Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director for Eastern European Affairs Joins Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Addressing Zagreb Conference on New Martyrdom

September 12, 2016

Zagreb-The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director for Eastern European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, joined Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I as a keynote speaker at a conference on "New Martyrdom," held in Zagreb this past Friday, which was organized by the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Slavonia Jovan Culibrk. The conference marked the first visit by the patriarch, who is the spiritual leader of 300 million Christians worldwide, to Croatia and especially to the notorious Jasenovac concentration camp, where he prayed in memory of the victims.

In his speech, Zuroff focused on two major topics: the necessity of bringing the perpetrators to justice and the importance of preserving the accuracy of the historical narrative of World War II and the Holocaust, and the link between these two issues. "Holding the criminals accountable," he explained, "is a vital link in ensuring the preservation of the history of the Holocaust and the terrible crimes committed during World War II. We are currently witnessing systematic efforts to turn Holocaust perpetrators into national heroes and the glorification of fascist movements, like the Croatian Ustasha, which carried out genocidal policies against Serbs, Jews, and Roma and murdered numerous anti-fascist Croatians. Had more of the criminals responsible for these crimes been brought to justice, such revisions of history would be automatically rejected, but instead are finding widespread support among extreme right-wing groups."

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).