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 »  Home  »  Croatian Heroes  »  481 foreign volunteers from 35 countries defended Croatia in 1991-1995
 »  Home  »  History  »  481 foreign volunteers from 35 countries defended Croatia in 1991-1995
481 foreign volunteers from 35 countries defended Croatia in 1991-1995
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  07/24/2010 | Croatian Heroes , History | Unrated
72 killed in action, 88 wounded in action
They are the sons of Croatia !


Jean-Michel Nicollier from France, Croatian defender.
Photo from the Vukovar Hospital in 1991. He was assasinated  in a mass grave of Ovčara near the city of Vukovar
together with other 200 wounded from the hospital.


Source of videos: croatie.aceboard.fr


So Far (July 2010) The USDDR has a list of 481 confirmed volunteers, of which 72 were Killed in Action (above)
and at least 88 were wounded; many severely. Source domovinskirat.weebly.com/roll-of-honour.html

 
About Foreign volunteers. Who are we?

As the twentieth century drew to a close communist ideology finally collapsed, and countries that had spent half a century under oppressive dictatorships now emerged to take their rightful place in the free world.

Croatia was such a country, a nation and a people who had kept alive an unfulfilled dream of independence and freedom for hundreds of years. But unlike most of eastern europe, that long denied dream would still require years of struggle and sacrifice against a dictatorship that still held on to its past.

Croatia's towns, cities and villages were shelled relentlessly from air,land and sea. The county's religious and cultural symbols were slowly and deliberately being destroyed in the quest for a "Greater Serbia".

The International Community looked on and did nothing to halt the gross military imbalance, blatant Serbian aggression and the Armies advancing into Croatia, "cleansing" civilian areas as well as military targets as it went.

We watched those pictures on television and heard politicians talk of ceasefires whilst Serb paramilitaries marched through Croatian towns. Disgusted by the inability of the international community and our own governments to halt the slaughter, individuals rose to the challenge from every civilised nation, setting aside political, ideological and cultural differences.

Most protested, raised funds or conducted humanitarian operations. Many went further to help. Volunteering to fight for Croatia, bringing with them the will to fight for another county's freedom and the courage to stay and win it.

They were welded by a shared purpose; the prevention of murder, rape and the wholesale destruction of civilian property and cultural heritage. Individuals stood when their own countries turned their backs. These individuals became known as the Foreign Volunteers.

Present in every front-line brigade, volunteers could be found on all of Croatia's five fronts as well as in the overcrowded hospitals of Zagreb. We were an enormous boost to civilian morale and our presence in battered front-line towns brought resolve to exhausted defenders. And a realisaton that Croatia did have its allies. We helped reorganise defensive positions and stiffened crumbling units. We fought as front-line infantry and taught on the job military skills to men who weeks before were ordinary civilians going about their business. In return we learned their language, received their hospitality and gained mutual respect.

When Bosnia became the next target of the Yugoslav Army and its Serb paramilitaries the Foreign Volunteers headed south in order to help the Forces of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in defending its land.

Many volunteers paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives. 63 men were killed in action and 74 injured, a 30% casualty rate. Their sacrifice helped win independence and freedom for Croatia, after five years of war.



447 Foreign Volunteers from 35 different countries

Killed in action ( K.I.A. ) = 63 (for newer information see the above list; D.Ž.)
Wounded in action ( W.I.A.) = 74

England (139) = 15 killed , 20 wounded
Germany (53) = 14 killed , 8 wounded
France (67) = 8 killed , 20 wounded
USA (18) = 3 Killed , 1 wounded
Hungaria (33) = 2 killed , 5 wounded
Austria (10) = 2 killed , 1 wounded
The Netherlands (27) = 2 killed , 2 wounded
Italy (7) = 2 killed , 1 wounded
Canada (7) = 2 killed
Switzerland (4) = 2 killed
Belgium (4) = 1 killed , 1 wounded
Australia (15) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Portugal (2) = 1 Killed
Ukraine (1) = 1 killed
Slovakia (4) = 1 killed , 1 wounded
Ireland (10) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Scotland (5) = 1 killed , 2 wounded
Bulgaria (2) = 1 killed
Rhodesia (1) = 1 Killed
Danmark (4) = 1 Killed
Gambia (1) = 1 Killed
Finland (3) = 2 wounded
Chile (1) = 1 wounded
Spain (4) = 2 wounded
Poland (8) = 1 wounded
Sweden (3) = 1 wounded
Wales (4) = 1 wounded

