Jewish Community Holds Separate Commemoration for Jasenovac Victims

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 15, 2018 – The head of the Jewish Community of Zagreb (ŽOZ) and of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia Ognjen Kraus said at a commemoration for the victims of the World War II concentration camp Jasenovac that the Croatian government and parliament must respect the constitution and the fact that the Ustasha salute “For the homeland, ready” is unconstitutional.

The commemoration for the victims of the Ustasha-run concentration camp, where numerous Jews were killed, was organised by the ŽOZ and the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, and it was the third consecutive annual commemoration held separately from the central state-level commemoration.

Addressing those who gathered for the event, Kraus explained why this year again, as in the previous two years, the Jewish community had decided to commemorate the victims on its own and not take part in the central commemoration.

“We demand that the government and parliament respect the Croatian constitution. After year-long work, the commission for dealing with the past decided that the salute ‘For the homeland, ready’ is unconstitutional. This makes its proposal to allow the use of that salute for commemorative purposes, that is, in exceptional cases – whatever that may mean – even more scandalous,” Kraus said, adding that “Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has announced that those exceptions would be regulated by law.”

“In law-based states, if a legal provision is unconstitutional, it is aligned with the constitution, and if administrative acts by relevant institutions are contrary to the law or the constitution, they are put out of force,” said Kraus. “We expect the government to send the parliament as soon as possible a set of legal regulations to be aligned with the Constitution so that this matter is finally resolved by adopting that law. For us, any use or form of the salute ‘For the homeland, ready’ in Croatia is unacceptable,” stressed Kraus.

He went on to say that “the Jewish community cannot accept the rewriting of history or, when totalitarianism is discussed, the equating of the National Liberation Struggle (NOB) and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), or the NDH and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on racial laws, can that really be equated (with the NOB and the SFRY)?”

Kraus called on Croatia’s president and prime minister to be “clear in their messages, without the constant ‘buts’.” “The contribution of Jews to Croatia’s culture, economy, science, health and other fields of work throughout its history exceeds by far the size of our community in the past, and especially today. That is why we believe that we deserve at least the minimum respect, understanding and dialogue when something is done or decisions are made that concern the Jewish community,” said Kraus, recalling that the NDH was the only European state with racial laws based on the model of Nazi racial laws and expressing hope that next year there would be a single, joint commemoration at Jasenovac.

A prayer for the dead was led by the chief rabbi for Croatia and Montenegro, Luciano Moše Prelević.

Wreaths were laid at the Stone Flower, a monument erected at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp, by Israeli Ambassador Zina Kalay Kleitman, the ambassadors of France and Canada, and representatives of the German, Austrian, US and Serbian embassies as well as of the Serb National Council.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment