Neo-Nazis mobilize in Serbia

For those who know their history, the notion of Serbian neo-Nazis is almost as wacky as Israeli neo-Nazis. Serbia was occupied by the Nazis in World War II, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (ruled by the Serb royal family) dismantled by the Axis powers. It’s a particular irony that this rally is to be held (or not held, if the ban prevails) in Novi Sad, capital of Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina—which was detached from Serbia and handed over to Hungary by the Axis occupation. However much these guys may hate Jews and Roma—what could they be thinking? “March for Serb Unity”? Huh? From Reuters, Sept. 26:

BELGRADE – Serbian police on Wednesday banned a planned rally by a small neo-Nazi organisation after it was condemned by Serb parties, non-governmental organisations and the World Jewish Congress.

The ‘March for Serb Unity’, led by the Nacionalni Stroj (National Front) group, was scheduled for Oct. 7 in the northern city of Novi Sad. A police spokesman said the rally was banned ‘because it endangered public morals and public safety’.

The rally would coincide with the birthday of Heinrich Himmler, the SS commander who orchestrated the murder of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma (Gypsies) on the territory of the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia in World War Two.

Neo-Nazi groups are on the rise in Serbia, but usually have few members and are mostly marginalised.

The National Front made its presence felt for the first time in 2005, when some 20 members stormed an anti-fascist meeting in Novi Sad University, assaulting some participants and raising their arms in the Nazi salute.

Some of them were tried for religious and ethnic hatred.

Earlier this month, the World Jewish Congress sent a letter of protest regarding the rally to Serb President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

Many NGOs, such as the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Center, and most Serb parties also condemned the gathering, calling on citizens to act against it.

‘If the regime does not prohibit this gathering, the neo-Nazi vermin must be crushed and stamped out once and for all’, said Nenad Canak, leader of the Social Democratic party of Vojvodina province, whose capital is Novi Sad.

Meanwhile in the supposedly liberal and civilized Czech Republic, neo-Nazis are planning to march on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Prague Daily Monitor reports Sept. 27. Have they forgotten the killings of hundreds of Czech civilians and razing of Czech villages in Nazi reprisals following the assassination of SS commander Reinhard Heydrich in 1942?

If you guys are reading this, please explain it to us. We really don’t get it.

See our last posts on the Balkans and the resurgent radical right.

  1. Serbian Neo-Nazis
    As I understood, Israeli neo-nazis are not really Jews, but sons from mixed marriages of recent eastern-european immigrants. That actually make much more sense – that they would rebel in that way against the dominant culture – than what we are seeing in Serbia. In Croatia, nazism is a part of local folk-lore, and flirting with it is some kind of rite of passage for a teenage Croatian alpha male. But in Serbia, despite that anti-semitism and gypsy-hatred could be alive and well, and that there were Serb Nazi collaborationists in WW II, there is no really supportive culture for neo-nazism (that’s why this ban came easily and supported by everybody across political spectrum – something we won’t see in Croatia regarding banning Thompson’s concerts any time soon). Where those Serbian neo-nazis are coming from? I think in every modern culture you are bound to have all subcultures – including far-right skinheads – present. They are mostly young middle-class men that had contacts with the West – either as refugees in France and Germany or by travel, and became part of that type of movement for whatever personal reasons they had.

    1. “Thompson”?
      Yes, we’ve noted before that Croatian neo-Nazism at least makes a certain amount historical and political sense, whereas in Serbia it’s pretty counter-intuitive. But why does the neo-Ustashe band Thompson have an English name? Unless they are named after the machine gun…

      1. Thompson
        Yes, Marko Perkovic aka Thompson, took his nickname after the “Tommy Gun”, but he is very far from Clash, despite that. Thompson submachine gun arrived in former Yugoslavia with military aid from the US after 1952 (when Tito broke of from Stalin, and when Stalin put economic sanctions on Yugoslavia). Later, as Yugoslav People’s Army adopted more modern weapons (namely AK47-s), Thompsons ended up in the Territorial Defense’s armories (TD is a sort of equivalent of National Guard in the US). When Yugoslavia started breaking up, police units in Slovenia and Croatia raided TD armories and distributed found weapons to volunteer fighters, one of whom was Marko Perkovic, a part-time song-writer from Cavoglave.

