Za dom spremni

Za dom spremni! (lit. "For home (land) – ready!") was a salute used during World War II by the Croatian Ustaše movement. It was the Ustaše equivalent of the fascist or Nazi salute "Sieg heil".[2][3][4]

Entrance to "Zagrebački zbor" in 1942, it served as a transit camp during the existence of NDH[1]

Usage during World War IIEdit

Police authorities in Travnik report on the deportation of 118 Jews to Jasenovac concentration camp, ending with the official salute "Za dom spremni".

During World War II, the Ustaše, a movement of radical Croatian nationalists and fascists, which ruled the Axis puppet state Independent State of Croatia (1941-5), created after the Invasion of Yugoslavia, and conducted genocidal campaigns against Serbs, Jews and Romani people. The salute "Za Dom – spremni!" was immediately instituted as a new, revolutionary salute to be used in official correspondence and everyday life. On 10 April 1941, Slavko Kvaternik, designated commander-in-chief of the State's Armed Forces, and deputy of state leader (Poglavnik) Ante Pavelić proclaimed the establishment of the state on Radio Zagreb, and ended the statement with Bog i Hrvati! Za dom spremni! (English, God and the Croats! For the homeland prepared!)[5][6]

In October 1941, state minister of education and culture Mile Budak issued strict rules regarding the mandatory usage of the salute.[7] In July 1941, Ustaša commissar for Sarajevo, Jure Francetić, issued a circular to state authorities on the importance of using the Ustaša greeting.[7] As British historian Rory Yeomans notes, the Ustaše authorities were disappointed with the low acceptance of the salute among the population, even in the areas where the new regime enjoyed support.[7] State officials and the government-controlled press constantly complained about the lack of the usage of the new salute, and they threatened with sanctions and reprimanded those who did not use it.[7]

In 1944, newspapers admonished the readers that "in the Independent State of Croatia there exists only one greeting: For the homeland – prepared!"[7] According to Yeomans, Ustaša movement saw the usage of the new greeting as "not only the question of ideological purity, but also the national pride."[7] Ustaša official Mijo Bzik furiously attacked all other greetings as foreign, servile and slavish.[7] All official government and military reports and documents usually ended with "Za dom spremni."[8][9] Ante Pavelić used the salute to end all of his private correspondence, even after the war ended, in exile (1945–56).[9]

As a part of their new cultural and language policy, government took an effort to replace "hello" when answering the phone with "prepared" (though, somewhat ironically, the former is and was used in Germany of which NDH was an ally).[10] State Intelligence and Propaganda Bureau (DIPU) wanted to assess how many people used the salute by calling them randomly on the phone and recording whether they answered with "hello" or "prepared".[10] Some of those who did not answer with "prepared" had their telephones confiscated.[10]

During this time, the salute was used in various ways, for example as "Za poglavnika i za dom spremni!"[11][12][13] (For Poglavnik and homeland ready) and in form of a question and answer: "Za dom?! – Spremni", "Za koga?! – Za poglavnika" ("For homeland?! – Prepared!", "For whom?! For Poglavnik!"). There was also usage of Za Boga i poglavnika svoga – Uvijek spremni! ("For God and Our Poglavnik – Always Prepared!") on various flags of NDH.[citation needed]

Modern usageEdit

First part of the salute together with an Ustaša symbol (U) sprayed on a dumpster

The salute was used in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Croatian War of Independence and Bosnian War. Croatian Defence Forces, the paramilitary arm of the right-wing Croatian Party of Rights, emulating Ustaša forces and using their iconography,[14][15][16] adopted it as their official salute and included it in their logo.[17] This salute was an official slogan of the party's branch in Bosnia, Croatian Party of Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina, until April 2012, when it was replaced by Semper fidelis.

In 2011, a court in Knin dismissed a case against a craftsman who sold souvenirs labelled with Za dom spremni, ruling that the defendant didn't wear clothing or souvenirs with slogan that encourage national, racial or religious hatred, but instead he was selling them. While the former is punishable by law, the latter is not. The court ruling stated that "Za dom spremni is an old Croatian salute known throughout history" as a part of the defense statement, yet it didn't cite any opinion on the subject.[18]

Croatian singer Thompson used that salute at the beginning of his wartime song Bojna Čavoglave[19] and in the song Golubovi bijeli.[20] The chant is often heard among fans in his concerts.[21] In the song Srce vatreno by Nered and Zaprešić Boys the salute was also used in the middle of the song, but was later replaced with U boj.[22]

