While television footages recently shot showed an incredible ignorance among young people in Croatia about what happened in Jasenovac during the bloody Ustasha regime, a debate broke out as to how many Croats know about this notorious death camp at all. If it is to judge by what TV reporters of several TV productions said, little or nothing. Most responded with “it does not interest us”, some said that most of the Croats and some Jews and Serbs got killed in Jasenovac, writes Serbian daily “Vecernje Novosti”.
Few of the young people in the street who were answering the question if they know what happened in Jasenovac even know the historical facts that preceded the opening of the camp. After all, there is not much information about Jasenovac and the atrocities done there, and not even the memorial at the site of the camp did not get passing marks by the experts dealing with the Holocaust.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet faced with the historical burden of Jasenovac and NDH. This history was interpreted in 1990, and since 1990 the other. And historical facts irrefutably say that the NDH regime was the second most cruel regime in Nazi Europe, right after Hitler’s,” says Stevo Djuraskovic, an assistant professor from the Zagreb Faculty of political sciences in an interview for “Novi List”.
“Namely, the victims of Ustasha terror in relation to the number of inhabitants in NDH are the second in number, immediately after Hitler’s, according to the calculations of the demographer Vladimir Zerjavic, which are still taken for the relevant ones, about 250,000 civilians were executed in the camps, some in the actions of ‘clearing the terrain’, of which about three quarters Serbs.”
Dr. Ognjen Kraus, President of the Jewish Municipality of Zagreb is also included in the discussion about Jasenovac, and he says that discussion about the number of victims is not important, because the number does not matter.
“It is important why something happened. There were racial laws, and Jasenovac is neglected today and does not perform its function,” said Kraus. “We, victims of the camp, have for years sought the change of the setup in Jasenovac, because it does not show anything of what had happened there. There are no artifacts of how the victims were killed there, and there is not even the Council of Museum.”
Historian Hrvoje Klasic also believes that today’s society does not face the history in the way it should be, so it is not surprising that young people do not know anything about Jasenovac.
“Speaking about that camp only on the of the prisoner’s breakthrough means that the society does not face honestly with those events”, Klasic said.
Dr. Klasic is in favor of the Croatian government making a decision to oblige schools to bring students to Jasenovac, so they would see the horrors of the Holocaust at the site of great suffering.
“The society in which in streets and at stadiums are saw and shouted the marks of the Ustasha movement returns as a boomerang unprincipled. One must not rush against the darkest period of the history,” said Hrvoje Klasic.