With a memorial walk from the Jasenovac Memorial Museum to the “Stone Flower” monument, ending in laying wreaths, representatives of the Croatian Parliament, Government, national minorities, and antifascists paid tribute to the victims of the Ustasha concentration camp Jasenovac on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the breakthrough from the camp by its last surviving inmates
PHOTO: HINA / Admir BULJUBAŠIĆ / ua
Early in the morning of April 22, 1945, the last 600 prisoners broke from the concentration camp where the Ustasha authorities imprisoned and killed people because of their religious, national, or ideological affiliation. About a hundred camp inmates survived the breakthrough.
The Ustasha camp Jasenovac was the biggest concentration camp in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in terms of the number of detainees and victims. The execution methods included hanging, killing the inmates with knifes, sledgehammers, and axes, as well as firearms. The executions took place at various locations within the Jasenovac camp complex, its associated camps, and in nearby villages.
The Jasenovac concentration camp existed for 1,337 days. The Jasenovac Memorial Site has collected names and information on 83,145 people who were killed there, most of whom were Serbs (47,627), Roma (16,173), and Jews (13,116).
The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, and the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, with their respective delegations, laid wreaths at the foot of the monument. Wreaths and flowers were also laid by the representatives of the Alliance of Anti-fascist Fighters and Anti-fascists of Croatia (SABA), led by Franjo Habulin and the former Croatian President who served two terms, Stjepan Mesić, representatives of the Serbian National Council led by Milorad Pupovac, the Roma Alliance in Croatia, “Kali Sara”, led by Veljko Kajtazi, as well as the Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak with the Mayor of the Jasenovac County, Marija Mačković, the director of the Jasenovac Memorial Site, Ivo Pejaković, together with the representatives of surviving camp inmates and family members of the ones who perished at the camp.
The commemoration was also attended by delegations of 26 embassies in Croatia, among them the Israeli Embassy, who also paid tribute to the camp victims. Other delegations include party delegations (Croatian Democratic Party (HDZ), Social-democrats, Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), Focus, Bandić Milan 365 – Labour and Solidarity Party), as well as delegations from various state institutions and NGOs.
As part of the commemoration, which was held under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament, excerpts from the testimonies of surviving detainees Nikola Šitin and Đorđe Miliša were read and a prayer on behalf of Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic worshippers was led.
There were no representatives of the Jewish national minority at the commemoration. The Coordination of Jewish Communities has announced that it would visit Jasenovac the following week, on April 28, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that they were not participating in this commemoration due to their dissatisfaction stemming from the fact that the government had still not banned Ustasha symbols.
This year’s commemoration took place in an atmosphere of open conflict between the Croatian President and the Prime Minister. President Zoran Milanović did not participate in the memorial walk. He paid tribute to the victims of the Jasenovac camp separately, laying roses and visitation stones at the foot of the monument earlier in the morning.
The same morning, wreaths were also laid separately at the foot of the monument by delegations of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by president Peđa Grbin, the political platform “Možemo!” (We Can!), led by Sandra Benčić and Urša Raukar, and the City of Zagreb, led by Mayor Tomislav Tomašević. (Hina)
On behalf of the Anti-fascist League (AFL), Zoran Pusić and Mišo Milun also laid flowers and paid tribute to the victims of the Ustasha terror separately, following the official commemoration.
Anniversary of the Day of the Jasenovac Camp Breakthrough, and Commemoration for the Victims of the Jasenovac Camp, April 22, 2022.