The Antifascist League held its founding meeting in Zagreb on Saturday, saying that it would act as an association of independent organisations of civil society in order to define the position of antifascism in present-day Croatia.
The systematic denial and demonisation of antifascism and its values in Croatia have compelled us to renew our efforts for its reaffirmation, it was said at the meeting.
The project was initiated by Juraj Hrzenjak, a law expert and member of the Croatian antifascist movement during the Second World War. He thanked representatives of state institutions, the City of Zagreb, former President Ivo Josipovic and the ambassadors of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway and Slovenia for their support.
“The increasingly aggressive denial and gradual downplaying of the importance of the antifascist struggle has united us. I don’t want Croatia to be represented by hatred and fear. I want to leave to my grandchildren a state based on justice,” Hrzenjak said. “Antifascism is based on tolerance and openness, and is opposed to nazifascism, which is based on intolerance and hatred, on the glorification of violence and militarism, on the cult of the nation and deep contempt of modern political ideas,” he added.
The head of the Civic Committee on Human Rights, Zoran Pusic, said that activities against the values of antifascism were undermining the foundations of Europe and the constitutional foundations of Croatia.
“Today such views are tolerated and are often publicly advocated and institutionally supported. Antifascist monuments and documents relating to antifascism have been systematically destroyed. Textbooks and history classes in school continue to leave out content on the relevance of antifascism to Europe and independent Croatia,” Pusic said.
Josipovic said that it should not be forgotten that antifascism was a value system that had emerged in defence of human rights, freedoms and equality and that as such it had been included in the programme of the resistance movement against nazism and fascism. He underlined the need for the truth and tradition of antifascism to be passed on to young generations because they are the future.
Pusic was appointed president of the Antifascist League and Hrzenjak honorary president. Vesna Terselic, head of the non-governmental organisation Documenta, was appointed vice-president.