Participants in the commemoration for the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp victims, organised by the Alliance of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA), said on Sunday that they were attending this and not the official commemoration because they were unhappy with the fact that the society was relativising the Ustasha crimes and because they don't see the current office holders as true antifascists.
Former Croatian President and honorary SABA president Stjepan Mesic said that three separate commemorations for the Jasenovac concentration camp victims were the result of an attempt to falsify the history.
Asked to comment on the divisions concerning the commemoration for the Jasenovac victims, Mesic told the press that what happened in Jasenovac in WWII and who won, was a known fact.
"Some would like to change that now and try to portray those who were on the wrong side as being on the right side and falsify the history. But that is impossible," Mesic told the press adding that he would remain in politics.
Mesic also gave a speech at the commemoration. He said Croatia must leave behind a huge historical lie, launched and encourages with strong political objectives. "Only then ... after we remove the slightest doubt about who stood on the right and who stood on the wrong, criminal side during WWII, we shall get rid of the divisions and burden of the past," Mesic said.
More than 2,000 people attended today's commemoration in Jasenovac.
The event is also attended by former Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic and numerous SDP MPs, as well as parliamentary deputies from the Labour Party and representative of the Roma ethnic minority Veljko Kajtazi.
Wreaths were laid by representatives of the Russian and Serbian embassies, the United States and New Zealand.
The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia organised another commemoration A commemoration for the victims of the WW2 concentration camp at Jasenovac on April 15, and that was one of the three separate commemorative events held this month on the site of the former Ustasha-run concentration camp.
The official commemoration for the Jasenovac victims was held April 22.
Surviving former inmates and top Croatian officials hold commemorations in late April every year, commemorating the breakout of inmates from the Ustasha-run Jasenovac camp on 22 April 1945 and paying tribute to 83,000 victims of this WW2 camp.
Of the 1,073 inmates who were in the camp on 22 April 1945, six hundred 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 Jasenovac camp was the largest forced labour 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. It operated until the breakout in 1945.