Jewish people express outrage over Bosnian Genocide
By: Debra Nussbaum Cohen
The Jewish Post & News, 12 August 1992.
NEW YORK (JTA) – In language rife with the imagery of the Holocaust, leaders of Jewish organizations are calling on the United States and the United Nations to put an end to the atrocities being perpetrated by Serbian nationalists against Moslem [Bosniak] and Croatian residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Though the 600 Jews who remain in Sarajevo are not in more danger than any other residents of the besieged Bosnian capital, the brutal attacks on innocent men, women and children throughout the former Yugoslav state are resonating in the collective memory of the Jewish community. For Jews, the events unfolding in Bosnia eerily echo the Holocaust, when world leaders ignored early reports of the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
The republic’s still-functioning government claims that Serbian nationalists have set up 94 concentration camps around the country, have detained approximately 238,000 people and have killed 9,100 of their civilians captives.
The existence of two concentration camps in the northern part of the republic, in which at least 1,350 civilians have been murdered, and in which 11,000 more are being held until they die, was reported Aug. 2 by two men who said they had been held there.
In total, upwards of 20,000 people have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands have been injured by the strife.
In addition, 2.5 million residents of the recently-independent republic have fled their homes and become refugees, according to a statement released by the Bosnian government’s mission to the United Nations. Human rights agency representatives have been denied access to all but one of the sites thought to be used as concentration camps.
The United States confirmed Aug. 3 that civilians have been tortured and murdered in Serbian-run concentration camps.
The camps are part of a policy termed “ethnic cleansing” which Serbian nationalists have instituted since early April in their effort to drive Moslems [Bosniaks] and Croats from wide areas of the republic.
Representatives of the Bosnian mission to the United Nations compared “ethnic cleansing” to apartheid and Nazi deportations and murders, and on Aug. 3 asked the world body to declare the policy a crime against humanity.
Maynard Wishner, chair of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, called upon UN Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali to “begin immediately to mobilize whatever UN peacekeeping forces are appropriate” to restore peace.