Logical revolt, 2019.
A series of 5 paintings as 5 attempts to explore the subject of antifascist monuments and their connection to human stories hidden behind them, both existing and non-existing ones, executed between 2018 and 2019. The title of the series Logical revolt is borrowed from the Arthur Rimbaud´s poem Democracy that was belatedly published in 1889 on the French journal La Vogue.
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Logical revolt (after Tapio Wirkkala´s project Saivaara Monument), 2019.
Watercolours and pencil on paper. 105 x 75 cm.
In 1978, the Finnish artist and designer Tapio Wirkkala (1915-85) designed the Memorial UKK, a Land Art project for the Saivaara fell as homage to the long-term president of Finland Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (1900-86).
Urho Kaleva Kekkonen served as the president of Finland four times in a row, between 1956 and 1982 (officially he resigned from the office on 27 October 1981).
Tapio Wirkkala had built a close relationship with Kekkonen and he had the chance to be the President´s guest quite a few times to Lapland for skiing and leisure together with the most important representatives from the political, economical and cultural scene of the country. It was in one of these trips and gatherings between Wirkkala, the president and his closed fellows that the idea of a monument to Urho Kekkonen´s long presidency was born. Wirkkala was asked directly from Kekkonen to make an official proposal for a monument to his figure. Kekkonen did not want to get a realistic sculpture of himself and Wirkkala came with a proposal for a monument that has an abstract form, questioning that way the traditional form of monuments and further more a project that would possibly have connections to ecology, a wider concept of landscape and Lapland. His proposal was a sort of anti-monument that would fully respect the surrounding environment with least possible impact to its geography as Wirkkala considered the existing landscape a perfect art piece in itself, where only few things could be added.
The monument would consist of a straight east-west path built with stones gathered from the foot of the fell, which would guide the visitors towards its peak and thus reduce their harmful impact on the surrounding nature. The importance of this project was its participatory nature according to which, each single visitor to this monument would be invited to leave a stone taken from that place and pay that way its own tribute to the President. A creation of a symbolic path that would underline the task of Finland´s geographical and political position as a neighbour country to Soviet Union and Sweden (and as a consequence to the rest of Western Europe).
Wirkkala´s proposal got rejected due to a regional political issue that was raised by the Sami representatives, which insisted that the realization of the monument would bring massive tourism to the area and as a consequence that would severely harm the organic and natural environment of the reindeers. On the other hand, the project was strictly connected to the concept of commemorating Urho Kekkonen´s long presidency in the country and at that time his popularity had already started to descent in the domestic political scene. Wirkkala´s real intentions were partly ignored, the idea of the monument was unfairly criticized and all these factors led to its refusal and forgetfulness.
Nowadays, there are only two sketches existing of the project.
Text by Panos Balomenos composed by various sources including the book Tapio Wirkkala – Taiteilija by Marja-Terttu Kivirinta, a research by Márcia Nascimento Nuno Costa Architects and various interviews conducted by Yle.
Special thanks to Marja-Terttu Kivirinta.
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A monument for the asylum seekers, 2019.
Watercolours and pencil on paper. 105 x 75 cm.
Julian Asange (born as Julian Paul Hawkins in 1971 in Townswille, Queensland, Australia) is an editor, publisher and investigative journalist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and CableGate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
In November 2010, Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, after questioning him months earlier about allegations of sexual assault. Assange denied the allegations, and said that they were just a pretext for him to be extradited from Sweden to the United States because of his role in publishing secret American documents. Assange surrendered to UK police on 7 December 2010 but was released on bail within 10 days. Having been unsuccessful in his challenge to the extradition proceedings, he breached his £340,000 bail in June 2012 to seek asylum from Ecuador. In August 2012, Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador due to fears of political persecution and possible extradition to the United States. He remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London for almost seven years.
During the 2016 US Democratic Party presidential primaries, WikiLeaks hosted emails sent or received by candidate Hillary Clinton from her private email server when she was Secretary of State. Assange consistently denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia in relation to the leaks, and accused the Clinton campaign of stoking "a neo-McCarthy hysteria".
On 11 April 2019, Assange's asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes with the Ecuadorian authorities. The police were invited into the embassy, and he was arrested. Later that day he was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and on 1 May 2019 he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in the United Kingdom. On the same day, the United States government unsealed an indictment against Assange for alleged computer intrusion, related to the leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. On 23 May 2019, the United States government further charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Executive editors from top newspapers including The Washington Post and The New York Times criticized the government's decision to charge Assange under the Espionage Act. As a result of the revocation of his asylum, and at the request of his alleged rape victim's lawyer, Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation in May 2019. Assange is incarcerated in HM Prison Belmarsh.
