Franjo Tudjman: A Revisionist's Recidivism

(by Eric Blair)

Franjo Tudjman is a head of state, a Croation patriot, and a Revisionist - recall how Wiesel and his Holocaust Dogma enforcers went ballistic in April '93 when Tudjman showed up in Washington for the ceremony unveiling the Holocaust Museum?

His case is a good illustration of what happens with historical truth is palmed off as being Holocaust heresy.

A small item in a recent issue of the French journal L'Express ["Nazisme banal en Croatie," 2/5/96, p. 18] accuses Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian president, of a kind of revisionist recidivism ["le président croate, Franjo Tudjman, récidive"]. In a tone of muted exasperation, the article notes that Tudjman had barely afforded his scandalized detractors a moment's pause before he again trod on their toes.

An academically trained historian and former Yugoslav army general, Tudjman published figures that drastically reduce the number of inmates said to have been killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp during the Second World War. For decades, the court historians insisted that a minimum of 700,000 prisoners had been executed there; these had been largely Serbs, but also involved several thousand Gypsies and Jews; the L'Express article puts the number killed at somewhere over 500,000. But Tudjman's new figures claim that victims had actually numbered fewer than 40,000.

Even more alarming for his critics was Tudjman's announced intention to turn the site of the old Jasenovac concentration camp into a collective memorial to all the fallen Yugoslav soldiers of the Second World War era, whereÑfor the sake of reconciliationÑfriends and foes, regardless of ideology, would be buried side by side.

To spur on the healing process, Tudjman has also been lobbying for the return of the remains of some of Croatia's most famous sons, including Vladko Macek and Josip Broz Tito, as well as the controversial Croatian wartime leader, Ante Pavelic; the latter headed the Croatian government during the period of German occupation in 1941.

Tudjman has hailed Ante Pavelic as a true Croatian nationalist and patriot, notwithstanding the fact that he may have committed some "errors," by the Croatian president's own admission. To appreciate Tudjman's statement and his effort to rebury Pavelic in Croatian soil, imagine if you will the French president, Jacques Chirac, likewise making some grand symbolic gesture in order to rehabilitate the reputation of Maréchal Pétain.

To be sure, Franjo Tudjman is a not a favourite of the Holocaust Lobby. I would be hardly suprised to learn that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had put his portrait on display in its "Rogues' Gallery" at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Certainly, he has said things in the past that would not have endeared him to the rabbis who run the SWC.

For example:

Tudjman on the Holocaust: "With regard to Jews, I'm inclined to agree with those scholars in the world who say that the figure of six million is exaggerated" [The New Republic, Jan. 20, 1992, p. 5].

Tudjman on the Israelis: "...the Jewish people soon afterward [i.e., after the Second World War] became so brutal and conducted a genocidal policy towards the Palestinians that they can rightly be defined as Judeo-Nazis."

Because of such bold statements, among other reasons, Franjo Tudjman's presence was vociferously denounced by many Holocaust lobbyists, beginning with Elie Wiesel, when the Croatian leader showed up in Washington to take part in ceremonies marking the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in April, 1993.

As I said, I do not know whether Tudjman's portrait hangs in the "Rogues' Gallery" at the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, but I have no doubt it soon will be should he continue showing signs of a revisionist recidivism.

May 24, 1996