To the Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post
Dear Mr. Katz,
Museum of Genocide Victims, a national cultural institution of the Republic of Serbia that researches and nurtures the memory of victims of Genocide committed against Serbs in World War II, victims of the Holocaust and other victims of Nazism and Fascism, expresses astonishment and sends a public protest to your daily newspapers.
Despite its carefully created reputation as a relevant daily, Jerusalem Post published just before the sad 80th anniversary of the establishment of the concentration and death camp in Jasenovac (Croatia) – one of the most monstrous execution sites in all of Europe during the Second World War which functioned within the framework of the puppet Independent State of Croatia – a pseudo-scientific and revisionist text by journalist Mr. David Goldman.
With the text entitled “This disgraceful mocking of the Holocaust needs to stop immediately”, author, without any professional qualifications and completely unknown to the international scientific community, became involved in the ongoing debate on the phenomenon of Holocaust distortion as a phenomenon on a global scale.
And that’s where almost everything positive in this article ends.
Using a series of inaccurate statements and semi-information with only few sentences author tried to make meaningless 76 years of continuous research, both by experts and institutions of Yugoslavia, later Serbia and Croatia, as well as institutions such as Yad Vashem and the USHMM.
The system of concentration and death camp in Jasenovac, founded and managed by the Independent State of Croatia, without the influence of Nazi Germany, was taken as an example of the mentioned distortion. The only thing that is correctly stated refers to the geographical position of Jasenovac and the percentage share of Jews in human losses (15%).
And that is where the factual and historical reliability of the claims presented in the article ends.
In a series of problematic information contained in that revisionist review, we first point to the statement about forensic research conducted in Yugoslavia, which allegedly determined that the total number of Jasenovac victims was between 2,500 and 4,500, which is an absolute and shameful untruth.
Museum of Genocide Victims, above all, points out that forensic research cannot yield results in the number of victims which ranges in a huge range from “from – to”.
Above all, no exhumations were performed in 1947 and 1948. During 1946, four graves near the Uskočka Forests were excavated in which 967 remains were found (311 men, 467 women and 189 children).
Based on the further research, it was estimated that there ere about a thousand killed in the tomb near the Strug Forest, but experts concluded that due to the position and the intertwining of the victims as well as the condition of the bodies, it was not possible to perform a completely precise investigation. Thus, there is no forensic examination that resulted in data on 2,500 to 4,500 Jasenovac victims, conducted during 1947 and 1948, as stated in this revisionist text.
It is also indicative that this article misses the opportunity to mention the actual forensic research conducted during 1964 by a commission of experts composed of: Alojz Šercelj, Vida Brodar, Anton Pogačnik and Srboljub Živanović. These researches resulted in the discovery of the remains of a total of 284 victims, in 7 probes (of which 197 were in one grave).
This extremely revisionist article also mentions various established and/or estimated numbers of people killed in the system of the concentration and death camp in Jasenovac, as follows: 59,000 (census of victims of the Second World War conducted in 1964), 72,000 and 77,000, which at one point represented achieved result of supplementing the number of victims based on the revision of the already mentioned census from 1964 which is conducted by the Museum of Genocide Victims.
The Museum of Genocide Victims uses this opportunity to emphasize that its databases contain data on almost 90,000 identified victims of the Jasenovac concentration and death camp system which currently represents only the smallest possible, but not the final number of all those killed at that execution site.
As the research of the experts of the Museum of Genocide Victims, which is conducted according to the same methodology as it has been done for decades in Yad Vashem, continues, it is to be expected that the number of identified Jasenovac victims will be corrected in the coming years. The estimated total number of Jasenovac victims is, unfortunately, far higher than the one that historical science will ever be able to identify with the precise data.
The same revisionist text also mentions the number of 99,000 victims of the system of the concentration and death camp in Jasenovac which at one time was an estimation of the USHMM, but also a scientifically completely unknown estimation of about 250,000 victims. Finally, the same text contains some, alleged, number of 800,000 killed at all Jasenovac execution sites.
The Museum of Genocide Victims possesses no information that Yad Vashem demanded “original documents from Jasenovac” from the Republic of Serbia during the last decade of the previous century since historical science does not know that there is a significant corpus of material other than the one Antun Miletić has already published in four books (three of which as early as the late 1980s of that same century).
It is also possible that this revisionist-intoned article refers to the evacuated museum material from the Jasenovac Memorial Centre (Republic of Croatia) which was located in Bosanska Dubica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) during the 1990s.
However, that is a question to which some others can and should give, but not the Republic of Serbia.
Moreover, in 1997, the Museum of Genocide Victims submitted to Yad Vashem a list with the names of 52,500 Jews killed in Yugoslavia during World War II (of whom 10,500 lost their lives in Jasenovac), which is included in the official Yad Vashem list of Holocaust victims.
Following the ridiculous, pseudo-scientific, anti-civilization and shameful logic which in this revisionist article denies the number of victims in Jasenovac solely on the grounds that there are no adequate forensic data (except for 2,500 to 4,500 victims, as the author falsely claims), we could ask a question as to whether it is possible to deny in the same way the number of 1,200,000 to 1,500,000 killed in Auschwitz since there is no forensic evidence for that claim either?
It would be interesting if the author of this revisionist text, denying the number of victims in Jasenovac, answered the question regarding where 30,000 Jews who lived within the territory of the Independent State of Croatia have gone?
The Museum of Genocide Victims reminds that, according to available data, about 7,500 of them were killed in German concentration camps.What happened to the remaining 22,500 of them? Where did they “disappear”?
Through many years of research by its experts, the Museum of Genocide Victims has shown that between 18,000 and 19,000 Jews from the Independent State of Croatia were killed in the Jasenovac concentration and death camp system and that their share in total civilian casualties was many times higher than their population (10.23 times higher).
Experts from the Museum of Genocide Victims continuously clearly separate the suffering in the Holocaust victims from the victims of the Genocide committed against the Serbian people on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia.
The research of the Museum of Genocide Victims continuously emphasizes that the loss of Jews in the concentration and death camp system in Jasenovac, given the representation in the population, was realistically 13 times greater than the loss of Serbs in the camp, which refutes the absurd claim that “Serbia is trying to oust Jews from the Holocaust and replace them with Serbs.”
Dear Mr. Katz,
Pointing out only the most obvious untruths presented in the article published in the Jerusalem Post, Museum of Genocide Victims points out historical facts, but at the same time calls on everyone to treat the victims of the Second World War with full responsibility and reverence.
One can rightly ask how it could have happened that an internationally relevant daily newspaper such as Jerusalem Post published a distinctly revisionist text that essentially denied the specific character and tragic consequences of the existence of the Jasenovac death and concentration camp system?
Museum of Genocide Victims points out that, among numerous others, even three Presidents of the Republic of Croatia publicly stated that a Genocide committed against the Serbs had been performed by the state system of the Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945.
Having that in mind, the one and only disgraceful mockery is that the author of this revisionist article tries to deny this tragic historical fact.
Following such logic, is it possible to expect that an equally revisionist-intoned text written by David Irving, which denies the existence of the Auschwitz death and concentration camp system, will soon be found on the pages of your paper?
Dear Mr. Katz,
Museum of Genocide Victims publicly and resolutely rejects and condemns the untrue claims contained in the above mentioned revisionist article which attacks historical truth and dignified memory of the victims of World War II and request from you to publish this reaction so that the Jerusalem Post readers would be aware of what really happened. in Jasenovac – one of the largest and most monstrous execution sites in all of Europe during the Second World War.
Dejan Ristić, historian, Museum of Genocide Victims Acting Director
Belgrade, August 16th 2021