A historic view of the monument at the WWII spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia.
A historic view of the monument at the WWII spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia.
A view of the present day conditions of the abandoned and destroyed monument at the WWII spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia.
A historic view of the monument at the WWII spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia.
Name: Monument to the Fallen Fighters of the National Liberation War from Drvar
Location: On Šobić Hill in Drvar, FBiH, Bosnia & Herzegovina (previously 'Titov Drvar')
Year completed: 1967
Designer: Lujo Šverer and Marijan Kocković [profile page]
Coordinates: N44°22'27.3", E16°22'58.9" (click for map)
Dimensions: Four pointed ~20m tall monument
Materials used: Poured concrete and rebar
Condition: Destroyed (1996), in ruins
This monument at the spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia commemorates the fallen soldiers and civilians from the surrounding region who perished during the National Liberation War (WWII), especially during the 1944 Operation Rösselsprung bombardment of the city, also known as the "Battle of Drvar" or the "Raid on Drvar".
World War II
With the invasion and occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April of 1941 by Axis Italian and German forces, the new Axis-controlled country called the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was formed out of parts of this conquered land. Drvar and the surrounding Bosanska Krajina region was subsequently absorbed into this new Axis controlled territory. A nationalist militia called the Ustaše, which acted as the NDH's military arm, waged a brutal occupation across all this land it now controlled. Numerous ethnic groups here were heavily persecuted, including Serbs, Roma and Jewish populations, with these groups suffering racial laws, forced deportations and even executions. On July 27th of 1941, people from across the Drvar region began to rise up against the brutality of occupying forces. Many residents from the Drvar region joined organized Partisan anti-fascist resistance led by Josip Tito and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. As the war went on into 1942 and 1943, the Partisans liberated vast amounts of territory across western Bosnia, so much so that Allied forces were prompted to support them in their efforts with air support and advisors. Drvar was first liberated in mid-1942 by the Partisans, but was lost then regained several times after this. However, after the Allied defeat of the Italians in September of 1943, Tito took this opportunity to seize more territory in western Bosnia and create a permanent headquarters in the small mountain town of Drvar. The headquarters was set up in a small shack set in the steep mountains of Drvar at the mouth of a cave, overlooking the town (Photo 1).
Photo 1: Tito (far right) & officers at cave HQ in Drvar days before the 1944 offensive.
Photo 2: German troops on Day 2 of Operation Rösselsprung, May 26th, 1944
Distraught by the continued problem the Partisan resistance was causing, the German Army devised a plan called "Operation Rösselsprung" (Knight's Leap) to destroy the Partisan headquarters and kill its leader Josip Tito -- this was also the final stage of the German Army's master-plan of "Seven Enemy Offensives" meant to wipe out the Partisans. Launched on May 25th, 1944, the assault combined an invasion by a parachute drop by the German 500th SS Parachute Battalion, with ground forces provided by the XV Mountain Corps and the Croatian (NDH) 1st Regimental Group 373rd, which would all collectively descend onto Drvar (Photo 2). In addition, during this invasion, the German Luftwaffe dropped bombs onto the city. However, despite the vast amount of planning put into this operation by German intelligence and tactical commanders, Tito ultimately managed to escape to safety to the island of Vis in the Adriatic, even despite him actually being present in the town of Drvar at the onset of the German air assault. Yet, over 4,000 Partisan soldiers were killed during the defense of the city. While certainly a bloody battle, Tito's dramatic escape proved to be a significant propaganda victory for the Partisans, again being shown to outsmart the Germans.
The region of Drvar was finally liberated by Partisan forces in May of 1945. At the war's end, nearly 800 of the town's civilians (mostly ethnic-Serbs) were killed or executed, with over 90% of the structures in the town completely demolished or burned to the ground. As the Republic of Yugoslavia was formed, the town was rebuilt, with the relics and locations related to the great battle which occurred here becoming a significant local touristic attraction, bringing in over 200k people a year.
