The End of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia
22 April 2020
Dear JRI Directors, Colleagues, and Friends,
As today we mark the 75th anniversary of the Break-out by the prisoners of Jasenovac, and the end of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia, it is time to stop and to reflect for a moment on how important it is for us to continue our work, and to keep the memory of the victims of the Holocaust alive and in the minds of our fellow Jews, Serbs, Romas, Americans, and peoples around the world.
I am grateful to all of you for doing your part to remind everyone never to forget the genocides carried out against Serbs, Jews and Romas in the former Yugoslavia by Croatian Ustashe, aided by the German, Italian, Hungarian, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Muslim fascist forces. And, also, not to forget the courageous struggle of the anti-fascist freedom fighters of all nationalities, many of whom sacrificed their lives to stop the fascist murderers.
As we cannot meet under present circumstances, we will lay a wreath today at the Jasenovac monument at the Holocaust Memorial Park in Brooklyn, NY. We are considering organizing a short commemoration online on Sunday. We will inform you of that later. We have postponed this year’s Jasenovac Day Dinner and Conference for later in this year.
We cannot meet today, but I want to tell you that I very much appreciate your support and solidarity to keep the Jasenovac Research Institute functioning, and to keep our mission alive. The danger of the old fascism is still with us. Anti-Serbian, Anti-Jewish, Anti-Roma racial hatred and propaganda is still a daily and toxic threat. Above all, we must fight for the truth against a political, media and educational establishment that promotes ignorance and denial of the history of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia. This, as much as the political continuity of Ustashe and other forms of fascism, is what gave rise to the Jasenovac Research Institute and our mission in the first place some 23 years ago.
I also want to give special thanks to our colleague Olja Meyer for her generous donation to JRI for today’s wreath in memory of her mother’s family membersdenis that were slaughtered at Jasenovac.
I will leave you with this thought today as we remember the victims and the struggle of 75 years ago: on that cold and rainy morning of April 22, 1945 many hundreds of the last prisoners in Jasenovac ran through machine gun fire and bullets to escape, many with the sole thought that if just one of them lived, they could tell the world what happened at Jasenovac. Most of them did not survive, of course, but we will go on to remind the world and teach these lessons.
Thank you for supporting Jasenovac Research Institute!
With my best regards from
Executive Director, Jasenovac Research Institute