Fascist Slogan Near Croatia Concentration Camp Sparks Anger
Serb politicians have condemned a memorial plaque with a fascist slogan which was installed by Croatian war veterans and right-wing politicians near the Jasenovac WWII concentration camp.
Serb politicians in Croatia and Serbia on Sunday strongly criticised former members of the Croatian Defence Forces, HOS, and right-wing politicians for installing a memorial plaque with the Croatian World War II fascist Ustaša slogan Za dom spremni’ (Ready for the Home(land)’) near the site of the former Ustaša concentration camp at Jasenovac.
Croatian weekly newspaper [i]Novosti[/i] reported on Friday that the politicians and an association of former HOS fighters installed the plaque with its legally registered coat of arms, which includes the Za dom spremni’ slogan, in November in the Jasenovac municipality, near the former concentration camp.
The plaque veterans commemorates 11 fighters from the HOS’s Ante Paradzik’ company who died during the 1990s war.
Croatian MP Milorad Pupovac, a leader of the country’s Serb minority, said that that a month had passed since the plaque was installed and there had been no reaction from senior Croatian officials, the police or the state attorney’s office.
Julija Kos, a retired librarian from the Jewish community in Zagreb, whose relatives were killed in the camp responded with a long letter in which she called on President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic to take action over the plaque.
“You [Plenkovic] won the elections by attracting moderate voters of different orientations, and you consciously sacrificed some of the [right-wing] hawks’ in your [party’s] ranks - was it just an election trick? Is that only an external gloss, but under that there is still a rotten extreme right?” Kos wrote in the letter.
Hasanbegovic rejected suggestions that it was similar to engraving Sieg Heil’ near the site of the Auschwitz death camp, and insisted that the plaque was not even near the former Jasenovac camp.
“You can’t identify [the municipality] with the memorial area. Imagine the whole place being burdened by the crimes. Jasenovac is a town,” he said.
The HOS was founded in 1991 at the beginning of the war in Croatia as a paramilitary unit and the military wing of the far-right Croatian Party of Rights, then integrated into the regular Croatian Army in 1992.
Under the rule of the Nazi-aligned Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945, Serbs, Jews and Roma were persecuted under racial laws modelled on those of Nazi Germany.
According to research by the Jasenovac Memorial Site, 83,145 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists were identified on the name-by-name list of those who died at the concentration camp during the war, a figure which is not final.