[Article] Religion and Nation in Wartime Croatia: by Mark Biondich

By Mark Biondich

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Extra resources for [Article] Religion and Nation in Wartime Croatia: Reflections on the Ustaša Policy of Forced Religious Conversions, 1941-1942

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HDA, MPB/OB, kutija 14: Broj 4448-B-I94I, 27 September 1941, 3 November 1941; kutija I3: Broj 387o-B- 1 94 I, 8 October I 941. 128 See, for example, ZbornikJNOR,IV, 2, Doc. I 64, pp. 430-33. 129 HDA, Fond Hrvatskog drzavnog sabora NDH, kutija i: Broj 78, Izvjestaj M. A. Catica M. Dosenu, 30 May 1942, no original document number. MARK BIONDICH IO9 Prijedor. '30 The Command of the Third Home Guard Corps, reporting on political conditions in Bosnia, noted that news of Pavelic's November I94I audience with catholicized Serbs had a negative effect on Muslims.

Broj 237I (OP Bijeljinska Sela), i7 November 194I. , Broj 2092/194 I (OP Bebrina), 29 November I 94 I. MARK BIONDICH I03 added humiliation. What drove Serbs to convert in the first place was fear of arrest, deportation or being murdered at the hands of the authorities. When many of them began to see that conversion was no guarantee of security, conversion essentially became meaningless. The head of Licki Osik commune (Lika) reported that there were so few conversions in his region because there had been 'unrest and disorder here, in which the Greek Easternerswere killed, that is, both those who converted and sought conversion and those who did not'.

This contradictory rhetoric predated the war, as Ustasa ideology continued to vacillate between exclusionist and assimilationist tendencies. 142 The common element underlying both premises was a denial of Serb identity. How much of this was pure rhetoric, designed merely to devalue or undermine Serb claims to the Ustas'a vision of Great Croatia, and how much was conviction is often difficult to tell. These contradictions were never worked out in a coherent manner, however. As such, forced conversion remained only one part, and certainly not even the worst part, of the Ustas-a regime's perverse programme.

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