Jure Francetić

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Jure Francetić (1912 - 1942) was an Ustashe Commissioner of Bosnia and Herzegovina,[1] war criminal, responsible for the massacre of Bosnian Serbs and Jews.[2]

Early life and activities prior to formation of NDH[change | change source]

Francetić was born in Otočac on July 3, 1912.[3] After gymnasium (high school) he went to study law at the University of Zagreb, were he joined the Ustaša movement. Soon after, he was exiled from Zagreb for five years as a result of his anti-Yugoslav political activities. He stayed in Otočac for a short time before emigrating to Italy in March 1933. He took the Ustaša oath in the Borgotaro camp on April 24, 1933, and then spent the following four years in Austria, Italy and Hungary. In Hungary he joined to the Ustashe terrorist group camp at Jankapuszta, under new, conspirative name 'Laszlo'.[4]

After the assassination of Alexander I of Yugoslavia he was interned on Sardinia by Mussolini at the request of the Yugoslav government. After a general declaration of amnesty in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Francetić returned to Croatia in November 1937,[5] but was immediately arrested and exiled to his hometown. The next year Francetić returned to Zagreb hoping to complete his study of law but was forced to complete his military service instead. In late 1940 he was again arrested in Zagreb because of a congratulatory telegraph to Jozef Tiso, president of the newly formed Slovak Republic (1939–1945), signed by a number of Croat nationalists. He was again exiled to his native Otočac. After delivering an inflammatory nationalistic speech at a local school's New Year's celebration in Otočac on January 12, 1941, he escaped to Germany to avoid another arrest.

War and war crimes[change | change source]

Francetić earned his only military education and officer rank while serving the Kingdom of Yugoslavia Army. He became a non-commissioned officer in the rank of sergeant.[6] About Francetić's military experience and knowledge, his Ustashe superior Eugen Dido Kvaternik wrote: "He did not have basic military knowledge nor military education, nor did he have any talent for basic military organization.".[7] After establishment of the Independent State of Croatia in April 1941 he and other 10 Ustašas organized the Black Legion (Croatian: Crna Legija). Jure Francetić became the leader of the Black Legion and earned the rank of colonel in the Ustaša army. Kvaternik believed that Francetić "a born guerrilla and a son of our mountainous Hercegovina" was the reason good enough to put him in the role of military leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[8] In order to consolidate the Ustashe party power, much of the party work in the province he put in the hands of Catholic priests.[9] Francetić's Ustashe took control over the local administration by dismissing all civil servants and teachers belonging to the category of "Srbijanci", as well as those who were Jews. Killings, arrests, and deportation of Serbs and Jews was a regular duty of Francetić's henchmen - based and justified by the official Ustashe policy which demanded total extermination of Jews and murder, expulsion, and conversion to the Roman Catholicism of Serb population in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[10] Francetić participated personally in arresting and interrogations of prominent Serbian and Jewish leaders (Vaso Miskin, Albahari)[11] and ordered the murders of some of them.[12] He even turned his own Sarajevo apartment into the prison kitchen and laundry room.[13]

Justification for the slaughter of Bosnian Serbs and Jews Francetic found in the propaganda of 'the Jewish communist hydra' had succeeded in misleading a majority of the Serb Orthodox population in eastern Bosnia into committing 'criminal acts against the state' and concluded that the 'most drastic means' would have to be employed against them.[14]

Ustashe's unseen cruelty and savagery applied against Serbs and Jews even prompted the German command to demand that Francetić, as the commander of the 1st Brigade Black Legion, be dismissed. Pavelić defied and promoted Francetić to commander of all Ustashe field formations.[15]
In the pre-war times about 15,000 Jews lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina. About 3,000 women and children of this number - were arrested and kept in Kruschnitze concentration camp (Bosnia). Later they will be deported to Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska concentration camps.[16] Additional 7,000 Bosnian Jews will be deported directly to Jasenovac concentration camp.

Death[change | change source]

Francetić died on December 27 or 28, 1942. While flying to Gospić on December 22, his plane was downed by Yugoslav Partisans near the village of Močile, near Slunj,[17] which was the Partisan-held area. Both he and his pilot were immediately captured by Partisan village guards and peasants and Francetić received numerous blows with pitchforks.[18] Severely wounded, he was taken to NOVJ General Staff Hospital where Partisan surgeons attempted to save his life in order to exchange him for inmates of Ustaše camps and prisons, but failed.[19]

Ustashe authorities were so concerned about the effect of his death would have on supporters of their movement that the news of his death was delayed until the beginning of March 1943. Official announcement of his death came on March 31, 1943., when Ustashe declared eight days of official mourning.[20]

Memorials of hatred[change | change source]

Memorial plaque to this Ustashe leader was erected in Slunj (in June 2000, by Ustashe's Association of war veterans, "Hrvatski domobran") as an embrace, by those responsible, of the NDH and ethnic hatred.[21][22]

In late 2004 the Croatian government ordered the removal of the memorial plaque in Slunj.

