Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, SerbiaiStock

Serbian opposition leader Sergej Trifunovic apologized on Tuesday to Belgrade's Jewish community and denied having embraced supporters of a Nazi collaborator in the murder of thousands of Serbian Jews during World War II, AFP reported.

Earlier, Belgrade's Jewish community denounced comments from Trifunovic after he told local media that the opposition should unite supporters from across the spectrum, saying it is "totally irrelevant" whether people "keep at home a picture of... Dimitrije Ljotic or (Josip) Broz Tito."

Ljotic is notorious for aiding the World War II Serbian puppet government that brutally sought to make the country "free of Jews", killing more than 80 percent of the 33,000-strong community that existed before the war.

Tito, on the other hand, was the leader of the anti-fascist movement during the war who went on to lead communist Yugoslavia until his death in 1980.

In a bid to bring together both the political left and right, "I certainly used too strong a comparison by saying that I do not care if someone keeps on the wall a picture of Broz (Tito) or Ljotic," Trifunovic said later on Tuesday, according to AFP.

"If that was too far I apologies to everyone," Trifunovic wrote in a response to Belgrade's Jews.

The community had accused Trifunovic of "heinously equalling those who fought against fascism and those who were helping occupiers in making Serbia a 'Jewish free' state."

"Do you think that it should be 'irrelevant' if in a German house there is a photograph of chancellor Willy Brandt or of Adolf Hitler?" the letter added.

In his response Trifunovic said Ljotic was " fascist, there is no doubt" and that the "too strong" comparison "is even contrary to what I believe."

"However, my intention and point is clear to you, you are without doubt smart people," Trifunovic wrote.

Trifunovic is an actor who has become one of the main faces of weekly opposition protests that are challenging the government of President Aleksandar Vucic.