Updated: Jan 4, 2021
As the dismantling of Yugoslavia began in the early 1990s and resulted in a series of bloody wars that lasted many years, an almost immediate process of WWII antifascist memorial removal and destruction began in many parts of that former country. Sources estimate that the number of Yugoslav-era monuments of this type destroyed reached into the many thousands, but total numbers are unknown. In Croatia alone, which suffered some of the worst bouts of monument destruction of the 1990s and 2000s, it is estimated that over 3,000 (or half of all its antifascist monuments) were either damaged or destroyed. While much attention in academic writing and the popular press is often paid to the most large-scale and artistically abstract Yugoslav-era works which were damaged or destroyed (such as those Petrova Gora, Kamenska, Makljen, etc, etc), the many hundreds of more artistically traditional and/or modest figurative sculptures which were destroyed and damaged across the Yugoslav landscape often get much less attention in contemporary writing and research (a matter true at times even for the Spomenik Database project). Therefore, I am dedicating this lengthy article to writing in detail about 50 of these notable statues and figurative works that were destroyed, lost, removed then disposed of or hidden away from public view in the years after Yugoslavia started being dismantled. Many of these now lost or vanished memorial works were created by some of the country's most significant sculptors and artists (including Sreten Stojanović, Stevan Bodnarov, Antun Augustinčić, among many other eminent luminaries of art), standing as seminal artistic achievements that were highly celebrated in their time. This article strives to highlight these works — many of which find their legacies marginalized in contemporary times — as such, I will examine their histories, their final fates, the former sites' present conditions and, in some cases, their futures. However, it is important to note that this list of 50 lost or vanished statues is NOT a full list of all such works... it is only the tip of the iceberg. This article should be considered only a limited overview of and guide to some of the most notable or conspicuous memorial statuary works of the Yugoslav-era that fall into this category. Many many more exist. If anyone reading this article has additional info on any of the sites mentioned here or has info on lost or vanished statues not included on this list, please contact me!
Bosnia & Herzegovina
1.) Bosanko Grahovo, BiH
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters or "Call to Arms" (Poziv na ustanak)
Location: Bosansko Grahovo, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Sreten Stojanović
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1952, statues destroyed in 1992
Former coordinates: 44°11'02.1"N, 16°22'09.9"E
Description: Situated atop Gradina Hill just to the north of the small village of Bosansko Grahovo, BiH was the Monument to Fallen Fighters (also referred to as the "Call to Arms" monument). Completed in 1952 by famous Belgrade sculptor Sreten Stojanović, the monument was created to commemorate the armed uprising of the local citizens of Bosansko Grahovo during WWII, an action which began on July 27th, 1941. Not only were local Partisan forces able to keep the area around this village largely free from occupation during WWII, but the region also had a huge outpouring of over 2,000 volunteers for the Partisan movement. The monument consisted of a plateau parade ground which had at its south end a tall stone pillar topped by a bronze statue of a Partisan fighter waving a flag calling people to battle. At the base of the pillar stood a second bronze figure standing guard holding a rifle. While this was a popular site during the Yugoslav-era, the statues were torn down in 1992. I was not able to find information about who or what groups were responsible for the destruction of this site, nor was I able to determine if the remains of the statues exist or not. The former location of the monument currently is in a derelict state and sits in ruins, yet, through the damage, the monument's pillar remains standing. Lastly, I did not find any contemporary efforts working towards the restoration of this monument site nor did I find any information indicating that any contemporary commemorative events are held here any longer.
2.) Glamoč, BiH
Name: The Mother & Child [aka: 'Flight']
Location: Glamoč, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Marijan Kocković [profile page]
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1961, statue removed presumably in the 1990s
Former coordinates: 44°02'40.9"N, 16°50'57.6"E
Description: Nestled within the karst flatlands right on the edge of the Staretina and Velika Golija mountains is the small town of Glamoč, BiH. In 1961, a monument dedicated to the People's Liberation Struggle and the town's fighters and civilian victims who perished during that was erected in the park at the center of town. Created by Dubrovnik sculptor Marijan Kocković, the monument consisted of two parts, the first being a bronze statue of a peasant woman holding her baby with another child behind her tugging on her dress, while the second element, located behind this statue, was a memorial wall engraved with names as well as a set of stone sculptural relief panels of fighters in action. While the statue was often referred to as "Mother & Child", its official name was "Zbjeg/Flight", as in people fleeing in peril, no doubt a reference to the many innocent civilians who, during WWII, were forced to run for their lives from their homes in order to evade oppressive Axis military forces. This monument stood at the center of Glamoč all through the Yugoslav-era, however, it vanished at some point after the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information or sources related the to circumstances behind its removal, when it was removed or what its ultimate fate was. At present, while the statue is gone, its empty pedestal remains at the site as well as the memorial wall. Though, the memorial wall has had its sculptural relief covered up and replaced with an art piece celebrating a local traditional folk dance. I found no information about local efforts aimed at restoring the lost Kocković statue nor did I find any articles mentioning that commemorative events are held at this site any longer.
