Lovro Kralj’s dissertation “Paving the Road to Death: Antisemitism in the Ustasha Movement 1929-1945,” reinterprets the importance of antisemitism in the Croatian fascist Ustasha movement. Given the fact that the Ustasha ideological core was initially not antisemitic, questions as to why and how they adopted antisemitism has not been adequately answered. Kralj challenges historiographical interpretations which reduce the Ustasha antisemitism to mere imitation of Nazism and the arguments that the Ustashe were participating in the Holocaust because of German pressures or appeasement.
According to Kralj’s argument the Ustashe adopted antisemitism as a key tool in fascistization of its ideology. The adoption of anti-communism, anti-capitalism, anti-democratic and other attitudes were so closely intertwined with antisemitism that it became one of the main tools of ideology-building during 1935-1940. Kralj will examine the interdependence of antisemitism and fascistization through quantitative analysis of Croatian national-socialist, clerical, nationalist and Ustasha press in the interwar period. He will analyze the implementation of antisemitic policies and the Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia through the comparison of three different cities: Križevci, Osijek and Sarajevo.
Lovro Kralj specializes in the fields of fascism, antisemitism and the Holocaust studies, with the geographic focus on Central and South-Eastern Europe. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in philosophy and history from the University of Rijeka. He earned his second M.A. in comparative history from the Central European University. In 2015 he started his PhD at the Central European University. Kralj participated and presented at more than twenty international workshops and conferences including the Lessons & Legacies. He received multiple fellowships including the Sharon Abramson Research Grant for the Study of the Holocaust from Holocaust Educational Foundation and a Junior Fellowship at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. In 2018 he was teaching a course titled “Fascism and Right-Wing Populism: Ideologies, Movements and Regimes,” and in 2019 “Comparative Genocide Studies in Global Context” at the University of Pannonia (iASK).