A monument to WW2 fallen guerrilla fighters in eastern Bosnia will get a facelift 46 years after it was built. The Sutjeska battle monument, honoring Yugoslav partisans who died fighting German occupiers in the region, will be restored as the centerpiece of the Sutjeska national park, Bosnia’s oldest nature reserve.
Built in 1971, the monument honors a 1943 battle, in which the retreating communist guerrilla units fought the advancing German forces, set to crush the resistance against the Nazi-allied government.
The first stage of the monument restoration involves local firefighters who scrape clean the two main figures. The municipality of Foča is financing the cleaning. The money for the main restoration works will be provided by the Republika Srpska entity government.
Most of Yugoslavia’s monuments to WW2 partisans were left to the mercy of elements
The Sutjeska memorial is situated in the Sutjeska national park, established in 1962. Sutjeska is Bosnia’s oldest national park. It includes the highest peak of Maglić at over 2,386 meters, on the border with Montenegro.
In total, 6,391 communist partisans and some 2,000 civilians died in the 1943 battle. It is considered a turning point in the WW2 operations in Yugoslavia, as most of the resistance forces evaded capture and continued fighting back.
Most of Yugoslavia’s monuments to WW2 partisans were left to the mercy of elements after the country’s breakup in the early nineties. Some were destroyed by the local authorities. Those that still stand capture the imagination of photographers and travelers for their futuristic appearance.