Jewish group condemns burial of WW II concentration camp commander

According to a Croatian paper, Dinko Sakic was buried pro-Nazi movement, priest called Sakic a "model for all Croatians."

Dinko Sakic (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dinko Sakic
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A Jewish human rights organization called on Croatia's president Tuesday to condemn the organizers of a funeral for a former concentration camp commander, saying it was turned into a celebration of his crimes. Dinko Sakic's funeral was an "outrageous display of unrepentant racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israeli branch director Efraim Zuroff said in a letter addressed to President Stipe Mesic and faxed to The Associated Press. Sakic died at age 87 on July 20 while serving 20 years in prison for war crimes he committed while heading the infamous Jasenovac camp, the worst of about 40 camps ran by the then Nazi puppet regime of Croatia. Mesic said in a statement that he had repeatedly condemned Nazi crimes, including Sakic's. He said the funeral was used to glorify the World War II regime and expected the relevant authorities to investigate the case. According to Croatian daily Vecernji list, Sakic was buried last week in a uniform of Ustasha, the local pro-Nazi movement at the time. The newspaper also reported that a priest called Sakic a "model for all Croatians." The funeral was private, attended by family and several minor right wing politicians. "What Croatian society needs is a clear and unequivocal reminder that Dinko Sakic was a mass murderer ... (and) that one of Croatia's greatest achievements was his prosecution and punishment," Zuroff wrote in the letter. Sakic fled Croatia when the pro-Nazi state was crushed in 1945, but was extradited from Argentina in 1998 to face a trial here. In 1999, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for ordering and carrying out killings and torture in Jasenovac while heading it in 1944. Tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croats were killed in Jasenovac.