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April 6, 2016 2:18 pm

Croatian Jews to Boycott Official Holocaust Memorial Event Over Government ‘Apathy’ About Resurgent Neo-Nazism

avatar by Lea Speyer

Jasenovac Monument devoted to the victims to Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia. Photo: Bern Bartsch/ Wikimedia  Commons

Jasenovac Monument devoted to the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia. Photo: Bern Bartsch/ Wikimedia Commons

The Croatian Jewish community intends to boycott the country’s official Holocaust remembrance ceremony, to protest what it considers the government’s apathy towards the resurgence of neo-Nazism, Voice of America radio reported on Monday.

Ognjen Kraus, spokesman of the the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities of Croatia, said in an interview that the Jewish community instead will commemorate its own ceremony, “in line with the Jewish tradition.”

Kraus said that blatant public displays of antisemitism — such as pro-Nazi chanting at a January anti-government march and during a soccer match between the national Croatian and Israeli teams — led Jewish officials to reconsider involvement in the government’s annual event. He was referring to the commemoration every April of the victims of the Jasenovac death camp — which the report noted is “known as Croatia’s own Auschwitz” — where it is estimated that as many as 700,000 people were killed, including Jews and those deemed enemies of the state.

Further illustrating the claims of the Jewish community, the organization Balkan Transitional Justice reported that a new documentary film claiming Jasenovac was not a real concentration camp was screened in Zagreb with the support of the government. It also garnered praise from Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who said, “Such films are useful because they speak about a number of taboo topics. This is the best way to finally shed light on a number of controversial places in Croatian history.” 

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