Friday, 25 January 2019

Croatian Parliament Pays Respect to Holocaust Victims

 ZAGREB, January 25, 2019 - The Croatian Parliament began its session on Friday with a minute of silence to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on January 27. "On that day the whole world pays deep respect for the victims of the Nazi persecution and genocide of the Jews and minorities, as well as for all the victims of the Nazi and fascist regimes during World War II," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said at the start of the session.

Recalling the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp 73 years ago, he said that that infamous place also symbolised all other places where genocide had been committed against Jews and where other undesirable groups had been systematically exterminated by the Nazi and fascist regimes. "Auschwitz symbolises the death of six million innocent people whose only guilt was that they were different from the chosen ones," Jandroković said.

"Today we also respect the memory of all those who suffered and died at the hands of people who were blinded by fear and hatred. We also remember their families, as well as those who survived those atrocities and who were and are forever marked by the memory of the days of horror and shame they survived and who, despite the immense trauma, tried bravely to return to normal life. It is our debt to them," Jandroković said.

He recalled brave people who had risked their own life and the lives of their children, their safety and freedom, to unselfishly help the Jewish people. Among them are 117 Croatian 'righteous among the nations'. "Those were people of different religious, political and other convictions, but first and foremost they were morally upright. They can be an example to us today that everyone can and must be righteous among the nations," he stressed.

Jandroković said that the lessons learned from the Holocaust were especially important four young people as future leaders and opinion makers. "That's why it is of vital importance for them to fully understand the meaning of the Holocaust and how a learned experience can help in creating a more tolerant, more just and inclusive society in the future. They need to be taught to be against hatred and intolerance of any kind and to respect other people and their diversity," he said.

"Today we remember not only the victims of the Holocaust but also the victims of Vukovar, Škabrnja, Srebrenica and all other places of war crimes, and we send a message of hope that we have learned from the past and that in our societies we want human values to triumph over human destructiveness," Jandroković concluded.

Before the Parliament meeting, Jandroković laid a wreath in the Jewish section of Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.

More news on Croatia’s history can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Commemoration for Holocaust Victims Held in Front of Zagreb Cathedral

ZAGREB, January 25, 2019 - The Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, on Thursday organised a prayer event in front of the cathedral to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and on that occasion he paid tribute to victims of inhumane conduct in the past and condemned attempts aimed at annihilating the Jewish people, while representatives of the local Jewish community welcomed the cardinal's move as a historic event.

During the prayer, a 60-metre-long and 5-metre-wide banner was displayed on the cathedral's walls with the text from Biblical verses written by Isaiah about the remembrance of victims saying "I will give them – within the walls of my house – a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!".

Today, we are encountering the secret of the evil, and we do not look at it only within the frames of the past but we are also aware of the present day," said Bozanić who added that the ideology of racism was directed against God and the human beings and was "created on the untruth about the man and about the Jewish people."

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War when tan estimated 6 million Jewish people were killed. The day is observed in memory of 27 January 1945 when Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.

The cardinal calls for giving special attention to what had happened in Croatia and pointing out the truth, without any reservations, about the horrors in the Jasenovac death camp and other camps where innocent people lost their lives.

"We are here to recognise the evil and hate speech and to resist them and to build together mutual respect and love, to the well-being of our Croatian society and the whole humankind," Bozanić said.

The dignitary spoke about the Jewish community in Croatia and especially in the City of Zagreb and their contribution to and integration in the life and culture of city. He recalled that the data show that less than 2,000 Jews survived WW2 from the 11,000-strong community in Zagreb.

He says that he sympathises in his prayers and thoughts with the Jews who survived and who have borne the burden of their personal experiences of human cruelty and he also extended his sympathies to the whole Jewish people.

The Zagreb Archbishop also underscores that the descendants – children and grandchildren – of the perpetrators of war crimes should be mentioned in prayers and that they also need the purification by truth. Christianity excludes any hatred towards the human being and other people, he said.

The head of the Jewish Information and Education Centre Hatikva, Julija Kos, sad that the event being held in front of the cathedral was of extremely great importance. "Each sentence of the cardinal's speech has a single message about what we should do to make our society healthy," she added.

Some descendants of the perpetrators are aware what their ancestors did, and some are not aware, and they are not to blame for that, she said.

Kos said that only a small portion of the descendants of perpetrators in Croatia still glorified their ancestors. There are only few of them but they are loud, she added.

