Jewish Congress Hails Austrian Move to Ban WWII Bleiburg Event

The World Jewish Congress, an international organisation representing Jewish communities, praised on Monday the Austrian parliament's adoption of a proposed ban on the annual commemoration of the killings of Croatian Nazi-allied troops and civilians at Bleiburg in Austria by the Yugoslav Partisans at the end of World War II.

"That event has become a flashpoint for the glorification of the 'heroes' of the fascist pro-Nazi movement that ruled wartime Croatia and was guilty of appalling acts of mass murder against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croats," the World Jewish Congress said in a statement.

The Austrian parliament on Friday adopted the non-binding resolution calling on the interior minister to ban the commemoration on Austrian territory.

Initiated by the Green Party, the resolution was supported by almost all political parties, including Prime Minister Sebastian Kurtz's Conservatives. The far-right Freedom Party voted against.

The World Jewish Congress's executive vice-president, Maram Stern, said that the move by the Austrian legislators "sends a clear message that there is no place in Austria for such flagrant acts of historical revisionism".

Stern added that "no society can avoid a reckoning with the unsavoury chapters of its past" but said that "sadly, Croatia has repeatedly eschewed such a confrontation, though recent actions of its newly-elected president, Zoran Milanovic, suggest a break with this deep-seated repugnant attitude".

The annual Bleiburg event is controversial because some participants display symbols of Croatia's Nazi-allied Ustasa movement, which killed Jews, Serbs, Roma people and others during WWII in the Independent State of Croatia.

The Austrian Interior Ministry has banned the display of...

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