- - -

Journal of Croatian Studies, XXVIII-XXIX, 1987-88 Annual Review of the Croatian Academy of America, Inc. New York, N.Y., Electronic edition by Studia Croatica, by permission. All rights reserved by the Croatian Academy of America.

- - -



A show trial is a political trial in which the accused "freely" confess their guilt and ask forgiveness of the state through the prosecutor and judge, whose roles are complementary rather than distinct. According to Milovan Djilas, a show trial is the "legal cloak to the political judgment on the 'hostile activity' of the accused". It is thus not enough to convict, but also necessary to defame — and in this sense the confession of the accused is crucial, since at least the "public opinion of the party", and ideally the "general public opinion" must be persuaded and assured by the proceedings of both the guilt of the accused and the power and authority of the regime.[1] Indeed, it would seem that both the general public and members of the ruling elite are automatically persuaded at least to consider the guilt of the accused as given, even in a political prosecution. As one of Alexander Werth's interlocutors noted, to be in a Soviet labor camp in the 1930s was to be assumed guilty of being a "vrag naroda", or enemy of the people, and to confess became routine for some Russians.[2] It is thus not surprising that Jirí Pelikán found himself doubting an acquaintance's innocence and blaming himself for being too foolish to see through the "spy's" disguise.[3] In short, it would seem that political trials have the effect desired of suppressing and discrediting an actual or imaginary opposition while preserving the legal forms and reaffirming the regime's monopoly of power merely by taking place.


But political trials can backfire. In the Chicago conspiracy trial the accused succeeded in using the opportunity to radicalize public opinion. Yet their success was not total, nor did it mark their trial as that different from all others: while in the Soviet purge trials of the 1930s and the Czech trials of the early 1950s confessions were the norm, in the Yugoslav trials of the 1930s the defendants also tried to turn the courtroom into a forum — as radicals in Russia and elsewhere had attempted before them.[4] Certainly the intent had not differed with regard to the authorities: Mayor Richard Daley clearly sought to vindicate the Chicago police and take revenge on those who had spoiled "his" convention, just as Stalin sought to affirm the power of the Soviet state in the 1930s and the Czechs the primacy of the party in the 1950s.[5] While not as closely tied to the political power (in the form of the state prosecutor) as the judiciaries of the Nazi or Soviet systems, the American judiciary also slipped into "political" judgements in the 1960s. But American judges were able to avoid total subjugation to the political branch of government, since it was anathema to consider the judge and state prosecutor collaborating elements of a single system whose aim was to repress all political opposition — an identification of interests that rested on the identification of the NSDAP and communist parties with the government and was symptomatic of the absolute control of the machinery of government by a single individual or party.[6]


Nonetheless, the function of the Chicago trial was to show that the United States (like Chicago) was beleaguered by "outside agitators" and subversives, and to demonstrate that the government was pursuing a "tough" policy with regard to such disruptive elements. Although the "foreign" threat was implicit in the American trials, rather than explicit as in the Soviet and Czech purges, it was present. Indeed, it appears that those involved to a large extent came to believe their own accusations against those on trial, as evidently happened in the Soviet Union in the 1930s [7]. And the intent of the Chicago trial, like the Soviet and Czech, was clearly to intimidate the more outspoken critics of the system, justify the repression of radical groups, and create a more docile citizenry.[8]


Show trials thus serve a number of functions besides discrediting and suppressing the opposition (potential or actual), and are clearly a symptom of a system that is under a high degree of central control and suffering a certain paranoia, i.e., a system similar to those described in the classic works by Orwell and Arendt.[9] The manifestations of this paranoia can be grotesque — as was the trial of 80,000 peasant "kulaks" in Romania in 1954[10] — but usually they are limited to the use of less obvious repressive measures, of which show trials are one. Show trials are exquisitely political, since the judiciary clearly serves a political rather than a judical function, and since criminality is confused with political heterogeneity. Because of this, certain "criminal" trials can be viewed as "show" or "political" trials, depending on one's point of view — e.g., the arrest and conviction of civil rights demonstrators in the United States in the 1950s. However, the sort of show trial that this article will deal with is not the accidental response of the system to a challenge to a specific law or set of laws, but the systemic response of the government to a general challenge to its legitimacy. Thus not only the police, but the courts and other institutions are mobilized in order to save the system of government actually in power. To the extent that the opposition can be tried and shown to be "criminal," the government achieves not only its goal of repressing the opposition, but also an ancillary goal of demonstrating the illegitimacy of its opponents, and thereby reaffirming both its own power and its own authority.


That the Yugoslav regime resorted to show trials to repress the internal opposition in the late 1920s and early 1930s is beyond question. That it did so for both external and internal reasons is also clear, since the new state was threatened by revisionism internationally and by a strong domestic opposition that was openly autonomist or federalist and secretly separatist. That this was the case had been clear since the inception of the new state, and exceptional laws for dealing with the internal opposition had been passed in the early 1920s.[11] But these had not proven capable of dissolving the extremist nationalist opposition to the regime, nor had Alexander's coup in 1929 been successful in creating a unified nation or discrediting those in opposition to Belgrade. Consequently, the Yugoslav regime attempted to attack the legitimacy of the internal opposition by publishing exposés from former "terrorists," and by putting large groups of "terrorists" on trial. However, since the regime was attempting to preserve the legal forms extant before the imposition of the royal dictatorship, the defendants were able to turn the trials into indictments of the regime itself; and the blatantly political nature of the show trials may have compromised the credibility of the exposés by Pogorelec and Gruber — since it was, and is, difficult to separate fact from fiction in both the trials and the exposés.


* * *


The first large-scale political trial opened on 24 April 1930, with Vladimir Maček, then leader of the powerful Hrvatska Seljačka Stranka (HSS), prominently displayed among the nineteen terrorists accused of having attempted to blow up a train carrying a delegation of homage to King Alexander on 17 December 1929. The regime had initially arrested Vilko Begić and Jakša Jelašić, both members of the HSS hierarchy, along with 52 students.[12] Interestingly, it seemed that Belgrade, not Zagreb, was convinced that a terrorist organization existed in the Croatian capital in late 1929, but not even searching the houses of members of the Hrvatska Stranka Prava (HSP) turned up any evidence to that effect.[13] Nonetheless, on the basis of confessions extracted from Jelašić and Begić, the police arrested Maček on 21 December, naming him as one of the leaders of a terrorist organization financed by "certain foreign circles" and responsible for recent bombings and assassination attempts.[14] Some substance was lent such charges by the confession of Stjepan Horvatek, one of Mijo Babić's "glavnih sudionika" (chief collaborators), who claimed that a "prevrat" (revolt) was scheduled for the spring of 1930. The "revolt" was to be triggered by "cells" of 5 to 6 people in Zagreb and elsewhere, using arms arriving from Koprivnica and Djekenes (Hungary). Horvatek claimed that the action was to be "ozbiljna" (serious) and had a "velikog izgleda na uspjeh" (great chance of success), due to the vast extent of the organization — yet he could name as members only Mijo Babić and Stjepan Nemec, "stariji i mladji" (the elder and the younger). Indeed, the best efforts by the police failed to discover more.[15]


While the regime clearly wanted to discredit the opposition by showing it to be involved in terrorist actions, the Croatians counter-attacked by accusing the police of extorting confessions through torture, presenting the attempted bombing as an understandable response to Belgrade's repressive measures in Croatia, and depicting Croatia as the victim of Serbian persecution.[16] Far from discrediting Maček and the HSS by accusing them of terrorism, the regime seems to have increased their popularity, at least judging from the fact that 163 lawyers volunteered to defend the HSS leader, including Ante Trumbić and Sekula Drljević.[17] In a tardy effort to parry this show of support, the regime attempted to frighten off the more timid of the volunteers and interned the more courageous, confining Drljević in a village near Niš a few weeks before the trial was to begin. This left Trumbić, evidently too well known internationally to harass in such a manner, to lead the defense, and apparently caused Alexander to consider postponing the trial in order to allow time for a delegation to petition for clemency for Maček, and to allow the Croat leader to ponder an offer to "escape".[18]


The regime did what it could to keep Trumbić from attending the trial, which was to be held in Belgrade before the Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State, rather than in Zagreb. But Trumbić managed to lose his police escort and hop a train to the Yugoslav capital.[19] Of course, whether his presence would do much good was debatable, since not only was this the same political court that had tried and condemned Ante Pavelić and Gustav Perčec to death in absentia in the Summer of 1929, but the government was packing the courtroom with domestic and foreign journalists sympathetic to its position.[20] Indeed, Maček was not only charged with financing and directing terrorists, he was accused of advocating the separation of Croatia from Yugoslavia after his arrest, in Dom's Christmas issue of 1929.[21]


The government opened the trial with testimony from the accused terrorist ringleader, Ivan Bernardić, who indirectly implicated Juraj Krnjević, another highranking HSS leader. But under cross-examination Bernardić retracted an earlier statement that he had been recruited by a certain "Scifoni," supposedly one of Pavelić's agents; and he hedged regarding the role played by the Italian consulate in Zagreb. The government's case was thus considerably weakened, especially since Franekić, another accused, denied his previous testimony that he had received explosives from Italy.[22] On May 14th, Jelašić retracted his confession and accused the police of torturing Begić and himself, and the next day Maček was applauded by the accused as the defense began to argue its case — which included accusations that the police had urged "Yugoslav" students and gendarmes to kill Maček, the only "legitimate" leader of the Croats, who stood solidly with the prečani Serbs against Belgrade's tyranny.[23]


The government was obviously losing control of the proceedings, and on May 21st the courtroom erupted when the police tried to remove Bernardić and the other defendants. Six days later, Trumbić alluded to the "police methods" used to form the delegation to Alexander, and the government stopped all releases of transcripts after May 30th in an effort to prevent circulation of Maček's testimony.[24] This was understandable, since the HSS leader claimed that Croatia had enjoyed greater autonomy under Austria-Hungary than it had since 1918, and charged Belgrade with trying to create a Greater Serbia, not a "Yugoslav" state. He also recanted his earlier support of Alexander and urged that all "historical provinces" be "free." As for charges that he had advocated an independent Croatia, Maček noted that even children sang "Croatia is not yet destroyed", and insisted that "sentiments that the whole people cultivate in their heart ... is not a political opinion but an indestructible belief ... that no article of the penal code can punish". In clear defiance of the court, Maček claimed that he would never disavow his "belief" in Croatia, "because I know that I have with me my whole Homeland, martyred Croatia, insulted, persecuted, but not defeated".[25]


Unable to produce concrete evidence of Maček's guilt, the court acquited the Croat leader — an error recognized by both the Italians and the Yugoslav leadership. Indeed, Belgrade had committed essentially the same error in trying the Croats as Rome had in putting the Julian Slavs on trial. This certainly was the opinion of Carlo Galli, Italian minister to Yugoslavia, who believed that the trial had been the result "of Serbian indifference to foreign opinion, of the [government's] insensitivity to the moral elements in politics, [and] of the deep conviction that 'cosa fatta capo ha', regardless of the means [used]", and of "the consciousness of the uncontested power that the dictatorial government feels that it has".[26] And Galli reported that Marinković believed that the trial had been an error, particularly since the judges had not been adequately "directed", with the net result of strengthening Maček and the Croat opposition. But Marinković was not concerned with the failure, since he compared the Yugoslav crisis to that following the murder of Matteotti in Italy in 1924, and he was certain that the outcome would also be similar.[27]


But the trial had clearly made Maček a hero, and in Croatia celebrations over his acquittal were mixed with bitterness over the harsh sentences handed out to thirteen of the accused.[28] Abroad, the trial gave Pavelić grist for his anti-Yugoslav mill and created a bad impression in Britain, where the Times, Manchester Guardian and Daily Mail criticized the way in which the whole affair had been handled by Belgrade.[29] Given the success of the Croatian tactic of putting the regime on trial, the government clearly needed to reassess its policy, especially after a group of "terrorists" on trial in Bosnia in September 1930 proclaimed their innocence, declared their support for a free Croatia, and denounced the regime and the police for using intimidation and torture to extract confessions.[30]


* * *


Of course, there were other ways of using the courts to decapitate the opposition, as Belgrade demonstrated in June 1930, when it sentenced Josip Predavec to two and a half years for fraud, and for defaming the King in a railroad station in Dugoselo. Although Maček defended the HSS vice-president, and the émigré newspaper Croatia labelled the trial itself a fraud and an indication of Belgrade's moral bankruptcy, the regime had in fact rid itself of one of the more outspoken Croat leaders.[31] Of some consolation to the opposition — and the Italians — was the regime's failure to link the First Croatian Savings Bank to the Italians, in part because both Dino Grandi and the Italian consul in Zagreb Ubaldo Rochira, had balked at covering some 350,000 dinars diverted from the bank for political purposes with a loan from the Italian Banca Commerciale.[32] In any event, given the ubiquitousness of corruption in interwar Yugoslavia, it is probable that charges were brought against Predavec for purely political reasons, and that while not a show trial, his conviction was certainly political in nature.[33]