In the mid 1960s, plans were organized by local and regional governments (along with assistance by local veteran's groups like SUBNOR) to construct a WWII memorial complex at Drvar on Šobić Hill in the city center (where much of the 1944 battle was waged) in order to honor the fighters who fought and perished during the battle here at Drvar (as well as recognizing its civilian victims). Even before construction, some engraved memorial stones already existed on Šobić Hill (placed in the early 1960s), however, this new project would add a substantial memorial sculpture to the hill's summit. The commission to create the spomenik was awarded to Dubrovnik sculptor Marijan Kocković [profile page] as well as architect Lujo Šverer. After several years of construction (Photo 3), the finished monument was officially unveiled to the public during a commemorative ceremony on May 25th, 1967, an event which was reportedly attended by roughly 3,000 people. The structure of the monument consists of four sharply angled concrete pillars extending roughly 20m in the sky, which are themselves adorned with sculpted friezes depicting scenes from the war. As a result of its shape, it was nicknamed "četiri kraka" or "The Four Arms".
Photo 3: The Drvar monument under construction mid-1960s
Photo 4: Image of Tito laying a wreath at the monument in 1974. [Credit: Museum of Yugo.]
While Tito was not present at the opening ceremony of this monument in Drvar, he did come to the site on May 13th, 1974 to participate in the 30th-anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Drvar, during which time he laid a wreath on the monument (Photo 4). A video of Tito laying the wreath at the monument can be seen at THIS YouTube link. Also during this visit, Tito bestowed upon the town of Drvar the "Order of the People's Hero", a rare distinction that Tito only handed out to a few towns in Yugoslavia that were especially significant to the Partisan's victory during WWII. As a result of these honors which Tito extended to Drvar, and as a result of the significant military maneuvers Tito made in this town during WWII, on November 24th, 1981, the city of Drvar changed its name to 'Titov Drvar'. In addition to this monument, in 1946, the small shack at the mouth of the cave Tito used as his Partisan headquarters was turned into a museum called "25th of May, 1944, Museum", which, during the Yugoslav-era, was visited by over 200,000 tourists a year.
In 1991, as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, the city changed its name back to simply 'Drvar', meanwhile, tensions and conflict began to overtake the region. During the start of the Bosnian War in 1992, the control of Drvar was taken over by the Republic of Srpska (RS). However, in 1995, the city was taken by the Croatian Army, with much of the ethnic-Serb population fleeing the city, leaving it largely deserted. Then, in August of that year, a bombing campaign called 'Operation Storm' was waged by the Croatian Army to drive out the remaining RS military forces. When the Dayton Peace Accord was signed at the end of 1995, the control of the region of Drvar was given over to ethnic-Croat/Bosniak controlled Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at which point roughly 10,000 ethnic-Croats moved into the city of Drvar. Inter-ethnic conflict continued in Drvar through the 1990s (Photo 5), which resulted in the presence of NATO's SFOR peacekeepers in the region during this time. It was after this immigration in 1996 that the sculpture on Šobić Hill was destroyed by unknown persons. Also during this time period, the "25th of May" museum and cave were badly damaged and vandalized as well.
Photo 5: Ethnic unrest in Drvar, BiH during the late 1990s
Despite many ethnic-Serbs having slowly returned to the town over the last +10 years, the monument still lays destroyed and in ruins, though these communities still organize commemorative ceremonies in the ruins of the memorial complex from time to time. As of 2017, there are currently plans in the works to build a monument complex to the local victims of the 1990s Bosnian War on Šobić Hill at or near the location of the ruins of the now destroyed WWII memorial. As a result, it is not clear what the future of this ruined spomenik site may be. In addition, it is important to point out that the economic power and financial condition of Drvar have been diminished since the 1990s. For example, during the Yugoslav-era, there were five major factories that operated in this city, however, since the Bosnian War, all of those factories have since closed down or were damaged beyond repair. As such, public funds for the repair of this monument are not easy to procure.
Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:
There exist a great deal of inscribed and engraved memorial elements at the ruined monument here at Drvar. Firstly, just west of the ruins of the main memorial sculpture there is a large scattered field of engraved stones spread across the landscape in various states of disarray, defacement and destruction (Slide 1). These stones bear honorific quotes, as well as the inscribed names of those who fought in the 1944 battle here in Drvar. The stones inscribed with the names of fallen soldiers are organized by the towns in which the soldiers originated from, with each town or village getting its own stone engraved with a list of respective names. In addition to these, there are also stone markers honoring the Yugoslav National Heroes who came from Drvar and who fought in the battle here. The first quote-bearing stone you encounter from the west entrance is laying in the ground, seen in Slide 2, which translates as:
"You died bravely, crying of freedom. Your ideals are fulfilled, rest in peace. Socialist Yugoslavia grows stronger."
July 4th, 1963
Walking east along the path towards the central ruins of the site, you will see the next stone inscribed with a quote, which is standing upright and is heavily weathered (Slide 3). The quote this stone contains is the first four lines from 1946 proposal by Serbian writer Čedomir Minderović (Чедомир Миндеровић) for the 'Hymn of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia'. Its engraved inscription translates into English as:
"Bravely, we went from darkness and horror, through bloody fights, to fights full of smoke, to make brotherhood and unity victorious and glorious. Yes freedom, shine glory upon us all!"
Meanwhile, as you get closer to the ruins while walking along the trail, you will see one more stone bearing an engraved quotation (Slide 4) on another upright standing stone. The quote on the stone is from three lines from the second stanza of the poem "Our Freedom" (Naša sloboda) by Croatian writer Ivan Goran Kovačić. This engraved inscription translates into English as:
"Freedom, now you are walking through the valley of death... but one day, flying above our piled dead bodies, you will find your revenge over death... with life."
Finally, as you reach the foot of the now destroyed monument, you originally found one last engraved stone bearing an inscribed quote. However, this stone is no longer present and no traces of it remain, but a historical photo of it can be seen in Slide 5. The engraving on the stone were several lines from poem "We Know the Judgement" (Mi znamo sudbu) by the Mostar-born ethnic-Serbian writer Aleksa Šantić. The engraved inscription translates into English as:
"There is power in our mountain river, it shall never be stopped. The people are dying everywhere - but when you take our men's lives, our graves will fight back against you."
Historic photographs reveal that additional engraved stones with quotes and honorific phrases existed at this spomenik site before its destruction (especially right around the main spomenik sculpture), however, at this point, the decay, degradation and neglect at the site has left no more signs or traces of them. Furthermore, finding thorough pre-1990 photographic documentation depicting what these lost memorial elements might have looked like has, as of yet, been elusive for me.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of additional engraved stone blocks located around the site inscribed with lists of names of people from particular towns in the region (Slides 6 - 17). While many of these are in poor shape, toppled over face-down and unreadable, many are still relatively intact and legible. Photos of the name-list stones which are intact, along with the towns which they commemorate, are as follows: Potoci-Uvala (Потоци-Увала) (Slide 6), Gruborski Naslon (Груборски Наслон) (Slide 7), Bosanski Osredci (Босански Осредци) (Slide 8), Očigrije (Очигрије) (Slide 9), Tičevo (Тичево) (Slide 10), Ljeskovica (Љесковица) (Slide 11), Vrtoče (Врточе) (Slide 12) and Drvar Selo (Дрвар Село) (Slide 13). While some of these stones might not be in their original orientations or positions, these aformentioned stones are ones which are fully exposed, complete and sufficiently readable. However, not all the stones at the site are in such good or legible condition. You can see the stone with the list of names for the town of Mrđe (Мрђе) (Slide 14) is totally smashed, while others are so damaged they can no longer be read (Slide 15) or are toppled over and laying flat on their engraved faces (Slide 16).
One stone that is a nowhere to be found at this site in any form (ruins or otherwise), but for which historical photos exist of, is the engraved name-list stone for Trubar (Трубар) (Slide 17). This stone was notable because of the event which occurred in Trubar on July 27th, 1941, when a group of Chetnik rebels executed a train-full of Catholic pilgrims on their way to Knin, Croatia by throwing them into a deep pit. While the exact number of those killed is not known, some sources allege up to 300 Catholics victims died, but others sources claim it was much less. The facts of the incident are hotly contested even to this day, as bodies of those executed have been unearthed as recently as 2015. Also, it must be pointed out that the photo depicting this stone in Slide 17 was taken in 2007, so, being that this stone was completely absent upon my most recent visit to the site in 2017, in just 10 years, all traces of the stone have vanished.
