Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

Croatian leader pays tribute to collaborators

Share this article

Croatian leader pays tribute to collaborators
Memorial stone for the massacre of Bleiburg. Photo: Pigpanter/Wikimedia
21:29 CEST+02:00
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic paid tribute Thursday to the country's pro-Nazi collaborators and civilians who were killed by communist partisans in Austria and Slovenia after the end of World War II.

Grabar-Kitarovic lit candles and laid wreaths at Bleiburg in southern Austria, as well as in Macelj and Tezno across the border in Slovenia, to pay "respect to victims killed in the tragic events in May 1945," a statement from her office said.

"The end of World War II and the victory against Nazism to which Croatian people gave a big contribution marked one of the most tragic chapters of Croatia's history," she said in a reference to the killings in Austria and Slovenia.

"A crime is a crime and it cannot be justified by any ideology."

As Josip Broz Tito's communist partisans approached Zagreb in May 1945, Croatia's Nazi-allied Ustasha authorities, who persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Romanians and anti-fascists Croatians, started to flee towards Austria, fearing revenge attacks.

The Ustasha, accompanied by civilians and Slovenian and Serbian collaborators, tried to escape and surrender to British forces. The British, however, refused their surrender and the Ustasha authorities were caught and executed by the communist partisans in the border region between Austria and Slovenia.

The number of those killed in the region of the southern Austrian town of Bleiburg is still debated. Estimates vary from a few dozens to tens of thousands.

Commemorations for the Bleiburg massacre victims, held every year in May, remain controversial due to the use of Nazi symbols by Croatian groups in attendance.

This year's commemorations are scheduled to take place Saturday.

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems

Ranked among the world's best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement

Noticeboard

Advertisement