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is an American activist and whistleblower. She is a former United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. She was imprisoned from 2010 until 2017 when her sentence was commuted. Manning is currently in jail for her continued refusal to testify before a grand jury against Julian Assange. A trans woman, Manning released a statement in 2013 explaining she had a female gender identity since childhood and wanted to be known as Chelsea Manning. She also expressed a desire to begin hormone replacement therapy.
Abdullah Öcalan (born about 1947 in Ömerli, Turkey), also known as Apo (short for both Abdullah and "uncle" in Kurdish), is a Kurdish leader and one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Worker´s Party (PKK).
He was arrested on 15 February 1999 by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) with the support of the CIA and Kenyan officials from the Greek Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and taken to Turkey, where he was sentenced to death under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which concerns the formation of armed organizations, treason and separatism.
The sentence was commuted to aggravated life imprisonment when Turkey abolished the death penalty in support of its bid to be admitted to membership in the European Union.
Until 1998, Öcalan was based in Syria. On at least one occasion, in 1993, he was detained and held by Syria's General Intelligence Directorate but later released. As the situation deteriorated in Turkey, the Turkish government openly threatened Syria over its support for the PKK. As a result, the Syrian government forced Öcalan to leave the country, but did not turn him over to the Turkish authorities.
Öcalan went to Russia first and from there he moved to various countries, including Italy and Greece. In 1998 the Turkish government requested the extradition of Öcalan from Italy. He was at that time defended by Britta Böhler, a high-profile German attorney who argued that he fought a legitimate struggle against the oppression of ethnic Kurds.
In 1999 Greece’s National Intelligence Agency (EYP) conducted a high-risk operation that ended in a debacle and strained its relations with the United States, Turkey, and other nations. The operation was an effort to transfer Abdullah Öcalan from Greece to a country in Africa in order to avoid his capture by Turkish authorities. Athens’ plan was to hide Öcalan in the Greek embassy in Nairobi until he could be transferred to another location. Öcalan’s secret and unsanctioned arrival in Greece set off a scramble in the Greek government, which sought to avoid the regional and international repercussions of harboring Turkey’s most wanted fugitive before knowledge of his presence became public. To deal with him, the government called on the EYP. After quickly contemplating several scenarios, Athens decided to fly Öcalan and his aides, escorted by intelligence officer Savvas Kalenteridis, to Kenya and on to South Africa, where it hoped to negotiate asylum for him.
The Greek-registered Falcon jet carrying the Öcalan group, including Kalenteridis, landed in Nairobi on 2 February 2019 – Öcalan traveling with a falsified passport under the name of a prominent Cypriot journalist, and alleged PKK sympathizer, Lazaros Mavros. On its arrival, the group was taken to the residence of Ambassador Georgios Costoulas. After 13 days of endless negotiations and pressure between the Greek Government, the Kenyan authorities, CIA and the Turkish National Intelligence Agency, on 15 February 1999 Öcalan was captured from the Greek Embassy, driven to the airport by Kenyan officials and placed on a waiting plane, where Turkish agents seized, shackled, gagged, blindfolded him and returned him to Turkey. He was put on a trial that year and held in solitary confinement as the only prisoner on ?mral? island in the Sea of Marmara.
In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated articles 3, 5 and 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights by granting Öcalan no effective remedy to appeal his arrest and sentencing him to death without a fair trial (although his sentence was later on commuted to life imprisonment). Öcalan's request for a retrial was refused by the Turkish court.
From prison, Öcalan has published several books, the most recent in 2015. Jineology, also known as the science of women, is a form of feminism advocated by Öcalan and subsequently a fundamental tenet of the Apoist movement.
Apoist movement refers to followers of the ideology of Abdullah Öcalan (Apo, short for both Abdullah and "uncle" in Kurdish). The Kurdistan Communities Union or KCK (Kurdish: Koma Civakên Kurdistan) is a Kurdish political organization committed to implementing Abdullah Öcalan's ideology of Democratic Confederalism. The KCK also serves as an umbrella group for all the Apoist political parties of Greater Kurdistan, including the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), PYD (Democratic Union Party), PJAK (Kurdistan Free Life Party), and PÇDK (Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party).
Text by Panos Balomenos composed by various sources taken from the internet.
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Angela Dimitrakaki on Amalias street in Athens, Greece, 2019.
Watercolours and pencil on paper. 105 x 75 cm.
Angela Dimitrakaki is a writer from Athens, Greece. She is teaching art history and theory of contemporary art at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where she also directs the MSc Modern and Contemporary Art and leads The Global Contemporary research group.
