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Publication of ‘elders of Zion’ in Croatia Spurs Special Concern

September 6, 1996
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Publication of `Elders of Zion’ in Croatia spurs special concern. The publication in Croatia of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, is particularly troubling to some because of that country’s role in the Holocaust.

The surfacing of the “Protocols” anywhere is cause for concern, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a telephone interview here this week.

But it is even more so in a country such as Croatia, which has a “history of compliance and complicity” in the deaths of Jews during World War II, he said.

The Croatian translation of the “Protocols” was published a week ago and a quarter of the initial 2,000-copy print run reportedly already has been sold.

The tract, which contains a series of 24 lectures by the so-called “Elders” on plans and techniques for subjugating the world and establishing a Jewish state, first appeared in 1905 Russia and was printed by the government press.

Since that time, it has been appeared around the world.

Foxman also said he was concerned by the appearance of the forgery in Croatia because of its head of state, nationalist Franjo Tudjman.

Last year, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal accused Croatia of reviving ideas and icons from the fascist Ustashe regime that governed the country during World War II.

After the German invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, Croatia was organized as an independent state allied with Germany. During the next four years, Croats stripped the Jews of all their property and eventually killed most of them in local camps, including the infamous Jasenovac death camp.

Among other things, Tudjman wrote a book in 1989 minimizing the Holocaust. He apologized in 1994 for the work’s anti-Semitic sections.

Tudjman also was once quoted as saying that Jews are “selfish, crafty, unreliable, miserly and underhanded.”

Foxman said he believed that Croatia has “laws which would enable the government” to take action against the appearance of the “Protocols.”

“It would be a good opportunity for Mr. Tudjman to assert that kind of leadership as soon as possible,” he said.

Slavko Goldstein, a prominent member of Croatia’s small Jewish community, reportedly said that he could not accuse the publisher of anti-Semitism, but rather of recklessness and failure to explain the tract adequately in the preface.

Non-Jewish Croats also criticized the book’s publication.

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