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Srb uprising
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Srb
Srb (Croatia)
Location Srb, Gračac, Croatia
Coordinates 44°21′47″N 16°07′19″E
Date July 1941
Target primarily Ustaše security forces
Attack type
Mass killing
Deaths Unknown
Perpetrators Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslav Partisans
Chetniks Flag.svg Chetniks

Srb uprising was the uprising against the genocide policy of Independent State of Croatia in Srb, a village in the Gračac municipality in Lika region, by the local population, aided by the Chetniks and the communist Yugoslav Partisans, in July 1941. Controversy around the uprising stems from divergent views about the nature of the event among members of the academic community. Opinions range from its classification as a "Chetnik" rebellion against Ustaše, with retaliations against local civilians ("Greater Serbia"); to "Partisan strategy" (with Serbs as the backbone of antifascist movement); to guerilla struggle with civilian casualties.[1][2][3] Official Croatia (political establishment, including its Presidents) for the moment adheres to the Partisan version, by which the uprising was an antifascist event, raised by Serbs on the margins of Ustaše genocide, with Chetnik retaliations against Ustaše security forces, but also the local Croatian civilians.[3]

BackgroundEdit

On 6 April 1941, the German Reich invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During the Invasion of Yugoslavia, Ustaše, a Croat nationalist organization aboard, proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) on 10 April 1941, supported by Germany and Italy.

By May 1941, the Ustaše formed the Jadovno concentration camp in Lika where they incarcerated and executed thousands of ethnic Serb and other prisoners, which led to the rebellion. The Serbs became the majority in the Croatian Partisans until September 1943, and were absolute majority in the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, better known as Chetniks.[4][better source needed] Large scale persecutions in the area started in June 1941, including ethnic cleansing of 1,200 Serbs and their expulsion to Serbia by Ustase commander Vjekoslav Luburic, whereas in the municipality of Srb, days ahead of the rebellion, Vjekoslav Luburic forces murdered 279 Serbian civilians in villages of Suvaja, Osredak and Bubanj.[3]

The rebellionEdit

On 27 July 1941, the communist Partisans and Chetniks started to organize a rebellion against Ustaše. Leader of the rebellion was former gendarmerie officer in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Stojan Matić. Matić was a supporter of the collapsed monarchy. The first faze of struggle was guerrilla around the local villages.[5]

The rebels committed a war cime in a village of Boričevac, after which they attacked Kulen Vakuf where they clashed with the Croatian Home Guard. The massacre in Bričevica was condemned by Marko Orešković, a political commissar, later commander of Croatian Partisans. He removed Matić from his command post. In Boričevac the civilians were slaughtered, even though they peacefully surrendered to the rebels.[5]

Leading war criminals were Nikica Vidaković, a communist and Jovina Medić, a Chetnik. Vidaković committed a war crime in village Boričevac; the village was burnt down and its inhabitants killed. Medić committed a war crime in the villages in the Una river valley, where he killed number of Bosnian Muslims.

CommemorationEdit

Spomenik ustanku naroda Hrvatske-Srb

Monument to the Uprising of the people of Croatia in Srb

In the Socialist Republic of Croatia, the Srb uprising was commemorated as the Day of the Antifascist Struggle on 28 July. With creation of the independent Croatia in 1991, the new Day of the Antifascist Struggle was 22 June.[5] Nevertheless, Croatian authorities, under organization of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) still commemorate this day as a first day of an antifascist uprising. Some politicians in Croatia, including President of the Croatian Party of Rights condemned this commemoration.[6] The "anti-gathering" in Srb is organized every year as sign of protest to the commemoration. The commemoration was always attended by members of the state leadership. Former president Stjepan Mesić was at the 2012 commemoration and called members of the "anti-gathering" the "quasi-patriots".[7] However, for the first time, members of the state leadership weren't present at the commemoration in 2012.[4][better source needed]

ReferencesEdit

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