* * *


Perhaps the most celebrated of the show trials was that of twenty-three terrorists in May-June 1931. With the defendants accused of everything from anti-state propaganda to the murder of the journalist Toni Schlegel, the trial was the result of efforts to wipe out the separatist youth organization led by Stjepan Javor, and resulted in the executions of two youths, Marko Hranilović and Matija Soldin. The defense attorneys included Vladimir Maček and Mile Budak, and the opposition again tried to turn the proceedings into a trial of the regime.[34] Like the earlier Maček trial, this was also connected to police efforts to "uncover" a terrorist organization in Croatia in late 1929. Stjepan Javor had been arrested on 31 October 1929, ostensibly for carrying a weapon, then had implicated Pavelić, Perčec, Marko Hranilović, Stjepan Horvatek and Antun Herceg after being tortured. Reasons for the delay in bringing Javor and the others to trial are not clear, but may have been due to the Yugoslav desire not to provide a diversion during the trial of 86 Julian Slavs (Croatians and Slovenes) in October 1930.[35]


Interestingly, although Javor was accused of being the "head" of a terrorist organization, he and his twenty-two co-defendants were to be tried in a "normal penal procedure," rather than by the Tribunal for the Defense of the State, evidently to underscore the criminal nature of the charges and avoid accusations that it was a political proceeding.[36] But of course, the trial was clearly political in nature, not only because two Ustaša émigré leaders, Mijo Babić and Zvonimir Pospišil, were tried in absentia along with the other twenty-three defendants, but also because the bill of indictment contained a detailed list of crimes against the state.[37]


The main charges were against Hranilović, Soldin, Babić, Pospišil and D. Križnjak, who were accused of founding the "terrorist" organization Hrvatska Pravaška Omladina, (HPO), of which Soldin was president and Hranilović secretary. Hranilović, Soldin and Babić were also charged with the murder of Toni Schlegel, and with Pospišil and Križnjak with bombing a gendarme barracks in August 1929 and killing two police agents. Pospišil and Križnjak were also accused of two other bombings, while Babić was charged with the deaths of Josip Kea and Josip Ban in October 1929. All were in some way or other accused of collaborating with Pavelić and Perčec, and Javor was singled out as the coordinator of the "terrorist" youth group.[38]


The government's indictment ran to 44 pages and was based on a few encoded letters and the confessions of the defendants, allowing the opposition an opening which it took the first day when the accused protested that the public benches were packed with the very police agents who had extracted their confessions under torture. A sharp response from the President of the court, Dragutin Bubanj, followed by a clash with the defense attorneys set the tone of the trial. Bubanj, determined not to have this trial turn into an embarrassment for the regime, fined Mirko Košutić, Mile Budak, and two other defense attorneys 1,000 dinars each. Maćek in turn protested the fines, while Hranilović earned an additional charge by announcing himself a "citizen of imprisoned Croatia" when called to testify.[39]


Hranilović in fact quickly emerged as the most combative of the defendants, and the least cooperative. While he admitted that Perčec had approved of the youth organization, he denied all contact with the separatist émigré and insisted that Javor had not approved of the HPO. When asked by Bubanj whether the HPO was "borbena" (combative), Hranilović replied that, "Svaka omladinska organizacija je borbena" (Every youth organization is combative). But he noted that the HPO had been leaderless since his brother, Stanko, had left the country in June 1928, and had been disbanded on 6 January 1929. He also insisted that he had never been abroad, save to take a coat and book to his brother on the Hungarian border, and denied all contacts with Perčec. As for his confession, Hranilović accused one of the examining magistrates, Hanuš, of having written it, and insisted again that "Neman pojma o teroristićkoj organizaciji" (I know nothing of any terrorist organization). This clearly tried Bubanj's patience, and he pointedly reminded Hranilović that:


To je smiješna obrana. Tako se ne brani kod suda. Sve je laž, samo je ono istina, što vi govorite. Tako se nesmije braniti.[40] (That is a stupid defense. One does not defends oneself that way in court. Everything is a lie, only what you say is the truth. One cannot conduct a defense like that).


But this probably made little impression on Hranilović, who had already annoyed Bubanj by pleading not guilty and insisting on telling his life story. When Bubanj had refused to let him, Hranilović had responded that, "Ja već 19 mjeseci čekam na ovu raspravu, da sve to kažem" (I have already waited 19 months for this trial so I could tell all). This brought a sharp reply — "Čujete ne budite bezobrazan" (Listen, don't be impertinent) — but the HPO leader merely repeated, "Ja već čekam 19 mjeseci, pa možete to poslušati (I've already waited 19 months, and you can listen to what I've got to say). - To which Bubanj replied, "Čujete nemojte biti bezobrazni prema meni ovdje je sud. Vi čini se uopće niste naučeni respektirati vlast"[41] (Listen you, don't be impertinent toward me, this is a court. It seems that you have absolutely no respect for authority). But Hranilović was not to be cowed, insisting, "Ja stojim ovdje pred sudom i zato govorim kako hoću" (I am here before this court, and so I'll say what I please) — bringing another sharp response from Bubanj, Vi ćete govoriti ono što Vam ja dozvolim. " (You'll say what I allow you to say). The Croat now adopted another tactic, replying that, "Onda uopće više neću govoriti pred sudom." (Then I'll say nothing further at all before the court). But this proved equally unsatisfactory to Bubanj, who recalled the youth to the stand, and allowed him to tell his story of a poor childhood, an early conversion to the Croat cause, and his, participation in the HPO. According to Hranilović, the HPO saw its duty to be the education of the Croatian working class in the ideals of Ante Starčević and the evils of communism; and sup-port of the HSS "u borbi za ostvarenje slobodne i nezavisne Hrvatske" (in the struggle for the realization of a free and independent Croatia). He claimed that "Mi smo imali uspjeha, jerbo smo doveli u orgarizaciju nekoliko stotina naših hrv[atskih] omladinaca iz redova radništva".[42] (We had some success, since we drew into our organization several hundred of our Croat youth from the ranks of the working class).


But beyond admitting his patriotism, Hranilović would not go. He claimed that Babić and Pospišil had killed the policemen in October, 1929, and he insisted that he had signed his "confession" only after a month on bread and water, and after Stefek and another police agent had dangled him out of a windows of the Zagreb police station.[43] Moreover, when Soldin took the stand, he claimed that the police had knocked out six of Hranilović's teeth, and that he had also been mistreated by Stefek and Pavlović during his interrogation. Like his codefendant, Soldin also pleaded not guilty, ("Ni za jedno djelo se ne osjećam krivim". — Not for one thing do I feel guilty), and recanted his confession, noting that his torture had commenced with a visit to the Zagreb police chief:


Bio sam uapšen 1. XI u 6 sati poslje podne. Odveli su me u drugi kat u sobu g. Dr. Janka Bedekovića i za pozdrav dobio sam od njega nogom u želudac, da sam se srušio na pod. Tim su počele moje muke.[44]


(I was arrested November 1 at six in the evening. They took me to the second floor to Dr. Janko Bedeković's room, and for a greeting I got his foot in my belly, and I was knocked to the floor. With that my sufferings began).


Like Hranilović and Soldin, Mijo Bzik also pled not guilty, and like them he noted that "Pmvaški program bio je sam po sebi dosta borbeni." (The pravaši program was by its very nature pretty aggressive). But he distinguished the "gradjanska omladina" (bourgeois youth), mostly middle class youth, from the "worker" group headed by Soldin and Hranilović.[45] Then on 30 May, the courtroom erupted when Soldin's mother refused to testify after her son shouted "Nemoj svjedočiti!" (Don't testify!) Hranilović also tried to keep his mother off the stand, but Milka Hranilović took the stand and provoked a sharp interchange between the defendants and Maček on one side and Bubanj on the other.


Milka Hranilović: Ja odustajem od svjedočenja, jer i onako ne mogu govoriti, jer vet četiri dana nisam jela. Bacili su me u zatvor bez hrane i posteljine i tamo ležim kao udova jednoga potpukovnika, koji je vjerno služio svojoj domovini. (I am abstainining from testifying since I can barely speak, because I've not eaten for four days. They threw me in prison without food or a cot, and there I lay, as the widow of a former lieutenant colonel who faithfully served his homeland).


Bubanj: To ne spada na nas (That does not concern us!) Marija Hranilović (Milka's daughter, from the bench): Ali to spada na nas! (But it concerns us!)


Milka H.: Nit su mi razložili zašto sam uhapšena ... (They didn't even explain to me why I was arrested ...)


V. Maček: To je najjednostavniji način svjedoka obane zatvoriti. (That's the most singular method of imprisoning a witness for the defense).


Bubanj: Mir, g. branitelju, nemojte vredjati nadleštvo, jer ću ishoditi zaključak suda. (Calm down advocate, don't libel the authorities, because I'll cite you with contempt of court).


V. Maček: Nadleštvo se vredja samo tim postupkom. (The authorities libel themselves with this action).


Following a brief recess, Bubanj returned and fined Maček 1,000 dinars, thus triggering another clash.[46] Evidently, despite Bubanj's best efforts, the defendants and their attorneys were not about to acknowledge either their guilt or the court's legitimacy, and the trial was beginning to become an embarrassment for the regime.[47] Attention was temporarily diverted on June 6th, when the Tribunal in Belgrade handed down three death sentences and a total of 126 years in prison to fifteen persons, including Mijo Seletković, Ante Crvić and Ignac Domitrović — all in exile in Rijeka (Fiume) at the time.[48]


But attention quickly refocused on the Zagreb trial, since it was clear that the opposition was attempting to use it to accuse the regime. On June 12th, the defense moved to investigate procedures at the Zagreb police station on Petrinjska ulica; to call Maček as a witness against Bedeković; to call witnesses to show Javor had not been in Zagreb the day that a government witness had claimed to have spoken with him; and to review Mile Starčević's dissertation and correspondence. Bubanj predictably declined all these motions, as well as a number of others that would have corroborated defense and disproven prosecution assertions. Nonetheless, Siladi denied part of his "confession", as did Kruhak, Herceg, Javor and Soldin — who insisted "To je sve laž ... (That's all a lie ...). Mile Starčević also repudiated his confession, and Javor claimed that "dobivao sam batina" (I was beaten) when he refused to admit his guilt, and "confessed" only after another beating. Starčević supported Javor, noting "Ja sam ga vidio gotovo mrtvog" (I saw him almost dead), while Janko Kruhak gave a detailed description of his interrogation:


Kod policije preslušava se ovako: Spomenuo je ono što sam pod batinama rekao kod policije, pa je to diktimo u zapisnik na stroju, na kojem je pisala gdjica Stiplošek, koju poznam od prije. Vidi se to iz ovog zapisnika. On je pitao točku po točku i diktirao na stroj, ako sam ja što htio promjeniti rekao mi je ovdje nemaš ništa da preinačuješ nego samo potpišeš, ako nećeš dati ću to tamo gdje si već bio.[49] (At the police, interrogations went like this; Whatever I had said under the beatings of the police was repeated and then dictated in a statement on a typewriter, on which Miss Stiplošek, whom I recognized from before, wrote. It's obvious from this statement. He questioned point by point and dictated on the machine, if I wanted to change something, he told me that here you have nothing to modify, but only to sign unless you want me to send you back where you've already been).


Like Javor and Kruhak, Herceg also claimed that "Ja sam priznao pod mukama" (I confessed under torture), and recanted his confession, claiming that Marijan Ujčić, a police agent, had falsified his statements. Horvatek insisted that he had confessed only after Bedeković had promised to release his mother, and Hranilović claimed that Stepanović had written his deposition.[50] More, Babić and Pospišil had submitted depositions from abroad claiming that Marijan Ujčić, alias Gjuro Car, had put them up to the attempt on Schlegel and tried to talk Branimir Jelić, another youth leader, into killing either Živković or Alexander. Although disallowed as evidence, the deposition may have had some truth to it, not only because at the trial in Belgrade the defendants accused Branko Zverger of being a police agent, but also because the use of agents provocateurs has been a normal adjunct to political and show trials.[51]


Whatever the truth regarding the role of agents provocateurs, it was obvious that the regime had failed to prove its case and that the defense had irritated the court, even though it had much of its evidence disallowed. As a result, the various lawyers tried to use their closing arguments to present their political case. For example, Dragutin Hrvoj recapitulated the history of Croatia from 1918, and again asked a review of the interrogation procedures, claiming that all confessions had been invalidated by the police use of torture and intimidation. When Bubanj refused, Hrvoj launched into a history of Hungary, Italy and revolutionary movements , as well as a discussion of Starčević and HSP ideology. When Bubanj noted all this was irrelevant, Hrvoj replied that "Moje je subjektivno uvjerenje da to spada u obranu. To je politički proces ... " (It's my personal opinion that this should be part of the defense. This is a political trial ...). Hrvoj continued, noting that the HSP had never been revolutionary and merely wanted the same rights in Yugoslavia that Hungary had enjoyed in the Dual Monarchy — and so on. Hrvoj spoke all day on the 18th, followed by Marijan Dražić, Mile Budak, Hranilović and Maček, who presented his closing statements on the 22nd.[52]


Like Hrvoj, Maček argued that the Croats had struggled for a hundred years under Austria and Hungary for their rights, "uvijek ne samo legalnim sredstvima, nego ... i na pjesnički način" (always not only with legal means, but ... even in a poetic (literary?) manner). But the assassinations of 20 June 1928 had changed that, and Maček claimed that the Croats had to protect themselves as best they could, and be ready "na obranu za svaki slučaj bilo kako god se što dogodilo" (to be on guard against whatever might possibly happen). Maček then censured the court for not accepting the depositions by Babić and Pospišil, and denounced the trial as blatantly political — demanding that either the defendants be acquitted or all of Croatia condemned.[53]


Hranilović was more resigned in his closing statements. After accusing the police of torturing his mother and reaffirming his innocence, he noted that he was ready to be a "martyr" (žrtva) for the cause of Croatian freedom, and knew before the trial that he would die:


Pred ovim sudom nisam priznao djela za koja sam tužen, jer ih nisam počinio, a sve da sam ih počinio imao bih pravo učiniti za svoju Hrvatsku i za njezino slobodjenje. Borba za oslobodjenje Hrvatske koju vode hrv. narodni zastupnici u inozemstvu, traži žrtve i ako budem ja jedna žrtva rado ju doprinašam, za svoj narod, jer sam iz njega nikao i ništa mi nije preteško, pa sam spreman na sve muke i poniženja.[54] (I do not recognize before this court the actions for which I'm accused, since I didn't commit them, and even had I committed them, I would have been right to do so for my Croatia and for her liberation. The struggle for the liberation of Croatia which the national representatives conduct abroad, seeks victims, and if I am to be one I gladly contribute my martyrdom to her, for my people, because I sprang from them and nothing is too hard for me, and I am ready for all sufferings and humiliations).


