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Ustachi and the ABN at the World Cup

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Ustachi Recruiting Poster

Ustachi with victim

COMMENT: In FTR #766, we highlighted Croatian soccer players and fans giving the “Za Dom-Spremni” Ustachi fascist salute. That has manifested at the World Cup, along with a nod to Ukrainian OUN/B–partners with the Ustachi in the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. Formerly called the Committee of Subjugated Nations when formed by Hitler in 1943, the ABN became a key element of the former World Anti-Communist League and is profoundly connected to the GOP’s Ethnic Heritage Outreach Committee and the Gehlen spy outfit.  (For more about this topic, see–among other programs–FTR #’s 48, 154, 532, 865.)

In FTR #901, we highlighted the cementing of Ustachi power in contemporary Croatia:

  • The outgoing Croatian Prime Minister’s characterization of the new government there as being “criminal, pro-Ustacha.” ” . . . [Ex-PM] Zoran Milanovic said on Mon­day he was con­cerned that ‘peo­ple from a crim­i­nal, spy­ing, and pro-Ustasha coali­tion’ are com­ing to power in Croatia. . . .”
  • The new Croatian Culture Minister’s open Ustacha sentiments: ” . . . . In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fascist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as ‘vic­tims’ and ‘martyrs’. In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fascist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as ‘vic­tims’ and ‘martyrs.’ Zlatko Hasan­be­govic unam­bigu­ously glo­ri­fied the Ustasa and advo­cated the estab­lish­ment of the Greater Croa­tia in the monthly mag­a­zine, ‘The Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia,’ pub­lished in the 1990s. He was pho­tographed in it with Mladen Schwartz, Velimir Bujanec, and the son-in-law of for­mer Fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic. In one pho­to­graph he wears an Ustasa cap. The then editor-in-chief of the monthly, Srecko Psenic­nik, was the son-in-law of Ante Pavelic, and Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, HOP, a pro-Ustasa party founded by Pavelic. . . .”

Pro-Ustacha sentiment in Croatian football runs deep: ” . . . .  the President of the Croatian Football Association, Davor Šuker, is not only a ‘Thompson’ fan, he had even been photographed in 1996 at the grave site of Ustaša Fuehrer Ante Pavelić.[5] . . . .”

Croatian football fans at a recent match

With Russia being the host nation of the just concluded World Cup, Croatian players and coaches voiced sentiment for the OUN/B successor organizations now in power in Ukraine, thanks to the Maidan coup: ” . . . . Following Croatia’s victory over the Russian team, a video clip emerged showing the Croatian player dedicating his team’s victory to the Ukraine, while chanting ‘Glory to the Ukraine!'[2] This is a slogan of another of the Nazi collaborators – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist (OUN). . . . the OUN participated in the Holocaust and murdered over 90,000 Poles, and thousands of Jews. ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes’ (‘Slawa Ukraini! Herojam slawa!’) was their popular greeting. On the same video clip, the Croatian assistant coach Ognjen Vukojević added: ‘This victory is for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine.’ . . .”

1. “Palatable Slogans;” german-foreign-policy.com; 7/11/2018.

The Croatian nationalism, currently causing an uproar at the FIFA World Cup has been supported by the German government for decades. During the World Cup, members of the Croatian national team also sang a song with well-known fascist lyrics – originally a song from a singer glorifying Ustaša fascism and praising the mass murder of Serbs in World War II. Virulent nationalism has been prevailing for years throughout the Croatian society. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recently confirmed that fascist tendencies are gaining strength in that country. Following World War II, old Ustaša structures had been able to hibernate in the Federal Republic of Germany. Bonn also had supported the growing Croatian separatism in the 1970s and established links to the exile Croatian nationalist groups. In the early 1990s, Germany promoted Croatia’s secession – and thus its nationalism – for geostrategic reasons.