"In January 2005 in the outskirts of Split, unknown persons erected overnight a memorial to Francetic and Budak-to show the extreme right's anger at Sanader's betrayal of the Ustasha cause and the prime minister's cooperation with ICTY"[23]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Second World War by Enver Redžić - Routledge, 2005 ISBN 978-0-7146-5625-0
    Page 73: On 23 July 1941 the headquarters of the NDH Ustasha police sent an order to all regions and to Jure Francetić, Ustasha Commissioner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to begin with arrest and transportation of Jews, Serbs and Communists to the Gospić concentration camp
    Page 74: The Serbian population in eastern Bosnia was also subjected to all manner of Ustasha crimes directed from the highest Ustasha circles in Sarajevo. In this regard, Pavelić's authorized delegates, Francetić, Father Božidar Brale and Professor Hadžić led the way.
  2. Renewed Survival: Jewish Community Life in Croatia by Nila Ginger Hofman, Lexington Books, 2006 ISBN 978-0-7391-1330-1 page 35
  3. Srednja Bosna: ne zaboravimo hrvatske žrtve : 1941.-50./1991.- 95 by Vjenceslav Topalović, Hrvatski informativni centar, 2001 ISBN 978-953-6058-32-7
  4. Ustaški pokret, 1929-1941: pregled njegove poviesti by Miron Krešimir Begić, Naklada Smotre "Ustaša", 1986, page 212
  5. Holokaust u Zagrebu by Ivo Goldstein, Novi liber, Zagreb 2001 page 99
  6. Bez alternative by Jakov Blažević, "Mladost", 1980, page 477
  7. Provokacija ili Manipulacija? by Željka Godec; Nacional, Zagreb, Croatia, June 15, 2000, Kvaternik's Memoirs quoted
  8. Sjećanja i zapažanja, 1925-1945: prilozi za hrvatsku povijest by Eugen Kvaternik, Eugen Dido Kvaternik, Jere Jareb, "Starčević" Publishing House, 1995 ISBN 978-953-96369-0-4
  9. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration by Jozo Tomasevich, published by Stanford University Press, 2001 ISBN 978-0-8047-3615-2 (page 490)
    But the chief Ustasha delegate in Bosnia and Herzegovina was Jure Francetić, a Catholic and leading Ustashe returnee, and much of the party work in the province was put in the hands of Catholic priests. The most important among the latter were the Reverend Božidar Brekalo, a young parish priest in Sarajevo, and the Reverend Dragutin Kamber, a parish priest in Doboj, both proteges of the archbishop of Sarajevo Monsignor Ivan Šarić
  10. Utopias of Nation: Local Mass Killing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1941-42 by Tomislav Dulić, Uppsala Universitet, 2005 pages 124, 132, 133
  11. Sarajevo u revoluciji: Komunistička partija Jugoslavije u pripremama i organizaciji ustanka by Nisim Albahari, Istorijski arhiv Sarajevo 1977 Page 207
  12. [Tomislav Dulić, 2005 page 133]
  13. Otpor u žicama: sećanja zatočenika by Dušan Azanjac, Ivo Frol, Đorđe Nikolić, Vojnoizdavački zavod, Belgrade 1969 Page 447
  14. Rebecca Haynes, Martyn Rady: In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe, I.B. Tauris London, New York 2011, page 197
  15. The Forgotten Axis: Germany's Partners and Foreign Volunteers in World War II by J. Lee Ready, McFarland & Co., 1987 ISBN 978-0-89950-275-5, page 172
    It got so bad that the German command demanded that Jure Francetic, the commander of the First Brigade Black Legion, be dismissed due to his unbridled cruelty. Pavelić replied by promoting Francetić to commander of all Ustashi field formations.
  16. Adolf Eichmann Trial, Tel Aviv 1961 - Alexander Arnon testimony
  17. Vjesnik Jedinstvene narodno-oslobodilačke fronte Hrvatske 1941-1945: Izbor by Božidar Novak, Jedinstvena narodno-oslobodilačka fronta Hrvatske, Vlado Stopar ,"Vjesnik" 1970 page 384 title PSETO JURE FRANCETIC U RUKAMA NARODA - Translation: Jure Francetic, the dog, is in the peoples hands
  18. Jasenovac: Proceedings of the First International Conference and Exhibit on the Jasenovac Concentration Camps : October 29-31, 1997, Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York by Wanda Schindley, Petar Makara, Dallas Pub., 1997 page 139
    ...was Jure Francetic, one of the founders of the infamous black Ustasha legion. who later on was an Ustasha colonel and was shot down with his plane, and the peasants finished him off with pitchforks in Kordun. Unfortunately, it would have been better had they captured him and exchanged him for 100 Jasenovac inmates.
  19. Moja sjećanja na Hrvatsku by Nikola Rušinović, Meditor, 1996 ISBN 978-953-6300-08-2 page 151-152
  20. [R. Haynes, M. Rady page 198]
  21. The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918-2004 by Sabrina P. Ramet, Indiana University Press, 2006 ISBN 978-0-253-34656-8 page 588-9
  22. Provokacija ili Manipulacija? by Željka Godec
  23. Endgame in the Balkans: Regime Change, European Style by Elizabeth Pond, Brookings Institution Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-8157-7160-9 pages 135, 136

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