Anti-fascist sections in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other post-Yugoslav republics in the region observed the 77th anniversary of the partisan victory in the liberation of the city of Mostar from Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. Under the leadership of the Association of Anti-Fascists and Fighters (UABNOR), various events were organized in Mostar from February 12 to commemorate the victory in Operation Mostar (February 6-15, 1945). Thousands of people from different countries in the Balkans have been flocking to the city since last week to take part in the various events organized to mark the anniversary.
According to reports, the commemoration started on Saturday with the opening of a photo exhibition in the hall of the Mostar National Theater and ended with a visit to the Partisan Memorial Cemetery. Contingents of various anti-fascist, communist, and socialist groups, as well as veterans and residents of Mostar, laid wreaths at the memorial of the fallen heroes of the Yugoslav partisans. In February 1945, the Yugoslav partisans – the resistance force led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia – liberated Mostar from Nazi rule by comprehensively defeating the Nazi Germans, Ustase (Croatian fascists) and their supporters. There were massive casualties in the war. Around 560 Yugoslav partisans lost their lives. In honor of the fallen Yugoslav partisans during the liberation of Mostar, a Partisan Memorial Cemetery was built in the city and inaugurated by Josip Broz Tito in 1965.
Marking the anniversary, UABNOR president Sead Djulicof stated, “Whether we are liberated from fascism today is a big question. Neo-fascism thrives around us. We are here to inspire the courage and determination of the young people who lie here. We don’t fight partisan battles. We are not fighting Draza Mihailović, Ante Pavelić, Hitler or Mussolini, but we are inspiring ourselves to fight our anti-fascist battles in a new time, and that the new little Führers who have entered all the organs of government from the Presidency to the local community will be successfully sabotaged.”
“If we stay in the past, at commemorations and remembrance, we’d better not be here. We are here not just for 1945, but also for the future,” he added.