The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the Austrian government
for allowing fascist symbols at a Croatian nationalist gathering.
Efraim Zuroff of the center’s Jerusalem office sent a letter of protest to the
Austrian Embassy in Israel on Wednesday criticizing Austria’s “utter failure” to prevent the display
of Croatian fascist symbols at a rally Sunday in the the southern city of Bleiburg. Some
40,000 people attended a rally commemorating those killed by anti-fascist
Yugoslav forces in Bleiburg at the end of World War II.
Croatia was led by a pro-Hitler fascist regime, the Ustashe, during World
According to Zuroff, some rally attendees wore Ustasha uniforms and were “waving
photographs of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic, the person most responsible for the
genocide carried out by the Croatian state against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies
during World War II.”
“The fascist demonstrators at Bleiburg made a mockery of Austria’s ban on the use of Nazi symbols and its law against
Holocaust denial,” Zuroff said in a statement.