Anti-Semitic Tract Draws Fire in Croatia
“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” one of history’s most infamous anti-Semitic frauds, has been published in Croatia to strong criticism not just from Jews but from mainstream Croatian conservatives.
The Croatian translation of the “Protocols” was published a week ago, and a quarter of the initial 2,000-copy print run has been sold so far, according to its small private publisher.
Historians believe the “Protocols” was written around 1900 by agents of Russian Czar Nicholas II to incite pogroms against imperial Russia’s large Jewish community. The fraudulent document reported the alleged proceedings of a conference of Jews in the late 19th century at which they discussed plans to overthrow Christianity through subversion and sabotage and to control the world.
Croatia’s flagship government-run newspaper, Vjesnik, in an article about the “Protocols” on Friday, wondered whether publication here might hurt Croatian relations with Israel.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, a strong nationalist and former historian, drew international criticism a few years ago for a book he wrote that minimized Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against Jews.
Tudjman publicly apologized in 1994 for the impressions he made, saying he had since gained a better grasp of the issue and was seeking better relations with Jews everywhere.
Slavko Goldstein, a prominent member of Croatia’s small Jewish community, said he could not accuse the “Protocols” publisher of anti-Semitism but rather of recklessness and failure to explain the document adequately in the preface.
“The publisher did not decisively explain the origin of the forgery and its absurdity. The preface swarms with erroneous information, which can lead to erroneous conclusions,” Goldstein told the weekly newspaper Globus.
Kresimir Mikolcic, secretary-general of the Croatian Homeland Society, a prominent conservative intellectual group, also decried the appearance of the “Protocols” in Croatia.
“We condemn both historic forgeries and anti-Semitic propaganda of any kind,” Mikolcic said.