ZAGREB, May 15, 2018 – Former Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, who is a member of the Croatian parliament and who has been declared persona non-grata by the Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina because of his stance toward the Ustasha regime, has had an invitation to attend the award ceremony in Sarajevo awarding posthumously his grandfather Sabrija Prohić rescinded.
It is the joint position of the Jewish community in Sarajevo, the Israeli Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Prohić family that the invitation to Hasanbegović to attend the ceremony be withdrawn, a press release from the Israeli Embassy in Sarajevo and signed by Ambassador Boaz Rodkin said, as reported by media in that country.
In an explanation, it notes that a representative of the Prohić family, who was to accept the award to those who saved Jews during the holocaust, considered that it was necessary to invite all of Sabrija Prohić’s descendants, including his grandson Zlatko Hasanbegović.
He did that however, “unfortunately, without knowing that Hasanbegović is a persona non grata in the Jewish community because, as they claim, he relativises and glorifies the Ustasha regime which is responsible for the slaughter and extermination of Jews during World War II.
The Israeli Embassy in Bosnia expressed its regret that Hasanbegović “abused the invitation to attend the ceremony celebrating the heroic deed by Mr Sabrija Prohić for his own political purposes.”
Sabrija Prohić, his wife Safeta Prohić, their daughter Esma Prohić and Sabrija’s brother Avdo Prohić were recognised as “Righteous Among The Nations,” by Israel and are to be awarded posthumously for saving a Jewish girl, Nada Kolman, during WWII.
After receiving the invitation, Hasanbegović said that he was delighted about the news of the recognition his family had deserved. “Unfortunately, the Yugoslav communists in 1945 were not interested in people’s destinies in this and other similar cases and the paradox is that my grandfather was executed without benefit of a trial after WWII,” Hasanbegović told the Jutarnji List daily last week.