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Croatia remembers Vukovar and Škabrnja victims 

Vukovar marks anniversary of peaceful reintegration of Danube region

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

ZAGREB, 18 November 2021 – Croatia is marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, the most dramatic battle of the Homeland War, and also the Škabrnja massacre today. 

During the 87-day siege of Vukovar by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) between August and November 1991, 2,171 people were killed, including 34 children aged between 7 months and 17 years old, 1,219 were wounded, and more than 350 Croatian soldiers unaccounted for. More than 22,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were also expelled from the city.

Vukovar citizens last night gathered in front of the National Memorial Hospital in Vukovar to pray for the victims of the Homeland War.

Croatia remembers Vukovar and Škabrnja victims 

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

Vukovar Hospital is the place where 260 wounded, veterans and medical staff were taken from after the fall of the city, whose bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in Ovčara, while the fates of some taken from the hospital are still unknown.

Croatia remembers Vukovar and Škabrnja victims 

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

Candles were also lit all over the country and placed on the sidewalks of streets named after the city. Thousands of candles again were lit in the capital Zagreb along the 10-kilometre-long Vukovar Street to remember victims who list their lives in 1990s Homeland War in Vukovar.

Croatia remembers Vukovar and Škabrnja victims 

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

Vukovar was defended by around 1,800 lightly armed soldiers of the Croatian National Guard and civilian volunteers, against 36,000 JNA soldiers. On 18 November, the last defenders in Vukovar’s town centre surrendered. 

Croatia remembers Vukovar and Škabrnja victims 

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

A full day programme, including a big procession, marking the occasion will take place on today in Vukovar. For the second year, Croatia is marking the occasion with a public holiday.

“Now, 30 years after the battle for Vukovar, we can say that based on scientific research, eyewitness accounts and memoirs, something truly special occurred here, something that is unforgettable in the history of Vukovar, Slavonia and Srijem, which was a sort of precedent in the process of creating and defending Croatia,” said demographer Dražen Živić from the Vukovar branch of the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences.

Referring to human losses, Žinić recalled that pre-war physical plans estimated that the town’s population would increase to about 60,000 in the next few decades.

“There were 44,639 residents in Vukovar prior to the war, however, this included several thousand people who were abroad so that in 1991 Vukovar’s population was less than 40,000. There is no doubt that had there not been any war Vukovar’s population would have grown…and I estimate that by now it would have had about 50,000 residents,” Žinić concluded.

(Photo: Grad Vukovar)

According to the 2011 Population Census, Vukovar had a population of 27,000, while unofficial data indicates that their number is 20,000. According to the local government, about 10,000 people are employed in the town. After the return of displaced persons, employment has been increasing since 2011.

Also today, the victims of the Škabrnja massacre are being remembered. Over 60 Croatian civilians lost their lives on this day in the villages of Škabrnja and Nadin northeast of Zadar at the hands of JNA. 

 

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