3.) Jajce, BiH
Name: Monument to Moša Pijade
Location: Jajce, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Stevan Bodnarov
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1960s [?], removed in 1990s, restored in 2008
Former coordinates: 44°20'17.2"N, 17°16'05.2"E
Description: Situated at the confluence of the Piva and Vrbas Rivers is the picturesque Bosanska Krajina region town of Jajce. It was here in this waterfall laden village that on November 29th, 1943, Jajce hosted Tito and all his closest military and political partners for the 2nd session of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ), an event that was was regarded as the official starting point of the federation of Yugoslav republics. One of Tito's most trusted political and military advisors here with him at Jajce in 1943 was the communist revolutionary and philosopher Moša Pijade. After the war, Pijade became one of Yugoslavia's leading politicians and remained until his death in 1957 one of Tito's closest friends and collaborators. Also after WWII, the building in Jajce which had hosted the 2nd AVNOJ Session was turned into a museum. At some point (probably in the 1950s or 60s) a statue of Pijade was installed in front of the museum. Created by famous Serbian sculptor Stevan Bodnarov, the bronze statue showed Pijade standing in his typical trenchcoat with his arms held up at his mid-section as if he were having an active conversation, no doubt alluding to Pijade's penchant for debate and discussion. This monument stood in front of the museum through the Yugoslav-era, however, as the museum was closed at the onset of the Bosnian War in the early 1990s, the statue of Pijade was subsequently removed and its ultimate fate or whereabouts is unknown. Some sources assert that the statue was thrown into the nearby Pliva Waterfall, where it may sit to this day, but such assertions have yet to be confirmed. When the 2nd AVNOJ Session museum was re-opened in 2008, the missing statue was replaced, as recounted by reseacher Andrew Lawler, with a duplicate version of Bodnarov's Pijade sculpture that existed at the elementary school in Novi Travnik, BiH, which the school graciously donated to the museum. Up to the present day, the museum continues to operate and the replacement Pijade statue continues to stand in front of it, yet, the whereabouts of Bodnarov's original statue are still unknown.
4.) Konjic, BiH
Name: Monument to the Uprising or "Partizan i Partizanka"
Location: Konjic, FBiH, BiH
Author: [unknown] [approx.]
Relevant dates: creation date probably in 1950s, statue destroyed in the 1990s
Former coordinates: 43°39'14.1"N 17°57'37.9"E [approx.]
Description: Perched originally within a courtyard overlooking the Neretva River in the town of Konjic, BiH was a bronze statue duo known as the Monument to the Uprising ( but more familiarly known as "Partizan i Partizanka"). Created by an author that I have not yet been able to determine in a year that I have not yet established, this memorial work stood as a marking commemorating the local people's rising up against occupation and oppression during WWII. Both figures, representing male and female Partisan fighters, stood holding rifles in their hands, with the female figure's arms held high in victory while the man stood firmly beside her. Despite this monument operating as an significant local landmark, sources indicate that in the early years of the post-Yugoslav era, the monument was thrown into the Neretva River in 1993 by unknown persons. Researcher Andrew Lawler then relates how, over subsequent years, the sculpture was fished out of the river by scavengers and the mangled damaged bronze statues were both then cut up and sold for scrap metal. Presently, the monument's former location in Konjic along the banks of the Neretva has been transformed into a Roman stelae and stećci park. I was not able to find reports relating that there are any local initiatives aimed upon re-creating or restoring the statues.
