ZAGREB, April 22, 2020 – The head of the Jewish Community of Zagreb, Ognjen Kraus, said on Wednesday that his attendance at a state-level commemoration for the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp was an act of readiness to cooperate with the government in dealing with issues that harm Croatia’s international reputation.
“I came to extend the hand of friendship and good will and to show that I’m prepared for serious talks on the situation in Croatia and the government’s attitude to history,” Kraus told reporters covering the event commemorating the 75th anniversary of a breakout of inmates from the World War II Ustasha-run concentration camp.
Kraus confirmed that he saw some progress in the government’s attitude to history but that he was more interested in results.
“I’m more interested in results, in finally doing away with the issue of insignia, the issue of historical revisionism and everything that disgraces this country, and I want us to finally start respecting its laws and constitution,” said Kraus, noting that he would not attend the state-level commemoration next year if no changes happened by then.
He added that some progress had been made, notably by the ministries of culture and education and that student visits to Jasenovac had been included in school curricula for this year.
A member of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), Boris Milošević, said in parliament today that his party was glad that this year a single commemoration was taking place after separate commemorations in the past few years.
He said that the joint commemoration was an act of good will but that that did not mean “giving up the fight against historical revisionism and negation of crimes.”
Hrvoje Zekanović of the Croatian Sovereigntists party remarked that one should learn the real and full truth about Jasenovac but that he would also like all participants in the Jasenovac commemoration to start having a proper attitude to the crimes committed in Škabrnja, Vukovar and Bleiburg.
The head of the SABA association of antifascist fighters, Franjo Habulin, said that some progress had been made in the authorities’ attitude to antifascism and victims of fascism even though problems accumulated over the past 30 years were not being dealt with at the pace at which SABA would want them to be dealt with.
Habulin recalled that last year’s commemoration of the Battle of Sutjeska was held under the prime minister’s auspices and that the prime minister delivered very strong messages while opening an exhibition on the Holocaust in Zagreb earlier this year.
Habulin said that this year funds had been secured for visits by 200 classes to Jasenovac and that next year student visits to Jasenovac should become an obligatory part of the history curriculum for all schools.
Activists of the non-parliamentary Workers’ Front (RF) party on Wednesday night paid tribute to the Jasenovac victims at a ceremony held near Zagreb’s central railway station.
The activists screened an image of the Jasenovac Stone Flower monument and the number of the camp’s victims on a locomotive put on display by the central station. The locomotive was used by the Ustasha regime for the transport of people to concentration camps, the RF said.
The party said its commemoration for the 83,145 victims of the camp and its inmates who in 1945 mounted an escape attempt was a symbolic contribution to the culture of remembrance and the fight against historical revisionism, an example of which, it said, was the fact that there was no description of the history of the locomotive on it but only technical details.
More Jasenovac news can be found in the Politics section.