CONFRONTING THE SECOND REVISION
“GUDOVAC 1941. THE PATH OF CRIME”
The Archives of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serb National Council – Archive of Serbs in Croatia, Zagreb, Special Publications Library, 2019
Arranged by Nebojša Kuzmanović, PhD.
Of smaller size – just over 40 pages, among which almost half are comprised of photographs – documents and testimonies about the first mass atrocity of the Independent State of Croatia (ISC) against the Serbian people, committed from 27th to the 29th of April 1941, in a village near Bjelovar, which it was named after. This small book is actually more than a document – it’s an irrefutable testimony about the systematic persecution of Serbs, which was one of the founding principles of the Independent State of Croatia.
This publication also testifies about what happened to the archival documents and testimonies that dealt with the persecution of Serbs, after the Second World War, during the “second“ Yugoslavia. That’s when documents were often put away or probably destroyed by those who, for various reasons, were able to do that. That’s also when the first revision of historical events took place – specifically events connected to the destruction of Serbs on the territory of ISC, whereby victims and villains where made equal, which on one hand tended to minimize the scale of persecution that was committed while on the other tended to exaggerate it. All in line with the leading ideology of (false) equality, or brotherhood and unity etc.
It’s truly fascinating to read about how this documentation came to be in possession by the Archives of Vojvodina. I would love to be able to say, as is the case with Bulgakov, that manuscripts don’t burn, but I know that not all testimonies and documents about the persecution of Serbs “had such luck” to last as long as this one did. In that sense this publication is an important testimony against the revision that was done in “Tito’s time“ because it tells us about how people dealt with archival documents.
The other aspect of why it’s important is seen in it’s confrontation against a “revision of the revision“, or as is currently popular in today’s Croatia, the process of revisioning the Ustashe, which builds it’s falsehoods on the fact that the historiography at the time of Broz was dishonest, that many documents don’t exist or that they are not available. Still, apart from that initial statement, the modern Croatian industry of historical lies likewise doesn’t present facts nor what really happened because of the fact that it tries to present a ruthless state as some edenic place.
This is why this is a significant endeavour, because it helps us to become more sober-minded about “eternal truths“ which they weren’t to begin with, but also to confront the lies of modern Croatia, which is still developing an “industry of falsehoods“.
Peace be to all the souls of those killed in Gudovac who are now in the Kingdom of Heaven and many thanks to the Archives of Vojvodina that built a memorial that no military or paramilitary formation can destroy, as they did to the memorial of Vojin Bakić “Pred streljanje (Gudovčani)” that was erected in 1955 and destroyed in 1991.
Novi Sad, May, 2019.
Đorđe M. Srbulović, historian.