Sunday, 26 January 2020

75 Carnations Laid in Zagreb's Square on Occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day

ZAGREB, January 26, 2020 - The Anti-Fascist League of Croatia organised a rally in Zagreb's Victims of Fascism Square on Sunday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January, and on that occasion activists laid 75 carnations on the wall of building in the square in which Ustasha police and Gestapo used to operate during WW2.

The 75 flowers were laid to mark 75 years since Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated on 27 January 1945.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial day on 27 January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War, was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2005. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and 11 million others, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

During today's rally, activists recalled that the Holocaust had been also performed in Croatia during the Ustasha regime in the so-called Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1945.

The lessons about the Holocaust teach us that in the societies hit by the evil of anti-Semitism, also the doors are open for the persecution of other minorities, said the Anti-Fascist League's leader, Zoran Pusić, adding that anti-Semitism lurks in "some obscure part of the society and is potentially always present."

He said that in Croatia, some 3,000 monuments, which had been erected during the Socialist Yugoslavia in memory of the Tito-led Partisans had been destroyed in the meantime. Pusić said that the national resistance movement (NOB) in the country had been the biggest resistance against Nazi forces and local Nazi collaborators in Europe.

He also warned of the rising anti-Semitic mood in the present-day Europe recently.

More news about Croatia and Holocaust can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Croatian Parliament Pays Tribute to All Holocaust Victims

ZAGREB, January 24, 2020 - The Croatian Parliament on Friday observed a minute's silence for all Holocaust victims, with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković saying that the victims must remain in the collective memory of humankind so that those atrocities are never repeated.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked on January 27 when the entire world pays deep respect to the victims of Nazi persecution and genocide of the Jewish people and to all victims of the Nazi and fascist regimes during World War II, Jandroković recalled.

"It is with special respect that we also remember all those who survived the Holocaust and their families," he underscored, noting that earlier in the morning a delegation laid wreaths in the Jewish section of the Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.

Jandroković said that this is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, adding that Croatia was participating in that commemoration at the highest level.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attended the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem memorial museum while Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will participate in the official commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland on Monday.

"That camp of death, terror and cruelty symbolises other places where genocide of the Jewish people occurred along with the systematic annihilation of other unwanted groups during the Nazi and fascist regimes in which atrocities were committed against six million innocent people whose only fault - according to the monstrous Nazi ideology - was that they were different from the chosen ones," underscored Jandroković.

"We permanently pledge that we will never forget the Holocaust and the names of all the victims, as well as all those courageous people who opposed the Nazi and fascist regimes and helped the Jewish people - including 118 Croatians who are Righteous Among the Nations," he added.

"As a country with a painful historical experience of a totalitarian and criminal regime, today we remember and pay our respects to Jews and other people and their families who were killed during the Criminal Ustasha regime."

"Today we also accept the responsibility that we will always prevent antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination in our societies and that we will permanently promote the democratic ideal of respecting every person and their inviolable dignity," Jandroković said.

Addressing lawmakers in the Sabor, Jandroković said that for some time now there has been an obvious increase in Europe of hate speech and hate crime, racism, xenophobia and intolerance toward minorities and other vulnerable groups - including the Jews.

The growing antisemitism is contrary to the fundamental values and respect for human rights that any democratic society is founded on and is a threat to peace, freedom, pluralism and democracy, he added.

As a result, numerous European institutions have adopted documents that call for the promotion of awareness of the need for prevention and continuing fight against anti-semitisim.

In 2005 Croatia joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance particularly among the young but also to promote awareness of the need to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

In 2016 the alliance adopted a working definition of antisemitism recommending that all countries use that non-binding document as a guideline on how to recognise antisemitism and as educational material about the holocaust.

The Croatian Parliament's Education, Science and Culture Committee on Thursday adopted a conclusion encouraging state institutions and civil society organisations to promote the working definition of antisemitism, concluded Jandroković.

More news about Croatia and the Holocaust can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Croatia Has Politically Established Itself Internationally in Less Than 30 Years

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Croatia's international recognition, that the political legacy of the first president, Franjo Tuđman, was that in less than 30 years Croatia had politically established itself internationally and was now chairing the Council of the EU.

"Twenty-eight years ago, Croatia was internationally recognised and today is also the 22nd anniversary of the completion of the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube River Region into the constitutional order, which is Croatia's success and president Tuđman's political legacy," Plenković posted on Twitter.

