Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today strongly denounced a memorial mass held yesterday in the center of Zagreb to commemorate the demise of Croatian mass murderer Ante Pavelić, who headed the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi hunter, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center emphasized the central role played by Pavelić in launching genocidal programs against Serbs, Jews, and Roma in Croatia during World War II, as well as the systematic persecution and murder of Croatian anti-fascists.
According to Zuroff:
“It is hard to believe that in the center of the capital of a member of the European Union, very close to Zagreb’s Jewish community, hundreds of people gathered yesterday to commemorate the memory of one of Europe’s biggest mass murderers. Such a ceremony is an insult to the memory of Pavelić’s hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. It is also a badge of shame for the Catholic Church, which allowed such a ceremony to take place in the Basilica of the Heart of Christ who, had he been alive during World War II, would have been targeted for annihilation as well.