana uopšte ne prihvati i tada bi se, po pravnoj logici, sudski proces nastavio - navodi Štrbac.
     
    Spor je, inače, pokrenula grupa Srba iz bivše RSK, koji su u "Oluji" bili prisiljeni da napuste svoje domove. Oni su u ime svih 200.000 prognanih Krajišnika podneli kolektivnu tužbu Federalnom sudu u Čikagu protiv pravnih naslednika agencije "Militeri profešenal risorsiz" (MPRI). U tužbi se pozivaju na to da je MPRI savetovala, obučavala i opremala Hrvatsku vojsku za operaciju "Oluja", zbog čega je zatražena naknada nematerijalne štete u iznosu od 10,4 milijarde dolara.
     
    Američki sud, međutim, nije prihvatio tužbu protiv MPRI za genocid nad Srbima, kao ni da se penzionisanim američkim generalima koji su u njoj bili angažovani sudi po međunarodnom pravu, ali je odlučeno da se ovoj firmi sudi po američkim zakonima zbog uništene imovine krajiških Srba.
     
    Sada, kaže Štrbac, treba dostaviti procenu koliko je bilo srpskih domaćinstava u Hrvatskoj koja su pretrpela štetu i kolika je bila prosečna imovina jednog takvog domaćinstva, jer se verovatno neće "izlaziti na teren" i popisivati šteta svakog prognanog ponaosob. Ukoliko, na kraju, bude dogovora, sumu određenu za naknadu deliće Sud, ali se još ne zna po kom modelu i da li će to biti ravnopravni iznosi.
     
    O izgledima ovog procesa, Bogdan Kljajić, predsednik Sabora krajiških Srba iz Čikaga, kaže nam:
     
    - Spor je otvoren, nismo ga ni izgubili, ali ga nismo ni dobili. Sud u Čikagu je prihvatio nadležnost, što do sada nijedan sud ovde u Americi nije učinio I ostavljen je prostor za nagodbu, a ona se u suštini odvija u direktnom kontakatu strana i bez javnosti.
     
    Kljajić podseća da je zahtev za odštetu zbog prisilnog napuštanja domova nastao po uzoru na slučaj u kom su Japanci u SAD posle bombardovanja Perl Harbora bili smešteni u preseljeničke kapove - logore, da bi nekoliko decenija kasnije na sudu dobili po 25.000 dolara zbog pretrpljenih patnji. Tako je ideja bila da se svakom Krajišniku isplati ista ta suma.
     
    VAŽNA ODLUKA U HAGU
     
    ZA slučaj u Čikagu, prema mišljenju Štrpca, od velike važnosti biće presuda i stavovi sudija u slučaju koji se vodi pred Međunarodnim sudom pravde u Hagu po uzajamnim tužbama Hrvatske i Srbije:
     
    - Očekujem da sudije MSP kažu zbog čega je 200.000 Srba otišlo iz Hrvatske i ostavilo tamo svoju imovinu, jer to nisu učinili dobrovoljno. Svaki njihov stav o tome koristiće i u sporu protiv MPRI.
     
     
    ADVOKATI - IZ AMERIKE
     
    SRBE zastupa oko 80 advokata iz tri američke advokatske firme, koje će svoje usluge naplatiti po okončanju spora u visini trećine od dobijenog iznosa presudom ili nagodbom, što je uobičajeno u ovakvim sporovima u SAD.
     
     
     
     
    *****
     
    If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
     
    *****

    

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