The list is not complete. For example, Ukraine (2 killed), Estonia (1 killed) should be added to the list. Also, it does not include countries from which nobody was killed or wounded. (D.Ž.)

USDDR - Udruga Stranih Dragovoljaca Domovinskog Rata 1991 - 1995 / Hrvatska - Bosna

USDDR - Association of Foreign Volunteers of the Croatian Homeland War 1991 - 1995 / Croatia - Bosnia

USDDR - Association des volontaires etranger de la guerre patriotique . Croatie / Bosnie - 1991-95



From the Vukovar Cemetery where Croatian defenders are buried.

Alfred Hill, born in Vukovar, and Blago Zadro were killed the same day.

Association of Foreign Volunteers of the Homeland War 1991-1995



Videos

 
About the USDDR

The USDDR is a non political organisation consisting of foreign volunteers who fought against Serb aggression in the war in former Yugoslavia.  So far there are almost 500 confirmed names of foreigners from every part of the world who fought in Croatia and Bosnia.

Our Aims

Our aim is to remind the world of our contribution and sacrifice for a countrys independence, to get rid of the myth of foreign volunteers as "mercenaries", also we aim to get recognition from the Croatian authorities and have the same rights as Croatian veterans.

Vukovar

Every November the members and friends of the USDDR meet up in Vinkovci, Croatia.  We attend the national Vukovar remembrance parade as well as our own remembrance ceremonies; at Ovcara, where 200 people incuding Ivan Herman (Austria) and Jean-Michel Nicolier (France) were executed following the fall of Vukovar. Also we have a ceremony in Vinkovci itself where we remember the foreigners killed in action.

Source domovinskirat.weebly.com/about-us.html



"This organisation represents all foreign volunteers who fought, risked or gave their life for the freedom and independance of Croatia "

Croatia - Bosnia / 1991 - 1995

As the twentieth century drew to a close communist ideology finally collapsed, and countries that had spent half a century under oppressive dictatorships now emerged to take their rightful place in the free world.

Croatia was such a country, a nation and a people who had kept alive an unfulfilled dream of independence and freedom for hundreds of years. But unlike most of eastern europe, that long denied dream would still require years of struggle and sacrifice against a dictatorship that still held on to its past.

Croatia's towns, cities and villages were shelled relentlessly from air,land and sea. The county's religious and cultural symbols were slowly and deliberately being destroyed in the quest for a "Greater Serbia".

The International Community looked on and did nothing to halt the gross military imbalance, blatant Serbian aggression and the Armies advancing into Croatia, "cleansing" civilian areas as well as military targets as it went.

We watched those pictures on television and heard politicians talk of ceasefires whilst Serb paramilitaries marched through Croatian towns. Disgusted by the inability of the international community and our own governments to halt the slaughter, individuals rose to the challenge from every civilised nation, setting aside political, ideological and cultural differences.

Most protested, raised funds or conducted humanitarian operations. Many went further to help. Volunteering to fight for Croatia, bringing with them the will to fight for another county's freedom and the courage to stay and win it.

We were welded by a shared purpose; the prevention of murder, rape and the wholesale destruction of civilian property and cultural heritage. Individuals stood when their own countries turned their backs.

We individuals became known as the Foreign Volunteers.

