On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Jasenovac, a series of commemorative events will be held in New York, from 27-30 January 2017. On the Holocaust Day, camp inmates and members of the delegation from Serbia will attend the main ceremony to be held in the United Nations, in the morning hours. On the same day, St. Sava Day, 27 January, an exhibition will be opened, announced as the biggest exhibition on Jasenovac ever displayed in a foreign country. The event in New York will be attended by a Serbian 23 member delegation, headed by Vladimir Bozovic, Advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister, including members Ivan Kostic, President of the Serbian National Assembly Committee for the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, other camp survivor inmates, 15 scientific researchers, two UNICEF ambassadors and artists.
Exhibition “The Truth about Jasenovac – the Right to Rememberance”, where 800 kilograms of material will be displayed, including: 180 billboards containing texts of the International Expert Group of Historians, 25 sculptures by sculptors Ljubisa Mancic and Katarina Tripkovic, and 21 drawings by artist Dragan Jelovac, a photo wall by Vukica Mikaca, authentic objects from the Donja Gradina Memorial Centre, books, screening of films: “And Gods Remained Silent” and “Saul’s Son”, was organized by Israeli Holocaust Institute, and New York Jasenovac Research Institute, with the support of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Israel. The exhibits will include materials from the archives of Israel, Germany, USA, Italy, Norway, Serbia, Republic of Srpska and Croatia. The Director of the International Expert Group of Historians, which prepared 180 billboards for the exhibition, is Prof. Dr. Gideon Greif, a leading Holocaust historian, Expert on Auschwitz at the Holocaust – Shem Olam Institute in Israel. The Exhibition’s Art Director is Prof. Emir Kusturica, UNICEF Ambassador, Director of the Andric Institute and signatory of the Memorandum on Cooperation between Serbian and Jewish Academic Communities and Diasporas. Promoters of the “Jasenovac Remembrance” campaign are historians from seven countries and public personalities including Belgrade Opera primadonna and Member of Parliament Jadranka Jovanovic, UNICEF Ambassador Ana Sofrenovic and Vjera Mujovic Preis.
On Saturday, 28 January, a scientific conference “History Workshop – Jasenovac Magnum Crimen” will be opened and addressed by Chairman Prof. Dr. Gideon Greif; co-chaired by: Emir Kusturica, film director and UNICEF Ambassador; Barry Lituchy, history professor at Medgar Evers College in New York and founder of the New York Jasenovac Research Institute; Knut Fluvik Thoresen, an Oslo historian and researcher of the “Simon Wiesenthal” Centre in Israel, and Prof. Dr. Dragana Radojicic, Director of the Institute of Ethnography of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA).
The intention to hold commemorative events in New York was communicated to the public in July 2016, at the lecture by Prof. Dr. Gideon Greif held at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade and the Andric Institute in Visegrad. The initial lecture was attended – in addition to representatives of the professional community, by representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the Jasenovac Committee of the Serbian Orthodox Church Holy Synod of Bishops.
This was followed by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Andric Institute, Tel Aviv Holocaust Institute, New York Jasenovac Research Institute, Comparative Law Institute, and the SASA Institute of Ethnography, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of FDPM/MFA I. Dacic and H.E. Dr. Alona Fisher Kamm, Ambassador of Israel. One of the joint steps to follow will be organization of a world conference on the Holocaust and genocide in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), to be held in Andricgrad, in April.
On 6 October, a public hearing on the protection of the culture of remembrance of Jasenovac was held at the Serbian National Assembly, for the first time in Serbian Parliament history. The hearing was co-organized by the Migration and Diaspora Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Serbian National Assembly Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region. Historians and fighters against racial discrimination coming from seven countries participated in the event, which was also attended by Secretaries General of the President, and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Serbian Prime Minister’s Advisor, representatives of many camp inmate associations, the diplomatic corps, and Members of Parliament.
The exhibition devoted to genocide and the Holocaust in NDH was realized by New York Jasenovac Research Institute, which has been organizing there, for the last 15 years, annual conferences about this notorious concentration camp. Furthermore, the City of New York is the only foreign city which adopted an official decision that 22 April – the Jasenovac inmate breakthrough day, be declared Jasenovac Remembrance Day, which has been annually observed in New York since 2005. The Holocaust Memorial Park in New York is the only foreign memorial park to include a monument to Jasenovac. The monument was erected by the Serbian diaspora. The main event commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held annually on 27 January, at the United Nations. For this reason, the tribute to Jasenovac victims will be paid in New York, both at the UN Headquarters, and the Holocaust Memorial Park where wreaths will be laid on the monument dedicated to Jasenovac and Auschwitz concentration camps, attended by Serbian and Jewish diaspora.
Vasilije Krestic, academician and President of the Association for Building a Memorial Centre to Serb Victims of Genocide in the 20th Century, has assessed that the exhibition is based on international documents, well-balanced, politically thoughtful, and in line with the foreign policy interests of the Republic of Serbia – the only country charged for genocide twice before the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Academician Krestic believes that foreign sources cited at the exhibition only contribute to the objectivity of the perception of the executors’ genocidal intent, further indicating that the exhibition is universal in character, timely, addressing the challenges in the international arena, while contributing to the protection of Serbia’s foreign policy interests and cherishing the culture of remembrance of Serbian victims in the NDH.
Photo by: Wikipedia