ZAGREB, May 11, 2020 – The Israeli Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday condemned a plan to hold a memorial mass for the Bleiburg victims in Sarajevo, saying that it constituted a dangerous and destructive attempt to equate the victims and perpetrators of World War II Ustasha crimes.
Attempts to depict all WWII victims in the same way are not only unfair but are also extremely dangerous and destructive for the process of reconciliation to which all nations should aspire, the embassy said in a statement.
A clear distinction has to be made between the victims who without any guilt on their part were forced to concentration camps like Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška and killed there and those who are responsible for those crimes even if they did not have the opportunity to stand a fair trial for them, the embassy said.
The Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina last week opposed the memorial service for Croatian civilians and soldiers of the Nazi-allied Ustasha forces, which is due to be held in Sarajevo by the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, on May 16.
Its head Jakob Finci and the head of the Jewish Community of Sarajevo, Boris Kozemjakin, said in a joint statement that they “condemn the announced commemoration and Mass for the Ustasha who were defeated a long time ago.”
“The memorial service for criminals responsible for the suffering of Sarajevans, including Maks Luburić and Jure Francetić, not to mention others, commemorates the killers of our mothers, fathers, grandfathers, our compatriots and all the other innocent people killed by the fascists of the para-state Independent State of Croatia,” reads the statement.
Plans for the memorial service were earlier condemned by the Bosniak and Croat members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić respectively, as well as by leaders of all major political parties based in Sarajevo.
It is evident that the commemoration is clearly condemned by citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina many of whom can be proud of their ancestors’ contribution to the legacy of antifascism and to the fight against fascism, said the embassy.
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