B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the Feb. 15 Knesset address of Croatian President Ivo Josipović, where he apologized to Croatian Jewish victims of the Holocaust and called for restitution for Croatian Holocaust survivors. He also acknowledged Croatia’s complicity in carrying out the Holocaust in that country.
“And here I am, standing before the Parliament of the Jewish State, and more important, before the children of Croatia, and with no ambiguity, I apologize, and I ask Holocaust survivors’, your and all the victims’ forgiveness,” Josipović told the Knesset.
All but about 5,000 of Croatia’s pre-war Jewish community of approximately 30,000 perished in the Holocaust.
Later, the Croatian president noted: “I am firmly convinced that amendments to the restitution law that would soon ensue should also include the Holocaust victims, either individuals or their heirs or local communities, and that the most appropriate ways of restitution or just compensations should be granted to them too.”
B’nai B’rith is a founding member of the World Jewish Restitution Organization.
Josipović also made a firm commitment of Croatia’s continued friendship to Israel when it joins the European Union (E.U.) in 2013.
He concluded: “We offer our friendship and partnership for the future benefit of our countries and peoples.”
B’nai B’rith looks forward to a constructive relationship with Croatian officials on Holocaust restitution issues.