        1. Thompson pisses off Israeli ambassador
          From DPA, Jul 24:

          Anti-Semitic remarks anger Israeli ambassador in Croatia

          Zagreb – The Israeli Ambassador to Croatia Shmuel Meirom on Tuesday called for the firing of a programming council official at Croatian TV broadcaster HRT, accusing her of anti-Semitism.

          Jadranka Kolarevic had attacked Ephraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for speaking out against the broadcast of a concert by ultra-nationalist Croatian performer Marko ‘Thompson’ Perkovic.

          Perkovic’s songs feature patriotic sentiment and nostalgia for the Ustasha regime, which collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War, and during whose rule (1941-1945) tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists were killed in concentration camps.

          Perkovic’s fans often wear black uniforms resembling those of the Ustasha army.

          ‘Many people die daily in Palestine and he wants to comment the situation in Croatia,’ Kolarevic said of Zuroff, who runs the Wiesenthal Centre’s Israeli branch.

          Meirom sent a letter to Croatian Parliamentary Speaker Vladimir Seks and HRT General Director Vanja Sutlic, demanding the dismissal of Kolarevic for what he called ‘deeply anti-Semitic’ remarks.

          While Seks has yet to react to the ambassador’s request, Sutlic said it was not Meirom’s place to interfere in Croatia’s internal matters.

          © 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur

          1. Two great tastes that taste great together: Haider & Thompson
            DPA, June 8:

            Bilic plays ultra-nationalist band to players after victory

            Vienna – Slaven Bilic played the music of Croatian ultra- nationalist rock band Thompson to his players in the team dressing room after his side defeated Austria 1-0 thanks to a Luka Modric penalty in their opening Group B match in Vienna. “Our players were not entirely satisfied,” said Bilic “so I turned on the CD player and told them to sing because after all we won.”

            Bilic, who himself plays in a rock band called, Rawbau didn’t say which Thompson song was played but the band’s radical lyrics and controversial comments from lead singer Marko Perkovic led to the group being banned from performing in the Netherlands in 2004.

            The Simon Wiesenthal Center complained to Croatian President Stipe Mesic last year when Perkovic said: “I have nothing against the Jews, but neither did Jesus Christ, yet still they crucified Him.”

            A concert scheduled to take place in the Austrian province of Carinthia this weekend was cancelled due to security concerns but Perkovic instead received an invite from Austrian far-right politician Joerg Haider to watch one of Croatia’s two games in Carinthia, against Germany and Poland.

            Perkovic, a superstar in Croatia, goes by the stage name Thompson – after the American submachine gun he toted for Croatia during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

            Critics say his songs glorify the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime that ruled Croatia during World War II and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Serbs and other Croats. A Perkovic tour of the United States last year drew protests from Jewish groups.

            Perkovic says his songs are patriotic, but rejects the fascist label. The band performed for Austria’s large Croatian community in Vienna in 2007 without stirring protests.

            One of Thompson’s songs, Lijepa li si(“You are beautiful” which refers to Croatia) is traditionally played at matches involving the Croatian national football team. However, the song was not played last year when the opposition was Israel.

          1. Chetnik pot calls Ustashe kettle black
            We agree that Thompson’s growing rock-star legitimacy is a disgrace, but we’ll point out that the author of that last piece, Jared Israel, is a sucker for Slobodan Milosevic—and we suspect that you are as well, “1389.” When Slobo-suckers complain about Croatian fascism, all we can say is “a plague on both your houses.”

            1. I beg to differ
              Jared Israel is not a “Slobo-sucker”, nor a “Chetnik pot” as you elegantly infer.

              Mr. Israel attacked the fascists within the ICDSM, the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, called for its dissolution, and asked Milosevic to dissociate himself from the like of Ramsey Clark, Jacques Verges etc. When Milosevic refused, Mr. Israel broke with him.

