SOURCE: Yugoslavia.com
Exhibition on Jasenovac in the heart of Vienna, at the
               Hoffburg castle

               The truth was the first victim when tragic events in the
               balkans are in question. A construction built on untruths has
               not offered solutions to the open problems, but only caused
               enormous human victims and material damages. The shocks and
               disturbances are frightening. In order to reestablish peace
               huge efforts are necessary, and they can be successful only
               if we look the truth straight into the eyes. The forces of
               peace have taken this as a strating point, while the forces
               of war are still trying to beat the truth by using arms.

               Austria was one of such countries which used to hold the
               harshest stands from the beginning of the Yugoslav drama, it
               used to support the secessions, and openly demanded the use
               of military force. It is certain, that all the Austrians did
               not approve of such a policy, but the opposite beliefs,
               especially in the media, could not be heard. The antiYugoslav
               and especially antiSerbian campaign was total. This caused a
               fierce pressure upon the Yugoslav and Serbian guest workers,
               which have been working in Austria for decades now, as well
               as on the new generations of the young people. Rigorous laws
               were prepared to make it easy to expell the undesired people,
               but they were alleviated at the very last moment, which
               speaks a lot by itself.

               Having all this in mind, it did sound almost unbelievable
               that an exhibition on Jasenovac was held by the end of June,
               in the middle of Vienna, in the historical castle of
               Hoffburg. It was a unique event whose significance is even
               greater as it was welcomed with the greatest possible
               attention and appreciation. Beside about 200 exhibits
               concerning the history, tragedy and the crimes committed at
               Jasenovac, two films were also shown. the documenatry film
               made by Loradn Zafranovic on Jasenovac was being shown
               continually, from the opening to the very end of the
               exhibition. Bora Draskovic's film "Vukovar One Story" was
               shopwn in a separate hall. The part of the historical palace
               of the habsburg Dinasty in which all this was taking place
               and reminded one of a sacred place of human catharsis, filled
               with peace and a charge of suppressed emotions.

               The exhibition on Jasenovac in Hoffburg, was opened by the
               state counsellor, dr. Hanes Svoboda, who paid tribute to the
               victims of Jasenovac in his speech, an pointed out that
               history consists of good and bad aspects, and that our task
               and aim is to work on having the better aspects of history
               stimulating us in building a more prosperous future. The
               Yugoslav ambassador in Ambassador in Austria, Dobrosav
               Vejzovic agreed with him, and also pointed out that the FR
               Yugoslavia was aiming for a peaceful and political solution
               from the very beginning of the crisis. The Ambassador also
               supported the idea of having the AustriaYugoslav relations
               reestablished as soon as possible so that they could be as
               they once were, which aws met with an approval of all the
               Austrian officials present.

               The vicedirector of the Vojvodina Museum, Mladenko Kumovic,
               stated the particularities about the creation of the system
               of The Jasenovac camp, for which he said that it comes right
               after the dreadful nazi torture and killing ground of
               Aushwitz. talking about things which were mostly unknown to
               the people present, Kumovic also stated the established facts
               about the number of the people killed at jasenovac 14.000
               kids less than 14 years old, about 20.000 Jews, 30.000
               Gypsies and between 500.000 600.000 Serbs. All the speaches
               held at the opening of the Jasenovac exhibition were met with
               appreciation and respect. The only person shocked was a
               correspondent of the Croatian radio from Zagreb. As though
               not believing her own eyes she asked herself in a husheddown
               voice: an exhibition about jasenovac in Vienna, and at
               Hoffburg out of all the places? In here astonishment, she
               recorded every single word that she has uttered. The event
               was taped on a tape by some twent video cassettes. The
               individuals, who were watching the exhibits with great
               attention, wrote down certain particularities which were of
               interest to them. Here and ther, parents explained certain
               exhibits to their grownup children. The Jasenovac exhibition
               was prepared by the Vojvodina Museum, from Novi Sad, in
               cooperation with the Museum on Genocide, from Belgrade. It
               was the first showing of this exhibition in the world. Before
               that, it was shown in Belgrade and at Kragujevac. Naturally,,
               the permanent show is situated in Novi sad. As there were
               numerous attempts all around the world either to forget about
               the crimes committed at jasenovac, or at least to diminish
               them, the exhibition in Vienna represents not only a unique
               breakthrough through the enforced blockade, but also a
               unique, strong voice for the historical truth.

               The Vienniese exhibition was prepared within a wider
               manifestation of the 25th anniversary of the activities of
               the CulturalSports Association of the Yugoslav citizens in
               Austria. The honorary board of the celebration consisted of
               the mayor of Vienna, dr. Michael Haupl, the Yugoslav
               Ambassador, Dobrosav Vejzovic, academician Dejan Medakovic,
               as the President of the YugoslavAustrian Society for
               Friendship and Cooperation, the President of the Workers'
               Chamber of Vienna, Mrs. Eleonore Hostasch, the President of
               the Chamber of Economy of Austria, Mr. Leopold Maderdauern.
               The sponsors of the celebration were the Association of the
               Syndicates of Austria and the Workers Chamber of Austria, who
               gave their financial suppoprt to this manifestation.

               On the same occasion, sports games of the Yugoslav citizens
               were held, in which 250 sportsmen from all over Austria took
               part. In the parade, beside the Yugoslav and Serbian flags
               there were also flags of all six Austrian provinces. Both the
               Yugoslav and the Austrian anthems were played. There were
               competitions in athletics, table tennis, bowling, chess, and
               football. The participants of the 16th Sports Games of the
               Yugoslav Citizens in Austria forwarded appropriate messages
               to the Yugoslav ambassador and the representative of the city
               of Vienna, expressing their suppoprt to the peace,
               cooperation and mutual understanding. At the end of this
               superbly organized and successful manifestation, in the
               festive hall of the Hoffburg castle, under the flags of
               Yugoslavia, Austria and the SportsCultural Association of the
               Yugoslav citizens in Vienna, an outstanding programme of the
               young Yugoslavs in Austria was performed. A very wellknown
               and highly talented boy, Ilija Marinkovic, beautifully played
               on his violin.

               Srdjan Milosevic, who took his master's degree at the
               Musiocal Academy of Vienna when he was only 17, presented
               himself and his quintet in the best possible way.. The
               children orchestra of harmonicas of the Vienna Polytechnical
               school under the guidance of a famous enthusiast Jovica
               Petkovic was equaslly great. The members of the folk groups
               from Vienna "Branko Krsmanovic" and the "Jedinstvo" of the
               Yugoslav Club, danced dresed in folk costumes from all over
               Yugoslavia.

               The castle of Hoffburg, in which numerous decision of
               historical importance for Austria, Europe, and especially for
               the Balkans, were brought, has experienced another special
               day in June 1995, a day which will remain in permanent
               memory.

               Mirko Aksentijevic