The amendments made to the Law on Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days in the Republic of Croatia in June 2011, established 23 August as a memorial day – the Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the Victims of all Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. When the new Law on Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days in the Republic of Croatia entered into force on 1 January 2020, the full name of the day marked on 23 August was changed into Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the Victims of all Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes – Nazism, Fascism and communism.
Croatia is thus one of the many EU member states, who, as encouraged by the European Parliament’s recommendation, dedicate one day to the consideration of sensitive and complex issues of common history and its preservation so that future generations can learn from it and build coexistence on democracy and respect for fundamental rights.
In its recommendation, the European Parliament emphasized that each country should adapt the date and manner of commemorating the victims of totalitarian regimes to its own history and tradition. Croatia thus joined Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden who observe August 23, the Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, while some other member states observe January 27, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes was established by the European Parliament Declaration on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism adopted on 23 September 2008, and confirmed by paragraph 15 of the European Parliament Resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism of 2 April 2009. In the final part of the Resolution, the parliaments and governments of all EU Member States, candidate countries for EU membership and countries associated with the European Union are invited to adopt and implement this Resolution.
The part referring to the memory of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes in the new Law on Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days adopted in 2020, aligns Croatian legislation with the views expressed in the European Parliament Resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe of 19 September 2019. The purpose of establishing a memorial day is expressed, inter alia, in paragraph 21 of the Resolution, which stresses that Europe’s tragic past should continue to serve as a moral and political inspiration to face the challenges of today’s world, including the fight for a fairer world, creating open and tolerant societies and communities embracing ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, and making European values work for everyone.