Chant is sometimes used by nationalist football fans in Croatia.[23][24][25] In 2013, Croatian international football player Josip Šimunić led the chant four times with the crowd in Zagreb after Croatia beat Iceland to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals. He was subsequently banned for ten matches and fined by FIFA, which barred him from participating in the 2014 World Cup finals. Šimunić denied supporting "any form of intolerance or bigotry."[26][27]

In August 2015, a number of conservative and right-wing public figures and Catholic clergy members (including most notably Sisak bishop Vlado Košić and auxiliary bishop of Zagreb Valentin Pozaić) signed a petition and an open letter to the President of Croatia Grabar-Kitarović and to the chairman of Croatian Democratic Union Tomislav Karamarko, calling for the introduction of the salute as the official salute of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia.[28][29] In June 2016 Elvis Duspara, a Catholic blogger and columnist, published a book titled "Za dom spremni" in Zagreb, focusing on whitewashing the salute and claiming that "this salute is in the DNA of every Croat."[30][31] Croatian mathematician and academic, controversial far-right writer Josip Pečarić, published a similar book titled "Diary Under the Sign of Za Dom Spremni". Its presentation on public premises was rejected by Tisno local authorities.[32]

In November 2016 in Jasenovac a plaque commemorating members of Croatian Defence Forces killed in action 1991-2 was unveiled, containing CDF emblem with the salute "Za dom spremni".[33] This caused an outrage as Jasenovac is the site of the biggest Ustaše-led concentration camp and a memorial area for 80,000 ethnic minorities, resistance fighters and political opponents of Ustaše regime that perished there 1941-5. Jewish, Serb, Roma, and WWII veteran organisations as well as opposition parties boycotted the government-led annual commemoration in April 2017, protesting the fact that Croatian government has not removed the inscription.[34] The plaque was finally removed 10 months later, in September 2017, to be placed in nearby Novska. In similar cases, as CDF emblem included the salute, their emblem on war flags and memorials was altered to remove it, most recently when a monument in Split was unveiled in 2014 and during the 2015 military parade in Zagreb.[35] CDF emblem with the salute was also painted in a graffiti mural in Mokošica, a neighbourhood of Dubrovnik.[36]

Croatian computer scientist Filip Rodik analyzed the prevalence of the salute among Facebook comments on right-wing or conservative news portals and Facebook profiles between 2012 and 2017. Rodik found that out of 4.5 million comments, 33,000 comments used the salute in the affirmative manner.[37] More than 10,000 individual users left at least one message/comment including "Za dom spremni."[37] Rodik also noted an increase in the frequency and spread of its usage: in 2014 1,700 individual users used it at least once, in 2015 they numbered 3,400, while in 2016 the number stood at 4,700.[37] The salute is sometimes also abbreviated into "ZDS." The Serb National Council of Croatia in its report on anti-Serb sentiment in 2017 reported that the salute was used 11,309 times in the comment sections of the 4 far-right Facebook profiles.[38]

A Croatian political study published in early 2019, using empirical research testing public attitudes towards contentious political symbols, found that in Croatian society "...from 2016 to 2018 the proclivity to ban the local fascist slogan For the Homeland Ready significantly increased to 50%, as a sign of growing criticism and aversion. (...) Nevertheless, when we move to [discussion on] recent violent history, relative majority of 47% of citizens advocates preservation of the Homeland War monuments that contain the fascist slogan For the Homeland Ready."[39] The authors further opined "when this slogan is used as a part of commemoration of the soldiers who fought in the Homeland War, it is impossible to separate the positive value of patriotic struggle for Croatia’s independence from revisionist acceptance of the legacy of fascist NDH and the persecution of the Serbian minority as a legitimate political goal."

Legal statusEdit


Constitutional court of Republic of Croatia has in at least three separate occasions (May and December 2016) upheld the decisions of lower courts ruling that individuals who used the salute have committed an offense against the public order and have incited to hatred[40][41] (similarly to the concept of Volksverhetzung in German law). Due to his chant at a football stadium, Josip Šimunić was sentenced for "incitement to hatred based on racial, ethnic and religious grounds, as the salute was used in NDH and is a manifestation of racist ideology."[42] This was also the opinion of the High Misdemeanor Court of Croatia, which ruled that those using the salute "expressed unacceptable political ideas, upon which Republic of Croatia as a ( ... ) democratic country is not based."[43] In August 2019, in a verdict on the case of the salute's usage in nationalist war-time Bojna Cavoglave song, High Misdemeanor Court held that the salute was an offence against the article 39 of the constitution which bans incitement to hatred. Song performer's earlier conviction was thus upheld.[44] However, in June 2020 High Misdemeanor Court's judiciary council decided on appeal that singer Marko Perković Thompson has not committed an offense against public order by using the salute in his song. This decision has been heavily criticized by Croatia's legal experts as stepping outside of the legal and constitutional order or even rules of procedure.[45] Constitutional Court issued a public statement reminding it had ruled the salute as an "ustasa salute" and found it in breach of the constitution.[46]

