May 22nd, 2013 Headsman
On this date in 1942, this happened:
The young man striking the dramatic pose is Stjepan Filipovic, an anti-fascist partisan hanged in the city of Valjevo by the Serbian State Guard, a collaborationist force working with the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia.
Filipovic is shouting “Death to fascism, freedom to the people!” — a pre-existing Communist slogan that Filipovic’s martyrdom would help to popularize. Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu! … or you can just abbreviate it SFSN!
In the city where Filipovic died, which is in present-day Serbia, there’s a monumental statue in his honor replicating that Y-shaped pose — an artistically classic look just like our favorite Goya painting, poised between death and victory.
(cc) image from Maduixa.
Filipovic was a Communist so we’re guessing that he would not have had a lot of truck with the ethnic particularism that’s latterly consumed the Balkans. Times being what they are, however, the national hero to Tito’s Yugoslavia has become a post-Communist nationalist football.
That Valjevo monument — it’s in Serbia, remember — calls him Stevan Filipovic, which is the Serbian variant of his given name. But as Serbia is the heir to Yugoslavia, he at least remains there a legitimate subject for a public memorial. Filipovic himself was Croatian, but his legacy in that present-day state is a bit more problematic: in his native town outside Dubrovnik, a statue that once commemorated Filipovic was torn down in 1991 by Croat nationalists; its vacant plinth still stands sadly in Opuzen. (Opuzen’s film festival, however, awards its honorees a statuette replicating the destroyed monument.)
Also on this date
- 1856: Casey and Cora, by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee
- 2001: Terrance Anthony James, snitch-killer
- 1393: The Muzaffarids, by Timur
- 1946: Karl Hermann Frank
- 1833: Midgegooroo, Noongar rebel
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Croatia,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,Famous Last Words,Guerrillas,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Occupation and Colonialism,Public Executions,Serbia,Soldiers,Wartime Executions,Yugoslavia