Address by the President of the Republic of Srpska at the marking of the Remembrance Day of the victims of Ustasha`s crime – genocide in the concentration camp Jasenovac and its largest execution site Donja Gradina

05/05/2019

Address by the President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović at the marking of the Remembrance Day of the victims of Ustasha`s crime – genocide in the concentration camp Jasenovac and its largest execution site Donja Gradina.

Your Holiness,

Honored Bishop,

Respected priesthood, representatives of religious communities,

Dear detainees, families of the deceased,

Dear Speaker of the Republic of Srpska National Assembly,

Honorable BiH Presidency Chairman,

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia,

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska,

Honorable deputies, delegates, ministers, mayors, heads, representatives of institutions,

Representatives of associations,

Your Excellencies, the ambassadors,

Dear guests from Israel,

Dear citizens,

We have gathered today in this sad, suffering and holy place, in order to remember together one of the greatest and most monstrous crimes in the history of the human race.

Although we say that in this place silence speaks loudly and that it does not require words, as of the massiveness and cruelty of the crime committed, because of the grief, horrors and sufferings through which the victims were going through precisely at this place, that silence also obliges us, at the same time, and in letters and words, to witness the suffering through which the victims went through, and also to witness the brutality that characterised the executioners.

The horror of these crimes is not reflected only in the frightening number of innocent victims killed in the cruelest way, but also in the fact that it was an institutional, pre-planned genocidal project of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), whose ultimate aim was the physical destruction of the Serb, as well as Jewish and Roma people.

It will be recorded in history that even the famous by the evil Nazis were frightened of the methods used by the Ustashas during the mass executions in death camps, but also during their numerous other bloody actions.

Historians claim that Jasenovac was far worse than Auschwitz and other death camps in Europe during the Second World War by its cruelty and brutality, and that camps for children existed only in the area of NDH and nowhere else in Europe, as far as we know.

In the Jasenovac system of death camps, children were killed in the most monstrous way, they were burned, many were killed, and many found a death in the river where they were thrown, tied together, by several of them in the sacks.

The highlight of the cruelty and monstrosity is precisely the Jasenovac originated on the pages of hatred, sick, dark ideology and the concept of extermination, which today, for a normal man, are inconceivable, but warning issues.

Jasenovac, as the site of the most massive suffering of the Serbs in the World War II, is a symbol of genocide and a huge historical wound that will never heal completely, since the story of Jasenovac has not been verbally reported for decades, the victims did not get the justice they deserve, and even this site did not get the necessary international attention.

That is why it is important that today we show a lot of respect for innocent victims, and come to this sacred place where, remembering the past, we mourn death, but at the same time, looking at the future, we celebrate life.   The fact that we gathered today at the place where it was planned for us to disappear, speaks about our success.

The suffering that has occurred here is more than a genocide, and neither legal nor moral terminology knows the appropriate qualification for the malice, inhumanity and viciousness of the methods used to execute or used for the ideological-political concept behind it.

Therefore, when we talk about Jasenovac and Donja Gradina, we at the same time talk about Jadovno, Prebilovci, Drakulić, Šargovac, Motike, Garavice near Bihać, Stari Brod and Podrinje, as well as all other places of bloody and terrifying Ustasha actions.

This, and many other places of terrible sufferings, served as a decennial warning, but also as a line of defense from the new Golgotha that threatened us in the 1990s.

We live today in freedom and we have the Republic of Srpska. Peace, stability and development are our main political goals.

We want to work with everyone and leave better conditions for life to our children and future generations as well as the time that will be less burdensome than the time when our and previous generations lived.

The price we paid for freedom in the previous Defense Homeland War is huge, but it would be much bigger if we did not have the Republic of Srpska.

It is therefore important that we protect and strengthen its institutions, while maintaining the balance needed for normal co-existence and cooperation within BiH.

The history of our region is full of black-and-white perceptions, distorted images and imposed stereotypes about the culprits and victims. Unfortunately, there is a great misunderstanding in BiH and about BiH today.   It is our duty to speak the language of truth, to remember the past and to respect the victims in order to build the future more readily and responsibly.

I would like to thank the President of Serbia, as well as the National Assembly and the Government of Serbia, who together with us mark important dates from the past, and would also like to thank for the support that Serbia provides to the municipalities in the Republic of Srpska through the financing of various projects including kindergartens, schools, health institutions, sports facilities, infrastructure, and also through support for the employment of young people.

Today, at this place, we can say that we are particularly proud that, based on the agreement of the President Vučić and the President Dodik, the governments of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, it will be jointly financed the construction of the memorial area and memorial complex in Donja Gradina, which was the largest execution site of the Jasenovac death camp, which will significantly contribute to the cultivation of the culture of remembering and the promotion of truth.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, who is with us today, as she has done it so many times until now, I would like to thank the present ambassadors, our dear friends who came here from Israel and all those gathered here.

Dear citizens of the Republic of Srpska, the massive and horrible crime that occurred here additionally obliges us to guard and defend freedom in the Republic of Srpska, to build our institutions and to develop our society.

It is important that we are together even when we grieve and when we celebrate and move together into the future each day.

I wish our children and those children who will be born in the Republic of Srpska a peaceful, stable and prosperous the Republic of Srpska.

Thank you for your attention!