June 22nd is Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, a national holiday in Croatia. It marks the forming of the First Partisan Detachment in Sisak on June 22nd of 1941, and in general the uprising of the anti-fascist movement in Croatia. Croatian anti-fascists fought against Fascist Italian and Nazi German occupation during the Second World War. The date has been observed since being introduced as a national holiday by Croatian Parliament in 1991.
For this first time, this year's commemoration at the Brezovica Commemorative Park near Sisak was organized by the Croatian Government. The 80 year anniversary of the forming of the first partisan detachment was attended by top state officials, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović. In his address Prime Minister Plenković noted that Croatia was not only one of the first countries in Europe to have an anti-fascist movement, but was also one of the largest on the continent: “The time has come for us as a society to take a more sober view of those events. To better appreciate the contribution of Croatia's anti-fascist struggle against Nazism. This is also the only way to heal the open divisions in our society and build a never more needed unity to confront the challenges that lie ahead. Today, with the benefit of years gone by, let us have the strength the leave our divisions behind, and through the policy of reconciliation, tolerance and inclusion, let us strive to build a Croatia for the benefit of our children and one that we can all be proud of.”
In his speech, President Milanović said that the truth should not offend anyone, but that the truth can hurt: “However, in our truth there is nothing hurtful. In fact it is nice. Difficult. Bloody. But nice. Croatia was not on the winner's side, it was on the side of truth and good.”
For his part, the Speaker of Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, issued his greetings to all citizens on the occasion of Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, noting that the values of anti-fascism are built into Croatia's foundations, which is clearly stated in the constitution adopted when Croatia won its independence.
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