Officials and diplomats stand below the Stone Flower monument in Jasenovac (Photo: Marko Prpic/PIXSELL) Officials and diplomats stand below the Stone Flower monument in Jasenovac (Photo: Marko Prpic/PIXSELL)

The event was a state-sponsored memorial, attended by the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and his cabinet, other officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

The Jewish, Serb, and Roma communities and anti-fascist groups held their own memorials earlier this week. For four years running, they have refused to attend the official commemoration, accusing the government of being too soft on hard-right nationalists and pro-fascists.

Wreaths and flowers were paced at the foot of the Stone Flower monument by victims' families, government representatives and diplomats.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić, were joined by Roma MP Veljko Kajtazi, who also attended a commemoration on Friday, organized by the Jewish, Serb, and Roma communities and anti-fascist groups.

Officials gave no speeches at this year's official commemoration. Instead, actors read testimonies of Jasenovac inmates Helena Pachl Mandić and Erwin Miller.

"The message is quite clear. We should remember. We should not forigve and we should not forget. We must learn from history so that it never happens again," said Israel's Ambassador to Croatia Ilan Mor.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told reporters, "We came to pay our respects to the victims of the Ustasha-run camp Jasenovac, to all the inmates, to those who, 74 years ago in April, made a prison break, and when, unfortunately, many were died."

"We are here once again to condemn the crime and the regime under which such camps existed, and to say that today we must work on inclusion in society, on reducing divisions, on tolerance and dialogue, on nurturing the culture of remembrance and on the education of young people about important moments in Croatian history, notably from World War Two," Plenković said.

He also said he regretted that the commemoration was not a joint one.

"I'm not glad there are two commemorations, but we are talking and I believe these talks will bear fruit next year," Plenković said.

Regarding the government's policy, he said "our common wish is to commemorate these events appropriately, with much respect for the victims and with the wish to work, only through dialogue, talks and the culture of remembrance, on preventing something like this from happening again."

Source: HINA/HRT