Hranilović was indeed sentenced to death, as was Soldin. Herceg and Javor received 20 years each; Horvatek 15; Siladi 6; Vezmarović 5; and Luka Markulin 3 years. Eight other defendants received 18 month sentences. Of the twenty-three tried, only five were acquitted, although seven of those sentenced to 18 months were released, since they had already been that long in prison.[55] ss That the sentences were harsh was clear to those who compared them to the 20 years given Račić for killing Stjepan Radić and two other Croat deputies in 1928; and while some Croats hoped Alexander would commute the death sentences, others sent death threats to Bubanj.[56] The regime itself was determined to make an example of Hranilović and Soldin, whom it hanged on September 25th — thereby creating two new martyrs for the Croatian separatists. While the opposition circulated a sensational account of Bedeković's bizarre behavior during the executions, which included an exhortation from Soldin to "persevere, struggle and never surrender", Croatia ran Soldin's last words along with those of Hranilović, whose last thoughts were dedicated to Maček and Croatia — at least in the HSS versions.[57]


But if Hranilović's last words were suspiciously like those of Bishop Dobrila, a nationalist leader in Istria in the late 1800s ("Daj mi Bože, da budem i na nebu medju Hrvatima" — God, give me to be even in heaven among the Croatians), his execution touched off a vendetta, not a novena. At least one of those accused of having tortured the defendants — Štefek — was gunned down, and the trial seems to have stirred up, rather than calmed down, Croatia. Indeed, worried that the executions might spark demonstrations, the authorities kept a close watch on Soldin's grave, but reported nothing more than that on September 25th Soldin's father laid a wreath on his son's grave, and on the 29th, his sister, mother and wife did likewise.[58]


* * *



The Zagreb trial had possessed the elements of a true show trial, at least in embryo: the defendants had confessed, the judge collaborated with the prosecutor, the defense was allowed only a formal presence, police agents provocateurs seem to have been involved in "setting up" the accused, and draconian sentences were duly handed down and executed. Yet the proceedings had not been a perfect show trial: the defendants had retracted their confessions, the defense had clashed repeatedly with the judge and turned the accusations against the court and the regime, and the draconian sentences were seen as patently unjust rather than as evidence of state power and authority. Clearly, Belgrade did not quite yet have the hang of conducting show trials. But it would get a good deal of practice over the next three years.


The Zagreb police had "uncovered" yet another terrorist organization as early as May 1930 — a year before the Soldin-Hranilović trial — and by August had arrested over a hundred in connection with a plot to blow up a delegation to Alexander led by Ivan Radić and Karlo Kovačević.[59] Whether or not the police had solid evidence, they clearly wished to give the impression that they did, and the regime obviously wanted to implicate Hungary. Thanks to a number of confessions obtained by the police, they could do both. Most sensational was the confession by Antun Herman, who claimed that he and Andrija Tilman — another HSS leader — had traveled to Hungary where they were put up at a gendarme barracks near Beremend, then traveled to see Mijo Seleteković in Pećuj. From there Herman went to Budapest with Seletković, then returned to Pećuj to learn to shoot. Finally, on June 23rd — after a week in Hungary — Herman and Tilman returned home with about 21/2 kilograms of explosives each.[60]


Unfortunately, not only did Tilman fail to support Herman, but the other "confessions" tended to contradict one another. According to Luka Stjević, he had "recruited" Tilman for Seletković, but did not know why. Antun Budrovac confessed to receiving leaflets and guns from Tilman and distributing them to three peasants, but the peasants, while admitting to have read Ustaša and Grič, denied having received guns or explosives. Franjo Carević noted that he had been a go-between for Seletković, Tilman,Crvić and Klemen, but denied any further involvement, while Čanić, Klemen and Sultajs basically denied everything, except getting some money from Carević. And Ivan Ruškan, while admitting to having met Ivan Domitrović in Hungary and received a package from him with some explosives and two pistols for Tilman, denied knowing what was in the package at the time.[61] How convincing any of this would have been in a court of criminal law is problematic, but it was enough to convict the "Tilman group" in a political trial.[62]



* * *


But such cases were becoming the norm in Yugoslavia and attracted relatively little attention, although they did serve the purpose of keeping paranoia alive regarding the intentions of Yugoslavia's neighbors. A more impressive trial was staged following the arrests of Ivan Rosić and sixty-nine "terrorists" in 1931.


The Rosić trial began with the murder of Andrija Berić, mayor of Nova Gradiška in the Slavonija region. Berić had personal enemies in the Nova Gradiška area, and he had earned the enmity of the Ustaša by collaborating with Kovačević and the regime, and denouncing Pavelić and Perčec as mercenaries in the pay of foreign states during a rally in Zagreb on 8 December 1930. Ivan Rosić, who shot Berić to death on the evening of 3 February 1931, was a shoemaker's assistant — and at first any link to terrorist groups was less than apparent. Indeed, Rosić was easily apprehended — the police merely followed his footsteps home — and he readily admitted the killing, claiming that he had shot Berić on the spur of the moment with a gun purchased from a wandering Bosnian in 1929 for 250 dinars. Evidently Rosić was angry at Berić, who had had him fined 300 dinars and jailed for 14 days in 1930 because Rosić had placed a wreath to commemorate Radić's death, but in his initial deposition of 4 February, Rosić insisted that he had acted entirely on his own. However, two days later, he noted that a certain Ivan Ljevaković, a peasant, had put him up to the murder.[63]


To what extent Rosić was telling the truth is questionable, but Ivo Vragović and the Zagreb police used the murder as an excuse to arrest 174 people, convinced that they had uncovered "a vast conspiracy".[64] But Rosić stuck more or less to his story of having killed Berić for revenge, and it was only the testimony of Ivan Ljevaković, a former gendarme (not identical with Ivan Ljevaković, a peasant), that allowed the Yugoslav police to cast such wide nets. Among others, Ljevaković implicated Dragutin Toth of the HSS during seven interrogations in February and three in March. According to Ljevaković he had been in contact with Pavelić since 1920 and run the organization in Croatia for Perčec. But it is fairly clear that if not totally fabricated, Ljevaković's testimony owed a good deal to the Zagreb police.[65]


According to Ljevaković, himself a former gendarme, as well as a tram driver and HSS member, he had originally been given 2,000 dinars to kill Kovačević while in Budapest on 26 March 1930, but had then been invited to Vienna by Pavelić. There he visited baron West on 6 December at IV Bezirk Karolingengasse 7, where he met Perčević, who took him to Wiednergürtel 6 vrata (door) 13/I kat (floor) to get 30 shillings for Ljevaković, who was then deposited at the Fasangasse hotel Sonenaufgang. Ljevaković claimed to have gotten 50 schillings from Perčec sometime later. Although he could not remember where he had met the Ustaša leader, he did recall that Perčec had "grdio ličnost pok" (slandered the person of the late) Stjepan Radić and ordered Karlo Kovačević's death. According to Ljevaković, Pavelić "se smatra drugim Mussolinijem" (saw himself as another Mussolini), Perčec was on the "najnižem stepenu intelektualne sposobnosti" (lowest rank of intellectual capacity), and Sarkotić, Jelić, and other Hrvatska Stranka Prava (HSP) émigrés were all working for a Habsburg restoration. Indeed, Ljevakovič noted that while in Vienna, he had run into August Košutić, who had invited him to the Gaffe Germanisch for a drink and complained that Perčec was an "obični Habsburgovac" (usual Habsburg partisan) and a terrorist. Yet Ljevakovič claimed that he then accompanied Perčec to Hungary with a Magyar officer who showed him how to make bombs. While there, he also "saw" Mladen Lorković, Petar Gruber, Ivo Košutić, Branko Jelić, Ante Crvić and Mijo Seletković. He was given two bombs to take back to Yugoslavia, but tossed them out of a train window while crossing the Mura river.[66]


Ljevaković's story was clearly tailor-made for a show trial. The problem was getting corroborating testimony. As with the Tilman group, witnesses tended to give conflicting — or confusing — versions of events, and the only link seemed to be Ljevaković himself. Indeed, it seemed as if unable to find anyone to kill Kovačević, Ljevaković had finally persuaded Rosič to kill Berić.[67] The whole affair was Byzantine, and Ljevakovič appears to have been either a fool or an agent provocateur, but the Yugoslav press mined his testimony for whatever gems could be dug out implicating the Ustaša and Hungary in Berić's murder. Unfortunately, one of the witnesses who might have supported Ljevakovič's story — or disproven it — committed suicide by jumping out of a second story window at Zagreb's Petrinjska police station while being questioned.[68]


Whether agents provacateurs or not, Ljevakovič, Josip Miklaušić and Martin Nagy did display the sort of behavior that those involved in show trials in Russia did. When interviewed by foreign journalists in April 1931, they were repentent. Nagy even offered to kill Perčec, Ljevaković repeated his story, and Miklaušič made a point of saying how well he had been treated by the police.[69]


Of course, not all newspapers accepted such staged interviews, and the Italians — who were very interested in the whole affair and feared that their security might have been breached — looked into Ljevaković's story. According to their sources, Ljevaković had indeed been in Vienna in December 1930, but been rebuffed by Perčec, Perčević and Košutić, and the consensus was that he was really a Serb agent, not a Croat terrorist.[70] But the Yugoslav press continued to use Ljevaković's confession to attack Hungary, and the regime to bring Rosić and others indirectly implicated in the Berić slaying to trial on 6 July 1931. This time the government kept the trial short, and by the 15th the court had condemned Rosić and Ljevaković to death, and sentenced their co-defendants to sentences ranging from 10 months to 15 years. Rosić was duly executed in September, a few days before Hranilovič and Soldin, but Ljevaković's sentence was commuted — a further indication that his story was, at best, exaggerated.[71] The Rosić affair also led to the trial of Dragutin Toth, an HSS leader and Director of General Warehouses in Zagreb, who was tried with thirteen other HSS members, but without Nagy, who had hanged himself in his cell. As usual, the accused retracted their confessions, protesting that they had been tortured, but despite their recantations and Budak's defense, they were duly convicted of terrorism.[72]


How much this wave of arrests and trials accomplished is an open question. Clearly, the trials were meant to embarrass Hungary — and to intimidate Austria and Italy — and undercut foreign support for the Croatian émigrés, at the same time discrediting the émigrés as foreign mercenaries. But Belgrade could not get key op-position leaders to confess and had to rely on questionable characters such as Ljevaković. Nor did the Yugoslavs seem able to get "hard evidence" of foreign involvement — or even of internal terrorist activity, as Ljevaković's claim that he threw away the Ustaša's bombs indicated. The police were able to seize copies of émigré newspapers, but correspondence and more compromising documents were lacking, as were weapons and explosives. The trials thus had to make do with using police intelligence funnelled through cooperative defendants, and given the repeated efforts of the opposition to put the regime on trial, this was not very convincing. Then the Yugoslav regime found the perfect candidate for a show trial in Petar Gruber, a member of Svetozar Pribićević's Samostalna Demokratska Stranka (SDS), who had been active in the Croatian and Macedonian émigré circles, and whose credentials as a terrorist seemed beyond question.




