Name: Spomen-Park "Danica" or "Danica Memorial to Holocaust Camp Victims"
Location: Koprivnica, Croatia
Year completed: 1981
Designer: Lenko Pleština
Coordinates: N46°11'14.1", E16°50'39.8"
Dimensions: 8m tall by 8m wide
Materials used: concrete
Condition: Fair to good
This page explores and examines the Danica Memorial Park (Danica Spomen Park) located in Koprivnica, Croatia, that was built to commemorate the victims and heritage of the Danica concentration camp, which was the first concentration camp established in Croatia during WWII by the Ustaše.
World War II
After the Axis invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia occurred on the 6th of April, 1941, the Axis-aligned Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was established by the fascist Ustaše political organization just a few days later on the 10th, which was an entity that existed as a puppet state of Nazi Germany. Then, five days after the creation of the NDH, one of the first acts of this new state was to establish its first concentration camp, which it did on the 15th of April, 1941 in the small town of Koprivnica, situated in the present-day region of northern Croatia not far from the Hungarian border. The Ustaše established the concentration camp on the northern edge of Koprivnica within the confines of the local chemical/fertilizer factory named "Danica" (one of the largest factories in the region at this time) (Photo 1). By the end of April of 1941, the Danica camp was already populated by several hundred prisoners, primarily ethnic Serbs, Roma and Jews from the region of Grubišno Polje.
Photo 1: A inter-war era photo of the Danica chemical factory at Koprivnica
Photo 2: An Ustaše guard at the Danica camp
During the following month of May, the Jewish population of Zagreb began to be rounded up en masse and sent to Danica as well. Innocent civilians across the region of the NDH who were sent here to Danica were arrested largely under the pretense that they were "Chetniks" and/or "enemies of the state" or some nature of "undesirable". As for their transport to the camp, this was done primarily via train cars, as the site of the camp was chosen in part for its proximity to the Koprivnica main train line. The train cars upon which prisoners were shipped to Danica were often labeled on their sides with signage reading "rotten fruit", which served twofold as a disguise and as a means of symbolically humiliating and dehumanizing the prisoners. The concentration camp of Danica was itself not a "death camp", but rather a transfer camp from which its prisoners would be sent onward to other concentration camps across the NDH that did specialize in liquidating its captives, such as Jasenovac, Stara Gradiška, Jadovno, among others. Of course, that is not to say that prisoners were not killed or executed at Danica, as they most certainly were. Untold numbers were killed by beatings, torture, forced labor, hangings, among other grisly means. Furthermore, as the camp was surrounded by upwards of 15 guard towers (Photo 2), many prisoners were also killed during escape attempts. Overall, records indicate that over 5,500 prisoners passed through Danica during its short existence and that somewhere between 200-300 of its prisoners were killed/executed on the premises. It is important to note that these numbers include not only men but women and children as well.
However, by the autumn of the following year, September 1942, the Ustaše authorities realized that the Danica camp did not possess the necessary facilities to meet their needs for mass liquidation nor did the urban surroundings provide them with the cover needed to commit such crimes and mass killings in secret. As such, the Danica concentration camp was closed by the end of 1942. Upon its closing, Danica's prisoners were sent onward to other concentration camps (primarily Jasenovac, where a majority of them met their tragic end). After the region was liberated from Ustaše control by the Partisans at the end of the war, the majority of the Ustaše administrators who ran the Danica concentration camp were arrested, tried and publically hanged in 1947 within the ruins of the camp.
Photo 3: A drawing of the Danica concentration camp by prisoner Zlatko Prica during WWII
Of the camp's many thousands of prisoners and victims who suffered here, I wanted to remark on a few notable people who spent time here. The first is Hungarian-born artist Zlatko Prica, who famously sketched numerous scenes of daily life within the concentration camp which were smuggled out during the war and disseminated widely (Photo 3). The second individual I wanted to mention is the Partisan fighter Milan Bakić, who was the brother of the famous Yugoslav monument sculptor Vojin Bakić [profile page] (author of some of the country's most significant WWII memorials). All of Vojin Bakić's brothers died during the war at the hands of the Ustaše, a tragic fate that influenced him throughout his entire life to create commemorative antifascist works across Yugoslavia. Another significant Partisan who passed through the camp was Anka Butorac, who went on to be killed by the Ustaše in 1942 and posthumously declared a National Hero of Yugoslavia in 1949.