“Drive the Serbs into the Blue Adriatic Sea”

Even before the Croatian player Domagoj Vida’s remarks became known, one of his teammates staged a provocation, by referring positively to his country’s fascist past during the World Cup in Russia. Following the Croatian team’s victory over the Argentine team, Dejan Lovren enthusiastically chimed in a song of the Croatian singer “Thompson” that starts with the words “Za dom – spremni!” (“For the Homeland – Ready!”).[1] This had been the slogan of Nazi Germany’s collaborator Ustaša fascist movement, which had ruled the Croatian state between 1941 and 1945 and participated in the Holocaust. The exact number of its victims is unknown, however, estimates run from 330,000 to over 700,000 murdered Serbs and up to 40,000 murdered Jews and Romani, respectively. “Thompson” is known for his glorification of the Ustaša-regime. In his songs, he has verses such as “Oh, Neretva, flow down, drive the Serbs into the blue Adriatic Sea,” or “Shining star above Metković, send our greetings to Ante Pavelić.” Pavelić had been the Ustaša’s historic Fuehrer.

“Belgrade is burning!”

Following Croatia’s victory over the Russian team, a video clip emerged showing the Croatian player dedicating his team’s victory to the Ukraine, while chanting “Glory to the Ukraine!”[2] This is a slogan of another of the Nazi collaborators – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist (OUN). Unlike the Croatian case, the Nazis, however, prevented the Ukrainian nationalists from forming their state in 1941. Nevertheless, the OUN participated in the Holocaust and murdered over 90,000 Poles, and thousands of Jews. “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes” (“Slawa Ukraini! Herojam slawa!”) was their popular greeting. On the same video clip, the Croatian assistant coach Ognjen Vukojević added: “This victory is for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine.” Under public pressure, the Croatian Soccer Association relieved Vukojević of his duties at the FIFA World Cup, whereas Vida, whom the Croatian team wants to keep for the two upcoming matches, was only given a warning. Yesterday another video clip emerged with Vido not only shouting “Glory to Ukraine!” but adding into the camera: “Belgrade is burning!”[3]

At the Fuehrer’s Graveside

Positive reference to Ustaša fascism has a long tradition in Croatian soccer. There was the incident on November 19, 2013, for example, when, following the victory over Iceland’s national team, the member of the Croatian national team Josip Šimunić yelled “Za dom – spremni!” five times into the stadium’s microphone.[4] Fifa banned Šimunić from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Croatia’s Football Association then hired him as a training assistant in 2015, as a rehabilitation measure. The fans of Croatia’s soccer team are also notorious for their fascist and racist slogans and have already been banned several times from attending their national team’s games. On the other hand, the President of the Croatian Football Association, Davor Šuker, is not only a “Thompson” fan, he had even been photographed in 1996 at the grave site of Ustaša Fuehrer Ante Pavelić.[5]

Fascist Tendencies

The positive references to fascism in Croatian soccer correspond to the general political orientation of a majority in Croatia’s population. Last May, the Anti-Racism Commission of the European Council published a report on the Croatian situation, which noted a marked increase in racist tendencies in that country. This is not least of all expressed in “praising” the fascist Ustaša regime, writes the Anti-Racism Commission.[6] It was also noted that politicians of various persuasions are increasingly resorting to baiting during their speeches. Their chauvinist agitation often targets refugees – particularly, Muslims – but also Romani. The Croatian Serb minority is not least among the victims of these attacks. Ustaša symbols are repeatedly painted on Serb buildings or those belonging to Serb organizations.

Hibernation in the Federal Republic of Germany

The steadily increasing new Croatian nationalism dates back to the old Ustaša era nationalism, which Belgrade had sought to suppress as much as possible in socialist Yugoslavia. It survived, however, also due to the practical support of the Federal Republic of Germany. Functionaries and supporters of Croatia’s Ustaša, who fled to West Germany, were able to regroup and reorganize, helping Branimir Jelić, an early Ustaša member, to organize a Croatian National Committee (Hrvatski Narodni Odbor, HNO) already back in the 1950s. Its headquarters in Munich attracted numerous former Croatian Nazi collaborators. Former Ustaša Minister of the Interior, Mate Frković and others were published in their magazine Hrvatska Država (The Croatian State), printed in Munich.[7] It was the fact that the Croatian exiles’ orientation was clearly set on destroying Yugoslavia – alongside their anti-communism – that furnished the political reason for West Germany to remain benevolent toward them. After all, in the aftermath of World War I, Yugoslavia was founded, with a relatively strong nation-state, to block Germany’s route in its drive to the southeast. On the other hand, this was also Germany’s impetus, in the 1970s, for supporting the strengthened Croatian separatism and, for this purpose – also with intelligence service collaboration – to bridge the gap between the nationalist Croats in exile with the right-wing secessionist circles in Zagreb. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8])