Zackie is the artist name of Zak Kostopoulos, a 33-year-old drag queen persona, HIV positive and LGBTQI activist from Athens, Greece. He was murdered by a jewellery shop owner assisted by an owner of a nearby business and a group of 4 police officers at day time, in front of many witnesses that stared passively at the whole event. After an unfortunate and failed attempt to seek shelter to a jewellery shop next to Omonoia square in the centre of the city from passers by that were bullying him, on 21 September 2018, Zak was repeatedly beaten and kicked on his head and all over his body to death. The jewellery shop owner said that Zak Kostopoulos got into his store to make a robbery, in an attempt to defend himself after he was accused that he murdered Zak while policemen reported that they were just doing their job. His cruel murder is still under investigation.
The sentences sprayed on the wall of the 1930´s building, which is situated in the centre of Athens on Amalias street (in a free English translation: this, this, this is the right thing to do, kicks with 12cm high heels to get you wiser, there was no robbery at Omonoia square, policemen and shop owners made a murder, Zackie is alive, crash the Nazis), are slogans cited during a demonstration that took place after Zak Kostopoulos´ murder as an attempt to raise awareness for the brutal and unjustified fascistic act that took away his life.
The 30´s building, in front of which Angela sprayed the sentence mentioned above, is a live witness of the December events that happened after the liberation of Greece from the axis powers in December 1944. The façade of the building in question is still carrying the marks left from the shootings that took place during the December events of Athens in 1944, known as Dekemvriana.
The December Events refer to a series of clashes fought during World War II in Athens from 3 December 1944 to 11 January 1945.
?he power vacuum created in Greece after the withdrawal of the German occupation forces in October 1944, generated a disorder that resulted in battles in December between the forces of the Left and the newly formed Greek government armed forces aided by the British army. The battles of Athens remained in history as the “December Events” that eventually brought the Greek Civil War (1946-1949).
On October 18, Georgios Papandreou arrived in Athens and two days later he formed the Government of National Unity, which included six Ministers from the army of the National Liberation Front (EAM/ELAS). One of the first issues the new government had to resolve was the resistance groups’ demobilization and the creation of a national army. On November 5, Papandreou announced that after his cooperation with General Ronald Scobie (head of the British Armed Forces in Greece), EAM/ELAS and the army of the National Hellenic Democratic League (EDES) will disband by December 10, 1944.
EAM/ELAS, under the influence of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) that resisted the German occupation forces, was a well-structured military body and claimed a share in power. On November 20, the Politburo decided to confront the bourgeois forces and the British. The negotiations for EAM/ELAS’ demobilization were botched on November 28, and on December 1, the Ministers of EAM/ELAS left the Papandreou government.
In a power display, KKE organized a rally on Syntagma Square on Sunday, December 3, despite a government ban. It is estimated that over 100,000 people participated in the rally, while some historians claimed it was 500,000. During these events 30 protesters were killed (some reports claim 28 and some others 33) and 148 injured.
The shootings began when the marchers had arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in front of the Royal palace, above Syntagma Square. They originated from the streets, from the building of the General Police Headquarters, from the Parliament (Vouli), from the Hotel Grande Bretagne (where international observers had settled), from other governmental buildings and from policemen on the street.
The day after the victims’ funerals, skirmishes broke out in Athens between the newly formed national army aided by the British and EAM/ELAS. New demonstration rallies followed, resulting in more dead. Papandreou submitted his resignation but he was dissuaded by Scobie. EAM/ELAS, 20,000 men strong, gained the upper hand in the battles that ensued, taking control of Athens, except for downtown. The other side, composed of policemen, gendarmes, Greek soldiers who had fought in Rimini and the British, was only 7,500 strong but better armed due to the British armament.
ELAS’ intention in the battle of Athens was to disarm the resisting police forces. Particularly cruel were the battles at Makrigianni Gendarmerie headquarters (December 6-11). Eventually, the defenders held out and by mid-December the situation began to change in favour of the government forces, especially after the arrival of more British troops coming from Italy.
On January 5, 1945, EAM/ELAS was forced to flee Athens under pressure from the superior government and British forces. On January 11, EAM/ELAS signed a truce with the British and on February 12, the December Events had formally ended with the signing of the Varkiza Treaty. However, the events were the prelude to the Greek Civil War that lasted between 1946 and 1949 (1st phase 1943 – 1944, 2nd phase 3 December 1944 – 11 January 1945, 3rd phase 30 March 1946 – 16 October 1949).
Text by Panos Balomenos composed by various sources taken from the internet.
Special thanks to Angela Dimitrakaki and Iason Chandrinos.
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4 generations of women (Tara, Maja and Dara Gecic in front of Dara Vucen, their ancestor´s name engraved on the memorial wall of the 9.921 fallen partisans´ names at the Kozara Monument to the Revolution in Bosnia and Herzegovina), 2019.
