Three separate commemorations in three days.
The first of three separate commemorations for murdered detainees of the Ustasha camp at Jasenovac and all Ustasha victims was organized on Saturday by the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia (SABA) and the Serbian National Council (SNV). In addition to numerous citizens, the commemoration was attended by ambassadors from several countries.
SABA president Franjo Habulin said that his association had decided not to take part in the official parliament-organized commemoration due to the attitude of the current government towards the Ustasha regime, its symbols and slogans. “We cannot accept the establishment of something called the Council for Dealing with Consequences of Undemocratic Regimes,” said Habulin, adding that it was a council for fighting the idea of communism and the practice of socialism.
Habulin also said that it was undoubtedly true that the victims of the Jasenovac camp, Serbs, Jews, Roma Croats and anti-fascists, were innocent victims, while the Ustasha were criminals. “We will not allow the victory of historical revisionism that has gained deep roots in today’s Croatia, whose ultimate goal is to turn the World War II winners into defeated criminals and those who have been defeated and proven to be criminals to be turned in national heroes,” concluded Habulin.
President of the Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac expressed his regret that this year there would be no joint commemoration. He condemned the controversial memorial plaque with the Ustasha slogan which has been erected at Jasenovac. “This place obliges us to call on the government and everyone else to turn to mutual respect and mutual repentance,” he said, adding that he would not want Jasenovac to become a place where some would try to turn bad past into good future. “This cannot be accepted,” said Pupovac.
SDP president Davor Bernardić, who also attended the commemoration on Saturday, said that “this is a place where Croatia must be united and not divided.” He feels that the current government had to come to an agreement with the survivors and the relatives of the victims.
On Sunday, the official commemoration took place under the auspices of the Parliament. The event was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, while President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov sent their envoys.
During the commemoration, which was not attended by representative of survivors, there were no speeches. Among present were Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Health Health Milan Kujundžić, and Education Minister Pavo Barišić, as well as ambassadors and embassy representatives.
On Monday, representatives of the Jewish community in Croatia will hold their commemoration at Jasenovac. This is the second year in a row that separate commemorations are being held.