Front-Line Soldiers and Combat Volunteers

Croatian nationalism achieved a breakthrough in the early 1990s, when the Croatian nationalists – again with decisive German support – were able to secede from the Yugoslav Federation. Franjo Tudjman was the politician at the helm of the new nation, who, in 1989, had euphemized the Jasenovac death camp as an “assembly and labor camp.” In Jasenovac Serbs, Jews and Romani had been murdered. At the same time Tudjman extolled the Ustaša state as having been “the expression’ of the Croatian people’s aspiration for self-determination and sovereignty.”[9] In Croatia’s secessionist war – which Germany supported politically, practically and militarily – the nationalist, ultra-rightwing positions prevailed on a broad front. “Front-line soldiers and combat volunteers” greeted each other with the Ustaša salute ‘Za dom Spremni” and sang Ustaša songs, wrote the journalist Gregor Mayer. The Catholic church – very influential in Croatia – also glorified the Ustaša. Under Tudjman’s leadership, “streets and squares were renamed at a frenetic pace,” often named after Ustaša personalities, such as “Nazi ideologue, Mile Budak,” “Ustaša functionaries seeped back from exile into the state apparatus and the educational system.” Mayer considers that Tudjman has rendered “a historical and social conception ‘palatable’,” wherein “radical right-wingers and neo-Nazis can still refer to.”[10]

 

[1] Tobias Finger: Kroatien und der Umgang mit der faschistischen Vergangenheit. tagesspiegel.de 26.06.2018.

[2] “Ruhm der Ukraine”: Fifa verwarnt Kroatiens Vida. derstandard.at 08.07.2018.

[3] Erneut Untersuchung gegen Kroaten Vida. derstandard.at 10.07.2018.

[4] Berthold Seewald: Wieviel Ustascha treibt Kroatiens Fußballspieler? welt.de 17.12.2013.

[5] Dario Brentin: Sie wollen ihrem Team weh tun. zeit.de 19.06.2016.

[6] Europarat ist alarmiert über das Erstarken von Neofaschisten in Kroatien. nzz.ch 15.05.2018.

[7] See also Rezension: Ulrich Schiller: Deutschland und “seine” Kroaten.

[8] See also Nützliche Faschisten.

[9], [10] Gregor Mayer: Kroatien. In: Gregor Mayer, Bernhard Odehnal: Aufmarsch. Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteuropa.

 

Discussion

One comment for “Ustachi and the ABN at the World Cup”

  1. Check out the surprise guest who joined the Croatian footballers during their homecoming bus trip home and performed a song when they finally reached Zagreb’s main square: ‘Thompson’ the fascist pop-star:

    Balkan Insight

    Nationalist Singer Joins Croatia Players at Homecoming Party

    Marko Perkovic ‘Thompson’, a nationalist who has sung for war crimes defendants, partied with Croatia’s footballers on their homecoming bus and was invited to sing during celebrations of their World Cup second-place success.

    Anja Vladisavljevic
    17 Jul 2018
    Zagreb

    Right-wing pop star Marko Perkovic, alias ‘Thompson’, joined the Croatian players on Monday evening as they travelled on an open-top bus from the airport to Zagreb’s main square along a route lined with cheering fans at their official homecoming celebration.

    The bus spent more than five hours moving through the jubilant crowds, and when it finally reached a stage at the main square, Thompson sang a song unaccompanied, despite the fact that the director of the event had previously said that there would be no singers or politicians present.

    Regional TV station N1 reported that the footballers invited Thompson onto their bus, and that Croatia’s star player Luka Modric invited him to sing once they reached the stage.

    “We have another special wish – that is, that Marko gives us another song,” Modric said, hugging Thompson.

    Local news site eVarazdin.hr also reported on Tuesday that a welcome-home gathering for national team coach Zlatko Dalic will be held in Varazdin, a town in which Dalic spent part of his career, and the local mayor confirmed that Thompson will perform there too.

