Girl at Perkovic concert, 2007
Girl at Perkovic concert, 2007 Israel News Photo: (file)

Croatian soccer teams are cheered on the field with popular songs glorifying World War II-era genocide played over the

The Croat footballers faced off against Israel.

loudspeakers and Nazi salutes in the stands. The United Kingdom's The Sun newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Croatian Football Association is apparently behind the fascist rabble-rousing.

According to The Sun, some of the most inflammatory songs by neo-Nazi rocker Marko Perkovic as well as World War II slogans of the Nazi-allied Ustashe regime are chanted by soccer fans at Croatian home games. The national team's manager was said by The Sun to have played Perkovic's music "in the dressing room to fire up his players." Croatian soccer hooligans often wear Ustashe uniforms and give the Seig Heil Nazi salute, with thousands of other fans joining in for fascist Ustashe and Perkovic chants.

The Ustashe murdered over a million people from 1941-1945, most of them Serbs. Others rounded up and killed by Ustashe forces included at least 30,000 Jews and Roma (Gypsies).

According to The Sun, Perkovic is "a cult figure on white supremacist website Stormfront" for his glorification of the Nazi puppet regime of World War II Croatia and its genocide of Serbs, Jews and Roma. The newspaper added that a Perkovic song in honor of a commander of Croatia's Nazi SS unit, the Black Legion, was omitted at one game in 2007 -- when the Coat footballers faced off against Israel.

The Croatian team is to play against England at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday in a World Cup qualifier match.

Popularizing 'Clerical-Fascism'

As early as 2007, investigators at the Emperor's Clothes (TENC) news analysis website were warning of the growing popularity of the singer-songwriter Perkovic, whom TENC director Jared Israel calls a "clerical-fascist".

In a video recorded at a Perkovic concert in 2007, fans chanted the Ustashe slogan Za dom spremni ("For home, ready"), while members of the immense crowd give the Nazi salute. At an earlier concert, in Zagreb, Croatia, fans chanted, Ubij, ubij, ubij Serbina - "Kill, kill, kill a Serb."

As TENC shows repeatedly, fascist fan-led chants are only one aspect of genocide-glorification at Perkovic concerts. The singer himself declares in one song, "I am Ustasha and so was my father." In another song, he honors the Ustashe's roving murder squads with original words and music. In a song called "Jasenovac and Gradiška Stara", he praises the "craft" carried out at the Jasenovac death camp. The latter song, since downplayed or denied by Perkovic's handlers, includes the lyrics:

Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška

that's the house of Maks' butchers

There was a slaughterhouse in Capljina

...There was a slaughterhouse in Capljina

The Neretva carried away many Serbs

Hey, Neretva, flow downhill,

Carry Serbs into the blue Adriatic .

One of Perkovic's most popular songs, E moj narode ("Alas my people"), became an unofficial Croatian neo-Ustashe anthem and Perkovic theme song. It opens with partially veiled references to Jews as Satanic anti-Croat forces:

Ever since the time of Christ,

New faces but the scene is the same,

The Devil's forces battle

to eliminate us

...Antichrists and Masons,

Communists of all sorts

Spread Satanic phrases

To defeat us.

Alas, my people. Alas my people.

Perkovic, also known as Thompson - after the popular World War II machine gun -- has been barred from performing in several countries as a result of his inflammatory lyrics.