|Croat Nazi Rocker
to Tour North America
October 21, 2007
At $55 per ticket, Croatian popular rock singer Marko Perkovic, known
as Thompson, is betting that New Yorkers will flock to the Croatian Center
in Manhattan for a night of a Croatian nationalist euphoria that includes
a sword-wielding singer, ballads about extermination of Serbs and Jews
during the World War Two and massive Seig Heils by the fans.
"My songs talk about love of one's country, God and all values of Croatian
people and if that bothers somebody and calls that fascism, then that is
another matter," Thompson told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija in
during a concert performance.
In June, Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the Croatian government to counter
veneration of Fascist Ustashe past, and "protested to the Croatian government
over the open display of WWII-era fascist symbols, banners and uniforms
by fans at a recent concert in Zagreb."
Ustashe were native Croatian WWII Nazi government whose volunteer army
engaged in one of the most brutal extermination campaigns of Jews, Serbs
and Gypsies that even seasoned German Nazi officers found repulsive.
Thompson's popularity among Croats got another boost this summer when
the Croatian television network, Channel 2, did broadcast one of his concerts
prompting Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Israel,
to fire off a protest statement yet again.
"By broadcasting Thompson's concert on state television in prime time
the government is in essence expressing its approval for his hateful message,"
the Wiesenthal Center statement concludes.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff also notes that Thompson's display of Nazi Ustasha
symbolism is no coincidence.
"A singer who sings nostalgically about Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic
and favorably about Croatia's worst World War II concentration camps Jasenovac
and Stara Gradiska, is openly urging his fans to identify with the genocidal
Ustasha regime which sought to liquidate Croatia's Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies
as well as their Croatian political opponents," says a statement issued
by the Wiesenthal Center.
Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska is a Ustasha song whose lyrics celebrate
the World War II genocide against the Serbs committed in the Hercegovina
region. The song became popular once again when in early 2000s it was aired
on a Croatian national television during a popular talk-show Latinica.
In 2004, Dutch authorities banned Thompson from performing in Amsterdam
citing Hitler salute at previous concerts. Thompson organizers quickly
switched the venue to Rotterdam where he was allowed to hold a concert.
After the concert, the fans started public protests against the Dutch ban
in Amsterdam defending symbols the band uses and the Ustasha movement.
"My fans are dignified on all my concerts, after which there are no
incidents and in fact it is the media that inflames people who accuse me
and my fans for something we are not," says Thompson.
This summer, Thompson held a triumphal concert in the Croatian capital
Zagreb with over 60,000 fans engaging in a collective Seig Heil salutes
with footage abundantly available on YouTube.
Besides New York, Thompson's North American tour will include Toronto,
Cleveland, Los Angeles, Vancouver and San Francisco.
fan during Thompson performance.
"Marko Perkovic will be coming to USA and Canada, i.e. if he's allowed
entry. It certainly looks like he will be here unless there is some protesting
to authorities by Serbian and Jewish organizations," says Liz Milanovich,
The issue of which Balkan figure is allowed entry to North America has
also been contentious and bloggers such as Svetlana Novko who runs Byzantine
Sacred Art Blog points that back in 2005, Canada banned a tour of a Serbian
folk singer Svetlana Raznjatovic Ceca who was once married to a notorious
Serbian paramilitary boss Arkan.
"The fact she is a widow of a Serbian paramilitary leader Arkan was
sufficient for Canadians to deny her the entry into the country," points
Novko in her blog and questions why Canadians find Serbian guilt by association
appropriate while at the same time do nothing to stop a concert tour of
a Croatian Nazi bigot.
"So, feel free to celebrate the Holocaust in Canada to your heart's
content," says Novko.
A New York comedian and a columnist for Jewishworldreview.com, Julia
Gorin, takes a more sarcastic approach to this double standard. In her
"Do’s and Don’ts for Entry into North America" Mrs. Gorin lampoons immigration
authorities for allowing "Croatian Nazi rocker and fans", "Albanian jihadists"
and "Bosnian killer" to North America but ban a skimpy-dressed Serb folk
"To my Serbian readers in Canada and America, I recommend that on [Thompson's]
concert dates, you get some of those neck supports that people wear for
whiplash — so it'll be harder to saw off your head," writes Mrs. Gorin
in her blog.
On Saturday, Serbian Unity Congress (SUC), an umbrella group of Americans
of Serb descent has condemned Thompson's plans for a November tour and
is calling "on all branches of the US government to join human rights watchdog
organizations in taking necessary action to stop any of their public performances
in the US."
"The band, led by one Marko Perkovic-Thompson, has a long an indisputable
track record of bigotry, racism and even outright fascism," says SUC and
adds that "this act is utterly incompatible with values established in
our society, and that positive action by governmental agencies might be
needed to redress the matter," writes Serbian Unity Congress in their public