Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vukovar Memorial Day

Today Croatia marks the 21 anniversary of the fall of Vukovar.
The siege of the town began in August 1991. After three months, the Yugoslav Army, JNA, and Serb irregular forces overran the town on November 18, 1991. After Croatian forces surrendered, more than 200 wounded POWs and civilians were taken from the hospital to a nearby farm at Ovcara and executed on November 20. It was the worst single atrocity to have taken place in Europe since the end of the Second World War, though other, worse ones, were to follow in the war in Bosnia.

Heroes of Vukovar

Blago Zadro (March 31, 1944 – October 16, 1991) was a commander of the northern part of Croatian defense forces in Vukovar during the Croatian War of Independence. 
He was killed in an attack by Serb forces in the town of Borovo Naselje.
He commanded the 3rd Battallion of the 204th (Vukovar) Croatian Army Brigade during Battle of Vukovar, along with two of his sons, where he led actions against the JNA and local Serb forces. Zadro's unit was assigned to defend the vital Trpinjska cesta (Trpinja road), an open road leading directly into Vukovar. Because of its importance, the road became primary target for JNA tank units attacking the city and it became known as the Tank Graveyard due to actions of Zadro's anti-tank rocket groups Yellow Ants and Turbo platoon which fought off many tank attacks, notably a single incident on 18 September when an entire battalion of about 60 tanks and armored personnel carriers was ambushed and destroyed there. Zadro was killed by Serb forces on October 16. His body was recovered and buried by his unit. When the Serb forces surrendered the city, his body was removed and remained missing until 1998, when it was exhumed along with the bodies of 937 other victims from a mass grave in Borovo Naselje.

 Siniša Glavašević (November 4, 1960 – November 20, 1991) was a Croatian reporter who was executed after the Battle of Vukovar. During the Battle of Vukovar, Glavašević was regularly reporting from the besieged city. He is particularly remembered for a series of stories he had read to the listeners, that talked about basic human values. On October 16, 1991, Glavašević said on Croatian Radio: Vukovar submits to Croatia, Europe and the world - either the Croatian authorities will do everything to obtain a permanent cease-fire, or they will send the necessary and efficient assistance, of the military kind, or they will evacuate the entire civilian population of this area. There is another option, and that is the complete and final destruction of the city and a massacre of the population, as well as two hundred and fifty heavily wounded. However, that option isn't on anyone's mind here. The heroes of this city are necessary for some time yet, as living witnesses of this war. Thank you Zagreb. Don't cut this part... On November 18, 1991, Glavašević sent in his last report, which ended with: The picture of Vukovar at the 22nd hour of the 87th day [of the siege] will remain forever in the memory of the witnesses of this time. There are infinite spooky sights, and you can smell the burning. We walk over bodies, building material, glass, detritus and the gruesome silence. ... We hope that the torments of Vukovar are over.
 Glavašević disappeared during the fall of Vukovar. It was later found that he was executed by the Serbian paramilitary forces along with hundreds of others in the Vukovar massacre, between November 18 – 20. In 1997, his body was exhumed from a mass grave in the nearby farm of Ovčara.

 Vlatko Voloder, Miro and Tomislav Josić and few of their friends, fought against more than 500 enemy soldiers. The result was incredible. They won. 18. 11. 1991, war for Vukovar was finished, but in the part of Vukovar called Peyton on 19.11.1991, one of the cruelest battles was going on. Four men had been fighting against a whole army. At the end, after they won the battle, they surrendered because Tomislav Josic didn't want to leave his girlfriend and Vlatko Voloder his wounded brother. That is way they didn't attempt a breakthrough.  They survived prisons and convictions to death in court in Belgrade. This story belongs to one of those- believe it or not.


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