Saturday, 27 November 2021

President Offers Best Wishes to Jewish Faithful for Hanukkah

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Saturday issued a message offering his best wishes to the Jewish faithful for the holiday of Hanukkah.

"I wish all the best to all the Jewish faithful for Hanukkah, may the holiday of dedication and lights bring you an abundance of strength, peace and well-being and fill your homes with the warmth and joy of coming together. Chag Hanukkah Sameach!" Milanović said in his message.

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Monday, 13 September 2021

Memorial Plaque Placed in Karlovac at Site of Former Synagogue

ZAGREB, 13 Sept 2021 - The city of Karlovac on Sunday held a ceremony of placing a memorial plaque at the site of the former synagogue which was built 150 years ago in that Croatian city and demolished in 1960.

Addressing the ceremony, Israeli Ambassador to Croatia Ilan Mor said that the contribution of Jews to Karlovac, Croatia, Europe, and the world must not be forgotten.

Croatian rabbi Luciano Moše Prelević said a Jewish prayer which, he explained, he always prays when commemorating  "the disappearance of the Jewish community" in a certain area.

Ambassador Mor thanked the president of the association "Jews in Karlovac", Tena Bunčić, for founding the association which, with the help of Karlovac County and the City of Karlovac, reconstructs the life of the Jewish community in Karlovac.

In this way, the great contribution of Jews in Karlovac and other cities in Croatia to the development of cultural and economic prosperity is saved from falling into oblivion, he said.

The ambassador wished all Jews a happy Jewish New Year.

The head of the Zagreb Jewish Community, and the coordinator of the Jewish communities in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, wished that "something be done for a better future, apart from talking about graves", and he spoke about the suffering of Karlovac Jews in Ustasha camps in 1941 and later.

Karlovac Mayor Damir Mandić said that Karlovac is an open city that nurtures the coexistence, and County Prefect Martina Furdek Hajdin said it was important that history, as the teacher of life, be objective and impartial, "that the fate of Jews acts as a reprimand, and that we should be grateful for the indelible mark of Jews in the economic and cultural development of this area".

The culture ministry's official, Davor Trupković, said that they were trying to contribute to a better presentation of historical data and multiculturalism and multireligiousness, that the Jewish cemetery in Karlovac was an important reminder, and that numerous cultural goods spoke about the Jewish community in Karlovac as an integral part of the city.

Tena Bunčić, the initiator of this event, is the great-granddaughter of the conductor of the first Croatian choral group "Zora" (Dawn), David Meisl. Bunčić said that while researching the life of her great-grandfather she had discovered how much the Jewish community had contributed to Karlovac. That contribution, she added, is the fruit of their love to this city. That is why she founded the association "Jews in Karlovac", through which the memories of that community are renewed.

Kraus told Hina that there were now about 10% of ethnic Jews in Croatia compared to their number before World War II.

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

President Zoran Milanović, Parliament Speaker Jandroković Offer Their Best Wishes to Jewish Community For Rosh Hashanah

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Tuesday issued separate messages offering their best wishes to the Jewish community on the occasion of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

"I wish all the best to the Jewish community in Croatia for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot with the traditional greeting 'May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year'," Milanović said, wishing the Jewish community happiness and peace throughout the new year.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković wished the Jewish community an abundance of health, happiness, peace and prosperity in the New Year 5782.

"May you spend this holiday period, which is a time of preparation for the great holiday of Yom Kippur, in joy and union with your fellow men. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year," Jandroković said in his message.

Rosh Hashanah is followed by a ten-day period of repentance which culminates with the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Sends Best Wishes to Jewish Community For Rosh Hashanah

ZAGREB, 6 Sept, 2021 (Hina) - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Monday extended his best wishes to the Jewish community on the occasion of the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, with the traditional greeting "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year".

In the message he sent on his own behalf and on the behalf of his cabinet on the occasion of the 5782 Jewish year, Plenković wished an abundance of hope, health and prosperity to Jewish believers.

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Sunday, 23 May 2021

Panel and Book on Contribution of Jews to Croatian Culture

ZAGREB, 23 May, 2021 - Writer Jasminka Domaš gave a lecture in Zagreb earlier this week on the contribution of Jews to Croatian culture and their lasting legacy, and presented her book "Kadišl i Nebeski Zločini" (Kadišl and Heavenly Crimes), inspired by the fates of Croatian Jews during the 1941-45 Nazi-styled NDH.

A panel entitled "The Contribution of Jews to Croatian Culture", organised by the Centre for Promotion of Tolerance and Preservation of Holocaust Remembrance, is part of a cultural and educational project, "I Understand You, I Hear You", which focuses on learning about the Holocaust, the social significance of Jews and other national minorities and their contribution to the cultural and other legacies in Croatia.

Domaš is a Croatian writer, journalist and scientist of Jewish origin.

Jews are an inseparable part of identity of today's Zagreb and Croatia

Speaking about the contribution of Jews to Croatian culture, Domaš named a number of important and successful individuals, such as doctors Mauro Sachs, Dragutin Schwarz and Izidor Steinhardt and social anthropologist Vera Stein Erlich, who contributed greatly to the development of Croatian society.

Also, it is impossible to talk about the City of Zagreb and its urban appearance without mentioning Jewish architects responsible for the look of its centre today, she said.

She recalled that the Zrinjevac meteorological column was a gift to the city from Jewish doctor Adolf Holzer. The Prister family donated the Music Pavillion to the city, while the Ethnographic Museum was founded by Salamon Berger.

The Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall was named after Ignac Fuchs, the composer of the first Croatian opera, Domaš said, recalling also the fate of Lea Deutch, who performed at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb from the age of five and who in the NDH (Independent State of Croatia) was not spared death in a Nazi camp.

