Croatia Remembering Victims Of Vukovar And Skabrnje

Fountain in Zagreb lights up as Vucedol Dove the symbol of Vukovar Croatia 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar

Fountain in Zagreb
lights up as Vucedol Dove
the symbol of Vukovar
24th anniversary of the
fall of Vukovar


On the night of November 17th people of Croatia’s capital Zagreb and their friends and visitors lit up the city with candles lining its long and wide artery called Vukovar Street! This was in memory and honour of all those who perished and died defending the Croatian city of Vukovar from brutal and genocidal Serb aggression in 1991 until the city fell on its knees on 18 November 1991, suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the Croats and other non-Serbs and became occupied by Serb-led forces.

 Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Lights the candles along Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Lights the candles along
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

More than 10,000 candles were lit last night in the capital Zagreb along the 10-kilometre Vukovar Street to remember victims from the 1990s homeland war in the eastern town of Vukovar.


The damage to Vukovar during the long siege prior to that date in 1991 has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with the World War II–era Stalingrad. The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, has been retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 - brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 – brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an formative stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 Yugoslav People’s Army/JNA troops commanded by Serbia supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. Untold cruelty was suffered by the Croatian people of Vukovar during the siege – massacres, murders, tortures, rapes, forced deportation, humiliation, forced detention… Some 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing (more than half of which are still missing to this day in 2015) and 22,000 Croat and non-Serb civilians from Vukovar were forced into exile.

Remembering those that perished Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Remembering Vukovar of 1991 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Remembering those that perished
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Remembering Vukovar of 1991
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

On that same day – 18 November 1991 – on the other end of Croatia – in the seaside village of Skabrnje near Zadar – another terrible crime was committed by Serbs, under the command of Ratko Mladic (held also responsible for Srebrenica genocide 1995), against innocent Croatian civilians. Moving from house to house, Serb butchers tortured, murdered and massacred 43 civilians and 15 Croatian defenders. The Croatian villagers that survived were forced into exile and their property burned and pillaged.


Memorial to victims of massacres in Skabrnje Serb aggressors were most brutal 18 Nov 1991

Memorial to victims of
massacres in Skabrnje
Serb aggressors were most brutal
18 Nov 1991

Today on the 18th of November 2015 the 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar is marked in Vukovar and the 24th anniversary of the Skabrnje massacre.
On the main road in Vukovar, along the road where on 18 November the procession will pass, a banner with the names of the deceased Croatian soldiers has been put up. The banner is over 200 metres long and includes 1,145 names. This is the first time that the names of all those who have laid down their lives for independent Croatia in Vukovar have been publicly presented.

Vukovar Tower and banner with names of the victims of 1991 Serb aggression Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar Tower and
banner with names of the victims of 1991
Serb aggression
Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar and Skabrnje from 1991 are a sad, terrifying reminder and distressing symbol of hatred and aggression the whole of Croatia was made to suffer because it wanted freedom from communist Yugoslavia; because it wanted democracy for its people!

Croatia and Croats Will Always Remember!

Croatia and Croats
Will Always Remember!


Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Bows to the victims of Skabrnje 18 November 2015 Photo: HINA

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Bows to the victims
of Skabrnje
18 November 2015
Photo: HINA

May the victims of the heinous Serb aggression rest in eternal peace and honour. Lest We Forget. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Really well put. If I may just add, everything needs to be done to ensure that this day passes in the most dignified way possible. That way those who had a hand in the events leading up to November 18, be it active or otherwise, will have no choice but to hang their heads in shame.

    • Well put, you too – Brankec. Thank you and I so agree – seeing the perpetrators live in shame is justice for victims as well and a kind of assurance that such atrocities will most likely not be repeated by people who have reached the stage where they are capable of feeling and showing shame.

  2. I suspect the perpetrators of such atrocities will not feel shame or they’d come back with information on the still missing people.
    It’s hard to believe that in the 1990’s people were still capable of such terrible things and yet we have the weekend in Paris to show it still happens.
    I’m sure the display of names in Vukovar will be done with the greatest degree of dignity as always.
    xxx Massive Hugs Ina xxx

  3. Yes, Ina, lest we forget. My thoughts are with Crotia, the memory of Tv footage about the massacres during that time is still livid in my mind.

  4. Hello Ina. Another one of your informative articles. Thank you for such insight. But, I must admit, this world can be so cruel. It’s unbelievable to fully digest the inhuman actions of our fellow brothers and sisters. I hope Croatia and the families who’ve suffered such horrible traumas, will at last find healing and peace. I pray that Croatia may once more be fully restored. May God shed His grace upon your fellow citizens..

    • Indeed, Nadege, the world can be so very cruel and every time we see cruelty we shake our heads in disbelief – we have hope for better days always as pain lingers but we shall make the world better, I believe

  5. Link to cartoon deleted

  6. Hello Ina !

  7. Stevie10703 says:

    My Tetak (my mothers brother-in-law) is from Skabrnja and he lost his brother and Stric and Strina over there. His brother was blown up in his own car and his Aunt and Uncle, both elderly, were shot in the legs, then thrown into a well where the Serbs/JNA and shot them again. The worst part of all of this? 24 years later, many of the people that perpetrated such acts in Vukovar, Vinkonvci, Borovo Selo, Skabrnje and the rest of the occupied parts of Croatia are walking and living as free men inside of Croatia and some of their sons are in the Croatian police in those places. Can you imagine being a Croatian woman who was raped and walking down the street in Vukovar and from time to time having to pass the man or men who raped her? Can you imagine being a Croatian man who was beaten in a camp as a POW and then having to pass by the person that did the beating?

