The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Croatia and Bosnia

The Interior Minister of the Independent State of Croatia, Andrija Artukovic, proclaimed on February 24, 1942 in a speech before the Croatian Parliament or Sabor that Croatia had solved the Jewish question. If true, this would mark a milestone or landmark in the Holocaust. This would make Croatia the first state to solve the Jewish question. Croatia was, thus, the first country to be “Judenfrei”, Jew free. This was a landmark moment in the Holocaust but is a fact suppressed and covered-up in historical accounts of the Holocaust.

Andrija Artukovic made his speech before the Hrvatski drzavni sabor or parliament on February 24, 1942. The speech was published in the Croatian newspaper Narodne Novine on February 26, 1942 under the title “Jews as the ‘Insatiable Parasites’”.

In this speech, Artukovic announced that the Jewish question had been solved in the Independent State of Croatia, the NDH, which consisted of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina:

“Immediately after the founding of Yugoslavia, all the enemies of the Croatian people – the Jews, the Communists, and the Freemasons – united with those of the so-called ‘Piedmont of the Balkans’ in order to destroy the Croatian people and suppress all national aspirations.

In the life of Yugoslavia, it was the Jews – who worked for and prepared the world for revolution – alongside their two most important international allies – the Communists and the Freemasons, who especially distinguished themselves. These three national groups have attempted with all their might to destroy everything Croatian they could find.

They tried to win our intelligentsia to their side and isolate it from the Croat people, either through subterfuge – that is, flattering them with titles, lucrative positions among them – or by force. They tried through different organizations and offices to estrange the Croatian youth from the religion of their fathers and from the family hearth, and to get the workers into so-called ‘unions’ which fought on a class basis, to estrange them from their own people and turn them against one another.

First, it was the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and, later, the United Labour Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia, that tried to mislead the Croatian worker and set him against his own people. They tried to impoverish and humiliate the peasant, in a state of financial dependence and beggary, in political chaos and cultural darkness, in order to be able, at any given moment, to trade him away, to barter on his sentiments like he was a bale on the exchange.

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1941 “Ž” metal plate for Jewish houses from “Židov”, the Croatian word for “Jew”, removed from the post office in Osijek, Croatia.

All this was done by the Jews, one of the most dangerous international syndicates, in order to achieve the goals of World Jewry, readying the world for the revolution by which the Jews will gain full mastery over all material possessions of the world and all the power in the world, when other nations will serve as a means to their dirty profits and their insatiable greed and ravenous thirst for control.

International Jewry was aided in this fight by two other international syndicates: the Communists, who preached the gospel of their proletarian state, and the Freemasons, who preached the gospel of their fraudulent ‘enlightened spirit,’ their ‘love for their fellow man.’

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The Jews were to achieve these aims relying as much on their own international affiliations as that possessed by the Communists: because Communism is the child of Jewry and one of the principle levers by which the Jews aim to take control of the world. The Communists wanted to destroy the leadership of individual nations and take power in the name of the workers. But these workers were, of course – had to be – led by the Jews, which is exactly how it was.

Through various organizations, the Judeo-Communists tried to bring about the disintegration of the Croatian national body, to kill the aspirations of its youth, the love for family and the homeland, to stir up hatred between the classes and to enslave the peasantry in such a way that the peasant loses all self-awareness, the knowledge of what it is to be Croatian.

The Croatian people, having re-established the Independent State of Croatia, could do nothing else but to clean off the poisonous and insatiable parasites – Jews, Communists and Freemasons – from their national and state body.

They have strangled the Croatian people and retarded all sectors of their national life, destroying and poisoning not only family life, their beliefs, their morals, their culture and their youth, but also that vital national spirit, Croatian self-expression, Croatian self-consciousness. The Independent State of Croatia, led by the Ustase, finding itself in a state of siege and self-defense against these insatiable and poisonous parasites, has indeed settled the so-called Jewish Question through resolute and sound actions.”

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Ante Pavelic, the NDH Poglavnik, meeting with Adolf Hitler, center, on September 18, 1944. Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel is on the right, the head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces).

Like Ante Pavelic, Artukovic was born in Bosnia-Hercegovina, in Klobuk near Ljubuski. He had studied at a Franciscan monastery at Siroki Brijeg in Herzegovina. He had been one of the key leaders of the Ustasha Movement during the pre-war period and became the Interior Minister of the NDH after the state was proclaimed on April 10, 1941.

What made the solution to the Jewish question unique was that the Croatian government and the Croatian leaders were themselves organizing, planning, and executing the program of genocide against not only Jews, but Serbs and Gypsies, or Roma. Unlike other countries in German-occupied Europe, in Croatia it was the Croats and Bosnian Muslims themselves who were committing the genocide.

The genocide against the Jews in Croatia and Bosnia began at once. The Jews were first stripped of their citizenship in Croatia and Bosnia on April 30, 1941. The Croatian government subsequently passed laws that prevented Jews from traveling or moving and they were deprived of their residency.

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All Jews in Croatia and Bosnia were forced to wear a yellow shield or armband on May 23, 1941. The armband consisted of a Star of David and the letter “Z”, for the Croatian and Bosnian word for “Jew”, “Zidov”. There were also armbands that had a Star of David over the word “Zidov”.

