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Heroic Serbia, Our Ally

Nov 23rd, 2006 | By | In General, serbia

Cover of Time, May 1942
May 25, 1942 Cover of Time Magazine: “[Draza] Mihailovich: Yugoslavia’s Unconquered.” The Cover Story is about the Serbian General Draza Mihajlovic and Serbian resistance to Fascist occupation, entitled The Eagle of Yugoslavia.

Serbian Forces Resisting German Invasion

Washington, D.C. Thursday, November 19, 1987.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

Mr. CRANE

Mr. Speaker, on April 6, 1941, the German Government made an unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia. By April 13, the Germans captured Belgrade. By April 18, the Yugoslav Army officially surrendered. Col. Draza Mihailovich did not surrender, but retreated to the mountains where he organized resistance to the enemy occupying forces. King Peter promoted him to general and appointed him Minister of War. In this capacity he was recognized as an ally by the United States during World War II.

For a brief period following the German invasion, there is evidence that General Mihailovich and his Serbian forces were not the only Yugoslavs resisting the Nazi invasion. But in the autumn of 1941, the so-called Partisans – Yugoslav Communists – ceased cooperation in resisting the Nazi and began attacking the Mihailovich forces from the rear. At the time, General Mihailovic was acting as the duly authorized Minister of War of the recognized Yugoslav Government. That was 46 years ago this month, Mr. Speaker, and today in the United States Congress we are gathered together, as in the past, to pay our respect to General Mihailovich upon the anniversary of his betrayal and execution at the hands of the Communists in Yugoslavia.

Halyard Mission: Rescue of American Airmen

The reason for our tribute to General Mihailovich is first and foremost our gratitude to him for saving the lives of over 500 American airmen whom he rescued. Those of us in Congress who have studied the history of this period have striven to fulfill the desire of those saved American airmen to memorialize General Mihailovic with the erection of a monument in his honor in our National Capital. Despite communist disinformation both during World War II and after, preserved historical documents and facts conclusively demonstrate the General Mihailovich was an heroic anti-Nazi, but also an anti-Communist. It was the latter that led to his murder, but also the effort by our own State Department to conceal the fact that President Truman – upon the recommendation of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower – had conferred the highest honor upon General Mihailovic that this Nation awards to foreign nationals: the Legion of Merit. The official United States policy position after World War II was to accept the fiction that Yugoslavia was a nonaligned Communist state and thus acting wholly independent of the Soviet Union. To nurture this fiction, any information that confirmed the Yugoslavian Communists’ betrayal of our war objectives had to be suppressed. It took over a decade for Under Secretary of State, Ed Derwinski, when he was a Member of Congress, to make public the heroism of General Mihailovic and to reveal the betrayal of the United States commitment to freedom by the Communists in Yugoslavia both during and following World War II.

Through the historical documentation of Communist methods, yesterday and today, a rear picture emerges of the communist clique which murdered General Mihailovich as well as a majority of his followers and soldiers. The Communist successors to Nazi tyranny destroyed any knowledge of Mihailovich in his own country and benefited through financial assistance from the United States as well as other Western democracies.

Reasonable questions arise, after all these years and the irrefutable documentation of the Communist betrayal of freedom in Yugoslavia after defeat of the Nazis, as to why our State Department continues to attempt to perpetuate the absurd notion that Yugoslavian communism represents some kind of blessing to the West. Stalin has to be laughing at Western gullibility from the grave.

State Department Bureaucrats Suppress the Truth About Serbs

American pilots resting in a hayloft after being rescued by the Serbs
Picture from the Time-Life book, the series on World War II, entitled Partisans and Guerrillas, published in 1978. Caption on the page 189 reads: “American fliers, shot down over Yugoslavia, catch up on their sleep in a hayloft after being rescued by the [Serbian royalist] Chetniks. During the war some 600 Americans were rescued by the Chetniks at great personal risk.” *Further details about the photo below.

Why are the lifestyles of the red and famous untouchable? Why is there so little challenge to the reliability of Communist-produced evidence? Is there something in the generous, compassionate nature of Americans that precludes a recognition that the world is divided between the Good guys and the bad guys? Do our own State Department bureaucrats succumb to the charm school appeal of a Gorbachev because his background and Communist history dictate that, or are they simply wishful thinkers? America, as the torch of freedom for mankind at this juncture in history, must critically evaluate the players in the world arena. Why, for example, is General Mihailovich still off limits?

His relegation to nonperson status by the Communists who stole Yugoslavia is understandable, for General Mihailovich detested Red Nazis as vehemently as he did Black Nazis, and he was fully aware of the ideological kinship between the two. For freedom loving allies to succumb to a phony distinction between these mutual affronts to every decent value emerging from Western civilization would have baffled General Mihailovich as it baffles every student of history. And yet the United States State Department has still suppressed the mistakes of policymakers who were misled by Communist moles both in British intelligence and our own at the end of World War II.

Coverup and Deceptions

The consequence of this logic tight compartment mentality is that 41 years after the brutal murder of General Mihailovic by the Communists, there is still no record, no memory, no grave, no monument to a certified Western hero.

As a result, it is incumbent upon the Congress of the United States to expose the cover-up and deceptions both for the sake of history and to vindicate a great patriot. Our efforts to memorialize courage, justice, integrity, honor, and truth today is essential to secure freedom tomorrow.

