The Jerusalem Post
This disgraceful mocking of the Holocaust needs to stop now
When on a hot and balmy June weekend in 2018, as Dr. Ivo Goldstein was being interviewed for Croatia’s popular Sunday at 2 TV show on the increasingly problematic Jasenovac concentration camp, little did he know the maelstrom he would ignite.
Some 28 minutes into the interview, Goldstein was asked by the host: “Many have commented on the lack of any forensic evidence from this particular camp. Can you explain why this is the case?”
That’s when Goldstein, one of the most respected historians in the Balkans, dropped his bombshell. “…this is because in April 1945, Hitler flew special machines to Jasenovac. These machines were used to dissolve the bones that were left…,” he said.
At a time when antisemitism is growing exponentially with one in four American millennials believing the Holocaust was faked while just over half of Germans believe that Jews overplay the Holocaust, Goldstein’s claim that as Berlin was being pummeled into dust by Russian artillery, Adolf Hitler found time to fly a hitherto unheard-of machine into some Balkan boondoggle in order to “dissolve” human bones was not only tin-foil hat fantasy, but the last thing that Jews need right now.
More to the point, why allow the contamination of Holocaust history with a place that cannot provide any independent forensic evidence past a few thousand victims and that has an ever-increasing – including in 2021 – victim list that has repeatedly been proven to have been doctored?
Furthermore, why did groups like Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Museum for decades look the other way as the Jasenovac Memorial Site stole pictures from Treblinka, Ukraine, Poland and elsewhere in order to bolster its inflated claims? And why do these organizations to this day continue to substantiate ex-Yugoslavia’s claims of an astronomical World War II death toll, despite three of its own official population censuses showing otherwise?
Located in Croatia about 100 kilometers south of the capital Zagreb, Jasenovac was established by the collaborationist Ustashi in August 1941. According to most sources, about 85% of inmates were Serbs, Roma, Bosnians and Croats, while the remaining 15% being Jews. In 194748 Yugoslavia’s forensic examination of the camp and surrounding county found that all up, between 2,500 and 4,500 were killed in the camp.
In 1980, a cash-strapped Yugoslavia rebranded Jasenovac as the “Auschwitz of the Balkans,” in a cynical attempt to try and extort money out of West Germany, with the camps’ death toll subsequently being pumped up to 59,000, then 72,000, 77,000, 99,000, 250,000 and all the way up to 800,000 victims, like some macabre game of “genocide bingo.”
However, not only could Belgrade not provide any physical evidence to back up these newly inflated numbers, rather it disgracefully announced that a camp with less than 4,500 proven (mainly non-Jewish) victims was now equal to Auschwitz, the site of the ghastly murder of nearly 1.5 million people, most of them Jews.
If there was ever a clear case of antisemitism and self-hatred – especially by those Jewish historians who have allowed the history of Holocaust to become hijacked for what is basically a Balkan territorial dispute – this was it.
It goes without saying that the growing legions of Holocaust-deniers around the world would love nothing more than to be helped in their quest to dent the veracity of the most tragic and evil event of the 20th century.
Historians have long commented how to the West, Serbia promotes Jasenovac as part of the Jewish Holocaust, but in the Balkans, Jews have been removed from the Holocaust altogether and replaced with Serbs.
As Dr. Lea David, professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa noted, “The Serbian political elite then hijacked the images and symbols of the Holocaust in order to equate Serbian victims with Jewish victims, and promote Serbian righteous victimhood as enduring throughout the 1990s wars.
“Having established Serbs as victims of the Holocaust, the Serbian government then moved to sideline the roles of Serbian Communist partisan fighters and to rehabilitate quisling Chetnik members and other right-wing figures,” she says.
As the University of Otago’s David McDonald also noted in Globalizing the Holocaust: A Jewish “Useable Past” in Serbian Nationalism: “Holocaust imagery pushed the envelope, allowing Serbian nationalist goals to gain wider, more universal appeal. It could resonate with domestic Serbs and those in the Diaspora, as well as with Jews and non-Jews... where myths of Serbian and Jewish suffering were interwoven, providing a new series of national myths.”
As for the US Holocaust Museum, on its website, it admits “Determining the number of victims… for Jasenovac is highly problematic, due to the destruction of many relevant documents, the long-term inaccessibility to independent scholars of those documents that survived…”
So why quote figures if they are “highly problematic,” especially considering the museum is aware Yad Vashem throughout the 1990s repeatedly tried obtaining the original Jasenovac documents from Serbia but has been flat-out refused to this day? Just as puzzling was Yugoslavia’s decades-old assertion that more victims’ remains are “to be discovered,” yet during its 47-year rule of the site, it never bothered once to try and locate these mysterious “missing” remains.
Those who have conflated the only wartime concentration camp without any verifiable data with scientifically proven Holocaust facts have done immeasurable harm to Jewish history.
In this era of hyper-antisemitism and a world of increasing hatred of all things Jewish, it’s high time that everyone – especially Jews – stopped collaborating with malign actors to mock the Holocaust.