In past concerts, the newspaper says, he has performed an anthem of the country's Nazi-backed military regime — the Ustashe — that references extermination camps where tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and Gypsies were killed during World War II. He greets adoring crowds with a famous Ustashe slogan — and many respond with the Nazi salute.
Tickets are being sold in a number of places around the city, including some popular Croatian bars in Astoria -- the proprietors of which don't see why the $45 ticket is so controversial. In fact, many are touting him as a Croatian hero and "good person."
He calls his fans patriots, not fascists. But when Thompson sings admirers wearing the insignia of his country's Nazi-allied Ustashe regime raise their right arms to salute him.
The singers is also to perform in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies there said that "much of Thompson's music is a breach of Canadian values and possibly this country's hate speech laws."
The planned Toronto concert of 'Thompson', has been cancelled after protests.
The concert fans of Marko Perkovic a.k.a. Thompson often wear black uniforms resembling those of the Ustasha army. Ustashe were native Croatian WWII Nazi government whose volunteer army engaged in one of the most brutal extermination campaigns of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies that even seasoned German Nazi officers found repulsive.
A Wiesenthal Center's spokesperson also mentions a recent Thompson concert in Zagreb which he says was attended by 60,000 people. "There were fascist salutes and T-shirts that read 'Ready for the Homeland,' a slogan made popular by the Ustashe."
The day after that June 17, 2007 concert, the Croatian government issued a statement condemning the display of Ustashe memorabilia and slogans such as "for the Fatherland, ready."
In 2004, Dutch authorities banned Thompson from performing in Amsterdam citing Hitler salute at previous concerts. Thompson organizers quickly switched the venue to Rotterdam where he was allowed to hold a concert.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Israel notes that Thompson's display of Nazi Ustashe symbolism is no coincidence.
"A singer who sings nostalgically about Ustashe leader Ante Pavelic and favorably about Croatia's worst World War II concentration camps Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska, is openly urging his fans to identify with the genocidal Ustashe regime which sought to liquidate Croatia's Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies as well as their Croatian political opponents," says a statement issued by the Wiesenthal Center.
Serbianna reports Serbian Unity Congress (SUC), an umbrella group of Americans of Serb descent has condemned Thompson's plans for the November tour of North America and is calling "on all branches of the US government to join human rights watchdog organizations in taking necessary action to stop any of their public performances in the US."
"The band, led by one Marko Perkovic-Thompson, has a long an indisputable track record of bigotry, racism and even outright fascism," says SUC and adds that "this act is utterly incompatible with values established in our society, and that positive action by governmental agencies might be needed to redress the matter," writes Serbian Unity Congress in their public statement.
The British newspaper, The Telegraph, writes, "For most Croatians, Thompson is regarded as a benevolent hero – a patriot who sings at benefit concerts for injured soldiers – and his Zagreb concert was attended by former government ministers and sports stars."
"My songs talk about love of one's country, God and all values of Croatian people and if that bothers somebody and calls that fascism, then that is another matter," Thompson told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija in September.
Well, it bothers me and I do call it fascism.
The following is from the Village Voice.
Croation Neo-Nazi Rocker To Perform in Midtown
Marko Perkovic is taking the stage November 2nd to literally sing praises of the Holocaust.
The Croatian rocker goes by the stage name Thompson (for the American-issued Thompson sub-machine gun he carried as a soldier in the Croatian war)—and sings about the Ustaše, the Croation pro-Nazi regime that sent Jews, Serbs and Gypsies to concentration camps during WWII. The folk-metal musician is often greeted by audiences with a Nazi salute. He's been kicked out of Canada and the Netherlands for hate speech, only to be welcomed by Manhattan's own Croatian Center in Midtown.
Surprisingly, Thompson is not totally embraced by American neo-Nazis, who'd rather berate Jews, blacks and Hispanics than Serbs. Earlier this year, when Thompson announced his plans to perform in Vancouver, a Canadian racist tried to set the record straight for his fellow haters on Stormfront.org, an international message board for white supremacists:
“Thompson isn't a neo-Nazi band; they are Croatian Nationalists whose songs focus on their love for Croatia, the Croatia people, and their religion. Their songs also focus on their hatred of the Serbian people, another proud White race... Thompson drew heavy criticism—and rightfully so—for their recording of Jasenovac i Gradiška Stara. Now, my Croatian is a little rusty, but I believe the song is a tribute to a WWII slaughter of Serb troops in the Balkans.”
The Canadian, whose screen name is option_violence, made it clear that this kind of white-on-white genocide is not welcome:
“I do not support them or their music if all it will do is continue to create divisions between the different white nations, namely the Croats and the Serbs.”
Yes, because obviously that's just wrong.
The New York Sun reported this morning that the concert is already sold out and sales for a second performance are under way. Protesters will certainly be there—Jews, Serbs and, just maybe, a few white supremacists.