Croatian president warns against Nazi sympathisers

23rd June 2009, Comments 0 comments

The president has often spoken out against the Nazi sympathisers in Croatia, but faced embarrassment in 2006 when comments emerged in which he apparently spoke approvingly of the pro-Nazi regime.

Zagreb -- Croatian President Stipe Mesic spoke out Monday against increasing "aggression" among those nostalgic for the country's World War II pro-Nazi regime.

Mesic also criticised the failure of the Croatian state to confront the rise of Nazi sympathisers.

"We must be ready to react to the aggression of the revisionists, which is becoming increasingly brutal," Mesic urged in a speech to mark Croatia's national anti-fascism day.

"We must defend historic truth. If we don't do it today, tomorrow it will be too late," he added.

Mesic's warning came at a ceremony in the central town of Brezovica to mark the establishment on June 22, 1941, of the first unit of Croat partisans opposed to the pro-Nazi Ustasha state, which was defeated four years later.

The head of state also denounced an atmosphere in Croatia which he said had forced him to step up efforts to defend the struggle against fascism.

The battle had been "tarnished" by those nostalgic for the pro-Nazi regime, Mesic added.

"I envy the German chancellor, the British prime minister and the French president, who do not have to fight against revisionists," he said.

"In these countries, the battle is led by the state which reacts at every level" against neo-Nazi incidents.

"I sometimes have the impression of being alone in this fight, and what is missing is state support," Mesic added.

Mesic has often spoken out against the Nazi sympathisers in Croatia, but faced embarrassment in 2006 when comments emerged in which he apparently spoke approvingly of the pro-Nazi regime.

He issued an apology following the publication of remarks in a 1992 speech in Australia.

In the speech, Mesic said Croatians had scored two historic victories -- one when the pro-Nazi Ustasha state was founded in 1941 and the other when anti-fascists won at the end of World War II.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs, gypsies and Croatian anti-fascists died in concentration camps set up by Croatia's pro-Nazi regime during World War II.

AFP/Expatica

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