Kolinda wants "truth" about death camp determined again

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic says she is in favor of holding only one commemoration in Jasenovac, at the site of a WW2 concentration camp.

Source: Tanjug
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(EPA-EFE, file)
(EPA-EFE, file)

And that would be "a column of unity," she said.

In addition, Grabar-Kitarovic stands for "determining the truth about what actually happened" in Jasenovac - this time "using modern methods."

The Ustasha regime, in power in the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH), established and operated Jasenovac as the biggest of its death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma.

The issue of Jasenovac, Grabar-Kitarovic believes, "should not be a stumbling block or a weapon in the hands of anyone who wants to promote any kind of campaign against Croatia."

The Croatian president also said that this was "not at all directed against the government and the state commemoration" and called on Serb and Jewish organizations in Croatia - who hold their own commemoration - "to agree that next year everyone goes together to Jasenovac and in silence honor the victims."

According to Grabar-Kitarovic, it would be an opportunity "to show that Croatia is mature enough to think about that subject from the past with a time distance."

Croatian media are reporting this Wednesday that Grabar-Kitarovic "in that way sent a message that she would also participate in this joint commemoration, and would no longer have to pay tribute on her own."

"In this regard, I consider as extremely good the proposal of HHO leader Ivan Zvonimir Cicak to form an international commission, with members from Serbia, Croatia and international experts, who would establish the truth about Jasenovac," she has been quoted as saying.

"In the 21st century modern forensics, medical, and document forensics, make it possible to determine not only the number of victims, which, unfortunately, has always been a stumbling block and a tool in the hands of all sorts of campaigns, but also the truth about what really happened in Jasenovac, not only from 1941 until 1945, but later, too," the Croatian president said.

According to media outlets, she was criticized for this statement by many Twitter users.

Opposition SDP MP Bojan Glavasevic thus wrote that he thinks Grabar-Kitarovic had relativized the Holocaust - because, he said, Holocaust is what happened in Jasenovac.

"No damn commission is needed to establish this truth. Removing Kitarovic from Pantovcak (seat of Croatian presidency) after this shameful statement is no longer a question of electing a president of Croatia, but of national liberation," Glavasevic said.

Former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor also commented, to say that she found it "really unpleasant that some truths about the past will be determined far from the homeland."

Dejan Jovic, a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, seemed fairly taken aback by the president's statement, writing on Twitter, "I wonder would Angela Merkel follow and propose the same for Auschwitz."

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