Liberation squad

19 June 2021.

Written by Matija Čaić

In April 6th in 1941, with bombing of Belgrade, started invasion of Axis powers on Yugoslavia. Four days later, fascists puppet state Independent State of Croatia was formed. In May 15th Yugoslavia and Croatia, which was part of Yugoslavia, surrendered to the Nazis.

June 22nd, first partisan squad was formed in the forest of Brezovica and liberation started.

Brezovica forest

Squad was formed under elm tree and was composed of 79 men (38 of them survived the war) under command of Vladimir Janjić Cap, who was a member of Communist party.

At first, their actions were mostly to organize sabotage against fascist infrastructure and helping other members of resistance to escape occupied territory. Later, when partisan’s army grew stronger, squad was disbanded and its members were assigned to other troops where they participated in real fighting operations.

Most prominent members of Brezovica squad were Nada Dimić and Janko Bobetko.

After the war

Today, Brezovica is park forest which hosts central celebration of uprising against fascism every year on the day the first partisan squad was formed. 22nd of June is a national holiday in Republic of Croatia.

There is a giant monument to commemorate this event. It is in the form of stylish elm tree and is called „The Fat Elm“. Inside monument there are bronze fists with names of the members engraved on them. Outside there is another monument called „The Uprising“ that depicts fighters calling for revolution.

The Fat Elm monument in Brezovica, Croatia. Dedicated to first partisan squad in occupied Europe in World War II.
Monument “The Fat Elm”
Picture taken from: Wikimedia Commons, Flammard

Nada Dimić

Nada Dimić was born on 6th September 1923 in Divoselo, Croatia. At college she started writing texts organizing protests against persecution of leftist students. Because of her social engagement she was forbidden to study at any university in Yugoslavia. She was imprisoned, and after she was released in 1940 she joined the Communist party and soon after, in 1941, The First Partisan Squad in Brezovica. Therefore, she is considered the first partisan woman. The same year she joined the squad, she was arrested by collaborationist army called Ustaše. While she was transported to prison, she tried to commit suicide by swallowing poison, but poison didn’t work well so she survived and was later rescued by the communists.

After that she worked as an undercover agent in city of Karlovac where she coordinated rescuing operations from this occupied city. Although her cover was breached, she decided to stay and help people. In December the 3rd 1941 she was once again arrested by Ustaše. While fighting, she managed to kill one agent and wound another when her gun jammed.

She was sent to concentration camp Stara Gradiška where she was tortured. When Ustaše saw that she won’t give away her friends, they killed her in prison hospital in February 1942.

She was only 18 years old.

Janko Bobetko

Janko Bobetko was born in village Crnac, January the 10th in 1919.

He was studying veterinary medicine but was expelled because of his antifascist believes. Ustaše killed his father and two brothers so he joined The First Partisan Squad in Brezovica. While fighting in Dravograd, Slovenia, he was heavily wounded and never completely recovered from his injury.

After the war he graduated on military academy and achieved the rank of general.

During Croatian Spring movement in 1971, he pledged for more independent status of Croatia inside Yugoslavia. Because of that he was degraded and expelled from the Communist party.

After Croatia declared independence in 1990, he refused position of Minister of Defense. On 20th of November 1992, he became chief commander of Croatian Armed Forces and lead them during the war for independence.

He was retired in 1995.

In 1996 he published a book „All my battles“.

Anniversary of foundation of First partisan squad.

The village of storks


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