A Holocaust expert and historian Gideon Greif has called on UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to address the problem of growing Ustashism in Croatia.
“Expressing the deepest concern over the growing trend of Neo-Ustashism, especially among young people, I would kindly ask you, as UN special rapporteur on human rights, to do something and to address the issue of public use of the Ustasha salute ‘For Homeland – Ready!” and insignia, such as the Croatian coat of arms with the first chessboard field painted in white, which is proven Ustasha symbol from the WWII,” said Greif.
In his letter, he protested over the commemoration in Bleiburg, which he qualified as the largest gathering of neo-Nazis in Europe and reminded that such use of Nazi symbols and greeting are prohibited by law in Germany too, reports Belgrade-based Politika.
“The duty of historians is not only to write books, but also to actively contribute to defining and stopping all forms of neo-fascism and discrimination. It is necessary to support the UN in the fight against the glorification of Nazism and a new wave of anti-semitism that are extremely dangerous and must be prevented,” said Greif.
He believes that the UN, as the largest and most influential international peace organisation, should address dangerous phenomena in Croatia in order to prevent other neo-Nazi movements in the world from being encouraged by Neo-Ustashism.
Greif pointed out that the most dangerous rehabilitation of neo-Nazism is visible in Croatia.
He pointed out that nowadays in Croatia, the young greet each other with Ustasha salute “For Homeland – Ready!” at football pitches and concerts, wear Ustasha T-shirts and often cause incidents such as the one during Croatia – Israel soccer match, when the entire stadium saluted with Ustasha greeting.
“Ustasha criminals are celebrated today in Croatia. Monuments are erected to honour them and streets are named after them, school students learn that Ustashas were ‘Croatian patriots’”, Greif said.
He added that he shares his colleagues’ opinion that the contributions of scientists in written form are simply not sufficient to stop revisionism and growing Neo-Ustashism, which is being openly sympathized, sometimes even at the institutional level.
In this context, he mentioned the former Croatian Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, and former deputy prime minister, Davor Ivo Stier.
Greif is the founder and director of the International Expert Group GH-7 tasked with combating glorification and practices of Nazism and Neo-Nazi activities, chief historian of the Shem Olam Holocaust Institute and author of many scientific articles and books on Auschwitz and the death factories in World War II.