Gruber, Serbian on his mother's side and German on his father's, had been educated at Graz and easily settled into Berlin after leaving Yugoslavia in 1930. A member of both the SDS (Samostalna Demokmtska Stranka) and Orjuna (Organizacija Jugoslavenskih Nacionalista), he had been arrested for anti-state activity in 1927, and was 28 years old when he left for exile in April 1930. By November 1930 he had established an "SDS" émigré newspaper, Budućnost, in Berlin, established contacts with the émigrés through Slavko Cihlar, been saluted as an ally by Pavelić's Grit, and impressed the Italians.[73] By June 1931, Gruber was in Sofia to reaffirm the Croat-Macedonian ties established by Pavelić, Pertec and Mihailov in 1929, and while there contacted the Stefani press agent, who sent a long — and positive — report on Gruber back to Rome.[74]


Gruber claimed that the prečani Serbs were in the same boat as the Croats and also opposed the regime. More importantly, he noted that the Croats were arming, that all terrorist activity was directed from inside Yugoslavia, and that the Croats were placing all their hopes on a war, which would trigger a revolution in Croatia. Gruber claimed that the émigrés shared a common goal of creating a Croatian republic, and implied that Košutić in Berlin, Frank in Budapest, and Pavelić and Perčec in Vienna were all working together — with Gruber himself representing the SDS in Berlin. Gruber was thus seeking to get the Macedonians to join a "united front," which already included Montenegrins, Hungarians and Romanians, and he claimed to have obtained the support of both Stanišev and Mihajlov. On the other hand, while expressing himself an admirer of IMRO, Gruber noted that some Croat émigrés considered any terrorist activity mounted from abroad as counterproductive.[75]


But Gruber was too good to be true, and as early as July 1931 there was some question as to his actual status following his repudiation by the SDS and reports that he had maintained "good relations with some Serbs agents residing abroad".[76] By October, the Austrian and German press were carrying reports of an attempt on Pavelić's life by Gruber, with the official Yugoslav press agency AVALA touting him as an authentic "Croat" leader, and the Austrian Reichspost insisting that he was a "Serb" agent.[77] Certainly the repercussions of Gruber's confessions, which were given front-page play in the Yugoslav press in October 1931 and during his trial in May 1932 were serious. IMRO recalled the director of the Geneva-based Macédoine, Simeon Eftimov, who had arranged Gruber's visit to Sofia in 1931; and Stanišev was eased out of IMRO's directory in January 1932 and replaced by Dimiter Mihajlov.[78] The Italians also discreetly, but forcibly, let Belgrade know that if the sections of the confessions dealing with Italy were played up, Rome would retaliate with its own evidence of "illicit activity directed against Italy" by Yugoslavia.[79] The Italians also began seriously to rethink their support of Pavelić and the Croatian émigrés, who were desperately trying to depict the self-avowed SDS leader as an unbalanced, tubercular, suicidal.[80]


Gruber's exposé of émigré activity was rich with names, addresses and dates, but not altogether tenable. While Gruber went out of his way to tie Pavelić, Servatzi, Perčec and Perčević to Italy, he also implied that Austria and Germany were supporting the émigrés. According to Gruber, Košutić had given him $700 to set up Budućnost, Luka Fertilio had introduced him to Croatian circles, while Slavko Cihlar — identified by Gruber as the Croat liaison with the KPJ's Ivo Kardelj — had introduced him to Košutić. However, while stressing Košutić's ties to Pavelić's group, Gruber insisted that Krnjević opposed Pavelić. He also implicated a number of others, including Italian and Hungarian press attachés and the Viennese police chief, Weiss. Finally, weary of the émigré life and fearing for his life after falling out with Pavelić, Gruber had contacted Miličević, Belgrade's man in Vienna, who had helped him to flee to the safety of Yugoslavia.[81]


While there is no doubt that Gruber was exploited by the Yugoslav regime, he had traveled in high émigré circles, and if his vagueness about dates makes it difficult to assess the accuracy of his revelations, he had been in Rijeka (Fiume) in 1931 according to Italian reports; a warning of an attempt on Perović was received by Yugoslav intelligence in March 1931; and other aspects of his confessions can be corroborated.[82]82 On the other hand, Gruber seems to have tried to validate Ljevaković's confession by claiming that Pavelić was anxious to discredit it, and it is possible that he was one of Milićević's agents.[83] Nor is it clear why he should choose to return to Yugoslavia in July 1931, following the release of the head of the SDS, Svetozar Pribićević.


What is clear from two letters sent to his wife in early 1931 is that Gruber was concentrad to "save Serbism," not to promote "hrvatstvo" (Croatism). Thus, even if his original intent had been to collaborate with the Croatian émigrés, he may have decided that he could not "save Serbism" by doing so. Moreover, while the local police chief in Osijek put Ljubica Gruber under surveillance, she also obtained a passport enabling her to see Pero, and it is very possible that she talked him into defecting during a meeting in Pečuj, Hungary in April 1931 — assuming that it had not been Gruber who had sent the warning of the attempt on Perović a month earlier.[84]


Certainly Gruber was fond of his wife and loathe to oppose her "national feelings" as a Serb. Moreover, he was homesick, physically run down, and worried that he was losing his wife's affections — particularly since Ljubica, although Serbian, was evidently indifferent to politics, and so would not be impressed with her husband's efforts abroad.[85] In addition, after his father cut him off, he began to have financial difficulties and was upset that he could no longer send money to Ljubica — yet in March 1931, he could promise her 2,400 dinars, perhaps a downpayment from Yugoslav intelligence.[86]


Unfortunately, it is impossible to give exact answers to the questions surrounding Gruber's defection. It is even possible that he had gone abroad as a Serbian agent. Certainly the Yugoslav regime had organized assassination attempts on the Croat émigrés, and Belgrade regularly used double agents and agents provocateurs. Morever, in late 1932 a certain Svetislav Sajić claimed that Gruber had recruited him to kill Pavelić and Perčec in 1931 — after Milićević had put Sajić in contract with Gruber. Of course, the Italians considered Sajić just another agent provocateur.[87]


In fact, the veracity of Gruber's revelations are irrelevant. What was important was that in May 1932 Belgrade could finally mount a true show trial, with a compliant defendant anxious to expose the "criminal émigrés" for what they were. Gruber's testimony was also useful in demonstrating that sinister outside forces — Italy, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria — were conniving to destroy Yugoslavia by arming and funding heartless terrorists whose only interests were money, women and power. Gruber's use of Krnjević and Košutić also allowed Belgrade to drive a wedge between the HSS and the Frankists, and his testimony indirectly corroborated other exposés — such as that by Jelka Pogorelec, Perćec's one-time mistress — and lent oblique support to government prosecution of other terrorists and separatists.[88] Finally, Gruber was useful as a foil to Pribićević and the SDS, for he could be held up as an object lesson of the perils threatening a prečani Serb who tried to "save Serbism" by collaborating with Croat nationalists. All in all, the regime had finally perfected the technique of the show trial — and probably gained some ground among Yugoslavia's Serbs as a result.


* * *


But the regime had not gained much ground among the non-Serbs in Yugoslavia through the show trials, and the political situation continued to deteriorate through 1932. By the end of the year the leaders of Croatian Peasant Party, headed by Vladimir Maček, Croatian Party of Rights and Independent Democratic Party of Svetozar Pribićević had issued "punktacije", which called for a radical restructuring of the Yugoslav state, condemned Serbian hegemony, and urged guarantees of equality for all ethnic groups.[89] Maček's position seemed increasingly separatist, and on 21 January 1933 he was arrested and interned in Bosnia. On April 24th he was brought to trial under Article 3 of the Law for the Defense of the State, charged with publicly advocating secession.[90] Over 700 attorneys volunteered to defend the HSS leader, although at least a portion of these had been solicited by the opposition, which also arranged a mass for Maček's health in early April, and probably had a hand in the 5,000 Easter greetings that arrived for the Croat leader.[91]


Faced with this sort of maneuver on the part of the opposition, the regime staged a quick trial, and while the proceedings were nominally public, they were not reported in the Yugoslav press.[92] Maček's sentence was relatively light — three years' imprisonment — but was considered harsh, given that he received the same sentence as the three would-be assassins who had tried to murder Mile Budak in June 1932.[93] In any case, the lesson of the trial was clear. As one Italian observer noted, the "reality" was that the regime refused to be "impressed by ideologies" or "noble" political ideals, and "intend[ed] to govern" by naked force if necessary.[94] And to great extent, the trial — although a political rather than a show trial — was effective. Not only did it behead the Croatian opposition, but it reduced the opposition to a passive celebration of their 'living martyr', Maček, and left them without an active program.[95]


More importantly, perhaps, Maček's conviction demonstrated that the regime was willing to dispense with the niceties of legal form and use the courts for its own purposes. This meant that no opponent — or critic — of the regime was safe, no matter how high or how low. Maček's confinement had shown that the most pro-minent were vulnerable, and the prosecution of workers and peasants demonstrated that no one was too humble to be ignored by the state. For example, in early 1933 eight people were arrested in the Podravina area near Prelog, evidently in an effort to preclude the formation of an opposition group. Although the sentences were light — 14 days for a merchant, a landowner and five farmers, and 10 for a student — the lesson was clear: opposition to the regime was dangerous.[96]


How dangerous was shown by a series of trials resulting from the Ustaša raid into Lika in late 1932. The regime had had some success catching and trying Ustaša — notably the conviction of Stjepan Tomljenović, Franjo Furlan, Sime Balen, Nikola Busljet and Mile Sikić in late January 1933 — and the Lika raid provided the perfect excuse to round up large numbers of dissidents.[97] The "Lika trials" proper began with the conviction of a number of accused terrorists from Senj, including Julije Lenac, a barber, Vladimir Sećko, a store clerk, Ante Dobrila, a postal worker, and Drago Vlahović, a clerk. Lenac received 16 years, Sećko 18, Dobrila 14, Vlahović 8 and Rupčić 3, with two of their co-defendants acquitted.[98] Why the regime should acquit any of the accused is not clear, given that the trials were obviously rigged, but perhaps those set free had served as informers or agents provocateurs, or had cooperated with the court, and perhaps the occasional acquittal was useful to show that the forms of the legal system were being observed.


In any case, the occasional acquittal did not prevent the regime imprisoning those of the opposition it considered the most dangerous. Thus in another trial connected to Lika in May 1933, Andrija Nadinčić received a life sentence for smuggling arms into Yugoslavia, Šime Dijan got six months for not informing on the others, and the other five defendants got 3 to 8 years in prison.[99] In July, Novosti paid special attention to the three main Lika trials, in which over fifty "Ustaše" were tried and over thirty sentenced. The regime obviously intended to show that it would tolerate no more "raids," and the courts consequently meted out harsh sentences. In the first trial, Juraj (Juco) Rukavina was condemned to death, Dane Barić to 9 months, and the other eight defendants from 3 years to life imprisonment. A week later, another group of twelve Ustaša were tried, and in the third trial Stjepan Mabasa and Josip Čačić got life sentences, Milan Silhović 10 months, and the remaining defendants 6 to 15 years each. More importantly for the regime the trials were vehicles for accusing Italy and Hungary of trying to destroy Yugoslavia by funding terrorists, one of the defendants even claiming that the Ustaša in Zadar (Zara) had "tanks" ready to invade Yugoslavia.[100]


The function of the trials was not purely domestic, but diplomatic as well. For example, Belgrade used the testimony in the Lenac trial and Gruber's exposé to present a Note Verbale to Rome demanding the expulsion of Vjekoslav Servatzi from Rijeka, and the Nadinčić proceedings to present a Note Verbale requesting the expulsions of Ante Brkan and Ivan Šakič from Zadar.[101]101 Thus, by tying the internal opposition to Italy and Hungary via the evidence presented at the trials, Belgrade sought not only to intimidate the domestic opposition and simultaneously attract public opinion to its side, it also sought to embarrass its external enemies to the point of forcing them to disavow their support of Yugoslav émigrés.


Internally, the regime had adopted a policy of playing up the trials of relatively minor opposition members — such as those in-volved in the Lika trials — and playing down proceedings used to imprison major figures such as Maček. Therefore in a short trial lasting a week in March 1933, a number of HSS leaders were convicted of anti-state propaganda. Ivo Pernar, an HSS prominent leader received a 12 month sentance, Djuro Kemfelja 18 months, Viktor Košutić 10, and Petar Posarić 8 months. While relatively light, such sentences must be viewed in comparison to the 15 year sentence given to Tomo Košćec of Dugo Selo, who had shot and killed Josip Predavec — an HSS vice-president — in July 1933. That there were two standards of justice in Yugoslavia was obvious: Košćec's trial had lasted a day, with the judge expressing his sympathy for the "trauma" caused the defendant by his victim.[102] Naturally, this was reported in the Yugoslav press, evidently in an effort to excuse the light sentence and to show the mean character of the opposition.




That there was a real opposition that posed a potential threat to the regime seemed all too obvious to the Yugoslav authorities. Despite the series of trials and extra-legal measures, in late May of 1933, the District Inspector (okružni inspektor) for the Ogulin area reported that:


Stanje u političkom pogledu je nepovoljno. Po teritoriji čete svudi su stvorene tajne organizacije medju pristalicama bivše Radićeve partije sa ciljem da u zgodnom momentu nasilno prigrabe vlast. Ove organizacije još nisu dobile oruďje i zbog toga su još soda manje opasne. Ako dodju ove organizacije do oružja postaće vrlo opasne.[103] (The situation from the political point of view is un-satisfactory. Throughout the territory "čete" [units] of secret organizations are being created among the former members of Radić's party with the goal of seizing power at the right moment. These organizations have not yet received arms and so are still for now not that dangerous, but if these organizations get arms, they will become very dangerous).


The Yugoslav authorities were particularly unsettled by the formation of HSS defense units (the Hrvatska Seljačka Zaštita), and often confused them with Ustaša "čete" (troops). Thus they did not distinguish between the HSS organization led by Tomo Madjarić, groups led by Djuro Kemfelja, and the "Ustaša" group of HSS members led by Ivan Lebović.[104] In late August, the Ogulin District Inspector again reported that the political situation was "nepovoljna" (adverse), and the "seljačke mase u stalno napetom stanju"[105] (the peasant masses continuously tense). If anything the situation deteriorated during the fall, and by late October, the inspector was reporting that:


Raspolotenje naroda prema vlastima, a naročito tandarmeriji nije najbolje. Veliki deo naroda popreko gleda tandarme. Ovo je posledica stalne agitacije protiv drtavnih vlasti i njezinih organa.[106] (The popular attitude toward the authorities, and especially the gendarmerie, is not best. A major part of the people views the gendarme askance. This is the result of constant agitation against the state authority and its organs).