Kristijan Lepešić commented that the banner on the cathedral's walls was the biggest of this kind in Europe. This is a great step forward made by the Catholic Church, he said.

In attendance at the commemoration were Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and envoys of top state officials.

More news on the World War II as it happened in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Croatian Parliament to Join in Marking Holocaust Remembrance Day

ZAGREB, January 24, 2019 - Croatian Parliament will join in the marking of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on January 27.

At the start of a parliamentary session on Thursday, Speaker Gordan Jandroković called on MPs to attend a ceremony of laying wreaths at the Jewish section of the Zagreb's central Mirogoj cemetery at 0845 hours Friday.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorated the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 5 million Slavs, 3 million ethnic Poles, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust.

More news on the Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Croatia Marking 27th Anniversary of International Recognition

ZAGREB, January 15, 2019 - Croatia is observing today the 27th anniversary of international recognition. On 15 January 1992, Croatia's independence was recognised by the then member states of the European Union.

On 15 January 1992, Croatia was in the midst of the Homeland War and nearly one third of the country was occupied by the former Yugoslav army and Serb insurgents. Croatia's then president Franjo Tuđman told his associates that evening: "We have created the internationally recognised Croatia. Let's celebrate tonight and then roll up our sleeves and build a new democratic state."

Croatia's international recognition followed after it declared independence from Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991. On the same day, Slovenia too declared its independence from Yugoslavia and the next day the two newly- created states recognised each other.

At that time, the Soviet Union was disintegrating too and although they were not internationally recognised yet, several of its former countries recognised Croatia during 1991 - Lithuania on July 30, Ukraine on December 11, Latvia on December 14 and Estonia on December 31.

Iceland was the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia, on 15 December 1991, followed by Germany on the same day, although it decided that its recognition would go into force on 15 January 1992, together with the other EU member states.

On January 13, Croatia was recognised by the Holy See, which had announced that it would recognise Croatia and Slovenia the previous December 20. On January 14, Croatia was recognised by San Marino.

After being recognised by the EU on 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognised on the same day by Great Britain, Denmark, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg and Greece. On January 16, Croatia was recognised by Argentina, Australia, the Czech Republic, Chile, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Slovakia, Sweden and Uruguay.

By the end of that January, Croatia was recognised by Finland, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Russia recognised Croatia on 17 February 1992, Japan did so on March 17, the US on April 7, Israel on April 16, although diplomatic relations were established five and a half years later, and China on April 27.

The first Asian country that recognised Croatia was Iran on 15 March 1992, while Egypt was the first African country on 16 April 1992.

On 22 May 1992, Croatia joined the UN.

More news on Croatia’s history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Prehistory Adventure Virtual Tour Presented in Zagreb

ZAGREB, January 14, 2019 - An EU-funded project on experiential tour of prehistoric heritage in Croatian and Slovenian border areas was presented in Zagreb's Archaeological Museum on Monday. The total amount set aside for the "Prehistory Adventure" project within the Croatia-Slovenia cross-border cooperation programme Interreg V-A 2014-2020 is 720,290 euro.

The project will be conducted by the Croatian municipality of Donja Voća and the neighbouring Slovenian municipalities of Zreče and Radenci, as well as by several museums in Croatia and Slovenia.

The two-year project was launched in November 2018. It focuses on five different sectors, and will be conducted with the assistance of applications and smart boards and through a series of events, including workshops and exhibition.

Prehistoric heritage will be given tourist-friendly and comprehensive promotion.

The project will seek to present the everyday life of prehistoric people in an interesting way.

More news on Croatia’s history can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

President Marks 27 Years of Croatia’s International Recognition

ZAGREB, January 10, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held an official reception in the northwestern town of Čakovec on Thursday for the heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations and military attaches in Croatia on the occasion of Croatia’s international recognition 27 years ago and of the 100th anniversary of Međimurje's secession from Hungary and its reintegration into Croatia, which was then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

In her address, President Grabar-Kitarović said that the reception was organised in recognition of all those who had contributed to the adoption of the resolution on Međimurje's secession from Hungary one hundred years ago. "That was a historic day for Croatia and the Croatian people and that is why on 9 January 2005 the Croatian parliament proclaimed this as a day commemorating that resolution," she underscored and added that today Međimurje is one of the most developed areas in Croatia.