In December 2016, state administration office in Varaždin refused to verify and register CDF veterans' organization statute and emblem due to its emblem containing the salute. Administration office ruled that it is "an established fact that the salute [ ... ] was used as an official salute of the totalitarian regime of the Independent State of Croatia and, as such, is rooted as a symbol of racist ideology, expressing contempt for other people due to their religious and ethnic identity and trivialising crimes against humanity".[47] The office found the salute to be in violation of Croatian Constitution and the Law on Association.

The salute is not explicitly banned by law in Croatia. The police usually views it as implicitly banned by misdemeanor laws and anti-discrimination laws and treats it as an offense rather than a crime (hate speech). For instance, during a house search and seizure of an illegal weapon in June 2017 in Kistanje near Knin, the police have removed the shirt with the salute from a man who was wearing it and charged him with the offence against the public order.[48]

In 2011, a municipal court in Knin dismissed the case against a craftsman who sold souvenirs which contained the salute Za dom spremni. The court ruled that accused didn't wear clothing or souvenirs with slogan that encourage national, racial or religious hatred, but instead he was selling them. While the former is punishable by law, the latter is not. The court ruling cited defendant's claim that "Za dom spremni is an old Croatian salute known throughout history" as a part of the defense statement, however, it didn't state any opinion on that subject.[49]


Local authorities and security agency in Austria have noted that the salute and other Ustaša symbols are undesirable during the annual commemoration of Bleiburg repatriations in Bleiburg, Carinthia.[50] However, as they are not explicitly covered by Austrian laws banning Nazi insignia and symbols, they are often observed at the commemorations.[51] The Greens and many civil organizations have therefore asked Carinthian and federal Austrian authorities to ban the gathering.[52] In the spring of 2018, many federal politicians across the party spectrum supported a stricter enforcement of the Austrian laws against hate speech and Nazi insignia. After the Austrian government decided to send additional law enforcement and judiciary to control the gathering in 2018, the organizers decided to ban any flags, especially those with the CDF emblem and the salute Za dom spremni.[53] The authorities announced that any expression of the salute will be punished.[54]

In November 2018, Austrian federal government included fascist Ustasa symbols and gestures/greetings amidst other unacceptable symbols (such as those of ISIS, Al-Qaida or Muslim Brotherhood) as the target of a new Law on Symbols (Symbole-Gesetz) proposed to the parliament. The use of Ustasa symbols and greetings will be punishable by up to a 1-month in prison or up to €4,000 fine, while the repeated offense will be punished by up to €10,000 fine or six weeks in prison. The exact list of symbols and greetings will be outlined through a separate government decision by March 1, 2019.[55]

Za domEdit

Modern proponents of the salute claim its alleged continuity and tradition predating the pre-World War II period. Historian Hrvoje Klasić from the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences stated that "Za dom spremni" as a phrase has not been documented in any historical document prior to the 1941 formation of the Independent State of Croatia.[56][57][58] Other prominent Croatian historians Tvrtko Jakovina and Ante Nazor, as well as former minister of culture Zlatko Hasanbegović, also a historian, supported this view.[59]

Supporters of the salute say that the words "Za Dom" ("For home" or "For homeland") were used in the 19th century by count Josip Jelačić, while he was leading the army from Varaždin into a battle with Hungarians. Allegedly, the army replied with: "Spremni!" ("Ready! {to die}"). But historians claim that there is no historical document or any other credible evidence quoting Jelačić using "Za Dom!" ("For home!").[60] Phrase Za dom i narod Slavjanski (For home and Slavic people) appears on a decorative mini gloriette presented to Jelačić commemorating the events of 1848.[61]

The words Za dom were previously also used in Pavao Ritter Vitezović's 1684 work Odiljenje sigetsko about the Siege of Szigetvár,[62] in the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinjski composed by Ivan Zajc in 1876,[63] and several songs published in the mid-19th century issues of the Danica, the literary magazine published with the early Narodne novine.[64][65][66]

