By Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
The memorial service “Memorial Day of Jadovno 1941” was held yesterday, organized by the Serbian National Council (SNC), the Union of Antifascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia (SABA HR), the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia and the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Municipalities, according to the reports of many Croatian media.
The gathering was held at Saran’s pit in Jadovno, where in 1941 ustashe (croatian fascists) killed many Serbs, Jews, Roma, as well as Croats, opponents of the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
At the foot of the restored monument, which had been destroyed in 1991, wreaths were laid by an envoy of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Pension System Mirando Mrsic, an envoy of the Croatian president and the commander of the Croatian Army, Lieutenant General Dragutin Repinc, an envoy of the Croatian Parliament and representative Damir Mateljan. On behalf of the government of the Republic of Serbia Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin laid a wreath.
Wreaths were laid by representatives of embassies, as well as of the Roma National Council Veljko Kajtazi, the Serbian National Council, and the SABA RH and Coordinating Committee of Jewish Municipalities.
In Jadovno camp until it’s closing in August 1941, in four months thousands of people were executed. Estimates of historians speak of between 27,000 (Slavko Goldstein) and 70,000 victims according to Ljubo Boban. On Memorial Day in the shadow of the controversy about the extent of crime, every year we’re reminded that Jadovno, by the number of victims and the manner of liquidation, was the cruelest Ustasha camp right behind Jasenovac.
A few kilometers before Saran’s pit, at the same time in Jadovno it was held a protest gathering organized by the Congregation Association veteran Croatian Guard units, the Association of Croatian Homeland War Volunteers of Rijeka and Gospic and the Croatian Association because, as they said, there is a manipulation of the number of victims in Jadovno.
“Jadovno was the beginning of the spiral of terror of the Ustasha regime. Below are murdered Serbs and Jews just because they were Serbs and Jews and Croats just because they disagreed with the policy of their murderers”, said the envoy of the President of the Croatian Parliament. Recalling the then powerful anti-fascist resistance in Croatia, he mentioned the values of anti-fascism, such as tolerance, peace and equality of opportunity for all, that we should live by today.
President of SNC and MP Milorad Pupovac commented on the protest of a group of Croatian defenders against the commemoration of the victims of Jadovno and asserted that the crimes committed from 1991 to 1995 were used to negate the crimes and executions and to relativize or avoid responsibility of the Ustasha movement, ideology and the state.
President of the Croatian Party of Rights Dr. Ante Starcevic and MEP Ruza Tomasic reacted to Pupovac’s statement rather sharply yesterday afternoon on her Facebook profile. “The chief Serbian ethnic businessman Pupovac today made a number of historical untruths and lump sum score”, wrote Tomasic and urged the media to ask Pupovac to openly comment on the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church in ethnic cleansing and mass killings of non-Serbs in the 90s of the last century in the territory of former Yugoslavia.