Culture Minister Receives US Holocaust Memorial Museum Official

By 8 March 2019

ZAGREB, March 8, 2019 - Robert Williams, the Deputy Director of International Affairs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, said that his impressions during his visit to Croatia were positive and that significant progress had been made in addressing issues concerning the Holocaust, the Culture Ministry said in a press release on Friday after Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek met the US official.

Williams was quoted as saying that the aim of his visit to Croatia, as a representative of an independent organisation of the U.S. Administration which deals with the Holocaust and education about that period of history, was to offer assistance to the Croatian government and the civil sector in dealing with issues concerning the Holocaust and its victims, reads the press release.

In the context of education about the Holocaust, the minister pointed out the efforts of the government and relevant departments to ensure that visits to the Jasenovac Memorial Centre were part of the obligatory curriculum. Visits to Vukovar and Jasenovac would provide a very strong message to young people that crime and suffering can happen to anyone at any time.

The minister said that the Jasenovac Memorial Museum exhibition should be updated with emphasis on historical evidence, victims and their suffering, and perpetrators of crimes.

She said it would be valuable to set up cooperation with international experts for the purpose of exchanging good practice and optimal research methodologies.

Williams, who also represents the US at the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA), supported such approach.

In this context he advocated research including international experts who would have access to all necessary archival materials, including those taken away from Croatia and not returned during the process of succession to the former Yugoslavia.

Williams invited Croatian experts to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, saying that the focus of this museum was being expanded to include all groups of victims of the Nazi and totalitarian regimes.

Concerning the issue of raising awareness of the consequences of the Holocaust, the minister recalled that in a bid to encourage the development of a culture of remembrance, the Croatian government has established a council to deal with the consequences of undemocratic regimes.

She said that the council had adopted a document with a set of guidelines and that this paper was the first Croatian official document to include the internationally adopted definition of anti-Semitism, which Williams welcomed.

Obuljen Koržinek briefed Williams about a series of activities her ministry was undertaking to protect the Jewish heritage in Croatia, which represents a valuable element of the entire Croatian national heritage.

She informed him about the new law on archives, and he reassured her that the organisations he represents will help Croatia to gain free access to the archival material seized from Croatia.

More news on the historical issues stemming from the Second World War can be found in the Politics section.