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Jews, Serbs, and Roma were rounded up and arrested immediately after the NDH was proclaimed on April 10, 1941. Mass arrests followed in the wake of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa, to which the NDH was to provide troops. Croatian and Bosnian Muslim troops were integrated in the Axis forces which invaded the Soviet Union, participating in the 1942-1943 landmark battle at Stalingrad. The NDH regarded the USSR as a ”Judeo-Bolshevik” state, a country controlled and dominated by Jews. The invasion, thus, had connotations to the Crusades as Roman Catholics sought to destroy the two enemies of Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Judaism. The Bosnian Muslims were regarded as allies in this struggle.

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Croatian Jews are deported to concentration camps in 1942 by railway cars.

The elimination of the Jews from Croatia and Bosnia began on June 26, 1941, when the Poglavnik Ante Pavelic promulgated a decree that assigned collective responsibility to the Jews for any and all opposition and resistance to the establishment of the NDH regime. More importantly, Pavelic ordered that all Jews be rounded up, arrested, and interned in concentration camps. These concentration camps, such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska, were set up and run by Croats themselves. The Croats themselves murdered the Jews of Croatia and Bosnia. This was unique in the Holocaust. In other puppet and proxy states in Europe, it was the Germans who set up and ran the concentration camps. It was the Germans who murdered the Jews. Croatia and Bosnia were unique, however, in that it was the Croats and Bosnian Muslims themselves who murdered the Jews. Not only Jews, but Serbs and Roma were murdered by the Croats and Bosnian Muslims as well. This is a salient and striking feature of the genocide committed in Croatia and Bosnia during the Holocaust which is suppressed and censored.

Not only were the Croats and Bosnian Muslims organizing and carrying out the genocide against Jews, Serbs, and Roma in the NDH. The Croats contacted the German government and demanded that they take the Jews of the NDH and resettle them in the East. This was also unprecedented and unique in that the Croatian government was even more determined and committed to kill the Jews in the NDH than even the Germans were. This is a remarkable and extraordinary fact suppressed in mainstream accounts of the Holocaust.

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Andrija Artukovic, the Interior Minister of the NDH, and Ante Pavelic, the Poglavnik, meet with the Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler to coordinate policy on the solution to the Jewish question in Croatia and Bosnia.

The Croatian government made two requests that Germany deport the Croatian Jews to eastern Europe, in October, 1941 and May, 1942. SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler made an official visit to the NDH to personally supervise the deportation of the Jews of Croatia and Bosnia. The Croats and Bosnian Muslims were the most willing of executioners.

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The NDH regime sought to convince the people of Croatia and Bosnia that the elimination and mass murders of the Jews were justified and excused because of their alleged outrages against the people of Croatia and Bosnia. Croatia and Bosnia were oppressed by the Jews. The way the NDH regime sought to persuade the people was by setting up exhibitions. One such exhibition was the “Jews” or “Zidovi” exhibition which opened in Zagreb on May 1, 1942. The exhibition next traveled to Osijek in northeastern Croatia. The exhibition then moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina.

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Entitled “Zidovi” or “Jews”, the Sarajevo exhibition poster read in Croatian and Bosnian: “6. – 20. Rujna 1942. Ferhadija Ul. Broj 11. (Bivsa Bogoslovija). Ulaznica Kn. 10. – Za skupine Kn. 5 po osobi.” The Sarajevo run was from September 6 to 20, 1942. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, it was extended for an additional week. 22,000 Sarajevans came to the exhibit. Admission was 10 Kuna. For groups, the admission was 5 Kuna apiece. The exhibit was on Ferhadija Street, No.11 (formerly Bogoslovija).

The cover in Croatian and Bosnian reads: “Zidovi. Izlozba o razvoju zidovstva inhijovog rusilackog rada u Hrvatskoj prije 10.IV.1941. Rjesenje Zidovskog pitanja u N.D.H.” (“Jews. The Exhibition on the Evolution of Judaism and its Destructive Work in Croatia Prior to 10 April 1941. The Solution of the Jewish Question in the NDH.”)

The exhibition poster showed a naked, muscular Croatian Aryan warrior, representing Croatia and the Croatian people, brandishing a sword entangled by a large snake with Stars of David on its scales, representing Jews and Judaism. He has a shield with the red and white checkerboard national symbol of Croatia with the letter “U” in the center, for the Ustasha regime. The snake has its fangs bared and its red tongue extended as it lunges at its prey. The snake represents world Jewry. Symbolically, he attempts to cut off the head of the snake.

The exhibit sought to demonstrate how Jews were responsible for the oppression and abuses of the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim people. Jews were presented as introducing the slave trade in the Americas, and were shown to be responsible for prostitution, usury, and economic exploitation. The exhibits noted that Jews had been expelled in 1502, 1515, and 1662. The exhibits attempted to show a historical pattern and paradigm. The Jews of today are the same as the Jews of the past. Their objectives and methods are the same. Therefore, the people of Croatia and Bosnia must see the necessity of their elimination and internment in prisons and concentration camps. It was a matter of preserving the nation and of freeing the people from oppression and exploitation. This is what the “Zidovi” exhibition sought to achieve.

The Croats did everything in their power to solve the Jewish question in Croatia and Bosnia. If not every Jew,  Serb,  or Roma was killed in the NDH, it was not due to a lack of effort on the part of the Croat leadership. The synagogues in Zagreb and in Sarajevo were demolished by Croats and Bosnian Muslims themselves. Over 12,000 Jews were killed in the Jasenovac concetration camp. In all, an estimated 30,000 Jews would be murdered. In Croatia and Bosnia, the Croats and Bosnian Muslims themselves solved the Jewish question. They achieved the Final Solution.