Criticism of the establishment of the New York City Monument to the victims of Jadovno and Pag is completely unjustifiable, especially considering that there no comparable monument to the victims of these killing sites exist in either Republika Srpska or Serbia.
Two years have passed since the Assembly of the Association of Citizens Jadovno 1941. decided to name the genocide of Serbs by Independent State of Croatia as the Pokolj (Slaughter) and called on the professional and general public to adopt it.
From then on, even though our decision was supported by some of the eminent members of the Serbian academic community and several associations of descendants of Pokolj victims, the negative reactions, condemnations and even insults against the Jadovno 1941. Association, usually coming from Banja Luka by the side of several historians employed at the Republic Center for Research of War, War Crimes and Search for Missing Persons, are not stopping.
There is a wide range of simply incredible constructions and insinuations that these people place in the public space through various channels, including the official website of the mentioned center RCRWC (RCIRZ).
For a long time we have not reacted to these attempts to manipulate the general public, as we were holding the view that our work in the field of memory and remembrance culture is the best answer.
However, one should respond to the recent public statement by Dragoslav Ilić, a historian employed by the RCRWC (RCIRZ), who has interpreted the establishment of a monument to the victims of the Gospić-Jadovno-Pag camp system, in the esteemed New York’s Holocaust Memorial Park, as nothing less than a generous concession to the Croatian diplomacy.
First of all, our friendly and partner organization, the Jasenovac Research Institute from New York City (JRI), has invested a lot of effort (and money) to erect the monument which shows and preserves, in an exemplary way, the truth about the sufferings of the Jadovno victims.
The Jadovno Memorial stone was unveiled on May 19, 2019, at a modest ceremony, by Dani (j) el Simić, President of the Assembly of the Jadovno 1941 Association, and Barry Lituchy, Director of the Jasenovac Research Institute.
The following words are written on the monument:
Dragoslav Ilic, a historian and a civil servant, accused Danijel Simić of taking part in granting a generous concession to Croatian diplomacy by drastically decreasing the number of victims in the Gospić group of death camps at the inscription on the monument in Brooklyn.
He also added this was supported by the fact that the monument establishment’s organizers have done nothing to resist the Croatian pressure. He concluded that the fear of a possibility to share of merits for the monument’s erection, with one of the institutions that would be able to annul Croatian pressures, might be the reason for all of this.
Mr. Barry Lituchy, the executive director of the JRI from New York, responded to these accusations, and full text of his letter to the general public is being published here.
Edited by: Dušan J. Bastašić
President of the Association Jadovno 1941. Banja Luka