Croatia’s HDZ Politicians and the Balkan Country’s President Grabar Kitarovic Fuel Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Revisionism
The world must never forget that eighty percent of Croatia’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust under the pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia — the Ustasha regime.
Washington, DC — On May 9, 2019, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Croatia’s president and HDZ politician visited a commemoration site in Bleiburg, Austria, dedicated to the defeated pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia’s soldiers and civilian supporters who were killed in the aftermath of World War II by Yugoslav Partisans. Grabar Kitarovic’s visit took place on the eve of the annual commemoration which has been described by Rudolf Edlinger, president of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, as “the biggest annual neo-fascist reunion in Europe.” Edlinger went on to comment that this event “glorifies the Croatian Nazi-collaborationist regime.”
Over the past five years, the Jewish community of Croatia has experienced the rise of anti-Semitsm and witnessed the onslaught of Croatian HDZ politicians whitewashing the crimes of the World War II pro-Nazi Ustasha regime. Holocaust revisionism in Croatia and the sordid manifestation of anti-Semitism are being fueled by top HDZ politicians, including Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, the current president of the Balkan nation. The Bleiburg commemoration is sponsored by Croatia’s Parliament using taxpayer funds to fuel anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism.
Dr. Ognjen Kraus, president of The Coordination of Jewish Communities said, “The HDZ government has failed to address the rise of anti-Semitism and the display of fascist symbols. It is lenient towards those sympathetic to the WWII Croatian fascist Ustasha regime.” In an earlier report published in 2016, Dr. Kraus stated, “The state is simply not doing anything… and does not want to prevent a far-right revival.”
In promoting Grabar-Kitarovic’s visit to Bleiburg, Austria, the government website stated, “The President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović marked the Day of Remembrance for Croatia’s Victims in the Struggle for Freedom and Independence by visiting Macelj, Bleiburg and Huda Jama where she laid flowers and lit candles, paying her respects to the innocent victims killed by members of the Yugoslav Army at the end of World War II.”
Over eighty percent of Croatia’s Jews were killed in the Holocaust under the Ustasha rule. The majority of Jews were brutally murdered at the Jasenovac death camp, Sisak-Moslavina County, known as the “Auschwitz of the Balkans,” and the remainder sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In a published report, a high-ranking Nazi official was quoted when viewing the brutality in Jasenovac concentration camp in Sisak County, Croatia, by saying: “General Edmund von Horstenau, Hitler’s envoy in the capital city of Zagreb, called the place the epitome of horror.”
Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman and founder of the HDZ political party was known for his anti-Semitic rants. In the Tablet Magazine, Menachem Z. Rosensaft states:
Franjo Tudjman, had maintained that the generally accepted number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust was greatly exaggerated. Tudjman had also made numerous anti-Semitic slurs, including, notably: “A Jew is still a Jew. Even in the camps, they retained their bad characteristics: selfishness, perfidy, meanness, slyness, and treachery.”
In a report published by Politico, the writer states, “Croatian state-sponsored event has become Europe’s biggest neo-fascist gathering, glorifying the Ustasha regime that collaborated with the Nazis and showing that leading Croat politicians — including those from Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s conservative HDZ party — are trying to whitewash its crimes.”
Grabar-Kitarović has followed in Tudjman’s footsteps and has now called for a commission to “establish the truth” about Jasenovac, the death camp which was run by the Ustashas.
Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic has not only stoked the flames of extremism within Croatia and the Balkans; she is actively targeting its diaspora in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Latin America. The Balkan region is still reeling from the 1990’s genocide whereby 100,000 civilians were slaughtered on the European continent.
In November 2016, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was photographed with Canada’s Croatian community posing with a coat-of-arms of pro-Nazi Ustasha, which represents the persecution and murder of vast numbers of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists.
Grabar-Kitarovic and Croatia’s Ambassador to the United States Pjer Simunovic attended the 25th Anniversary of the National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation which took place during September 21–23, 2018, in New York City. At the NFCA event, Grabar Kitarovic sang a song written by Marko Perkovic ‘Thompson,’ a far-right figure known for glorifying Croatia’s WWII pro-Nazi Ustasha regime and whose concerts have been banned in a number of EU member countries.
Croatia’s media group Index.hr reported (video links enclosed) the incident with brief excerpts (translated version from the Croatian language) stating:
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović during her visit to the United States was a special guest at the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA). At one point, Kolinda stood by the microphone to sing the song “You Are Beautiful” by Marko Perković Thompson, the same singer who sang “Jasenovac and Gradiška Stara” praising Ustasha camps. The bizarre scene in which Kolinda nabs the words of Thompson’s song, swaying in rhythm and singing along with the band with a Catholic priest, while above them is a sign stating “Welcome Our President” with a Croatian and American flag is really hard to describe.
Kolinda as a fan and protector of Thompson. Kolinda had previously said that she liked Thompson’s song, and it was not her first time to sing Thompson.
In understanding the hate-filled message spewed by Thompson, the following lyrics found below bring to light the Croatian singer’s views as reported in the Index media report.
Caution: Hate-filled and vulgar language found in Thompson’s song
Jasenovac and Gradiška Stara,
it is the house of Maks’s butchers
Trucks rush through Imotski, driving the blacks of Francetić Jure
In Čapljina there was a slaughterhouse, Neretva carried away a lot of Serbs
Oh, Neretva, flow downhill and carry the Serbs into the blue Adriatic
Who could imagine last year that Partisans will celebrate Christmas
Who said, father f__k him, that the Black Legion is not coming back
Our Lady of Sinj, if you can, take Stipe and give us Franjo back
Oh, Račan, dog f__k your mother, and those who vote for you
A glittering star over Metković, greet our Ante Pavelić.
As a point of information, Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska mentioned above in the lyrics were the Ustasha Nazi-puppet regime’s death camps in WWII.
An article in The Guardian (August 26, 2018), reports, “Grabar-Kitarovic has said that she loves Thompson’s music.”
Rather than distancing themselves from the event’s proceedings which featured the song by Thompson —the far-right figure known for glorifying Croatia’s WWII pro-Nazi Ustasha regime, the US-based NFCA prominently featured the video of the Thompson song on its website:
In a Reuters report, “Slovenia’s second-largest city Maribor has banned a planned concert by Croatian nationalist singer Marko Perkovic Thompson, whose shows have been canceled in several European countries because of his unruly fans. Thompson, who has had concerts banned in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bosnia and even in his home country in recent years, rejects accusations that his folk-rock songs glorify the Nazi-backed fascist state in Croatia during World War Two.”
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center has led efforts in protesting to Croatia’s authorities against Thompson’s concerts for using songs popular with the Balkan nation’s fascist Ustashe movement.
Principled leaders from strong rule of law nations have a responsibility to hold to account Croatia’s politicians for their brazen schemes to fuel anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism while receiving Western taxpayer funds to support their very political existence.
On the US front, America’s elected officials, Jewish American organizations and the FBI should investigate and hold to account US-based Croatian US non-profit groups providing platforms which promote songs of figures known for fueling anti-Semitism and hatred toward the Jewish community and other ethnic groups.
A principled solution would be to censure Croatia’s HDZ politicians including Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and to block US and European taxpayer funds to the Balkan country via multilateral entities such as the World Bank. These measures should become a first step in addressing the Balkan nation’s efforts to fuel ethnic and religious hatreds.
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