For some reason, several Croatian people have sent me this Jerusalem Post article. Are they saying, “Look — we haven’t been Nazis since 2000!”? –

“Jewish foundation holds Holocaust seminar in Croatia”

A US-based Jewish foundation held a Holocaust seminar for Croatian teachers, Thursday, to help them present the era effectively to their pupils. Stories of Anne Frank, Oscar Schindler and Croats who saved Jews during World War II were retold in the seminar, organized by the New York-based Jewish Foundation of the Righteous.

The initiative is another sign that Croatia has become ready to face its World War II past, when it was a Nazi puppet state that persecuted hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croats.

In the early 1990’s, when Croatia was run by nationalist President Franjo Tudjman, authorities often tried to justify crimes committed by its pro-Nazis and school textbooks often omitted or distorted some wartime events.

The pro-Western governments that took power after Tudjman’s death in 1999 have openly condemned Nazism and fascism. New textbooks were printed and teachers are encouraged to devote additional time to teaching about it, beyond mandatory lessons on the subject.

The issue, however, remains sensitive, and some Croats still play down the wartime crimes.

Helena Strugar, one of about 25 teachers at the seminar, acknowledged the treatment of the World War II in schools changed significantly since 2000.

A good first step toward acknowledging that there has been a problem.