Descendants of Croatian Jews, who were victims of property confiscation during the Fascist and Communist regimes before and after World War II, are still seeking justice. Despite laws on property restitution, many heirs have yet to receive their rightful assets.
The Echoes of a Stolen Heritage
Before World War II, Croatia was home to approximately 25,000 Jews. The war and subsequent regimes led to the confiscation of their properties, leaving a trail of injustice that echoes even today.
One such story is that of Marko Ivanovic, whose father bought a building in Zagreb's Old Quarter before the war. Today, this building houses private apartments and a municipal institution. Ivanovic's parents survived the war, but their assets were seized by the Fascist Ustasha regime.
From Fascism to Communism: A Tale of Continued Injustice
The Communists took over in 1947, sentencing Ivanovic's parents to forced labor for being capitalists and seizing their remaining assets. "My parents were branded as enemies of the people," shares Ivanovic, "their property, their legacy, was taken away from them."
Ivanovic applied to have his father posthumously rehabilitated by the courts in 1998, a step towards property restitution. However, not all assets were returned to his father's heirs.
An Ongoing Struggle for Justice
Stories like Ivanovic's are not uncommon among the descendants of Croatian Jews. Despite laws on property restitution, many heirs find themselves entangled in bureaucratic complexities, struggling to reclaim their ancestral assets.
"It's a fight for justice," says Ivanovic. "Not just for my family, but for all families who have been wronged."