Croat far-right blamed for defacing Bosnian anti-fascist memorial
The Yugoslav Partisans’ Necropolis in the Bosnian town of Mostar commemorating anti-Nazi rebels who died during the Second World War has been vandalised.
All 700 engraved stone memorials at the Partisan Memorial Cemetery, which opened in 1965, were smashed.
Dragan Markovina, a historian from Mostar, posted on Facebook: “Not even in the middle of the [Bosnian civil] war did fascists destroy the partisan cemetery as thoroughly as they did today”.
“They would write offensive graffiti, smash several markers but such a systematic smashing of each of the over 700 memorial markers dedicated to the fallen Mostar youth has not happened,” Markovina posted, according to Klix, a Bosnian media group.
“This could not have been done by two, three, five drunk people. This is obviously a part of some idea, plan or organisation – it’s as clear as day.”
Markovina said the Alliance of Anti-Fascists and other groups had been calling for greater protection for the site amid a clear threat.
“It is constantly targeted by vandals. It is a political decision and it is something that the city of Mostar, those who rule it, refuse to do,” Markovina posted on the social-media page.
Mostar remains an ethnically divided city with one side dominated by Bosniaks and the other largely populated by ethnic Croats.
Mostar mayor Mario Kordic said the authorities would help to repair the site.
He posted on Facebook that while the “city administration is preparing projects for the protection and revitalisation of all cultural monuments, a group of vandals is systematically destroying them”.
Denis Zvizdic, the speaker of Bosnia’s House of Representatives, called it a “neo-fascist rampage”.
He said it sent an “ominous message” that the far-right “do not accept European and civilised values”.
The cemetery is one of the Balkans’ biggest anti-fascist monuments and has been targeted by right-wingers who have previously spray-painted messages of hate on the stones.
Zeljko Komsic, Bosnia’s Croat member of the tripartite presidency wrote in a Facebook post that the vandalism was a consequence of “HDZ politics”, referring to the nationalist Croat party.
The destruction of the now-reconstructed Mostar bridge in 1993 was a defining moment in the 1992-95 Bosnian civil war. Picture credit: Pixabay