A short history of Croatian Neo-Nazi skinhead subculture.
The Neo-Nazi skinhead subculture emerged from the nationalist hysteria of the 90’s. Before the 90’s, in “socialist” Yugoslavia, the existence of this kind of subculture was impossible. Still, there was one isolated incident that opposes this claim. In 1981, the members of a punk band called “The Fourth Reich”, from Socialist Republic of Slovenia, were arrested, trialed and sentenced to prison because of promoting Neo-Nazism. Although the band never had a chance to play live or to record, this was a big scandal in former Yugoslavia. Besides this, there were no similar actions, as “socialist” regime did not tolerate such deviations. With raging nationalism of the 90’s and the resurrection of the extreme right, especially the Ustasha movement, and with the new “cultural” step towards the West, the fertile ground for Neo-Nazi skinhead movement was created.
Even the Neo-Nazi skinhead subculture was created and rooted in the 90’s. It was marked by Independence war and other ethnic conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia, but they remained on the margins of society – they remained unknown to most of the Croats. When “left” coalition won the 2000’s elections and replaced HDZ, Neo-Nazi skinheads came out from the margins of society with their brutal attacks on tourists and foreigners (especially blacks or Arabs), Serbs, Gypsies, gay people and members of other subcultures, mainly punk rockers. These brutal attacks gave them a lot of media attention, especially their attacks on children of foreign diplomats. One of those attacks which we will remember occured in July of 2003 when Neo-Nazi skinheads attacked six people including five old people and 11-year old boy from Egypt. They were brutally beaten up in the middle of the street. Nobody has ever answered for these actions. All of these attacks occurred in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, where most of the Croatia’s Neo-Nazi skinheads live. Most of them are members of the football firm “Bad Blue Boys”, whose non-skinhead members also showed a lot of sympathies towards the extreme right ideals and also participated in attacks on Serbs, homosexuals, other subcultures etc.
Allthough Zagreb had the biggest Neo-Nazi skinhead scene, we will remember Pula and Dubrovnik for the bloodiest attack of the skinheads. On November 14th of 2004, the Neo-Nazi skinheads Darko Basaric from Osijek and Mauricio Tromboni and Mirko Banchelli attacked two punk rockers I.H. and M.S. This fight ended fatal for I.H. and M.S., who were stabbed with a knife by Darko Basaric. I.H. was stabbed three times in the chest and ribs and M.S. was stabbed once in the chest. I.H. was fighting for his life in a hospital and he managed to survive. He was only 20 when he was attacked. The reconstruction of this event showes how Neo-Nazi skinheads, even without the big movement behind their back, are dangerous for our society. I.H. and M.S. where attacked without any reason. The fight was started by M. Tromboni. Tromboni kicked M.S. in the back. Basaric jumped in and stabbed I.H. who was lying on the ground. All three Neo-Nazi skinheads were drunk. Both Basaric and Tromboni were trialed and got prison sentences. Banchelli was released because there was no evidence that he took part in the fight. Basaric was charged for the „murder attmpt“ and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Tromboni was sentenced to 9 months prison (he was charged for “participating in the fight with serious consequences“). It's really important to emphasize that the father of Mauricio Tromboni is a police officer. That could easily explain why he got such a small sentence. Also, it's important to emphasize that Tromboni came to court in a T-shirt with a slogan „White revolution“ and with SS skull shaped buckle on the belt, showing that he doesn't feel any regret for what he did. Although Basaric was convicted to 8 years, he served only 5 years and now he is a free man. In the interview for Glas Slavonije from March 20th 2010, he claimed that he was innocent: “I repeat, I did it in self-defense, because those punx attacked us. I did my time“. „Prison changes people“ my ass.
This attack in Pula didn't pass without reaction from the other side – the anti-fascist side. At least 1000 of Pula's citizens gathered for an anti-fascist rally. This rally was against fascist violence, but it was also a rally of support for the attacked I.H. and M.S. All the people gathered there knew why they were there – to say once again that “they shall not pass“. The protesters walked trough Pula in a big colon. It was a really impressive picture, especially because it wasn't just another subculture vs. subculture rally that we are already used to, especially in the Western World. This was really a protest of all citizens of Pula. One journalist even made a joke that even old people, who probably fought against fascism in te World War Two, came.
