The town of Gospic in Croatia’s Lika region held a ceremony on Tuesday to unveil a replica of a statue of inventor Nikola Tesla that was destroyed by an attack in 1992 during the war.
The ceremony, on a square also named after Tesla, was attended by local officials and Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek, who expressed satisfaction that the monument to the “greatest Croatian innovator” was back in Gospic.
“The return of this monument, which was destroyed, makes us especially proud today because we are witnessing once again the victory of culture… because we will always oppose any demolition and always advocate the restoration and return of life,” Obuljen Korzinek said.
Parts of the Croatian theatre play ‘Radio Tesla’ were also staged at the ceremony.
Tesla, one of the 20th Century’s scientific greats, was born near Gospic, but in the 1990s, Croatian nationalists tried to play down the fact that his ethnic origins were Serb.
His statue was blown up in 1992, in the wartime period when monuments were destroyed across Croatia for political reasons, including more than 3,000 memorials to the World War II Partisan movement.
The new monument in Gospic is a replica of the original statue by Croatian artist Frano Krsinic, and identical works stand in Belgrade and at Niagara Falls, where Tesla performed some of his experiments. Serbia also lays claim to Tesla’s legacy, and Belgrade’s international airport is named after him.
Born in 1856 into a Serb family in a small village of Smiljan, in central Croatia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire, Tesla became one of the most important inventors in the field of developing the use of electric energy and other areas. He died in 1943, in New York.