Serbian President Urges Reconciliation at WW II Concentration Camp

Posted June 26th, 2011 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Serbian President Boris Tadic has called for reconciliation at the site of a concentration camp in Croatia where tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma were killed during World War Two.

President Tadic accompanied by his mother attended a ceremony Sunday marking the 70th anniversary of the Jadovno camp, set up in 1941 by the pro-Nazi Croatian regime. Mr. Tadic's grandfather was among the victims killed in the execution camp in the Velebit region, most of them ethnic Serbs.

Mr. Tadic said that innocent victims – who were killed because of their identity, name, conviction or faith – “deserve our remembrance.” But he said remembrance should not cause conflict between Serbia and Croatia, but allow the two countries to live in peace and tolerance, and condemn war crimes.

Vesna Pusic, head of the Croatian parliament committee for integration with the European Union, represented Croatia at the ceremony.

A local Serb bishop and a rabbi from Zagreb led prayers for the dead at one of more than 30 mass graves in Jadovno.

Historians say that between 30,000 and 40,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croats were executed in Jadovno between May and August of 1941. Italian troops closed the camp in late August of that year.

Serbs and Croats fought each other again during the Balkan wars of the early 1990's.

The two Balkan nations are now seeking EU membership.