Relying on abundant documentary evidence, academician Dinko Davidov has written one more book about the pre-meditated and large-scale destruction of the Serbian Orthodox religious and cultural heritage in the Independent State of Croatia under the Ustaša rule in the Second World War. Davidov posits the theory of a total genocide committed in the Independent State of Croatia – the Ustaša did not only aim to annihilate the Serbs and cleanse them once for all from their lands (as seen in official documents of the Independent State of Croatia, legislation and statements of its leaders), but also to uproot any trace of material existence of Orthodoxy as the Serbs’ essential distinguishing feature.
Davidov cites numerous examples of the Ustaša racist policy, gives excerpts from seminal works in the field, meticulously describes the destruction of Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Fruška gora (focusing in particular on the history of destroyed iconostases, icons and holy relics), elucidates the fascist behaviour of Croatian bishop Antun Akšamović (who was proclaimed a war criminal after the war, but communist authorities granted him amnesty, while Josip Broz Tito decorated him with the Order of Fraternity and Unity), proves the existence of the infamous Office for the Destruction of Orthodox Churches in the Independent State of Croatia, and finally, allows witnesses to the horror to speak for themselves (statements were taken from the original minutes of the Yugoslav Commissariat for Refugees).
The book contains a number of photographs of the Ustaša political and spiritual leaders, destroyed Serbian Orthodox temples, and numerous original archival documents of the Independent State of Croatia, some of which have been published for the first time.
The Independent State of Croatia was established in 1941 in the part of the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia occupied by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Under the auspices of the Axis powers and founded on the ideology of the Ustaša movement and catholicisation of all structures of the state and society, the Independent State of Croatia carried out organised terror and pogroms against the Serbian Orthodox population. The Serbs made up one third of the population (around 1.8 million) in Croatia before the Second World War and accounted for around 64% of all victims in the Independent State of Croatia.