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Croatia: Anti-fascist movement, 1941-1945

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: partisan | anti-fascist | star (red) | lika | jastrebarsko | zavnoh |
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Partisan flags

[Partisan flag]         [Partisan flag]

Croatian partisan flags - Images by Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 21 September 2001

In the meeting of Highest Command of the People's Liberation Movement of Liberation of Yugoslavia (NOPOJ) and volunteer units held in Stolice (Serbia) on September 26, 1941 (confirmed by the Decree of Highest Command of the NOPOJ of October 1, 1941), it was decided that:

All headquarters and commanders of Partisan units on their area shall immediately find corresponding national flags. In the middle of the flag and stretched over the whole width shall be a five-pointed red star.

Accordingly, members of the Croatian anti-fascist movement (Partisans) were using as their flags Croatian red-white-blue tricolors with a red star in the middle.

Later, in 1943 at the third Congress of United Anti-fascist Council of People's Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH, kind of Parliament), it was confirmed that the Croatian flag is tricolor with the red star. Of course, at that time there were not any specific regulations related with dimensions. It is to assume that old civl flags of the Banate of Croatia or of the Independent State of Croatia were used with applied red star. Anyway, many examples were made in other proportions.

Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 21 September 2001

The practice of reusing other flags with application of the red star was quite common, apparently. I guess that the Ustaša emblem would be removed first, for sure, though there were certainly a good number of captured flags in rural areas which never had the emblem applied anyway.
As an example, a "reused" flag of the Croatian Peasants' Party from Goričica around Sisak, is shown in the catalog of the flag exhibition in the Croatian History Museum [bor96]. The flag is a Croatian tricolor of 117 x 375 cm in size, richly embroidered with Peasants' Party emblems and agricultural motives. In the middle of the flag is a visible stain left from a, probably sewn, red five-pointed star that was presumably added during the Second World War, and, presumably, later remove or it lost. The Sisak area was very active in the anti-fascist struggle.

Željko Heimer, 28 September 2001

Partisan flag used in Lika

[Partisan flag]

Partisan flag used in Lika - Image by Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 21 September 2001

The first recorded Partisan flag in Croatia was used in Lika, a region of Croatia situated between Dalmatia and the rest of Croatia. The population there is mixed, with Croats and a Serbian minority.
The flag was made half of the Croatian colors and half of the Serbian colors, without any star.

Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 21 September 2001

Partisan flag used in Jastrebarsko

[Partisan flag]

Partisan flag used in Jastrebarsko - Image by Mislav Miholek, 26 March 2006

The flag used by Croatian partisans, displayed during the local conference of the National Liberation Commettee held in Jastrebarsko in May 1945 is shown on a photo published in a monograph celebrating the 25 years of the 2nd Session of ZAVNOH.
The flag is a vertically displayed national tricolour with the coat of arms set in the middle and above it a red five-pointed star. I guess that the flag was in existence before 1945, even before 1941, as the order of red and white squares suggestsit, without the star that was added to it after the partisans took over, like in several other examples of such flags preserved in the museums in Croatia.

Željko Heimer & Mislav Miholek, 17 April 2006