Croatia's president honors victims of WWII camp

April 20, 2018 - 8:39 am

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia's president on Friday visited the site of a World War II concentration camp and honored its victims. Croatia's Jews, however, are boycotting the official commemoration ceremonies for a third year in a row.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said the visit "evokes a feeling of deep regret over the crimes that took place here and respect for all the innocent victims."

Croatia "unconditionally condemns crimes committed at this camp," Grabar-Kitarovic said. "No political goal or order can justify crimes done in its name."

The Jasenovac camp, near Zagreb, was run by Croatia's pro-Nazi regime. Tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs and anti-fascist Croats were killed there.

Croatia's right-leaning authorities have faced criticism for their perceived lack of resolve to curb pro-Nazi sentiments in the country today.

The country's Jewish community held their remembrance in Jasenovac on Sunday, saying they are angry that the government hasn't fully outlawed the "For the Homeland — Ready" slogan used by Croatia's Nazi-sympathizing WWII regime.

Far-right groups frequently use the slogan at their gatherings and a plaque bearing the slogan had been displayed in Jasenovac by a 1990s war association before authorities last year moved it to another town nearby.

Ognjen Kraus, the coordinator of Croatia's Jewish communities, said in Jasenovac that the notorious salute "is not acceptable for us in any form or use."

"The Jewish community cannot agree to the revision of history," Kraus said in comments carried by the official Hina news agency.

The main official ceremony in Jasenovac takes place this Sunday.

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