Sunday, October 13, 2013

Belgrade: Memorial service for World War II victims / "In Serbia Independent News" October 5, 2013

October 5, 2013

BELGRADE – A service in commemoration of tens of thousands of victims who were brutally executed near Belgrade during World War II was held at the memorial park in the Belgrade suburb of Jajinci on Saturday [October 5, 2013].

Jajinci memorial
The commemorative ceremony was held with full military and state honors and an art program titled ‘Sermon on Life and Death’.

Addressing the gathering, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said that “we need to forgive to go on, but we never should forget.”

“We owe it our own and other victims, to Serbs, Jews, Roma, and all others, to preserve the memory of their suffering as an eternal flame,” Nikolic said.

Ljubomir Zecevic, surviving prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp in the Belgrade neighborhood of Banjica, said that Jajinci has always been and will continue to be an invaluable history classroom that keeps us abreast of the truth about the atrocities committed by the occupying forces in Serbia during the war.

He said the victims of the Jajinci camp were both men and women, young and old, the bravest of the brave, who resisted the enemy with weapons, sabotage and civil disobedience.

Zecevic pointed out that among those killed were also 120 innocent children.

The ceremony was attended by Serbian parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanovic, Chief of Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, Defense Minister Nebojsa Rodic, and diplomatic and military and diplomatic representatives from over 40 countries.

The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Roma National Minority Council, war veterans, surviving prisoners of Nazi-occupied Europe death camps, descendants of the victims, representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and of a number of other institutions of culture, science, education and arts, and students of Belgrade primary and secondary schools.

“United, we will not give away the inalienable” – Nikolic

Nikolic said Saturday that Serbia will not allow an inalienable part of the country to be snatched away from it, and the goal will be easier to achieve if the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) take part in the upcoming local elections to ensure the legality and legitimacy of their institutions before the international community.

“United in order to survive, Serbia will not allow anyone to snatch any of its inalienable parts away from it. Serbia is not powerful enough to wage wars, but is smart enough to negotiate,” Nikolic said in a speech he delivered at a memorial service held for tens of thousands of people who were executed at a site near Belgrade by Nazis during World War II.

Addressing the gathering at the memorial park in the Belgrade suburb of Jajinci, the Serbian president called on the KiM Serbs to exercise their right to defend their own interests and turn out and vote a Serb local government in, adding that such a joint struggle for KiM will produce results and make the goal easier to achieve.

“We sent a clear message to the EU that Serbia will rethink its participation in the local elections in Kosovo-Metohija if conditions are not created for regular and democratic elections, and if all Serbs who have the right to vote are not allowed to vote in a free and unimpeded manner,” Nikolic said.

Nikolic said that tens of thousands of innocent victims, mostly Serbs, Jews and Roma, were executed at Jajinci as part of the implementation of the Final Solution plan to annihilate one people in Nazi-occupied Europe to create space for colonization by another people.

The execution site, in the Balkans second in size only to the Jasenovac concentration camp, is the right place to ask how only a few decades ago anyone could have thought that it was possible to accomplish a noble goal, or achieve personal happiness, by committing crimes of any kind, Nikolic said.

“We owe it our own and other victims, to Serbs, Jews, Roma, and all others, to preserve the memory of their suffering as an eternal flame,” Nikolic said.


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