The President of the Republika Srpska (RS) Milorad Dodik did not greet foreign ambassadors at a commemoration for victims of the WW II Jasenovac concentration camp held this Sunday. Last year Dodik refused to shake hands with the US Ambassador Maureen Cormack at this event, which brought this year’s commemoration in focus of media attention.
Serbia and Bosnia’s Serb-dominated sub-state entity, the RS, marked the day together, conveying a message that the Serb, Jewish and Roma victims who lost their lives in the area will not be forgotten.
The Jasenovac concentration camp was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe at that time, run by the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a puppet state of Nazi Germany established in modern-day Croatia and Bosnia.
As every year, the anniversary was attended by many ambassadors, including the US Ambassador Cormack. On the eve of the event, she said that Donja Gradina was not a place where one should think about who would shake hands with whom.
“I will shake hands with anyone who wants it, but I come to such events to pay respects to victims,” said Cormack.
This was the fourth time the US ambassador attended the commemoration in this village in north of Bosnia.
“This concentration camp reminds us of the atrocities committed during the WWII and of the fascism that caused all that…,” she said, adding, “If we look deep inside of our conscience, we hope we can all agree we should do everything in our power so that these things happen never again anywhere.”
Besides Ambassador Cormack and RS President Dodik, the commemoration and the laying of wreaths was attended by Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Russian Ambassador Petr Ivanstsov, Serbian Parliament’s Speaker Maja Gojkovic, and other officials of the RS entity.