Official State Commemoration Takes Place in Jasenovac

By 22 April 2016

The second of three commemorations was attended by high-ranking government officials.

The official commemoration for the victims of the Jasenovac camp was held on Friday. The memorial events included a walk from the Jasenovac Memorial Museum, a minute of silence, reading of the letters of imprisoned detainees, and laying of wreaths and lighting of candles at the foot of the “Stone Flower” monument, reports Večernji List on April 22, 2016.

The commemoration took place 71 years after 600 prisoners tried to break out of the camp. Only about a hundred of them survived.

The official state commemoration, which began with the Croatian anthem, was organized by the Jasenovac Memorial Area, under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament, whose delegation was led by Speaker Željko Reiner. The parliamentary delegation included a number of MPs.

The wreaths were also laid by the government delegation led by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković and by Branko Lustig, who was the representative of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. The commemoration was also attended by delegations from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, HSS party, the City of Zagreb, representatives of national minorities and others.

Unlike in previous years, the commemoration, according to wishes of the camp survivors, did not include speeches by government officials. A letter of the oldest living former prisoner Pava Molnar was read, as well as several letters of inmates from the book "Letters from the Camp” by Maja Kućan.

Prior to the commemoration, Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović said that he did not feel any personal responsibility for the fact that three commemorations would be held in Jasenovac this year. He added that those who were boycotting the official state commemoration were responsible. Before arriving to the Memorial Centre, the Minister attended a liturgy for the victims held at an Orthodox church in the village of Mlaka near Jasenovac.

Jasenovac was a death camp from August 1941 to April 1945, where men, women and children were killed due to their religious, national and ideological affiliation. The list of individual victims of the camp currently includes names and details of 83,145 victims, mostly Serbs, Roma, Jews and Croats.

A week ago, a separate commemoration was organized by the Coordination of Jewish Communities in Croatia, while on Sunday the third commemoration will be organized by the Union of Anti-Fascists Fighters.

Today’s commemoration was not attended by representatives of the Jewish community, the Serbian National Council and anti-fascist organizations because they consider that the revitalization of the Ustasha movement is taking place in the society. However, the state commemoration did include individuals from the Jewish Community of Zagreb.

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