New York, NY
February 13, 1997
ADL TO CROATIA:
DON'T VIOLATE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
Reports that Croatia intends to transform a memorial to Holocaust victims into a site commemorating "Croatian war victims" -- including those who helped carry out war crimes for the puppet Nazi regime -- brought criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today.
Calling on the Croatian Government to reconsider the decision, the League said the "sanctity and significance of the Jasenovac Memorial" should be retained.
"As you know," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman wrote Croatian Ambassador Peter A. Sarcevic, "the Jasenovac Memorial is situated at the site of the former Ustashe concentration camp, where 17,000 Jews and tens of thousands of Serbs and Romas were killed."
During World War II, the Independent State of Croatia was ruled by the Ustashe puppet Nazi regime.
Recently, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman announced plans to turn the site into "a memorial ground of the Croatian war victims" of both fascism and communism. Those who fought on both sides during WWII -- including fascist death camp guards -- as well as those who died fighting for Croatian independence from the former Yugoslavia would be reburied at the site, which is about 60 miles from Zagreb.
"Such a diluting of the message of the Jasenovac Memorial," said Mr. Foxman, "is extremely distasteful to the tens of thousands who lost their lives to the Nazis and their Croatian counterparts.
Moreover, such a move would result in these victims being memorialized alongside those who perpetrated or aided their murder."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.