On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Zagreb from fascism, Cartography of Resistance is an attempt at bringing out the suppressed political dimension of antifascist struggle and to intervene both into the dominant discourse, which has adopted the tone of revisionism and anticommunism in demonizing the partisan struggle and the popular resistance against fascism, and the typical culture of liberalism, which does speak of the People’s Liberation Struggle, yet consciously ignores the fact that it was indivisible from the socialist revolution.

Cartography of Resistance explores the underground Zagreb of 1941-1945: networks and organizations of resistance and the way they were embedded into the workers' struggles and illegal activity of the Communist Party in the 1930s. Our research focuses on the political, social, and military context of the Liberation as such: the repressive apparatus of the NDH, the military actions around Zagreb, the party structure and organization within the occupied city, and the broad, ramified network of resistance, structured as the People’s Aid. Our aim has been to politicize this historical experience and to initiate a debate on the character of fascism today and the possibilities of antifascist organization and resistance against the oppression and economic exploitation at the European periphery. Thereby our aim has not been to commemorate, but rather to educate on the history of these struggles beyond their musealization and culturalization which has led to their uttermost de-politicization.

The project includes a number of researchers, historians, curators, and activists who have translated the insights gathered over the research period into an urban seminar: a didactic tour through the historical localities of Zagreb, which the revisionist policy has completely barred from public space. The tour has been accompanied by three public discussions on this historical period and the contemporary forms of fascism.


Urban seminar

The narrative ramification “dug out from below” (from memoirs and archival materials) has helped determine the network and the currents of resistance during the occupation of Zagreb in the following points/stations: (1) Square of the Victims of Fascism; (2) Tvrtkova Street; (3) King Peter Krešimir IV Square; (4) Red Cross Street; (5) Bartol Kašić Square; (6) crossing of Šubićeva and Derenčinova streets (the plateau in front of INA’s building; (7) Kvaternik Square. The translation of archival research into a non-scholarly discourse, as well as literature interpretation during the tour, have made it possible to hold a history class in situ, in places where the key events of the micro-history of Zagreb’s resistance movement have taken place. Thereby the stage of the performance, namely the living urban texture, clearly shows – 70 years later – a whole series of transformations, both spatial and ideological, with regard to the time when the underground front of the National Liberation Movement (NOP) was active, inevitably introducing the contemporary aspect into the story. Reasserting the suppressed historical experience has thus become an alternative to the traditional practices of commemoration; as it is not exclusively interested either in the individual stories or in the great events, it can address more adequately the structural features of the NOP: from small shops and workshops that served to exchange information and propaganda materials to underground radio stations and print shops in private apartments, and even NDH’s institutions where the NOP had “its own men.” The selected points also aim at responding to the ever more present revisionism, sending a clear message that the basis of the Liberation Movement was a complex network of Zagreb’s citizens – workers, physicians, students, and artists – who did not hesitate to get involved into politics and to join the struggle.

“… in Tomašićeva Street, there was a milk shop of mother and comrade Klašnja. We often met there, left various materials and messages, we felt safe there...” /Alica Hrska/
“... in the central office of the Consume Collective of Railway Workers in Vrhovčeva [today’s Draškovićeva] Street, there was a storehouse for victuals collected from other companies. There was also sanitary material, clothes, footwear, weapons. The collective also supplied the families of certain comrades who lived underground or were incarcerated in concentration camps. Food was also sent to the Kerestinec camp... All this was acquired owing to various connections, mostly from the military hospital in Vlaška Streets, opposite to the dentist office of Marijan Ravnikar, who worked at that hospital...” /Antun Vrabec/



The Unconquered City – Zagreb in the Antifascist Struggle 1941-1945, public discussion, May 7, 8:30 p.m.
Bogdan Ogrizović Library, Preradovićeva 5
Participants: Goran Hutinec (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb) and Branka Boban (historian in retirement)
Moderator: Josip Jagić (Antifascist Network Zagreb)

Points of resistance: Zagreb 1941-1945, urban seminar, May 9, 12:00 a.m.
Meeting point: Square of the Victims of Fascism

Antifascism and the Socialist Revolution, public discussion, May 9, 5:00 p.m.
Bogdan Ogrizović Library, Preradovićeva 5
Participants: Boris Buden (Humboldt University, Berlin), Dean Duda (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb)
Moderator: Stipe Ćurković (Centre for Workers’ Studies, Zagreb)

Terror, Resistance, Liberation, round table, May 10, 7:00 p.m., MAZ (Antifascist Network Zagreb), Pavla Hatza 16
Participants: Josip Jagić, Goran Korov, Lovro Krnić, Stefan Treskanica

organizer: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe in partnership with [BLOK]
working group: Ivana Hanaček, Josip Jagić, Goran Korov, Lovro Krnić, Ana Kutleša, Milena Ostojić, Krunoslav Stojaković, Stefan Treskanica, Vesna Vuković
design: Hrvoje Živčić & Dario Dević
photo documentation: Srđan Kovačević

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