News 23 Sep 14

Anti-Fascist Victims of WWII Honoured in Zagreb

A new temporary memorial was unveiled in a park in the Croatian capital to honour thousands of people who were executed there by Zagreb’s wartime Ustasa pro-Nazi regime.

Josip Ivanovic
BIRN
Zagreb
The new memorial in Dotrscina park.

“This monument is to honour the anti-fascist victims of the Ustasa regime [during WWII in Croatia] and the Nazi occupiers who were killed here,” Vesna Terselic, the director of Croatian NGO Documenta - Centre for Dealing with the Past, told the unveiling ceremony in Zagreb’s Dotrscina park on Monday.

The park was the scene of mass executions by the Ustasa authorities, beginning in May 1941 and continuing until the end of the war. Around 18,000 people were killed in total, according to the Dotrscina memorial website.

Several thousand of them were executed “simply because they were Jews, Serbs or anti-fascists”, Terselic said.

The new monument, a sculpture made of tree trunks by contemporary Croatian artist Slaven Tolj, entitled ‘Freezing Rain’, was created as part of the Dotrscina Virtual Museum, a memorialisation project supported by Documenta.

Sasa Simpraga, the head of the virtual museum, said that its main objective was “to bring Dotrscina back into the collective memory, from which it disappeared during the 1990s”.

There are already several other memorials in the park, including monuments created by distinguished Croatian artists such as Vojin Bakic and Josip Siessel during the 1960s and 1970s.

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