Watercolours and pencil on paper. 105 x 75 cm.
Dara (Vucen) Vucenovic [born as Dara Jaican in 1912 in Jelovac, Kozara mountain – died in 1945 in Kozara, Bosnia and Herzegovina (the date of her death engraved on the plaque of the fallen partisans could be an estimate)]
was one of the 9.921 fallen partisans and victims during the Kozara offensive in Kozara mountain in Yugoslavia during World War II. Dara was born in Jelovac and got married to, several years older, Milo Vucenovic, a craftsman with carpentry workshops. They founded a family and in 1929 they got a son named Dušan. In 1931, the family moved to the city of Prijedor in a newly built house. A few years before World War II Milo Vucenovic joined the idea of the Communist Party. At the very beginning of the uprising of July 1941, Dara, Milo and Dušan went to Kozara mountain, where partisans started to fight against the occupation of the Germans and Ustaše (HOS). In this fight, everyone had its own task, so that Milo was separated from his wife and his son.
Upon arrival, from occupied town Prijedor, to Kozara mountain, Dara and her son Dušan, together with other people from surrounding villages, were arrested and taken to the Jasenovac camp on Sava. There, they were recognized by an associate of the Partisans, who smuggled them outside. The associate person covered them up with the corpses from the camp and carried them out on a carriage from Jasenovac (the name of the associate who saved them remains unknown). Dara and Dušan were then rescued in the “free territory” of the forests around Kozara Mountain. After that Dušan joined the Partisans, and his mother Dara joined the Partisan Field Hospital (Poljska Bolnica) as a nurse and they got separated.
Dara was valued and devoted to her work at the hospital on the Kozara mountain until 1943. She got killed during the Fourth German Offensive (or Battle of Neretva) in 1943, under a massive bombardment at the Kozara Mountains among many combatants, civilians, wounded people and patients from the Hospital. Her body is buried in the forest of Kozara, where the prominent monument stands for all dead partisans, soldiers and civilians. She is one of the 9,921 fallen partisan who were killed on the territories of Kozara and Potkozarje during the Kozara Offensive. Dara’s husband Milo Vucenovic, ended the war as an officer of the Yugoslav Army and was buried in the giant's alley in Belgrade in 1983. In memory of the great and meritorious fighters from that region and its bust is set up on Kozara Mountain.
Vucen is a surname given during the Ottoman Empire, which stands for the meaning of a dragged and sold person (like Vucen, Prodan etc). The suffix –ovic/vic was added later on to the end of the surname in order to distinguish Serbs from Muslims and therefore the whole surname stands as Vucenovic. However, the reason that Dara Vucenovic´s name was engraved as Dara Vu?en on the plaque of the monument remains unclear to her family.
Dara Gecic (born in 1953 in Belgrade) is the grand daughter of Dara Vucenovic. She is a pedagogue in pension based in Belgrade.
Maja Gecic (born in 1974 in Belgrade) is the daughter of Dara Gecic and great-granddaughter of Dara Vucenovic. She is a visual artist and professor/lecturer based in Belgrade.
Tara Garvilovic (born in Belgrade in 2012) is the daughter of Maja Gecic.
Kozara Monument to the Revolution is a monument complex at Kozara mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, dedicated to the Partisan fighters, fallen soldiers, civilians and all victims who died in the bloody Kozara Offensive in the spring of 1942.
It was built in 1972 and designed by Dušan Džamonja. The materials used are concrete, rebar and steel plates. The condition of the memorial complex is very good.
The monument complex consists of three main elements, the primary monument structure, a memorial
wall to the rear of the monument and a small museum named Mrakovica Museum.
The primary monument is a cylindrical monolith approximately 33m tall, comprised of 20 vertical fins with intermittent curved bulges whose outer-faces are covered in strips of polished stainless steel. The construction of this sculpture required 1000 tons of cement, 4000 cubic meters of aggregate and 200 tons of structural steel to create. It is situated at the centre of Kozara National Park on a plateau near the top of Mrakovica mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Kozara Mountains. Meanwhile, the memorial wall, located behind the main monument, consists of dozens of bronze plaques bearing the names of 9,921 fallen Partisan soldiers, which are all installed into a long concrete wall among the pines. The names of the walls are arranged by the villages in which the fallen persons originated. The Mrakovica Museum was unveiled in 1973 and it was designed by Dušan Džamonja too.