"In less than three decades, Croatia won the Homeland War thanks to Croatian defenders, it politically established itself internationally as a member of the European Union and NATO, and today presides over the Council of the European Union at a crucial time for the future of Europe."

Twenty-eight years ago, Croatia was recognised by the EU member states. Germany, which together with the Vatican played a key role in that, established diplomatic relations with Croatia on 15 January 1992. At the time, the war was on and almost a third of the country was under occupation by the Yugoslav army and Serb rebels. On the same day in 1998, Croatia completed the peaceful reintegration of the Danube River Region, reclaiming its recognised borders.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Anniversaries of International Recognition and Reintegration of Danube Region Marked

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - On this day, 28 years ago, the then member-states of the European Union recognised Croatia and on this day 22 years ago, the country completed the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region.

On 15 January 1992, Croatia's independence was recognised by the members of the EU and Germany as well as the Vatican were perceived as protagonists in those developments, while 15 January 1998 saw the completion of the peaceful reintegration of the until then occupied Danube River Region into Croatia's constitutional and legal order.

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 president Franjo Tuđman told his associates in the evening of 15 January 1992: "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 republics recognised Croatia during 1991 - Lithuania on July 30, Ukraine on December 11, Latvia on December 14 and Estonia on December 31.

Iceland - the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia

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, however, the two countries established their diplomatic relations 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.

Croatia is observing on Wednesday the 22th anniversary of the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region. The process was completed during the term of the United Nations Transitional Administration of Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) on 15 January 1998.

It was the Erdut Agreement, which was signed on 12 November 1995, that enabled the peaceful restoration of Croatian sovereignty over the Croatian Danube region which was under the control of Serb paramilitaries and rebels since the launch of the Great Serbian aggression against that part of Croatia in 1991.

The Erdut Agreement on eastern Slavonia, Baranja and western Srijem was signed on 12 November 1995 in Erdut and Zagreb by the then presidential chief-of-staff, Hrvoje Šarinić, the head of the Serb negotiating team, Milan Milanović, and by the then US Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, and UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as witnesses. The treaty marked the beginning of the UN's two-year transitional administration in the area during which Croatia restored its sovereignty over the temporarily occupied parts of Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties, which enabled reconstruction in the area ravaged in the Great Serbian aggression on Croatia and the return of refugees.

The Erdut agreement was reached by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman and Serbian President Slobodan Milošević at a peace conference in Dayton, Ohio. The 14-point document provided for a two-year transitional period under UN supervision, a transitional administration, formation of a multi-national police force, local elections, and demilitarisation 30 days after the deployment of international peacekeepers. Seven provisions of the agreement dealt with human rights, refugee return, and property restitution or compensation.

The UNTAES mission was created under UN Security Council Resolution 1037 of 15 January 1996 and ended on 15 January 1998.

Two Croatian military operations in 1995 – Operation Flash which was conducted in May that year in western Slavonia and Operation Storm that liberated the largest portion of the occupied territories – paved the way for the Erdut agreement and subsequently for the UNTAES mission.

On 1 January this year, Croatia, which was admitted to the European bloc on 1 July 2013, assumed the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The presidency over the EU is seen as an opportunity to promote the country-in-chair and making the local society more sensitive to EU-related topics.

"A strong Europe in a world of challenges" is the slogan Croatia has chosen for its presidency. The programme of its EU presidency is based on four themes or pillars - A Europe that develops; A Europe that connects; A Europe that protects; and An influential Europe.

In Croatia, a total of 161 events in relation to the presidency will be held. One of the major events will be a summit meeting between the EU and the Western Balkans, set for 7 May in Zagreb.

Apart from that, eight informal gatherings will take place in Zagreb, three in the biggest Adriatic city of Split and one in the coastal resort of Opatija.

Nine ministerial conferences will be organised in Croatia: five in Zagreb and four outside the capital city. A few expert-level meetings will be held in the eastern city of Osijek.

The accession of Croatia to NATO took place in 2009.

More info about the history of Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Kristallnacht Commemorated in Zagreb

ZAGREB, November 10, 2019 - A ceremony commemorating Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, and the Nazi pogrom of Jews in Germany and Austria on 9 November 1938 was held in Zagreb's Square of Victims of Fascism on Saturday evening, organised by the Croatian Antifascist League.

Addressing those gathered, the head of the coordinating committee of the Jewish communities in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, said: "We are here to remember the Night of Broken Glass, to pay tribute to the victims of racial laws, not to allow equating Ustashism with antifascism, and to warn of the danger of xenophobia and nationalism which is on our doorstep."

