The Centre for Dealing with the Past "Documenta" has issued a statement ahead of Saturday's Bleiburg commemoration to be held in tribute to victims executed by Tito-led Partizans in the aftermath of the Second World War, calling on the Croatian public and politicians to cherish the memories of all victims from the Second World War, and warning that the recent three commemorative events at the site of the Ustasha-run death camp in Jasenovac are the obvious example of deep divisions in Croatian society.

It is believed that thousands of NDH (Independent State of Croatia) soldiers and civilians were killed at Bleiburg in May 1945. They wanted to surrender to the allies, but the British army turned them over to the Yugoslav army. Some were killed in the field and many died in the following months on death marches back to the then Yugoslavia known as the Way of the Cross marches.

Concerning the commemoration and Mass which will be held on Saturday in Bleiburg, the Documenta civil society association recalls that in the Bleiburg field Partisans captured Ustasha soldiers, conscripted Home Guard soldiers, the Serb Chetnics, Slovenian collaborationist paramilitaries and other collaborationist forces as well as members of their families.

"We must not forget retaliatory executions at Tezno (Slovenia) and other sites of mass murder in Slovenia and Croatia as well as impermissible abuse of those who survived those death marches," the NGO said in the appeal issued on Friday.

"We still feel the consequences of the crimes committed during the Second World War and in the wake of that war as well as of numerous politically-motivated processes after the war, notably now when we bear witness to the spreading of hate speech and democratic regression. Nevertheless, the current deep social polarisation might serve as an opportunity for change in treatment of the political history and for showing respect to all victims," Documenta says in its appeal.

The NGO believes that in order to ensure a nuanced attitude towards the past, it is necessary to build a culture of remembrance so as to condemn war crimes committed in the WW2 and its aftermath without discarding positive achievements of the people's resistance  (in WW2) and Socialist-era modernisation.

Documenta activists say it is a failed attempt to reduce Croatia's democratic political tradition to only last 25 years, ignoring the freedom-loving traditions since the medieval peasants' revolts through to anti-Fascism towards the promotion of pluralistic democracy.

The NGO calls on political actors to distance themselves and condemn any form of revision of history.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.