June 22 - Anti-Fascist Struggle Day in Croatia

Posted on June 22, 2020

This national holiday marks the beginning of Croatian forces fighting against the German and Italian occupation during World War II. On June 22, 1941, the first armed resistance unit formed in a forest near Sisak. 

When I read "the first armed resistance unit," I assumed that this was the first such unit formed in Croatia. But according to Wikipedia, it was the first such formed in all of Europe!

I read that the Sisak armed group only had 77 fighters, and by the end of the war, that number had been cut down to only 38. The squad did mostly diversions - keeping the Nazis busy with fixing rail lines they damaged, for example. Another, smaller armed group started up near Vrgorac.

These squads of fighters inspired people all over Croatia and the surrounding region to join a resistance movement that is considered the most effective resistance of the war. I gather that the anti-fascist Croats were able to control lots of the previously occupied land. People rationed consumer goods, recycled materials, bought war bonds, and worked in war industries. 

Laying flowers and wreaths in cemeteries and at memorial parks is a popular way of honoring the anti-fascists. Opposing fascism today would be another good thing to do!

(By the way, even though some people misuse the label "antifa" as they hurt people or destroy property, other people who label themselves as antifa only use "violence" in self-defense of people being attacked by white supremacists or other fascistic groups. Some people pretend that antifa is an organized group of terrorists - but "antifa" isn't an organization, and few if any people using the label are rightly labeled as terrorists.  The truth is, "antifa" just means anti-fascist. And we should ALL be anti-fascist, shouldn't we?)

Sisak - the location of the beginning of Croatia's anti-fascist movement - is today considered the Mural Capital of Croatia:

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