The State Department Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Thomas Yazdgerdi, today paid a visit to the Donja Gradina Memorial Area and paid his respects to victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp killed in Donja Gradina.
“On behalf of my office, I wish to pay my respects to all people killed in this place and to express the hope that such incredible sufferings and misdeeds will not repeat ever again,” Yazdgerdi told reporters in the Donja Gradina Memorial Area where he laid a wreath at the Poplar Memorial.
Asked by reporters to comment on the display of Ustashe and Fascist symbols in Croatia, Yazdgerdi has said that there is no room for such symbols and hate speech in a democratic society.
“Democratic principles, that are common to all of us, are that which keep us all together, and I feel that these same principles are important in the countries and governments of Serbia, BiH and Croatia, and that they will adhere to these principles,” Yazdgerdi has said.
He has said that he paid a visit to Zagreb where he discussed the issue of restitution with Croatian officials and that he also paid a visit to the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia.
“I felt that it is appropriate to pay a visit to the Donja Gradina Memorial Centre as well,” Yazdgerdi has said.
He has said that his office is mostly dealing with people who survived Holocaust and that it is working with the governments in the Central and Southern Europe.
“We mostly deal with the issue of property restitution, and this is important since there are increasingly less people who survived Holocaust. We feel a moral imperative to provide the survivors with a sort of compensation,” Yazdgerdi has said.
The director of the Donja Gradina Memorial Area, Tanja Tulekovic, has said that the most important task of the visit is to move boundaries to which the truth about the sufferings of primarily Serbs in the Jasenovac concentration camp and its major killing ground Donja Gradina will be heard, but also about the sufferings of Jews and Roma who were bestially murdered in this death camp.
Tulekovic has said that every display of Ustashe symbols in Croatia is considered a denial of crimes committed in the Jasenovac concentration camp.
“The Donja Gradina Memorial Area most vehemently condemns every such act,” Tulekovic has said.
Accompanied by representatives of the US Embassies in BiH and Croatia, Yazdgerdi toured the Poplar, Ash, Oaks, Orlovace and the Poplar of Horror graveyards, and then paid a visit to the exhibition titled “Donja Gradina – From a Village to a Memorial.”
A documentary titled “Blood and Water,” directed by Simo Brdar, which speaks of events in the area of Donja Gradina during WWII, was shown to a delegation of the US State Department.