(Photo: Borna Filic/PIXSELL) (Photo: Borna Filic/PIXSELL)

Commemorations centred around the town of Brezovica near Sisak, where, on June 22nd 1941, the First Sisak Partisan Detachment was formed, marking the beginning of the Croatian anti-fascist movement against German and Italian occupying forces.

Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković spoke at the gathering and said that anti-fascism was undeniably a bright spot in Croatia's history. The minister also took the opportunity to personally and professionally condemn the ethos that was the basis of the short-lived Independent State of Croatia.

And while Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković were not in attendance in Brezovica, they issued messages yesterday which commemorated the merits of the struggle against fascism. For her part, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović issued her own message earlier today.

"To all Croatian citizens, I congratulate Anti-Fascist Struggle Day on the 22nd of June. A large part of the Croatian people and citizens of other nationalities sided with the anti-fascist resistance against the occupation by the Axis Powers during World War II. By the decisions of the State Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH), the Federal State of Croatia established within the former federal community of States was the expression of the continuity and the aspirations of Croatian anti-fascists to preserve Croatian Statehood; becoming a State formed the legal basis for the proclamation and international recognition of the independent Republic of Croatia, which we defended and liberated in the Homeland War as a historical expression of the Croatian people's lasting aspiration for an independent State."

Meanwhile, the president of The Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters, Franjo Habulin, said the state leadership lacked respect by not showing up at the commemorations in Brezovica, and accused them of using the event for political gain.

Source: HRT