5.) Kasindo, BiH
Name: Memorial Ossuary for Fallen Fighters
Location: Kasindo, RS, BiH
Author: sculptor Marijan Kocković [profile page]
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1955, statue stolen and destroyed in 2010
Former coordinates: 43°48'02.2"N, 18°23'01.3"E
Description: Within the small suburb village of Kasindo just south of Sarajevo sits the Memorial Ossuary for Fallen Fighters on a small knoll overlooking the community. Created in 1955 by Dubrovnik sculptor Marijan Kocković, this monument complex originally had at its center a bronze figurative memorial sculpture depicting a rifle-toting Partisan fighter charging into battle. Within the monument's crypt were interred 33 local fighters who perished during WWII, a number which includes two National Heroes. While this complex existed in good condition during the Yugoslav-era and even for many years after the end of the Bosnian War of the 1990s, in November of 2010, unknown vandals used heavy machinery to cut the bronze statue at its ankles and remove it from the site. The statue has never been recovered (as it was probably sold off as scrap metal) nor have those who committed this crime ever been identified or prosecuted. In 2012, an additional memorial element was added to this site dedicated to VRS fighters who fell during the Bosnian War. This new monument consists of two black polished stone slabs engraved with names. During the completion of this 2012 addition, the remaining severed bronze feet of Kocković's original 1955 statue were removed. I found no information or articles indicating that any local efforts or initatives were currently being organized to restore Kocković's statue.
6.) Ljubuški, BiH
Name: Memorial Ossuary to Fallen Fighters
Location: Ljubuški, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Marijan Kocković [profile page]
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1959, statue removed in 1990s
Former coordinates: 43°11'46.0"N, 17°32'42.5"E
Description: Within the central city park of the town of Ljubuški, BiH exists a memorial ossuary dedicated to the local fallen fighters of WWII which originally had as its central element a bronze figurative statue. Created in 1959 by Dubrovnik sculptor Marijan Kocković, this monument consisted of a ~8m tall fluted pillar next to which was a pair of statues depicting a Partisan fighter carrying another wounded fighter on his back. This "carrying the wounded" motif was a depiction seen often in Yugoslav memorial sculpture. The crypt beneath the monument contained the remains of 78 fallen fighters (of which three were designated National Heroes). While the monument complex still exists within Ljubuški's city park up to the present-day, the statue was removed at some point during the 1990s. It is not known who exactly removed the statue or what the reasons for its removal were, but information related by researcher Andrew Lawler records that the ruins of the statue were claimed to have been last spotted around 2017 lying in a municipal waste dump. I found no information available indicating that any local efforts were being made to restore or replace Kocković's statue.
7.) Livno, BiH
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters [aka: "Carrying the Wounded" (Nošenje ranjenika)]
Location: Livno, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Antun Augustinčić
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1952, statue destroyed in 1992
Former coordinates: 43°49'26.2"N, 17°00'13.9"E
Description: The ancient town of Livno, BiH is a modestly sized community sitting upon the Livanjsko field, which is the largest karstic field in the world. Originally, within the central town park of Livno was located a figurative memorial bronze sculpture that operated as a tangible monument to local fallen Partisan fighters from WWII. Commonly known under the name "Carrying the Wounded", this statue set was created in 1952 by the famous Croatian sculptor Antun Augustinčić and depicted two men attempting to carry an injured figure at the center. Imbued with great pathos and drama, the statue was among Augustinčić's most famous works, with its primary focus being on communicating how humane and compassionate Partisan soldiers were towards each other during WWII. After this sculpture's 1952 debut success here at Livno, Augustinčić would be invited to erect similar sculptures at nearly a dozen other locations across Yugoslavia. However, despite the fame and iconic status that this memorial sculpture garnered during the Yugoslav-era, the statue was dismantled and removed in the aftermath of conflicts that took place in Livno during the spring of 1992. I was unable to find any sources that could relate the final fate of this sculpture in any definitive way (as many rumors and stories of the monument's fate continue to circulate around Livno)... however, people knowledgable about the statue seem to relate that it was broken into pieces at some point after its removal and some of these pieces may still continue to exist in hidden locations. At present time, the former site of the monument has been fully expunged and is simply a patch of unmarked grass in the town park. While this original sculpture is gone, Augustinčić's "Carrying the Wounded" sculpture can still be seen in numerous locations, such as at his gallery in Klanjec, in Zagreb and in Belgrade (among other places).
