Recalling the executions of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma at the World War II concentration camp Jadovno, Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Friday, without mentioning directly Roman Catholic Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, whose canonisation is under way, that among the victims were 74 Serb Orthodox priests and that he considered it his duty to warn those "who keep silent about and disregard those horrors to consider what kind of sainthood they are talking about."
The SNV, the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia, the Serb Orthodox Church, and the Association of Anti-fascist Fighters and Anti-fascists of Croatia (SABA) today marked Jadovno Remembrance Day at a ceremony held by the main monument at Jadovno, west of the central town of Gospic.
Participants in the ceremony said that the commemoration was a way of keeping from oblivion terror, deportations and organised killings of Serbs, Jews, Roma and Communists by the Ustasha forces just after the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
Recalling the executions of several thousand innocent Serbs, Jews and Roma, Pupovac said that they were carried out in just a few months of 1941, that the Ustasha did not need to make up justifications for them because just before the crimes at Jadovno monstrous racial laws were adopted to enable the commission of genocide.
Without mentioning the name of the then Zagreb Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, Pupovac said that among the victims were 74 Serb Orthodox priests, noting that it was his duty to warn those who "keep silent about those horrors and ignore them to stop and think about what kind of sainthood they are talking about."
They should come and attend those commemorations to hear and feel what is heard and felt there so that we can ask them if they can continue advocating oblivion and negating the horrors, Pupovac said. He described historical revisionism as "a laundering of the past", stressing that it was important to oppose those wishing to deny the victims' right to remembrance and grieving.
SABA leader Franjo Habulin said that among some 30,000-40,000 victims killed and thrown into karst pits at Jadovno were also Croats who believed that a Croatian state should be different from what the NDH was.
He also said that in August 1941 the concentration camp Gospic-Jadovno-Pag was closed and that the last surviving inmates were first transferred to Jastrebarsko and later to Jasenovac, where they built the Jasenovac concentration camp and became its first inmates.
Speaking on behalf of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities, Ognjen Kraus said that participants in today's commemoration had only one wish in mind: "May this never be forgotten and may it never happen again."
Prayers were said at the ceremony by Serb Orthodox and Jewish dignitaries and wreaths were laid at the central monument by a number of delegations, including that of the Republic of Serbia, led by Ambassador Mira Nikolic.
Over the past few years, on Jadovno Remembrance Day, only two kilometres from the commemoration site, protests were held against the commemoration. According to unofficial information, this year a rally against the Jadovno commemoration will be held on July 2.