Oct 6, 2009 3:15 jpost.com
Croatian NGO plans monument to Nazi collaborator Ante Pavelic

Croatian extreme right-wing NGO The Croatian Cultural Movement (HUP) has announced plans to erect a monument in honor of former Croatian president Ante Pavelic in Zagreb, Croatia, this December.

HUP president Tomislav Dragun has been quoted as saying that the monument will stand adjacent to the capital's central square.

Pavelic, the president of Croatia during World War II, was known for his state-organized terror campaign against Jews, Serbs, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croats. He was installed as the president of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in 1941, a puppet state of the Nazi regime which included Bosnia and part of Dalmatia.

Efraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, slammed the proposed monument, saying it "constitutes an outrageous falsification of Croatia's World War II history and is an insult not only to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians - Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croatians - murdered by the Ustashe, but to any person with any sense of moral integrity and knowledge of the history of Croatia during the years 1941-1945. I am certain that saner minds in Zagreb will prevail to halt this infuriating initiative."

Between 1941 and 1945, the fascist Ustashe regime was notorious for its policies of oppression, persecution and murderous brutality, specifically directed against Orthodox Serbs and Jews. The regime established numerous concentration camps, including the Jasenovac complex, the largest of the Croatian camps, which is estimated to have killed between 8,000 and 25,000 of the approximately 40,000 Croatian Jews that perished during World War II. Throughout the war, figures estimate that the Ustashe regime murdered close to 700,000 people.

In relation to Croatia's size, Pavelic's regime is estimated to have been the most murderous of the Axis-aligned countries.

According to Zuroff, the HUP "does not represent the mainstream Croatian opinion, but a small and vocal minority."

He went on to say that the decision to erect the monument reflected "historical revisionism of the worst sort imaginable and a whitewash of the horrific crimes committed by the NDH-Independent State of Croatia as state policy. It is simply inconceivable that a country on the verge of entry to the European Union would allow such a monument to be erected in its capital city or anywhere else on its territory."