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str. 117-193

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Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross of Croatian people (war prisoners of Croatian Military Troops and civilians) in 1945 are still one of the most complicated and most complex subjects in Croatian historiography. This is also the subject full of emotions, which make any historical judgement difficult. Although there is numerous literature about this subject, present research does not give any precise numbers of people who were killed or answers to a range of open questions. One reason for this situation can be found in historiography and published writings, which have mostly been based on memories of those who witnessed the events. They speak of their memories of some specific occasions, which are filled with emotions and traumas, which alongside numerous precious data do not give enough arguments regarding the final numbers of victims. Recently the first studies and collection of documents and new research of the archival sources have started. One of the reasons for this situation is the fact that the partisan’s war and after war documents made by the all parts of Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) and troops of the Yugoslavian Army (JA), OZN-a (Yugoslavia Secret Agency), KNOJ, National Police and similar organisations and services as well as Yugoslavian Communist Government are still incomplete (because many important documents were destroyed) or are mostly unavailable (not only in Belgrade central archives, as well as in Sarajevo, Podgorica, Zagreb) while the British documents are not available (because of an embargo until 2020) and those are the most confidential, military and secret agency documents. This paper dedicated to the 60th anniversary of these tragic events represents a small step towards the elaboration of known data and brings a list of yet unknown and unpublished original documents, mostly belonging to the Yugoslavian Military and Political Government 1945-1947. Amongst those documents are those mostly relating to Croatian territory although a majority of concentration camps and execution sites were outside of Croatia, in other parts of Yugoslavia. The author hopes that the readers will receive a complete picture about events related to Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross and the suffering of numerous Croats, which is confirmed directly in many documents and is related to the execution of a person or a whole group of people and sometimes non-stop for days. There is still an open question about the precise number of the Croatian victims of Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross. There are some estimates that about 60,000 to 600,000 people were killed which give space for political manipulations. The data which has been collected and published to date, show that the personal identification of the all Croatian after-war victims from the area of the former NDH (Independent Croatian state during WWII), as well as members of Croatian Military Troops (HOS) of NDH and civilians in Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross accounts for about 62,000. This number includes also those who were victims of OZN-a and KNOJ, National Police and Yugoslavian Government. This is only a part of the Croatian victims as many places and areas did not make a list of victims as well as some cities like Zagreb, Osijek, Banjaluka and Sarajevo. Thus this work can be an initiative for future scientific and expert research into this problem, which will also lead to the publishing of the final results of the victims. Therefore we will finally have a complete list of all victims from the Croatian area during WWII and after the war as well as the list of the Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross victims. Published and collected data already shows that these events are the largest Croatian tragedy in contemporaneous Croatian history. Therefore the Croatian Parliament in 1996 brought about the decision about the commemoration of the 15th of May as the Memorial Day for the victims of Bleiburg and the Way of The Cross. Since then the day is commemorated at the highest state level as our debt we have to pay to the victims and as an act of human and civil, national and ethic behaviour. Every year the Croatian Parliament in May participates together with the Honorary Bleiburg Squad in a traditional commemoration on the Bleiburg field. In this way they pay the highest attention to the Bleiburg tragedy and the Croatian Government supports scientific research into this problem.

Ključne riječi

Bleiburg; way of the Cross

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