This years’ commemorations in the former concentration camp will take place without the Jewish representatives.
The Coordination of Jewish Communities will not participate in the official commemorations of the victims of the Jasenovac camp on 22 April. Ognjen Kraus, president of the Coordination, announced that they would organize their own commemorations in accordance with the Jewish traditions. The Coordination had three reasons for this decision – a policy of inaction in relation to changes to the exhibition at the Jasenovac museum, a delay in the appointing of members of the Council of the Jasenovac Memorial Area, and daily political events related to the relativization and revitalization of the Ustasha. The Coordination on Sunday informed Nataša Jovičić, the director of the Jasenovac Memorial Area, about its decision. She sent a letter to the Coordination expressing her regret over the decision, reports Večernji List on April 5, 2016.
The decision of the Coordination explains in detail why it was made. “We believe that in such an environment the Jasenovac commemorations are just an opportunity where the same people who tolerate the Ustasha ideology will take the stage to express his anti-fascist views and express their reverence to the victims. For years, we have been adapting to the protocols which we had disagreed with, believing that our participation was important in view of a large number of victims from our community. After all the attempts to do something together, it no longer makes sense”, explains the Coordination.
President of the Coordination Ognjen Kraus explained that, when speaking about daily political events, they were talking “about the Ustasha chants during a protest march through the streets of Zagreb, a football match in Osijek, hate speech in the media (especially the Internet), but, even more, the fact that the state is not doing anything about it. The comments given after these events by top government officials are at the very least inappropriate”, said Kraus, who previously also expressed his dissatisfaction with the exhibition at the museum in Jasenovac. He said that the exhibition did not present the full truth about the holocaust and the horrors of the Independent State of Croatia.
Nataša Jovičić said that she was sorry about the decision of the Jewish Communities, adding that she hoped they would still change their mind. “I am surprised by this decision. The exhibition has been here since 2006, and the Council has not been functioning for two and a half to three years, so I do not know what it was that prompted this move. In Jasenovac we should commemorate the victims while problems should be addressed at the Ministry”, said Jovičić.
Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović said that the Culture Ministry has not received any notice about the boycott of commemorations in Jasenovac.