Serbian Foreign Minister and First Deputy PM Ivica Dacic has opened the exhibition “Jasenovac – the Right Not to Forget,”, staged at the UN in New York City.
In his address, Dacic invited Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to travel to Jasenovac and bow before the victims.
Jasenovac was a death camp set up by the Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) – a wartime Nazi-allied entity – and a place of mass murder of Serbs, Jews, and Roma.
Speaking in New York, Dacic recalled that it was, unfortunately, of the largest concentration camps from the Second World War era.
In the same way, he said, as the Serb people have enough courage and morals to look at their mistakes from the past and punish, arrest and condemn those who committed crimes against other nations, so all other nations have an obligation not to rehabilitate criminals.
“Just as Plenkovic goes to Jerusalem to bow before the shadows in Yad Vashem, we expect him to do this in Croatia and in Jasenovac itself, and say clearly who the victims were. Have there been 50, 100 or 700. If only one person was killed for being a Jew or a Serb, it’s a disgrace for humanity,” said Dacic.
The victims who have fallen must not have been in vain, Dacic said at the opening exhibition, and added that it was time for the United Nations to hear, see and find out about this, because the truth was being hidden for many years.
Dacic said that the Holocaust and genocide have no boundaries and know no obstacles. “Here as well, during the organizing (of the exhibition) we faced the opposition of one country that said we manipulated fact and figures. There are no manipulations, here are the historical facts, names and last names, statements made by survivors..,” Dacic said.
The minister added that Serbia was not accusing anyone except criminals and those who defend criminals, as defending them represents “a foundation for something like this to repeat in the future.”
“We did not come here to argue, but our people have gone through the greatest suffering during the Second World War. It is our duty to remember this. Therefore, we are here, and the UN was formed this reason, so that fascism does not repeat, and we stand firm in this conviction,” he said, according to Tanjug.
Earlier in the week, Belgrade media reported that Croatia was trying all it could do to prevent the exhibition. On Thursday, Croatia accused Serbia of trying to “distort history, manipulate, and disseminate false information.”
According to a statement from the Croatian Foreign Ministry, carried by Hina and quoted by Beta, Serbia was “using the victims” of the Ustasha death camp “for propaganda purposes.”
The Ministry did not specify which parts of the exhibition Zagreb found to be contentious, but warned of “an attempt to place false data – after which the organizers were forced to remove the crudest forgeries.”
The Croatian news agency also remarked in its report that the UN had “distanced itself from the exhibition” and said that the fact it was being held at the UN building “does not imply endorsement.”