brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Danilo A. VUKAJLOVIĆ
DANILO VUKAJLOVIĆ, son of AKIM, born on December 18, 1905, in Bileća, a philosophy professor at the Gymnasium in Mostar. He completed his Gymnasium education in Mostar and studied philosophy at the University of Belgrade. He was an intellectual Marxist. According to Čedo Kapor’s writings, he was “the son of poor peasants from upper Nevesinje, like many others who wanted to break free from poverty and ignorance. He fought his way through life until he finished high school and then the Faculty of Philosophy. Before the war, he defended his doctoral thesis and became a Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences. For several years before the war, he taught at the Gymnasium and Teacher Training School in Mostar.” He joined the revolutionary movement at the University of Belgrade, but his revolutionary activity became particularly prominent in Mostar. He was a close collaborator of Dr. Safet Mujić, professor Dušan Mučibabić, and other intellectuals. He gained the sympathies of numerous Mostar youth, including his students, for the workers’ movement. He joined the NOV and POJ in November 1941 in the rebel units in the Nevesinje area. He became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in March 1942. After the formation of the 10th Herzegovina Brigade, he became a political worker in the Brigade’s Headquarters, and from May 5, 1942, he served as the commissar of the 5th Assault Battalion of the Tenth Herzegovina Brigade. He died in June 1943 at Sutjeska.
Professor Vukajlović met his death at the same time as his students Osman Osa Grebo and Hamdija Brkić. He was seriously wounded during the German bombing “at the end of the great drama at Sutjeska” (the explosion blew off both of his legs), after breaking through “the last ring of fire that the Germans poured from the ground and air” in the hamlet of Vojvodići, Miljevina, on June 14, 1943. “(…) just when we thought the worst was over, a squadron of German light bombers swooped down and bombarded our column. We didn’t have time to escape.” Passing by later, Tito stopped by Danilo and urgently requested medical personnel. Tito remembered Danilo even after the war and inquired about him from Danilo’s comrade Čedo Kapor.
Danilo Vukajlović was described as “a brave and consistent fighter for the freedom of his people.” Ljubica Mihić, a former student at the Teacher Training School in Mostar and a fighter in the battalion, recalled Professor Vukajlović’s classes: “The most prominent personality, ideologically and politically tied to Marxism, was Danilo Vukajlović, a professor of pedagogical subjects – philosophy, psychology, pedagogy. His teaching was entirely materialistic, explaining the processes of observation, thinking, and cognition dialectically. He made all of us atheists before we became communists, acquainted us with the development of philosophical thought from antiquity to Marx, and presented Marx’s dialectical and historical materialism as the philosophy of modern scientific socialism in several seminars. Through him, we learned that the struggle of the contemporary proletariat is not only a political struggle against capitalism but also has a scientific theory, its own philosophy.”
Danilo Vukajlović was married to Professor Jelka Vukajlović from Šibenik, who in 1942, before being arrested, headed the first committee of the Antifascist Women’s Front. Professor Danilo was remembered as “the child of a patriotic teacher who taught her son to endure all sufferings without tears and despair, that only through continuous work, learning, and the fight for humanism will the time come without despair and hungry mouths. Thus, with his students, he reached the final exam (…)”.