              Israel’s position is that Milosevic is neither a war criminal, nor a hero, but “a media creation used to demonize the Serbs”:

              “in contrast to what I once believed, I now feel that Milosevic consistently sabotaged the struggle to resist the massive, NATO-inspired attack on the Serbs. He did this in a direct, organizational way. (For example he pressured the Serbs in the Krajina region to give up their guns and trust the UN to defend them against the neo-fascists who had taken over Croatia.) And he did it by publicly and loudly accusing Serbian leaders who wanted to resist the NATO-supported attack of being war mongers, thus helping the western media to smear the Serbs. For example, the media could say that even Milosevic, that (supposed) extreme nationalist, considered the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, a war monger.”

              http://emperors-clothes.com/letters/effect.htm

              Tsk, tsk ,tsk. Get your facts straight, Sherlock.

              1. Bickering among thieves
                Gee, in other words he baits Slobo for being too much of a softie and retreating from a Serb-supremacist position after Dayton. Thanks a lot.

                1. “Serb-supremacist position”?!
                  The quotation I reported above deals with the invasion of the Krajina and the expulsion of 250,000 Krajina inhabitants, mainly Serbs, but also loyalist Muslims, by the neo-Ustasha Croatian army in 1995. Is the expulsion of a quarter million civilians “Serb-supremacist position”?

                  Also: Israel attacked Milosevic for being in bed with fascists.

                  You really shouldn’t get your dislike for Jared Israel interfere with your mental faculties…

                  1. Do you bother to read what you post?
                    The quote you presented baits Slobo for betraying Karadzic. I would have nothing against Jared Israel (who I have never met) if he didn’t reek of Serb-supremacism.

                    1. Mr. Weinberg, you are flying blind
                      Historically speaking, you are way off. Since Milosevic never had a Serb-supremacist position, he could not desert it. Nor did he change his position after Dayton. What changed was the Western position towards him. Once the Krajina Serbs were violently deported and the Bosnian Serbs were locked into Dayton, the West no longer needed Milosevic as a semi-partner, so they used him as a bogey man.

                      Milosevic’s conflict, as Mr. Israel states accurately, was against Serb defensists, not supremacists. In the quotation from Mr. Israel, which is published on this page, Mr. Israel writes:

                      <<(For example he (Milosevic) pressured the Serbs in the Krajina region to give up their guns and trust the UN to defend them against the neo-fascists who had taken over Croatia.)>>

                      Perhaps you read it, but do not know this this took place in Fall 1991, half a decade before Dayton. It had nothing to do with Karadzic, who was not yet a major actor. In any case the Krajina is outside Bosnia, and was not a subject of the Dayton accords. So wrong about the time, wrong about the place, wrong about the people involved.

                      In the cited passage, Mr. Israel does also mention Karadzic, whom Milosevic did also oppose, but primarily prior to Dayton. Milosevic had one or two minor squabbles with Karadzic after Dayton, but attacked him hugely before, including on the Larry King show. That was I believe two years before Dayton. You really can’t guess history and get it right, you know. There are too many possible variations – an infinite number of possibilities.

                      As for Mr. Israel, I have just finished reading his How the N.Y. Times Falsified its Own Reports on the Croatian Holocaust and recommend it.

                    2. Who exactly is flying blind?
                      The notion that “Milosevic never had a Serb-supremacist position” is too laughable to warrant comment. Have a nice life, Marsha.

                      Those who wish to be reliably filled in on the basic facts of the Yugoslav conflict are directed to our history primer.

          2. Dear 1389 the real disgrace is US awards war criminal with medal
            Is democracy dead or it is only hypocritical!?

            “Kathleen Stephens is the Deputy Assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for Central and Southern Europe. During a visit to Croatia on Wednesday [18 May], she spoke exclusively to our newspaper, explaining the recent presentation of a medal to the daughter of Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic. She also spoke about obstacles in relations with Croatia, as well as about U.S. views of the situation in the region.”

