Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi-hunter and the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) office in Jerusalem , has said that it is no surprise that the growth of neo-fascism in Croatia occurred after the country joined the European Union (EU), as the same thing happened in some other states.
It is no surprise that this is happening in Croatia after its EU entry. The same happened in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia… That is a flame that burns and gives support to extreme nationalists across Europe, Zuroff underscored during a lecture at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
While they were still EU-aspirant countries, those states were forced to behave.
When neo-fascist tendencies are on the rise in them, Brussels is not saying a word, but is asleep.
Zuroff also criticised the fact that no Croatian official reacted to the incident at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, when Croatia’s football player Josip Simunic took the microphone after the match and shouted the infamous Ustasha (fascist party) salute ‘For the Homeland!”.
Even more disconcerting, it was noted, was that thousands of fans responded “Ready!”
Zuroff said that following their EU accession, some countries are trying to minimise their role in the Holocaust, referring to Lithuania, Estonia and Croatia.
The Holocaust was an industrial slaughterhouse that has not repeated ever again in history and I hope it never will.
He also noted that Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe were actively involved in the realisation of mass killings, while in other parts of Europe collaborators were not required to do that.
The Germans first set priorities, deciding to focus on officers only, and only now, after the conviction of Ivan Demjanjuk, who was a guard at the infamous Sobibor death camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II, Germany is ready to bring those criminals to justice.
That is why we launched a campaign titled “Late, But Not Too Late”, so as to help German authorities to find as many people as possible and bring them to justice.
There is no statute of limitations for the guilt, and old age should not protect criminals.
The battle does not end with the death of the last Nazi. We will continue to fight to ensure the accurate history and proper remembrance of the Holocaust.
But the matter of a rise in right-wing extremism in the country is further muddied by the fact that many commentators and reporters consider the opposition to same-sex marriage to be a core tenet of ‘right-wing extremism’, as can be seen through reporting on the matter across Europe.
A majority of Croatians recently voted in a referendum to ban gay marriage in what was a major victory for the Catholic Church-backed conservatives
The state electoral commission said 65 percent of those who voted answered “yes” to the referendum question: “Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?” About 34 percent voted against.
The result meant that Croatia’s constitution will be amended to ban same-sex marriage.
The conflation of the issue of fascism and opposition to same-sex marriage can be seen during protests wherein gay rights campaigners display signs that read, “Stop fascism!” alongside their placards promoting gay marriage. Recent media reporting has reflected this.
The referendum of same-sex marriage is to be followed by another: one to ban the use of Cyrillic.
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