ZAGREB, October 6, 2018 – A memorial ceremony was held at Children’s Cemetery in Sisak on Saturday to commemorate the children who had perished in an Ustasha-run children’s concentration camp in the town between 3 August 1942 and 8 January 1943 and to thank people who had saved many of the children.
The ceremony was attended by survivors, including those from Banja Luka and Belgrade, the Serb National Council (SNV) and the Serb Minority Council of Sisak as organisers, Deputy Parliament Speaker Furio Radin, Minister of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy Nada Murganić, delegates from the Embassies of Germany and Serbia, Sisak Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček, Serb Orthodox Church dignitaries and others.
About 7,000 war orphans were held in the camp, which operated at several locations in Sisak during World War II, and every third or fourth child died, SNV president Milorad Pupovac said. He noted that many citizens had saved children from certain death thanks to humanitarian efforts by Diana Budisavljević and Dr Kamil Bresler.
Children’s Cemetery was named Diana Budisavljević Park last year in her honour.
“At that time Croatia was ruled by a regime that was neither humane nor people’s but a criminal regime that aimed to exterminate all those they thought unsuitable. We who are gathered here are not devotees of death and suffering, but of life and living, to respond to those who are reviving the ideology and regimes of death and suffering.
We could hear in the last few weeks and months, and unfortunately not just in obscure right-wing media, but in mainstream national media too, including those owned by the state, that children’s camps, like the one here and the one in Jastrebarsko, actually did not exist, but that they were a Partisan or, as they prefer to say, Communist fabrication. Since they tried to play down and cover up the crimes, they cannot be called other than pro-Ustasha advocates of revisionism, who are trying to win recognition for that regime.
From here we must send a message of peace and say no to those who would like to revive the ideology that could lead to new victims,” Pupovac concluded.
Pupovac said later he was pleased that the delegates of the parliament and government had attended the Remembrance Day ceremony for the first time and that this was a good message to all those denying the crimes committed by the Ustasha regime.
The religious service was led by Serb Orthodox Bishop Jovan of Pakrac.