Monday, January 22, 2018

Croatia's Far Right Draws Strength from Diaspora

Catholic fascism immigration politics nazi history revisionism
Argentinian Croats protesting against former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna
Pusic statements on post-WWII crimes committed by anti-fascist Partisans.
Scattered over almost two centuries across the globe – in Germany, the US, Canada, Argentina and Australia – most members of the Croatian diaspora are still closely linked to their homeland.

The Croatian state responds in kind; it pledges to take “special care” of Croats living abroad, a pledge outlined in the country’s 1990 constitution. Subsequently, Croatia has set up the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, as well as a government body, the Council for Croats Abroad.

More controversially, some in the diaspora maintain close ties with the extreme right in Croatia, pushing a very sympathetic view of the Fascist Ustasa movement that ran the so-called Independent State of Croatia, NDH, under German-Italian patronage during World War II.

In late December, the appointment of Ante Juric, a prominent representative of the Croat community in Australia, to the government’s Council, attracted media attention.

Controversy arose after Juric told a Croat-language TV show on Australia’s SBS radio that the NDH was not a reviled Nazi satellite state but “a Croatian state, and I’m glad it was – while [its leader, Ante] Pavelic was for me one of the greatest Croats in history”.

Germany is home to the biggest Croat community in Europe, numbering some 440,000 people – equal to just over 10 per cent of Croatia’s total population.

Searching for better life, many Croats left what was then Yugoslavia for Germany back in the 1960s, and this trend has continued, increasing after Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

Danijel Majic, a German-Croat journalist who writes about right-wing extremism in Germany for the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, says the connections between parts of Croatian diaspora in Germany and the far right in Croatia are well established.

Croatia’s conservative Christian values NGO, “In the Name of the Family”, has a de facto branch in Germany. This was the NGO that pushed successfully for a referendum in Croatia in 2013 on marriage, defining it as an exclusively heterosexual union and effectively blocking the path to legalised gay marriage.

The NGO also helped file a successful plea for the legal rehabilitation of Filip Lukas, an intellectual close to the Ustasa regime. In July, the Zagreb County Court quashed the verdict passed decades ago by Yugoslav courts, rehabilitating him in full.

Majic says the Catholic Church provides important help for rightist movements among the émigrés.

“The only serious infrastructure among the Croat émigrés in Germany are the missions of the Catholic Church there … Since they the only ones that can offer venues for different political rallies or debates, almost exclusively for rightist politicians and NGOs,” he says.  (more...)


Catholic fascism immigration politics nazi history revisionism

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