Andrija Hebrang


Mile Milatovic: The Case of Andrija Hebrang

Udba’s General Milorad Milatovic (Milatović) is the nominal author of The Case of Andrija Hebrang, a book published by Kultura from Belgrade in 1952. The book had several editions and a printing of 50,000 copies. It was sold for 260 dinars. Several years after publication it became difficult to get hold of, while in the late 1950s it became banned reading.

This strange book is, in effect, the private interpretation of the “investigation” by Belgrade’s general-investigator Milatovic who weaves a web of truths, half truths, lies, and false documents in an attempt to justify Andrija’s disappearance from “Glavnjaca”. The book does not have an editor, consulting editors, or a list of sources. Some analysts claim the story and idea for the book came from Milovan Djilas and that Dobrica Cosic (Ćosić) helped write it. Djilas never denied this, while Cosic dismissed any claims that he had bloodied his hands with Milatovic’s crime. Milatovic confirmed in the Belgrade press that the idea for the book had come from Djilas an that two writers had helped him write it, but declined to name them.

The lack of official documents about Andrija’s torture at Glavnjaca, Fruska gora and elsewhere led to this book’s serving for many decades as a source of evil: various authors, would-be journalists, informers, agents, Party and social-political workers liked to use it as a source while repeating the false accusations. Hebrang’s traitorous conduct was a frequent headline in newspapers and magazines which the party-police apparatus used in its special war in an attempt to discipline anyone who thought differently, including the Hebrang family and even the free thinking world, by sending out messages about the Croatia’s Ustasha orientation.

In his 1986’s study Hebrang, Zvonko Ivankovic-Vonta was the first to prove that the information exposed in Milatovic’s book relied on false documents, which the declassification of The Hebrang File in the early 1990s clearly corroborated.

A series of scientific papers have been published to date proving the ill intentions of Milatovic and the comrades. The remembrances of witnesses of dark times have also been published, and even Croatian emigrants have spoken, shyly, with memories which offered no evidence of Andrija’s guilt.