Referring to Croatia's international recognition on 15 January 1992, Grabar-Kitarović said that the Croatian people were given an opportunity to be included in all positive European processes. "Our aspirations for membership of the great family of European Union countries, which we achieved a few years ago, expresses our deep confidence and feeling that Europe has a shared future," she said.

Speaking of many European initiatives that Croatia has been incorporated in, she underscored the Three Seas Initiative which has received support from the European Commission, the US and a new partner country, Germany. She expressed confidence that this will "have a beneficial impact on European and international relations," hoping that Croatia will soon be able to have the same impact as a member of the OECD.

Among priorities in state policy, she underlined advancing bilateral relations with neighbouring countries and resolving outstanding issues, adding that Croatia will remain dedicated to the mutual protection of national minority rights. She said that as a signatory to the Washington and Dayton peace accords, Croatia is firmly determined to offer further support to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina in their endeavours to achieve full ethnic equality and constitutionality.

"Croatia will also actively support and encourage all processes that will ensure stability in southeast Europe and for all its peoples and countries that so wish to join the European Union and NATO," Grabar-Kitarović said.

In the year marking the 10th anniversary of Croatia's accession to NATO, she stressed that our relations with other countries, particularly strategic partnership with the United States of America, constructive cooperation with the Russian Federation and China, further strengthening ties with Israel and expanding economic cooperation with other countries in the Mediterranean basin, are a continuation of our presence in international relations.

"We will certainly have an exceptional role in the China plus 16 summit which Croatia is hosting in April 2019 and which should deepen relations and ties between the East and West that started long ago with Marco Polo," she said.

More news on the Croatia’s president can be found in our Politics section.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Croatian Government Condemns MP’s Son’s Hate Speech

ZAGREB, January 8, 2019 - The Croatian government condemned in the strongest terms a Facebook post by MP Josip Đakić's son Ivan, which it said spreads hate speech which incites intolerance, according to a press release issued by the government's public relations office on Tuesday.

Relevant institutions have already launched action against such behaviour, the press release said.

The 22-year-old Ivan Đakić posted a photograph on his Facebook page on Monday showing an Ustasha with the severed head of a Chetnik, under which he wrote: "Merry Christmas to all my Serb 'friends'." The Ustashas and Chetniks were respective Croatian and Serbian allies of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The post prompted widespread condemnation over hate speech.

Ivan Đakić was taken in by the police in Virovitica, 150 kilometres northeast of Zagreb, for questioning.

The ruling HDZ party strongly condemned the post as hate speech and incitement to social intolerance, announcing that it would take disciplinary action against Ivan Đakić.

Ivan Đakić resigned from party membership on Tuesday. "I see his resignation from the party today as an act of confession of this grave mistake and a realisation of the gravity of this regrettable act," said his father, Josip Đakić, who serves as chairman of the HDZ's Virovitica-Podravina County committee.

"I shared the photograph from a friend of mine and erased it within a minute. It doesn't reflect my opinion. I apologise to anyone I may have offended and wish them a merry Christmas," Đakić told the Index news website.

However, the screenshot clearly shows that Djakic did not remove the photograph within a minute and that he himself posted it.

More news on the dark part of the Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Anniversary of Deaths of Five European Peace Monitors Commemorated

ZAGREB, January 7, 2019 - A commemoration was held in Podrute near the northwestern Croatian town of Novi Marof on Monday for five European Community peace monitors – four Italians and a Frenchman – whose unarmed helicopter was shot down there by a Yugoslav Air Force MiG-21 on 7 January 1992.

On board the helicopter were Italians Colonel Enzo Venturini, Lieutenants Marco Matta, Silvano Natale and Fiorenzo Ramacci, and French Lieutenant Jean Loup Eychenne.

Attending today's commemoration, presidential envoy Mate Granić, a former foreign minister, said the sacrifice of European peace monitors was incorporated in the foundations of the present-day Croatian state.

Croatian Foreign Ministry's State Secretary Zdravka Bušić said that the shooting down of the unarmed helicopter was an act of shooting at innocent civilians who were seeking a peaceful resolution.

Novi Marof Mayor Siniša Jenkač said that the attack against the helicopter of the European Community observer mission clearly pointed to the fact who the victim was and who the aggressor was in the Homeland War, and this is why that tragic event is so important.

