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Ustachi and the ABN at the World Cup

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[5]

Ustachi Recruit­ing Poster

[6]

Ustachi with vic­tim

COMMENT: In FTR #766 [7], 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 [8] when formed by Hitler [9] 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 [10].  (For more about this top­ic, see–among oth­er programs–FTR #‘s 48 [11], 154 [12], 532 [13], 865 [14].)

In FTR #901 [15], we high­light­ed the cement­ing of Ustachi pow­er in con­tem­po­rary Croa­t­ia:

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] . . . .”

[21]

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. [22]

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!” [23] 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 [24].

[8] See also Nüt­zliche Faschis­ten [25].

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