On hand for a lecture on The Significance of the Croatian Home Country for Ethic Groups (National Minorities) with a Special Review / Overview of Gradišće (Burgenland) Croatians were Croatian Ambassador to Austria Gordan Bakota, our soon to be appointed consul in Vienna Vesna Odorčić, Croatian police officer in Austria Krešimir Kovačićek and the head of the indigenous minorities department of the Croatian Heritage Foundation in Zagreb Marija Hećimović.

Petar Tyran, the chief editor of the Gradišće Croatian Hrvatske Novine (Croatian News) weekly, gave a lecture at the Croatian Centre in Vienna on the 29th of May on The Significance of the Croatian Home Country for Ethic Groups (National Minorities) with a Special Review / Overview of Gradišće (Burgenland) Croatians. Igor Lacković, the president of the Austrian chapter of the Croatian World Congress, the event organiser, spoke with Mr Tyran.
“I wish to emphasise that this is not a historical review of just under five centuries of relations and links of the Gradišće Croatian community with what is referred to, in the present terminology, as the home country, the Republic of Croatia, but rather a subjective approach that is predicated on over forty years of my engagement and work at various positions within the Gradišće Croatian community in Austria and neighbouring countries, and with a review of new Croatian immigration, particularly in Vienna,” notes Tyran. Discussing the minority rights of Gradišće Croatians, defined in article seven of the Austrian State Treaty of 1955, he noted that the survival of the Croatian minority depended on the overall support, including financial assistance, of the Republic of Croatia, its country of origin and ancient homeland. Tyran emphasised the significance of the preservation of the Croatian language to the survival of the Gradišće Croatian community in the multilingual Austrian society, which is “racing against time” in terms of the introduction of bilingual (Croatian-German) education, especially in Vienna.
Lacković explained that the Croatian World Congress has, in this regard, launched the Croatian is Our Choice campaign, which has seen the strong support of the Gradišće Croatian community, and that with the technical part of the project completed (a survey of the parents) the ball is now in the court of the competent Croatian and Austrian ministries.
Tyran observed that the Gradišće Croatian language has been standardised and codified and that the five centuries old rural idiom in Gradišće should certainly be preserved, while at the same time working on the acceptance of the Croatian Standard Language. He noted that there was a danger for contemporary Croatian immigrants that integration might in the end turn out to be assimilation, saying that it was important that the “old” and “new” Croatian community in Austria should stick together because they are “stronger together.”
Also on hand for the gathering were Croatian Ambassador to Austria Gordan Bakota, our soon to be appointed consul in Vienna Vesna Odorčić, Croatian police officer in Austria Krešimir Kovačićek and the head of the indigenous minorities department of the Croatian Heritage Foundation in Zagreb Marija Hećimović. (Večernji.hr)

Text by: Snježana Herek; Photos by HSK Austrija