            Q: Why was the day of victory against fascism, May 9, chosen for this?
            A: It took some time to find the medal and send it to Belgrade.

            To all readers Who is Draza Mihailovic:

            The exact number of Bosniak, Croat and other civilians murdered under the direct command of Mihailović’s Chetniks has never been established. In his book Crimes Against Bosnian Muslims 1941-1945, historian Šemso Tucaković estimated that out of 150,000 Bosniaks who lost their lives in World War II, some 100,000 were murdered by Chetniks. He also listed at least 50,000 Bosnian Muslim names directly known to have been killed by Chetniks. According to World War II historian Vladimir Žerjavić, approximately 29,000 Muslims and 18,000 Croats were killed by Chetniks during World War II.[12] Zerjavic figures have been cited as too conservative and figures of up to 300,000 non-Serbs have been suggested.[13]

            Some of the major World War II Chetnik massacres against ethnic Croats and Bosnian Muslims include:[14]

            * July 1941, Herzegovina (Bileca, Stolac) – approximately 1,150 civilians killed;
            * December 1941/January 1942, eastern Bosnia (Foča, Goražde) – approximately 2,050 civilians killed;
            * August 1942, eastern Bosnia and Sandžak (Foča, Bukovica) – approximately 1,000 civilians killed;
            * August 1942, eastern Bosnia (Ustikolina, Jahorina) – approximately 2,500 civilians killed;
            * October 1942, central Bosnia (Prozor) – approximately 1,250 civilians killed;
            * January 1943, Sandžak (Bijelo Polje) – approximately 1,500 civilians killed;
            * February 1943, eastern Bosnia and Sandžak (Foča, Čajniče, Pljevlja) – approximately +9,200 civilians killed. The largest single Chetnik massacre of World War II.

            Mihailović was captured on March 13, 1946 by agents of the Yugoslav security agency OZNA. He was charged on 47 counts. In the end the court found him guilty on 8 counts, including crimes against humanity

            You’re truly
            the_croat@net.hr

      2. croats are not nazis
        i have alot of friends that are croats and the are open hearted people that there parents come from small villages in croatia and hercegovina and bosnia i hear stores they lived a hard life leaving a serbian runed communest country called yugoslavia and they worked very hard in america canada and are very well off but simple so you call these people nazis you have to be kidding it all a a joke and i know jews that are croats as well as cathlics so as an american i beleave the croats were always good people that lost a war in WWII and the winner writes the books but those book will be rewritten so as the croats would say god and croats your friend james

        1. We never said…
          …anything so crude as “Croats are Nazis.” But it is a fact that Ante Pavelic’s Ustashe state was a Nazi satellite, and committed genocide against Jews, Roma and Serbs. It certainly did not have the support of all Croats, and the proof is that your “Serbian-ruined communist country called Yugoslavia” was founded by Josip Broz Tito, a Croat.

          1. Want to talk about Genocide????
            There are eighty one (81) persons in Croatia who obtained “The Certificate of Honour” and “The Medal of the Righteous” from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem till now, for

            saving the Jews in Croatia during the WW2.

            Maybe it will be difficult for the reader to hear about a morbid song of Serbian extremists, revealing in full extent the character of the aggression against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It starts like this: “Milosevic, bring us salad, we shall have meat, we’ll butcher the Croats”. Equally morbid is their flag: it is black, with a skull and cross-bones. All this was shown on TV by CNN and BBC (unfortunately without the English translation) in November 1991, when Serbian troops entered Vukovar, completely destroyed after three months of uninterrupted shelling and bombing. Two hundred and sixty Croats have been transported by the Serbs from the Vukovar hospital (N.B.: in the presence of the international Red Cross representatives) to the nearby location of Ovcara, killed there and dumped in a massive grave, as reported by three survivors.

            When the occupation of Vukovar started in August 25th 1991, the Serbian military officials, as well as some experts on the West, predicted that the city will fall in no more than two days. Vukovar had only 1,700 defenders (700 members of the Croatian national guard and 1000 volunteers), against 40-60,000 well equipped Serbian soldiers and paramilitary, supported by the aircraft, heavy artillery and 600 tanks. But the defense of the city lasted for almost three months (86 days), enabling thus the Croatian resistance to consolidate on other battlefields. The name of Vukovar has a special meaning for every Croat.

            The Yugoslav army, which had been ranked as the third in Europe according to its military potential (after France and Great Britain; supplied with classical weapons better than the Bundeswehr of the united Germany), soon became the greatest and most aggressive formation. On the other hand, Croatian military resources of Territorial defense were confiscated in a secret operation just before the democratic changes in Croatia in 1990, so that Croatia was left practically without means to defend itself. Moreover, the international community imposed embargo on import of arms to Croatia (for the Serbs the embargo on import of arms had no importance).

            According to the latest information (1996), Croatia has

            more than 12,000 killed,
            35,000 wounded,
            180,000 destroyed apartments,
            25% of its economy destroyed, and
            27 billion US dollars of material damage
            in this war. The destiny of 72862 persons is still not known, for many of them since 1991 (1400 are from Vukovar), when the aggression against Croatia started. There is no doubt that those who survived are held in concentration camps and prisons in Serbia.

            According to information provided by dr. Andrija Hebrang in 2004, during the Homeland 1991-1995 War in Croatia there were

            7138 (seven thousand one hundred and thirty eight) killed nonserbian civilians (in great majority Croatian) in Croatia,
            out of them 829 (eight hundred twenty nine) killed nonserbian cvilians in UNPA zones in Croatia (UN zones);
            162 (hundred and sixty two) killed Serbian civilians in Croatia. The overall number of killed Serbs in Croatia is estimated to about 260.
            The figures concerning the Croats and Muslim Slavs in Bosnia-Herzegovina are even more tragic. The reader can easily imagine the suffering of these people if he/she recalls the humiliation of the entire international community when the UN officers were arrested and maltreated by the Serbs in Bosnia in May 1995.

            Stick thatin you’re pipe and smoke it!!!!!!!

            1. The logic of nationalism strikes again
              How does any of that imply that Ante Pavelic didn’t commit genocide in World War II? Or are you arguing that if Serbs do it, its OK for Croats to do it?

      3. The truth that they don’t want you to
        As you probably know by now, Thompson is very popular in Croatian emigrant communities around the world. He has sold out concerts in Australia, Canada and Germany. Just to name a few countries. Thompson played a packed Ballsporthalle in Frankfurt, Germany on April 21, 2007. We’d like to remind you that the concert was held in the heart of Germany. A nation with the most stringent of anti-bias and anti-hate laws that exist anywhere in the world. When German authorities translated Thompson’s lyrics, something we ask all of you to do, they soon learned what the band is really about. And the show went on as planned. We find it extremely hard to believe that Thompson’s most vocal critics are not aware of this. Once again, we remind you that Thompson performed a successful show in Frankfurt, Germany. The concert and the translation of lyrics made by German authorities were reported by major media-outlets in that country. As correctly and truthfully reported in the newspapers Allgemeine Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine, Thompson’s lyrics neither promote, nor incite, violence.

  2. Nazi march banned in Prague
    From JTA, Oct. 5:

    Prague authorities have banned a march by neo-Nazis through the Czech capital’s Jewish Quarter.

    The march was planned for Nov. 10, the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

    The City Hall ban reverses an earlier announcement in September by officials who said they were powerless to stop the march because it was registered as a protest against “the Czech particpation in the occupation of Iraq.”

    However, a group monitoring racist activity in the Czech Republic pointed out that the march was being spearheaded by the Young National Democrats, which it said was a front for neo-Nazis. The Prague Jewish Community then met with city officials to request that they find some way to cancel the demonstration.

    Erik Sedlacek of the Young National Democrats told City Hall he would postpone the march until Nov. 17, a national holiday marking the the end of Communist rule in 1989. But the march is unlikely to happen since the Jewish Liberal Union, a Jewish congregation in Prague, has reserved the area for demonstrations for every day through the end of the year.