8.) Stolac, BiH
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters
Location: Stolac, FBiH, BiH
Relevant dates: creation date probably in 1950s, statue destroyed in 1992
Former coordinates: 43°05'00.7"N, 17°57'32.7"E
Description: The town of Stolac, BiH is a wonderfully scenic town on the Bregava River within the Herzegovina region. Near the town center of Stolac, next to the elementary school, a memorial complex and ossuary were built in the 1950s that were dedicated to the 88 local fallen fighters who perished during WWII. The remains of many of these 88 fighters were interred within a crypt beneath the monument. In its original state, the monument contained a tall pillar at its center which atop stood a pair of bronze figurative sculptures. These figures were depicted in the 'carrying the wounded' motif, with one Partisan fighter holding up an injured fighter over his shoulder. However, the pillar and pair of statues were torn down and destroyed in February of 1992 during the aftermath of fighting between Croat and Serb military forces. Yet, despite this damage, the ruins of the monument continued through the years to operate as a memorial site for those who wished to recognize these fallen Partisan fighters. In recent years, a book sculpture with a red star has been installed in the space of the former pillar as a means of marking the space... however, even this modest memorial has been attacked. In 2015, sources report that the municipal government of Stolac voted to remove the final remains of the original monument while relocating the crypt. However, as of 2020, this relocation has still not yet occurred.
9.) Ključ, BiH
Name: Monument to People's Liberation Struggle
Location: Ključ, FBiH, BiH
Relevant dates: creation date some point before 1968, statue removed in 1995
Former coordinates: [unknown]
Description: Positioned at the confluence of the Ižnica and Sana Rivers, the town of Ključ, BiH sits in a scenic landscape surrounded by dramatic mountains. Originally, there existed within the community's central town park a monument dedicated to local fighters and civilian victims who perished during WWII. This monument consisted of a tall stone pedestal which atop sat a bronze statue of a male rifle-toting Partisan fighter gesturing behind himself as if signaling forward his fellow fighters into battle. Unfortunately, I was not able to determine the author of this monument nor even the year in which it was built. However, info from researcher Andrew Lawler indicates that it must have been created at some point well before 1968, but very little information is available about this site in any regard. Lawler also relates that it was in 1995 that this bronze memorial statue was pulled down from its pedestal, yet what the statue's final fate amounted to is unknown. The history of this\ memorial site concludes with the remnant structures being demolished around 2008 and a mosque being built in its place, according to Lawler's research. However, the exact former location where the monument existed is not fully clear. The City Mosque of Ključ seems to fit the time frame for construction, yet I have not yet found any confirmation that this is indeed the monument's former site.
10.) Zavala, BiH
Name: Monument to Fallen for the Freedom of the People
Location: Zavala, FBiH, BiH
Author: sculptor Nandor Glid & Mile Jovanović
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1959, expanded in 1964, statue removed in the 1990s
Former coordinates: 42°50'51.3"N, 17°58'46.2"E
Description: The small village of Zavala, BiH is a historic community which is nestled within the rolling mountains of the Herzegovina region and most notably recognized for the Serbian Orthodox Zavala Monastery at the heart of the settlement, which was founded in 1271. Positioned next to the monastery is a memorial site known as the "Monument to Fallen for the Freedom of the People". This work was originally created in 1959 (subsequently expanded in 1964) and is composed of two primary elements: 1.) a marble block sculptural memorial wall showing nude geometric figures in dynamic motion and 2.) a bronze statue of a male figure standing upright in a fashion of thoughtful intensity. On the edge of the wall is an inscription in Cyrillic letters which reads in English as "Let this example of fallen heroes show future generations how to fight and die for the freedom of their people". The authors of this project were Subotica sculptor Nandor Glid, along with architect Mile Jovanović. As violence began to spread across this region during the early 1990s after the dismantling of Yugoslavia, the village of Zavala found itself near the front-lines of battle. As a consequence, the monument was subsequently damaged and destroyed during this time. Presently, the memorial wall still stands at the site (though severely deteriorated), but the bronze statue is missing. I was not able to find any information indicating the fate of this statue nor did I find any indications that efforts are being pursued to restore or rehabilitate this destroyed memorial.
