ZAGREB, April 4, 2019 – Vice Vukojević, the president of the Honorary Bleiburg Platoon (PBV) in charge of organising the Bleiburg commemoration in the Loibach field near Bleiburg, said that the commemoration would be held on Saturday, May 18 in the same format as previous years.
“The commemoration on May 18 will look like it has in previous years. Mass will start in the Bleiburg field at noon and the procession will commence at 11 am starting from the Loibach cemetery to the Bleiburg field,” Vukojević told reporters after the PBV met with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
He underscored that there would not be any political speeches at Bleiburg, which is something they proposed themselves. “The Honorary Bleiburg Platoon has to secure all the conditions for Mass to be held and we are doing that,” he said.
The platoon’s secretary-general Thomas Baumgartner informed that they were in contact with Austrian authorities and that everything that was necessary for the commemoration to be held had been handed over. “We didn’t ask for anything else except that Mass be celebrated and the commemoration like it is every year,” he said.
He said that there would not be any additional events and already last year, stands were not erected and they will not be again this year. “That is in our interest and in the interest of the Austrian government,” he said.
Asked whether they had obtained approval from Austria’s authorities, Baumgartner said that they did not need approval because this was a religious rite and the commemoration is held on property owned by the Honorary Bleiburg Platoon.
“We only have to adhere to Austrian laws. They have a new law that entered into effect on March 1 and I hope that everyone who is coming will abide by that law and won’t cause any fuss as was the case in previous years,” he said.
Baumgartner is confident that there would not be any incidents at the commemoration but like every year there would probably be provocateurs.
The head of the Office for Pastoral Care of Croats Abroad with the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Tomislav Markić, said that he would not lead this year’s commemoration due to a decision by the administrator of the Gurk-Klagenfurt Diocese, Msgr. Engelbert Guggenberger, who denied permission for this year’s requiem Mass on the Loibach field.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s office said in a press release that she met with representatives of the Honorary Platoon who wanted to brief her about the preparations for the 74th anniversary of the Bleiburg tragedy.
They invited the president to attend Holy Mass in Bleiburg. The president thanked them for the invitation and underscored the importance of paying homage in a dignified way to innocent victims, the press release said.
More news about Bleiburg controversies can be found in the Politics section.