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The Association of Former Camp Prisoners Jasenovac and their descendants started collecting signatures in Belgrade on Sunday to submit a petition to the Serbian Assembly to adopt a declaration on the genocide of the Independent State of Croatia /NDH/ against the Serbs, Jews and Roma during WWII.
The petition that will go on for the next seven days has been supported by the Subnor /former Yugoslavia Federal Association of WWII Veterans/ association and other patriotic organisations.
The proposed text of the declaration reads that the NDH committed genocide against the Serbs, Jews and Roma and calls on the United Nations, Council of Europe, as well as the parliaments of all UN members to accept the declaration and incorporate in their programmes the holocaust and genocide committed by the NDH.
The petition calls for the punishment of the NDH criminals still alive and for a special engagement in education to prevent the denial of holocaust and genocide against the Serbs and Roma in the NDH. It also condemns the attempts at rehabilitating Ustasha atrocities and minimising the NDH genocide victims including the Serbs, Jews and Roma.
Subnor Serbia vice-president Vidosav Kovacevic told the press that Serbia should finally adopt a declaration on genocide committed in the NDH against the Serbs, Jews and Roma.
“The evil of fascism, even though defeated in WWII, has not been eradicated and there is more and more of it in certain parts of Europe through hard-right movements,” said Kovacevic, expressing a grave concern about the growing fascism in Croatia and the status of the Serbs there.
Kovacevic noted that Croatia now has Ustasha songs sung again, Ustasha salutes glorified in public places, with a specifically worrying repeated counting of the Serbs and statements indicating there aren’t enough of them to keep the Cyrillic script in the country, “which is beyond all reason.”
“Why won’t they count all those bones lying under the ground they walk on, those 700,000 camp inmates killed in Jasenovac? Why won’t they count those 300,000 they expelled in operations Thunder and Storm?” asked Kovacevic, recalling that the NDH’s first decree was to ban the Cyrillic script.
Milinko Cekic, the honorary president of Jasenovac Association, warns that Croatia has continually allowed fascist ideologies and forgery of historical events, reduction of the number of NDH victims, glorification of criminals who have never been brought to justice.
He mentioned the data from a research of the former camp inmate Dragoje Lukic, who experienced the reality of NDH concentration camps at the age of 12. Lukic found that between 1941 and 1945, as many as 72,464 children were killed – 54,015 Serb, 6,017 Muslim, 5,519 Croat, 2,113 Jewish, and 3,371 Romani, while 1,969 have still not been identified.
Cekic claims that out of this number it was determined that around 45,626 were victims of the Ustasha genocide. Children were killed at home, in camps, executed, hanged, impaled on bayonets, slaughtered with knives, killed with axes and broadaxes, burnt in houses, churches, crematoriums, thrown alive into pits, thrown in bags into wells, poisoned, starved to death, etc.
Pointing out that Serbian officials easily call for forgiveness, Cekic said that the genocide survivors believe this is not a time for forgiveness, that he has never heard true remorse from Croatia and that the Croatian people are keeping silent despite all this.