Serbs Join Boycott of Government’s Jasenovac Commemoration

By 20 March 2019

ZAGREB, March 20, 2019 - The Serb National Council (SNV) on Monday joined the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia in boycotting the official commemoration for the victims of the WWII Ustasha concentration camp of Jasenovac for the fourth year in a row, scheduled for April 14.

"The state did not take the necessary measures to stop or at least reduce the negating of the Holocaust and genocide committed during World War II and revisionism," SNV vice president Saša Milošević told the Serb minority newspaper Novosti.

Milošević said that by tolerating hate speech, downplaying the suffering of the people and implementing an inadequate education policy, the state had directly helped that such incidents become dominant in Croatia's society.

Given the great difference in opinion, we cannot and should not go to Jasenovac together. Milošević said adding that the Serb, the Jewish and the Roma minority, as well as the anti-fascists would hold their own commemoration on Friday, April 12.

The head of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, said earlier in the day he would not attend the government commemoration for the victims of the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp, while the head of the SABA alliance of antifascist fighters, Franjo Habulin, said SABA would decide on Thursday whether to attend a joint commemoration.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković last week invited representatives of SABA, the Jewish community, Serbs and Roma to take part in a joint commemoration. Kraus said the Jewish community would not accept.

"Nothing has changed over the past year. Nothing new has happened," he told the press, citing historical revisionism and the government's stance on the Ustasha salute "For the homeland, ready."

"There is a wish to be together as well as arguments against it," Habulin said, adding that a joint commemoration would be useful.

"It would be a sort of coming closer to opening the possibility for talks and for resolving the problems concerning historical revisionism and the negativism which has accumulated over 20 years and more in Croatia, which isn't good," he said.

An argument against a joint commemoration would be the fact that nothing has been done over the past year and SABA members believe the situation is worse than last year, added Habulin.

More news about Jasenovac can be found at the Politics section.