Official State Commemoration Held at Jasenovac

By 22 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 22, 2018 - The Jasenovac victims deserve a single, joint commemoration, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday, after the official state commemoration to the Jasenovac WWII concentration camp victims ended, expressing confidence that an agreement regarding a joint commemoration would be reached with representatives of the Alliance of Associations of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA) and the Serb National Council (SNV).

"The government is working on overcoming the divisions. My government and I have made clear steps forward. I believe that, through dialogue with SABA and the SNV and representatives of the Jewish organisations, we will promote understanding and create a situation to have a single, joint state commemoration because Jasenovac victims deserve that," the prime minister said.

This was the third commemoration this year to pay respects to Jasenovac victims.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited the Jasenovac Memorial Centre on Friday to pay tribute to victims of the Ustasha-run concentration camp.

Another commemoration was organised by the Alliance of Associations of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA) and the Serb National Council (SNV) on Saturday, with about 1,500 people attending and representatives of SABA and SNV once again expressing their dissatisfaction that the Ustasha salute is still being tolerated in public space.

The head of the Jewish Community of Zagreb (ZOZ) and of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia Ognjen Kraus said at a commemoration for the victims of the World War II concentration camp Jasenovac last Sunday that the Croatian government and parliament must respect the constitution and the fact that the Ustasha salute "For the homeland, ready" is unconstitutional.

After today's official commemoration, Plenković said this was an opportunity to once again pay respects to the victims and their families and condemn in the strongest terms the criminal regime. "The government clearly condemns these crimes," Plenković said.

Croatian President's envoy Ivan Zvonimir Čičak expressed hope that next year it would be possible for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to attend "a single and joint" commemoration for the victims of the Ustasha concentration camp in Jasenovac, given that this year she paid her respects on Friday, independently of the official state delegation, as she does not want to take part in further divisions in the country.

"I hope that next year, the president would come here personally and that we will leave these divisions behind once and for all. This is not only sad, this is embarrassing for a country," Čičak said.