In the spring of 1942, Axis German and Ustaše leadership in Banja Luka learned that Partisan resistance forces had liberated several towns in the central and west Bosnian regions, most notably Prijedor and Bosanski Petrovac. With this Partisan push, Axis forces came to recognize that their regional headquarters of Banja Luka, along with their critical iron mines in Ljubija, were now potentially vulnerable to attack and invasion. In response, Germans mobilized 15,000 soldiers along with 22,000 Ustaše soldiers, 2,000 Chetniks and 5 Hungarian monitor ships for what would come to be known as the Kozara Offensive (which is also sometimes referred to as Operation West-Bosnien). Not only did these Axis forces plan to suppress the Partisan threat, but also, they intended to eliminate any and all citizen support for the Partisans from villages in the Kozara region. Meanwhile, the anti-fascist Partisan opposition forces were only made up of roughly 3,000 soldiers, while aided by 60,000 recruited untrained civilians from the freed land who volunteered to aid in the fight. The fighting at Kozara began on June 10th, 1942, with the Axis coalition of forces, under the command of German General Friedrich Stahl, descending upon the region of Kozara from all directions.
Over the first 10 days Partisans were met with some success defending their positions, however, they began to tire and lose their fighting momentum. By July 3rd, German forces began to break through Partisan defences, which led to a subsequent Partisan defeat. During the final throes of battle, Tito and a small handful of Partisans were able to retreat just as the enemy closed in, escaping towards Grmec Mountain. He moved on to west Bosnia to reorganize his remaining forces after this loss. Of the original 3,000 actual Partisan soldiers who engaged in the battle, roughly 900 fighters survived, leaving the vast majority killed in action. In the aftermath of the battle, some of the surviving Kozara Partisans banded together in September of 1942 to create the 5th Krajina Assault Brigade. It is important to note that while this loss was tragic for the Partisans, it became an important component of the Yugoslavian post-war mythology of how the brave and selfless Partisan soldiers readily gave their lives in the righteous battle against the fascism of German and Croatian forces, even in the face of overwhelming odds and inferior firepower. Meanwhile, of the peasant civilians who aided in the fight against this Axis offensive, it is estimated that an upwards of 10,000 were killed during the battle itself (with some estimates ranging even higher), while an even greater number perished after the battle after being sent to the nearby death camps at Jasenovac.
The Battle of Kozara was by far the largest and most significant battle in the region of the NDH during the course of WWII.
Dušan Džamonja (born in 1928 in Strumica – died in 2009 in Zagreb) was one of the most influential and visionary sculptural artists during the days of Yugoslavia. Having trained at Zagreb's Academy of Fine Arts under Vanja Radauša and Frane Kršinica, Džamonja's artistic focus was combining the organic and inorganic worlds, where inorganic materials such as metal, glass, stone or concrete was shaped and moulded to resemble the organic. Furthermore, Džamonja concentrated on combining simple shapes and forms (such as curves, spheres and ovids) into highly complex and inspiring designs.
Ustaše or, Croatian Revolutionary Movement (Croatian: Ustaša – Hrvatski revolucionarni pokret), was a Croatian fascist, racist, ultranationalist and terrorist organization active, as one organization, between 1929 and 1945. Its members murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs Jews and Roma as well as political dissidents in Yugoslavia during World War II. They are variously known in English as the Ustaše, Ustashe, Ustashi, Ustahis, or Ustashas; with the associated adjective sometimes being Ustashe or Ustasha, apart from Ustaše. This variance stems from the fact that Ustaše is the plural form of Ustaša in the Serbo-Croatian language.
The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Roman Catholicism and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span the Drina River and extend to the border of Belgrade. The movement emphasized the need for a racially "pure" Croatia and promoted genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romani people, and persecution of anti-fascist or dissident Croats and Bosnians. The Ustaše viewed the Bosnians as "Muslim Croats," and as a result, Bosnians were not persecuted on the basis of race.
Fiercely Roman Catholic, the Ustaše espoused Roman Catholicism and Islam as the religions of the Croats and Bosnians and condemned Orthodox Christianity, which was the main religion of the Serbs. Roman Catholicism was identified with Croatian nationalism while Islam, which had a large following in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was praised by the Ustaše as the religion that "keeps true the blood of Croats."
When it was founded in 1930, it was a nationalist organization that sought to create an independent Croatian state. When the Ustaše came to power in the NDH, a quasi-protectorate established by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, its military wings became the Army of the Independent Army of Croatia and the Ustaše militia.
The movement functioned as a terrorist organization before World War II but in April 1941, they were appointed to rule a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which has been described as both an Italian-German quasi-protectorate, and as a puppet state of Nazi Germany.
The 5th Krajina (Kozara) Assault Brigade was a World War II military unit of the Yugoslav Partisans. It was formed on September 22, 1942, at Palež on the Kozara mountain out of the 2nd 'Mladen Stojanovic' Partisan Detachment. On the day of the brigade was formed it had around 1,100 soldiers armed with 940 rifles and 45 light machine-guns.