    • The massacres in Skabrnja were terrifyingly brutal, Stevie, as in many other places and it is absolutely awful that amnesty from prosecution was given to many Serbs as part of a deal to bring peace and reintegration of Croatian sovereign territory. What saddens me is that a quarter of a century on Croatia’s leaders cannot find a way to address this injustice. Just unimaginable, but sadly it did occur

  8. It sounds beautiful and dignified. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Reblogged this on Croatia Business Report and commented:
    Today Croatia remembers Vukovar – which fell in 1991 to invading Serbian/Yugoslav Army forces. This is an excellent article by Ina Vukic

  10. Its essential to keep the memories alive for the new generation .Viva Croatia .

  11. …I knew a man (from my church…yes, I do go to church because I like ceremonies NOY the logic of the sermon!), who said that his cousin, named SKARA, was mutilated by his “serbian” neighbors!…his ears were cut off and so were his genitals! Three sons were lost by this woman! It’s too bad that our friend, Milanovic, Pusic, Mesic, et al., could not have been at that house, when Arkan arrived on that sad day in 17 November 1991!..maybe “ante saric” was in that group?

  12. Ina, haven’t said hello for a while. Hello! Hope you are well. Good stuff here you have posted as usual. Take care my friend. Will stay in touch.

  13. Not surprising coming from you, very informative. Keep up the great work Ina.

  14. Thanks Ina. I spent most of my free time this week watching the sombre commemorations of these tragedies online and in prayer and remembrance. Interviews with Croatian commander and hero Blago Zadro’s wife and son, survivors of the fall of Vukovar, and one of the most poignant stories was an interview with Petar Kacic’s widow Irena.
    Croatian commander Petar Kacic, was killed by the Serbs before Vukovar fell to them. Their son, 16-year-old Igor, then moved to hide in the basement of the besieged Vukovar hospital with his mother and sisters. She said he was a boy that still carried small toys in his pockets.
    When the Serbs and Yugoslav Army overran the town and on Nov 20, (24 years ago today), came to load women and children on to buses, the boy was separated from his mother to be questioned.
    A Serb neighbour said the child was the son of Kacic, so he was bused to Ovcara where he was executed with more than 200 others (mostly hospital patients, wounded soldiers, male civilians…)
    Later, when his remains were exhumed at Ovcara’s mass grave, toys were found with his remains.
    He was the youngest victim found in the mass grave at Ovcara.
    More can be found on wiki:

    • Thank you Veronika, it’s the personal stories like the Kacic one that hold our remembrance and determination seek justice. I am touched and humbled by the bravery Croats of Vukovar showed even on the path to their undeserved deaths.

  15. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  16. Freedom comes at a great price, all the more reason we need to continue the fight to remain free from those who would oppress us.

  17. Pictures always present a reality to the devastation of war.

  18. Genocide, Slavery, Greed

    We cry for the slavery that led to such wealth,

    This is not just the land of the free.

    We witness genocide all over this earth.

    What can we do to end greed?

    We cry for the land, full of modified crops

    We must work to save human life.

    What will our grandchildren have to live through

    Since our appetite causes such strife?

    The oil wars that started a decade ago

    Have moved toward the Caspian Sea.

    We are the dissidents, loud, without fear,

    Even if we are cut at the knees.

    We cry for the news they keep off TV,

    The grapevine could snap any day.

    Disinformation is the age we live in,

    So who’s going to show us the way?

    The answer is simple, we grow as a team,

    A new brotherhood in the light.

    We must build the village, invite all your friends,

    This is no time to give up the fight!

    They have all the bombs, the juntas abound,

    Monsanto is spraying the poor.

    We must dig our hands into arable land

    Or genetics will foul every spore.

    Profit mongers have sucked the earth dry,

    We must reclaim all that we can.

    Industrial China, the last frontier,

    Soon money will own every man.

    The kids on the streets are locked-down together,

    Push a bike, and you could get ten years!

    All this is forced because we stopped caring,

    Yet some offer blood, sweat and tears.

    We couldn’t stop bosses from shipping our jobs,

    The replacement is for-profit jails.

    Our schools are rotting, so teach if you can,

    Where it counts, not Harvard or Yale.

    The time is upon us, united as friends

    We can make anything grow.

    Come join the party, sing and dance all the day,

    Tomorrow we get out the vote.

    We cry for the genocide, slavery, greed

    That persists after thousands of years.

    It’s late, but there’s time, if we really work hard

    We can stop the torrent of tears.

    • Wow – so to the point of what the world has become and the hope that destruction can be stopped if we started to care – again. Thank you Doug and yes, those that offer blood sweat and tears so others can live free seem not as potent as the greed that presses down – still

  19. Good recapture of the events…

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