Croatia’s Jews will boycott the country’s official ceremony honoring the victims of the pro-Nazi regime of World War II, accusing the current government of doing little against what they say is a resurgence of neo-Naziism.
The main Jewish agency says it will hold its own commemoration “in line with the Jewish tradition.”
Spokesman Ognjen Kraus said demonstrators chanted pro-Nazi slogans at an anti-government march in January and during a football (soccer) match between the Israeli and Croatian national teams.
“The state is simply not doing anything about it and does not want to,” Kraus said Monday.
The Croatian government has not yet responded to the Jewish community’s decision to ignore the official ceremony. But Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković has spoken out against hate speech in the media.
Every April, Croatia honors the victims of the Jasenovac death camp, operated by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime of World War II. The camp is known as Croatia’s own Auschwitz.
Historians still debate the exact number of people murdered in the camp, with some saying the total is as high as 700,000.
They included Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-Nazi Croats.
(Photo of the Stone Flower monument commemorating the victims at the Jasenovac concentration camp: Petar Milošević)