Efforts began towards the process of creating an organized memorial space around the ruins of the Danica concentration camp around the late 1970s. From the end of the war until this point, the site of the concentration camp sat largely undeveloped without any substantial memorial elements or commemoration infrastructure (other than a few small inscribed stone memorial panels. Firstly, the site received protection by the state as a site of cultural heritage and goals were set to ready a grand opening of a new memorial complex here in honor of the approaching 40th anniversary of the opening of the camp in 1981. After a design competition was held, the commission for designing the Danica Memorial Complex was awarded to Croatian architect Lenko Pleština. His concept called for an extensive layout across the area that was to be completed over several years during separate phases (Photo 4). The first phase of Pleština's project included a central memorial structure, a museum adapted from the old camp buildings, a memorial wall and a renovation of the historic water tower. Meanwhile, an intended second phase was to include a recreation center, a cultural hall, an archives buildings, among other features. Between 1978 and 1981, the first phase of this Pleština's plan was realized.
Photo 4: The master plan for the Danica Memorial by Pleština [source]
Photo 5: A 1981 photo of the Danica Memorial Park commemoration ceremony, with Pavle Gaži giving a speech
Photo 6: An early concept sketch by Pleština for the central memorial element of the Danica Memorial Park [source]
Photo 7: A concept sketch by Pleština for the central memorial wall element of the Danica Memorial Park [source]
The Danica Memorial Park was unveiled on July 4th, 1981, which was commemorated with special events, speakers, and ceremonies. The keynote address at this event was given by Pavle Gaži (Photo 5), who was the Executive Secretary of the Presidency of the Central Committee of the SKJ. For the central memorial object of the Danica site, Pleština created an 8m tall open-air temple-like monolith structure that stood as a sort of gateway portal into the complex. Painted red and fashioned of concrete, its angular postmodern styling stood out as a focal point of the ground's layout. Behind the monolith memorial is a modest square amphitheatre constructed of brick, intended for cultural interpretive presentations and ceremonial events (Photo 6). Adjacent to the red monolith was created an 85m long memorial wall, also painted in red, that continued the angular postmodern style of the monolith (Photo 7). At spaces within the wall were installed large inscribed panels bearing the names of victims who were interred at the camp.The memorial wall was placed in front of a preserved length of the ruins of the camp's original wall.
Meanwhile, the main camp building, situated next to the monolith, was restored and transformed into a museum complex that contained interpretive exhibits on the history of the concentration camp. Furthermore, the camp's distinctive Austro-Hungarian style water tower, which was created in 1907 and part of the original Danica factory, was also restored and preserved during this time (Photo 8). The last significant element of the original layout of the Danica Memorial Park was a historic locomotive and cargo carriage that had been used during WWII to transport prisoners to the concentration camp from Zagreb. This notorious train, known as "Crna Katica", was donated by the Croatian Railways company. The train display was set up in close proximity to the museum and the gateway monument.
Upon its completion, the Danica Memorial Park became one of the region's most significant historical WWII sites and was visited by thousands of Yugoslav citizens each year. However, the second phase of the project, which called for the construction of additional facilities, was never undertaken (most likely for financial reasons).
Photo 8: A 1980 photo of the historic train being delivered to the Danica Memorial Park during construction [source]
Post-Yugoslav Era to Present-Day
Within the dismantling of Yugoslavia during the early 1990s and the creation of the new independent country of Croatia, the Danica Memorial Park fell into a state of neglect and was subject to much defacement. Many elements of the complex were marred with graffiti and some elements of the facility suffered damage. After the end of the Yugoslav-era, management of the memorial park passed to the Koprivnica City Museum, however, they did not immediately overseeing its upkeep. For roughly a decade, the grass around the site went un-mowed and no appreciable maintenance was undertaken.