11.) Brođanci, Croatia
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters & Victims of Fascist Terror
Location: Brođanci, Croatia
Author: sculptor Nikola Kečanin
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1955, statue removed in the 1990s
Former coordinates: 45°32'37.7"N, 18°26'59.7"E
Description: A monument honoring 61 fallen local fighters and victims of fascist terror of the Valpovo region who perished during WWII was constructed within the central town park of the community of Brođanci, Croatia in 1952. Created by notable Slavonian sculptor Nikola Kečanin, the primary element of this monument complex was a figurative sculpture perched atop a 5m tall pedestal. This statue depicted the figure of a rifle-toting Partisan fighter pointing sharply into the distance. The Juraj Hrženjak book on post-Yugoslav condition of Croatian NOB monuments indicates that the statue was torn down from its pedestal by order of local authorities at some point during the 1990s. Over the following years, the remaining pedestal was repurposed into a new monument honoring the local fighters of the regional conflicts of the 1990s, which can be seen in the above photo on the right. The ultimate fate of the original Kečanin statue is not known.
12.) Budaševo, Croatia
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters
Location: Budaševo, Croatia
Author: sculptor Vanja Radauš (?)
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1954, statue destroyed in 1991
Former coordinates: 45°28'32.5"N, 16°26'10.7"E
Description: The small settlement of Budaševo in the Moslavina region of Croatia is a sleepy village which sits along an old oxbow of the Sava River. In front of the village's local community center originally existed a monument which was built in 1954 and dedicated to 28 local fallen fighters and 11 victims of fascism who all perished during WWII. The central element of this monument is a bronze memorial statue depicting a male grenade thrower (bombaši) in action. The bombaši were a skilled and crucial tactical force during the war who gained high respect within the Partisan Army and, as such, were often represented in figurative memorial works after the end of the war. Sources credit this particular monument to famous sculptor Vanja Radauš, however, this sculpture is not included in this comprehensive list of his works from the Croatian Biographical Lexicon. The statue was ultimately pulled down from its stone pedestal in 1991 during the events immediately following Croatia's separation from Yugoslavia. The exact events precipitating the statue's removal are unclear and its ultimate fate is unknown. As of the early 2010s, the ruined stone pedestal upon which the statue originally sat still sits unmarked in front of the Budaševo community center, as illustrated in the above photo.
13.) Čađavica, Croatia
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters & Victims of Fascism
Location: Čađavica, Croatia
Relevant dates: creation date unknown, statue destroyed in 1990s
Former coordinates: 45°44'33.9"N, 17°51'21.0"E
Description: In the northeastern region of Croatia, right on the Drava River and Hungarian border, is the small town of Čađavica. In the aftermath of WWII, a monument was erected in front of the town municipal building, presumably in the 1950s or early 60s, which was dedicated to the town's local Partisan fighters and civilian victims who perished during that conflict. Unfortunately, I have not been able to identify who exactly was the author of this monument, yet, it can be said that its form was composed of a bronze statue of a Partisan soldier sat atop a stylized concrete pedestal. The soldier stands tall with his rifle held in his right hand as he steps forward with his left foot and looks off pensively into the distance. In addition, on the pedestal were installed several polished and engraved stone plaques listing the names of those fallen fighters and civilians. While this memorial statue stood at this site all throughout the Yugoslav-era, at some point during the 1990s the statue was toppled from its pedestal. I was unable to find any sources relating the circumstances surrounding the statue's removal nor was I able to determine what was its ultimate fate. However, while the statue was removed, all of the memorial plaques on the pedestal were left in place. I found no information suggesting that any local efforts are working to restore the statue nor did I find any sources indicating that commemorative events are held here any longer.
