An organisation dedicated to Nazi-hunting called on the Croatian government to cancel special benefits granted to Ustasha war criminals.
The Ustasha movement (Croatian Revolutionary Movement,) was a fascist group active between 1929 and 1945. The members of the terrorist organisation murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and anti-fascist Croatians in Yugoslavia during World War II, because of their religious beliefs. Russian news website RT reported that according to historians, by the end of the war Ustasha had exterminated 30,000 Jews, about 29,000 Gypsies, and up to 750,000 Serbs in concentration camps in Europe.
Paying pensions to members of the Ustasha armed forces is a “horrific insult to the victims, their families and all Croatians with a sense of morality and integrity,” said the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, as quoted by AFP on Tuesday. “In view of the horrendous war crimes committed in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH)… such a policy is inherently mistaken,” he emphasised.
According to AFP, the Croatian government is paying pensions to about 10,000 such Ustasha collaborators, costing the government around 50 million euros annually.
Brief history of Ustasha
Ustasha created by Ante Pavelic in 1929, as a response to the formation of Yugoslavia. Then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was turned into a dictatorship by King Alexander I. The dictatorship was designed to unite the Kingdom under one identity, and so was renamed Yugoslavia and divided along deliberately non ethnic lines.
The fundamentalist Croatian movement was in favour of an independent Croatia with racially “pure” Croatians living inside. According to their ideology, only the Catholic and Muslim faiths were the religions of the Croatian people.
In 1941, Nazis invaded Yugoslavia and decided to split Yugoslavia. The Nazis needed someone to run Croatia, and they turned to Ustasha. According to About Education, the Ustasha then recruited an army and began a major campaign of genocide against Serbs and other residents. Resistance groups formed, and a large proportion of the population died in the civil war.