Given this, it was considered necessary for Alexander to demonstrate his popularity by visiting the Croatian capital in December 1933. But not only did the cold reception accorded the monarch belie official press releases, on December 16th, an assassin, Petar Oreb Mijat, approached to within a few feet of the King's car in Jelačić Trg. The only reason that the monarch survived, was that Oreb decided at the last minute not to use either the bombs or pistols that he was carrying to kill Alexander. Instead he returned to his lodgings with his two companions, Josip Begović and Antun Podgorelec. There, at seven o'clock in the evening on the 17th, two police agents tried to arrest the three men, but Oreb killed one and wounded the other. Although Podgorelec and Begović were arrested almost immediately, Oreb managed to change his clothes with some gypsies and get as far as Velika Gorica before being apprehended. All three would-be assassins were immediately subjected to intensive questioning, while Alexander prudently left Zagreb.[107]


The police in Zagreb had been notified of Oreb's presence by Belgrade, but where its information originated is not clear.[108]


It was clear that the regime intended to use the affair to round up those suspected of links to the separatist opposition, and more importantly, to use the trial to bring pressure to disavow the separatist émigrés against Italy, Hungary and Austria. It was also obvious that the police were seeking to confirm and expand information that they already had from other sources. Thus, for example, in his December 23rd interrogation Oreb was asked the location of the arms warehouse in Trieste and of the Ustaša "logors" (camp) in Italy and Hungary. Although he insisted that he knew little of the "logors", he freely admitted to the killing of the police agents, and provided extensive information about the "logor" in Triest.[109]


How much Oreb really knew, how much he invented, and how much he "confessed" on police prompting is difficult to ascertain. Pavelić had immediately assured his Italian liaison that Oreb knew nothing of importance, but during his trial Oreb "remembered" the most obscure details of the Ustaša's working abroad, and the Yugoslav press gave his revelations front page play.[110] Indeed, along with the exposés by Jelka Pogorelec and Petar Gruber, the confessions by Oreb and Begović form the bulk of what we know of Ustaša operations. It is therefore worth going into some detail regarding the confessions and the trial.


Both Oreb and Begović proved very cooperative. Begović immediately implicated Vladimir Singer, Erik Lisak, Slavko Sarić, Ivo Herenčić, and "Ivan Marković" (Oreb's alias). He also admitted to having helped Singer and Petar Posarić flee Yugoslavia, and in this connection named Vladimir Herceg, Stjepan and Marija Pušić, Mira Košutić, Milivoj Somogji and Josip Matijaš, as well as a cab driver named Dragutin Zajec.[111] But Begović had insisted that the Pušićs knew nothing of Ustaša operations, and only knew that Singer had trusted Zajec, who turned out to know as little as Marija and Stjepan Pušić under questioning. Efforts to extent the investigation to Blaž and Zdravka Lorković also led to a dead end, and it seemed that the information given by Begović was marginal at best. Nor was this surprising, given that Begović was an internal operative, and knew nothing at all of Ustaša operations abroad. The only really interesting bit of information from Begović was that Austria did not support the aims or methods of the Croatian separatists, and thus all arms had come via Hungary and Italy.[112]


Antun Podgorelec, Begović's uncle, knew nothing, having been recruited at the last minute by his nephew.[113]


The most talkative, and informative, was Oreb. As early as 20 December he had named eighteen émigrés in the Triest "logor" and described the Ustaša oath. But, interestingly, while he was very precise with most names, he only noted "neki Babić" and "neki Seletkovi" — an indication that at best his relationship with Mijo Babić and Mijo Seletković was not close. Indeed, while he named Josip Milković, the name was misspelt "Miljković" in the interrogations — an error made consistently by Milićević, who was the chief coordinator of anti-émigré operations. Oreb also noted during this interrogation that he and Herenčić had left Triest at 7 a.m. on December 10th for Klagenfurt to meet Singer, but failing to do so, had crossed the border on foot by themselves. They then took a train to Zagreb, arriving on the 11th, and rendevouzed with Begović. According to Oreb, Herenčić had advised him to tell what he knew of Ustaša operation abroad in order to avoid a beating. Until the 16th, he had left Begović's lodgings only three times, and he claimed that he had not killed Alexander because "pograbio strah i nisam imao odvažnosti, da izvedem atentat"[114] (I got frightened and had no courage to carry out the assassination attempt).


On December 25th, Oreb essentially repeated his story, filling in a few details, but insisting that he knew nothing of the Italian logors. The number of Ustaša in Triest now increased to 20 to 25, but Oreb still could not come up with Bego's name, although he did note that the Croat organization in Belgium received no outside funding.[115] Then, during the January 1st interrogation with Juraj Spiler, Oreb confessed that he had spent only about ten days in Triest in April 1933, then gone with Seletkovič to Venice, then to Padova, Brescia, and the Ustaša camp at Borgotaro. He claimed that the camp had masqueraded as "Bulgarians" and were under a certain "Jasinski," and then "Stjepan Dabiša". After two months, Oreb noted that the logor (camp) was moved to Vischetto, which he described in some detail. After another 21 months Oreb claimed that he was taken to Piacenza to meet Pavelić at the railway station's caffé, along with Herenčić, Miljkovič [sic] and "Bego". Pavelić had instructed Oreb to say that he had come from Triest if captured, then sent Oreb on to Parma, and thence by train to Venice and Klagenfurt.[116]


The following day, Oreb showed that he had an extraordinary memory by naming 24 Ustaša in Trieste, and giving the full names of 58 men, and partial names for 20 others in the Italian logor. He also managed fairly detailed personal descriptions of 42 Ustaša.[117] Two days later he gave a detailed description of the logor at Bolgotaro [sic], and on January 27th he named seven Ustaša contacts in Yugoslavia — evidently given him inadvertently by Vrljić, Fraisman, Moškov, Francetič and Herenčić. Interestingly, for the first time Oreb mentioned that Pavelić had offered him 500,000 dinars to kill Alexander.[118] But the next day he changed his story, claiming that "Rego" had offered the money, and Pavelić had merely confirmed the offer. He also contradicted earlier testimony by claiming that Pavelić had never been to Triest, and that Begovič had told him to say this. Oreb also noted that the Ustaša had been in Bovenja [sic] before moving to Bolgotaro [sic].[119]


On January 29th, the Zagreb police had enough evidence to notify the prosecutor for the Tribunal for the Defense of the State in Belgrade to prepare-for a trial.[120] However, although Dragomir Jovanovič had located "Bego" (which he thought might be Kunić) in late January, the Zagreb police could not confirm most of Oreb's data on Triest.[121] The Zagreb police were also disappointed that Oreb could not supply more information on Stijepo Perič and the operations in Belgium and Berlin.[122] And the authorities in Split, whom the Zagreb police had contacted to corroborate Oreb's tale of smuggling, not only confirmed Oreb's links to Talenta and a group of local separatists, but suggested that "daljnje mere" (other measures) be used to make Oreb talk, since he knew more than he had confessed. Split noted that Talenta had worked closely with Pavelić, Luka Čulič and Marušić in Belgium, and that Oreb could probably fill in a number of details on PNF operations, Ustaša operatives on Lastovo, and on the Zadar operation run by Ante Brkan.[123]


It thus seems that Oreb was actually one of Pavelić's operatives, and it is likely that the bulk of his information was correct. What is not clear is how much of the confessions were from Oreb's memory, and how much from police files. Certainly, Oreb could not have known much of the center at Bovegno, since it was moved in March 1933, and Oreb did not arrive in Triest until late March or late April.[124] His information regarding Borgotaro seems to have been accurate, but Narcis Jeszensky was not replaced by Siniša (Stjepan Kopčinović) until the move to Bardi in June 1933, Kopčinović later being replaced by Dabiša (Stjepan Tomičić). It would thus seem that Oreb was not that familiar with the Ustaša hierarchy, nor that his knowledge of the logors was that good. On the other hand, his knowledge may have reflected his status as a foot soldier in Pavelić's "army." But if so, it is difficult to see how he came to know the names of so many Ustaša, and why he was hand-picked for the Zagreb mission.[125] There is, of course, the possibility that Oreb was picked because the mission was meant to fail, and thereby embarrass Italy and Hungary into more open support, or at least destroy the possibility of any rapprochement with Belgrade. And even a failure would have been useful, since it would have shown that Alexander was not safe in Zagreb — despite official Yugoslav propaganda regarding the King's popularity in Croatia.


There is also the possibility that Oreb was a double agent, particularly since in March 1933, Ivan Mešterović, the police chief in Sušak, was trying to find agents to penetrate the Italian logors, and by May claimed to have an agent in Italy and an informant with Mate Devčić in Rijeka (Fiume).[126] If so, Zagreb did not know — although Belgrade did — since Mihaldžić was still seeking agents to infiltrate the Ustaša in Italy as late as March 1934. He evidently found some in April, but it is not clear whether he could afford to hire them.[127] In any case by May 1934, the Yugoslays had located the logors, and the Italians again moved the Ustaša, this time from Ulivetto — where they had marched from Bardi in February 1934 — to San Demetrio.[128] But while it was likely that the Yugoslavs had relatively good information regarding the Ustaša in Italy by early 1934 — without Oreb's confession — it is unlikely that Oreb was a Yugoslav agent, and his performance at his trial suggested that he hoped to avoid the death sentence, as he had tried to avoid torture — by cooperating.


That Oreb was willing to repeat his confessions, with a few embellishments meant to glorify Alexander and denigrate the émigrés, was clear from his first testimony on March 19th, when he admitted that:


Jesam, kriv sam, samo što sam radio pod sugestijom. Oni su me sugestirali. To su me oni sugestirali Begović, Herenčić, Pavelić i svi oni drugi iz inozemstva. Rekli su mi, da će me ubiti ako ne budem tako radio i ako ne budem s njima i onda ako ih izdam, rekli su mi da će mi vaditi oči, nokte, da će me mučiti.[129]


(Yes, I am guilty, but I acted under the influence of others. Others forced me. Begović, Herenčić, Pavelić and all those others from abroad forced me. They said that they would kill me if I didn't do as they said and didn't work with them, and then if I betrayed, they said that they would put out my eyes, pull out my nails, that they would torture me).


On March 21st and 22nd, Oreb essentially repeated his confession, with special attention to the logors n Italy, Austria and Hungary — Oreb noting that these three states "potpomažu ustaše" (support the ustaša). He also noted that he had not wanted anyone to get hurt or die, and that Begović was to blame for the violence. Rather pathetically, Oreb also noted that he did not want to die. Certainly, he claimed that he had not had the heart to kill such a popular man as Alexander:


Ja sam mogao baciti bombu i poslije kad sam se povukao, jer Nj. Vel. Kralj još nije bio prošao ali nisam htio da izvršim atentat, jer sam to vidio kako narod mnogo voli Nj. Vel. Kralja.[130]


(I could have thrown the bomb and afterwards gotten away, because His Majesty the King had not yet passed, but I did not want to go through with the attempt, because I saw how much the people loved His Majesty the King).


On the 22nd, Podgorelec and Oreb got into a shouting match after Podgorelec had pled not guilty and blamed Oreb for his predicament. According to Podgorelec, Oreb had said that either Italy or Germany was supporting the Ustaša. Podgorelec also contradicted Oreb when he said that Begović had discussed the Ustaša, while Oreb denied Podgorelec's claim that Oreb had been deter-mined to kill at least a few gendarmes. And Podgorelec in turn denied Oreb's assertion that Podgorelec and Begović had decided to kill Alexander at Christmas when Oreb had refused to act on the 16th and 17th.[131] The next day Podgorelec and Oreb again clashed, and while Begović pled guilty to being in touch with the émigrés, he denied any guilt in the assassination attempt, which he said had been set up by Singer, and by either Perćević or Perćec — noting he had assumed they were one and the same man.[132]


The following day Begović was singularly reticent, and even the judge's efforts to encourage him to follow Oreb's example and admit all was ineffective. Indeed, Begović was not sure that Oreb was telling the truth, and was categoric when Oreb accused him of having brought in the time bombs, Begović responding: "Nemoj pričati gluposti" (Don't tell stupidities). Begović did say that Oreb and Herenćić had claimed that Italy and Hungary were supporting the Ustaša. But it seems from the Novosti reports that while Begović and Podgorelec were struggling to be accurate in their testimony, Oreb was trying to curry the favor of the court, and may have been reciting lines learned in advance.[133] Indeed, on March 24th, the three defendants were allowed to make closing statements, and while Oreb and Begović tried one last time to win the sympathy of the court, Podgorelec — the only one with a lawyer - refused to say anything. The speeches of both Oreb and Begović are worth citing at length, since they are models of the sort of confessions common in show trials.


Oreb went first, pleading guilty, but blaming his fall from grace on a need for money and the duplicitous Ustaša, while simultaneously debunking the idea that anyone working for Pavelić could be a patriot:


Gospodo suci, osjećam se krivac i to za djelo što sam ubio čovjeka. Ja sam uopće po tudjem nagovoru stupio u organizaciju. Ja nisam radio za ideal, ja nisam idealista. Stupio sam po nagovoru Talente, zbog para. Ja sam siromah i nemam nikoga i nemam novaca, a ne mogu da mdim jer evo kakva mi je ruka. (Pokazuje svoju kljastu lijevu ruku). Ja sam stupio u organizaciju, jer sam mislio da će mi dati da mdim koliko mogu. On me je na prevaru doveo u Zadar i Trst i na prevaru su me odveli u logor i organizaciju. Tu su me oni uveli u službu Talijana, kojima i oni služe i koji ih izdržavaju. Ja nisam znao za to Hrvatsku, ja sam mislio da je uvijek i prije bila Jugoslavija. Ja sam u logoru doznao da su bili neki hrvatski kraljevi: neki Tomislav i tako drugi. Ja sam mislio, da je i prije posto-jala Jugoslavija. Da sam ja bio idealista, ja bi bio učinio što bi htio i ne bi me niko spriječio. Molim vas, gospodo suci, da mi malo oprostite.[134] (Emphasis in original.)


