Jasenovac.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ/ ik

Speaking ahead of the official commemoration for the victims of the World War II Jasenovac concentration camp, Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic said on Friday that he did not feel any personal responsibility for the fact that this year three separate commemorations were being held at Jasenovac, and that he considered those who boycotted the official commemoration responsible for it. 

The official state commemoration at Jasenovac will not be attended by representatives of the Jewish community and the Serb National Council (SNV) while representatives of the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists will organise a commemoration on Sunday.

Asked by reporters who was responsible for the fact that three commemorations were being held, Hasanbegovic said: "Those who are boycotting the official state commemoration." Asked if he felt personally responsible for that, he just said "No."

Before visiting the Jasenovac Memorial Centre, Hasanbegovic attended a mass for the Jasenovac victims in a Serb Orthodox church in the village of Mlaka near Jasenovac.

Even though last Friday the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities held a commemoration for the Jasenovac victims, attending today's commemoration at Jasenovac were also individuals from the Jewish Community of Zagreb. One of them, Vladimir Bogdanic, told reporters that he was attending the commemoration because his country was commemorating the victims today.

At 11 am the official commemoration of the victims of the Ustasha-run concentration camp will start, marking 22 April 1945 and the breakout of 600 camp inmates, of whom 100 survived.

The commemoration was organised by the Jasenovac Memorial Centre and is being held under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament. A parliamentary delegation at the event is led by Speaker Zeljko Reiner and also includes Deputy Speakers Ante Sanader, Ivan Tepes and Robert Podolnjak, as well as many other members of Parliament, including minority MPs Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, Mirko Raskovic and Veljko Kajtazi.

The government delegation, led by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, consists of First Deputy PM Tomislav Karamarko, Deputy PM Bozo Petrov, Foreign Minister Miro Kovac, Justice Minister Ante Sprlje, Science, Education and Sports Minister Predrag Sustar and Culture Minister Hasanbegovic.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's envoy at the commemoration is renowned film producer Branko Lustig, a survivor of German concentration camps whose grandfather was killed at Jasenovac.

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