Pogledaj Full Version : Croatian Youth Groups - Interwar Yugoslavia

Željko Zidarić
3rd-June-2012, 07:56 PM
Nationalist youth groups in Croatia during the inter-War and World War II eras.

Hrvatski Sokol (Croatian Falcon)
Hrvatski Sokol ment Croatian falcon. I believe that Sokol was a national organization. We have noted Sokol in other countries as well, such as Czechoslovakia. Sokol was a social and gymnastic society. It may have also been involved in nationalist agitation. The Hrvatski Sokol was the Croation unit of the organization. Hrvatski means Croatian. The Hrvatski Sokol had beige uniforms. The organization was disolved after the Yugoslav government cracked down on Croatian nationsalists.

Hrvatski Krizari (Croatian Crusaders)
The Hrvatski Krizari were the Croatian Crusaders. One member reports meeting in Franciscan cloisters. The Franciscans, often referred to as the Grey Friars (because if the color of their habit) were strongly associated with Croatian nationalism. They helped maintain the Catholic faith during several centuries of Ottoman occupation. I do not know much about the nature of this organization, but there appears to have been a strong religious element.

Marijina Kongregacija (St. Mary's Congregation)
This is another youth organization with a Catholic religious foundation. Jesuites seem toi have been active as leaders. Members were teenage students. There were religious activities as well as arange of recreation ewhich may have varied from unit to unit. Some members report skating and volleyball. There were commonly facilities with games such as table tennis and billiards. There were also orchestras and amateur theater groups.

Hrvatski Junak (Croatian Brave) (1939-41)
The Yugoslav Government in an effort to defuse ethnic tensions, granted Croatia (Banovina Hrvatska) autonomy within Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1939). The Peasant Party of Croatia founded its youth group auxillery, the Hrvatski Junak ("Croatian Brave"). It was an organization for boys and girls. The uniform for both had a blue cap.

Ustaska Mladez (Ustasa Youth) (1941-45)
The NAZIs invaded and quickly occupied Yugoslaviaduring orld war II (April 1941). Croatian nationalists known as the Ushtashi declared Croatia's independence and the country began a loyal NAZI ally. The new Croatian state (NDH) created a youth group mimiking the Hitler Youth. Hrvatski Junak was converted into the Ustaska Mladez (Ustasa Youth). Membership was manditory. Children and youth had to join. In particular, there was no way children at school could avoid joining when classes resumed (Fall 1941). This was a group with a strong Fascist orientation. The uniform cap had a big letter "U" with a bomb in it--the badge of the NDH Ustasa regime. Youth as young as 15 years of age were given paramilitary training. They helped police or Ustasa secret police arrest, abduct and transport unfortunates to the prisons or camps where most were killed. Few ever returned alive. [Springer]

Željko Zidarić
3rd-June-2012, 07:59 PM
Zvonko Z. Springer, Salzburg 1999.

Yugoslav King Alexander Karadjordjevic I. proclaimed his dictatorship in 1929, which started prosecutions of Croatian nationalists. I remember the smart beige uniforms of the "Hrvatski Sokol" ("Croatian falcon") which had been a social and gymnastic society in Croatia. I was too young to become a member of this society when it was dissolved. In October 1934 I went to the 4th grade of Primary School in Osijek. Some days after King Alexander's assassination in Marseilles the door burst open and school director entered furiously calling me out in front the class.

Our teacher Knezevic was a Serb and mourned the loss of Serbs' king. I was accused of whistling in a cinema during the newsreel showing the attempt on King's life. I was loudly scolded and cried down and sent home to report my father about my vile behavior. Very frightened and weeping bitterly I explained to father what happened in the school regarding accusations against me. Bad luck for the director because my father a well-known lawyer and president of the Home & School Society. He threatened him bringing my case to the Court because I wasn't in school being sick on the day when they went visiting the cinema. Thus, all ended with few public apologies but I've had my 1st lesson of a prosecution.

Dr. Josip Fulanovic in the uniform of an elder of "Hrvatski Sokol" in Vinkovci (1929).

Firstly I've joined a recognized organization of the "HRVATSKI SOKOL" ("Croatian Falcon"). Their meeting ground was over our garden rear fence made of timber boards some 2-m high and I could get to this field or look at happenings there free of charge. At this sport's fields of "SOKOL" I've started my first training in gymnastics. Few years later I've joined "Hrvatski Krizari" ("Croatian Crusaders") which members met in Franciscan cloisters. The Grey Friars have been known as steadfast Croats and keepers' of religious Faith through many centuries even during medieval Turkish Occupation.

However, father found out that this organization wasn't the right one for a too young teenager so I've joined the "MARIJINA KONGREGACIJA" ("St. Mary's Congregation'). Padre Krist of the Society of Jesus was an excellent organizer of teenagers' students. Soon many students came and joined ST. Mary's Congregation that has achieved a considerable success in public too. Besides some religious duties we've had skating or volleyball grounds, could play table tennis and billiards at basement rooms, had an orchestra and amateur theater group (in which I was an important factotum). I stayed with the Congregation until my graduation in summer 1943. Parallel to my membership in the Congregation I've had some training in light-athletics at the sports club "ZRINSKI" at the sport filed just beyond our house's high wooden fence too.

Group photograph of the "Marijina Kongregacija" (St. Mary's Union) in Osijek (summer 1942).

In 1939 the Croatia Province ("Banovina Hrvatska") got its autonomy within Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Peasant Party of Croatia established the "HRVATSKI JUNAK" ("Croatian Brave") as their youth's society. They had a uniform for boys and girls too topped up with blue cap. I didn't bother much about the "JUNAK" doings at all. The new-sprung regime of the Independent State of Croatia (known as "NDH") on April 10, 1941 introduced a new youth organization known as the "USTASKA MLADEZ" ("Ustasa Youth") something similar to the "Hitler's Youth". Everybody had to become a member of it and in particular all students going to school as from fall of 1941. So I became a nominal (obligatory) member of it too when the "HRVATSKI JUNAK" was converted into the "USTASKA MLADEZ" soon after 1941. I never went to any congregation held in by this fascistic oriented youth's organization.

My 3 years younger sister couldn't resist such gatherings beyond that fence and joined UM soon after me. She got her uniform and a blue cap on a day and proudly returning home met father at entrance door. Father, a big man of some 120kg (250lb), seeing his beloved daughter in her new attire smacked that cap of her head saying: "NEVER SHOULD your wear this cap here at home!" Why had it happened? On the cap there was a big letter "U" with a bomb in it * the badge of Ustasa's regime. My sister couldn't understand what was it all about and why - she would have to learn it by growing up during WW2 and later when father had to smack her again in fall 1945. That's another story!

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