Speaking at the Jadovno 1941 Remembrance Day commemoration, Kraus said he was making his appeal on behalf of the thousands who were killed at Jadovno and other Ustasha death camps in the 1941-45 Independent State of Croatia (NDH), or who were taken to Nazi death camps.
Kraus also called for banning the denial of the existence of concentration and death camps.
The commemoration was held on the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Gospić-Jadovno-Pag complex, the first Ustasha death camp on NDH territory.
“It would be horrible to think that the NDH got rid of its Serbs, Jews, Roma, and communists in 1941 easier than the Republic of Croatia are getting rid in 2021 of forgetting their suffering and the legacy of Ustashism which ‘For the homeland ready’ symbolizes,” said Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac.
He asked why someone cared so much that one of the “most shameful salutes and expressions of patriotism in Croatian history” should not lose the right to official and public usage.
“Is such persistence in defending that official salute of the Ustasha movement and the so-called NDH a consequence of knowing about its racial laws and the genocide crimes against Serbs, Jews, and Roma? (…) Or is that persistence a consequence of the ignorance, which has been growing bigger by the year over the past 30 years, of what and whom that salute is a lasting symbol?”
Serbian president’s envoy: We have the duty to conduct reconciliation policy
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s envoy Veran Matić said that just as he was working on “reconciliation and healing after the war disintegration of the common state and the horrors we experienced in those wars,” such a reconciliation policy should also be pursued concerning the horrors of WWII, notably those committed at Jadovno and Pag.
“I consider that our duty to the innocents killed here, to the generations which we should enable to be free of crime, to morally rise above crime and to have the moral strength for peace, for living without hate and for reconciliation between the peoples in Croatia, the peoples in Serbia, and reconciliation between Croatia and Serbia,” Matić said.
Wreaths were laid at the monument at Jadovno by Boris Milošević on the government’s behalf, Dragana Jeckov on parliament’s behalf, Matić, Kraus, and Pupovac on the SNV’s behalf, and representatives of the SABA antifascist alliance and the Serbian and Austrian embassies.
The commemoration was organized by the SNV with the Coordination of Jewish Communities in Croatia, the Eparchy of Gornji Karlovac, and SABA.
The Gospić-Jadovno-Pag camp was established on 18-24 June 1941 and the inmates were mostly Serbs, followed by Jews and some Croatian communists. The camp was dismantled around 22 August 1941 at the request of fascist Italy.
That, it was said at the commemoration, temporarily saved over 3,000 inmates who were transported to Jastrebarsko and then the Jasenovac death camp, where many died.
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