|A prisoner uniform on display at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest. Photo: EPA-EFE/Balazs Mohai.|
The Holocaust Revisionist Report, a study examining how individual European Union states deal with the legacy of WWII crimes, which was published on Friday, lists Croatia as one of the most problematic countries in Europe in terms of historical revisionism.
The report, published by the Holocaust Remembrance Project and based on work by researchers from Yale and Grinnell Colleges, says that Holocaust revisionism is worst in the EU’s newer Central European members – Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland.
“Holocaust memory in Croatia is troubled,” the report says, pointing to the continued use of the wartime Croatian fascist Ustasa movement’s salute, the Croatian government and the Catholic Church’s ambiguous attitude to the country’s Holocaust legacy, the controversies surrounding the Jasenovac concentration camp and the publication of books that play down the death toll at the camp.
“Little restitution has been made to the Jewish community. No Holocaust museums exist. Croatia suffers from a lack of consensus about the country’s main wartime concentration camp at Jasenovac. For the past three years, Jewish, Serbian and Roma communities have boycotted the official Jasenovac commemoration,” the report also says.
However the report notes that “not all Central Europeans are moving in the wrong direction”, citing Romania as a positive example.
“Under the leadership of Romanian-born Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, the [Romanian] government commissioned an independent committee. It discovered and publicised the fact that at least 280,000 Romanian Jews along with other groups, were massacred in Romanian-run death camps [during World War II,” the report says.
It urges “countries with troubled pasts such as Croatia, Bulgaria, Poland and others” to follow Romania’s example and set up similar independent commissions to study their Holocaust history.
The authors of the report said they wanted to “support those countries taking strong action to combat Holocaust revisionism – while pointing the finger at countries which need to do much more to come to terms with their pasts”.
After the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia during WWII, the Ustasa movement proclaimed its Independent State of Croatia on April 10, 1941.
The Ustasa, modelled largely on the German SS, implemented Nazi-style racial laws, rounding up and killing Jews, Serbs and Roma along with anti-fascists.
According to the Jasenovac Memorial Site, the Ustasa killed over 83,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists at the camp between 1941 and 1945.