EXCERPTS FROM LITERATURE:
From Čedo Kapor’s memories of the events at Miljevina and meeting Tito:
“Danilo lay beside the path, groaning softly. We couldn’t immediately provide him with any special assistance. We were waiting for a doctor, who was not easy or quick to find in that situation. Columns of exhausted people passed by. Darkness slowly descended down the bare slopes of Jahorina. Few people stopped and looked at us: in recent days, the dead and wounded could be seen almost everywhere, and people had become accustomed to it. We tried to at least stop Danilo’s bleeding, to alleviate his obvious last hours. At one point, from a passing column that hurriedly passed without a word, a thin man with a cap, in a suit jacket, stood out and approached. I looked at him and immediately recognized the figure and face of the Supreme Commander. I jumped up and stood still. Comrade Tito leaned over the wounded, asking, ‘Who is this fighter, Commissar? What is his injury?’ I briefly explained. Comrade Tito bent down and took Danilo’s hand. ‘Well, what are you waiting for?’ he asked angrily. ‘Where are the doctors? Where is the surgical team?’ I tried to say something in response, but what could be said there! In the meantime, he called his courier and gave him a brief order. ‘Do everything that can be done and inform me…’ he said, hurrying away with his column, which had already moved ahead. Soon, people from the surgical team arrived. They did everything that could be done. It was in vain. Danilo Vukajlović remained there forever, on the very edge of the wide and bloody battlefield.” According to another source: “Although the bomb blew off both of Danilo’s legs and blood gushed from under his coat, when his Supreme Commander suddenly approached and took his hand, extremely worried, looking for a surgical team, Danilo, even though it was night, recognized his Supreme Commander and, with one final effort, greeted him with a single word: ‘May you live long!’
As told by Mida Šabanac: “My professor Danilo Vukajlović was also brought to the hospital. After a short time, he got gangrene. Even then, we didn’t even have a doctor, Simo Janković, who himself died in a bombing. Professor Vukajlović had to have his leg amputated. That was done by Tripo Vujačić, with an ordinary knife, because the little medical equipment was also destroyed in the bombing. I have a difficult and very unpleasant memory of the moment when Professor Vukajlović’s leg was cut off. I loved him, as did my entire generation. I was present at the operation, in which I could not help this dear man, and that was really difficult…”
About the deaths of Professor Vukajlović and his two students:
“Our column of wounded arrived in Jabuka, and there we encountered nurse Ksena Zimović-Janković. On that day, when we escaped from Rata, she, along with others, experienced heavy bombing of our Tenth Herzegovina Brigade. She tells us about the casualties of many comrades. From one bombing, Mostar residents Nizo Šarić and Hamdija Brkić were killed. The bomb fatally wounded Danilo Vukajlović, taking both of his legs. Many comrades were severely wounded, including Osman-Osa Grebo. Nearby, Commander Nina Maraković of the Seventh Banija Brigade also lost her life. Her storytelling saddened me, and in my thoughts, I recalled many events that preceded these sacrifices. I remembered my camaraderie with Danilo and his departure to the Nevesinje region to join the partisans. I remembered the relentless battles and fearless actions that the youth of Mostar led against the occupiers and their collaborators from the first days of the occupation. Four Šarić brothers and four Brkić brothers had already fallen in this great heroic struggle. All the youth, including Osa Grebo, belonged to it. And now, together with them, their professor falls in the same place and for the same idea.”
The death of the students and their professor made an impression on the fighters of other brigades. In one of the early partisan newspapers, in an article titled “What Do Reports on Exams in High Schools in Mostar Mean” (Bulletin of May 16th), the commentator notes that “the best youth of Mostar are fighting in the Tenth Herzegovina Brigade, while a whole group of graduates from the Teacher Training School in Mostar, together with their professor and former class teacher Danilo Vukajlović (who was killed in action at Sutjeska, note by M.S.), are fighting against the fascist occupiers and domestic traitors (…)”
grupa autora: Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945; Deseta Hercegovačka brigada (spisak boraca); Seferović, Mensur (1981): „Istočno i zapadno od Neretve“, „Narodna armija“, Beograd; Seferović, Mensur: Mostarski kolopleti, edicija “Mostar u borbi za slobodu”, knjiga 8, Mostar; Seferović, Mensur (1961): Prozivka na Tjentištu, “Veselin Masleša”, Sarajevo; grupa autora (1961): Hercegovina u NOB 1. dio, Beograd, Vojno delo; група аутора (1986): Херцеговина у НОБ, Београд; Alikalfić, Fazlija, Seferović, Nusret (1989): “Zbornik sjećanja o Mostarskom bataljonu”, Skupština opštine, Odbor za istoriju revolucionarnog radničkog pokreta i NOB-a Mostara
Photo of the memorial plaque: S. Demirović.
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