Hopefully, we can generate within our State Department and amongst our Western allies an awareness of the plight of the defenseless people of Yugoslavia. Just as we must account for every idle word, we must account for every idle silence. Silence, in this instance, means that we have failed our task – that of carrying forward the torch of freedom.

Simply labeling the clique of dictators around the world “Marxist” – as if they represent a kind of humanistic approach to life that differs from traditional belief only on the question of embracing transcendentals – is in fact an obscenity.

General Mihailovich, ruthlessly murdered by the Communists and relegated to obscurity, is in fact a victim of this obscenity.

God Willing, the Battle for Truth and Justice Will Ultimately Prevail

Suppressing documented facts is a part of the 40-year campaign of disinformation directed against General Mihailovich and his Serbian freedom fighters. God willing, the battle for truth and justice will ultimately prevail, and General Mihailovich’s dream for a Yugoslavia free from tyranny will at least become a reality.

Mr. Speaker, the following statement comes from Aleksandar Milosevic, Who served as an artillery commander under General Mihailovich. He was an eyewitness to the heroic efforts and sacrifices of the Serbian people to save the lives of downed American airmen:

The written statement by Aleksandar Milosevic:

I would like to offer eyewitness testimony regarding the rescue and evacuation of American Airmen who were forced to parachute into Serbia. The units of the Ravna Gora Movement, under the command of General Mihailovich with the assistance of all the Serbian people, rescued these fliers and kept them from falling into the hands of the enemy. All in all there were approximately 600 airmen evacuated of which over 500 were Americans. If the Germans were to attack… [we] would have defended the American Fliers to the last man.

USAF Major Richard L. Felman
WWII Veteran, USAF Major Richard L. Felman with a Chetnik cap, during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the V-E Day. May 13, 1995, Ravna Gora, Serbia.

Reuniting
Touching reunion of Major Felman with the son of the Serbian Corporal Stefanovic who saved his life during the WWII. May 1995, Ravna Gora, Serbia.

Mr. Speaker, to summarize the expressions of appreciation to General Mihailovic and his Chetnik forces for their devotion to liberty, their courage and heroism, and their commitment to the United States, the Allied cause, and a free Yugoslavia, let us turn to the remarks of one of the over 500 downed American airmen whole lives were saved by General Mihailovic. I refer, Mr. Speaker, to Maj. Richard L. Felman, USAF, retired, who in a speech before the Serb National Federation [SNF], on July 17 of this year, summarized the feelings of the surviving American airmen as well as those of freedom lovers everywhere:

The statement by Maj. Richard L. Felman:

I owe my very life to General Mihailovich, the Chetniks and the Serbian people… when I was shot down in Yugoslavia, I had the opportunity to know first hand what truly remarkable people the Serbians are… In every Serb I met I always found a sense of honor and sense of freedom that is second to none… Not once did I hear anything but the highest praise from the 500 Americans rescued by General Mihailovich…

A few days after the Germans had seen us bail out and counted ten parachutes, they sent an ultimatum to the Chetnik Commander in the hills to either turn over my crew of ten to them or they would wipe out an entire village of 200 women and children…

But Gen. Mihailovich would hear none of it… He told us how life is just as precious to the Serb as it is to the American. But because it is so precious, the price comes high! The Serb had spent his entire history fighting off different enemies in order to protect his freedom, and that life without freedom meant nothing to them…”

Read “An Open Letter To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia From Over 500 MlAs Saved By The Serbian People During World War II,” written in the Spring of 1999, by the USAF Major Richard L. Felman

Read the Tribute to the WWII veteran, one of the greatest friends Serbian nation was honored to have, USAF Major Richard L. Felman, Goodbye To a Tireless Warrior

*The photo “The Serbs have saved more than 600 American Fliers” holds vivid memories for me. I learned of the photos existence fifty years later while visiting in Chicago. Obviously, all the fliers were exhausted and sound asleep in the photo. Having said that, obviously we did not know of the photographers presence. While in Chicago in 1993, I met the photographer, quite by accident. He was as much surprised to meet me as I was to meet him. His name?… J.B. Allin, who was attached to the Halyard Mission. This same photo appeared on page 49 in the November/December issue of Serb World, U.S.A.

“Nick” Lalich was a very good friend of mine in 1944 and continued to be a life-long friend until his recent death.

The same photo has appeared in many publications during the past sixty years.

However, I have never seen the men in the photo identified. I knew all of them, quite well.

They were the enlisted men of my B-24 Liberator Bomber Crew, shot down by German anti-aircraft fire over Belgrade on Sept. 8, 1944. Only two of them are still living, including myself.

Left to right in the photo, they are Howard Ford, ball turret gunner; Gerald Wagner, radio operator; Curt Diles, nose turret gunner; Rudolph Schmidt, Flight Engineer; and Leland Porter, tail gunner. One of our crew, James Barker, was captured by the Germans and spent the balance of the war as a German prisoner.

American Srbobran has published many of my articles over the past six decades.

A faithful Serbian supporter,

Curt Diles
Dayton, Ohio
July 4, 2005

WWI Part: Valiant Serbia, Our Ally

R

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