Zagreb to Finally Get Holocaust Monument and Synagogue

By 2 February 2018

ZAGREB, February 2, 2018 - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić on Friday promised members of the Israeli-Croatian Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group that before he retires from politics he will erect a monument to the Holocaust victims in Zagreb and rebuild the synagogue in the city's Praška Street, destroyed by the Ustasha regime that ruled Croatia in World War II.

The delegation, led by Israeli Parliament Deputy Speaker Esawi Frej, was on an official visit to Croatia, at the invitation of the Croatian Parliament Deputy Speaker and head of the parliament's Croatian-Israeli friendship group, Milijan Brkić.

Bandić said that the project to build a monument to the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi and fascist terror outside the city's main post office was underway, that work would start in three to four months and that it would be completed in a year. "That way we will put Zagreb on the map of capital cities in Europe and beyond that testify to their anti-fascist past and commitment to values of European democracy," said Bandić.

"Residents of Zagreb live multiculturalism, multi-ethnicity and multi-confessionalism and that stain in our history (destruction of the synagogue) will definitely be removed from the agenda once we rebuild the synagogue," said Bandić, calling also for signing friendship and cooperation agreements with Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or some other big Israeli city.

Frej thanked Bandić for the warm welcome in Zagreb, adding that it was just the beginning of a strong and long friendship. He expressed hope that Zagreb and Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or Haifa would become twin cities in the future.

Brkić said that the Jewish community in Croatia was strong and numerous, notably so in Zagreb, and he also condemned "the disgraceful act in 1941".

He recalled that Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb at the time, said that "anyone who touches a God's house of any faith will be persecuted and have no peace in this world and the afterlife."

"We politicians have to set this right and build the synagogue in Praška Street again," said Brkić, expressing hope that this would be done with the help of the Croatian government and the Israeli state.