Finally, also populating the ruins of mangled stone remnants at this site are fallen pedestals which originally held sculptural busts of People's Heroes who fought here at Drvar during WWII. The busts were lost/stolen/destroyed during the conflicts that occurred in the region during the 1990s. In Slides 18 & 19 you can see a fallen over pedestal which contained a bust for Kosta Bosnić (Коста Боснић) (Photo 6), a young fighter from Drvar who was elected to the National Anti-Fascist Council of People's Liberation of Bosnia & Herzegovina in 1944. However, he was killed near Bosanski Petrovac later that year in an air attack at the age of 21. The National Assembly of Yugoslavia posthumously declared him a National Hero in December of 1951. Then, in Slide 20, you can see the remains of the busy pedestal for fallen People's Hero memorial marker for Vid Bodiroža Vicuka (Вид Бодирожа Вицука) (Photo 7). Born in a small village near Drvar, during WWII he commanded the 4th Krajina Partisan Brigade, but was killed by Germans during the battles at the Sremski Front in January of 1945, just a few months from the end of the war. He was declared a National Hero by the Yugoslav Assembly in July of 1951.
Photo 6: Photo of Kosta Bosnić
Photo 7: Photo of Vid Bodiroža Vicuka
Sources indicate that there were originally 19 sculptural busts on podiums spread across this memorial site. However, the two that I describe above were the only ones I was able to definitively identify upon my last visit to this site 2017.
A few dozen meters north of the ruins of the main memorial complex there exists another set of ruins of a derelict memorial wall (Slides 1 & 2) engraved with the hundreds of names of fighters who perished during the 1941-1945 liberation battles in and around Drvar. Presumably this wall was built during the same time as the rest of the memorial complex, but there is no information available to determine that with full confidence. What is clear is that it is situated in the same state of ruin and defacement that the rest of the complex resides in, having significant sections of it severely damaged, vandalized with spray paint and completely destroyed. In addition, the wall contains relief carvings (Slide 3) depicting such things as pitchforks, animal skulls and sickle & hammer motifs, the last of which is a motif not often seen or overtly depicted at Yugoslav monument sites.
Memorial Wall - Slideshow
In addition to the relief carvings and engraved names found on the wall, the wall also has set within it 5 stones inscribed with sets of poetic verses (Slides 4 - 8). To start, the far left engraving can be seen in Slide 4, which depicts an engraved inscription of the first few lines of the song "Bosno moja Poharana" (My Destroyed Bosnia), written in 1946 by Bosnian song writer Jozo Penava. The inscription roughly translates into English as:
"My devastated Bosnia,
My unplowed land
For four summers unsown."
Meanwhile, the second stone from the left can be seen in Slide 5, which depicts an engraving of the final lines from a traditional post-war Bosnian folk song written by the Sarajevo poet Saita Orahovca. The inscription roughly translates into English as:
"Oh, you have been killed,
May you be left without offspring."
Next, the middle stone can be seen in Slide 6, which depicts a set of three inscriptions from three different writers. The first top-most engraving is a verse from the poem 'Moja Otadžbina' (My Fatherland), written in 1908 by Bosnian Serb poet Aleksa Šantić. The middle engraving is from the 1st stanza from the very famous poem 'Jama' (Cave), written in 1943 by Croatian poet Ivan Goran Kovačić just before his death at Sutjeska during WWII. 'Jama' is considered by many to be the most famous and celebrated Croatian poems ever written. Finally, the bottom engraving (which is partially destroyed) depicts lines from the first stanza of the poem 'Tifusari' (Typhus Victims) by Croatian poet Jure Kaštelan, which comes from his 1950 poetry book 'Pijetao na krovu' (Rooster on the Roof). The common theme of these three poetic verses is that they all portray the suffering of war. The verses are engraved in the stone and roughly translated into English as follows:
"The blood that drips from the enemy's hands, Is the blood from my own wounds."
"The final light before the frightful night, The lightning swooping of the polished knife."
"Death to death. Death is my price."
