Just like in previous years, the official commemoration will be boycotted by minority groups.
The Coordination of Jewish Municipalities in Croatia has decided not to participate in the official commemoration for the victims of the Ustasha concentration camp Jasenovac under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament, in memory of April 22, 1945, when 600 detainees tried to break out of the camp. About a hundred of them survived the attempt, reports Jutarnji List on April 6, 2018.
The reasons for the boycott are well-known: continuous attacks on the anti-fascist heritage and ever stronger sympathies for the fascist Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and the Ustasha movement, often coming from institutions and individuals close to the state authorities.
The official commemoration will again be boycotted by representatives of the most numerous groups of Ustasha victims – in addition to Jews, members of the Anti-Fascist Union of Croatia (SABH) will also not come, while representatives of Serbs have not yet made a decision. In April 2017, the official state commemoration was boycotted by representatives of Serbian and Jewish organisations, anti-fascists, SDP and the leftwing parties. They organised their separate observance, and the same thing will happen this year, since Jewish organisations will go to Jasenovac on Sunday, 15 April.
Last year, they said that the controversial plaque with the Ustasha slogan “For Homeland Ready” was still standing in Jasenovac, and they also warned about attempts to falsify history and historical facts and to relativise the Ustasha movement.
There are two reasons why the Jewish organisations will again not be present at the state commemoration, according to Ognjen Kraus, president of the Jewish Municipality of Zagreb. “Firstly, this country is violating the Constitution, as well as the decisions of the Constitutional Court, according to which the Ustasha slogan is unacceptable. Plaques with the slogan still stand, with the permission of the government. Secondly, the candidate for the implementation of curricular reform is Matko Glunčić, a person who has deeply offended national minorities and people with disabilities, when he accused them for poor results of Croatian students in PISA tests. And we are members of a minority,” said Kraus.
For similar reasons, the commemoration will be boycotted by anti-fascists, said Franjo Habulin, the SABH president. The SABH Executive Board has analysed what has changed to date compared to the last year. We have come to the conclusion that nothing has changed. Actually, the situation has become even worse. If the government accepts the recommendations of the Council for dealing with the consequences of the rule of undemocratic regimes, that will only bring new problems, and new controversies will be opened in the society,” Habulin said.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Italian Minority Representative Furio Radin says that he would join the decision of minorities who have suffered the most from the Ustasha crimes. “If the event is boycotted by Jews, Serbs and Roma, I will not come, even though I am the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. We are waiting for a decision by Milorad Pupovac and the Serbian National Council, who are coalition allies of Plenković’s government, but at the same time they are extremely critical since the state is not banning all that has anything to do with the Ustasha.”
Last year, the official commemoration was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and an envoy of Božo Petrov, who was Speaker of Parliament. Together with an envoy of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, they laid a wreath.
Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Robert Bajruši).