During actions in September and October 1943, the brigade killed 76 enemy soldiers and one officer, taking as prisoners a further 22 soldiers and one officer, while capturing 25 rifles, 1 light machine-gun, 2 submachine-guns, and 2 pistols, also destroying 5 trucks. These actions raised attention of German 714th Infantry division since it was thought that Kozara was pacified during Spring offensive forcing brigade to leave Kozara to before another offensive was launched.
The unit later participated in many operations, among others the Belgrade Offensive.
Jasenovac concentration camp (Serbo-Croatian: Logor Jasenovac) was an extermination camp established in Slavonia by the authorities of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II.
The camp was established and operated solely by the governing Ustaše regime rather than by Nazi Germany as in the rest of occupied Europe. It was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe and it has been referred to as "the Auschwitz of the Balkans" and "the Yugoslav Auschwitz".
It was established in August 1941 in marshland at the confluence of the Sava and Una rivers near the village of Jasenovac, and was dismantled in April 1945. It was "notorious for its barbaric practices and the large number of victims". In Jasenovac the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs; others were Jews, Roma, and some political dissidents. Jasenovac was a complex of five sub-camps spread over 210 km2 on both banks of the Sava and Una rivers.
The largest camp was the "Brickworks" camp at Jasenovac, about 100 km southeast of Zagreb. The overall complex included the Stara Gradiška sub-camp, the killing grounds across the Sava river at Donja Gradina, five work farms, and the Uštica Roma camp.
During and since World War II, there has been much debate and controversy regarding the number of victims killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp complex during its more than three-and-a-half years of operation. After the war, a figure of 700,000 reflected the "conventional wisdom", although estimates have gone as high as 1.4 million. The authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia conducted a population survey in 1964 that resulted in a list of 59,188 victims of Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška, the findings were not published until 1989. Croatian academic Vladimir Žerjavic published books in 1989 and 1992 in which he "meticulously analyzed the available data" and concluded that some 83,000 people had been killed at Jasenovac.
His findings were criticized by the director of the Museum of Victims of Genocide in Belgrade, Milan Bulajic, who defended his figure of 1.1 million, although his rebuttal was later dismissed as having "no scholarly value". Since Bulajic's retirement from his post in 2002, the Museum has no longer defended the figure of 700,000 to 1 million victims of the camp. In 2005, Dragan Cvetkovic, a researcher from the Museum, and a Croatian co-author published a book on wartime losses in the NDH which gave a figure of approximately 100,000 victims of Jasenovac. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. presently estimates that the Ustaša regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people in Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945, comprising; "between 45,000 and 52,000 Serbs; between 12,000 and 20,000 Jews; between 15,000 and 20,000 Roma (Gypsies); and between 5,000 and 12,000 ethnic Croats and Muslims, political and religious opponents of the regime." The Jasenovac Memorial Site quotes a similar figure of between 80,000 and 100,000 victims.
Text by Panos Balomenos composed by various sources taken from the internet.
Special thanks to Maja Gecic and Sanja Horvatincic.
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Tude necemo – svoje ne damo [Ivana Momcilovic? holds a photograph of Kamenska Monument (Monument to the Revolutionary Victory of Slavonia, 1968 - in present entirely destroyed) in front of Tjentište War Memorial Monument (completed in 1971) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Päivi Balomenos holds a brooch reference to the antifascist monument Tude necemo, svoje ne damo on the island of Vis, Croatia (completed in 1964 - in present entirely destroyed)], 2018.
Watercolours and pencil on paper. 105 x 75 cm.
Tude necemo, svoje ne damo (Theirs we don't want, ours we don't give or We don´t want what is not ours, we will not give what belongs to us), is a sentence often attributed to Josip Broz Tito and a monument to the People´s Liberation Struggle that was inaugurated on September 12, 1964 on Vis island in Croatia to commemorate the 20 years of free territory since 1944. The monument in question was placed on the same spot where an Orthodox Church was built in 1933 by the King of Serbians, Slovenians and Croatians in order to spread the orthodox religion into the remote and isolated island of Vis. The church was demolished right after WWII and the material left of it (white stone) was used to build a promenade to the city and the monument to the National Liberation Fight. The monument was designed by Neven Šegvic and it had the form of a monolith. The sentence Tude necemo – svoje ne damo was engraved on one side of the monolith while all the other sides were covered by a brief history of the First Dalmatian Brigade alongside with names of young partisans from the Battle of Sutjeska. The monument was broken by two people in 1991 and in 1994 it was completely removed from the place.
