The central commemoration of Yom HaShoah in Croatia was held at Zagreb's Mirogoj Cemetery on Thursday and on that occasion members of the Jewish community said that they would not allow anybody to belittle their feeling of respect for victims of the Holocaust and that therefore they had decided to organise a commemoration at the site of WW2 death camp in Jasenovac on their own this year.
Attempts to tailor the past with the approval of the ruling authorities and failure to penalise such events in the past year must worry every decent citizen of Croatia, said the chairman of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus.
Atrocities committed in the name of the Nazi Germany and quisling countries, including the so-called Independent State of Croatia, bear witness to the fact how mankind could sink low, while the human spirit could soar high, Kraus said adding that the Nazi system destroyed all structures of the Jewish society in an attempt to annihilate the Jewish spirit and culture.
He recalled that in 1941 when the war broke out in this area, there were 12,000 local Jews in Zagreb, accounting for 7% of the population, while currently this has been reduced to permilles.
In his speech Krause raised his voice against glorification of the Ustasha system and said that the local Jews would not tolerate attempts to promote Ustasha values.
During this commemorative event, dozens of delegations of Jewish associations, of the State of Israel as well as of Croatia's state bodies and local authorities and foreign embassies held wreath-laying ceremonies,
The Jewish community Bet Israel held a commemorative service in the northern town of Krapina to observe the Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Speakers at that commemorative event warned that local Jews were killed during the Ustasha regime only because that regime labelled them as a less worthy people.
The Bet Israel community's leader Aleksandar Sreckovic said that the present-day generations were not responsible for the persecution of Jews during the Second World War but that they were responsible for how they managed the memories concerning that period.
Croatian Environment Protection Minister Slaven Dorbrovic said at the commemoration in Krapina that memories of the Holocaust must not fall into oblivion.
Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed as Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its allies. In Israel, it is a national memorial day, which was inaugurated in 1953.