Bosnia Delegation - World Jewish Congress
Commemorating the Srebrenica Genocide
Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9-11 July 2023

The Conference on Collective Memory, a joint initiative organized by the “Movement of Mothers of the Enclaves Srebrenica and Žepa,” the Srebrenica Memorial Center and the World Jewish Congress, commemorated the Srebrenica genocide and reinforced its memory in the consciousness of the international community.

Participants in the program, including representatives of leading non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, addressed the brutalities of the Srebrenica genocide, advocating for continued investigations, education and memorialization of this dark chapter in history.

The event, held at the Srebrenica Memorial Center in Potočari, Bosnia and Herzegovina, marks the start of this week’s official events in connection with the anniversary of the genocide perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces in July 1995.

During the formal commemoration, thousands of attendees witnessed the burial of 30 caskets, which contained newly identified remains, at the center’s cemetery where nearly 7,000 of the more than 8,000 victims of the genocide have already been laid to rest.

Menachem Rosensaft, associate executive vice president and general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, spoke about the dangers of not addressing hatred. “The Srebrenica genocide is a stark reminder that brutal consequences of unchecked hatred and bigotry did not end with the Holocaust,” he said. “It is our moral obligation to do everything in our power to ensure that the atrocities committed against Bosnian Muslims, like those against Jews at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, remain an integral part of the world’s collective consciousness."

Kathryne Bomberger, director-general of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the organization leading efforts to uncover additional mass graves, underscored the importance of continued investigation, saying, “The facts about the Srebrenica genocide are irrefutable. ICMP assisted in the investigation of the Srebrenica genocide and provided scientific evidence of the identity of almost 7,000 of the more than 8,000 persons whose mortal remains were concealed in numerous mass graves in eastern Bosnia. As the investigation continues, more persons will be found.”

Lending context to the discussion in his opening remarks, Emir Suljagic, director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, delivered a moving speech that resonated with the attendees.

“Eighty years ago, some among my countrymen joined the ranks in service of German Nazi ideology, bringing harm upon you, your people, and your forebears – your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers,” Suljagic said, referring to the WJC representatives present. “For this, I apologize to you and hope that you may find forgiveness in your hearts. I do so here, in a place that represents the gravitational center of all our suffering in the 20th century.”

He added, “This conference continues to put the spotlight on the importance of collective memory, shared history, and the need for education about the atrocities of genocide. The echoes of the past serve as a reminder to the world, strengthening the resolve to prevent such atrocities from repeating in the future.”


Day 1
Sunday, July 9

Meeting with Srebrenica Memorial Center Director and Deputy Director

The WJC delegation met with the Director and Deputy Director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center providing an opportunity to discuss the important work carried out by the center in preserving the memory of the Srebrenica genocide and promoting reconciliation in the region.

Tour of the Srebrenica Memorial Center and cemetary visit.

A deeply meaningful tour was organized at the Srebrenica Memorial Center, offering a solemn and educational experience for visitors. The tour provided a comprehensive overview of the center's exhibits, which serve as a testament to the lives lost during the Srebrenica genocide.

Arrival of coffins of genocide victims

In a poignant and solemn event, the coffins of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide arrived at their final resting place. This significant occasion gathered the WJC delegation, families, community members, and dignitaries who joined together to pay their respects and honor the memory of those who tragically lost their lives.

Day 2
Monday, July 10

Opening remarks at Srebrenica Collective Memory Conference

During the solemn proceedings, Daniel Radomski, Head of World Jewish Congress Strategy & Programs and Emir Suljagic, director of the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center, delivered opening remarks. Their words resonated deeply, emphasizing the importance of preserving the collective memory of the Srebrenica genocide and working towards justice, reconciliation, and a future free from such atrocities.

Srebrenica and Genocide in Historical Perspective

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, World Jewish Congress General Counsel and Associate Executive Vice President, delivered a thought-provoking lecture, Rosensaft provided valuable insights into the tragic events of Srebrenica, shedding light on the factors that contributed to the genocide and its lasting impact on the international community.

Collective Memory: How to Remember the Missing and the Dead

In a thought-provoking panel discussion titled "Collective Memory: How to Remember the Missing and the Dead," a distinguished group of experts and advocates gathered to explore the vital topic of preserving the memory of the Holocaust and genocide in Srebrenica in societie's healing and prevention of new atrocities.

