IHRA Chair leads visit to Zagreb and Jasenovac

Zagreb, 12 September 2019

The Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Ambassador Georges Santer, yesterday led an IHRA delegation to Jasenovac, the former site of a concentration camp established by the Ustasha regime. Against the background of concerns raised by international experts about the incomplete exhibition at Jasenovac and some revisionist trends in the country, the IHRA Chair addressed those issues with both the Croatian Minister of Culture and the Minister of Education as well as with high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Chair called on the Croatian Government to improve or renew the exhibition and to provide historical context so that visitors can understand the overall situation of Croatia and Europe during the first half of the 20th century as well as the role of perpetrators who committed the crimes. Ambassador Santer offered IHRA’s expertise and support for the creation of a new or updated and extended exhibition.

Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, agreed that a renewed and extended exhibition should be developed in cooperation with all victim groups and stakeholders. Ambassador Santer stressed the central role of the government in this process. The Minister said that a new law will have to be adopted that would allow for the creation of an international advisory board, which could happen within the next two years.

Minister of Education, Blaženka Divjak, underlined the willingness of the government to increase the number of school visits to the memorial site of Jasenovac and said that funds for at least 100 visits will be available in 2020.

During meetings the IHRA Chair emphasized the importance of historical accuracy in order to counter Holocaust distortion and called on Croatia and the other IHRA Member Countries in the region to accept their responsibility to making archives available for research and education.

Ambassador Santer made clear that it is not acceptable to inflate or deflate the number of victims murdered at Jasenovac, or any other camp, for political purposes and that all IHRA Member Countries are committed to honoring the victims of the Holocaust, the genocide of the Roma the vast number of other victims.

Ambassador Santer said: “Every Member Country of  the IHRA, including Croatia, is committed to protecting and preserving Holocaust remembrance and memorial sites. I am therefore here in Croatia to understand why more progress has not been on a number of issues and offer IHRA’s full support to the Croatian Government. We look forward to working with this important Member Country as we seek to safeguard the historical record and counter the rise of Holocaust distortion.” 

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Ivo Pejakovic, Director of the Jasenovac Memorial Center, leads tour of the site for IHRA Chair, Ambassador Georges Santer, Chair of the Memorials and Museums Working Group, Christian Wee, and former Chair of the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, Mar