Even more brutal attack occured in the own of Dubrovnik. On the night between January 8th and 9th of 2004., underaged skinhead M.C. (born in 1987.) killed his neighbor T. K. (born in 1977.). M.C. was drunk when he attacked his neighbor T.K. and booted him to death with his Dc. Marten's boots. This case didn't get too much attention from the media, and it looked like as if somebody wanted to hide everything somewhere under the carpet.
Even with the history of such serious attacks, the Neo-Nazi skinheads in Croatia were not organized in any kind of “serious“ Neo-Nazi organization. They were organized more like gangs, fractions of football firms or something similar. All of that changed on October 4th of 2004. when Blood & Honor Croatia was created. There was a big discussion on the skinhead scene about joining Blood & Honor. Some of the skinheads didn't want to join the B&H because there was already a Blood & Honor Serbia, and they didn't want to have anything with the Serbs. Others didn't want to miss an opportunity to become a part of this “worldwide movement“. In the end, pro-B&H fraction won the argument and B&H Croatia was created. The creation of the Croatian division was highly supported by the Slovenian B&H (even the web site of the Croatian B&H was hosted on the name of one Slovenian – Simon Dolenec). Croatian B&H called themselves „association of nationalistic and patriotic Croatian youth“. Their goal was to “awake national conscience and racial pride“, but also to “promote Croatian cultural and historical heritage“. They did everything they could to dissociate themselves from fascism or Nazism, but all of their words are nothing but a “nice packaged hate speech”. This is a quote from their web site:
“Blood and Honor Croatia is not a Neo-Nazi organization. We do not praise the Ustasha’s or anyone else’s crimes. Blood and Honor Croatia do not praise Adolf Hitler, Third Reich or the Ustasha movement. That’s a part of our history and unlike our mainstream politicians we face the future. Our activities are fully in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Croatia. (…) The society (they mean on B&H – author's remark) is divided into several divisions across Croatia and we are openly lobbying against chauvinism, globalization, uncontrolled immigration, and any other action that we believe is harmful to our nation.”
Croatian Blood & Honor had four divisions: Crusader from Rijeka, Division Pula, Division Zagreb and Division Osijek. The biggest of all these divisions was the one in Zagreb, but the strongest one was the one in Rijeka. B&H in Croatia wasn't a big organization and their membership was up to few dozen. Their official webzine was called “Crusader webzine“, but there were few more zines: “Provokacija” from Pula and “SH-ZG fanzin za skinhead kulturu”. “Provokacija” was the first Neo-Nazi skinhead fanzine in Croatia. In the first number it had articles about Screwdriver and Rudolf Hess march. Pula’s skinheads also organized the first Neo-Nazi concert in Croatia. The band that played that night was Civico 88 RAC - a band from Italy. According to my knowledge, “SH-ZG…” fanzine had two issues. On the cover of the first one there was a photo of Rudolf Hess and on the front page of the second one there was a photo of Jure Francetic. On March 23rd of 2004 the police arrested 3 skinheads who were editing “SH-ZG…” fanzine. They were released without any charges. Two of them had criminal records because of their violent behavior. B&H also tried to organize a concert in Osijek. Regarding their international connections, they remained to have good communication with B&H section from Slovenia, but they developed deep connection with a Hungarian section, and it is somewhat strange since the Hungarian Neo-Nazis want “Great Hungary” that would consist of two regions of Croatia: Medimurje and Baranja. Croatian B&H remained in bad (or no) relationship with Serbian B&H.
But, since I’m talking about B&H in the past tense, what happened to them? Are they still here? According to a post on Stormfront, made by Osijek Division’s member, everything is dead. Their page is down, their zines are gone, they returned to their caves – back to the margins of society. Maybe this had something to do with HDZ coming back to power, or with HSP wining the elections in Osijek? This is just a theory, but still the fact is that nobody talks about croatian Blood & Honor anymore. But, the Neo-Nazi skinheads are still here.
