Croatian ultra-right leader condemns Holocaust

A leader of a Croatian right-wing party condemned the Holocaust during a visit to Israel - after previously lauding Croatia's World War II pro-Nazi movement - his party officials said Friday. Anto Dzapic, who also is a mayor of Croatia's eastern city of Osijek, visited Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday, where he bowed to the victims of the Holocaust. In the 1990s, Dzapic's Croatian Party of Rights regularly hailed Croatia's World War II Nazis, known as Ustashe, and denied their atrocities. Dzapic changed his rhetoric ahead of the November 2003 elections and announced his party has taken a pro-Western turn and no longer supports the Ustashe. His party then doubled the number of its deputies in the 151-seat parliament and recorded gains in local elections last May. However, Dzapic's plan to visit Israel officially and meet with the mayor of the city of Ariel was canceled after Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem-based Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center, publicly criticized Dzapic's earlier pro-Nazi stands.