Italian Embassy in Croatia “commemorates” Jasenovac victims; Belgrade awaits apologies

The director of the Belgrade Museum of Genocide Victims, Dejan Ristic, sent a protest note to the Italian ambassador to Croatia on Saturday over the Italian Embassy’s Twitter post published on the occasion of the laying of wreaths at the Monument to the Victims in Jasenovac on Friday, 22 April.

On its Italy in Croatia page, the Italian Embassy had posted a photo of Ambassador Sacco laying flowers with the caption: “Ambassador Pierfrancesco Sacco pays tribute to the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp, in the name of peace and protection of freedom and human rights. Solidarity with the Croatian people!”

After the tweet was severely criticized, the Italian Embassy published another one explaining in more detail what it meant when it said “solidarity with the Croatian people”:

“The Embassy commemorates the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp, mostly Serbs, Jews and Roma, joins in the condemnation of the Ustaša regime and expresses solidarity with the Croatian people who have chosen the principles of legality, freedom and human rights embodied in the EU.”

On Saturday, the director of the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade, Dejan Ristic, sent a letter of protest to the Italian ambassador to Croatia “for the inappropriate tweet” that “expresses solidarity with the Croatian people in the context of the commemoration of the victims of Jasenovac”. According to him, “the Croatian people have been victims of the repressive state, military and police apparatus of the NDH only to the extent that its authorities have perceived them as their opponents” (NDH is an acronym for the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist regime during World War II).

At the same time, Ristic continued, “the Serbian, Jewish and Roma people were clearly indicated as those who had to be completely exterminated physically, identity-wise and religiously (in Jasenovac)”. Therefore, he stressed, “it is not clear to which segment of the Croatian people the expressions of solidarity in the context of the remembrance of the victims of Jasenovac (the Italian Embassy) refers to”.

Ristic also said that the content of the Italian Embassy’s tweet “has caused great anxiety among the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, especially among the survivors (of Jasenovac), i.e. the descendants of the victims of the genocide committed against hundreds of thousands of Serbs, as well as tens of thousands of Jews and Roma in the independent Croatian state”.

In his letter to the ambassador, he stated that “the system of concentration and extermination camps of the Independent State of Croatia in Jasenovac, the site of which he visited to commemorate the innocent victims among Serbs, Jews, Roma and others, was the most monstrous place of execution in Europe during the Second World War”.

(Beta, 25.04.2022)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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