Hundreds of anti-fascists from various ex-Yugoslav countries gathered at Bosnian Tjentiste site on Sunday to mark the anniversary of what they said was the most glorious battle of the WWII, the Battle of Sutjeska.
Carrying the flags of their respective countries as well as the flag of former Yugoslavia, the anti-fascists laid wreaths at the Sutjeska memorial, commemorating the fallen soldiers of what is internationally known as the Fifth Enemy Offensive or simply the Case Black.
“We come every year. We’re marking it because it matters, and we hope some changes will take place so that fascists are not in power anymore,” said Uzeri Karadza, from the central town of Bugojno.
“This is a sacred place for all of us, regardless of the part of our former homeland we come from. This place initiated a change. It seems like this is a great chance while we remember those who gathered us here to start speaking about changes. Fascism has not been defeated in any of our countries. Neo-fascism is growing, blooming, blossoming,” said Sead Djulic, head of an association gathering veterans of the liberation war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Significantly weaker Partisan forces had faced over 120,000 Nazi soldiers in May and June 1943, and their attempt to break out across the Sutjeska river through the lines of German forces resulted in over 7,000 partisan casualties
The battle was a turning point towards taking control over Yugoslavia’s territory, and today is considered one of the most important parts of the Yugoslav WWII history.
This year’s commemoration was organised by Croatia’s association of anti-fascists.