Speaker at the Jasenovac Memorial Site: Government making big efforts to reduce social tensions, commemorate victims

Zagreb - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Sunday dismissed claims that the government had dealt more with this year's commemoration for the WWII Bleiburg victims than the one for those of the Jasenovac concentration camp, saying the government was making big efforts to reduce social tensions and commemorate victims and that an especially big effort was made this year.

The official state commemoration for the Jasenovac victims and the surviving inmates was taking place at the Jasenovac Memorial Site today, with Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and a number of ministers attending.

Responding to questions from the press, Jandroković said he did not agree with the claims made by Ognjen Kraus, president of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, at Friday's commemoration, which was organised by representatives of ethnic minorities and antifascists.

Kraus said they "probably would have been in Jasenovac together" this Sunday had the authorities made the same effort to come to an agreement with minority and antifascist associations as they had concerning the commemoration for the Bleiburg victims.

"I don't agree with that assessment at all and think Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's government especially is making big efforts to reduce social tensions and to commemorate victims. Especially here in Jasenovac, a big effort was made this year again. However, if there is to be an agreement, everyone involved must be willing to make it," Jandrokovic said.

"My message is that we should try to understand each other, acknowledge the pain and suffering of all those who lost someone, especially those who were killed at various execution sites, including here in Jasenovac."

Jandroković said the state leaders had come to Jasenovac to honour the sacrifice of innocent people who were killed because of their faith, ethnicity or political affiliation. "That was a crime by the Ustasha regime which has to be clearly condemned, to send the message, notably to younger generations, that freedom, democracy and peace are not givens, that evil is around us and that we must fight it."

Jandroković said he would like it if there were no divisions but more inclusion and understanding in society. "I find it hard to understand people who don't accept and can't understand another person's suffering. I can't understand those who don't have enough strength to accept that others too have their pain and trauma, and I think we should work more on respecting each other more, on tolerating each other and understanding the pain and suffering of others."

Author: Hina