JFF Marked the 70th Year of the Liberation of Auschwitz and 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

Fotografija3 (1)On Sunday, 12 April in Zagreb, the 9th Festival of Tolerance (JFF-Jewish Film Festival) was officially opened. The event, which is traditionally held every year in the region, is dedicated to the rights of minority groups. In addition to the memory of Holocaust, the festival draws attention to a variety of sociological phenomena and current social issues: discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, homophobia, the integration of the asylum seekers, and the attitude of society towards the third age of life.
The opening of the festival was attended by numerous officials of high level politics, artists and cultural workers. Attendees were addressed by festival director Natasa Popovic, Branko Lustig, a double Oscar Winner and a man who survived the Nazi concentration camps, and the Bosnian photographer Tarik Samarah whose work ”1945-1995-2015” is exposed at the festival.
Branko Lustig opened the festival with following words:
“There is few of us that came back, but I want to emphasize all of us who survived consider it our duty to remind you all and do not let the memories fade away. We wish to convey our experience to the younger generations. We will tell them that our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers have vanished in the smoke. Let them remember and never forget, and they should not allow for that to happen ever again. Let the memories and remembrance carry forward on their daughters and sons THAT same message, NEVER AGAIN.”
Natasa Popovic pointed out that the Festival of Tolerance wants to strengthen society without hatred, and how the films shown as a part of the festival program, speak about tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and they mostly speak about the Holocaust and crimes of Nazi regime.
Tarik Samarah reminded on the danger of repeating the evil. On this occasion he said:
“After the World War II, along the cities in Germany were displayed photographs-horrifying pictures of suffering, perish and torture of Jewish people. Those rare who defended themselves with the excuse of not knowing, afterwards they could not say they didn’t know.”
He pointed out how his previous work was lead by these words ”once you’ve witnessed, you are no longer plain observer. You have become not only informed, but also obligated towards the things you’ve testified.” He emphasized that even today, seventy years after the Holocaust and twenty years after Srebrenica genocide, we are witnessing the rise of xenophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, and new wars.
As a reminder, this year’s Festival of Tolerance was dedicated to the marking of seventieth anniversary of Holocaust and twenty years of Srebrenica genocide. As a part of this theme, in Zagreb on the city lights was placed work by Samarah ”1945-1995-2015”