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Croatian Jews Hold Separate Death-Camp Commemoration

Representatives of Croatia's Jewish community have held a commemoration at Jasenovic, the site of the country's most notorious Nazi-era death camp.

The April 15 commemoration was held because Jews decided to boycott the official commemoration scheduled for April 22 to protest what they say is the government's refusal to react to efforts by nationalists to downplay the crimes of the Nazi-era Ustasha government.

About 300 Jews gathered and held prayers at the site of the "Croatian Auschwitz," near the country's border with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Croatia's Serbian National Council has also said it would boycott the official ceremony next week.

There have been many complaints that Croatia's center-right government, which took office in January, has been courting extreme nationalists. Many Croats have called for the resignation of Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who they say sympathizes with the Ustasha regime.

There have been several incidents of extreme nationalists shouting Nazi slogans at public events in recent months.

It is estimated that 700,000 people -- mostly Serbs, Jews, Roma, and anti-fascist Croats -- were killed at Jasenovac.

With reporting by AFP and Vecernji List