"About 1,500 Jews live in Zagreb today, and there are 2,000 in Croatia. According to data, in 1941, about 12,000 Jews lived in Zagreb and 39,500 in NDH, so some 5,000 people survived the war," said Domaš, who came across some startling information during her research. "After 1938, 50,000 refugees from Germany and Austria passed through Zagreb, but no one believed what they said about what was happening there, and it cost so many people their lives".

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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

No Joint Ceremony to Pay Tribute to Jasenovac Victims

ZAGREB, 20 April, 2021 - There will be no joint commemoration for victims of the World War II concentration camp Jasenovac on Thursday, representatives of the victims will lay wreaths separately from the state leadership while President Zoran Milanović will do so separately from the prime minister and parliament speaker.

President Milanović's spokesman Nikola Jelić confirmed to Hina that Milanović and his delegation will lay wreaths at the Stone Flower monument at Jasenovac at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Office of the President did not receive reply from gov't, parliament

"President Zoran Milanović and his delegation will pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims on 22 April, at 11 a.m., as agreed with the organiser, the Public Institution Jasenovac Memorial Area," Jelić said.

He added that the Office of the President had not received a reply from the government or the parliament to its invitation to pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims together.

"As early as last Friday the President of the Republic proposed to the Prime Minister and the Parliament Speaker that they all pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims together, but we have not received any reply," Jelić said.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today that a government delegation would lay a wreath at Jasenovac at 9 a.m., again dismissing the possibility of paying tribute together with Milanović, noting that "there is no reason for us to put on an act."

"As regards any joint laying of wreaths or flowers, I said yesterday.... there will be no putting on an act," he told reporters during a visit to Rijeka.

Plenković: We were not the ones to start with insults

"The President of the Republic or his staff are now launching an initiative for the Parliament Speaker and myself to lay a wreath with him in Jasenovac. We were not the ones to start with the 'animal farm', we were not the ones to start with insults or a number of other things that are most inappropriate, so there is no reason to put on an act, let that be clear to everyone," said Plenković.

He added that the organiser of the commemoration was the Jasenovac Memorial Area, not the government or anyone else, and that this year's commemoration would be held in line with epidemiological restrictions.

The government's delegation will arrive at 9 a.m. and the parliament's delegation at 10 a.m., he said.

"This has nothing to do with representatives of the victim ethnic groups. We met with them last week, we hold meetings regularly, we respect the victims and went to Jasenovac in the past four years as well. We will go this year again, next year, in 2023, 2024. This has to do with the protocol, but putting on an act is out of the question," he said.

Reporters asked Plenković if he should ignore his relationship with Milanović, regardless of how bad it may be, in situations such as commemorations, to which he said: "No, there's no need for that. In this case it is not envisaged and is out of the question."

Representatives of Serbs, Jews, Roma and antifascists to form separate delegation

The Serb National Council (SNV) said earlier in the day that representatives of ethnic groups that were victims of the Ustasha terror would have a separate, four-member delegation in Jasenovac.

SNV president Milorad Pupovac, the leader of the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities of Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, Roma association "Kali Sara" representative Veljko Kajtazi, and the leader of the SABA association of antifascist fighters and antifascists, Franjo Habulin, will lay a joint wreath at the Stone Flower monument at noon on Thursday.

Kraus confirmed to Hina that this decision was made yesterday, after it became evident that there would be no joint delegation comprising top state officials.

"After we realised that there would be separate delegations, we decided on a separate delegation as well. As you can see, a single delegation does not depend on us. We cannot support the use of commemorations for political one-upmanship," said Kraus.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Zagreb Holocaust Monument Is Ready. This Is How It Looks

August 19, 2020 – The 11-metre high steel Zagreb Holocaust Monument will stand between the central Post Office and Glavni Kolodvor (main train station)

The new Zagreb Holocaust Monument has been completed and is ready to be installed. The 11-metre high structure will sit atop a concrete pedestal on which six million tiny Stars of David will be imprinted. The stars signify the total number of Jews killed in the Holocaust

The Zagreb Holocaust Monument itself is made of steel and is an irregular-shaped wall comprised of three hundred suitcases, representing the essentials Jews were told only to pack prior to deportation. It was designed by Rijeka-born architect Krešimir Rogina and sculptor Dalibor Stošić. The monument will be illuminated at night and will sit next to the old locomotive train which already stands between the Post Office and train station.

Although the monument is completely finished, it is currently being kept in parts across three different factories in Zagreb. After the concrete plinth is in place, it will take approximately one month to assemble the monument on the site. Weathering steel (cor-ten steel) was specifically chosen as the construction material. Unlike some other types of steel, this metal ages over time. Different shades of rust begin to appear in patches after just six months and slowly progress to encompass the whole surface.

Some members of the Zagreb City Assembly along with the Jewish Community of Zagreb (ZOZ), the World Jewish Congress (WJC), and the Israeli Ambassador to Croatia have previously criticised the move to dedicate the Zagreb Holocaust Monument solely to the victims of the Nazi-helmed Holocaust in Europe. They say it fails to properly recognise the abhorrent crimes of ethnic cleansing committed in Croatia by the German-allied NDH. The City of Zagreb is said to be addressing the criticism by looking at the wording of the dedication that will appear on the Zagreb Holocaust Monument. It is hoped the new monument will be fully in place in time for Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January 2021.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Fiddler on the Croatian Roof: From One Small Village to Three Academy Awards

A fascinating story of a small Croatian village that played the famous shtetl in the renowned Hollywood classic

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dubrovnik Synagogue

Monday, 23 January 2017

Jewish Community to Boycott Government’s Holocaust Memorial Event

Jewish Community will protest against government’s attitude towards the Second World War.

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