Meanwhile, in Slide 7 you can observe the next engraved stone, which is the second engraved stone from the right end of the wall. The engraving on this stone is a traditional National Liberation War folk song about the town of Drvar and what the people of the town endured. The inscriptions translates into English as:
"Oh, Drvar, you were burned three times, but you did not allow yourself to be subdued by the Germans."
It is important to note in the above translation of the above Slide 7 inscription that the word 'German' in the actual text itself most accurately translates as 'Kraut', as in the derogatory usage of the term referring to Germans.
Finally, the final engraving, all the way to the right end of the the wall (Slide 8), is a patriotic call which comes from origins I was not able to discover or discern, but most likely it originates as a traditional post-war folk song or poem. The engraving translates into English as:
"Oh, my countryside, you are the place of our uprising, you were among the first rebellious towers against all fascists."
Then, in Slide 9 you can see that I also found among the ruins of this memorial wall additional engraved elements which are so destroyed and ruined at this point, they are beyond being able to be read or interpreted. A number of such engraved stones exist around the wall. Furthermore, it is clear to tell by looking at the above pictures that the wall is also heavily damaged and obscured by larger amounts of graffiti and spray paint. While much of the graffiti is simply young vandals engaging in general defacement, there is also some Nazi and anti-Semitic graffiti present here as well, which can be seen in Slide 10. However, some anti-fascist graffiti also exists here as well, which can be seen with the traditional Yugoslav Partisan motto "Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu!" (Death to fascism, freedom to the people) spray painted in large red letters right in the center of the wall.
Photo 8: Photo of the 2019 cross monument
In February of 2019, a project began to build a large sculpture of a Serbian Orthodox cross next to this WWII memorial wall that would stand as a monument to fallen Serbian victims of the Bosnian War during the 1990s. The erection of such religious symbols in the proximity of Yugoslav-era WWII monuments is not unusual and can be found in Bosnia at several such locations, for instance, at Sanski Most and Kozara. This cross monument was completed in the summer of 2019 (Photo 8). In conjunction with the creation of this cross monument, the WWII memorial wall was cleaned of the huge amount of graffiti that had marred its surface for decades. A small bit of additional rehabilitation was done to the site, but much of the historical damage is yet to be repaired. From what can be seen from recent images of the memorial wall, it appears that some future improvements and rehabilitation might be planned for the future, but this is yet to be fully determined.
Before its destruction, the shape and design of this massive memorial work, created by sculptor Marijan Kocković [profile page], depicted various poses of armed soldiers and fighters carved into numerous relief panels which were set into four large angled pillars pointed towards the sky, all emanating from a single point. It would seem to be that the symbolism associated with this design is that the fighters depicted here on these pillars, presumably Partisan fighters from the battles here at Drvar, are being shown having their souls or spirits transported up into the heavens via these pillars in honor of the sacrifice they made for the town. Furthermore, the way in which these pillars once stood, suspended at a seemingly impossible and unnatural angle, was symbolic of the idea of 'defying gravity', which itself possibly being an allusion to the common Partisan mythos of 'defying the odds', where the vastly under-equipped and under-trained Partisan Army was able to defeat the vastly larger and better equipped German, Italian and other Axis occupiers and armies. Interestingly, many of the spomeniks across Yugoslavia exhibit this feature of 'defying gravity', where large concrete and stone shapes are set up in such a way that they instinctively appear as though they should fall over, but do not.
Status and Condition:
For all intents and purposes, the central monument of the spomenik complex here at Drvar, Bosnia can be considered completely destroyed and largely neglected, currently sitting a ruinous state. Firstly, the vegetation around the site is left overgrown, with it seeming as if no work whatsoever is put into the maintenance of the grounds. The central memorial sculpture still lays in a heap upon the ground in the spot where it fell after being bombed by unknown persons in 1996. Some in the community have alleged that even despite the brazen nature of this destruction, local officials made no efforts to track down the parties who were responsible. Of the large number of the engraved memorial stones that once existed around the complex, most have either been disturbed, knocked over, graffitied or even completely smashed and destroyed. In addition, the engraved memorial wall element of the complex is also laying in ruins as well. Meanwhile, there is no signage of any type along the road or in the area leading visitors or tourists to the site, nor are there any interpretive signs or educational placards around the complex informing visitors about the site's cultural or historical significance. In additional, I have seen no indications that the municipality of Drvar puts forth any efforts into promoting the site as a touristic point of interest or local attraction. However, since the Bosnian War, the town of Drvar has suffered under series of issues, such as rising unemployment, a lack of opportunities, and continued tensions between Croats and returning ethnic Serbs, a situation which potentially leaves the monument ruins low on a list of many other issues in the town.
