ZAGREB, January 24, 2020 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and other state officials laid wreaths in the Jewish section of the Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb on Friday on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on January 27, saying that Croatia needs to work on a culture of remembrance, protecting human rights and promoting tolerance in society.
“We want the reminder of this great atrocity to be carved into everyone’s memory so that such crimes are never repeated. Today we have to work not only on a culture of remembrance but also on protecting human rights and promoting tolerance in society,” Plenković said after the wreath-laying ceremony.
The government delegation came to pay their respects to the victims of the greatest atrocity in the history of humankind, he said, but also to remember the 117 Croatian Righteous Among the Nations who helped save Jews in those most difficult times.
Asked about complaints by minority organisations about the revival of Ustasha ideology, he said that manifestations of that kind must always be prevented.
“We are working on that because they are not the values we share. Our programme contains the highest standards of respect for human and minority rights and we will persist in that because they are the values of the free and modern Croatia,” he underscored.
Rabbi Kotel Da-Don of the Jewish Bet Israel community in Zagreb said that antisemitism was on the rise in the world as never before while the sentence “let it never be repeated” was constantly being repeated.
“That shows that we have a serious problem in society and that words can no longer help. In Croatia too we have a problem if people are still convinced that ‘For the Homeland Ready’ means something good for Croatia,” Da-Don underscored.
Asked how he thought the government was handling this, Da-Don said that he believes it has good intentions however some issues have still not been resolved.
About 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, or nearly two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. Five million people of other ethnic groups were also killed.
In the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which was ruled by the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime during the Second World War, of 39,000 Jews more than 30,000 were killed. Most of them perished in Ustasha-run concentration camps and about 7,000 were dispatched to Nazi death camps, most of them to Auschwitz. Fewer than 9,000 Jews survived, including about 5,000 in Croatia and 4,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Croatian Encyclopaedia.
More news about the Holocaust in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.