Around 300 of Croatia’s Jewish population held a vigil outside the country’s most notorious concentration camp in protest at the government’s alleged failure to challenge rising neo-Nazi sentiment in the country. Part of this failure concerns the downplaying of the crimes of Croatia’s pro-Nazi regime. The ultra-nationalist and antisemitic Ustaša regime took power on August 10, 1941, after Axis forces had invaded Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. Concentration camps were built nationwide to ‘purge’ Croatian society of ‘foreign elements’. This extended to Jews, Serbs, Roma and non-Catholic minorities. Ustaša fascists exterminated over 500,000 Serbs. They forced 250,000 into exile and made 250,000 more Serbs convert to Catholicism under pain of death, according to Yad Vashem. The fascist regime murdered 75 per cent of Croatia’s pre-war Jewish population of 40,000. Jews in Croatia now make up 1 per cent of the general population. Between 15,000 and 20,000 Roma were also murdered by the Ustaša regime, as were between 5,000 and 12,000 ethnic Croats and Muslims. Croatia’s largest concentration camp was the Jasenovac complex, a string of five camps along the Sava River, east of Zagreb. Close to 100,000 people were murdered in this camp between 1941 and 1945. Prisoners at the [...]
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