(Your honors, I feel myself guilty and that for having killed a man. I joined the organization basically due to foreign inducements. I wasn't acting for an ideal, I'm not an idealist. I joined due to the inducements of Talenta, for the money. I am a poor man and have no one and no money, and I cannot work because of my hand, as you can see. (He showed his deformed left hand.) I joined the organization because I thought they would give me as much work as I could handle. They tricked me into going to Zadar and Triest, and tricked me into joining the organization and the logor. They enticed me into the service of the Italians, whom they serve and who support them.


I knew nothing about any Croatia, I had thought that always before it had been Yugoslavia. I learned in the logor that there had been some Croatian kings: some Tomislav and such others. I had thought, that Yugoslavia had always existed. If I had been an idealist, I would have done what I wanted and let no one stop me. I beg you, your honors, that you forgive me a little).


Begović then got his chance to speak, and tried his best to improve his own case by praising Alexander and stressing the depth of his remorse:


Slavni sude, shvaćam da su djela moja teška, shvaćam s velikim bolom u duši, da sam se ogriješio o život najuzvišenije ličnosti, kako je jučer rekao gospodin državni odvjetnik, o život onog, koji je najviše u svijetu poznat i svagdje cijenjen i poštovan, o život Nj. Veličanstva našeg Kmlja. Kako je jučer državni odvjetnik g. doktor rekao, o kralju se može samo u superlativima govoriti, on uživa op-6u ljubav i opće simpatije, ne samo kod nas, nego u cijelom svijetu.


U koliko je moje djelo veliko, moje je pokajanje još veće.


Apeliram na vas, gospodo suci, kao ljude, na vaša srca i duše u ime svoje i ime svog oca, koji je za vrijeme Austro-Ugarske i uopće najljučih parlamentamih borba izlagao svoj život za Kralja. Ja vas molim, da mi dosudite blagu kazan.[135] (Emphasis in original.)


(Honorable court, I understand that my case is serious, I under-stand with a great pain in my heart, that I have sinned against the life of the most sublime person, as the state prosecutor said yesterday, against the life of one who is above all others known in the world and everywhere honored and admired, against the life of His Majesty the King. As the state prosecutor said yesterday, one can only speak of the King in superlatives, he is loved by everybody, not only by us, but throughout the world.


As great as was my crime, my contrition is greater still.


I appeal to you, your honors, as men, to your hearts and souls, in my name and the name of my father, who during the time of Austria-Hungary and in general during the fiercest parliamentary struggles offered his life for the King. I implore you, that you sentence me to a light punishment).


But neither their pleas for mercy nor their dismissal of their lawyers did Oreb and Begović any good. Both were sentenced to death and hanged on May 12th. Interestingly, Podgorelec, who kept his lawyer and refused to play the court's game of self-abasement, had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Indeed, the sentences had less to do with the law, than with the regime's effort to show that Italy and Hungary supported a group of cynical mercenaries. Essentially a diatribe against Yugoslavia's enemies, they took half an hour to read.[136]


As with the Lika trials, the regime used the evidence presented in the Oreb trial to' embarrass Italy, Austria and Hungary, and thereby break up the Ustaša. The Yugoslavs thus sought the ex-tradition of Pavelić and Herenčić in connection with the attempted assassination from Italy, as well as that of Singer from Austria — and requested the explusion of various émigrés named by Oreb and Begović in their depositions. While Belgrade failed to get Italy and Austria to comply with its demands for extradition — given the political nature of the acts involved — the Yugoslavs did succeed in forcing the Italians, Austrians and Hungarians to rethink their support of the Ustaša, to expel the more notorious of the émigrés, and to tighten their control of the Ustaša. A measure of the success of the show trials, and the failure of the assassination attempt, was that by late January 1934, the Italians had disarmed the Ustaša on their territory.[137]


Of all the trials, Oreb's had the most characteristics of a show trial. Oreb collaborated to the point of obsequity, and was ready to challenge the other defendants when they departed from the script. Arnerić's invitation to Begović to 'follow Oreb's example' showed that the court was less than impartial, and its role was really to assure that certain information was made public in the guise of evidence. As in a classic show trial, the defendants — at least Oreb and Begović — not only declared their guilt, but asked forgiveness of the court for their crimes, praised their intended victim, condemned those who had exploited and misled them, and demonstrated that the only real threat to Yugoslavia was posed by unscrupulous foreign states. And, as in a Soviet show trial, the defendants were disposed of after they had served their purpose, only the commutation of Podgorelec's sentence departing from the norm.


* * *


The Oreb revelations had been particularly effective, coming as they did on the heels of Jelka Pogorelec's revelations regarding Ustaša operations abroad in October 1933. Not surprisingly, the leitmotifs in both exposés were the same: a mercenary group of cynical terrorists financed by a conspiracy of unscrupulous states were threatening the integrity of Yugoslavia and life of its beloved monarch.[138] The Oreb trial also coincided with that of Franjo Zrinjski, Tomo Kelemen, Stjepan Pižeta, Marko Krobot, Josip Potković, Mijo Kelemen and Milja Brodar — all accused of being members of the Ustaša and implicated in the murder of Mirko Neudorfer in August 1933. As in other trials, the prosecution tried to show the existence of a conspiracy against the state financed by foreign power, in this case Hungary. Although Zrinjski protested that he had confessed because threatened with torture, and had helped Josip Krobot only because he had known him since he was two years old, he was sentenced to death, along with Pižeta, while Tomo Kelemen got life, Mijo Kelemen a year, Marko Krobot 5 months, and Petković and Brodar were acquited.[139]


On May 30th, 1934, eight more Ustaša went on trial. with Ivan Baraković recounting his journey to Austria with Josip Katušić and Stjepan Crnički to get their orders from Perčec, whom they eventually contacted in Hungary. When sentences were handed down on June 4th, the judge was careful to note that the trial had — once again — revealed a trail that ran from Piacenza, through Klagenfurt, to Janka Puszta, i.e., that implicated Pavelić and Perčec, as well as Italy and Hungary, in all of the terrorist actions committed in Yugoslavia. Katušić, who was residing in the United States, was condemned to death, Baraković to 15 years, four others to sentences ranging from 6 months to 10 years, and Zindrić was acquited.[140]


Other trials followed in September, 1934 including one of No Pernar, Vilko Begić, Juraj Horvat, Andrija Raspor, Karlo Šejkot, Ljudevit Iveković, Lenka Štimac and Andrija Hršak for anti-state propaganda. Predictably the HSS leaders were convicted, with Pernar receiving a 21/2 year sentence.[141] Finally, four other trials were held in September, resulting in two death sentences, five of life imprisonment, and a number of others ranging from one to 15 years. Again the regime was able to use the testimony of the accused — particularly of Stjepan Petrović — to embarrass Hungary and pre-sent the internal opposition as nothing more than a collection of misguided idealists and cynical mercenaries in the pay of rapacious foreign powers.[142]



* * *


The extent to which the political and show trials were effective is problematic. Certainly they enabled the regime to exploit the judicial system to rid itself of the leaders of the opposition, but the trials probably had relatively little effect in swinging Croat opinion to the regime and away from the HSS or Ustaša. However, they were probably not intended to do more than impress Serbian opinion favorably, while demonstrating to the Croats and other non-Serbian ethnic groups the power of the state. The trials were also clearly intended as adjuncts to foreign policy, since the foreign threat was not only used for internal propaganda, but also at the League of Nations and in various diplomatic demands on Hungary, Austria and Italy. Moreover, they did seem to have some effect on the internal opposition, forcing it abroad, into jail or into a more passive resistance. Certainly, the police use of agents provocateurs had contributed to creating an atmosphere in which it was prudent to trust no one, while the distortion of the judicial system to serve political ends eroded the legitimacy of both the judiciary and the regime, at least in the long run. And even in the short run, this form of repression seems actually to have been fairly effective only in the very narrow and limited sense of depriving the opposition of its rights by asserting the absolute power of the state.


It therefore seems that show trials are symptomatic of a particular mode of dictatorship, and that mode is neither right nor left — since not only did the Soviets and Czechs use such methods, but the Yugoslavs as well. Indeed, the resort to political trials and "special tribunals" for political crimes became widespread in interwar Europe, an indication that the rights of individuals and groups were subordinated to the interests of the nation and the state as defined by those holding power. The net effect was thus the same, whether the interests of the state and nation were defined as those of the proletariat or those of a biological nation. Show trials thus provided a legal veneer for brutal political repression, but they could not provide the political paste needed to hold a state together, and ultimately they were denounced by succeeding regimes, or disavowed by a later version of the same regime. That the Yugoslav regime mounted a series of such trials between 1929 and 1934 was thus another demonstration that the royalist dictatorship faced wide-spread opposition and was willing to resort to extreme tactics in order to assure itself at least the appearance of popularity and political stability.


[1] Milovan Djilas, The New Class. An Analysis of the Communist System (New York, 1966), 87-93.

[2] Alexander Werth, Russia: Hopes and Fears (New York, 1970), 80-85.

[3] Jirí Pelikán, ed., The Czechoslovak Political Trials, 1950-1954 (Stanford, 1971), 28-29.

[4] J. Anthony Lukas, The Barnyard Epithet and Other Obscenities. Notes on the Chicago Conspiracy Trial (New York, 1970), 11.

[5] Lukas, 4-5, 106.

[6] For the American system, Jerome H. Skolnick, The Politics of Protest (New York, 1970), 317-324; for the NSDAP, Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich. A Social History of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (New York, 1971), 118; for the Czechs, Pelikán, 23.

[7] Pelikán, 40 ff.; Grunberger, 14-15; Adam B. Ulam, Expansion and Coexistence. The History of Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-67 (New York, 1973), 166-167, 242, 252.

[8] Pelikán, 16-17; Werth, 80-85; Djilas, 87.

[9] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four (Penguin, 1973); and Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York, 1967), esp. 422 ff. for agents provocateurs, secret police, and the need to discover and try "objective" enemies.

[10] Kenneth Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs and National Development, The Case of Romania, 1944-1965 (Berkeley, 1971), 99.

[11] For early Yugoslav legislation for the protection of the state, see Branislav Gligorijević, "Nastanak Zakona o zaštiti javne bezbednosti i poretka u državi", Istorija XX veka (1969), 247-283, for the Italian system, see Alberto Aquarone, L'organizzazione dello stato totalitario (Turin, 1965), 101 ff.; and Celso Ghini and Adriano Dal Pont, Gli antifascisti al confino (Rome, 1971), passim.

[12] Archivio Storico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (ASMAE), Jug (oslavia) 1929, b(usta) 1357, esp. Tp. 4054, Zagreb, 17 Dec. 1929; and Arhiv Hrvatske (AH), sv(ezak) 1935/29, esp. br(oj) 1250, Ludbreg, 19 Dec. 1929.

[13] AH, sv. 274/29, br. 34246, Belgrade, 15 Nov. 1929; br. 274, Zagreb, 15 Nov. 1929; sv. 59/29, esp. br. 19, Zlatar, 12 Nov. 1929; br. 21002, Zagreb, 20 Nov. 1929; and br. 961, Zagreb, 7 Nov. 1929.

[14] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, n. 2/40, Vercellino (SBVI), 31 Jan. 1930; Tp. 4147, Rochira, Zagreb, 27 Dec. 1929.

[15] AH, br. 21002, Zagreb, 20 Nov. 1929.

[16] ASMAE, Jug 1929, b. 1360, Tp. 4125, Rochira, 23 Dec. 1929; Tp. 4126, Rochira, 23 Dec. 1929; Documenti Diplomatici Italiani (DDI), Series VII, Vol. 8, doc. 238; and Dom, 25 Dec. 1929.

[17] Rudolf Horvat, Hrvatska na mučilištu (Zagreb, 1942), 468-469; and Todor Stojkov, Opozicija u vreme šestojanuarske diktature, 1929-1935 (Belgrade, 1969), 95-97.

[18] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 1266, Rochira, 11 April 1930; b. 1372, Tp. 1880, Cosmelli, Belgrade, 22 April 1930; and b. 1373, Rochira, 18 March 1930.

[19] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1373, Tp. 1558, Rochira, 5 May 1930; AH, sv. 11/29, various relating to the surveillance on Trumbić.

[20] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, Tp. 1880, Cosmelli, 22 April 1930 and Tp. 2172, Galli, Belgrade, 6 May 1930.

[21] ASMAE, 30, 1371, "Atti di accusa", 22 Feb. 1930, for the indictments.

[22] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, for transcripts of the trial; and b. 1373, Tp. 2172, Galli, 5 May 1930, and Tp. 1738, Rochira, 20 May 1930.

[23] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, Tp. 2374, Galli, 17 May 1930; b. 1373, n. 1565, MVSN (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale), 18 May 1930.

