brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
Borivoje R. KOVAČEVIĆ
BORIVOJE BORO KOVAČEVIĆ, son of RISTO, born on October 14, 1924, in Mostar, a student from the Donja Mahala neighborhood. Member of the League of Communist Youth (SKOJ) since 1941. Arrested at home by the Ustasha on August 1, 1941, along with his father Risto (1889-1941), a skilled worker and holder of the Albanian Commemorative Medal, during the mass arrests of Serbs in Mostar by the Ustasha. After spending several days in the prison at the Kraljica Marija (Queen Maria) School, which was turned into a collection camp (where many were beaten and kept in the heat without food and water), Boro and Risto were taken to Jablanica and transferred to the Jadovno concentraiton camp near Gospić on August 8, 1941, where they were soon killed. According to a comment left by Risto’s youngest son Petar in 2010 on the Jadovno website, their neighbor Zorka Radovanović, who “survived the horrors of the Jadovno camp,” told Petar’s mother how she saw his father arranging Boro’s sleeve at the spot where they tied him with wire before taking him to the gallows in the pits on Velebit mountain.
According to the testimony of a surviving prisoner:
“We encountered a horrific scene in the Gospic penitentiary, where we found a mass of people. The Ustasha had set up four or five rows of very long chains across the entire length of the penitentiary yard, and they ordered two male prisoners to stand next to each chain, and then they tied their hands with wire and fastened them to the iron chain. Sons stood with fathers, brothers with brothers, friends with friends. Later, they started moving them, in huge columns, for the last time, which led to the infamous Jadovno in Velebit. That is where those poor people ended their lives.” (Testimony of Dane Milićević from Mostar, arrested on July 28, 1941, and later taken to Gospic). (Mahmuh Konjhodžić, Mostar resident)
Boro’s older brother BRANKO BRANA KOVAČEVIĆ, born in 1922 in Koleško, Nevesinje, a student, was working in eastern Herzegovina at the time, contributing to the uprising. He was a member of the National Liberation War (NOB) since 1941, and a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) since 1939 (according to some sources, 1940). He served as a youth leader in the 1st Battalion and later as the Secretary of the Regional Committee of the League of Communist Youth (SKOJ) for Herzegovina. He passed away in 1969 in Belgrade.
During the war, Borina and Branina’s mother Zorka remained alone in Mostar with her two youngest children, Pero and Branka. In the chapter “Little Branka and Her Mother” in the book “Life Writes Its Story,” Mensur Seferović writes:
“Hana (Muštrović, ed. note) was surprised by the early arrival of her acquaintance from the neighborhood, Zorka Kovačević, a quiet and good woman, whose husband was taken away and killed by the Ustasha in 1941 just because he was Serbian. She remained dressed in mourning with her two children, alone, bravely struggling with the hardships of life, fearing that one day they would come for her and her children would be left alone. ‘The 5-6-year-old girl whom Zorka held by the hand was crying,’ Mirza Muštrović recalled. His gaze was fixed on the ground as he anxiously waited to hear what Hana would say. Occasionally, restrained sobs shook her. ‘I came,’ Zorka began, ‘to ask you, my Hana, to take in Branka. For days, she hasn’t stopped saying, ‘I want to go to the mejtef.’ You can’t go there,’ Zorka told her. ‘They only accept Muslim children. ‘If they can, I can too,’ Branka replied. ‘And I brought her to hear what you have to say. No one can communicate better and easier than mothers. Branka cast ‘sidelong glances at Hana, eagerly waiting for her response. Hana stroked her and then addressed Zorka: ‘Yes, of course, how could I refuse. The little one is right, if all the children from the neighborhood can go, why shouldn’t she? We’ll get her a slate, a sponge, a pencil, and an abacus.’ The next day, little Branka came to the mejtef ‘fully equipped’ among the first. She was the most diligent student of the mejtef (…).” Zorka Kovačević is also mentioned by Mahmud Konjhodžić (‘Mostarka’) as a neighbor of Zlatka Vuković. Zlatka’s daughter, Radojka, sought refuge with Zorka on July 31, 1941, when there was a clash with the Ustasha in their house (‘the first bomb in Mostar’), and Zlatka, the mother, was arrested and executed.
https://jadovno.com/spisak-stradalih-srba-mostara-u-drugom-svjetskom-ratu-1941-1945/?lng=lat; https://jadovno.com/tl_files/popis/ajax.form.php; https://znaci.org/00001/243.pdf ; Konjhodžić, Mahmud (1981): “Mostarke”: fragmenti o revolucionarnoj djelatnosti i patriotskoj opredjeljenosti žena Mostara, o njihovoj borbi za slobodu i socijalizam, Opštinski odbor SUBNOR-a Mostar; Bajić, Nevenka: Komunistička partija Jugoslavije u Hercegovini u ustanku 1941. godine; grupa autora: Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.
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