The phrase Za dom was documented as a salute in a 1939 issue of a Varaždin weekly Hrvatsko jedinstvo.[67]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Romano, Jaša: Jevreji Jugoslavije 1941-1945: žrtve genocida i učesnici Narodnooslobodilačkog rata, p.106
  2. ^ Ivica Kristović, Pozdrav 'Za dom spremni' ekvivalent je nacističkom 'Sieg Heil!', Večernji list, 22.11.2013
  3. ^ 'Za dom spremni' je isto što i 'Sieg Heil'!, 09.01.2012.
  4. ^ "Goldštajn: Ustaški pozdrav je nacistički, a ustaše su banda". (in Serbian). Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  5. ^ Proglašenje NDH – 10. travnja 1941., 16:00 (video)
  6. ^ Hrvatski Narod – Posebno izdanje 10. travnja 1941.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Yeomans 2012, p. 258.
  8. ^ Zbornik dokumenata i podataka NOR-a. tom V – Dokumenti NOVJ – Borbe u Hrvatskoj, knjiga 32
  9. ^ a b "Ovih 13 slika trebalo bi biti dovoljan dokaz svim idiotima koji zagovaraju rehabilitaciju 'Za dom spremni'". August 25, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Yeomans 2012, p. 259.
  11. ^ Izvještaj Župske redarstvene oblasti u Sarajevu od 2 oktobra 1943 god. o situaciji na području Župe, Zbornik NOR-a. tom IV – Borbe u Bosni i Hercegovini – knjiga 18 – oktobar 1943., page 452
  12. ^ Zbornik NOR-a. tom V – Borbe u Hrvatskoj – knjiga 25 – ožujak 1944. II – Ustaško-domobranski dokumenti
  13. ^ Hrvatski branik, year 1941, number 51, page 2
  14. ^ Simicevic, Hrvoje. "Hostaska banda", Novosti, September 9th, 2017
  15. ^ "Hrvoje Klasić: Napokon se Anto Prkačin i ja u nečemu slažemo", N1, September 4th, 2107
  16. ^ "Izdali su Francetića kao što je Juda izdao Isusa", N1, September 14th, 2017
  17. ^ Proclamation of the HOS Headquarters, 9 May 1992
  18. ^ Presuda iz Knina ne odnosi se na pozdrav " Za dom spremni"
  19. ^ Bojna Čavoglave (video)
  20. ^ Golubovi bijeli lyrics
  22. ^ Srce Vatreno (video)
  23. ^ "SRAMOTNO NAVIJANJE Torcida skandirala: 'Za dom, spremni! Ajmo, ajmo ustaše...'", Jutarnji list, 24.11.2013
  24. ^ Goran Penić: S OSJEČKIH TRIBINA SE ORILO 'ZA DOM SPREMNI' I 'AJMO, USTAŠE' Vlada RH osudila sramotna skandiranja,, 24.03.2016.
  25. ^ "In Kroatiens Stadien wuchert der Rassismus", 22.07.2015
  26. ^ "Croatia's Josip Simunic banned from World Cup for 'pro-Nazi' chants". CNN. December 16, 2013.
  27. ^ "Croatia's Josip Simunic banned for World Cup for pro-Nazi chant". Associated Press. December 16, 2013.
  28. ^ "AKADEMICI, BISKUPI, ODVJETNICI… Traže da službeni vojni pozdrav bude “Za dom spremni”",, 24/08/2015
  29. ^ "Kroatischer Erzbischof fordert Referendum über Faschisten-Gruß", Die Zeit, 28/08/2015
  30. ^ "OVO ĆE IZAZVATI REAKCIJE: Elvis Duspara napisao knjigu ZA DOM SPREMNI!",, June 17th, 2016
  31. ^ "ELVIS DUSPARA U SUZAMA PREDSTAVIO KNJIGU – ZA DOM SPREMNI! Reakcije? Genijalne!",, 6/7/2016
  32. ^ "Načelnik zabranio predstavljanje knjige na temu 'Za dom spremni'", Vecernji list, August 1st, 2017
  33. ^ "Plaque near WW2 Concentration Camp Scandalises Region"
  34. ^ "Premijeru je žao zbog tri komemoracije u Jasenovcu; nema, kaže, nikakve relativizacije ustaštva", Telegram, 23/4/2017
  35. ^ Ante Božić: "Savez udruga dragovoljaca HOS-a: Ako se sramite našeg ratnog stijega pod kojim smo branili i oslobodili Lijepu našu i pod kojim su ginuli naše sestre i braća onda ga nemojte niti nositi u Mimohodu",, 4. kolovoza 2015.
  36. ^ "HOS-ov pozdrav na ulazu u Mokošicu podijelio građane", HRT, 24/7/2017
  37. ^ a b c Šimičević, Hrvoje. "Cyber Ustaše", Novosti, 17/04/2017
  38. ^ "Bilten SNV-a: Dužnosnici potiču govor mržnje". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  39. ^ Kulenović, Enes; Blanuša, Nebojša (2018). "Hate Speech, Contentious Symbols and Politics of Memory: Survey Research on Croatian Citizens' Attitudes". Politička Misao: Časopis za Politologiju. 55 (4): 176–202. doi:10.20901/pm.55.4.07. ISSN 0032-3241.
  40. ^ Odluka Ustavnog suda Republike Hrvatske Broj: U-III-1296/2016 Zagreb, 25. svibnja 2016.
  41. ^ Ciglenečki, Dražen: "Predsjednica zaziva pravosuđe, ali Ustavni sud je još u svibnju rekao da "Za dom spremni" treba kažnjavati", Novi List, 10.8.2016.
  42. ^ "Ustavni sud odbio Šimunića zbog uzvika “Za dom spremni”", Več
  43. ^ Presuda Visokog prekršajnog suda Republike Hrvatske broj: Jž-2824/2014 od 3. prosinca 2015.
  44. ^ "Ovo je važno: Visoki prekršajni sud prvi je put pravomoćno osudio povik Za dom spremni u Čavoglavama". (in Croatian). 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  45. ^ "PROFESORI PRAVNOG FAKULTETA ODGOVORILI UDRUZI HRVATSKIH SUDACA 'Uvredljivim i difamatornim jezikom pokušavaju utišati javnu kritiku sudskih odluka' - Jutarnji List". 2020-06-07. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  46. ^
  47. ^ Marina Karlović-Sabolić: "'Za dom spremni' odlazi u povijest, neće se više smjeti koristiti nigdje u Hrvatskoj? Konačna odluka za nekoliko mjeseci, evo kako bi Plenković mogao umiriti radikalnu desnicu",Slobodna Dalmacija, 10.9.2017.

