Jewish Community to Boycott Government’s Holocaust Memorial Event

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Jewish Community will protest against government’s attitude towards the Second World War.

Due to inappropriate reaction to the glorification of the Ustasha movement in Croatia, representatives of the Coordination of Jewish Communities will not join the traditional memorial event which will be organized by the Croatian authorities on 27 January, on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, confirmed Ognjen Kraus, the president of the Jewish Community in Zagreb, reports N1 on January 23, 2017.

“We have reached this decision based on the reaction of the government, Parliament and President with regards to the latest events. The real problem is not a controversial memorial plaque in Jasenovac or the ‘For Homeland Ready’ inscription, but relativization of everything. If the swastika, Ustasha signs and slogans, and the red star are the same, then what are we talking about? We are going to revise history? We will establish a special commission to tell us what happened in the Second World War?” asked Kraus. They have not yet received an official invitation to participate in the event, but they have decided they would not take part. “We have informed the Beth Israel Jewish Community in Zagreb, which will also not participate”, added Kraus.

“Ustasha totalitarianism is being rehabilitated and in this way we will have a flood of Ustasha signs that compromise Croatia”, warned prominent historian Slavko Goldstein. He added that, prior to unveiling of memorial plaques with the controversial slogan, there were some disputes about Jasenovac concentration camp, but when the plaque was unveiled, he expected that the government would intervene, as it did a decade ago in Slunj when a plaque to Ustasha leader Jure Francetić was unveiled. “By the time the government’s commission starts working, we will already have a flood of such Ustasha plaques that compromise Croatia”, warned Goldsein.

“I expected that Prime Minister Plenković would react”, he added. “Now this government’s delay is becoming very dangerous for Croatia”, said Goldstein. Asked why Plenković had not removed the plaque, he said that the reason was opportunism. “People who died should have a memorial plaque, but not with Ustasha inscription”, he said.

He added that the Croatian society is divided, that there is both nostalgia for the Ustasha regime and for Yugoslavia, but that under communism, especially during the 1970s, there was much less danger. Goldstein also commented on the rise of rightwing parties in Europe. “Croatia is part of a larger story, but also partly an exception, and the exception is due to relations with Serbia. This has become a vicious circle which can be dangerous, and even lead to a war”, said Goldstien.


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