    1. WW2 killing in YU
      Novi Sad was handed back to Hungary, it was never taken over but handed over to Serbs in Paris. Sources of Times in London and other history papers say some 130,ooo died in war/occupation related military actions and over 1.3 million in inter YU actions wich was repeated some 15 years ago and is to be repeated now as and when Serbs will be denied the right to live and controll which was orgonally Serbia called Kosovo nowadays. Well dispite the rulings of Paris conference where they received lots of areas earlier part of Habsburg ruled Hungary they froced population to move in order to sit in their land and properties leaving a blank space in their understadably beloved origin in Kosovo for the Shiptars to fill up effectively as have completely happened by now.

      Loosers like Germany when it was not really militarily defeated in WW1 (not like in WW2) are tend to choose such movements like nazis there and some folowers even in their fromer enemy tsates as in Bohemia and so looks like in Serbia. These marginals are not important, see them e.g. in Russia.

      xy

  3. Thompson entering politics
    From B92, July 14:

    Report: Gotovina to have political role

    ZAGREB — Associations of Croatian veterans are preparing to participate in the parliamentary elections, a Zagreb daily writes.

    According to this Jutarnji List report, they plan unite into one organization, called Zbor Udruga (Assembly of Associations), to in this way take part in the election process.

    As for its leader, the organization is reportedly saving this spot for Ante Gotovina, a former Croatian general currently undergoing trial at the Hague Tribunal, charged with committing war crimes against Croatia’s ethnic Serbs.

    As soon as he gets out of the Hague prison – something the association counts on –Gotovina will allegedly be offered to lead, “so that he can use his charisma to turn the organization into a key political force in the country”.

    The newspaper claims that it has learned from various sources that preparations are ongoing for the representatives of Croatia’s war veterans, or defenders, as they are commonly referred to in that country, to participate in the political arena.

    One of the key figures of this organization, sources claim, would be controversial singer Marko Perković Thompson, criticized for his pro-Nazi lyrics and iconography.

    Sources say that Thompson would receive an honorary title at the founding session of the Assembly of Associations, so that he would become “the trademark and symbol which would gather all the defenders’ associations in their quest for taking the power in the country”.

    The report also said that Thompson will perform in all the rallies, but that the controversial Ustasha songs would be left out of the program.

    Instead, only “the patriotic ones” would remain on the repertoire, the Zagreb daily writes.

    See our last post on Ante Gotovina.

  4. Thompson in hot water over “Nazi Salute?”
    From Balkan Insight, July 31:

    Croat Singer Facing Action over “Nazi Salute”

    Three Croatian associations say they have lodged a complaint against a singer who allegedly made the salute of Croatia’s former pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during a concert.

    They want the authorities to take court action against 41-year-old Marko Perkovic – known by his stage name of Thompson – for discrimination towards members of the Jewish, Roma and Serb communities.

    The three non-governmental organisations accuse the singer of having made the salute during a concert in Zagreb’s main square in May.

    Some 60,000 people attended the concert, which was organised by veterans of Croatia’s 1991-1995 war of independence from the former Yugoslavia. Read more: http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/10686

    Symbols of the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime were brandished during the concert, while some fans were reportedly seen using the Nazi salute.

    In recent years Thompson, who always wears black, has been banned from giving concerts in several European countries because of his pro-Ustasha sympathies.

    The Ustasha killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, anti-fascist Croatians, Roma and others in Croatian concentration camps during the Second World War.

  5. Thompson meets the Pope
    From Europeanvoice.com, Nov. 23:

    Pope Benedict XVI has received Marko Perkovic “Thompson”, a far-right Croatian singer, writes Der Spiegel. Thompson, whose performances use symbols of Croatia’s pro-Nazi government during the Second World War, is not allowed to travel to Switzerland because of his inflammatory use of Ustaša regalia, and a concert in Austria also had to be cancelled after protests.