May 6, 1931
Yugoslavian Rulers in Savant's Murder
the Slaying of Sufflay, Noted Croatian Leader, Was Inspired by
King to Terrorism.
Increase In Cruelty Seen.
for Rights of Man is Urged to Take Action
Brutality" of Belgrade Regime.
Special cable to The New
May 5. Accusing the Yugoslav
Government of the murder of a Croatian Professor Milan Sufflay, who was
struck down in the streets of Agram [Zagreb] on Feb 18, Professor
Albert Einstein and the novelist Heinrich Mann, brother of Thomas Mann,
have sent a joint letter to the international headquarters of the
League for the Rights of Man in Paris urging a protest against the
"horrible brutality which is being practiced upon the Croatian people."
The letter also was signed by the German headquarters of the league.
The Paris headquarters, upon receipt of the communication, immediately
undertook steps toward an effective protest in Belgrade.
"As the professor was
walking home on the fatal day he was attacked from behind with an iron
rod, according to our information and felled." the letter of protest
reads "On the next day he died and he was buried on the twenty-second
beside other Croatians."
Noted for Scientific
Professor Sufflay was noted for a long list of scientific books, the
"Yet Agram [->
Zagreb] newspapers were not allowed to report his activities and the
news of his death was suppressed." the protest reads on. Condolence
telegrams were not delivered. The time of the funeral was not allowed
to be made public and the raising of a mourning flag on the university
was forbidden. The authorities went so far as to expel those school
children who took part in the funeral and to remove wreaths which were
bound with the Croatian national colors fom the grave.
"The name of the murderer
was known. It was Nikola Jukitsch [-> in fact, Branko Zwerger,
His organization (Young Yugoslavia) likewise is known. It was even
known that arrangements for the murder had been worked out on the night
of the eleventh in the home of the military commandant of the city,
General Beli Markowitsch, at a session in which members of the Young
Yugoslavia organization, Brkitsch, Godler, Marischetz and the murderer
Jukitsch [-> in fact the real name is Branko
took part. Yet the Agram [-> Zagreb] police officially stated
the next day that the name of the murderer was not known.
Charges Threats to the
Turning to the events leading to the murder, Professor Einstein and the
other signers charged that when the King visited the Croatian capital
January, numerous leading Croats received letters signed "For King and
Country." in which their lives and those of their families were
if they uttered any protest while the King was there. Professor Sufflay
received one of the letters, it is charged.
"The name of this
terrorist organization was Young Yugoslavia," the protest continued.
"The King, in an address to the organization, told how the Croatian
representatives to parliament had been put out of the way at his
request. An example of this was the shooting of a Croatian leader
Radic] on the floor of the house
on June 20, 1928."
Following the King's
visit, the murder of political and intellectual leaders of the
Croatians was openly demanded in the government press, says the letter.
"The official organ
Nascha Sloga in Suschak, on Feb. 18 wrote, `Skulls will be split.' The
same evening Professor Sufflay was struck down," the letter says.
In January the delegates
to the Croatian National Assembly sent a memorandum to Geneva calling
attention to the situation in Croatia.
"The facts show that the
cruelty and brutality practiced upon the Croatians only increase,"
Professor Einstein's letter says. "In view of this frightful situation,
we urge the International League for the Rights of Man to do everything
possible to press this unrestrained rule of might which prevails in
"Murder as a political
weapon must not be tolerated and political murderers must not be made
national heroes. The League should muster all possible aid to protect
this small, peaceful and highly civilized people."
Sufflay a Histoy
Professor Milan Sufflay, who was murdered in Agram [Zagreb] on Feb. 18,
had been professor of History at Zagreb University for ten years. He
written many books on the history of Albania. In 1920 because of his
with Croat extremists, he was sentenced to two and a half years'
for lese-majeste and high treason. On his release he resumed his
Protests against the
Yugoslav dictatorship of King Alexander have been frequent since the
murder of Professor Sufflay and the many "suicides" of Croats and
Macedonians in the prisons of Belgrade and Zagreb.
Three Serbs were arrested
in Vienna recently who were alleged to have been sent there on a murder
mission with the knowledge of the Zagreb Chief of Police.
The bitter feeling in
Yugoslavia has resulted in numerous bombings and assassinations.
When King Alexander
proclaimed the dicatorship two years ago his chief problem was the
deadlock caused by the refusal of Croatia to be dominated by a
parliamentary government recruited largely from extreme Serbian
A similar article appeared in the San
Francisco Examiner on Sunday May 31, 1931 saying pretty much the same
thing. Many thanks to BACHNenad's tribune, in particular to Marko.
From archival material held in Zagreb we know that the name of assassin
was not Nikola Jukich (Jukitsch), but BRANKO ZWERGER (hanged in 1943 in
Jasenovac). It seems that Einstein and Mann have changed the name to
Jukitsch since they lived in Germany, in Berlin, from where they wrote
their appeal to Paris. The name of Zwerger sounds German or Jewish,
which they may have found unpleasant (and unimportant) for the purpose
of this appeal. We are not in possession of the original text, which is
written most probably in German. It seems that the original text is in
Moscow archives. Namely, during the WW2 the Russians came in possession
of all archives of the Ligue
de Droits de l'Homme (League of
Human Rights in Paris), concerning documents dating before 1945.
Thomas Mann with Albert Einstein in Princeton, 1938 (source
Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann: Appeal
on the occasion of killing of Professor Milan Sufflay in Zagreb
text, in Croatian)
- New York Times: Raditch
left tale of Yugoslav plot,
article published in August 23, 1931 [pdf]
- A Letter of Protest
American intellectuals organized by Roger N. Baldwin, Chairman of the
International Committee for Political Prisoners, to the Yugoslav
representative in Washington on November 24, 1933.
- Josip Pecaric: Serbian
Myth about Jasenovac, Naklada
ISBN 953-6959-00-3 (494 pages), summary
- an overview of its
History, Culture and Science