Gideon Greif, chief investigator of the Israeli Holocaust Institute, Shem Olam, said today in Andrićgrad that the revision of history must be stopped and that the crimes in Jasenovac and Auschwitz cannot be “pushed under the carpet”. On the promotion of the monograph “Jasenovac – Auschwitz of the Balkans – the Ustasha Empire of Cruelty”, Greif emphasized that the parallel between Jasenovac and Auschwitz can be drawn.
According to him, what is particularly interesting is that in Auschwitz they tried to imitate the way in which the Nazis in their concentration camp abused all non-German peoples until their extermination.
“We have to fight to put an end to the revision of history. It has to stop. It is clear that crimes cannot be pushed under the carpet, that the truth must be brought to the fore. History is a fact, not a story and a persuasion,” said Greif, who today had a lecture at the Multiplex “Dolly Bell” in Andrićgrad.
He expressed the hope that the world will comprehend the truth about Jasenovac and that the years of research dedicated to this issue and the illumination of what happened there have not been thrown out in vain and that finally the good will defeat the evil.
“Despite all the polemics about the number of victims in Jasenovac, I responsibly claim that about 700,000 people have lost their lives in that camp in a brutal way. If we take into account all the unfortunate people who lost their lives on the way to Jasenovac, that number could be even bigger,” Greif told reporters in the Multiplex “Dolly Bell” in Andrićgrad.
Greif said that there is no archive regarding the Jasenovac topic he did not visit and added that he is always interested in issues that were neglected in the past or forgotten.
He pointed out that the revival of Neo-Naziism and Neo-Ustashism is a complex issue and something that is happening, what is the reality, and that the denials that come from that side are very similar to the denial of the Holocaust.
Every minute we need to be aware of this and we need to be afraid of that fact,” said Greif.
The monograph “Jasenovac – Auschwitz of the Balkans – the Ustasha Empire of Cruelty” is Greif’s multidisciplinary study in which the comparative analysis of Auschwitz and Jasenovac was performed for the first time.
The author confirms the thesis of historians from Israel, but also from other countries of the world, that Jasenovac was not a labor camp, but that it was a death camp.
This claim is proven by the knowledge of 57 methods of torture and killing in Jasenovac.
A monograph by Greif, a world-renowned fighter against revision of history, describes as a comparative analysis of the crime in the two, as he claims, the most horrible concentration camps, Auschwitz and Jasenovac.
“In Jasenovac all restrictions on inhumanity have been circumvented, and that is why we must fight today against the ideologies that led to such terrible crimes,” Greif said.
Famous movie director, Emir Kusturica, has said that Jasenovac should be treated as a kind of pogrom that has not been recorded in history.
He said that in a general chaos, when 300,000 rifles of the defeated Serbian army traveled alongside those defeated in Serbia, mostly in the western part, in July 1942, the Croatian Ustashas slaughtered Serbs not only in camps, but also in streets and meadows.
This news, he said, was heard throughout Serbia, and the nature of the Serbian uprising was in fact natural reaction to the suffering of Serbs in Croatia.
“The Jews were structurally suffered in the camps, and the Serbs were placed in a position in which they were fleeing, while the Ustashas grabbed them in front of the houses and slaughtered them,” Kusturica reminded.
Gojko Rončević Mraović, who as a child survived the suffering in Ustasha camps, told reporters that he was born in the village Trstenica, in the vicinity of Zagreb, then an ethnically Serbian village.
“When the Ustashas took control in 1942, began the pogrom of Serbs, so 265 people were killed in the village,” Mraović said, emphasizing that the Nazis killed his all five family members and slaughtered his father, mother and younger brother.
He said that at that time he was seven years old, after that event he fled to a refuge on Petrova Gora (Peter’s Mountain).
“Later I returned to the village with my grandmother. The Ustashas found us there and took me to the children’s concentration camp Jastrebarsko, where there were about 3,500 children from Kozara, Kordun, Banija, Lika and Slavonia, whose parents were killed,” Mraović said.
He stressed that in the camp soldiers were very cruel towards the children. According to him, each day eight to ten children died from malnutrition, illness, various tortures.
“The warden of the camp was Barta Pulherija, a sister in law of the famous cutthroat, Mile Budak. At that time about 60 children were selected, and I was one of them. They wanted to educate us in the Ustasha spirit, dressed in Ustasha uniforms we went to the church twice a day, so there was less dying in that group. In August 1942, the Partisans freed the camp, so we also were free,” recalls the survivor of Jasenovac.
He pointed out that more than 10,000 children, including him, were rescued by Dijana Budisavljević.
Publishers of the monograph are the Holocaust Institute Shem Olam / Israel /, Holocaust Education Foundation / Miami Foundation, USA / and Ono / Israel Academic College.
With the lecture by Gideon Greif and the presentation of the monograph began a three-day scientific gathering “Feast and Literature”.