Jasenovac and memory : reconstructing identity in post-war Yugoslavia / by Debra Renee Neill.
The World War II concentration camp Jasenovac, in the Independent State of Croatia (NDM, became a contested site for competing memories between Serbs and Croats in Yugoslavia. At Jasenovac, the most infamous camp in the NDH, Croatian Ustaga killed thousands of Serbs. After the war the new communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, decided to mask the ethnic dimensions of this tragedy. In the official narrative of Jasenovac there was no mention of the targeted victims (Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies). While the way to achieve justice and heal the wounds of those injured would have been to memorialize the atrocities truthfully, Tito's official narrative of World War II impeded reconciliation and healing. Tito's decision to cover up WWII ethnic conflict had several consequences. First, by ignoring the true dimensions of what happened to the Serbs at Jasenovac, he robbed the Serbs of justice. Without justice there is no healing and without healing it is more likely the violence would eventually re-erupt, in a cycle of revenge. Second, the underlying economic and political conflicts that precipitated the violence remained unresolved. Third, with no commitment to discovering the truth about Jasenovac and other mass atrocities during WWII, later national narratives appeared without constraint, which only further inflamed the hatred between the Serbs and Croats, preparing them psychologically and emotionally for the war that broke out in Yugoslavia in 1991.
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