Ministers Kuščević, Medved to Attend Controversial Bleiburg Commemoration

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 15, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević and War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved would attend Saturday’s 74th commemoration for the Bleiburg victims in Austria on the government’s behalf, while President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s office said her envoy would be her chief-of-staff Anamarija Kirinić.

Speaking to the press in Karlovac, Plenković said he would not attend due to other commitments. In Zagreb on Saturday, his HDZ party will hold the main rally for the European Parliament elections, which will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European People’s Party spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber.

The Bleiburg commemoration is held under parliament’s auspices and Speaker Gordan Jandroković’s envoy there will be MP Ante Sanader. Jandroković will pay his respects to the Bleiburg victims on Thursday by laying wreaths at the monument to the post-WWII victims at Dobrava cemetery near Maribor, Slovenia, at the monument at Bleiburg field in Austria, and at the monument in Macelj, Croatia.

Two protests have been announced for Saturday that oppose the Bleiburg commemoration at the Loibach field near the town of Bleiburg, Austria and only one has been approved so far, Austrian media reported on Wednesday.

The first protest is being organised by Martin Diendofer of the Independent Left organisation. It will be held in the town of Bleiburg itself and has already been approved by the police.

The second protest that is being organised by a former member of parliament of the Green Party, Karl Oellinger, has not been approved yet as it is planned to be held in the actual field. It is assumed that the police fear a direct conflict with members attending the commemoration in the Loibach field.

A rally with about 200 protesters was held at the field last Saturday, organised by Carinthian Partisans, who are opposed to the commemoration.

The Alliance for the Future of Austria, a right populist party, has called on Austrian authorities to ban the protest by Partisan veterans and withdraw subsidies for Carinthian Partisans, accusing them of wanting to divide Carinthia.

Austrian media have reported that over the past few years, during the commemoration for post WWII victims held in Bleiburg, several people had been arrested for displaying Nazi insignia, and that this year legislation has been amended to ban insignia of the WWII Ustasha-run Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

Austria’s APA news agency described the commemoration as a “gathering of people who live in the past and who misinterpret the role of NDH as a vassal of Hitler’s Germany.”

More news about the Bleiburg commemoration can be found in the Politics section.


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