The President of the Republika Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic emphasized on Sunday that Jasenovac, for the Serb people, was the site of the most massive suffering during World War II, a symbol of genocide and the historical lesson which is paid on the most expensive way.
As every year, the anniversary was attended by Republika Srpska and Bosnia’s state officials as well as foreign ambassadors in Bosnia, including Head of European Union Delegation, Johann Sattler, US Ambassador Eric Nelson, Russian Ambassador Petr Ivantsov and others.
Citizens were not allowed in the ceremony due to the measures and recommendations that were introduced to prevent the coronavirus spread.
“This is a lesson that has further strengthened our state-consciousness, but also our determination to defend what is ours without endangering anyone else”, Cvijanovic said in addressing the commemoration of the Ustasha Crime Genocide Victims in Jasenovac concentration camp and its largest execution site Donja Gradina.
Recalling that 75 years had passed since the last prisoners made their breakthrough from the Jasenovac death camps, Cvijanovic has said that the chances of getting out of the Jasenovac hell were minimal and that only every tenth participant in the breakthrough survived, while thousands and thousands of inmates killed just in those days.
She has added that at a time when the final collapse of Nazi Germany was approaching and its quisling creations like the so-called Independent States of Croatia, the order of the Ustasha authorities was to liquidate all prisoners, and the camp should be completely demolished and destroyed in order to cover up all the evidence of its existence.
Thanks to the courage of the last inmates who were able to take the decisive breakthrough and the subsequent testimonies of the surviving detainees, the President of the Republika Srpska stated, the horrible truth about Jasenovac death camps saw the light of day.
She said that since then, until today, for the Serb people, the memory of Jasenovac represents the greatest, painful wound, but also the most important historical lesson that we are obliged to learn, remember and pass on to future generations.
“That is why we are still here today, in this terrible, suffering and holy place, in order to remember all the victims of the Jasenovac death and genocide camps in the so-called NDH area, although due to the global pandemic and the state of emergency, we do so differently from the previous year”, said Cvijanovic.
President of Srpska has stressed that the horrors of these crimes are not only reflected in the frightening number of innocent victims killed in the cruelest way, but also in the fact that it was an institutional, project of the Independent State of Croatia, whose ultimate aim was the physical destruction of the Serb, as well as Jewish and Roma people.
Cvijanovic said that on the darkest pages of world history, it will be recorded that even the evil Nazis were frightened of the methods used by the Ustashas during the mass executions in death camps.
She has emphasized that it would be remembered that the Ustasha NDH was the only one in the history of mankind had a special camp for children, who in these places suffered massively at the hands of criminals who did not see innocent creatures of God in them, but enemies that needed to be exterminated and for that there was no moral, or adequate legal qualification.
“But there were people who, in such brutal and inhuman times, were truly human beings and warm persons. Because of that, with great respect we need to mention today the name of the great humanist of Austrian descent, Diana Budisavljević, who has saved over ten thousand Serbian children”, President of Srpska pointed out.
According to her, the horrors of this place are best testified by numerous world historians who claim that by its monstrosity the Jasenovac camp exceeded even Auschwitz.
“Remembering Jasenovac and other execution sites, we are not talking about wars in which armies collided, nor about the great battles that counted casualties – both military and civilian. We are not talking about the winners or losers of the war, or any occupied or defense point. As we stand here, we are talking about the moral and every other downfall of the human race, embodied through the mass cruel executions that have been carried out on the innocent population, about the planned extermination and the suppression of existence – from a just born child to an exhausted old man, and about the horror of such mass casualties”, Cvijanović pointed out.
She stated that the horrors of Jasenovac, Donja Gradina, Jadovna, Drakulic, Garavic, Prebilovac, Stari Brod and many other World War II execution sites were deeply engrained in the collective memory of the whole nation.
“With these memories and frightening remembrances, we have defended later our right to exist. That awareness of the importance of preserving the right to life, the right to a hearth where you live as your own, but also the right to protect yourself from disappearing or repeating evil, guided us at the time when we were creating Republika Srpska as a framework for our freedom and our duration. Today, we live in freedom and want all our future generations to live without fear of losing that freedom. We want to live in peace with others. We wish that no nation is a hindrance to the expression of the potential, creativity and ability of any other nation in our region”, Cvijanovic said.
She has pointed out that many, who are not part of us, do not understand why we love Republika Srpska so much.
“But we, who are part of our community, know this well and understand it perfectly. We know that Republika Srpska is a guarantee for our lives and that is not a barrier to anyone’s development. We are proud of our people, of the belonging we feel to each other and of our Institutions` ability to quickly organize and respond to the challenges. Therefore, our obligation to build and develop Republika Srpska in peace is greater”, Cvijanović said.
She pointed out that on the path to creating a better future, the past must not be forgotten, and it is our obligation to combat by truth against historical revisionism and the attempt to revive the dark ideologies of the past.
Such attempts, she noted, are not only an insult to the victims, but also an anti-civilization act and a blow to the dignity of every human being, but also of the nation.
“But it is our duty to fight, by truth and with the faith in Republika Srpska, against the imposed false stereotypes that have followed us since the last defense and patriotic war. And the victims we recall today are obliged to us, as well as the place where we stand today. With all the sadness and pain that a person naturally feels in a place like this, we are proud that by our gathering, and by being there, we show that life has triumphed over death. Our greatest victory lies in our existence and endurance in spite of everything. I am sure that, as we have done so far, we will overcome all the challenges we face. Long live Republika Srpska”, emphasized the President of the Republika Srpska Željka Cvijanovic.