Holocaust Deniers at the U.S. State Department

By Srdja Trifkovic
Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010

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The U.S. Department of State human rights report on Croatia, released on March 11, states matter of factly that Jasenovac was "the site of the largest concentration camp in Croatia during World War II, where thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Roma were killed” [emphasis added; a daily scene from Jasenovac, above]. This remarkable claim is the exact moral and factual equivalent of asserting that “tens of thousands” of Jews and others were killed in Auschwitz or Treblinka.

The number of victims at Jasenovac is still uncertain. The lowest estimate with any pretense to methodological seriousnesstens of thousands of victims – was made by the late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, famous for saying “Thank God, my wife is neither a Serb nor a Jew.” Tudjman’s “estimate” on Jasenovac fits in with his other assessments:

“In his book Wastelands: Historical Truths, published in 1988, Mr. Tudjman wrote that the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust was 900,000 – not six million. He has also asserted that not more than 70,000 Serbs died at the hands of the Ustashe – most historians say around 400,000 were killed.” (The New York Times, August 20, 1995)

Other sources provide estimates tens of times greater than Dr. Tudjman’s, and hundreds of times greater than that presented as fact by the U.S. State Department:

“Jasenovac” - entry by Menachem Shelach in Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, 1990, pp. 739-740: “Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac, mostly Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and opponents of the Ustasa regime.”

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team: “It is estimated that close to 600,000  … mostly Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, were murdered at Jasenovac.”

So much for the Jewish sources. Let us look at what the contemporary German allies of the Ustasa regime had to say on the subject (all quotes from "THE KRAJINA CHRONICLE: A History of Serbs in Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia"). Hermann Neubacher, Hitler’s foremost political expert for the Balkans, in his book Sonderaufrag Südost 1940-1945. Bericht eines fliegenden Diplomaten (Goettingen: Muster-Schmidt-Verlag, 1957, p. 18):

"The prescription for the Orthodox Serbs issued by the leader and Führer of Croatia, Ante Pavelić, was reminiscent of the religious wars of the bloodiest memory: One third must be converted to Catholicism, another third must be expelled, and the final third must die. The last part of the program has been carried out.” [i.e. one-third of cca. 1.9 million were killed]

In a report to Himmler, SS General Ernst Frick estimated that “600 to 700,000 victims were butchered in the Balkan fashion.” General Lothar Rendulic, commanding German forces in the western Balkans in 1943-1944, estimated the number of Ustaša victims to be 500,000. In his memoirs Gekaempft, gesiegt, geschlagen (Welsermühl Verlag, Wels und Heidelberg, 1952, p.161) he recalled a memorable exchange on this issue with a Croat dignitary:

“When I objected to a high official who was close to Pavelic that, in spite of the accumulated hatred, I failed to comprehend the murder of half a million Orthodox, the answer I received was characteristic of the mentality that prevailed there: Half a million, that’s too much – there weren’t more than 200,000!

The U.S. Department of State may have in its possession some newly discovered and incontrovertible evidence that Yad Vashem’s researchers had exaggerated the number of victims at Jasenovac a hundredfold or more, that German eyewitnesses were wrong, that even the Holocaust-denying President Tudjman was wrong, and that the number of victims was indeed in some “thousands” rather than tens or hundreds of thousands.

If it does, the State Department should make such evidence for its claims public. If it does not, it should issue a detailed correction and an unreserved apology.