John Pintar. Four years in Tito’s hell, 1954. Book
John I. (Ivan) Pintar was an American citizen and entrepreneur who lived and worked in Zagreb since the mid-1930s. After World War Two, the communist regime in Yugoslavia arrested him in the autumn of 1946 and sentenced him to death in early 1947 after a show trial under charges of being an American spy. Thanks to the mediation of US authorities and the US embassy in Belgrade, his sentence was reduced to 20 years in prison with forced labour.
After four years spent in jail in Lepoglava and Srijemska Mitrovica, and after the persistent efforts of the US Department of State and US Ambassador to Belgrade George V. Allen, he was released at the end of 1950 and returned to the United States (New York). He wrote a book on the communist regime and his prison experience. He could not publish the book in Yugoslavia, nor in the United States, as officials in the Yugoslav embassy in Washington obstructed him in his efforts to do so. Certain Yugoslav diplomats even offered him money to hand over the manuscript to prevent its publication. Ljeposav Peranić, a pre-war Croatian immigrant in Argentina, provided help to Pintar and he published his book in Buenos Aires with a print run of 3,000 copies. Pintar dedicated the book to all victims of communism. He served his sentence in Lepoglava prison in 1947, when Zagreb Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac was also imprisoned there. Pintar testified about Stepinac’s imprisonment. In the conclusion of his book, Pintar said: “What I experienced in Tito's Communist State has been repeated in every country which has had the misfortune to come under Communist control” (Pintar 1954, 295). In 1995, the book was also published in Croatian.
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- Josip Mihaljević
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- Mihaljević, Josip
Pintar, John I. 1954. Four years in Tito’s hell. Buenos Aires: H.P.K.
Pintar, John I. 1995. Četiri godine u Titovu paklu. Zagreb: Hrvatsko književno društvo sv. Ćirila i Metoda.
Jurčić, Martina, interview by Mihaljević, Josip, December 08, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection