As Croatia commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Jewish community leader criticised Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic for not pushing forward legal changes to ban symbols of the fascist Ustasa regime.

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As Croatia Remembers Holocaust, Govt Urged to Ban Ustasa Symbols

Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic at a Holocaust commemoration in Zagreb. Photo: Nina Obuljen Korzinek/Twitter.

The Croatian parliament started its session with a minute of silence to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, while a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek laid wreaths at the Mirogoj Cemetery in the capital Zagreb.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic described the Holocaust as “one of the worst crimes in human history” and paid tribute to victims of Croatia’s World War II-era Nazi-allied Ustasa regime, which interned and killed Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists at camps like Jasenovac.

“Today is the day we should remember the notorious Ustasa camps, Jasenovac above all, where thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and Croatian anti-fascists and democrats were killed… Jasenovac is a painful and tragic part of Croatian history and eternal remembrance and condemnation of it are a part of our culture of remembrance,” Plenkovic said, news website N1 reported.

Croatian Jewish community leader Ognjen Kraus was also at the ceremony at the Mirogoj Cemetery, where he told media that “we are here today to remember the darkest period in European civilisation”.

However, Kraus said that Croatia is “still pretending to be anti-fascist” while maintaining the status quo, in which the symbols and slogans of the fascist Ustasa regime have not been banned in order to appease “some of our [right-wing] voters”.

Kraus said that last year he was promised a meeting in September with Plenkovic about legal changes to outlaw the use of Ustasa symbolism, but the meeting has yet to take place.

He told journalists that he had “less and less faith” that the meeting and the legal amendments will happen.

“But I haven’t given up on the meeting and I will keep trying. I am waiting for a clear answer to my question,” Kraus added, N1 reported.

When asked about the topic at Mirogoj Cemetery, deputy premier Milosevic said Plenkovic is not opposed to the legal amendments and that “we have to discuss what is the best way for us all to reach the goal we want”.

“The talks will definitely continue, that topic is on the table, I’m interested in it and I will push it further,” Milosevic added.

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