Military envoy of the Italian Embassy in Zagreb, Angelo Malizia, said that remembering the event that occurred 27 years ago was sorrowful, yet "a feeling of pride exists, because the sacrifice of four Italian soldiers and a Frenchman was not in vain."

Fabrice Duda of the military envoy of the French Embassy also attended today's commemoration.

More news on the Homeland War can be found in our Politics section.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Croatia Declassifies Documents in Connection with Seuso Treasure

ZAGREB, January 6, 2019 - The Croatian government decided to declassify the archive documentation of a commission tasked with coordinating activities in connection with artifacts from the "Seuso Treasure" that consists of 14 large decorated silver vessels and a copper cauldron which contained them.

It is supposed that patrician Seuso (Sevso) owned this Roman-era silver collection. Sevso was a high-ranking Roman official who lived in the region that is today west Hungary. The hoard was named after a Latin inscription on one of the large plates: "Let these, O Sevso, yours for many ages be, small vessels fit to serve your offspring worthily."

The first pieces appeared on the market in London in 1980, and the treasure was acquired by a consortium headed by Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton. Documentation was provided in which it was stated that it had been found in the Tyre and Sidon regions of Lebanon. It was put up for sale in New York City in 1990 by Sotheby's, but the sale was halted when the documentation was found to be false, and the governments of Hungary, Croatia and Lebanon made claims of ownership.

The treasure seems to have been discovered in the 1970s in circumstances that remain murky.

Croatia's authorities have claimed that this hoard of silver objects had been excavated in the Istrian town of Barbariga.

On the other hand, the Hungarians insist that the treasure was originally from the area of its Balaton Lake.

In March 2014, Hungarian media outlets reported that a half of the 14 silver objects were repatriated to Hungary, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that 15 million euros had been spent for the restitution of the treasure. The objects were put on display in Budapest.

More news on the Croatian history can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Monument to Franjo Tuđman Unveiled in Zagreb

ZAGREB, December 11, 2018 - A four-metre-high monument to Franjo Tuđman, Croatia's first president, was unveiled in the centre of Zagreb on Monday, on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of Tuđman's death.

Addressing the unveiling ceremony, incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović praised the first head of state for understanding the signs of the times and for leading the nation when it created its state.

Noting that the anniversary of Tuđman's death coincides with Human Rights' Day, 10 December, Grabar-Kitarović underscored that Tuđman was aware that the ideal of fundamental human rights could not be fully exercised if a nation was not free.

Guided by that ideal, Tuđman joined the anti-Fascist movement during the Second World War, but soon after the end of WWII, he realised that the new state (Socialist Yugoslavia) failed to ensure the exercise of human, social and national ideals of the Croatian people, she added.

Many Croats could not accept that but only the few had a clear vision of the promotion of the Croatian cause, and Tuđman was a leader who could shape and implement that plan, said Grabar-Kitarović.

The key to his success was his belief that nations that are small, such as the Croat people, are also entitled to great ideas and the ability to implement them, she said.

Tuđman was also aware that the crucial historical opportunity should not be missed as it would lead to the "extinction of the Croat people," she added.

She went on to say that that the first Croatian president was sure that a people that waged a just defensive war could not lose. After Operation Storm which completed efforts to bring freedom and independence to Croatia, Tuđman came to Vukovar with an extended hand of reconciliation and peace, said Grabar-Kitarović.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković recalled that under Tuđman's leadership, the Croatians' centuries-long dream of a free, democratic, independent and internationally recognised country became true.

The achievements of the Croatian state with Tudjman at its helm have enabled a free expression of the Croatian national and state identity, Plenković said.

It is therefore important to preserve those values, and Tuđman's positive political legacy is a pillar of the present-day Croatia which we have to promote and develop in significantly different social and political circumstances, he added.

Today we have the responsibility to recognise new strategic priorities and implement them through dialogue, seek joint solutions, reinforce Croatian institutions and build the country's international image, the prime minister said, recalling that during Tudjman's presidency Croatia defined its commitment to integrating with European and trans-Atlantic organisations and the family of the most developed European countries.

The monument to Franjo Tuđman, erected at the intersection of Vukovarska and Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice streets, was formally unveiled by Grabar-Kitarović, sculptor Kuzma Kovačić, who is the monument's author, members of the Tuđman family, and Zagreb Deputy Mayor Jelena Pavičić Vukičević.

More info about Croatian history can be found in our Politics section.

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