Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Sunday at a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the break-out of inmates from the Ustasha-run Jasenovac camp on 22 April 1945, that Croatia’s Constitution clearly states that the foundations of Croatia’s sovereignty are based on anti-fascist values of World War Two and not on the values of the Nazi-puppet government (the so called Independent State of Croatia – NDH), calling on all those who don’t see this clearly to publicly advocate the inclusion of the NDH in the Constitution.
Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said that the atrocities of the Ustasha death camp serve as a warning even 70 years later, because fascism ideas were not entirely rooted out.
“Jasenovac atrocities are warning and calling on all of us never again to allow discrimination and persecutions based on national, religious, ideological or gender differences,” Leko said.
The president of the Serb People’s Council (SNV), Milorad Pupovac, called on Croatian society to recognise the signs and fight “the atmosphere of fascism and Nazism” and not to allow the atrocities of the Ustasha regime to be forgotten.
The commemoration was also attended by personal envoy of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, film producer and two-times oscar winner Branko Lustig who, as a child, was in Auschwitz and bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
Today’s ceremony was attended by surviving former inmates, top Croatian officials, foreign ambassadors in Croatia, and many other delegations who commemorated the 70th anniversary of the break-out of inmates from the Ustasha-run Jasenovac camp on 22 April 1945, and paid tribute to 83,000 victims of this WW2 camp.
Also present were a delegation of the City of Zagreb, led by mayor Milan Bandic, representatives of the diplomatic corps, church communities, national minorities, anti-fascist associations, as well as guests from Croatia and abroad.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic visited Jasenovac on April 22.
Of the 1,073 inmates who were in the camp on 22 April 1945, 600 attempted to escape and only about a hundred survived. The remaining 473 inmates who did not try to escape were killed and their bodies were cremated. The camp Jasenovac was the largest forced-labor and concentration camp set up by the Nazi-style Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in marshland at the confluence of the Sava and Una rivers near the village of Jasenovac in the second half of 1941 and operated until the breakout in 1945.
On the same day, inmates in the nearby camp “Kozara” also launched a breakout, and of 167, only 11 inmates survived.