Wreaths Laid, Candles Lit at Vukovar Memorial Cemetery

By 19 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 19, 2018 - State and other official delegations on Sunday laid wreaths and lit candles at the Homeland War Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar, on the occasion of Vukovar Remembrance Day and the 27th anniversary of the town's fall into the hands of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serb paramilitaries on 18 November 1991, after a three-month siege.

Tribute to the victims was paid at the town's memorial cemetery by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who walked to the cemetery in a procession from the hospital, together with tens of thousands of other people who arrived in the town from all parts of the country.

Wreaths were also laid and candles lit by a delegation of defenders and war victims' associations, led by the last commander of the town's defence forces, Branko Borković, and a delegation of the town authorities, led by Mayor Ivan Penava.

A prayer for the Vukovar victims was led by Đakovo-Osijek Archbishop Đuro Hranić and a mass was said by the Bishop of Eisenstadt (Austria), Egidije Ivan Živković.

Several hundred lanterns were floated down the River Danube at Vukovar on Sunday evening as part of events commemorating Croatian soldiers and civilians killed or gone missing during the defence of this eastern town 27 years ago, at the start of Croatia's 1991-1995 war of independence.

This year the victims of Vukovar and other war victims were also commemorated by the tolling of church bells across the country at 6.11 pm. This initiative was launched by the Franciscan monastery in Vukovar and was accepted by Croatian bishops.

The Remembrance Day ceremonies will continue on Monday with commemorations for Croatian soldiers and civilians killed or gone missing in the town's Borovo Naselje neighbourhood.

The battle of Vukovar started on 25 August 1991, when members of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serb paramilitaries launched an all-out tank and infantry attack on the town. The town was defended by around 1,800 members of the National Guard Corps, police and volunteers of the self-organised Croatian Defence Force (HOS), organised into the 204th Croatian Army Brigade.

The town's defence lines were broken after a three-month siege on 18 November 1991.

According to data from war victims' associations, 1,664 Croatian soldiers and civilians were killed in the aggression on Vukovar and 308 people gone missing in Vukovar remain unaccounted for.

For more on Vukovar, click here.