[24] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, Tp. 2701, Galli, 9 June, and "Dichiarazioni del Dottor V. Macek."

[25] Ibid.; also R. Horvat, 468-470; and G. Solari-Bozzi, "La Jugoslavia sotto la dittatura", Europa orientale (1933), 350-352.

[26] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, Tp. 2282, Galli, 12 May 1930.

[27] 27 ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 2802, Galli, 17 June 1930, and Tp. 3825, Galli, 14 Aug. 1930, Tp. 3441, Segre, Split, 6 Aug. 1930.

[28] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1372, Tp. 2071, Rochira, 17 June 1930. AH/S(avska) B(anovina), various folders for 1930, also contain a good deal of material on the circulation of Maček's speech and émigré protests of various sorts. My thanks to Jere Jareb for additional references, and to him and Karlo Mirth for their help in editing this article. See also Za Slobodnu Hrvatsku: Veleizdajnički proces protiv vodje Hrvata Dra Vladka Mačka. Sastavljeno prema izvještajima američke, britanske i evropske štampe sa beogradske rasprave, [s.l. but Rome]: Naklada Glavnog Odbora Američkih Organizacija HSS, 1930, 474 pp.; Ivan Bernardić, Zivot iza željeznih rešetaka: Prema vlastitom iskustvu i neposrednom opažanju, Zagreb, [s.a. but 1940], 186 pp.

[29] AH, sv. 7008, br. 11466, Bedeković, Zagreb, 20 June 1930; Grič, 8 and 10 June 1930; and ASMAE, Jug. 30, b. 1372, n. 2108, London, 17 June 1930; also R.W. Seton-Watson i Jugoslaveni. Korespondencija, 1906-1941 (Zagreb, 1976), doc. 179.

[30] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1373, n. 4209, Sarajevo, 27 Sept. 1930, and Tp. 5870, Split, 26 Dec. 1929.

[31] ASMAE, Jug. 1929, b. 1357, Tp. 3979, Rochira, 11 Dec. 1929; b. .371, Tp. 1985, Rochira, 10 June 1930; AH, sv. 8829, br. 8329, Zagreb, 16 April 1931; Stojkov, 97; and Croatia (Geneva), 1 May 1931. See also Mijo Radošević, ed., Prevara i politika: Osuda Josipa Predavca. Zagreb: Jugoslavenski Klub "Rački" u Zagrebu, [s.a. but 1930], 246 pp.

[32] DDI, VII, 8, docs. 46 and 48; ASMAE, Jug. 1929, b. 1360, Tp. 1431, Rochira, 4 May 1929; Tp 1681, Rochira, 28 May 1929; also Tpc. Gab (inetto), Rochira, 13 Sept. 1929.

[33] For corruption in interwar Yugoslavia, Zvonimir Kulundžić, Politika i korupcija u kraljevskoj Jugoslaviji (Zagreb, 1968), passim.

[34] AH, sv. 10892, various; also R. Horvat, 458-460, 486-491.

[35] Torture seems to have become routine, as had "suicides" from Zagreb's main police station on Petrinjska ulica. ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 3922, Rochira, 31 Oct. 1930; Tp. 4102, Rochira, 18 Nov. 1930; Tp. 3700, Rochira, 17 Oct. 1930; Tp. 1433, Tochira, 25 April 1930; and b. 1373, Promemoria, Rochira, 12 Jan. 1930.

[36] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 600, Zaccaria, Zagreb, 18 Feb. 1931.

[37] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 914, Rochira, 16 March 1931; Tp. 1364, Rochira, 14 April 1931; and R. Horvat, 486. For the official bill of indictment, AH, sv. 10892, Optužnica.

[38] AH, sv. 10892, Optužnica, esp. pp. 3, 8, 10-12, 15-20, 24-29, 32-33. The indictment runs 44 pages and contains confessions by Soldin, Hranilović, Križnjak, Herceg, Marija Hranilović, Horvatek, Glad, Javor, Kopčinovič, et al.

[39] ASMAE, Jug. b. 3, Tp. 1730, Rochira, 5 May 1931.

[40] AH, sv. 10892, Transcripts, 15 May 1931.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid., and transcript for 21 May 1931.

[44] AH, sv. 10892, transcript for 13 May.

[45] AH, sv. 10892, transcript for 9 May 1931.

[46] AH, sv. 10892, transcript for 30 May 1931.

[47] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp 2130, Umiltŕ, Zagreb, 1 June 1931.

[48] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 2205, Auriti, Vienna, 6 June 1931.

[49] AH, sv. 10892, transcript for 12 June 1931.

[50] AH, sv. 10892, transcripts for 2, 5, 9 and 11 June 1931.

[51] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, n. 2200, Auriti, 6 June 1931; for a facsimile of the deposition, see Gustav Perčec, Durch Lug und Trug, durch Gewalt und Morder — zur Unterjochung Kroatiens und zum neuen Weltkrieg (Vienna, 1931), 26-40.

[52] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, n. 2529, Umiltŕ, 30 June 1931; also Solari-Bozzi. 357-359, for Maček's closing speech. For Hrvoj, et al., AH, sv. 10892, transcripts for 18 and 19 June 1931.

[53] AH, sv. 10892, transcript for 22 June 1931.

[54] Ibid.

[55] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, n. 2529, Umilta, 30 June 1931; also R. Horvat, 486-491.

[56] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 3000, Umiltŕ, 30 July 1931; also R. W. Seton-Watson i Jugoslaveni. Korespondencifa, 1906-1941 (Zagreb, 1976), II, dec. 174.

[57] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 3797, Umiltŕ, 28 Sept. 1931, and "La esecuzione della condanna a morte di M. Hranilović e di M. Soldin". Also Croatia, 1 June and 1 Nov. 1931.

[58] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, Tp. 3803, Umiltŕ, 3 Oct. 1931; AH, sv. 28190, br. 1344, Sušak, 26 Sept. 1931; br. 1686, Zagreb, 29 Sept. 1931; br. 2977, Zagreb, 4 Nov. 1931. Also Božo Milanović,"Biskup Dobrila i njegovo doba (1861-1882)," in Hrvatski narodni preporod u Dalmaciji i Istri (Zagreb, 1969), 358, for Dobrila's remark.

[59] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 1706, Rochira, 19 May 1930; Tp. 1848, Rochira, 30 May 1930; and Tp. 2709, Rochira, 1 Aug. 1930.

[60] AH, sv. 7008, br. 770, Valpovo, 27 July 1930; br. 807, Djakovo, 16 July 1930, and various zapisnici; AH, sv. 23942, br. 14757, Bedeković, Zagreb, 8 Aug. 1930. Bedeković released ten suspects and recommended that the following be tried: Andrija Tilman, Antun Herman, Luka Stjević, Antun Budrovac, Šima Mikić, Franjo Carević, Franjo Čanić, Ivan Ruškan, Anka Šultajs, and Zeljko Klemen. Also ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 3064 Rochira, 26 Aug. 1930; Tp. 4056, Galli, 24 Aug. 1930; n. 23003, Pittalis, Budapest, 6 Sept. 1930.

[61] AH, sv. 23942, br. 14757, Bedeković, 8 Aug. 1930.

[62] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 2205, Auriti, 6 June 1931.

[63] Ah, sv. 6285, br. 42717, Belgrade, 10 Dec. 1930; br. 1262, Nova Gradiška, 7 March 1931; sv. 2123, br. 12, Belgrade, 9 Feb. 1931; and Ivan Rosić's depositions of 4 and 6 Feb. 1931; br. 145, Nova Gradiška, 6 Feb. 1931.

[64] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 512, Zagreb, 13 Feb. 1931.

[65] AH, sv. 2123, br. 3221, Bedeković, Zagreb, 12 Feb. 1931; and Ljevaković's interrogations of 5, 6, 18, 19, 20, 23, and 25 February, and 1, 2, and 3 March 1931. Rosić claimed that he had killed Berić as an act of revenge ("osvete") because Berić had harassed him over laying a wreath in honor of Stjepan Radić.

[66] Ibid.

[67]  Ibid., also sv. 1534, various; and sv. 2123, br. 2469, Bedeković, 21 Feb. 1931; br. 5918, Zagreb, 19 March 1931; br. 7390, Belgrade, 6 March 1931.

[68] Josip Poropat had reportedly jumped to his death. ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 591, Auriti, 14 Feb. 1931, for AVALA's account; and Croatia, 5 Dec. 1931, for Martin Nagy

[69] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 1282, Rochira, 8 April 1931; Tp. 1770, Auriti, 5 May 1931, for Abend; Tp. 1054, Geisser Celesia, Vienna, 17 March 1931; and n. 217476, Indelli, Rome, 16 May 1931; also Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 2072, Rochira, 17 June 1930.

[70] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 2700, Auriti, 11 July 1931; n. 330, Galli, 13 Feb. 1931; and Tp. 643, Auriti, 17 Feb. 1931.

[71] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tpc. 411, Galli, 18 Feb. 1931, for Yugoslav terrorism; and R. Horvat, 492-495. See also Milan Lukac, "Zaboravljeni hrvatski mučenik [Ico Rosić]", Hrvatska Revija (Barcelona, Spain, vol. 35 (1985), pp. 313-327. Lukac was one of the defendants in Rosić's trial.

[72] Croatia, 5 Dec. 1931; ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 4757, Umilta, 12 Dec. 1931.

[73] ASMAE, Jug. 1930, b. 1371, Tp. 2847, Auriti, 4 Nov. 1930; Telesp. 238972, Guariglia, 27 Nov. 1930; b. 1372, n. 443/60603, Interno, Rome, 13 Dec. 1930, and attached report from Vienna, Nov. 1930.

[74] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 2116, Cora, Sofia, 22 June 1931, and attached articles from Makedonia.

[75] Ibid. Gruber had seen Stanišev in Sofia and Mihailov in Goma Djoumaja.

[76] 78 ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 2326, Cora, Sofia, 6 July 1931.

[77] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, T. 7316, Capasso, Munich, 18 Oct. 1931; Telesp. 246103, Indelli, Rome, 20 Oct. 1931; Telesp. 4081, Geisser Celesia, Vienna, 30 Oct. 1931; also Novosti (Zagreb), 28 Oct. 1931, "Najnovija zločinačka akcija Pavelića," and 29 Oct. 1931, "Pavelićevo krivotvorenje naših hiljadarki."

[78] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 3568, Cora, Sofia, 30 Oct. 1931; Tp. 2326, Cora, Sofia, 6 July 1931. For IMRO and its links to Italy, see Stefan Troebst, Mussolini, Makedonien und die Mächte, 1922-1930 (Vienna, 1987); also Stoyan Christowe, Heroes and Assassins (New York, 1935), 252; and Joseph Swire, Bulgarian Conspiracy (London, 1939), 231-249, 262.

[79] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Tp. 98, Galli, 6 Nov. 1931; Telesp. 249854, Faris, Rome, 18 Nov. 1931; Telesp. 4304, Geisser Celesia, Vienna 18 Nov. 1931; also Novosti, 26 Oct. 1931, "Hapšenje i preslušavanje emigranta Petra Grubera," and 27 Oct. 1931, "Senzacionalna otkrića Petra Grubera".

[80] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Telesp. 252150, Indelli, Rome, 7 Dec. 1931; Telesp. 251011, Indelli, 28 Nov. 1931; Grič, 21 May 1932.

[81] ASMAE, Jug. 1931, b. 3, Telesp. 4304, Geisser Celesia, 18 Nov. 1931; n. 1868, Auriti, Vienna, 19 May 1932. Gruber's trial began on May 1932, with Grid continuing to insist that he had been an agent provocateur and that his trial only showed the regime's fear of the émigrés.

[82] AH, sv. 5766, Zagreb, 12 March 1931, for information on attempt on Perović; for Gruber's infiltration of the operation in Fiume, J. Sadkovich, Italian Support for Croatian Separatism, 1927-1937 (New York, 1987), 165.

[83] Milićević claims that he recruited Gruber, and Yugoslav agents provocateurs were busy in Vienna. See Vladeta Milićević, A King Dies in Marseilles. The Crime and the Background (Bad Godesberg, 1959), 33-41; ASMAE, Jug. 1930, B. 1371, Telesp. 752, Ferarris, Rome, 10 March 1930.

[84] AH, sv. 4133, br. 16, Osijek, 23 Feb. 1931; br. 28, Osijek, 25 March 1931; also ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16, n. 1868, Auriti, 19 May 1932. Gruber saw his wife, Ljubica, in April 1931, probably between a trip to see Josip Biljan in Constantinople, and another to confer with Servatzi in Fiume. Ljubica Gruber was evidently allowed to see her husband because he was a German citizen, but she was not given the visa to Germany that she had requested.

[85] AH, sv. 4133, Letters, Petar to Ljubica Gruber, 17 Feb. and 21 March 1931.

[86] Ibid. Gruber is not clear as to when he contacted Milićević, but probably did so after seeing Pavelić in Vienna in February and before seeing Ljubica in Pečuj in April.

[87] ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 26, Telesp. 326880, Fanelli, Rome, 27 Dec. 1932 for Svetislav Sajić;and Jug. 1931, b. 3, Telesp. 247681, Rome, 5 Nov. 1931, for Ivo Sabalić, whom Mešterovič seems to have recruited to kill Servatzi in Fiume on 17 October 1931. Given this, it is possible that Gruber saw Milićević before seeing Pavelič, and actually had been asked by Yugoslav intelligence to assassinate the Ustaša leader, as Grič had claimed.

