State leadership decided to stay home and send envoys to events marking the national holiday.
The official state celebration of the Day of Anti-Fascist Struggle took place in the Brezovica forest near Sisak. The celebrations mark the anniversary of the day in 1941 when 77 fighters established the first partisan unit in Europe and started armed struggle against Hitler’s Nazi Germany, other fascist occupiers and their local accomplices, reports tportal.hr on June 22, 2016.
Croatian state leadership – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner and caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković – did not attend the event. The President was represented in Sisak by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, the Prime Minister sent Administration Minister Dubravka Jurlina Alibegović, while the Speaker sent Member of Parliament Margareta Mađerić.
“Without the anti-fascists and victory in the World War II, there would be no Croatian territorial integrity. That is clear to anyone who had studied Croatian past. That is clear to everybody but the Croatian right-wingers who still falsify history”, said Franjo Habulin, president of the Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia.
Sisak Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček stressed that awareness about the anti-fascist core of the Croatian people should be awaken in order to put an end to the emboldened neo-fascists.
Minister Jurlina Alibegović said in her speech that the negation of fundamental human rights was what launched the partisans’ fight. “Croatia and the whole world are facing new challenges – polluted environment, aging population and youth unemployment – but all this cannot be compared with the horrors of the Second World War”, she said.
“I bring you the greetings of the President. Thanks to the national uprising, Croatia was among the first which sided with the victorious anti-fascist alliance. Let us remember all those who gave their lives for freedom, but also the victims of all totalitarian regimes”, said Zagreb Mayor Bandić representing the President.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has sent a congratulatory message to the citizens on the occasion of the Day of Anti-Fascist Struggle, pointing out that the Croatian people participated in the war on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition and gave an important contribution to the victory over fascism and Nazism.
Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković also sent a special message. “75 years ago, Croatian citizens of different national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, guided by the ideals of freedom, started fighting and with their final victory over fascism they laid the foundations on which today’s European Croatia is built.”