brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Ante S. ZELENIKA
ANTE ZELENIKA, son of STJEPAN, born on April 12, 1922, in Mostar, a civil engineering technician. He was employed in the Technical Department and participated in road construction projects, such as the road in the village of Mamići. A good guitar player. At the beginning of the war, he worked in the Northern military camp, where he retrieved weapons (including two machine guns) and ammunition for the resistance movement. A member of SKOJ (Communist Youth of Yugoslavia) since 1940 and KPJ (Communist Party of Yugoslavia) since 1941. He was part of an early group of volunteers from Mostar in the April War but was sent back after five days due to the capitulation. He joined the Battalion at the end of 1941, where he served as a youth leader. A fighter, he returned to Mostar when he became seriously ill with tuberculosis. He died in Mostar on July 30, 1943.
Available literature covers Ante’s death in detail:
During the winter of 1942, when the bombers were supposed to cross the Vrbas River in an attack on the bunkers, Ante fell ill. He contracted pneumonia and later, in early 1943, typhoid fever, too. Knowing that his end was near, he requested to be transferred to Mostar. It took him five days and nights, traversing snowy mountain slopes, past patrols, with the help of a local villager, to reach his parents’ home in Zahum. They arrived in Mostar on the night of March 21, 1943, and his parents, Stjepan and Manda, horrified by Ante’s appearance, urgently took him to the hospital under the false name Ante Šubić (Šimić, according to some sources). He was treated for thirty days by dr. Vjekoslav Glavadanović and was then sent home. He stayed in the Šukalić family’s house for a while before returning to his own.
Police agents found out about his return because he was reported by a neighbor who “heard him playing”. He was saved from arrest by a false document about serving in the Croatian domobrani (home guard) army, which brother Ivo, who was an ustasha officer, obtained for him.
On the day of his death, Ante asked to be photographed as a last salute to his comrades in the black suit in which he later died. At the time when the exhausted fighters were returning to Mostar to recover after the Fifth Sutjeska offensive, a mass public funeral of Anta was organized in Mostar.
Mother Manda and father Stjepan were arrested and destined for the concentration camp Jasenovac, but they were saved by “partisan mining of the railroad”. As they were wealthy, the father later bought his and his wife’s freedom.
The Zelenika family lost three sons in the war: in addition to Ante, sons Ivo Zelenika Tabornik (b. 1924), one of the leaders of the Ustasha youth in Mostar, and Niko Zelenika (b. 1928), who, like Ante, fought in the partisan ranks. Ivo and Niko died at the end of the war fighting on opposite sides. Ivo died in Zagreb right before the end of the war, and Niko joined the partisans in 1944 and was killed by the Chetniks near the Boračko Lake. According to one source, “two born brothers – Ustasha and Partisan (Ante and Ivo) – did not hate each other, did not fight each other, but, despite all the dangers and differences, helped each other in a brotherly way.” After the war, the street where the Zelenikas lived was named after Ante. After the most recent war, Ante’s name was replaced by Ivo’s. After the decision of the city authorities in 2023, the street was renamed Ciglana.
Niko’s name was recorded on the memorial plaque at Mostar Gymnasium after the war. The plaque disappeared without a trace during the war events of 1992-1995.
Participant in the National Liberation War (NOB) and publicist Mensur Seferović has recorded details from Ante’s life in several of his books: “Prozivka na Tjentištu,” “Istočno i zapadno od Neretve,” “Tajna partijske ćelije,” “Zvijezde stajaćice,” “Bataljon u okupiranom gradu.”
For more information about the tragic fate of the politically divided Zelenika family, read here (in BSC).
Seferović, Mensur: „Prozivka na Tjentištu“, „Istočno i zapadno od Neretve“, „Tajna partijske ćelije“, „Zvijezde stajaćice“, „Bataljon u okupiranom gradu“; https://hercegovina.in/prica-o-nesreci-obitelji-zelenika-iz-mostara/; https://www.oslobodjenje.ba/vijesti/bih/ustasa-dobio-ulicu-koja-je-nosila-ime-po-njegovom-bratu-partizanu-629652; https://slobodnadalmacija.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/kovanica-o-dva-hrvata-u-tri-stranke-nije-pala-s-neba-povijest-svjedoci-o-obiteljima-s-ustasama-i-partizanima-a-cak-je-i-slavni-vratar-hajduka-zbog-zenidbe-39-ustasicom-39-bio-pod-budnim-okom-udbe-530882; https://bljesak.info/vijesti/politika/izmijenjena-imena-ulica-u-mostaru/388348; https://zurnal.info/clanak/ideolozi-ndh-i-zlocinci-crne-legije/24635; https://yu-nostalgija.com/slika-za-uspomenu-svojim-drugovima-bataljon-u-okupiranom-gradu/?fbclid=IwAR1t53C3AVFiNu_dfLxwbesD39IsJNzAaSDlp4Cv-rhUzSZdnLXLtPPFdi8
Fotos: Seferović, Mensur „Zvijezde stajaćice“, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl3W0gy7x5I&ab_channel=KnjOrg 10:10; https://yu-nostalgija.com/slika-za-uspomenu-svojim-drugovima-bataljon-u-okupiranom-gradu/?fbclid=IwAR1t53C3AVFiNu_dfLxwbesD39IsJNzAaSDlp4Cv-rhUzSZdnLXLtPPFdi8 ; Mostarci obnavljaju Partizansko groblje | Dan pobjede protiv fašizma Vijesti | Al Jazeera; https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3a5Zafyv8cY/Wu6-qpYwNHI/AAAAAAAAZ44/ySf6B8bqE8o2V95Tr6R0ASQ_F01u5AQyQCLcBGAs/s1600/x03.jpg
Photo of the memorial plaque: S. Demirović.
Do you have more information about this fighter? Share your stories and photographs. Let’s keep the memory alive!