Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Croatia Accused of Genocide Denial

Zagreb, 23 January: The memorial park for World War II victims in Jasenovac will be re-opened this year.

The re-opening ceremony is scheduled for springtime and, meanwhile, a project has begun to include a monument in the Memorial Museum which will display the names of all the concentration camp victims. The concept behind the monument is to stress the importance of the individual human life taken in the name of a single totalitarian ideology.

Architect Bogdan Bogdanovic has designed the monument, which will include a stylized statue of human bones.

Director of the memorial park Natasa Jovicic said that the memorial plaque will have the names of 70,000 victims, without delineating between nationalities, and there will also be an empty plaque on which names can be added, since many of the victims still remain unaccounted for.

However, historian Zorica Stipetic said that the lack of separating the names of the victims by nationalities could lead to the Jasenovac Museum becoming a holocaust museum, instead of a memorial for the genocide of Serbs and Jews.

"There will also be discrepancies between the Serbian and Croatian victims. Most, though not all, Croatian victims were killed because of conflicting ideologies, being anti-Fascist. But the Serbian villagers did not even know why they were being taken into the camp, which is by all means closer to the definition of what genocide is," Stipetic said.

Stipetic was the Serbian community's candidate for becoming the president ofthe memorial park, but Croatian Democratic Party [HDZ, Croatian ruling party]official Zoran Prpic was elected, much to the dismay of Serbian and Jewish officials, anti-Fascism organizations and concentration camp survivors.

The Jasenovac camp complex, located approximately 62 miles south of Zagreb, operated between August 1941 and April 1945. A series of five camps along the Sava River, Jasenovac was one of World War II's most brutal concentration camps. The Ustasa regime murdered tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma for racial,religious and ethnic reasons at Jasenovac. Muslims and political opponents of the regime were also murdered there. Women were separated and imprisoned in the Stara Gradiska sub-camp. The men were divided into the other four camps depending upon their backgrounds and skills.

Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1446 gmt 23 Jan 06

1 comment:

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