On Sunday, January 29, on the feast of the Precious Chains of St. Peter the Apostle, under the organization of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Jasenovac Research Institute (USA), Shem Olam Institute (Isreel) and the Holocaust Memorial Park in Brooklyn, a gathering of concentration camp survivors and a day of rememberance on the Holocausts victims, with a special emphasis on the victims of the infamous Jasenovac camp and the victims of the Nazi-Ustashe terror from the regions of former Yugoslavia. The gathering, entitled: "The Truth About Jasenovac - the Hidden Holocaust - A Right to Not Forget", was held on Sunday, January 29, 2017, beginning at 11:00am.
An invitation was sent to our Serbian Orthodox Church. As we were asked by the organisers to actively take part in this event, and because of the immeasurabe significance which the Holy New Martyrs of Jasenovac have to the Serbian people in modern times, with the blessings of the ruling hierarch, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, the Serbian Orthodox Church was represented by V. Rev. Vladislav Radujkovic.
The author of this article was born and grew up in the region from which the greatest number of people were taken and murdered in the most horrific manner in the Jasenovac "caldron of death" and is bound by many threads to the Martyrs of Jasenovac, under whose (martyred and sanctified blood) invisible protection are all of those who have ever walked on this blood soaked land. This is why every encounter with this theme, and especially with the "camp" survivors, is very emotional.
A memorial prayer to all the "forefathers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children" who gave their lives because of their Orthodox faith and Serbian name, to receive it once more in the Heavenly Kingdom, murdered in horrific death by the "criminal Ustashe hands", but translated with the Resurrected Christ to the bosom of Abraham, whose bones fill the pits of Hercegovina, the concentration camps, killing fields and casemates throughout the Serbian lands, whose names are known only to the Triune God as well as those known to us and those who have no one else to pray for them – prayers were lifted from all sides of this city, which we have adopted and has become our home: at the Divine Liturgies in our churches in New York, Elizabeth, Paterson, Boston....but also in this memorial park where the name "Jasenovac" stands spitefully and proudly.
The Martyrs of Jasenovac were added to the Saints and our local Church entered them in the calendar on the eve of the new ecclesiastical year. Their service is served in Serbian wherever there is a place of worship. And our Jewish brothers and co-sufferers in the world do not forget the shared sufferings, time and place of persecution. However, our church calendar would be too small for all the names of those murdered only because they were Serbs and signed themselves with the Orthodox Cross. For all of them and for all others who suffered with them, this memorial prayer was lifted to the heavens, as a fervent fragrance of the sacrifice of martyrs and the prayers of those who survived them.
V. Rev. Vladislav Radujkovic