For The Propagandist Magazine: Croatia’s Silent Approval of the Ustasha Regime

The Independent State of Croatia was a quisling marionette state formed from the territories of present Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1941 to 1945 in support of the Third Reich. Its supporters have been out in force in recent weeks.

Several small far right parties, historically connected with Ustasha regime, get together in the last week of December of 2011 to commemorate the death of Jure Francetic, a Ustasha commander. He responsible for thousands of deaths in concentration camps formed on Croatian territory. Just a days after the pro-Francetic celebration, same political groups with large crowds of supporters gathered at a church in the city of Split, where they celebrated mass for the leader of the NDH (Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska/ Independent State of Croatia), Dr. Ante Pavelic. Last but not least, a relatively well-known columnist for the Zagreb Vecernji newspaper, Josip Pavicic, called for the Croatian public and literary community to compare Miroslav Krleza, a poet and author Communist, with Pavelic’s minister responsible for racial laws, Mile Budak (also known as minor writer and author of several books).

What’s striking in first two events is that Church and far right neo-Nazi political groups have succeeded in engaging large crowds of fairly young people, most of whom were born at least forty years after the end of the Second World War. They come out dressed in uniforms with flags and crests of the quisling state which claimed at least half a million lives in less than five years of it’s existence.

Besides singing ultra-orthodox songs celebrating the “bravery” and “heroism” of Francetic, they expressed their pride for what was done under the leadership of Poglavnik (Furher or leader) Pavelic. Young Neo-Nazis came in to fight with police over a decision to cancel their celebration. Following the mass for Poglavnik Pavelic, Simon Wiesenthal Center representative and onetime Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff called the mass: “a disgrace for the Croatian people.” He called on the newly elected government to ban commemorations of Pavelic’s death. In his media statement, Zuroff called the mass a total repudiation of Christian values and an insult to Pavelic’s vitims. So far none of Croatia’s official authorities have reacted to Zuroff’s statements. But knowing the new government is formed from as wide social-democratic coalition, a ban could actually happen.

In 2011 one of the last surviving (but now deceased) Hungarian Nazi commanders, Sandor Kepiro, was found not guilty of all accusations for crimes committed in city of Novi Sad in Serbia. In times like these, it’s not surprising to see mass for war criminals like Francetic or Pavelic in Croatia.

The most worrying fact is that many young people are ready to come out armed with Ustasha memorabilia and to celebrate war criminals as their heroes; presumably, they feel ready to continue their work sometime in the future. Croatia is not sole example of rising Neo-Nazism in Europe. Communities all over Central and Easter Europe are concerned for the future. Elements like these are allowed to live and promote their “values” without any consequences or actions from official authorities. For the Balkans region the danger is not only the rising number of Ustasha supporters in Croatia. Serbia is under the influence of Chethnik supporters and followers of Draza Mihailovic’s ideology. In Bosnia, there is a small but significant group of supporters for these groups; but in Bosnia, there is also an active Wahhabi movement that was involved with the recent attack the US Embassy in Sarajevo. There’s no shortage of old hatreds to go around.


  1. Croatia just elected a liberal social democratic government. The nationalistic right wing parties didnt get more than 2-3 %. In Serbia on the other hand, the Radical Party is stronger than ever. Check your facts. And the reasons some croatians celebrate the NDH era is because before that, Croatia was under Serbian tyranny (like the rest of Yugoslavia). The most popular croatian politician Stjepan Radic got shot in the “Senate” by serbian nationalist who would like nothing more to create a “Great Serbia” on the expense of other countries. Croatians also had to pay 4 times more taxes then serbs, and serbs where heavily overrepresented in the police, government, media and elswhere. Sounds fair? Only idiots would celebrate killing innocent people, but protecting your country from people who want to exterminate it does not go into that category

    1. I’m always ready to check my facts 🙂 And here are few of them:

      – right wing nationalistic party Croatian Democratic Union, hidden behind so called “demochristian” ideology, was Croatia’s leading party for 17 out of 20 years since independence in 1992. HDZ won 40% votes on recently Parliamentary elections and it’s official leader of the Opposition in Croatian Sabor.

      – for 20 years same party was promoter of ustasha ideology through silent approval of Marko Perkovic Thompson concerts which were always “flavoured” with ustasha memorabilia, clothing and salutes. Well known fact is that Mr. Perkovic was leading singer on HDZ campaign concerts in several occasions. HDZ never ever took any credible action to prevent events like this. Moreover they permitted concerts, masses for Pavelic and his closest comrades. It’s quite easy to check media reports regarding these events.

      – When it comes to Mr. Radic you’re quite right I must to say. He was killed by Serb nationalist Mr. Punisa Racic in National Assembly of Yugoslavian Kingdom in 1928 while he was working on idea of formatting democratic and law ruled Yugoslavia as united state for all Balkan people. Historic fact is that Mr. Radic’s brother, MP’s Basaricek, Pernar and Grandjo were injured by Mr. Racic.

      – If you’re directing your tax claim on era of Tito’s Yugoslavia I’m not sure that fact is right. I might be wrong.

      – Numbers of generals, police officials and other areas of life are pretty interesting. For example first president of independent Croatia Dr. Franjo Tudjman was Tito’s general and historian, last President of Yugoslavian Presidency and former Croatian President Mr. Stjepan Mesic was influential communist politician before he joined Croatian Spring, Mesic’s foreign policy advisor Mr. Budimir Loncar well regarded diplomat was Yugoslavia’s foreign affair minister, and so on. I don’t want even to talk about media’s and numbers of Croats on them in the past Yugoslavian times because it will take me a lot of space to enlist all of them. It is true that Serbian component was strong, but if we want to point out which two or three national groups from ex-Yugoslavia were neglected in all areas of life we can then mention Slovenians, Bosnian Muslims and Macedonians.

      – As a survivor of latest Balkan wars I’ll tell you honestly there’s no innocent group and there’s no under any circumstances rule which clears one or other side of committed crimes. That’s why I mentioned at the end of my text for The Propagandist three distinctive groups of people who can endanger Balkans future.



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