In March of 2008 a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads had brutally beaten up a group of young people in a park in the center of Zabok. They kicked a girl from the group with the boot in the head and smashed her nose. On May 30th of 2008 one Neo-Nazi skinhead stabbed a 19-year old boy in Pula. The boy was seriously injured, but fortunately his life wasn’t in danger. In January of 2009 three Neo-Nazi skinheads were arrested in Zagreb, because they had beaten up a Roma boy who was waiting for a tram. On February 10th of 2009 a Neo-Nazi skinhead had beaten up a 16-year old boy in the front of boy’s highschool in Zagreb just because that boy was dressed up as a “hip hopper”. In January of 2010 a Neo-Nazi skinhead attacked a football player of the football club “Slaven Belupo” from Koprivnica, just because he was black. He hit him with a rack in the back of the head. These are just some of the recorded attacks of Neo-Nazi skinheads in the past few years.
In the past there was only one Croatian Neo-Nazi band called H8. They played music called “hatecore”. With the creation of B&H in Vukovar, a one-man “band” called Cro28Band was „formed“. This is, as I said, one man project. This guy is writing extreme right and nationalistic ballads. First “real” Croatian RAC band is a new band called Strong Survive, but they won’t get any gig soon.
Although Blood & Honor wasn't active anymore there was a new organization “in town“. Somewhere in 2008-2009, under the wing of “Croatian Pure Party of Rights” (HCSP), extreme right wing party which is flirting with third positionism, “Croatian Nationalists” were created. “Croatian Nationalists” were an “underground association” that was attracting young right-wingers like Neo-Nazi skinheads or extreme right wing football hooligans. Its' association with HCSP was almost invisible. HCSP was really careful regarding this connection and they secured that nobody can connect the party with “Croatian Nationalists”. But, still everybody knew that “Croatian Nationalists” held meetings in HCSP’s chambers. These two organizations openly cooperated only on one occasion: “anti-gay rally” in 2009. They organized a protest against ZG Pride while ZG Pride was held. Besides that, “Croatian Nationalists” had a web site with numerous Nazi and fascists texts and books, including Hitler’s, Pavelic’s and Goebbels’s works. Their logo was an Ustasha solider holding a flag with a Croatian coat of arms with big Celtic cross in the middle. There’s no doubt that they were Neo-Nazi organization. Most of the still active members of B&H joined them. In February of 2010 they tried to organize a RAC gig in Krizevci. They announced the concert few weeks ago but the location was supposed to be a secret. The members of Zagreb’s NGO called “Young Anti-Fascists” found out the location and thay reported it to the media. The media then called the police. The result was 34 arrested Neo-Nazis, including the members of German RAC band Blue Max and one Italian. Among the arrested Neo-Nazis there were Mauricio Tromboni and Darko Barasic. After this incident Darko Basaric, with another Osijek’s skinhead and former B&H member M.B., gave the interview for Glas Slavonije. In that interview they were angry on the police who disturbed their “party” and they made a few interesting claims. For example, they said that their ideas are close to national-socialism but not to Nazism (although everybody knows that Nazism is an abbreviation for national-socialism). They also said that:
“We are aware that the national-socialism belongs to history, to the 30’s and to the 40’s... However, we believe that some ideas should be preserved, for example, national identity. It should not happen in our country, Croatia, that minorities have more rights than the majority of population. Which ones? For example Serbs, as the most numerous minority. (…) Our goal is not to hate anyone, but simply to take care and to love what's ours“.
After this “incident”, “Croatian Nationalists” were forced to shut down their internet forum and website. Next “anti-gay rally” was organized by "Youth of Croatian Pure Party of Rights", but members of “Croatian Nationalists” participated in it.
 Eng. Voice of Slavonia – Regional papers from Croatia. Slavonia is one of Croatia’s regions. Papers are stationed in town of Osijek, Basaric's hometown.
 Pula has 58594 citizens.
 Eng. Provocation
 Eng. Skinheads-Zagreb fanzine for skinhead culture
 Rock Against Communism (RAC) is the name which we use for Neo-Nazi and white supremacist rock music.
 Croatian Pure Party of Rights – hrv. Hrvatska cista stranka prava (HCSP)
 Zagreb's Gay Pride
This text was used for article Neonazi-Gewalt in Kroatien published in Antifaschistisches Infoblatt #88, German antifascist magazine.