Meanwhile, in 1991, the WWII bronze memorial sculpture titled "Izvidnica/Scout", created in 1955 by sculptor Ivan Sabolić, was removed from its original setting within the town center of Koprivnica and relocated to the Danica Memorial Park (Photo 9). While this action was in line with the trend of many NOB/WWII monuments across Croatia being removed and relocated during the early 1990s (with many even being destroyed), it is noteworthy that in Koprivnica that the "Scout" was only moved a short distance and kept within a WWII memorial zone. Also, in addition to additions, there were removals at Danica as well. In May of 1992, the "Crna Katica" train display was removed from Danica Memorial Park and relocated to Zagreb, where it today sits on display next to the Zagreb Central Train Station. Though, it is important to note that during the transfer process of the train from Koprivnica to Zagreb, it was given an extensive restoration treatment, for which the train was in dire need.
Photo 9: A 1991 photo of the "Scout" monument being moved from the Koprivnica town center to Danica
It was not until 2005 that efforts were finally put forward by Koprivnica authorities and the Koprivnica City Museum towards the rehabilitation and restoration of the Danica Memorial Park. During this time, the graffiti and damage done to the memorial elements were removed and repaired, while renewed maintenance was put forward towards mowing and landscape upkeep. In addition, the historic water tower was also renewed and repaired. However, while efforts were made towards renewing the Danica museum building, the museum was not re-opened. Instead, sources report that it is today used as a storage facility for the Koprivnica City Museum. In 2020, a large commemorative ceremony was held at Danica to mark the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the concentration camp.
The Memorial Elements of Danica:
In this section, we will explore the various memorial elements which are located (or were located) around Danica Memorial Park. Each one will be examined in detail and have its history explored and explained. These elements include the "Gallows" Monument, the Memorial Wall, the water tower, the memorial museum, the "Scout" monument and the "Crna Katica" locomotive exhibit.
"The Gallows" Monument:
At the center of the memorial park for the Danica concentration camp designed by Lenko Pleština is a memorial sculpture that numerous sources refer to as "The Gallows" (Photo 10). Standing roughly 8m tall, the sculpture consists of a concrete temple-like form which stands upon four legs. At the center of the monument elevated above the walkway is a circular element that is seen being propped up with diagonal braces emanating from the support columns. The work only retains the faint faded red coloration of the dark red it as originally painted in. Along the sides of the monolith which face the path, the arches are open at their apexes, creating the shape of two inverted "L" forms on either side of the walkway. In fact, the only connection between the to sides is a thin beam reaching across within the circular elemen At the south-facing side of the structure, the support columns on this side have recessed within them steep ascending stair-like features that lead upwards into nothingness.
Photo 10: A recent photo of the "Gallows" memorial element at Danica Memorial Park [source]
The most apparent form of symbolic meaning apparent when viewing this monument (which is also given away in the name of the work itself) is the motif of "Gallows" or "hangings". The the inverted "L" shapes seen as one passes underneath the work, with their diagonal braces, bear all the unmistakable universal depictions of a gallows at the ready. Sources indicate that numerous prisoners at this concentration camp were executed by hanging, while the Ustaše operators of the concentration camp themselves were also executed via hangings by the Partisans after the war as well. As such the gallows becomes a succinct (albeit a bit 'heavy handed') symbol of the events which transpired here. Meanwhile, the sculpture communicates further references with its stairs that lead up to a circular look-out post, serving as a clear reference to the many lookout guard towers that surrounded the concentration camp. With many would-be escaping prisoners of the camp were shot mid-flight by Ustaše guards looking down from their high lookout perches, the 'guard tower' motif operates as a powerful symbol of oppression and terror. Lastly, the characteristic red color that the sculpture was originally painted in may itself serve, on one hand, as a symbol of the spilled blood of all the innocent people who perished within the Ustaše concentration camp system, but also the red may stand for the red Partisan communist flag that eventually came to dismantle the fascist system that doled out this terror in the first place.
