Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
DONJA GRADINA -- Jasenovac was the most atrocious of execution sites and an abyss of humanity, but it is up to us to bridge it with sincere forgiveness, says Aleksandar Vucic.
Jasenovac was a death camp complex located on both banks of the Drina River, in what is today Bosnia and Croatia, run by the fascist Ustasha regime of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) - a Nazi-allied WW2 entity.
These execution sites, including the largest, Jasenovac itself, were during the war the places of mass murder of Serbs, Roma, and Jews.
Vucic said during the ceremony on Sunday that "the Serb people wish to make it clear at this place that they will not agree to death, that they will protect their homeland and kin and fight for life without the wish to take revenge, but they will never forget the past either."
According to Vucic, soon upon the constitution of the NDH, one of Europe's biggest death camps was set up and systematic execution of civilians was performed there, with the victims guilty "just because they were Serbs, Jews, Roma and those who did not want to serve the Ustasha and occupation forces."
"Here, the dark side of humankind wrote its most atrocious pages," he noted, and added that Ustasha had tried to wipe out the Cyrillic alphabet and Serb nation, Vucic said.
The hatred that built Jasenovac is terrible, the sorrow it is causing is terrible and even giving forgiveness here is terrible - "but we must and can do that," Vucic said.
Vucic said that Donja Gradina was the largest execution site within the Ustasha Jasenovac camp, stressing that an entire lifetime separated us from the day when the killing of innocents stopped in that area.
He said that Serbs lived on both sides of the Drina river and "had no intention of leaving these lands and would never vanish."
"We are Serbs, wherever we may live and whatever others may do to us. We are exactly those Serbs who strive to be and have the potential to be a great nation. And we do not need new territories, we do not border changes in the Balkans, we respect all others, we respect Bosnia, we respect Croatia, we desire no war of any kind," the prime minister was quoted by the Beta agency.
RS President Milorad Dodik also spoke at the gathering to say that Serbs would never forget the Ustashe atrocities Jasenovac nor would they stay silent, although they would also threaten revenge on no one.
"Jasenovac will continue to stand witness of the time in which the fascist creation of Independent State of Croatia did not hesitate to use its ideology and aspiration to eliminate Serbs from the territory even when it came to children, over 20,000 of whom were killed, Dodik said, adding that 700,000 people were killed in Jasenovac, most of them Serbs.
Haim Bivas, mayor of the Israeli town of Modina, said in Donja Gradina that there was an eternal obligation to maintain the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the world and the genocide in the Jasenovac concentration camp.
An Israeli delegation, the ambassadors of Serbia, the Russian Federation, the U.S., Britain, the OSCE mission, the OHR, the EU Office in Banja Luka and a number of other delegations placed wreaths at the Topola site, where 41 graves are located.
This year also marks 70 years since the Jasenovac death camp breakout, Beta noted in its report.
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