14.) Divoselo, Croatia
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters & Victims of Fascism
Location: Divoselo, Croatia
Author: sculptor Pavle Perić
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1949, statue destroyed in 1993
Former coordinates: [unknown]
Description: In the rural Lika village of Divoselo there originally existed a monument dedicated to the region's many local fighters and civilians who perished during WWII. During WWII, the area of Divoselo was particularly well-known for being a seat of uprising and resistance against occupying Ustaše forces and, as a consequence, the Ustaše retaliated swift reprisal killings and burned much of Divoselo to the ground. As a result, nearly 2/3rds of the region's pre-war population was lost (which amounted to over 1,000 people). A monument dedicated to Divoselo's heroes and victims was created in 1949 just a few years after the end of the war. This monument was crafted by Sinj native sculptor Pavle Perić, with the primary element of the work being a bronze figurative sculpture depicting a mother-like character holding in her arms a dead Partisan fighter. The mother shows great sorrow on her face as she looks down at the contorted body she holds, which still valiantly clutches onto its rifle. This monument stood here in Divoselo for more than forty years until the autumn of 1993, at which point it was destroyed as the Croatian Army moved through the village during Operation Medak Pocket, which was part of their efforts to take control of the breakaway region of the Republic of Serbian Krajina (of which Divoselo was part). By the end of these 1990s conflicts, the population of Divoselo, which was primarily ethnic-Serb, was largely displaced. The village today is virtually uninhabited. The ultimate fate of Perić's statue is unknown. Furthermore, I have not been able to determine the exact location within the village where the monument was located. Some sources indicate that the monument was actually situated in the nearby settlement of Kruškovac, further complicating matters of pinning down the monument's location.
15.) Dubrovnik, Croatia
Name: Monument to the Fighters [aka: "Fighter on Guard" (Borac na straži)]
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Author: sculptor Frano Kršinić
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1954, statue removed in 1992
Former coordinates: 42°38'30.7"N, 18°06'44.9"E
Description: The town of Dubrovnik is an ancient city and historical fortress that ssits on the Adriatic Sea. At the center of a scenic stone-paved plaza today named "Square of Arms/Trg oružja" (but known as 'Fighter's Square/Trg Boraca' during the Yugoslav-era) and overlooking town's famous harbor was originally the location of a memorial sculpture dedicated to the city's fallen fighters who perished during WWII. Created in 1954 by famous Croatian sculptor Frano Kršinić to mark the 10th anniversary of Dubrovnik's WWII liberation, this memorial sculpture (titled "Fighter on Guard") consisted of a bronze statue of a male Partisan soldier standing at attention as he looks out across the harbor, wearing his military cloak and holding his rifle at his front. The local cultural importance of this monument is illustrated in the fact that the city designated it to be a protected cultural site during the Yugoslav-era.
However, despite this protection, vandals severely damaved the statue in 1992 using explosives. After this attack, the mangled remains of the sculpture was not restored, but instead placed into storage at the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, where it is reported to remain to this day. Furthermore, the statue's pedestal was also razed from the square not long after the statue's removal. Those responsible for the attack on the monument were never discovered. Sources relate that local veterans groups have for years now pleaded with Dubrovnik's government to restore the statue to its original location, but to no avail. Meanwhile, in 2008, there were talks to build a statue to Pope John Paul II in the Square of Arms at the spot where the original 'Fighter on Guard' monument stood, however, the Pope statue project was relocated to elsewhere in the city. Currently, the former site of the Kršinić's Partisan monument is still empty and unmarked, with no sign or indication that any statue ever existed at the location. I have found very few clear photos of the monument in its original state, therefore, I include in the above photos an image of one of Kršinić's scale models of his 'Fighter on Guard' sculpture to illustrate the details of the work.
16.) Dvor, Croatia
Name: Monument to the Uprising
Location: Dvor, Croatia
Author: sculptor Mirko Ostoja
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1952, statue & pedestal removed in 1997
Former coordinates: 45°04'16.1"N, 16°22'34.4"E
Description: Originally gracing the park in front of the municipal building of the Banija region town of Dvor, Croatia was a bronze figurative memorial sculpture titled "Monument to the Uprising". This mountainous forested region of Banija was a significant stronghold of Partisan insurgency against Ustaše oppression and occupation during WWII and this resistance subsequently lead to the deaths of over 1,300 local Partisan volunteers and over 500 civilian victims, all of whom this monument at Dvor was dedicated to. Created in 1952 and created by Croatian sculptor Mirko Ostoja, the statue is characterized by the towering form of a male Partisan fighter holding his rifle up defiantly into the sky as if calling his fellow fighters to take up arms and revolt. This monument stood for several years after the dismantling of Yugoslavia up until 1997, when, according to Juraj Hrženjak's book on Croatian monuments, the local town government made the decision to have the statue taken down. I was unable to find info pertaining to why this decision was made. Presently, the former site of the monument is a grassy park, with no indication or sign that the monument ever existed. I was unable to find any information about the ultimate fate or present location of Ostoja's sculpture.
