Monday, 9 May 2022

SABA Head Says Today's Croatia Would Not Exist Without Partisan Struggle

ZAGREB, 9 May 2022 - The head of the Croatian Federation of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA), Franjo Habulin, said on Monday, on the occasion of the Day of Victory over Fascism, that today's Croatia would not exist without the struggle of the World War II Partisan fighters.

"Croatia was founded on the antifascist struggle. Today's Croatia would not exist without the Partisan struggle," Habulin said at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery after a SABA delegation laid wreaths at the Tomb of the People's Heroes.

Habulin said that by marking the Day of Victory over Fascism they were remembering all who had given their lives so that Croatia could be an independent and free European country.

Speaking of the significance of 9 May 1945, when the forces of Nazi Germany laid down their arms after signing an unconditional surrender, which marked the end of World War II, Habulin said that today's Europe would not exist without the joint struggle of European countries on the side of the antifascist coalition, recalling that today was also Europe Day.

He added that in the past 30 years there had unfortunately existed in Croatia "open pro-Ustasha right-wing political tendencies", which distorted historical facts.

Asked to comment on the passivity of the government and the parliament in commemorating today's anniversary, Habulin said that those institutions should do much more than just pay lip service to antifascism.

Wreaths and flowers were laid at the Tomb of the People's Heroes also by President Zoran Milanović's envoy Melita Mulić, delegations of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Social Democrats of Croatia, and of the embassies of France, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, while the SABA delegation also laid a wreath at the city's Dotršćina memorial park.

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Monday, 21 June 2021

SDP, SABA Welcome PM's Decision To Attend Antifascist Struggle Day Commemoration

June 21st, 2021 - The deputy leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the head of the Alliance of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA), Franjo Habulin, have welcomed Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's decision to attend the commemoration of Antifascist Struggle Day on Tuesday.

"I haven't seen him there for the past six or seven years. We'll see whether there will be a specific discourse of the ruling party concerning the legacy of antifascism in Croatia, which we must foster because it was because of the antifascist movement that Croatia ended up on the right side after the Second World War," Hajdaš Dončić told reporters after an SDP delegation laid wreaths at the Tomb of National Heroes in Zagreb's Mirogoj Cemetery on Monday.

He said he hoped that this would also lead to a better attitude towards history and the monuments commemorating the antifascist struggle during the Second World War, many of which have been devastated. "Some people here find it hard to accept that Croatia won in the Second World War," Hajdaš Dončić said.

Asked what prompted the prime minister's decision, Hajdaš Dončić said he did not know. "We'll see tomorrow. If he continues that, I welcome and commend his move," he said.

President Zoran Milanović will also attend the commemoration of Antifascist Struggle Day in Brezovica Forest, outside Sisak, on Tuesday.

Commenting on the prime minister's decision, SABA president Franjo Habulin recalled last year's adoption of the new law on national holidays and memorial days, which says that events marking national holidays are organized by the Government,  Parliament, and the President of the Republic.

"Given that the government organizes the Antifascist Struggle Day ceremony, I think the prime minister felt the need to be there," Habulin said, noting that the ceremony would mark the 80th anniversary of the formation of the first Partisan detachment, the first armed unit formed at the beginning of the Second World War in the territory of Croatia and the former Yugoslavia.

He said that over the last 30 years, many problems had accumulated regarding the attitude towards antifascism, Croatia's antifascist history, and monuments commemorating antifascist fighters.

"Prime Minister Plenković obviously thinks that certain processes should be stopped and that problems that have accumulated in the last 30 years should be addressed. I think his attendance in Brezovica is a step in that direction," Habulin said.

Delegations of the Government, Parliament, and the City of Zagreb also laid wreaths in Mirogoj Cemetery on the occasion of Antifascist Struggle Day, which is observed on 22 June.

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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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