Holiday in Bosnia

Third installment of series about backpacking in ex-Yugoslavia

Bogdan Bogdanovich’s Partisan Memorial Cemetery should be Mostar‘s second major tourist attraction. Built in 1960, the park is something between a memorial, and Gaudi’s Park Buell. High stone walls climb narrow paths in disorienting labyrinths. Ramps lead to a plateau engraved with stone flowers, the nameless graves of Partisans who fought against the Croatian Ustasha, Mussolini, and the Nazis.


An uvula-shaped courtyard in the center is ideal for memorial services, such as the kind Mostar’s Antifa group hold yearly on May 9th, the date of Nazi capitulation.


This year, they were greeted by a barricade of burning tires. “Older people couldn’t believe it,” one of Mostar’s few organized antifascists told me. “Why would anyone do this?” But judging from the state of the cemetery, opposition to its memory is not all that surprising.


Completely overgrown with weeds, littered with used condoms and beer bottles, and covered with fascist graffiti, the Partisan Memorial Cemetery is both a testament of Bosnia’s socialist struggle against fascism, and the erasure of this history that came with Croatia’s right-wing turn during its war of independence. Monuments to socialism and the anti-Fascist struggle were destroyed throughout the country. Ethnic minorities were purged or sent to concentration, death, and rape camps. Mostar was split through the middle by this all-too-recent Hell on Earth.

Read the rest at Souciant




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