Photo 9: A 2016 ceremony at the ruins of the Drvar monument
As the complex does exist within a park area in the center of Drvar, the site does see some day-to-day visitors, but these are mostly people walking and recreating. I witnessed few, if any, people who appeared to be visiting the site to honor or pay respects to it. However, upon my most recent visit, I did find several sets of wreaths and flowers laid at the foot of the ruins of the destroyed memorial sculpture, and further research revealed that some in the community with the Anti-Fascist League and the AFP Fighters do conduct limited commemoration events at this site (Photo 9). Though, these are not official government sanctioned or recognized commemoration events. Interestingly, during these anti-fascist commemorative events, competing commemorative events are often held in the nearby Catholic church by ethnic-Croats which honor Croatians killed in retaliatory killings by Partisans during and in the aftermath of WWII. While there are some initiatives within Drvar to see this monument reconstructed, it is often cited that funds are lacking in order to do so. However, as of 2017, there are plans by the Municipality of Drvar to construct a completely new monument complex to the victims of the 1990s Bosnian War on Šobić Hill at or near the ruins of the now destroyed WWII spomenik. As a result, the future of the ruins and remains of this memorial complex remain unclear.
Additional Sites in the Drvar Area:
This section will explore additional Yugoslav-era historic, cultural and memorial sites around the greater and extended area of Drvar, Bosnia. This specific sites examined here are Tito's Cave historic site and museum in Drvar, as well as the Monument to Fallen Fighters located in the nearby village of Drinić.
Tito's Cave Historic Site & Museum:
Situated above the valley of Dvar, roughly 1km north of the city center, is a cave system which Tito and the leadership of his Partisan resistance used as a hideout from the Germany Army during WWII. After the war, this cave system, along with a reconstruction of the barracks shack at its entrance, were converted into a historical and cultural site that could be toured by the public (Slides 1 - 4). In addition, a building at the base of the hillside below the cave was converted into a visitors center and museum complex (Slide 5), hosting various artifacts and exhibits related to Tito's time in the cave and the 1944 Axis invasion of Drvar. The official name for the complex is May 25th Museum (Muzeja „25. maj“), but informally it is usually just called Tito's Cave (Titova pećina). During its height, it was one of the most visited historical sites in Yugoslavia, hosting over 200,000 visitors a year. However, the site was significantly damaged in the 1990s during the Bosnian War, but it was completely rehabilitated in 2006.
Tito's Cave Historic Site & Museum - Slideshow
In recent years, Tito's Cave memorial complex is again seeing increased amounts of visitors, with tens of thousands now being reported each year, with visitors coming from Bosnia and from around the world. The exact coordinates for the main visitor's center and museum at the Tito's Cave complex is N44°22'47.8", E16°23'13.5".
Monument to Fallen Fighters at Drinić:
Roughly 15km north of Drvar as the crow flies, but about 42km over curving mountain roads, lies the small village of Drinić. Interestingly, the tiny settlement sits directly on top the Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) between the Federation and the Republic. The central feature of the town is a sizable concrete monument which commemorates fallen fighters from the region's wars, most notably WWII (Slides 1 & 2). It was created in 1971 and built by Visoko construction firm 'Zvijezda'. The monument's form is characterized by a raised platform from the corners of which radiate five concrete pillars roughly 8m into the air in a pentagon or star configuration. At ground level, on either side of the long stone-paved approach up to the platform are two large concrete settings holding engraved stones bearing the names of fallen fighters. Below the monument is a crypt which holds the remains of many Partisan fighters from WWII.
