'Remembering the Holocaust more often could have prevented the 1995 genocide'


Reflecting on how the Holocaust is remembered, the head of Bosnia’s Jewish Community said on Saturday that "it’s sad" the world marks it only every January 27 and that would it had been better understood, maybe the 1995 genocide in Bosnia would have not happened.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place every year on January 27 and marks the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Jakob Finci said that 85 Holocaust survivors still live in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the event that marked the past century should be remembered more often, learned from and mentioned every day.

“Would we had learned more about the Holocaust, would we had understood it better, maybe genocide would have not happened in our country,” Finci said, referring to the slaughter of more than 8,000 men and boys that followed the Serb conquest of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

Two international courts ruled the massacre was an act of genocide.

“It’s being said that history is a teacher but we are obviously very bad students because we did not learn anything from history and we always think the world started with us,” he said.

What is also worrying is “the rise of anti-semitism in the world, of some weird intolerance toward others and towards those who are different, prompted either by the arrival of the refugees or simply by the feeling that ‘this is ours, nobody should meddle here’,” he said.

The Jewish Community is happy that there is no open anti-semitism in Bosnia, no paroles and no destruction of Jewish monuments, although the fact that a whole year has passed without the authorities reacting to the disappearance of the monument to a Jewish writer from a park “leaves a bitter taste in the mouth,” Finci said.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a homeland for its Jews, a “house they started building 450 years ago together with others. It is stable and Jews perceive it as their home,” Finci said, adding that over the past 15 years only one Jewish person left the country.

“We keep hearing about how much the youth is leaving Bosnia and I would not want this to happen to the Jewish community. There will be no exodus of Jews,” Finci said, reminding on an old saying which claims that when Jews start leaving a city, that’s never good either for the Jews or for the city.