Anti-Fascist Struggle Day

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Anti-Fascist Struggle Day (dan antifašističke borbe) is a national holiday in Croatia celebrated on June 22. It marks the beginning of the uprising of Croatian anti-fascist Partisan against German and Italian occupying forces. The uprising started with the forming of the First Sisak Partisan Detachment on June 22, 1941 near Sisak, Croatia.

The Yugoslav Partisans was the Communist-led resistance to the Axis powers (chiefly Germany) in occupied Yugoslavia during World War II. It is considered to be Europe’s most effective anti-Axis resistance movement during World War II. It was led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia during World War II. Its commander was Marshal Josip Broz Tito.

History of Anti-Fascist Struggle Day

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded from all sides by the Axis powers, primarily by German forces, but also including Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian formations. During the invasion, Belgrade was bombed by the Luftwaffe. The invasion lasted little more than ten days, ending with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army.

Due to the beginning of the Second World War, members of the Croatian Communist Party in Sisak were in danger and retreated from the city first to the village of Žabno, and then in the forest of Brezovica near Sisak. It was here where they founded the first Sisak Partisan squad, which mostly performed diversion, especially on the railroad.

The squad had 77 fighters, mostly Croats from the Croatian territory. By the end of WWII, only 38 of these squad fighters survived.

The foundation of the Sisak Detachment marked the beginning of an organized national-liberation struggle in Croatia, in which more than 500,000 Croatian citizens participated actively by rationing consumer goods, recycling materials, purchasing war bonds, and working in war industries.

Apart from the Sisak Partisan Detachment, on the same day another partisan group was founded in the vicinity of Vrgorac. The group initially counted more than 30 fighters, who practiced weapons handling in the first days, printed anti-fascist flyers and brochures.

Since Croatia got it’s independence, June 22nd has been marked as Anti-Fascist Struggle Day.

Traditions, Customs and Activities

The Anti-Fascist Struggle Day in the Brezovica Forest near Sisak is organized by the Federation of Anti-Fascist Fighters of Croatia, Sisak and Sisak-Moslavina County. In recognition, delegations of state institutions, parties and associations will lay wreaths in the memorial park of Brezovica near Sisak .

On the occasion of marking the this historical event, numerous delegations pay homage and lay flowers and wreaths in the city cemeteries of all major Croatian cities.

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Expat in Croatia

Sara is an American expat based in Split. After globetrotting between New York, Amsterdam and California, she moved to Croatia in 2012. Sara's blog Expat in Croatia is a guide for foreigners living and traveling in Croatia.