Search

 

Cablegate: Croatia Commemorates Tragic Events of World War Ii

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001074

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: CROATIA COMMEMORATES TRAGIC EVENTS OF WORLD WAR II


SUMMARY
-------

1. ON MAY 11, COMMEMORATION CEREMONIES WERE HELD BOTH AT THE
JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP IN CROATIA AND SEPARATELY IN
BLEIBURG, AUSTRIA. PRESIDENT STJEPAN MESIC STIRRED UP
CONTROVERSY IN JASENOVAC, WHERE TENS OF THOUSANDS -- MOSTLY
SERBS, JEWS, AND ROMA -- PERISHED AT THE HANDS OF THE USTASHE
REGIME. MESIC APOLOGIZED NOT JUST FOR THESE CRIMES, BUT FOR
"ALL" CROATIAN CRIMES, INCLUDING BY IMPLICATION THOSE
COMMITTED IN THE MORE RECENT WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE. ON THE
SAME DAY, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SIMONIC LEAD A CROATIAN
DELEGATION TO BLEIBURG FOR A COMMEMORATION OF THE SLAUGHTER
OF USTASHE AND NAZI TROOPS AND CIVILIANS BY PARTISAN FORCES
IN THE WANING DAYS OF WORLD WAR II. END SUMMARY.

JASENOVAC
---------

2. ON MAY 11, THE DCM LAID A WREATH AT THE ANNUAL
COMMEMORATION AT THE JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP. THIS
YEAR'S COMMEMORATION WAS HELD IN MEMORY OF AN ATTEMPTED BREAK
OUT IN 1945 WHEN 1,100 INMATES WERE KILLED.

3. STJEPAN MESIC, PRESIDENT OF CROATIA, ATTENDED THE
COMMEMORATION FOR THE FIRST TIME AND DELIVERED THE KEYNOTE
ADDRESS. MESIC POINTEDLY APOLOGIZED FOR ALL CROATIAN CRIMES.
HE EXPRESSED DEEP REGRET FOR "ALL THE INNOCENT VICTIMS WHO
DIED, FROM THOSE WHO ABUSED THE IDEA OF THE CROATIAN STATE
AND USED IT AS AN ALIBI FOR MURDERS, ROBBERIES, AND
PERSECUTIONS."

4. MODERATE MEMBERS OF THE RULING COALITION PRAISED THE
PRESIDENTS REMARKS AND APOLOGY, WHILE RIGHT-WING POLITICIANS
TOOK OFFENSE. ZELJKO GLAVAN, AN HSLS MP, SAID CRIMINALS MUST
BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, BUT "ONE SHOULD NOT APOLOGIZE FOR
SOMEONE ELSE'S CRIMES." JADRANKA KOSOR, DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF
THE RIGHT-WING HDZ, OUTRIGHT REJECTED "MESSAGES THAT
EVERYBODY SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO EVERYBODY." NENAD CANAK,
PRESIDENT OF THE VOJVODINA ASSEMBLY (SERBIA), CALLED MESIC'S
MESSAGE "EXTREMELY WISE," AND ADDED THAT SUCH "SYMBOLIC
GESTURES...ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN ORDER TO BUILD THE
FUTURE WITHOUT BURDENS."

5. A TELEGRAM FROM PRIME MINISTER IVICA RACAN WAS ALSO READ
AT THE COMMEMORATION. RACAN URGED THAT THE VICTIMS BE
REMEMBERED AND STRESSED THE NEED "TO PREVENT THE REOCCURRENCE
OF SUCH HORRORS WHICH ONE HUMAN BEING CAN DO TO ANOTHER ONLY
IF HE OR SHE STARTS BELIEVING THAT HE OR SHE IS BETTER THAN
OTHERS."

6. AMONG THE ESTIMATED THREE THOUSAND ATTENDEES WERE MEMBERS
OF THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY, A GOC AND PARLIAMENTARY
DELEGATION, EX-INMATES FROM THE CAMP, PARTISAN FIGHTERS FROM
WORLD WAR II, SERBIAN, JEWISH, AND ROMA DELEGATIONS, AND
SULEJMAN TIHIC, A MEMBER OF THE BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA COLLECTIVE
PRESIDENCY.

7. JASENOVAC, A SMALL TOWN TWO HOURS DRIVE TO THE EAST OF
ZAGREB, LIES ON THE SAVA RIVER BORDER WITH BOSNIA. DURING
WORLD WAR II THE FASCIST REGIME OF ANTE PAVELIC ESTABLISHED A
SERIES OF WORK AND TRANSIT CAMPS IN THE AREA. THOUSANDS OF
SERBS, JEWS, ROMA, AND ANTI-FASCIST CROATS LOST THEIR LIVES
IN THE CAMPS.

BLEIBURG COMMEMORATION
----------------------

8. ALSO ON MAY 11, A COMMEMORATION WAS HELD IN BLEIBURG,
AUSTRIA IN TRIBUTE TO THE SOLDIERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE
WORLD WAR II USTASHE GOVERNMENT, NAZI TROOPS AND CIVILIANS,
WHO WERE KILLED EN MASS BY PARTISAN FORCES AFTER THEY FLED
CROATIA IN THE WANING DAYS OF THE WAR AND WERE TURNED BACK BY
ALLIED TROOPS IN AUSTRIA. SENIOR OFFICIALS PRESENT INCLUDED
DEPUTY SPEAKERS OF PARLIAMENT BALTAZAR JALSOVEC AND IVICA
KOSTOVIC, AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ANTE SIMONIC.

9. ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS KOSTOVIC, A MEMBER OF THE
RIGHT-WING HDZ, STATED THAT BLEIBURG IS "A SYMBOL OF THE
SUFFERING OF THE CROATIAN PEOPLE." ADDITIONAL PRESS
REPORTING MENTIONED ISOLATED PROVOCATIONS -- SOME OF THE
ESTIMATED EIGHT THOUSAND ATTENDEES WORE FASCIST INSIGNIA AND
CARRIED ANTE PAVELIC PHOTOGRAPHS -- BUT THE COMMEMORATION WAS
REPORTED TO BE ORDERLY AND PEACEF

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>