EUJS Condemns the Ustaša Commemoration in Bleiburg and the Bleiburg Mass in Sarajevo

EUJS condemns plans for a ceremony in Bleiburg, Austria, and a mass in Sarajevo, Bosnia to commemorate the alleged killings of Croatian Nazi-allied troops by the Yugoslav Partisans at the end of World War II.

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the umbrella organisation of Jewish Students Unions in 36 European Countries and the democratic representation of 160.000 young Jews, is deeply concerned by the two events which are glorifying collaborators of the Nazis.

Every year, co-sponsored by the Croatian government and the Catholic Chruch of Croatia, between 15.000-30.000 people gather in Bleiburg, a town at the border between Austria and Slovenia, to hold a vigil remembering the “Victims of Bleiburg.”

“For the glory and honor of the fallen Croatian army” can be read on the central memorial stone on site. This means the soldiers of the Ustaša militia, members of the Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht, who surrendered in May 1945 to the Yugoslav People’s Army.

At the meeting, the Croatian NDH-State is remembered. The NDH-State was a Nazi vassal sate lead by the fascist Ustaša and its leader, Ante Pavelic. The NDH-State run the Jasenovac Concentration Camp, the only Concertation Camp in WWII, where people were systematically murdered without any direct German involvement. At least 86.000 Jews, Roma, Antifascists, and Serbs were murdered in Jasenovac.

Every year the event is attended by fascists from all over Europe, there are various instances of forbidden insignia and Hitler-Salutes.

This year, because of the Corona-Pandemic, the meeting can not be held in its usual form in Austria. However, there will be a number of replacement events, including a Mass in Sarajevo and a smaller ceremony in Bleiburg, where the Croatian ambassador to Austria will place a wreath at the revisionist commemoration-stone.

At EUJS, we are deeply worried by revisionist sentiments resurgent all over Europe. It is unbelievable that the government of an EU Member-State is stoking these very attitudes. Because events like this – normally the event is the biggest gathering of fascists in Europe – are a danger to young Jews all over Europe, we joined the Austrian Union of Jewish Students (JöH) in registering a counter-protest in December. Because a gathering is still taking place tomorrow, we will attend the counter-protest in accordance with Austrian laws and social distancing rules.

Fascists and their sympathizers have no place in Europe!

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