Josip Broz Tito (7 May 1892 Kumrovec, Croatia - Slavonia, Austria - Hungary - 4 May 1980 Ljubljana, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia) he was the President of Yugoslavia and legendary leader of Yugoslav anti-fascist movement during the second world war.
Neven Šegvic (born January 26, 1917 in Split, Croatia - died October 13, 1992 in Split, Croatia) was a Yugoslav modernist architect.
Ivana Momcilovic (born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia), is a dramaturge (Academy of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade, Yugoslavia), poet, researcher, translator and editor based in Brussels. Her work is focused in exploring the relationship between fiction and ideology, researching relations between (aesthetic) education, art, politics (knowledge/institutional knowledge) and collective intelligence.
In the painting she is standing in front of Tjentište War Memorial Monument in Bosnia and Herzegovina and she is holding an old photograph of Kamenska Monument. She is wearing a pair of earrings, which is a project by the collective Edicija Jugoslavija. The pair of earrings consists of the hammer and the sickle, a proletarian symbol presenting the unification of peasants and workers united in the struggle for a world of justice, which was adopted during the Russian revolution and an airplane as a reference to the Air field Vis on the island of Vis in Croatia, in 1944.
Tjentište War Memorial Monument or The Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Complex in the Valley of Heroes in Tjentište, Bosnia and Hercegovina. It was built in 1971 and designed by Miodrag Živkovic and Ranko Radovic and realized in poured concrete and rebar (Miodrag Živkovic is the author of the monument while Ranko Radovic is the author of the Memory House, which is part of the Memorial Monument Complex). At the time, this stood as one of the largest and most complex memorial projects completed in Yugoslavia. In present the memorial is in a fairly good condition.
This monument commemorates the fighters and fallen soldiers of the Battle of Sutjeska, which took place from May 15th to June 16th in 1943. In May of 1943, Axis powers set upon Tito again with a new operation called Case Black. The operation was initiated with 127,000 Axis forces pursuing 22,000 Yugoslav Partisans across the Durmitor Mountains, then north into the Zelengora Mountains of present day Bosnia. The Partisans were subsequently boxed in and trapped within Axis lines within the Sutjeska River valley, near the small village of Tjentište, in early June of 1943. As a
result, a massive battled between the two sides ensued in what today is known as the 'Battle of Sutjeska'. However, to the dismay of Axis leadership, in the midst of the fighting, at the dawn of June 10, 1943, the First Proletarian Shock brigade under the command of Ko?a Popovic and his deputy Danilo Lekic broke through the German encirclement at Balinovac, marking the beginning of the end of the largest and most difficult Partisan battle in the Second World War - Battle of Sutjeska. During the battle, 7,545 Partisans were killed, including 597 Women Partisans, which is an unprecedented example of the loss of women combatants in the history of wars. Tito's escape at Sutjeska is considered a significant pivotal moment is the Partisan Liberation Struggle against the German-Italian Axis occupiers, as it proved that they were a formidable fighting force which could not easily be destroyed.
Miodrag Živkovic (born 1928 in Leskovac) is a Yugoslav sculptor, mostly well known for his work on memorial complexes throughout the Former Yugoslavia.
Ranko Radovic (August 18, 1935 - February 16, 2005) was a Yugoslav architect, professor and theoretician of architecture. He taught contemporary architecture and urbanism at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture between 1972 and 1992. In 1996 he founded the Novi Sad School of Architecture, a division within the University of Novi Sad. Ranko Radovic was the president of the International Federation for Housing and Planning between 1984 and 1992.
Airfield Vis was and antifascist airport/airfield in the island of Vis near Split in Croatia. In 1941 Vis was occupied by the Italians, who had long standing claims on the region and called the island Lissa. After the armistice in September 1943 the island was abandoned by the Italians and power fell to the partisans of Tito. The island became the only part of the former Yugoslavia that was never occupied by the German army. The airfield was built in May 1944 and put into service that same month. During the second world war Vis symbolized important free territory in occupied Europe from where many actions of liberation of Europe were planned and realized.
Konstantin "Koca" Popovic (14 March 1908 – 20 October 1992) was a Yugoslav communist and surrealist volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, 1937–1939 and Commander of the First Proletarian Brigade of the Yugoslav Partisans. Sometimes he was known as "the man who saved Yugoslav Partisans" because he broke through the German lines during the crucial Battle of Sutjeska and saved Tito and the rest of the resistance movement. After the war, he served as the Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav People´s Army before moving to the position of Foreign Minister (conceptualising the non-aligned movement in which Yugoslavia took part) and spent the final years of his political career as the Vice President of Yugoslavia.
