The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center said Wednesday it has lodged a formal complaint with Austrian authorities over what it termed their "utter failure" to prevent the use of Nazi-era symbols during a weekend gathering of Croatian nationalists.
Efraim Zuroff, the group's Israel director, said the center filed a protest with Austria's embassy in Jerusalem alleging that officials failed to stop the display of symbols at a Sunday rally in the southern Austrian town of Bleiburg to remember victims of the post-World War II killings there.
Up to 40,000 people, some of them troops loyal to pro-Nazi dictator Ante Pavelic but most civilians, who fled Croatia as it was being liberated by anti-fascist forces, were killed by vengeful Yugoslav soldiers in Bleiburg at the end of World War II.
The annual rally is attended by Croatian government officials, but also attracts die-hard nationalists.
"The fascist demonstrators at Bleiburg made a mockery of Austria's ban on the use of Nazi symbols and its law against Holocaust denial," Zuroff said in a statement.
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