- Estimated Gypsy population: 100,000. Official census figures were 313 Gypsies in 1961, rising to 1,257 in 1971, 3,858 in 1981, and 6,695 in 1991. The first written record of Gypsies on the territory of present-day Croatia dates from 1362 and refers to two Gypsies in Dubrovnik. Other early arrivals noted in the next century were a trumpeter and a lute player.Until 1918 Croatia was included in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It then became part of Yugoslavia. During World War II, after the German occupation of Yugoslavia, a puppet state was set up covering Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina under the control of the fascist Ustashe movement and Andre Paveli. The Ustashe considered all Gypsies, Jews, and Orthodox Serbs as enemies. Muslim Gypsies had a certain amount of protection from the Muslim authorities, though, because Germany wanted the friendship of Muslim leaders in the Middle East.Under Decree No. 13-542 of the Ministry of the Interior, all Gypsies had to register with the police in July 1941. They were forbidden to use parks and cafés. By 1943 most of Croatia's Gypsies were put in the Ustashe-run concentration camps: Jasenovac, Stara Gradiska, Strug, and Tenje. At the time of the creation of the Independent State of Croatia, there had been over 30,000 Gypsies, either nominally Orthodox or Moslem. At least 26,000 perished between 1941 and 1945.Croatia again became part of Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1991. At the end of the war, very few Gypsies had survived in Croatia itself, but there was a steady immigration from other parts of Yugoslavia.Croatia became independent in 1991. During the 1991-1995 war in Yugoslavia, many Romanies who did not manage to escape from Baranja (in western Slavonia) were killed by the Serbian occupiers. On 31 November 1991, Serbian irregular units burned down the Gypsy quarter of the village of Torjanici and killed 11 inhabitants. Because the Gypsies were Catholics, they were accused of collaborating with the Croats. In 1993 Romanies were driven out of Dubac, a suburb of Zagreb, by Croats returning from fighting the Serbs and had to resettle elsewhere in Croatia. Several attacks have taken place in Zagreb. In February 2003, while searching for scrap metal, Safet Muratovic was attacked by 10 youths who set his van on fire with a Molotov cocktail.Segregation in education is common. In September 2002 around 100 ethnic Croatian parents prevented Romany children from entering a school in the village of Drzimurec-Strelec in northwestern Croatia in protest over the formation of integrated classes. Meanwhile Romany parents in Cakovec filed a lawsuit against the Education Ministry alleging that their children are racially segregated.The Cidinipe Romano (Romany Society) was founded in 1991 with its headquarters in Virovitica and Vid Bogdan as president. In 1994 the bulletin Romano Akharipe/Glas Roma [Romany Voice] was established, and this was followed by Romengo Cacipe in 1997, the organ of the first Romany political party Stranak Roma Hrvatske (Croatian Romany Party). In 1997 the party elected Cana Kasum as its president and he stood unsuccessfully for parliament.In 1994, the first summer school was organized in Zagreb for Romany children, and a youth organization was established in 1998. There are other Romany associations in Rijeka, Zagreb (Zajednica Roma Grada Zagreba and Cidinipe Roma ani Zagreb), and other towns.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.