Present in every front-line brigade, volunteers could be found on all of Croatia's five fronts as well as in the overcrowded hospitals of Zagreb. We were an enormous boost to civilian morale and our presence in battered front-line towns brought resolve to exhausted defenders. And a realisaton that Croatia did have its allies.We helped reorganise defensive positions and stiffened crumbling units. We fought as front-line infantry and taught on the job military skills to men who weeks before were ordinary civilians going about their business. In return we learned their language, received their hospitality and gained mutual respect.

When Bosnia became the next target of the Yugoslav Army and its Serb paramilitaries the Foreign Volunteers headed south in order to help the Forces of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in defending its land.

Many volunteers paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives. 71 men were killed in action and 88 injured, a 30% casualty rate. Their sacrifice helped win independence and freedom for Croatia, after five years of war.

Source www.usddr.net



Jean-Michel Nicollier, wounded, carried from the Vukovar Hospital and assassinated.
His last words recorded on the video: Je suis ici pour le meilleur et pour le pire.



Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
Distributed by www.Croatia.org . This message is intended for Croatian Associations/Institutions and their Friends in Croatia and in the World. The opinions/articles expressed on this list do not reflect personal opinions of the moderator. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please delete or destroy all copies of this communication and please, let us know!


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Comments
  • Comment #1 (Posted by Peter)

    I am Swedish named Peter Karlsson or (Captain SWEDE) and I was in the 1 Tigrovi unit that formed, we gathered at runolist and begun the start of the International Brigade, we were only a platoon size but we went to fight around Novska. We faught there for 3 months before we got releaved. I was a Chief instructor in Samobor etc. I se that I am nr 16 in the UN ACT II as an englishman in samobor, but no. Johnny Savage recruited us straight in to the ministry of defence. We were never given any papers of our service, cause we didn't exist. :) Nr 17 on the list is "Iceman" our Canadian pilot and my dear frien Francois Roulrt tat was my combat partner in Novska. Many more are forgotten... Doc: a 2 para from Britain, Jim a Small arms expert from Wessex reg. Taffy our welch grenadier, Joe and Sylvester (legionnaires) and many more that doesnt show on any sites on the net. We are not forgotten, we started the run :) Take care brothers!
     
  • Comment #2 (Posted by gaston besson )

    First , thanks for this great page about foreign volunteer ! We need all the help we can get ...
    Second , Peter , the list of fallen comrads and foreign volunteers is still under construction . Please if you have any infos , contact us .
    Gaston Besson
     
  • Comment #3 (Posted by Jacques nicolaï)

    bravo to this page, thank you!

    why do not you do know thee, the instructors we consider them as volunteers.

    salutation de Corse !
     
  • Comment #4 (Posted by michaelhomeister)

    thanx you for the article about us,best regards from germany
     
  • Comment #5 (Posted by stan)

    bravo!!!....people who knew the truth
    this must not be forgotten!!!
     
  • Comment #6 (Posted by Tin)

    I found this page while looking for information about the Croatian homeland war, and I am so glad that there is an "udruga" where foreigners who fought for a free Croatia are remembered and still keep in touch with eachother 20 years after the defensive homeland war. I am a Croat who lived outside of Croatia for a long time and unfortunately I was too young to have helped defend Croatia, but I want to give my support and a thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who did! May God be good to the foreign brothers who gave their lives so my country can be free. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you, and I wish nothing but the best to you and your families. I am also interested whether the Croatian goverment has acknowledged your efforts, given a thank you for your contribution? I am aware there was a presentation given to Jean Michel Nicoliers mother as it was televised on Croatian TV, and I beleive that Jeans family gets the same rights under Croatian law as families of Croatian fallen defenders. I feel that Croatia should acknowledge your contribution to our freedom! God bless you all.
     
  • Comment #7 (Posted by ABEJA)

    Respect from Albania.
     
  • Comment #8 (Posted by Ante)

    In today's world these deeds can get forgotten and end up unappreciated. But even if they are, the almighty one doesn't and these noble deeds will get rewarded. May God bless them all.
     
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