DONJA GRADINA – A wreath-laying ceremony was held in Donja Gradina on Sunday to honour the memory of the victims of the Ustashe’s crimes in the Jasenovac death-camp complex.

Wreaths were laid by 21 delegations – the president of Serbia and Republika Srpska (RS), Tomislav Nikolic and Milorad Dodik respectively, representatives of the two governments, camp survivors, veteran associations and ambassadors, including the representatives of Israel and Germany.

Donja Gradina was part of the Ustashe-run death camp Jasenovac. Based on the first exhumations done by the State Commission of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, and confirmed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, it was found that 500,000 Serbs, 80,000 Roma, 32,000 Jews and tens of thousands of antifascists of various nationalities perished in the Jasenovac death-camp complex.

However, the data presented in the Jasenovac memorial complex, which today belongs to the Republic of Croatia, admit only identified victims – 83,145.

Over 20,000 children were murdered during the 1,337 days of the Jasenovac death-camp complex’s existence.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has said that the victims of the genocide in the Jasenovac death camp and its biggest  killing ground in Donja Gradina must not be forgotten, but that to forgive is human and Christian, and to remember them – a holy duty.

“Our forgiveness is not hard to earn – we do no ask of today’s Croatia to love us if it does not know how – it is enough to reciprocate the friendship we are offering,” Nikolic said on the occasion of the Remembrance Day in Donja Gradina, Republika Srpska, on Sunday.

He urged Croatia to distance itself from the Ustashe’s crimes, and not to be afraid of facing the dark part of the history it took part in, and not to allow anyone to pull it into the crime of forgetting crimes.

“Surrounded by the Una and Sava rivers, Donja Gradina was the biggest killing ground of the Jasenovac death camp. The Ustashe executioners left here 105 mass graves of over 10 thousand square meters and another 22 whose size is yet to be determined,” President Nikolic said.