17.) Gospić, Croatia
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters & Victims of Fascism
Location: Gospić, Croatia
Author: sculptor Pavle Perić
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1958, statues removed in 1990s?
Former coordinates: 44°32'47.0"N, 15°22'31.6"E
Description: The stately district court building of the town of Gospić, Croatia originally had installed in front of it during the Yugoslav-era a substantial memorial work which was dedicated to nearly 900 local fallen fighters and over 3,000 local victims of fascism who perished during WWII. This area of the Lika region was particularly notable for the resistance it put up against fascist occupation, which has much to do with the large death toll. The monument being erected in front of the courthouse was also a symbolic gesture, as it was in that building that many innocent locals were imprisoned during WWII and subsequently sent to their deaths. Created by Zagreb sculptor Pavle Perić and unveiled on Fighter's Day, July 4th, 1958,, this monument consisted of ten bronze figurative sculptures in various dramatic and evocative poses perched upon a series of limestone pedestals, with the entire arrangement reaching a height of 5m tall On the right hand side of the monument were four figures which appear to be working-class peasants rising up against oppression (indicated by the pitchfork and sickle), while on the left were a group of prisoners with chained hands (referring to the many innocent people jailed by Ustaše occupiers). At the top center of the monument were a bare-chested rifle-toting Partisan soldier waving forward his troops and a woman reaching upwards in victory over fascism. In addition to the monument, an ossuary containing the remains of numerous Partisan fighters was included beneath the structure. However, sources indicate that at some point during the 1990s, Perić's monument was attacked during broad daylight with explosives, with its sculpture's being subsequently destroyed. Yet, the ultimate fate of these statues is not known. The remaining pedestal was summarily removed and a new cross monument to the fallen Croatian fighters of the 1990s war was built in the place of the original NOB monument (which can be seen in the above photo). Sources state that the ossuary with the remains of those WWII victims still exists underneath this new 1990s monument.
In addition to the above-mentioned courthouse NOB monument, there is another Yugoslav-era memorial to wartime victims in Gospić that needs mentioning that was destroyed in recent decades. This second site is one which operated as a memorial to the victims of the Ustaše-run Gospić Concentration Camp that existed during WWII on the south edge of town by the Jasikovac forest. However, Gospić was only one of a whole network of Ustaše concentration camps across the region, which also included camps at Jadovno, Slana and Ovčara... and it was from the courthouse prison in Gospić from which many were sent into this network of death camps. This monument was constructed at the site of the former Gospić camp in 1955 by sculptor Vanja Radauš and architect Drago Ibler in order to commemorate the thousands of innocent people who perished there at Gospić as well as across the entire network of regional death camps. The monument which Radauš & Ibler built was primarily composed of three 8m tall limestone gates symbolizing the gallows upon which so many innocent prisoners were executed on at this site during WWII. At the center of the scene was a bronze statue of a woman mourning, an element symbolizing the sorrowful Lika mother with her hands over her face crying for her lost sons and daughters of the land. Behind the statue was a reflecting pool, symbolizing a lake of tears of the crying mother, but the pool was also an interactive element through which people could actively engage in personal reflection about these horrific events. Sources indicate that in the aftermath of the violence that swept across the region during the 1993 Operation Medak Pocket, this monument was subsequently found destroyed. The mangled remains of the monument currently lay in overgrown ruins, unmarked and unrecognized.
18.) Gradac, Croatia
Name: Monument to the Uprising
Location: Gradac, Croatia
Author: sculptor Antun Augustinčić & his student Luka Musulin
Relevant dates: unveiled in 1972, statue toppled in 1992
Former coordinates: 43°06'22.0"N, 17°20'27.3"E
Description: Roughly 7km southeast from the popular beach town of Zaostrog along the Adriatic coast you will find the small town of Gradac, Croatia. Atop a small hill near this seaside town's center is a small complex where a memorial sculpture was built in 1972 called "Monument to the Uprising". When it was originally constructed, the work consisted of a tall stone block pillar which had a bronze figurative sculpture of an 'Unknown Soldier" standing at its top, with his arms out-stretched towards the sea. Three sets of sculptural stone reliefs adorned the sides of the base of the pillar. The bronze sculpture was created by famous Croatian artist Antun Augustinčić, while the stone reliefs were created by a student of his, Luka Musuli