    ... općepoznato da se uzvik 'Za dom' uz pozdrav 'Spremni' koristio kao službeni pozdrav totalitarnog režima Nezavisne države Hrvatske te je kao takav ukorijenjen kao simbol rasističke ideologije, uz izraženi prezir prema drugim ljudima zbog njihove vjerske i etničke pripadnosti te trivijaliziranje žrtava zločina protiv čovječnosti".

  48. ^ "U majici s natpisom 'Za dom spremni' i s privjeskom na Pavelića napao policajku: Oduzeli mu puškomitraljez!",, 28/6/2017
  49. ^ Presuda iz Knina ne odnosi se na pozdrav ” Za dom spremni”
  50. ^ ""Hier dürfen wir alles bis auf den Nazi-Gruß", Der Standard, 17. Mai 2016
  51. ^ Wölfl, Adelheide Verlagsgesellschaft. "Gedenkfeier in Bleiburg: Missbrauchte Erinnerung". Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  52. ^ "Am Samstag findet in Kärnten das großte Neonazitreffen in Europa statt!,, June 2017
  53. ^ "Gedenkfeier: Erstmals Gegendemos angemeldet" (in German). 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  54. ^ "Austrija će na Bleiburgu organizirati instant-sud za hrvatske neofašiste: evo kako će kazniti sve koji budu isticali ustaške simbole i grb HOS-a". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  55. ^ "Schlag gegen Muslimbruderschaft und Graue Wölfe". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  56. ^ "Za što su to točno 'spremni'?". 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  57. ^ "'Za dom spremni' kao pozdrav je uveden tek utemeljenjem ustaške NDH – Več". Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  58. ^ "Predsjednica kaže da je inicijativa o pozdravu 'Za dom spremni' na razini provokacije, a povjesničari tvrde da nema veze s hrvatskom tradicijom –". 2015-08-25. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  59. ^ "HRT organizirao raspravu o pokliču 'Za dom spremni!': Hasanbegović, Jakovina i Nazor se složili kako je riječ o ustašluku iz vremena notornog Ante Pavelića i NDH", Slobodna Dalmacija, September 6th, 2017
  60. ^ "Čehok: I ban Jelačić je išao u rat protiv Mađara s pokličem ZDS", Faktograf 31.8.2017.
  61. ^ p.420, p.595
  62. ^ Oddiljenja Sigetskoga čentiri děla: S uvodom životu Nikole kneza Zrinjskoga, str. 50
  63. ^ Libreto for the 1876. opera Nikola Šubić Zrinjski
  64. ^ Danica Horvatska, Slavonska i Dalmatinska, issue 21, 28 May 1846
  65. ^ Danica Horvatska, Slavonska i Dalmatinska, issue 6, 6 February 1847
  66. ^ Danica Horvatska, Slavonska i Dalmatinska, issue 34, 19 August 1848
  67. ^ Hrvatsko jedinstvo, year 1939, number 99, page 5


External linksEdit