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COME: Controversial Memory Together Exploring politics of memory in Bleiburg/Pliberk

Youth Exchange, 2-9 July 2023 near Bleiburg/Pliberk, Austria

Background of the youth exchange

Right-wing populism and right-wing extremism are on the rise in many European countries and we need to stand against it. Many fascist groups use history in inaccurate or false contexts to spread their political ideas. In Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia, the myth of the “Bleiburg/Pliberk massacre” is a very impactful example of this.[1]

An Austrian town as a meeting point for Croatian right-wing extremists. Until recently, every year in May thousands of Ustaša supporters, (Neo-)Nazis, fascists, Croatian politicians, conservatives and church representatives gathered in the town of Bleiburg/Pliberk to remember the alleged victims of the so-called “Bleiburg/Pliberk massacre” in May 1945. Especially since the 1990s, the commemoration of this myth had developed into one of the biggest gatherings of the extreme right in Europe. Only in 2022, the Austrian government banned the official commemoration.

We will meet near Bleiburg/Pliberk and discuss the following questions from an anti-fascist perspective:

Why and how does history and memory affect us today?

How was the myth of the “Bleiburg/Pliberk massacre” created and how is it continuing to exist?

Why did the Austrian authorities tolerate the annual gathering of the extreme right for such a long time?

How can we oppose right-wing tendencies in Europe and how can we support each other in our anti-fascist struggle?

Outcome: Together we will develop strategies against right-wing populism and right-wing extremism. Depending on what you’re interested in, you could create social media posts, Wikipedia articles, podcasts, interviews, antifascist commemoration events, journalistic articles, exhibitions, short films, educational workshops or creative writing.

Who can apply?

Living in Croatia, Austria or Slovenia and being between 18 and 30. We unfortunately cannot make exceptions regarding this due to our funding.

Be able to participate in the whole period of 2–9 July 2023. It doesn’t make sense for you to come to the project late or to leave early, as you would miss important sessions.

Be interested in the topic of the youth exchange and have a strong motivation to act as a multiplier.

People with multiple discriminations prioritised. We want to encourage participants who experience discrimination (e.g. migrant youth, youth of colour, queer youth, youth with disabilities) to apply. We will do our best to make the project a safer space and we will create the project based on the individual needs of the participants. We also encourage people who haven’t travelled a lot or at all to apply.

Logistics, financial conditions and travel

Simple life as a community: The exchange will take place in a seminar house with simple living conditions. You will sleep in a room shared with a few other people. All participants are expected to participate in care work (cleaning, cooking, taking care of each other).

Money, money, money: We can cover all essential costs of the program (incl. food, travel costs up to 180 EUR, accommodation and exchange) through a European project grant by Erasmus+.

Sustainable travels: We ask you to come to this training through more sustainable means of transport rather than flying. It is possible to reach the venue from Slovenia, Austria and Croatia by train, shared car or bus and we will not accept flight tickets. We will pick you up from the train station in Bleiburg/Pliberk.

Accessibility: The venue is not wheelchair-accessible. A quiet room will be available in case of sensory overload. Unisex sleeping rooms and toilets will be available. Please write to Mirna at for any specific questions around accessibility.

How to apply? In order to apply, please fill out this application form.

All those accepted will later receive a detailed infosheet (incl. info on how to get to the venue, how to book your travels, about the agenda of the project).

First deadline for applying is 5 May 2023.

Contact If you have any questions regarding the project and your application, don't hesitate to contact one of the partner organisations:

● Austria: SCI Austria / Verein GEDENKDIENST – contact person: Mirna at

● Croatia: Mreža Antifašistkinja Zagreb [MAZ] – contact person: Karlo at

● Slovenia: Zavod Krog – contact person: Ratko at

We are looking forward to your application :)

The coordinating team – Karlo, Emina, Ratko, Benni, Milena, Mirna & Thomas

[1] For an introduction on the background on the history of Bleiburg/Pliberk in the end of World War II, see


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