Croatia's Jews to Boycott Official Holocaust Commemoration

Jewish officials accuse Croatia's new right-wing government of ignoring a public resurgence of anti-Semitism, including pro-Nazi slogans chanted by Croatian fans during a soccer match between Croatia and Israel last month.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, right, and Polish President Andrzej Duda   light candles  during a ceremony at the former Auschwitz Nazi  death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016
Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, right, and Polish President Andrzej Duda light candles during a ceremony at the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, Wednesday, Jan. AP

Croatia's Jewish community has confirmed that it will boycott an official Holocaust commemoration to protest government's alleged inaction to curb the surge of neo-Nazi sentiments in the country, prompting the government to condemn the country's Nazi puppet regime.

The Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities of Croatia said Monday it would hold its own commemoration at a World War II Nazi-run death camp on April 15, a week before the ceremony that is to be attended by government officials.

Jewish committee officials have accused Croatia's new right-wing government of ignoring open public resurgence of anti-Semitism, including pro-Nazi slogans chanted by Croatian fans during a soccer match between Croatia and Israel last month.

Croatian Jews are angry that fans chanted pro-Nazi slogans at an Israel-Croatia soccer match last month, pictured here where Israel's Shir Meir Tzedek, right, is challenged by Croatia's Mario Mandzukic.
AP

They say these incidents "downplay and revitalize the Ustashe regime" that controlled the country during the war, and they have decided to organize separate commemoration ceremonies in Jasenovac later this month.

In a bid to win their support ahead of the April 22 event, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic met representatives of Jews, Serbs, Gypsies and anti-fascists on Monday, and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic issued a statement condemning the Ustashe's crimes.

"The Croatian government, and I personally, condemn the crimes of the Ustashe regime," he said.

Tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies have died in death camps run by the Nazi puppet state of Croatia during WWII.