Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, on Thursday strongly condemned the atrocities committed against 17,000 ethnic Roma during the 1941-45 Independent State of Croatia (NDH), while he paid a visit to the Roma Memorial Centre in Ustica, located near Jasenovac.
This center is in memory of nearly 17,000 Roma killed in the war and we condemn the crimes committed during the NDH regime, Plenkovic said after visiting the memorial complex.
Plenkovic and the government’s delegation held a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ustica cemetery for Roma victims. The Roma Memorial Center was built to permanently commemorate ethnic Roma members killed in the genocide committed by the Nazi and Ustasha regimes during World War II.
Plenkovic recalled that this memorial complex was unique in Europe, and that the construction of the center had cost eight million kuna, and that the Croatian government had covered nearly 90 percent of the cost.
According to the Croatian premier, in this way, a contribution was made to efforts to enable dignified marking of the suffering of ethnic Roma in Croatia and to build a memorial center where all others can come to pay tribute to war victims.
The parliamentary deputy of ethnic Roma, Veljko Kajtazi, said that constructing this memorial centre was the least one could do for killed Roma.
He also called on Roma from other parts of Europe and the world to visit this center and thus pay tribute to war victims.
The Ustica memorial centre was officially opened last August, and its formal opening coincided with the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, or the Samudaripen, observed on August 2.
This memorial complex is set up in Ustica, located about 110km southeast of Zagreb, which used to be the site of mass executions of Roma who were deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp during the Second World War. The Memorial Centre includes a cemetery with 21 mass graves.