Croatia’s Jewish community on Monday announced its plan to boycott the state’s official Holocaust commemoration, in response to their government’s failure to control public neo-Nazi expressions.
The Jewish community’s coordinating committee said it plans to commemorate the Holocaust on April 15 at the Nazi death camp of Jasenovac, one week ahead of the official ceremony. About 30,000 Jews were murdered at Jasenovac during WW II.
Croatia’s far-right is associated with the historical Ustaše movement, which has connections to neo-Nazism and neo-fascism. During World War II, Ustaše was supported by the German Nazis and the Italian Fascists, in the pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Pro-Ustaša symbols and actions have been restricted by law in Croatia since 2003. The most common venue for expressing Nazi sentiments is public graffiti.
Jewish committee officials are accusing Croatia’s newconservative government of ignoring open and public anti-Semitism, including pro-Nazi slogans that were chanted by Croatian fans during a soccer match between Croatia and Israel last month (Israel lost 2-0).
Croatia’s president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who attended George Washington University as a Fulbright scholar, received a Luksic Fellowship for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, called on Croatians to unite “over the fundamental values of the society, in this case over the commemoration of the death of the innocent Jasenovac victims.”