Croatia tries to shed light on dark chapter in its history

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As histories of the Holocaust go, that of the concentration camp at Jasenovac probably ranks among the most brutal and certainly the most disputed.

Almost everyone agrees that the Nazi puppet regime that ruled Croatia from 1941 to 1945 imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and opponents here and in dozens of other camps and that many, many prisoners were killed.

But in the 61 years since the camp was closed, successive governments have written and rewritten history. Communist and nationalist rulers, Serbs and Croats, each pursuing their own ideological goals, have apportioned blame differently and alternately exaggerated or downplayed the number of those killed.

On Monday, Croatia opened a new museum in Jasenovac, a memorial regarded by many inside and outside the country as a test of this young state - which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, fought the Serbs over that for four years, and is now trying to get into the European Union - and its ability both to set aside and set straight its 20th-century history.

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