President Replies to Efraim Zuroff's Criticism after Controversial Speech

By 15 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 15, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Wednesday rejected Simon Wiesenthal Centre director Efraim Zuroff's "misinterpretation," of her speech in Buenos Aires and said that his repeated attempts to impose a collective stigma on Croatia, its people and its emigration deserved condemnation.

In a statement to the press, the president confirmed she had replied to a letter by Efraim Zuroff in which he accuses her of attempting to rehabilitate some of the worst WWII war criminals.

"I reject your misinterpretation of my statement to Argentinean Croats. I underline that it was in no way in contradiction to my very clear, often repeated stance about the Independent Sate of Croatia," the president wrote in her letter to Zuroff. "Only malicious people can interpret that statement as glorifying a totalitarian regime and its leaders," the president said.

"Your repeated attempts to impose a collective stigma on the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian people and Croatian emigration, including Argentinean Croats, are absolutely unacceptable and deserve every condemnation," the press release said.

Earlier in the day, the president said in press release that she rejected "malicious interpretations" by some opposition lawmakers that she had glorified a totalitarian regime because in her speech she said that after World War II many Croats found a place in Argentina where they could freely express their demands for the freedom of the Croatian people and homeland.

Many members of the Ustasha movement sought refuge in Argentine immediately after the Second World War.