Lies of Yugoslav Historiography

Lies of Yugoslav Historiography

When Pinnochio lies, his nose grows. When Yugoslav historians lie, numbers grow. During 45 years of the existence of Yugoslavia, Yugoslav historiography was one of symbols of the untouchable Party. Everything historians said was a holy cow, especially things that had to do with covering up Partisan crimes and balooning up crimes of their opponents.

Executions in Kragujevac 1941

In October 1941., specifically on 20th and 21st October 1941., Wehrmacht executed by shooting 7 000 people in Kragujevac and surroundings. Of those 7 000 dead, 3 000 were highschoolers of Kragujevac gymnasium.

The reason for this was attack by Partisans on German forces near Gornji Milanovci in late September. In the attack, 10 German soldiers were killed and further 26 wounded. Following the orders of the General-Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, that for every killed German soldier a hundred civilians were to be killed, and 50 civilians killed for ever wounded soldier, Germans did so.

German commander of Kragujevac, Captain Otto von Bischofhausen, informed his superior, Major Konig, and the action was immediately begun. In several days, the people were rounded up and then shot at several places near Kragujevac. Along with the hostages were also killed 300 students of one class of gymnasium. Also executed was German soldier Joseph Schultz because he refused to shoot the children.

A group of small Roma conducted themselves especially bravely. They, as shoe cleaners, refused to clean the shoes of the German soldiers, and were also shot. Their act was photographed and thus preserved for the posterior. In total, 7 000 people were murdered in two days.

Problem? All of this is a lie.

On 28th September 1941., Partisans and their then-allies the Chetniks attacked a German patrol. On 15th October Partisans and Chetniks mounted another attack, and Germans were forced to take action. German top commander was Paul Hoffman, but he allowed his subordinates to act according to their own assessments. They in turn asked for help from Ljotić’s and Nedić’s troops, who were technically in the Chetniks but were cooperating with the Germans.

These Chetnik groups arrested – not killed, arrested – 7 000 hostages. German captain Otto von Bischofhausen ordered 4 700 people to be released, because they were excess. This order was sent to local associates, who executed that order in a very organized manner. 300 students were kept – helpers had released their friends, and friends of friends, but not the children. Captain von Bischofhausen released 240 children. Thus around 2 100 people were left in the group for execution, when orders had been to execute 2 300. Major Konig hid this and reported that the number had been achieved. Over the next two days, 2 070 people were shot. While this is still a massive crime, Communists clearly overreported numbers (as usual).

As for Joseph Schultz, he was in Belgrade at the time. He was killed a month later, during offensive against the “Užice Republic”.

As for Roma, they could only have cleaned the shoes in Kragujevac before the war, but not after Yugoslavia fell. Especially not in October when they were being arrested, since racial laws had been just introduced in occupied Serbia – over a month before same laws were introduced in NDH. Photo which shows Roma children refusing to clean German shoes is a lie, being in fact taken from a (largely fictional) Yugoslav movie “Krvava bajka” (“Bloody Tale”), which dramatizes the crime in Kragujevac.

While crimes did happen, Yugoslav politics as usual led to massive overiflation of crimes. Money and political propaganda care not for truth and ethics – and there were significant reparations at stake there. These reparations are also the reason why the bogus number of 1 700 000 casualties of World War II in Yugoslavia is often found, despite the fact that actual number of casualties is around a million less (700 000 most likely, but could be anywhere between 500 000 and 1 000 000).

Children From Kozara

Following an anti-Partisan offensive in the area of mountain of Kozara, Ustashe took 7 000 children from Kozara and surrounding areas. They were first taken to concentration camp of Jasenovac, and few who survived that were transferred to Jastrebarsko. Very few children survived Ustashi cruelty and diseases, and even fewer would see their families again.

There is something true in the above account. Namely, the first sentence. After the operations in the area of Kozara, forces of the Ustashi Militia and the Croatian Home Guard did indeed take the children. Take them from the ruin, that is.

But there were not 7 000 children. There were 900, and that was all the children that were in the area of Kozara at the time – or at least, all that could be found. They were left behind after Partisans had run away, taking with them only those that could walk on their own and whom they deemed useful.

During the war, government of Independent State of Croatia (NDH) had saved a total of 12 000 children. Most of them had been found abandoned in the areas taken by the partisans, and almost all were either returned to their families or else put up for adoption. This was done regardless of the childrens’ ethnicity. Especially important was work of nuns in children’s homes in Velika Gorica, Sisak and Jastrebarsko.

Children’s home in Jastrebarsko was in fact attacked by the partisans in 1944., despite Partisans knowing what it was. Around a dozen children were killed in the attack, and oldest children were taken with the Partisans while the rest were left behind. Remaining children were found two days later by a Home Guard company and taken to Velika Gorica and Zagreb, where they were turned over to nuns. Archbishop Stepinac personally made sure they were treated well.

