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    National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundations (NFCACF) 2024 Summer Schedule for Croatia

    It will be an epic celebration of the combined Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) Adult and Junior ensembles, joining each other in Zagreb in late June. It’s estimated that over 2,000 Croatian Americans will be traveling to Croatia to be perform and participate in this historic Tamburitza Festival.

    The NFCACF, with so many Board and CFU members, headed to Croatia, decided to embrace a very ambitious schedule in Croatia. Thus, the NFCACF is proud to announce numerous upcoming 2024 summer events. Starting with a heartfelt initiative, the NFCACF will proudly support and participate in Croatia’s Special Olympics annual floorball tournament on the morning of Saturday, June 29th at the Police Academy in Zagreb. 

    Next, on Monday, July 1st, 2024, the NFCACF is hosting a four-hour History Series mini-symposium, featuring several esteemed Croatian historians, at the Matica Hrvatska location in Zagreb. Our History Series has been an ongoing effort to deepen our understanding of the events that shaped Croatia’s rich history and culture. Previous speakers have included Hrvoje Čapo, Luka Misetic, and Danijel Frka and we have lined up several University of Zagreb history professors for the July 1st event. Please RSVP with Judi Zivic at: [email protected].

    The NFCACF is also proud to announce its partnership with the Croatian Military History Society, alongside which it will co-sponsor an event commemorating the opening of the emergency airstrip built on the Island of Vis. This airstrip, operational during 1944-1945, played a crucial role in saving 4,000 Allied airmen from the 15th Air Force and the RAF. The commemoration will take place on July 5, 2024, followed by a reception at Roki’s Restaurant.

    During WW II, the Island of Vis held significant strategic importance. Geographically distant from the mainland and other inhabited islands off the coast, it has always been hard to conquer. After the fall of Italy, it was the only free territory of occupied Europe at the beginning of 1944. It was then defended by the Allied Forces along with Croatian anti-fascists, who helped save thousands of American pilots returning from battle. Pilots of the Allied forces who could not reach Italy and were forced to land elsewhere landed at Plisko Polje Airport on the Island of Vis. The airport became a true symbol of resistance and defiance to Nazi Germany.

    In an effort to memorialize and honor the sacrifices American pilots made, this event will honor Second Lieutenant John Kim, a P-38 pilot from the 27th Fighter Squadron and the first American casualty on Vis, alongside others like Sergeant Morris Peck who sacrificed their lives. This tribute embodies our mission to celebrate the unique cooperation between Croatians, Croatian Americans, and the United States.

    The most recent History Series speaker, Danijel Frka, presented his book, titled “Vis – The Last Hope”. His book is a remarkable documentation of the bravery of American and British pilots, as well as the Croatian inhabitants of the island, and their shared life during the challenging times of war. The bond they created is something to be remembered and celebrated. Mr. Frka’s book tells their compelling story, offering many interesting facts and incredible photographs. 

    Following the event on Vis, the NFCACF will return to Zagreb where we will host an event honoring Dr. William Novick, a pediatric cardiac surgeon who saved over 500 Croatian children. The event will be held on July 7, 2024, at Hotel Antunović in Zagreb. Attendees will also include Dr. Novick’s former patients and their family members, whom he has profoundly impacted. 

    Join us in these events as we honor our shared history, celebrate our heroes, and support our global Croatian community. Please consider supporting our special 2024 events and we still do need more financial support for the Vis Island event and to support our “Open House” reception to honor Dr. Bill Novick. Please contact Steve Rukavina at [email protected] to make any 2024 donation pledge.

    Karmen Pletikosic

    2024 NFCACF Rudy Perpich Fellow

    Steve Rukavina

    NFCACF President-Lodge 760 President


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