BELGRADE – Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has reacted to a debate currently underway in Croatia about the use of the “Za dom spremni” greeting.

“For home ready” (Croatian: “Za dom spremni”) was used by the Ustasha in the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH) – an entity that existed from 1941 until 1945 and operated death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma, including in Jasenovac.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said over the weekend that “the issue” of the Ustasha greeting “should be solved by judicial organs.”

“These days there is a debate in Croatia about how to legally arrange the use of the Ustasha greeting ‘For home ready’. With the desire, of course, to allow its use,” Dacic said, and added:

“In fact, this is a clear indicator of the state of affairs in Croatia, an EU member that is rehabilitating the fascist Ustasha NDH.”

“Imagine such a debate, or the use of Nazi symbols in Germany, where one goes to jail for using the greeting ‘Sieg Heil’. Or, if the swastika was used in any country, surely it would be associated with Hitler – although it’s a symbol of Eastern religions. When Prince Harry wore a shirt with a swastika, the English public accused him of Nazism, not of Buddhism or Hinduism,” said Dacic.

The minister in the caretaker government added that the “For home ready” greeting is tied with the Ustasha, their leader (“poglavnik”) Ante Pavelic, who used it first in 1932, and with the Nazi Ustasha NDH.

“Slavko Kvaternik finished his first speech on April 10, 1941, as the NDH was being proclaimed, with that greeting. The June 7, 1942 issue of the newspaper ‘Hrvatska Straza’ reported that the greeting ‘For home ready’ had ’emerged from the soul of the Poglavnik’. Genocide was perpetrated against Serbs, Jews, and Roma across the NDH, with that greeting, ‘For home ready’. With that greeting the neo-Ustashas marched in Knin (on Friday) during the marking of Operation Storm, the biggest ethnic cleansing in Europe after the Second World War,” said Dacic.

He then observed that while Croatia certainly has the right to choose its own path, it has no right to rehabilitate the genocide committed against Serbs, Jews, and Romas in the fascist Ustasha NDH – “nor will Serbia let that pass.”

“Although Europe is keeping silent, Serbia must not, and will not,” Dacic concluded.