    But the appearance of the right-wing singer, whose concerts have seen expressions of anti-Serb hatred voiced by his audience, sparked controversy on social networks.

    Kreso Beljak, the leader of the centrist opposition Croatian Peasant Party, wrote on Twitter that the right-winger should not be allowed to “spoil” the celebration.

    Peter Murphy, a journalist for French news agency AFP in Hungary, suggested that Thompson’s appearance was bad for the country’s image, which has been enhanced by the national team’s success at the World Cup in Russia.

    “When you’re doing a piece on massive PR boost for Croatia from World Cup exploits and ultra-nationalist singer Thompson shows up on the open-top bus,” Murphy wrote on Twitter in a caption to photographs of Thompson hugging the Croatian players.

    Concerts by Marko Perkovic – nicknamed ‘Thompson’ after the machine gun – have often caused controversy in the Balkan region.

    In 2017, Thompson held a concert in the Bosnian town of Mostar in support of Bosnian Croat ex-officials on trial for war crimes, where around 8,000 people chanted the slogan “Za dom spremni” – (“Ready for the home[land]”), the slogan of Croatian WWII fascist Ustasa movement.

    Authorities in the Slovenian town of Maribor banned Perkovic’s planned concert earlier that year, citing security risks.

    At Perkovic’s concert during the 20th anniversary of Croatia’s victorious Operation Storm in 2015, many in the 80,000-strong audience chanted “Za dom spremni” and “Kill a Serb”.

    In 2009, his performance of a song called ‘Jasenovac and Gradiska Stara’ – the names of Ustasa-run concentration camps – also caused outrage.

    ———-

    “Right-wing pop star Marko Perkovic, alias ‘Thompson’, joined the Croatian players on Monday evening as they travelled on an open-top bus from the airport to Zagreb’s main square along a route lined with cheering fans at their official homecoming celebration.

    It was a celebration of Croatia’s historic World Cup finish…and apparently a celebration of ‘Thompson’ too. The team’s star player, Luka Modric, appears to be a particularly big Thompson fan:


    The bus spent more than five hours moving through the jubilant crowds, and when it finally reached a stage at the main square, Thompson sang a song unaccompanied, despite the fact that the director of the event had previously said that there would be no singers or politicians present.

    Regional TV station N1 reported that the footballers invited Thompson onto their bus, and that Croatia’s star player Luka Modric invited him to sing once they reached the stage.

    “We have another special wish – that is, that Marko gives us another song,” Modric said, hugging Thompson.

    But at least there were no reports of crowds chanting fascist slogans as this impromptu concert, which is apparently a step up from kind pro-fascist crowds Thompson normally attracts:


    But the appearance of the right-wing singer, whose concerts have seen expressions of anti-Serb hatred voiced by his audience, sparked controversy on social networks.

    Concerts by Marko Perkovic – nicknamed ‘Thompson’ after the machine gun – have often caused controversy in the Balkan region.

    In 2017, Thompson held a concert in the Bosnian town of Mostar in support of Bosnian Croat ex-officials on trial for war crimes, where around 8,000 people chanted the slogan “Za dom spremni” – (“Ready for the home[land]”), the slogan of Croatian WWII fascist Ustasa movement.

    Authorities in the Slovenian town of Maribor banned Perkovic’s planned concert earlier that year, citing security risks.

    At Perkovic’s concert during the 20th anniversary of Croatia’s victorious Operation Storm in 2015, many in the 80,000-strong audience chanted “Za dom spremni” and “Kill a Serb”.

    In 2009, his performance of a song called ‘Jasenovac and Gradiska Stara’ – the names of Ustasa-run concentration camps – also caused outrage.

    And the Croatian football team’s embrace of Thompson isn’t done yet. There’s also a welcome-home gathering for the national team coach in the town of Varazdin. The mayor has already confirmed that Thompson will be performing there too:


    Local news site eVarazdin.hr also reported on Tuesday that a welcome-home gathering for national team coach Zlatko Dalic will be held in Varazdin, a town in which Dalic spent part of his career, and the local mayor confirmed that Thompson will perform there too.

    So that gives a sense of how far along the mainstreaming of the far right is in Croatia these days: in one of the biggest national celebrations in years a pop-culture fascist is given a national stage.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 18, 2018, 2:37 pm

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