EJP | News | Eastern Europe | Nazi hunters protest Croatian singer's broadcast
JERUSALEM-ZAGREB (AFP-EJP)---A leading Nazi-hunter organisation Sunday slammed the planned broadcast on Croatian television of a concert by a local singer known for sympathising with Croatia’s World War II pro-Nazi regime.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre voiced its "opposition to the screening tonight in prime time by the Croatian state television (Channel 2) of the recent concert by rock singer Marko Perkovic ’Thompson’ at which numerous members of the audience displayed Ustasha uniforms, symbols and banners," a statement said.
In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center said such a move would "encourage Croatian extremist nationalists by giving official sanction to an event which constituted a brazen display of the symbols of Croatian racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia."
The singer is known for glorifying the 1940s Ustasha regime allied with Nazi Germany at his concerts where, dressed in black, he gives a Hitler-style salute and shouts Ustasha slogans.
“The widespread display of Ustasha and ultranationlist symbols at Thompson concerts is no mistake or coincidence. A singer who sings nostalgically about Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic and favorably about Croatia’s worst World War II concentration camps Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska, is openly urging his fans to identify with the genocidal Ustasha regime which sought to liquidate Croatia’s Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies as well as their Croatian political opponents,''the centre said.
"By broadcasting Thompson’s concert on state television in prime time the government is in essence expressing its approval for his hateful message," the Wiesenthal centre’s statement concluded.
Perkovic’s concert, attended by some 60,000 people, was held in mid-June in Zagreb.
According to local media reports, during the Zagreb concert Perkovic
refrained from pro-Ustasha references and Hitler-style salutes.
The event was immediately criticised by the Wiesenthal centre, Croatian Jews and anti-fascists.
The government later criticised the "attempts to use insignia and salutes from the times of the World War II Ustasha regime."
Croatian nationalists and right-wing politicians see Perkovic as an icon.
The Ustasha killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, anti-fascist
Croatians, Roma and others in Croatia’s concentration camps.