Kraus warned of rising antisemitism in Europe, saying that armed Nazis had attacked a synagogue in the German city of Halle last month during the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur and that similar incidents were recorded elsewhere in Europe.

Kraus said that in Germany and Austria, or in any other Western European country, it was not possible to downplay or deny the existence of concentration camps during World War II and equate the victims of Nazism and antifascism, the Axis powers and the Allies, while in Croatia that was possible.

"The antifascist movement and the Ustasha movement, the victims and butchers, continue to be equated, and pseudohistorians continue to write a new history of Croatia, rehabilitating the NDH (Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia). On the other hand, they are inventing crimes and the President is calling for a recount of the victims of the Jasenovac death camp. Why?" he said.

Kraus called the Croatian reality a disgrace, saying that the history of the children's concentration camps in Sisak and Jasenovac was being changed to portray them as reception centres where children were looked after, and adding that senior state officials attended a commemoration for victims of totalitarian regimes at a cemetery where Ustasha and German troops had been killed.

He drew attention to NDH and Nazi Germany symbols and hate graffiti that could be seen across Croatia and to physical attacks. He also mentioned the initiative to abolish Antifascist Struggle Day as a national holiday.

"This day was not mentioned in any of the television or radio programmes today. The event of global significance which actually marked the beginning of the Holocaust, or Shoah, and the Second World War, the worst thing that happened in the history of humankind," Kraus said.

In the Night of Broken Glass, over 1,300 people were killed, 1,400 synagogues and more than half of the buildings in the Jewish communities in Germany and Austria were destroyed or severely damaged, and 7,500 shops were ravaged. The next day, 10 November, over 30,000 men were taken to concentration camps, he recalled.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Ombudsman Lora Vidović, Independent Democratic Serb Party leader Milorad Pupovac, Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mori and activist Rada Borić.

More info about events connected with the World War II can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

State Delegations Lay Wreaths on Independence Day

ZAGREB, October 8, 2019 - High state delegations on Tuesday laid wreaths at Zagreb's central cemetery of Mirogoj on the occasion of Independence Day, October 8.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, and the envoy for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Anamarija Kirinić, laid wreaths in front of the central cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Defenders, at the grave of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman and at the common grave of unidentified victims of the 1991-95 Homeland War.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, President Grabar-Kitarović, PM Plenković and Parliament Speaker Jandroković attended mass for the Homeland in St. Mark's Church.

A changing of the Honour Guard outside the government and parliament offices in St. Mark's Square is expected to take place at noon.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević today issued a message of congratulation to all Croatian citizens, notably defenders and families of defenders killed or gone missing in the war, stressing that it was because of them that Croatians today lived in a free and independent country.

"Today we have a duty to build Croatia's future based on the values of the Homeland War, which is the foundation of the modern Croatian state," the minister said in the message, among other things.

Independence Day is observed in memory of 8 October 1991 when the Croatian parliament unanimously decided to sever all state and legal ties with the other republics and provinces of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), whereby Croatia became an independent state.

The parliament also decided that it no longer recognised as valid any legal act of anybody acting on behalf of the former federation, which no longer existed as such, and voted in 15 laws required to bring to life an independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.

Previously, the parliament adopted a constitutional decision on independence and sovereignty on 25 June 1991, but its entry into force was postponed for three months based on the Brijuni Declaration of July 7, adopted at the initiative of the European Commission in an effort to help peacefully resolve the Yugoslav crisis.

After the moratorium expired, in the afternoon of October 7, planes of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) bombed Zagreb and the Banski Dvori in St. Mark's Square, the residence of the then state leadership headed by President Franjo Tuđman, killing one person and wounding four. Other buildings in St. Mark's Square were damaged as well.

Due to security reasons and possible new attacks on Zagreb, the parliament was relocated to the basement of the oil company INA's building in Šubićeva Street, where the historic decision on independence was adopted.

More on history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Officials Issue Messages for Independence Day

ZAGREB, October 7, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Monday congratulated Croatian citizens on Independence Day, observed on October 8, saying that over the past 28 years many things had been achieved, "we have demonstrated that no goal is unreachable if we are committed to it."

In her congratulations, the president said Independence Day honoured parliament’s historic decision on Croatia's final and irrevocable independence. Every Croatian patriot is proud and grateful to all known and unknown individuals who made sacrifices for this historic goal, she added.

