The Partizanski Spomeniks are monuments commissioned by specific communist authorities throughout the Yugoslav territory to commemorate Second World War victims and heroes. The aim was also to create a specific identity and to share a common sense of membership into the heterogeneous population involved in the Socialist Yugoslav Federation. Obviously they underlined the power and the control of central government. Usually they are simple steles, statues or plates but sometimes their conception was more complex and majestic. The Yugoslav socialist policy was independent from Ussr so, from this point of view, it’s believable that authorities had deliberatly commissioned the most important monuments no longer asking works inspired by the typical soviet realism but by the American post-war modernism and by the neutrality of abstract expressionism. Today many of them are abandoned and their symbolism is refused, but they maintain a strong pathos and stand as fascinating relics of a lost world, a social and economic experiment maybe deliberately forgotten by many, but near to our present and historically essential.

 

These pictures show a small part of them, for a more complete overview I suggest the book “Spomenik” by Jan Kempenaers.

 

[2014-2015]

PODGARIC (Croatia)

Designed by Dušan Džamonja and built in 1967 at the top of a hill in Podgaric (Berek, Croatia) It’s dedicated to the revolutionary people of the region of Moslavina during WWII.

[pictures taken in 2015]

TJENTISTE (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Tjentište War Memorial is located in Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was designed in 1971 by the sculptor Miodrag Živković and contains also frescos by the Croatian artist Krsto Hegedušić. The complex commemorates the battle of Sutjeska that took place in May and June 1943. 20,000 Partisans fought against 127,000 Axis soldiers who tried to isolate and eliminate completely the central group of Tito’s forces in Yugoslavia. A part of them finally succeded breaking through the enemy lines across the Sutjeska river. The central partisan hospital with 2.000 wounded and the remaining part of fighters were sorrounded and, according to Hitler’s order, had been all executed.

[pictures taken in 2015]

JASENOVAC (Croatia)

Jasenovac concentration camp was a complex of five subcamps on both banks of the Sava and Una rivers. It’s activity goes from 1941 to 1945 and it was notorious for the barbaric practices and the large number of victims (recent estimations say around 100.000). The memorial area of includes a park, a museum, a train used to transport prisoners and a monument called The Stone Flower, projected by Bogdan Bogdanović and unveiled in 1966.

[pictures taken in 2014]

PETROVA GORA (Croatia)

Petrova Gora is a mountain range in central Croatia, its name came from 1087 in honor of the last native Croatian king Petar Svačić that died there during a battle against Coloman of Hungary. During WWII in the area was located the central military hospital of the communist partisans, a system of underground tunnels and chambers that remained operating and undiscovered until May 1945. From 1940 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia also started printing there the Vjesnik, a newspaper published untill 2012. The highest peak of the mountain range is Petrovac where 300 serbian peasant, armed only by pichforks, died attacking Ustaha set at the top of the mountain.

The spomenik is dedicated to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija and had been built at the top of Petrovac in 1981. It’s based on the project by the serbian sculptor Vojin Bakić in collaboration with the architect Branislav Šerbetić. Inside there was a museum about the suffering and struggle of the Serbian population of the region, while around there was a recreation complex. During the 90’s conflict it had been damaged for political reasons, Bakic produced many others monuments in the former Yugoslavia but almost all of the ones located in Croatia had been destroyed. After the war the complex of Petrova Gora had been plundered for construction materials, today it’s abandoned and decaying.

[pictures taken in 2014]

KOSMAJ (Serbia)

Dedicated to partisans fallen fighting on the mountain of Kosmaj during World War II, it’s located in the south of Belgrade, Serbia.

[pictures taken in 2015]

KOZARA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Kozara is a mountatin located in the center of Bosnia and Herzegovina where partisans was under attack for all the duration of World War II. In 1967 the mountain was declared national park. The spomenik includes a museum, a monument and a memorial wall containing bronze plates with the names of the 9.921 soldiers fallen during the fightings. The monument, from sculptor Dušan Džamonja, is 33 meters in height representing the size of love for freedom of people who fighted there, it’s sorrounded by concrete columns which represent the pressure of the enemy forces.

[pictures taken in 2014]

SANSKI MOST (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

It’s located in a park of the town of Sanski Most in the northwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

[pictures taken in 2014]

ILIRSKA BISTRICA (Slovenia)

[pictures taken in 2014]

RIJEKA (Croatia)

[pictures taken in 2014]

SMETOVI-ZENICA (Bosnia)

[Pictures taken in 2015]

Unknown spomeniks found travelling from Montenegro to Bosnia.

[pictures taken in 2015]

ULCINJ (Montenegro)

Monument dedicated to the victory and to the liberation from German occupation.

[pictures taken in 2015]