In the summer of 1941, a series of communal violence erupts in a small Balkan town. At first, a group of armed forces identified themselves as "Croats" and carried out indiscriminate killings of people they considered "Serbs." Some of those who were hunted escaped by hiding in the forest and then organized to take revenge on the killers. A large number of innocent and unarmed civilians were affected, their property looted, their villages burned to the ground, and they were killed with farm tools, drowned in rivers, or thrown into bottomless pits. In the bloodiest 48 hours, nearly 2,000 men, women and children were killed by their former neighbors.
Past historians have mostly attributed the tragedy, which occurred under the independent State of Croatia, to ethnic conflict, until a bundle of tattered blue folders was rediscovered. Following the clues provided by the official archives, the authors of this book set out to trace a forgotten history, interviewing many of the people involved and combining a large number of primary sources, and eventually found that many of the people involved in the massacre were both perpetrators and victims, who were not originally Croats or Serbs. But neighbors who live together, without distinction. He shows that the turmoil caused by local killings actually creates a new understanding of national identity, not that ethnic conflict creates violence, but that violence creates ethnic groups that are hostile to each other.
About the author
Max Bergholz is an associate professor of history at Concordia University in Canada, where he teaches the history of nationalism, violence, and the Balkans, and conducts research on modern European history. His main areas of interest are genocide and human rights, with a particular focus on the micro-dynamics of 20th century peace and conflict in multi-ethnic communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia.
Translator: He Qiyuan, a media professional, has worked in many traditional media and new media, mainly engaged in the compilation of relevant information.