By then, however, 82 children had already died and were buried in the cemetary of Mirogoj. After the war, the Communist government put up a monument on Mirogoj which stated that at that place rested bones of “several hundred of children from Kozara, victims of the Fascist terror”. This monument is still there, despite all the dead children buried there being known their name, surname, age and disease history. Not that it is the only such case of the Left multiplying the victims.

And typhus from which the children had died was a consequence of their life with Partisans while the latter were roaming Kozara. Partisans were even known as “Tifusari” (“typhus patients”), with at least one song written with that title. Those of children who had survived only did so due to the care provided by the Croatian government.

As for photo where Roma children refuse to clear shoes of German soldiers, that is a historical falsification from Yugoslav movie “Krvava Bajka” (“Bloody Tale”) from 1969., and is thus a fake.

Partisans – A Major Enemy

Germany delayed its attack on the Soviet Union because it was forced to intervene in Yugoslavia.

Except that is not the case. Yugoslavia was a sideshow. The real reason why Germany had to intervene in the Balkans was because Italian army was completely defeated in Greece. Because Italy was defeated in Greece, Germany had to conquer Greece. And because Italy had lost the naval battle of Matapan, Germany had to conquer Crete. And when Italy got absolutely pasted in North Africa, Germany had to intervene there as well (though, truth be told, forces actually sent to North Africa were rather minor).

Attack on Moscow was delayed because of Yugoslavia and its partisans.

Attack on Moscow was delayed because Hitler was in fact preparing for a prolonged war. When the central group – one attacking Moscow – ran into trouble due to lack of transport and supply, Hitler ordered a halt in operations towards Moscow, choosing instead to reinforce army groups North and South. On 21 August he ordered that the conquest of resource-rich Crimea and the Donetsk basin be given a priority. After capture of Kyiv and 655 000 Soviet troops, Hitler orders those forces to be turned back to Moscow – but does not give the order to advance. Another group was directed towards Leningrad and came to within 10 kilometers of the city, but was then also recalled to Smolensk where it sat uselessly.

This and fighting around Leningrad however completely depleted Germans, and attack on Moscow only began on 2 October. But Moscow defenses now numbered over a million men and, more importantly, autumn rasputitsa was about to begin. So while German attack initially achieved major successes – Soviet defences of Moscow were at one point down to 90 000 men – Germans simply ran out of time. Rasputitsa stopped them, and by the time attack could resume, defenses of Moscow were reinforced to over a million men again. Furthest the Germans got was within 5 miles of Moscow on 2 December, but on 5 December the Soviets launched a counterattack. Many German units were encircled and crushed due to Hitler’s orders to defend every inch of the ground, though that order may also have prevented a moral collapse of the army. Whatever the case, Army Group Centre was pushed 150 miles away from Moscow.

In all of this, Yugoslav partisans played absolutely no role. Zero, nada, zilch.

Uprising in Yugoslavia significantly interfered with German efforts in the Soviet Union, and partisans tied up over half a million of German troops commanded by 94 highest generals and field marshalls that were absolutely necessary on the Eastern Front.

And Tito was secretly Zeus and single-handedly smashed an entire German army group that would have otherwise crushed the USSR.

Fact is, Yugoslavia never tied up half a million German troops. It wasn’t necessary, because whole place was a mess. Everybody fought against everybody. Ustashi against Partisans, Ustashi against Chetniks, Chetniks against Partisans, Partisans against Italians, Partisans against Germans, Chetniks against Germans… While Ustashi did not actively fight against Italians, the intelligence community of NDH was in a state of “cold war” against Italy and treated Italy as a hostile power; same treatment was also extended to Germany. Everybody also cooperated with everybody. Ustashi cooperated with Chetniks to crush the Partisans. Partisans cooperated with Chetniks to crush the Ustashi. Fascists (Italians) protected Partisans from Ustashi. Chetniks cooperated with Germans and Italians. Chetniks also cooperated with the British as well as Partisans.

In such conditions, there is no way that half a million German troops might have been required. And even without it, Yugoslavia was pretty much a sideshow for Germans, at least until the fall of Italy which created a danger of Allied invasion of the Croatian shore. But due to structure of the shore, this danger was never very pronounced.

Even so, number of German troops in Yugoslavia was limited. The largest was during retreat from Greece in 1944., when around 300 000 German troops were present in Yugoslavia due to Army Group E retreating from Greece. And this retreat started because of the threat that Red Army might cut off Axis forces in Greece. In fact, partisans never achieved anything of actual military value on their own.

Were Nikola Anić and others who say that 550 000 German troops were permanently present in Yugoslavia correct in their claims, Partisans will have been wiped out off the face of the Earth in a matter of months – especially because Josip Broz Tito was, in fact, a rather incompetent commander.

As for the 94 highest generals and field marshalls, Wehrmacht only had 20 generalfieldmarschall and general-lieutenants.

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