Zina Kalay Kleitman.jpg
Photograph: embassies.gov.il

Croatian director Jakov Sedlar's documentary "Jasenovac - The Truth" depicts history very selectively, tries to revise many historical facts and insults the feelings of the people who lost their dearest at the Jasenovac WWII concentration camp, Israeli Ambassador to Croatia Zina Kalay Kleitman said in a statement on Thursday .

"To those claiming that the Israeli ambassador was not aware of the film's content, I must say that, because of the sensitive topic and myself, since I am Israeli and the offspring of a family affected by the Holocaust, I wanted to see and saw the film which, in my opinion, depicts history very selectively, tries to revise many historical facts and insults the feelings of the people who lost their dearest ones in Jasenovac," Kleitman said in a written statement in response to the many questions she said were put to her after the film's screening.

"I saw the documentary... and was very surprised by the politicisation of the painful facts regarding the extermination camp in Jasenovac. In my opinion, a big part is dedicated to the history of the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime's coming to power in Croatia... and much less is dedicated to the actual crimes which were committed at the extermination camp in Jasenovac. I also noticed an attempt to downplay the horrific extent of the crimes committed or at least an attempt to explain them with the historical events that led to them," Kleitman said.

The documentary is dedicated to the Jasenovac camp and its history but deals to a large degree with some people who today think and write differently than the director, she said. "I was really shocked when I saw their faces in the film and this raises questions about the true purpose of the film."

Regarding Sedlar's statements about showing the film in Israel, Kleitman said that "Israel is a democratic country which does not have censorship and such a screening is allowed if it does not incite to violence, anti-Semitism or hate speech."

"As for the truth, this documentary film presents the truth as the film's author sees it, nothing more," she said, adding that "researchers from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority have never seen the film and have not had the chance to comment on its content."

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