Situated adjacent to the Gallows monument, parallel to the main road, is the memorial wall element of the Danica Memorial Park (Photo 11). Also crafted by Lenko Pleština in the same style and color as the Gallows sculpture, the memorial wall stretches roughly 85m and runs along side a preserved ruined segment of the original wall that enclosed the prisoners of this concentration camp. The form that the memorial wall takes is a long arcade of square portals, with the spaces between each portal being occupied by spaces where a collection of smooth polished stone panels were engraved with the names of all the victims who passed through this camp. For many years, only a few of those original panels remained, as many of them were destroyed and/or defaced during the 1990s. However, in the lead-up to the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the camp in 2021, all of the plaques were replaced and refreshed by local authorities.
Photo 11: A recent photo of the memorial wall at the Danica Memorial Park in Koprivnica. Credit: Erlander@GoogleMaps
Today, the memorial wall is severely stained and discolored, with only a faint remnant of its original red coloration still visible (today only appearing as a light peachy pink color). Meanwhile, the preserve fragmented length of the WWII-era concentration camp wall that sits parallel to the memorial wall continues to exist in its ruined and tattered state, which is the way it was intended to be presented to the public.
The Old Water Tower:
At the center of the original Danica fertilizer factory, built in 1907, a large water tower was constructed at the center of the complex, designed in the distinctive Austro-Hungarian architectural style that typified the period (Photo 12). As the facility was utilized as a concentration camp during WWII by the Ustaše, the water tower stood over the grounds as a sort of menacing force and came to stand as a symbol for the terror and oppression that occurred here, particularly as the tower was also used as a place upon which to perch guards with rifles who targeted any escaping prisoners. The water tower was further immortalized in the haunting drawings by prisoner Zlatko Prica who documented daily life within the concentration camp. As such, when Danica was developed into a memorial park, the water tower was renovated as an important relic and its interior space was adopted to service the needs of the park managers. It was featured prominently as a landmark on local postcards.
Photo 12: A recent photo of the water tower at the Danica Memorial Park. Credit: Zoran Šajatović
After the Danica site fell into a state of disrepair during the 1990s, the water tower also began to degrade, with its facade decaying and animals and birds inhabiting its structure. However, with restoration beginning in the later 2000s, the water tower was renewed and renovated. As of the 2020s, it continues to stand prominently over the area, though, it is again in need of maintenance, repairs and intervention.
Danica Memorial Museum:
The stables building of the Danica fertilizer factory was re-purposed during WWII as one of the buildings in which the Ustaše housed its concentration camp prisoners (Photo 13). As the facility was transformed into a Memorial Park in the late 1970s, the decision was made to restore the old Austro-Hungarian-era building and transform it into the main museum complex for the facility. The adaption of this weathered and scarred building into a museum was overseen by the project's architect Lenko Pleština, who laid out the retro-fitting of the building and even designed its exhibition elements and displays. Upon its completion, the museum boasted an impressive collection of artifacts, photos, and other relics that conveyed the grisly and haunting experience of those who were imprisoned there. One of the main exhibits of the museum were the dozens of drawings by prisoner Zlato Prica depicting daily life at the camp. Situated right next to Pleština's central "Gallows" monument, the museum was an important cultural institution and well-visited during its operation.
Photo 14: A Yugoslav-era photo of the interior of the Danica Memorial Museum [source]
Photo 13: A recent photo of the Danica Memorial Museum, which today is closed. [source]
The museum was closed and shuttered starting in the early 1990s as the dismantling of Yugoslavia began and war set in across parts of Croatia. The building sat for many years in a state of disrepair until restoration and renovation work began on the memorial park starting around 2005. However, upon the completion of these improvements and repairs to the museum building, the facility was not re-opened to the public as a museum. Instead, its space was used as a storage area by the ethnographic department of the Koprivnica City Museum. It is unclear if there are any plans for the future to re-open the museum. Presumably, all of the original exhibits and artifacts are still contained within the building, yet, I have not yet found any sources to confirm that. Today, the building still stands in good condition and could easily be refit again as a museum exhibition space dedicated to relating the history of the Danica concentration camp.