  • Moderator: Almasa Salihović, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Michaela Fuhrmann, World Jewish Congress
  • Hariz Halilovich, RMIT University Australia
  • Munira Subašić, Movement of Mothers of Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves
  • Kathryne Bomberger, Director – General ICMP

Preserving Memory: Memorials, Museums, and Education

A compelling panel discussion titled "Preserving Memory: Memorials, Museums, and Education" featured a distinguished group of experts and advocates dedicated to the important task of preserving and transmitting collective memory. The panelists explored the role of memorials, museums, and education in fostering remembrance, healing, and reconciliation and examined the challenges and opportunities in preserving memory, including the importance of survivor testimonies, and the power of education in preventing the recurrence of such atrocities.

  • Moderator: Almasa Salihović, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Mary Kluk, World Jewish Congress
  • Dr. Efrat Sopher, World Jewish Congress
  • Azir Osmanović, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Hasan Hasanović, Srebrenica Memorial Center

Confronting Holocaust and Genocide Denial and Distortion

In an impactful session titled "Confronting Holocaust and Genocide Denial and Distortion," experts and advocates came together to address the pressing issue of denial and distortion of historical genocides, particularly the Holocaust. The panelists explored the various forms and motivations behind Holocaust and genocide denial, and highlighted the importance of education, research, and legislation in combating denial and distortion, while underscoring the responsibility of governments, institutions, and individuals to confront and debunk false narratives.

  • Moderator: Sonat Birnecker Hart, World Jewish Congress
  • Emir Suljagić, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Gila Baumöhl, World Jewish Congress
  • Vladimir Andrle, World Jewish Congress
  • Konstanty Gebert, Author and Journalist, Warsaw
  • Menachem Z. Rosensaft, World Jewish Congress

Our Responsibility to the Dead and the Survivors

In a poignant and reflective discussion, participants gathered to address the profound responsibility we hold towards both the deceased victims and the survivors of historical atrocities. The participants acknowledged that our responsibility extends beyond simply remembering the dead, but also encompasses seeking justice, promoting healing, and ensuring the stories and experiences of survivors are heard and respected.

  • Moderator: Nedim Jahić, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Irina Rosensaft, World Jewish Congress
  • Eli Novershtern, World Jewish Congress
  • Prof. Ann Petrila, University of Denver
  • Sead Turčalo, The Faculty of Political Science in Sarajevo (FPN), University of Sarajevo

Fighting extremism in Europe: Common Efforts for the Future

In a collaborative and resolute panel experts and stakeholders convened to address the pressing issue of extremism in Europe and the urgent need for joint efforts to combat it effectively. Participants emphasized the importance of fostering collaboration, understanding, promoting dialogue, and cultivating inclusive societies to prevent radicalization and violent extremism.

  • Moderator: Nedim Jahić, Srebrenica Memorial Center
  • Edina Bećirević, Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Sarajevo
  • Fra Franjo Ninić, Franciscan Monastery St. Peter and Paul
  • Damir ef. Peštalić, Islamic Community in BiH
  • Ernest Herzog, World Jewish Congress
  • Jessica Lewin, World Jewish Congress

Closing remarks - Konstanty Gebert, Author and Journalist, Warsaw

In a powerful conclusion to the discussions on Srebrenica and genocide, Konstanty Gebert, an esteemed author and journalist from Warsaw, delivered impactful closing remarks, offering deep insights on the significance of these discussions and the lessons learned from the tragic events of Srebrenica.

Day 3
Tuesday, July 11

Official commemoration ceremony for genocide victims in Srebrenica

This solemn and significant event brought together survivors, families, government officials, and representatives from various organizations to pay tribute to those who tragically lost their lives during this dark chapter in history. The ceremony served as a poignant moment of remembrance, reflecting on the profound impact of the genocide on the lives of individuals, families, and communities. It provided an opportunity for solemn reflection, as well as a platform for survivors to share their experiences and stories.

Menachem Rosensaft address at Official Commemoration Ceremony

Menachem Rosensaft, World Jewish Congress General Counsel and Associate Executive Vice President,  delivered a poignant address at the official commemoration ceremony for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. His speech honored the memory of those who tragically perished and emphasized the lasting impact on individuals, families, and communities. Rosensaft's words provided a platform for survivors to share their experiences and called for continued efforts to ensure justice and prevention of such atrocities.