[Marxism] Worst massacre since WWII?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 30 13:35:10 MDT 2008

In news coverage of the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, there are constant 
references to the 8,000 dead at Srebrenica as the greatest massacre 
since WWII. For example, an article that appeared in the July 22nd 
Independent starts off:

The massacre of around 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995 stands 
out as the worst carnage of the Bosnian war and the largest mass murder 
in Europe since the Second World War.

As an amateur historian, my curiosity was piqued. Was this really true? 
As it turns out, this very region was a scene of a far bloodier massacre 
that occurred in the town of Bleiburg in May 1945, just after the formal 
end of WWII: Bleiburg was on the border between Austria and Slovenia and 
was a hub for Croatian Nazi collaborators, mostly Ustashe members. There 
were 30,000 POW’s who would be joined by another 60,000 Croats fleeing 
Tito’s advancing Partisans. Many of these were civilians who had 
absolutely no record of working with the Nazis.

When the Partisans reached Bleiburg, they wreaked bloody vengeance on 
the refugees, even though Tito himself was a Croat. As indicated from 
the wiki entry on Bleiberg, there are varying estimates of the casualty 
figures by respected historians but even the lowest estimate far exceeds 
whatever happened at Srebrenica:

For example, Croatian historian Vladimir Žerjavic' estimates the numbers 
of Croats and Bosniaks who were killed during Bleiburg massacre at 
between 45,000 and 55,000 while British journalist Misha Glenny came up 
with the figure of 50,000 soldiers and 30,000 civilians executed.

Clearly the bloodbath was meant as retribution for Ustashe crimes at the 
Jasenovac death camps during WWII. A wiki entry on the Ustashe states 
that around 32,000 Jews, 40,000 Romas and between at least 300,000 and 
700,000 Serbs died there.


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