Simon Wiesenthal Center: Annulment of Cardinal Stepinac Conviction Morally Outrageous and an Insult to Ustasha Victims

Jerusalem - The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed its sense of outrage in response to the July 22 annulment by the Zagreb County Court of the 1946 conviction for treason of Croatian Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, who was an avid supporter of the genocidal regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

In a statement issued by its Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted Stepinac's support for the Ustasha rulers of the NDH despite the horrific crimes they committed against innocent civilians.

According to Zuroff:
"As the leading Catholic priest in the NDH, Stepinac's responsibility was to speak out on behalf of the innocent victims of the Ustasha, not to lend spiritual support to their murderers. The genocidal campaign waged by the Ustasha against Serbs, their active participation in Holocaust crimes against Jews, and the murder of Roma and anti-fascist Croatians carried out in their network of concentration camps are among the most heinous crimes of World War II. No person who supported that regime should have their conviction annulled."

For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal and @EZuroff for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).