Monument to Fallen Fighters at Drinić - Slideshow
Meanwhile, at the center of the monument on the raised platform is a six-sided mount which contains on each one of its sides an engraved plaque. Among the inscriptions on these plaques are words dedicating the site to victims of the People's Liberation Struggle and honoring civilians who perished as a result of fascist terror. However, the most prominent and significant of these six inscribed panels is the one facing forwards as you walk up the platform, which contains poetic verses by famous Bosnian poet (and Partisan fighter) Branko Ćopić from his work "Pjesma mrtvih proletera" (A Song of Dead Proletarians) (Slide 3). These poetic verses read, when roughly translated into English, as:
Dead hands and dead rifles. In death we change, but friends stay together. And they were... and they were- ten to one.
And the day of glory will come, the victory will be ours, wild beasts will disappear. With our troops freedom marches forward, and dead proletarians.
In recent years, an additional element has been added to the memorial site here at Drinić which commemorates local fighters from the Army of the Republic of Srpska who fought during the Bosnian War of the 1990s (Slide 4). The element consists of a wide square pillar with reddish stone panels engraved with the names of the fallen fighters. Regular commemorative events are still held at this site (Slide 5) and the complex all together resides in relatively good condition, having been recently renovated and rehabilitated. The exact coordinates for this monument site are N44°30'23.3", E16°27'56.4".
And Additional Sites of Interest:
Tito's Green Train at Oštrelj: Roughly 16km north fo Drvar is the village of Oštrelj. Tucked away in the forest on the outskirts of the village is a historical exhibit of a steam locomotive (along with a few wagons) which Tito's Partisans used in their breakaway territory called the 'Bihać Rebpulic' during WWII. The train, which has been dubbed 'Proleterka' and painted green, is a Krauss-Maffei engine of German production built in 1904. It remains in good condition and is well maintained. The exact coordinates for the site are N44°28'56.0", E16°24'13.6".
Monument to Fallen Fighters at Resanovci: Roughly 16km SW of Drvar is the small village of Resanovci. At the village center is a monument complex honoring the local fighters who fell during WWII (Photo 10). The central elements of the monument are two monoliths (a tall ~10m tall obelisk & ~4m tall square wall), both decorated with black & white mosaic tiles forming sun-like design motifs. This work was created in 1971 by local artist Miloš Bajić. The exact coordinates for this site are N44°17'40.3", E16°18'08.7".
Photo 10: A photo of the Monument to Fallen Fighters at Resanovci, BiH
Una National Park: Roughly 30km northwest of Drvar is central 'Martin brod' access point for Una National Park. This park, which is mostly contained along the Una, Krka and Unac Rivers, contains a significant amount of hiking, camping, biking, rafting, fishing and other recreational pursuits, while also containing a number of historical and cultural sites, such as ancient ruins, churches and archeological sites. Established in 2008 to protect these pristine waterways, it exists as Bosnia's youngest national park. The official website for the park can be found at THIS link, a high resolution map of the park can be found at THIS link, while the exact coordinates for the park's 'Martin brod' access point are N44°29'47.2"N, E16°08'04.4".
Photo 11: A vintage image of Motel Bastašica at the source of the Vrelo River.
Motel Bastašica & the Vrelo River: Roughly 4km NW of the Drvar town center near the village of Bastasi is a unique natural site: the source of the Bastašica River. At 700 meters long, it is among the shortest rivers in the Southeastern Europe. Its waters bubble up in a majestic blue pool spring, at which point they cascade down in a series of small waterfalls into the Unac River. In the weeks that led up to the Battle of Drvar 1944, Tito used the caves around Bastasi as a hideout from which to plan his strategy for the coming invasion. When Tito visited Drvar in 1974 during the 30th anniversary of the battle, it was presumably at this time that Motel Bastašica was built. The purpose of this motel was two-fold, both to honor Tito's exploits here at Bastasi, as well as to view the beautiful waterfalls of the Bastašica River, over which Motel Bastašica was positioned (Photo 11). This motel quickly became one of the most popular tourist spots of the Drvar region, as it was one of the first buildings of high modernist architecture to be built in the area. It was such a landmark for the town that it was featured on many of Drvar's postcards. However, after the war struck this region during the 1990s, the hotel shut down and has remained abandoned up until the present day. Its exact coordinates are N44°23'38.4", E16°19'34.3".
