Memo to self; always check you have the right Nazi


The Independent was threatened with legal action today after being accused of emblazoning a picture of a Croatian actor across its front page and describing him as a German Nazi mass murderer.

In an incident that appeared to highlight the perils of quick-fire journalism in the age of Google and the internet, the newspaper devoted its entire front page on Tuesday to the case of Samuel Kunz, the 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect who died last week before facing trial in connection with the murder of more than 400,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp of Belzec during the second world war.

The large front-page picture purporting to be Kunz showed a sinister portrait of a man in the uniform not of the German Wehrmacht or SS, but of Croatian wartime fascist movement the Ustasha. The Ustasha “U” was clearly visible on the front of the man’s cap.

It appeared that the picture was a doctored still from The Living and the Dead, a 2007 Croatian film about the 1990s Bosnia war which also features flashbacks to the war in the Balkans in 1943.

The picture, the Croatian and Bosnian media reported today, was of Ljubomir Jurkovic, a 50-year-old Croatian actor from Karlovac, south of Zagreb, and not born until 15 years after the second world war’s end.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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