Kamenska Monument to the revolutionary victory of the people of Slavonia, was a World War II memorial sculpture by Vojin Bakic and Josip Seissel (co-author), that was located in Kamenska, Brestovac in Croatia. It was built over a decade, from 1957 to 1968 and at the moment of its opening it was the largest postmodern sculpture in the world and it was made of steel. The monument was destroyed by the Croatian Army in 1992, after 5 days of dynamite attempts.
This monument commemorated the soldiers of the 6th Slavonian Corps, along with the civilian victims from the surrounding region of Slavonia, who perished during the People´s Liberation War (WWII). In April of 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded by Axis powers. The region of Slavonia was subsequently integrated into the Axis puppet-state named the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) which came as a result of that invasion. Military control in the NDH was left to the authoritarian nationalist militia called the Ustaše. Under the authority of the Ustaše, any citizens or rebels who refused to adhere to this rule or occupation would be heavily oppressed, sometimes even executed, while ethno-Serbs, Jews and Roma living in Slavonia were especially targeted for persecution and execution. Much of the terror waged against targeted groups was orchestrated by a Nazi collaborator named Milivoj Ašner, who was the Ustaše chief of the nearby town of Požega. According to testimony from many of his victims, he was responsible for a great many crimes
against humanity during the war. For instance, not only was Ašner known for ordering the forced deportation and torturing of ethno-Serbs across the Požega region, but also, on August 26th, 1941, he is said to have ordered the execution of over 400 Serbian civilians by firing squad. Ašner also purportedly ordered hundreds of Serb and Jewish civilians to be sent to the death camps at Jasenovac, Dakovo and Gospic. In response to these persecutions and atrocities, many people across Slavonia, both ethno-Serb and Croat, joined resistance movements to fight back against the growing oppression and to retake their country from Axis control and occupation. Through the spring of 1943, a great many Partisan units were established across Slavonia, such as the 6th Slavonian Corps, which was made up of the 40th and the 12th Slavonian Divisions -- units were mostly comprised of young men aged 18-20. By the summer of 1943, these Partisan groups have succeeded in the liberation of a great deal of the Požega Valley region, at which point they worked towards sabotaging and dismantling communication and transportation networks of the German and Ustaše occupiers and liberating additional Slavonian regions. Through 1944, Slavonian Partisans battled back and forth across the region with the German and Ustaše forces, losing and regaining ground. The occupation of Slavonia came to an end when the region was finally liberated by the 6th Slavonian Corps and the 3rd Yugoslav Army in April of 1945. During the course of the war, well over 2,000 Slavonian Partisan fighters were killed during occupation and liberation battles.
Slavonia is with Dalmatia, Croatia proper and Istria, one of the four historical regions of Croatia.
Vojin Bakic (5 June 1915 - 18 December 1992) was a prominent Yugoslav sculptor living in Croatia of a Serbian descent. He won together with Josip Seissel the competition for the realization of Kamenska monument.
Josip Seissel (10 January 1904 Krapina, Austria-Hungary - 19 February 1987 Zagreb, Yugoslavia) was a Yugoslav architect and urban planner, who under the pseudonym of Jo Klek was a constructivist, artist, graphical designer and theatrical designer.
Päivi Balomenos (born in Helsinki, Finland) is a sociologist, currently working on communication. In the painting she is holding a brooch with the sentence Tude necemo – svoje ne damo, which is a reference to the Monolith monument that was built in 1964 on the island of Vis in Croatia, under the same name. The brooch was a project by the collective Edicija Jugoslavija, same as the pair of earrings worn by Ivana Momcilovic.
Edicija Jugoslavija is a collective and self financed samizdat founded in 2008 by Ivana Momcilovic and Djordje Balmazovic with the help of Aleksandar Djukicin. Since then close colaborators were Slobodan Karamanic, Dragan Protic, Kurs Udruženje, Leonardo Kova?evi? and Ljubomir Jakic. It is focused on the theory and poetics of emancipation and equality, publishing the work of contemporary theoreticians, philosophers and Yugoslav surrealists as well initiating organisation of several poetical-theoretical events [among others, tour of conferences of Jacques Ranciere and Alain Badiou in post Yugoslavia and projects like Nationless- a collective try of thinking of the possibility of emancipation through and outside the framework of national awakening waves of the bourgeois State (19th century), raising the question of relevance of an identitarian void, organized by a common effort of Škart & Edicija Jugoslavija - Belgrade, The Institute of social sciences and humanities - Skopje and the University of Macedonia - Thessaloniki in 2015].
Samizdat was a form of self-managed activity across the Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader. This grassroots practice to evade official Soviet censorship was fraught with danger, as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials.
Text by Panos Balomenos. Edited by Ivana Momcilovic, Sanja Horvatincic and Edicija Jugoslavija.