By Julia Gorin
Commander of the second-largest concentration camp complex of World War II, Croatia’s Jasenovac, passed away last week and received a burial in his homeland — in full Nazi uniform, with full honors, and with a Catholic priest officiating. No media attention and therefore no public outrage is being devoted to the funeral of Dinko Sakic, a gruesome but not atypical occurrence in Croatia, a country that’s been put on the fast track for EU membership. George W. Bush recently cited the country’s picturesque coastline while hailing Croatia for “showing leadership in the cause of freedom.” (See also “Cheney: US backs Croatia for joining NATO, EU “.)
Hitler’s most eager butchers were the Croatians — whose uniquely sadistic methods the German Nazis had to put a stop to because the situation was causing rebellions in occupied Yugoslavia. Croatia’s fuehrer, Ante Pavelic — who kept a bowl of Serbian eyes on his desk — is revered to this day by mainstream Croatians, still proud of their one and only true identity — as Ustasha (alternately spelled “Ustasa”). That is the name of the Nazi regime of the Hitler-bestowed Independent State of Croatia (known as “NDH” in the region).