"Today, Croatia is a State that is known and respected... We know and sense that we can do more and better for Croatia. We wish to create a society and a State tailored to the needs of the Croatian man. I believe that we shall succeed because I believe in the Croatian people, because I believe in Croatia."

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Monday issued a message for Independence Day, which is observed on October 8, saying that the future of Croatia depends on its citizens and that Croatia can be a country each Croatian citizen will be proud of.

October 8, 1991 will remain forever written in Croatian history as the day when the Croatian parliament decided to sever constitutional and legal ties with the other republics and provinces of the Yugoslav federation, he said.

"With this decision, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia, which the Croatian Sabor adopted on June 25, 1991, Croatia became a sovereign, autonomous and independent state, setting in motion the process of international recognition.

"With these acts the Croatian Sabor confirmed the long-running aspirations of the Croatian people to build their future in a free, sovereign, autonomous, independent, democratic and pluralist Croatia. For such a Croatia, many Croatian defenders and their families, patriotically and honourably, made great sacrifices in the Homeland War and for that we will forever be grateful to them," Jandroković wrote.

"Today, as we strengthen the future of our homeland, we must be aware that it depends on ourselves alone, on our self-awareness, strength, patriotism, determination, responsibility and harmony. With this awareness, and with coordinated action between citizens and all levels of government, Croatia can permanently move forward and be a country of which each Croatian citizen will be proud," Jandroković said.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Plenković Commemorates Air Raid on Government Building 28 Years Ago

ZAGREB, October 7, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković laid a wreath on the memorial plaque on the government building commemorating a Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) air raid on the building 28 years ago.

Plenković said that the attack marked a turning point in the process of Croatia's gaining independence from Yugoslavia. "Fortunately, the state leadership survived the attack, which was followed by the key and definitive decision at a secret session of Parliament to sever all constitutional and legal ties with the structures of the former state," he said.

"This day is also important in terms of respect for the Homeland War, Croatian defenders, the first president Tuđman, the clearly expressed will of the Croatian people in the independence referendum, the eventual international recognition and the fact that Croatia became an international entity," the prime minister told reporters.

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

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Exhibition on Pejačević Noble Family and Croat-Slovak Ties Opens in Vienna

ZAGREB, October 5, 2019 - An exhibition entitled "The Pejačević family and cultural and historical ties between Croats and Slovaks" opened at the Croatian Centre in Vienna on Friday evening.

The exhibition, open until 20 October 2020, features photographs and inscriptions in Croatian, Slovak and German telling the story of the Croatian noble family and Slovak settlers in the Našice area of eastern Croatia. It provides a cultural, historical and political context for several stages of Slovak settlement, which began in the mid-18th century, and the support settlers received from the Pejačević family. The Slovak settlers contributed to the development of the Našice area by clearing forests and working wood on the land owned by the Pejačević family.

The Pejačević family took an active party in the social, cultural and political life of Croatia for two and a half centuries. Notable members of the family included viceroys Ladislav and Teodor and composer Dora Pejačević.

Croatian Ambassador to Vienna Vesna Cvjetković said that the Slovak minority was one of 22 ethnic minorities in Croatia, nurturing their culture and customs and enriching Croatia.

The director of the Slovak Cultural Centre in Našice, Sandra Kralj Vukšić, said that the exhibition was a token of gratitude to the Pejacević family for everything they had done for the Slovaks in Croatia.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Local Authorities Observe Anniversary of Decision to Join Istria to Croatia

ZAGREB, September 13, 2019 - Delegations o the Town of Pazin and local anti-Fascist associations on Friday laid a wreath outside the building in Pazin in which on 13 September 1943, the Istria committee of the People's Liberation Movement decided on reintegration of Istria in Croatia.

Addressing the ceremony, a representative of the anti-Fascist associations, Tomislav Ravnić, said that events and people who fought for joining Istria to Croatia should never be forgotten.

In that struggle, 17,000 Istrians died, which is far more than "in the Homeland War, which was imposed on us", Ravnić said underscoring that he did not want to diminish the suffering caused during the 1991-1995 war.

Ravnić said that he condemned in the harshest terms the unveiling of the monument to Gabriele D'Anunnzio in Trieste and public activities of neo-Fascists in Rijeka.

There is no excuse for such events as they glorify the irredentism and Fascism, he added.

In September 1919 D'Annunzio proclaimed Rijeka as an independent state called the Italian Regency of Carnaro.

More info about the Second World War can be found in the Politics section.

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