The "Scout" Monument:
Situated just beyond the old gated entryway off of the main road in Danica sits the bronze memorial sculpture titled "Izvidnica/Scout" (Photo 15), created in 1955 by the notable Croatian sculptor Ivan Sabolić (who was born in the nearby village of Peteranec). The work depicts the classic Yugoslav memorial motif of the Partisan scout, always on watch and always vigorously looking out for danger. He sits kneeled, pointing ahead with his rifle in hand, ready to meet the enemy on the horizon. However, it is important to note that is not the original location of the "Scout" memorial sculpture. In fact, the place upon which this sculpture was originally unveiled was at the center of Koprivnica within what is today "Zrinski Square" in front of the town hall [precisely here] (Photo 16). On the pedestal of the monument was an inscription that read, when translated, as: "To the fallen fighters of the people's revolution and victims of fascist terror 1941-1945". While some sources claim that a crypt was originally located under this monument that contained the remains of fallen fighters of the Podravka region, other sources contend that no such crypt was ever installed under this original setting.
Photo 16: A Yugoslav-era postcard image of the "Scout" monument at its original location at Zrinski Square
Photo 15: A 1991 photo of the "Scout" monument at its present location within Danica Memorial Park. Credit: Roland Puškarić
In 1991, amidst the dismantling of Yugoslavia, local authorities in Koprivnica made the decision to remove the Scout monument from its location within Zrinski Square and move it to what would become its current location within Danica Memorial Park. The composition of the monument within the grounds of Danica was laid out by local architect Bolto Ranilović. During the subsequent years of the 1990s, the Scout monument was routinely defaced and covered with graffiti. However, by the mid-2000s, the sculpture was renewed and cleaned and today sits in a well-preserved condition. The relocated "Scout" monument is considered one of the primary attractions of the Danica complex, despite not being an original feature. A very small plaque is attached to its stone base relating the work's details. However, nothing at this site, nor at its original site at Zrinski Square, recount the sculpture's removal or relocation.
The "Crna Katica" Train Memorial:
In 1891, a steam locomotive under the registration "125-052" was manufactured by the Hungarian Railways company in Budapest. For decades, it operated as a passenger and freight carrier all across the region. It was a trusty reliable train and known by the nickname "Crna Katica" for its jet-black color. However, by WWII, the locomotive had been acquired by the Ustaše, who began to use it for transporting prisoners from Zagreb to the Danica concentration camp in Koprivnica. As such, this train operated as a grisly and haunting symbol of death. Consequently, when efforts were being put forward during the late 1970s to commemorate the Danica site, the Croatian division of Yugoslav Railways donated the train for use as a memorial object for the complex (who had kept the antique train in storage in the years after the war). Interestingly, in addition to the train's dark history, the train also happened to be the oldest locomotive in Croatia at this time (Photo 17).
Photo 17: A 1991 photo of the "Scout" monument being moved from the Koprivnica town center to Danica
The "Crna Katica" locomotive was prominently displayed within the grounds of Danica, right next to the famous water tower. In addition, attached to the locomotive at the memorial site were two cargo wagons similar to those that would have carried prisoners to the camp. Emblazoned on the side of the wagon was the phrase "Trulo voće“ or "Rotten Fruit", a plainly transparent yet supremely symbolic ruse of misdirection the Ustaše had employed during the war.
In June of 1991, the newly created Croatian Railways sent a letter to the management of the Danica Memorial to inform them that they would be taking back possession of the "Crna Katica" locomotive. As such, the locomotive was subseuqently taken back to Zagreb, where it was ultimately given a full restoration and put on display next to the Zagreb central train station (in the spot where formerly Tito's famous Blue Train was on display) (Photo 18). Up to the present day, managers of the Danica Memorial Park hold out hope that one day the train will be returned to their facility.
Photo 18: A recent photo of the Crna Katica locomotive in Zagreb. Credit: Zvonimir Beus
Within its new public display setting in Zagreb, no information was presented about the locomotive's connection to the Holocaust or its transporting of concentration camp prisoners. Sources explain the reason for this omission is that railway management refutes the idea that Crna Katica was used for such purposes, saying that there is no documentation to prove such a connection. Those who doubt Crna Katica's connection to Danica often cite that the foundation of these connections are largely based on eyewitness testimony, as opposed to rigid paper-work trails or documentation. Meanwhile, the cargo wagons were not included at the train station display and were instead exhibited at the Croatian Railway Museum in Zagreb. In 2022, in a move unrelated to the locomotive, Zagreb officials unveiled a long-anticipated 11m tall Holocaust Memorial right in front of the Crna Katica display. It was created by Croatian architect Krešimir Rogina and sculptor Dalibor Stošić.
Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:
The Danica Memorial Park contains numerous examples of plaques and engraved objects located across its grounds. The first engraved memorial elements one encounters here are a pair of inscribed polished black stone panels (Slide 1). These panels are set into the concrete gate pillars right along the main road that were once part of the original entryway into the concentration camp during WWII. On the other side of this red-painted gateway is what sits today the relocated "Scout" memorial sculpture that was moved to this location in 1991. Both of these panels are adorned with carved communist stars at their top. The first inscribed panel we will look at of this pair here is the one situated on the left gatepost. This inscription reads, when translated from Croatian into English, as:
"Nothing is more valuable than human suffering endured without freedom by freedom fighters"
"Through this gate was the entrance to Danica, the first Ustaše fascist camp in Croatia. Horror, hunger, torture and death pass here, thousands of men, women and children, patriotic communists, among them members of the CK of the KPH, Mirko Bukovac, Anka Butorac, and Marijan Krajčič. All of them were most cruelly tortured and then most of them were sent to the Jadovno or Jasenovac slaughterhouses, where bloody hands took their lives with a bullet and knife."
Meanwhile, the engraved stone panel on the right hand gatepost bears an inscription that reads, when translated from Croatian into English, as:
"You wonderful heroes, you did not fall in vain. Your names float over us as encouraging signs that your indestructible heart is below us giving our hearts strength of steel. Beside every living guard, one dead guards our land. How you have become powerful and great." -Jovan Popović
"On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the liberation of this country, this memorial plaque was placed by the Association of Fighters of the NOR, District of Koprivnica, July 4th, 1960."
The next significant collection of inscribed elements at Danica is the assemblage of about 12 black polished stone panels installed along the memorial wall that contain a list of the names of those who were interred at the concentration camp here (Slide 2). Between 1991 and 2005, these panels were subject to significant defacement and damage, however, repair and restoration effoects (particularlly efforts put forward about 2020) have finally refreshed all of these stone panels.
In regards to graffiti and spray paint vandalism at the Danica Memorial Park, as of 2023, the vast majority of such defacement has been cleaned up and removed in recent years since the complex has been rejuvenated starting in the mid-2000s. However, before that time, during the period between 1991 and 2005, many elements of the memorial complex were painted and defaced with graffiti, including the bronze "Scout" memorial sculpture and the large inscribed stone panels listing the names of concentration camp victims.
Status and Condition:
When evaluating the state of the Koprivnica Memorial Park as of the early 2020s, the condition of the facility appears fair to good. This has continued to be the situation at the complex since revitalization and renovation efforts started during the late 2000s (as it had fallen into considerable disrepair between 1991 and 2005, when it received little maintenance or upkeep). The memorial park was registered as a protected cultural property by the Croatian government in 2009 and today the site is managed by the City Museum of Koprivnica. The grounds of the park are maintained in good order, with the grass mowed and vegetation kept under control, while the elements of the park are also maintained to a moderate degree. I say "moderate" because many elements are in desperate need of fresh paint, cleaning and repairs. Many of the memorial elements are stained by weather, as well as showing signs of concrete deterioration. Of all the elements, the "Scout" sculpture seems to be in the best shape, mostly a result of it being made of durable bronze. Meanwhile, I saw no indications of signs along the main road advertising or pointing to Danica, there is however a multi-lingual interpretive sign in front of the "Gallows" monument that gives a cursory description of the site (Photo 19). Strangely, the interpretive sign mentions the memorial train as an element at the park, which is a feature that has been absent from the park for more than a decade.
