Dorothy S. McClellan


On that day in 1919 at the Grand National Assembly in Čakovec. approximately 10,000 people from Međimurje gathered in Franciscan Square. They made the decision for Međimurje to secede from Hungary, thereby expressing their deep connection to the Croatian people.

On Tuesday, January 9, Međimurje celebrates one of the most important dates in its history – the Day of Union with the Motherland of Croatia, and this day is celebrated as a Memorial Day.

Attending the commemoration of the unification of Međimurje with the mother country of Croatia, and the 105th anniversary of the Great National Assembly held on January 9, 1919, was a delegation from Međimurje County headed by Prefect Matija Posavac, Deputy Prefect Josip Grivec, Mayor of Čakovec Ljerka Cividini, Mayor Nikola Novak of the Municipality of Nedelišće, Mayor of Vratišinec Municipality Mihael Grbavec, Mayor of Prelog Ljubomir Kolarek, and representatives of the Matica Hrvatska Branch Čakovec. By laying wreaths, they paid tribute to the educators of our region.  Wreaths were laid at the birthplace of Dr. Ivan Novak in Macinac, and another honoring the educator at his final resting place at the Čakovec city cemetery.

Dr. Ivan Novak is recognized as one of the most deserving individuals responsible for the great gathering of the people of Međimurje on January 9, 1919. This noble man from Međimurje is highly respected for initiating the movement for the liberation of Međimurje, and thus helping the Croatian forces that entered Međimurje on Christmas Eve 1918.

Tribute was also paid to Academician Vinko Žganac in Vratišinac, by laying a wreath and lighting candles in honor of this world-renowned ethnomusicologist, whose scientific achievements are still a source of knowledge and inspiration to new generations of scientists. Academician Žganec, whose name is preserved by the Elementary School of Vratišinec and the local Cultural and Artistic Society, as well as the House of Culture, is the most important recorder of folk songs that preserved the identity of his people in their native language written into the history of songs and folk customs. The work of Academician Žganac is responsible for the inclusion of the Međimurje priesthood in the UNESCO list of treasures of humanity in our time.

In 2021 Međimurje County, in cooperation with the Matica Hrvatska branch in Čakovec and the Franciscan monastery, unveiled a memorial plaque to Father Kapistran Gecija on the wall of the Catholic Home in Čakovec.  Today, on the 105th anniversary of the National Assembly, a tribute is being paid there with a prayer led by Fr. Filip Đurđević.

Kapistran Geci, also a member of the People's Council for Međimurje, was the most prominent leader of the Međimurje rebellion against the Hungarian authorities, and today he is considered to be the person most responsible for the great turnout of people at the assembly. He left invaluable testimony and records of the history of that time and participated in the creation of the text of the Resolution on Secession.

the writer and priest Juraj Lajtman was honored at his resting place in Prelog. During the turbulent events of 1918 which were crowned by an irrefutable decision at the Grand Assembly of 1919, Lajtman was an ardent supporter of the Croatian Revival in Međimurje, and as a Kotorip parish priest, he focused all his strength and knowledge on enlightening the people.

He founded a Croatian choir in the parish, and intensively developed awareness of belonging to Croatia among the people of Međimurje. Lajtman's written legacy is also significant, especially a prayer book in Croatian for the people of Međimurje entitled Jezuš, My Love, published in 1912. Juraj Lajtman was also a member of the Croatian Committee of the National Council for Međimurje, which worked on the accession of Međimurje to the motherland.

This memorial to the greats is evidence of Međimurje’s allegiance to its history, culture and Croatian identity. Honoring the people who led Međimurje back to the bosom of the homeland preserves this proud moment in history. The celebration of the memorial continued with a solemn ceremony dedicated to the day the people of Međimurje changed the course of history.

This historical event has been celebrated since September 2005, when – by amendments to the Law on Holidays – it was marked as the Day of Remembrance of the adoption of the Resolution on the Secession of Međimurje from the Hungarian state.

The Day of Remembrance of the Adoption of this Resolution is significant because of its role in the historical aspiration to preserve the integrity of Croatian territory. This day is celebrated throughout Međimurje with a series of events and festivities that pay tribute to the deserving people of Međimurje.

The Resolution of 9 January 1919

"The Croatian people of Međimurje have always had a desire to unite politically with their fellow countrymen of shared blood and tongue. The imperialist Hungarian state, which has always attempted to create a single and monolingual Hungarian people from the various peoples of the former Hungary through violent Magyarization, did not succeed with the Croatians of Međimurje, just as it failed with other non-Hungarian peoples.  Despite the greatest violence and the fiercest Magyarization, the Croatian people of Međimurje have preserved their language and a lively desire for liberation from under the alien yoke.

When the idea of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the great President of the North American States, about the self-determination of people prevailed, the Croatians of Međimurje felt that they, too, had the right to freedom and life. The Hungarian authorities wanted to destroy the germ of this aspiration of the people for freedom in one blow and many of our sons had to pay for this aspiration with their own blood. Yet the hour of deliverance has come by the glorious army of the sons of our blood and tongue.

That is why today, January 9, 1919, the Croatians in all of Međimurje have gathered at the General Assembly in the town of Čakovec, to openly, decisively, unanimously and self-consciously declare before the whole world: We are seceding from the Hungarian state, to which we have so far belonged only under duress and against our will."

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