[88] Novosti, 26 Oct. 1931, for Gruber, "Hapšenje i preslušavanje emigranta Petra Grubera"; and for Jelka Pogorelec, Novosti, 5 to 14 October and 30 Dec. 1933; and Milićević, 34-41; Bogdan Krizman, Ante Pavelič i Ustaše (Zagreb, 1978), 103-104, 128-129.

[89] Ljubo Boban, "Geneza, značenje i odjek zagrebačkih punktacija", Časopis za suvremenu povijest (1971), and "Zagrebačke punktacije," Istorija XX veka (1962); V. Vilder, "Kako je došlo do Zagrebačke punktacije (1932). Prilog najnovijoj historiji," Almanah Nove Riječi (Zagreb, 1940); Solari-Bozzi, 500-501; for the text, Ferdo Čulinović, Dokumenti o Jugoslaviji (Zagreb, 1968), 318-319. Also Ljubo Boban, Maček i politika Hrvatske seljačke stranke, 1928-1941 (Zagreb, 1974), 85-97; ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16, Tp. 4274, Umiltŕ, 5 Nov. 1932; Tp. 4508, Umiltđ, 22 Nov. 1932; Tp. 4509, Umiltŕ, 22 Nov. 1932.

[90] ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16, Tp. 4894, Umiltŕ, 20 Dec. 1932; Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 197, Umiltŕ, 14 Jan. 1933; Umiltđ, 21 Jan. 1933. Also translations of Politika, and Tp. 1781, Umiltŕ, 25 April 1933, and attached Optužnica (indictment).

[91] R. Horvat, 518-520; Seton-Watson i Jugoslaveni, II, doc. 238, for Pribićević's efforts to publicize the trial; and ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 1549, Split, 4 April 1933; Tp. 1762, Umiltŕ, 22 April 1933; Tp. 2504, Umiltđ, 8 June 1933; AH, sv. 10843, br. 484, Sušak, 15 April 1933, for Ivo Orlić's correspondence with Ivan Subašić regarding the trial; sv. 2128, br. 1302, Zagreb, 25 April 1933; sv. 10848, for pamphlet "Hrvatski Narod!" by Maček; and br. 1312, Ogulin, 26 April 1933; also Croatia, 4 April 1932.

[92] ASMAE, Jug. 1933, -b. 30, Tp. 1762, Umiltŕ, 22 April 1933; Tp. 1797, Umiltŕ, 26 April 1933; Tp. 3992, Budapest, 29 April 1933; Tpc., Cortini, Belgrade, 29 April 1933; and for press coverage, Novosti, 25 April 1933, "Dr. Maček odgovora za punktacije i izjave"; 26 April 1933, and 30 April 1933, "Osuda u procesu protiv Dra. Mačeka". The trial had begun at 8.30 on the 24th, with sentencing at 10.25 on the 29th.

[93] For Budak, ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16, various from Umiltŕ of 15, 16 June, 19 May, 2 July, and 4, 5 Aug. 1932, and from Galli of 11, 21 June 1932; also Krizman, 93 ff.; and AH, sv. 25901, br. 21.417, Zagreb, 5 Oct. 1934.

[94] ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 2248, Cortini, 1 May 1933.

[95] ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 1900, Umiltŕ, 1 May 1933, Tp. 1949, Umiltŕ, 4 May 1933; Tp. 2434, Umiltŕ, 2 June 1933, Tp. 2504, Umiltŕ, 8 June 1933; Tp. 5267, Umiltŕ, 11 Dec. 1933; Tp. 3968, Umiltŕ, 15 Sept. 1933.

[96] AH, sv. 18/33, br. 1652, Prelog, 30 Dec. 1932. Also ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16., Tp. 22, Prato, Šibenik, 3 Sept. 1932; Jug. 1933, b. 27, n. 1240, Prato, 20 May 1933; b. 30, n. 754, MVSN, Zara, 1 Dec. 1933, for other cases similar to that in Prelog.

[97] ASMAE, jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 555, Galli, 31 Jan. 1933. Franjo Furlan and Stjepan Tomljenović got 7 years each for distribution of Grid, Ustaša and Hrvatski domobran; Šime Balen got four years for placing a bomb in Sušak; Nikola Busljeta 2 years for anti-state propaganda; and Mile Sikić 6 months for receiving and reading anti-state propaganda. Antun Balen and Jakov Kubretović were acquited.

[98] ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 2592, Belgrade, 16 May 1933.

[99] ASMAS, Jug. 1933, b. 27, n. 1240, Prato, Šibenik, 20 May 1933, and Tp. 3844, Belgrade, 2 June 1933; also b. 30, Tp. 16, Segre, Split, 2 Jan. 1933.

[100] Novosti, 6, 7, 8, 11, 15, 16, 18, and 20 July 1933; ASMAE, Jug. 1932, b. 16, Tp. 4348, Umiltŕ, 9 Nov. 1932, for some idea of the extent of the "round-up" of suspected separatists; and Todor Stojkov, "O tzv. ličkom ustanku, 1932," Gasopis za suvremenu povijest (1970), 178.

[101] ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Telesp. 2235, Modrich, Vienna, 1 June 1933; Telesp. 31941, Rome, 12 July 1933; Yugoslav Note Verbale n. 958 of 7 July 1933, and Note Verbale n. 1242 of 25 Aug. 1933; Telesp. 22653, Cosmelli, Rome, 6 Sept. 1933; and n. 443/71101, Senise, Rome, 27 Sept. 1933. The Yugoslavs also tried to extradite Artuković, but realizing the futility of requesting cooperation with Italy over a political crime, tried to extradite him for rape: AH, sv. 9033, n. 474, SN, Gospič, 30 March 1934; and sv. 6/33, br. 26078, Belgrade, 28 June 1934; br. 22665, Zagreb, 4 July 1934.

[102] R. Horvat, 518-523; Novosti, 15 July 1933, "Josip Predavec ubijen," and 22 Dec. 1933, "Sudjenje Tomi Košćecu iz Duga Sela." Also AH, sv. 2128, br. 2082 , Ogulin, 26 July 1933, br. 2369, Ogulin, Zagreb, 23 Aug. 1933; ASMAE, Jug. 1933, b. 30, Tp. 549, Umiltđ, 2 Feb. 1933 for Maček's internment in Čajniće; Tp. 3062, Umiltŕ, 14 July 1933; Tp. 3097, Umiltđ, 18 July 1933; Tp. 3248, Umiltŕ, 28 July 1933.

[103] AH, sv. 2128, br. 1556, 01, Ogulin, 26 May 1933.

[104] Ibid.; also br. 599, Sušak, 23 June 1933; br. 1833, Ogulin, 17 July 1933; br. 1793, Ogulin, 26 June 1933; sv. 2022, various from Ludbreg, Zagreb, Nova Gradiška, et al., including discovery of a 14 members HSS "terrorist" group led by Ivan Lebović.

[105] AH, sv. 2128, br. 2398, UI, Ogulin, 26 Aug. 1933; also sv. 3863, br. 18354, Zagreb, 26 Aug. 1933, for the arrest and 8 month sentence given Petar Posarić for distributing anti-state leaflets.

[106] AH, sv. 2128, br. 2738, Ogulin, 26 Sept. 1933; br. 3014, Ogulin, 26 Oct. 1933 for citation; br. 2994, Ogulin, 24 Oct. 1933 for number of "nezadovoljnika"; and various others by the Okružni Inspektor for Ogulin.

[107] Croatia, 15 Jan. 1934; AH, sv. 6/33, various depositions and reports by the Zagreb police, esp. n. 36.185, Uprava Policije, Zagreb, 17 Dec. 1933; Zapisnik (Deposition), Petar Oreb Mijat, Zagreb, 15 and 17 Jan. 1934; Zap., Josip Begović, 15 Jan. 1934; and n. 26.842, UP, Zagreb, 29 Jan. 1934.

[108] AH, sv. 6/33, n. 36.185, and 26.842, of 17 Dec. 1933 and 29 Jan., 1934.

[109] AH, sv. 6/33, Zapisnik, Oreb, 20 and 23 Dec. 1934.

[110] For the trial, Novosti, 20 to 29 March 1934; and the translations of Pravda in ASMAE, Jug. 1934, b. 43; also A(rchivio) C(entrale) dello S(tato), F(uorusciti) C(roati), E. Conti, 15 Jan. 1934, for Pavelić.

[111] AH, sv. 6/33, n. 36.633, UP, Zagreb, 21 Dec. 1933, and n. 26.842, 29 Jan. 1934.

[112] AH, sv. 6/33, Zap., J. Begović, 26 Dec. 1933, and 4,15,17 and 22 Jan. 1934; Marija Pušić, 18 Dec. 1933, and 18 and 20 Jan. 1934; Zap., Dragutin Zajec, 19 Jan. 1934; Zap., Blaž and Zdravka Lorković, 24 Jan. 1934.

[113] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap. Antun Podgorelec, 26 Dec. 1933, and 14 and 22 Jan. 1934.

[114] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 20 Dec. 1933; Krizman, Pavelić, notes Milićević's misspelling. According to Oreb, the Ustaša oath was simply: Zaklinjem se svemogućim Bogom da ću slušati naredjenja svojih starijih i da ću izvršivati, to da ću svoj život dati na slobodu i samostalnost Hrvatske. Oreb named the following as members of the Trieste logor: A. Moškov, T. Vrljić, J. Francetić, Z. Fraisman, Ivo Šarić, Franjo Šarić, I. Herenčić, J. Miljković [sici, "neki Babić," M. Grabovac, Pavao Vukić, Krune Devćić, Matia Devčić, Mato Cavić, Marko Bolćić, Marian, "Giovanni," "neki Seletkovi".

[115] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 25 Dec. 1933.

[116] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 1 Jan. 1934.

[117] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 2 Jan. 1934.

[118] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 4 and 27 Jan. 1934.

[119] AH, sv. 6/34, Zap., Oreb, 20 Dec. 1933, 28 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1934.

[120] AH, sv. 6/34, n. 25.842, UP, Zagreb, 29 Jan. 1934.

[121] AH, sv. 6/34, n. 4237, UP, Zagreb, 1 March 1934; n. 18, UP, Zagreb, 27 Jan. 1934.

[122] AH, sv. 6/34, n. 2592, UP, Zagreb, 30 Jan. 1934.

[123] AH, sv. 6/34, n. 1102, Kraljevska Banovinska Uprava, Split, 7 Feb. 1934.

[124] ACS, FC 12, Cortini to Leto, 24 May 1939.

[125] For the logors, ibid., FC 5, Conti, 26 March, 26 June, 19 July, and 30 Sept. 1933; Krizman, Pavelić, 109-125; Sadkovich, 163-193.

[126] AH/S(avska) B(anovina), sv. 7639, n. 10910, Belgrade, 13 March 1933; n. 413, Sušak, 23 March 1933; sv. 19837, n. 15124, Belgrade, 15 April 1933; n. 907, Sušak, 2 and 26 May 1933.

[127] AH/SB, sv. 8824, n. 8134, UP, Zagreb, 24 April 1934.

[128] ACS, FC 5, Conti, 26 March, 5 and 10 May, 18, 19 and 21 July 1934; n. 453, Perfect, Parma, 3 May 1934.

[129] Novosti, 20 March 1934, devoted eight pages to the trial.

[130] Ibid., 21 and 22 March 1934; Pravda (translation), 22 March 1934; R. Horvat, 526 ff., 537-538.

[131] Novosti, 22 March 1934.

[132] Ibid., 23 March 1934.

[133] Ibid., 24 March 1934.

[134] Ibid., 25 March 1934.

[135] Ibid.,

[136] Ibid., 29 March 1934; R. Horvat, 537-538; also ASMAE, Jug. 1934, b. 43, Tp. 1435, Umiltŕ, 24 March 1934; b. 42, Tp. 1543, Galli, 26 March 1934.

[137] ACS, FC 5, Conti, 26 Jan. 1934, for the disarming of the Ustaša; also ACS, Grazia e Giustizia, Francia, b. 9, n. 157/3233, Innocenti (Justice), 30 May 1934, and various; AH, sv. 6/34, br. 9263, UP, Zagreb, 13 April 1934; sv. 6/33, various on émigrés.

[138] Novosti, 5 to 14 Oct. 1933.

[139] Novosti, 14, 16, 18, and 22 March; and 15 March for E. Premec. Vaso Petrović and Dragutin Bubanj were the presiding judges. Along with Ljubomir Arnerić, Bubanj sat on several of these trials.

[140] ASMAE, Jug. 1934, b. 43, Tp. 2733, De Ciutis, Belgrade, 1 June 1934; Tp. 2885, De Ciutis, 4 June 1934.

[141] ASMAE, Jug. 1934, b. 43, Tp. 3692, Umiltŕ, 28 Aug. 1934 and attached Optužnica; Tp. 5734, Belgrade, 4 Sept. 1934; Tp. 5846, Galli, 13 Sept. 1934; and Ah, sv. 19357, for Vilko Begić.

[142] AH, sv. 12778, br. 8545, UP, Zagreb, 17 April 1934, for the interrogations of Petrovič and Sabol, and the list of the 53 people arrested. For a list of sentences passed on Croats by the Tribunal for the Defense of the State, 1924-34, see Geza Cserenyey, "The Assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in 1934 — The Political Background of the Crime" (Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of London, 1954), Appendix 10.