Photo 19: A recent photo of the interpretive sign at Danica. Credit: V. Štefanek
Photo 20: A 2019 commemorative event at Danica Memorial Park [source]
In addition to this late 2000s-era interpretive plaque, it is also important to mention that during a 2019 ceremony (Photo 20), a small commemorative plaque was installed onto the side of the Gallows monument that contains a QR Code that visitors to the site can scan for more information. Meanwhile, as far as ceremonies, the City Museum of Koprivnica, along with local & regional veterans groups, have been organizing annual commemorative events and ceremonies at the Danica Memorial Complex for several years now. In 2021, the memorial complex commemorated the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the camp, during which time more restoration efforts at the facility took place and special memorial events took place across the town of Koprivnica. However, despite the amount of attention and commemoration that Danica has received over the last decade, many in the community are still awaiting the re-opening of the site's memorial museum, which has remained closed for roughly 20 years now. With respect to community outreach and tourism promotion, the Koprivnica City Museum contains a small subsection of its website dedicated to Danica, yet, the tourist section of the official Koprivnica city website does not mention or list Danica among its local museum or historical attractions.
Finally, it is important to mention one notable social issue mentioned by numerous sources that I examined regarding the Danica monument site, which is the industrial encroachment from nearby factories and industries via the ever-expanding parking lot directly within the zone of the monument area. Surrounding the entire north end of the Danica site is a sizable tractor-trailer truck parking zone that is within mere meters of numerous memorial elements. Many locals, activists and defenders of Danica's heritage find such proximity of industrial truck traffic so close to this concentration camp memorial area to be inappropriate and disrespectful to the memory of the site.
Aditional Sites in the Koprivnica Area:
In this section, we will explore additional sites in and around the region of Koprivnica, Croatia that would be relevant to anyone studying the memorial art, architecture or sculpture of the Yugoslav-era. Of the sites in this area, the primary one examined here is the Ivan Sabolić Gallery in the nearby community of Peteranac.
The Ivan Sabolić Gallery in Peteranec:
The sculptor Ivan Sabolić, author of the "Scout" memorial sculpture that today resides within the Danica Memorial Park, was born and raised in the nearby town of Peteranec (just 5km northwest of Koprivnica). Train at university in the mastery of sculpture by the famous Croatian artist Antun Augustinčić, Sabolić was among the most significant Croatian sculptors of the Yugoslav-era, working on numerous memorial commissions across the country during his lifetime, including major works at Batina [profile page], Rovinj, Niš [profile page] and Tuzla. It was common tradition in Yugoslavia for memorial artists to erect major works in or near the places where they grew up, which is why he created the "Scout" monument in nearby Koprivnica. In the early 1980s, a gallery space dedicated to the life and artwork of Ivan Sabolić was unveiled in his hometown of Peteranec within the local municipal building. Today, the gallery is administered by the City Museum of Koprivnica. Gallery info and hours can be found at THIS link. Its coordinates are N46°11'38.5", E16°53'05.2".
Photo 21: A view of the interior exhibits of the Ivan Sabolić Gallery in Peteranec [source]
The Danica Memorial Park (also known as the Danica Spomen Park) is located roughly 2km north of the town center of Koprivnica along the road heading north towards Đelekovec. While there are not major markers or signposts along the way to indicate the memorial complex is close, it is about 200m north after you pass Ivan Česmički Street as you are driving north from the Koprivnica center. There is a large gravel parking lot with free parking a few meters north of the park just next to the trucking company offices. The exact coordinates for this parking area are 46°11'16.2"N 16°50'41.0"E.
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Selected Sources and More Information:
-Koprivnica City Museum article: "Spomen područje Danica"
-Serbian Wiki article: "Логор Даница"
-Sbperiskop.net article: "Mrak bez voznog reda"
-P-portal.net article: "Logor Danica – gdje počinju zločini i gdje se završava sjećanje"
-Antifašistički vjesnik article: "Osnovan prvi ustaški sabirni logor Danica"
-Jadovno article: "Ustaški logor "Danica" 1941. godine"
-Marijan Špoljar paper: "Lenko Pleština-Spomen područje „Danica”" [PDF]
-Ivana Šeničnjak paper: "Spomen područje Danica u kulturi sjećanja Koprivnice" [PDF]
-Lenko Pleština official website: "Danica Memorial at Koprivnica"
-Lupiga article: "VLAK U ZABORAVU: Lokomotiva na Glavnom kolodvoru skriva mračnu tajnu"
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