Ruined Sports Center & Complex: Residing about 200m north of the town center of Drvar is the ruined remains of the Sports Center of Drvar (Photo 12). Shaped in an ambitiously modern pyramid design with long sloping roof sections on all four sides, this expansive facility was built in the 1980s and was created as a sports and culture center for Drvar and the surrounding region. Adjacent to this central building was also constructed a football stadium, an Olympic-size pool with diving platforms, tennis courts, and much more. However, during the Bosnian War, this building and many of the sports facilities were devastated. While the football stadium has been renovated in recent years, the Sports Center and the swimming/diving complex still lay in ruins up to the present day. The exact coordinates for the Sports Center are N44°22'37.2", E16°23'01.4".
Photo 12: A recent photo of the ruined sports center in Drvar.
Photo 13: A recent photo of the ruins of the Monument to Fallen Fighters at Kamenica.
Monument to Fallen Fighters of Kamenica: The small settlement of Kamenica sits about 4km to the west of Drvar. Within an open field in front of a ruined school house is the remains of the Monument to Fallen Fighters, which honored local Partisan fighters from the local community (Photo 13). Created in 1979 by Serbian sculptor Vojislav Vasiljević, the monument originally consisted of 10 slanted concrete plinths (roughly 2.5m tall) that had installed upon them bronze inscribed plates and two bronze busts. One of these busts was of Marija Bursać, a young woman who was from this small village and died heroically in battle during WWII at the nearby village of Prkosi. She was the first Partisan woman to be named a national hero and went on to become one of the most significant folk heroes of Yugoslavia. After the Bosnian War, the monument was found devastated, with all the plates and busts being stolen. Today, all that remains of the site are the 10 deteriorating concrete plinths. The exact coordinates are N44°21'51.9", E16°19'40.6".
Monument to Fallen Fighters of Očigrije: Roughly 30km to the northwest along highway R408 is the beautiful region of Martin Brod along the Una River. Within this area is the small settlement of Očigrije, which contains the ruins of a monument built during the Yugoslav-era that commemorated local fallen fighters and victims of fascism violence (Photo 14). The year this monument was built is unknown, as is the name of its creator. Formed in the shape of a sweeping spiral out of raw concrete, the enigmatic sculpture sits upon a platform and a red star continues to sit at its summit up to the present day. A black polished stone panel bearing names of the local fallen victims was originally installed on the monument's north side, however, today it sits smashed into pieces on the ground around the site. This spomenik was destroyed during the 1990s by vandals, but the exact circumstances surrounding its destruction are not known. Its exact coordinates are N44°28'01.1", E16°08'38.9".
Photo 14: A recent photo of the ruins of the Monument to Fallen Fighters at Očigrije. [source]
The ruins of the Drvar spomenik complex is right in the center of the town of Drvar, on top of a hill directly across Titova Street from the Temple of St. Sava (Hram Svetog Save). You can either park along Titova Street and walk up the stairs to the ruins of the monument, or you can drive up the hill a bit and approach the complex from the backside. The memorial wall associated with the site can be walked to by going just a few dozen meters north of the monument ruins. Exact coordinates for street parking to the east of the monument are N44°22'29.4", E16°23'02.3" while coordinates parking on the backside of the monument to its west are N44°22'27.0", E16°22'55.1". While you are here visiting the site, keep in mind that even though it is in ruins, one should not contribute to or exacerbate its degradation.
Click to open in Google Maps in new window
A historical photo from the 1980s of a group of tourists at the WWII spomenik site in Drvar, Bosnia.
A historical photo from the 1980s of a group of tourists at the WWII spomenik site in Drvar, Bosnia.
A historical postcard from the 1980s which includes the WWII spomenik complex in Drvar, Bosnia, as well as the May 25th Museum.
A historical photo from the 1980s of a group of tourists at the WWII spomenik site in Drvar, Bosnia.
Selected Sources and More Information:
Please feel free to leave a message if you have any comments, if you have any questions, if you have corrections or if you have any additional information or insight you feel might be appropriate or pertinent to this spomenik's profile page.