Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Croatian, Culinary Clash

During the opening week of 1980, Chicago was the scene of an aborted terrorist campaign directed against Croatian emigres supportive of Yugoslavia. On January 4th 1980, a bomb was discovered in the parking lot used by customers of the Golden Shell restaurant, which was patronized by Yugoslavs and located within an ethnic Croatian neighborhood. Around noon, January 5th 1980, a Chicago employee sanitation was killed when an improvised explosive device placed in the alley behind the Continental Club detonated. Like the Golden Shell, the Continental Club was patronized largely by Yugoslavs.1

The investigation made little progress. One of the biggest impediments appears to the fact that no claims of credit were received for the bombings and no communiques were issued. Upon, however, consultation with other FBI field offices and the initial examination of the crime scenes, Croatian National Resistance members were immediately suspected.2 This initial impression was bolstered by a source who had “furnished reliable information,” the owner of the Golden Shell was disliked by Otpor members who disapproved of her decision to advertise on pro-Yugoslav radio shows. The source also informed the FBI that the Continental Club had occurred Otpor's disfavor because its ownership was pro-Yugoslav and Yugoslav diplomatic personnel were a common presence in the restaurant.3 Another “confidential source who has furnished reliable information in the past” alerted the FBI that spoke with a [redacted] individual who told the Otpor member that the FBI had questioned her about Otpor and the [redacted] individual's relationship with it.

While the [redacted] (probably the owner or the manager of the Golden Shell) stated she had no problems with any Yugoslav groups prior to the bombing attempt4  [Redacted] reported that the [redacted] of the Golden Shell had been previously condemned over her decision to advertise the restaurant as “Yugoslav” as opposed to “Croatian” and she had been approached with demands to display pro-Croatian posters in the windows.

The Continental Club had recently had a Yugoslav entertainer at the club, something that angered members of the Serbian and Croatian communities.6  On January 6th, the Kragujevic Lounge received a threatening phone call from a male “Serbian” voice who shouted profanity over the loyalty to Tito at the [redacted] recipient of the phone call.Based on the prior two attacks, it appears an accurate, but not totally safe to bet this was a follow-up to the prior two attacks.

Ultimately, even a plan to employ hypnotism failed to produce any results in this investigation and judging from the file the investigation ended in 1981.  Below is almost all of the FBI file on the matter. Feel free to explore and possibly solve this mystery yourself.


11/6/1980 Memorandum from Chicago (field office) to Director Subject: ATTEMPTED BOMBING AT THE PARKING LOT OF THE GOLDEN SHELL RESTAURANT 1-3
2Chicago Field Office FD-263 for the period between 1/5-2/5/1980 Case” NEWBOM cover page B.
31/9/1980 FBI transcription of notes on witness interview
41/14/1980 transcript of witness interview notes Description of witness based on description of establishment as [hers]
5Transcribed notes from 1/14/1980 investigation by [redacted] SA
6Transcribed notes from 1/8/1980 investigation by [redacted] SA
71/8/1980 transcribed notes from interview with [redacted]

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