brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Fatima M. BRKIĆ
ABIDA-FATIMA BRKIĆ, daughter of MUHAMED, also known as FATIMA VELIKA (she was given the nickname in relation to her younger cousin FATIMA MALA), was born in Mostar on August 30, 1916. She was a medical student in Belgrade, with only two final exams remaining. According to some sources, she was “the first Muslim woman to pass the maturity exam in 1936 at the Great Gymnasium in Mostar,” where she was described as a “regular and diligent student.” She became a member of the Communist Youth League (SKOJ) in 1939 and was a candidate for membership in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) from 1941. She actively participated in the National Liberation War. She was arrested twice in 1942, the first time on March 10, 1942, under the accusation of engaging in illegal activities. She was taken to Sarajevo but was released due to lack of evidence. She went to Zagreb to complete her medical studies. However, she was arrested again in September 1942 and sent to Stara Gradiška concentration camp. According to some sources, she was arrested because “she did not respond to the romantic advances of Captain Herenčić, who was in love with her…” She was assigned to the women’s camp and later to the camp hospital with Dr. Buki Konortij (a prisoner from Sarajevo) where she selflessly helped the sick detainees and herself recovered from typhus (referred to as GG – “Gradiška flu” or “Gagro flu”): “She served as a doctor in the camp alongside an older Jew, enjoying the undivided love and respect of the prisoners, whom she wholeheartedly cared for despite being sentenced to imprisonment herself…” She was severely tortured multiple times. Later, she was transferred to Zagreb where the Ustaše attempted to recruit her as a spy. She agreed to it briefly and went to Mostar seeking assistance from the Italian authorities. However, she was arrested again and returned to Stara Gradiška, where she was executed in May 1943. She was held in solitary confinement and died in an Ustaše hospital. According to some sources, during a visit, Ustaše commissioner Stanko Šarac from Mostar recognized her and demanded her execution. According to others, the notorious Ljubo Miloš and Dinko Šakić were involved in her death. She was on the list of prisoners for exchange, but the exchange did not happen as the “Fourth Offensive” began. She was described as a “beautiful girl” and a “remarkable communist.” She was the sister of Hamdija, Hivzija, and Ahmet Brkić – all three of whom perished in the National Liberation War. A street in Mostar is named after the brothers Brkić.
EXCERPTS FROM LITERATURE:
“In Mostar, during 1942, Fatima Brkić was arrested. They say she was a wonderful woman, a doctor. After torture in the Ustaše prison in Mostar, they brought her to Stara Gradiška. She managed to smuggle out a letter in which she wrote about the inquisitorial methods used on her. They beat her, when she lost consciousness, they poured water on her, brought her back to consciousness, and continued with the beating. At one point, as she writes, they stripped her naked, wrapped her in a cloth, and hung her on a hook. Ljubo Miloš and Dinko Šakić participated in the torture of Fatima Brkić. Fatima managed to smuggle that letter outside through some connection, and the underground resistance distributed it as a leaflet to various places. Šakić’s crimes can be seen through these events where he was sometimes a central figure.” (Testimony of detainee Fahrudin Fahrija Ajanović: Ustaše camp Jasenovac and the role of Dinko Šakić)
Fatima Veličković managed to smuggle a letter out of the camp in which she recounted her ordeal. The underground resistance duplicated the letter to spread the story about Jasenovac.
“The extract from Fatima Brkić’s testimony reads as follows: During the investigation that lasted throughout my stay in Sarajevo, I was subjected to beatings twice. Three men with wooden sticks forced me to swallow spoonfuls of salt and used force, all in an attempt to make me confess to the charges brought against me by Šarić. I never admitted anything. Later, they sent me to Stara Gradiška Concentration Camp. It was on May 10, 1942. They put me in the women’s section. In this Concentration Camp, they did not physically torture me, but the treatment I received on a regular basis was the worst, as was the case for everyone else. We were all constantly mistreated and given inedible food. In this Concentration Camp, everyone fell ill with various diseases. Typhus, dysentery, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and other contagious diseases. The mortality rate was shocking; 20 to 30 people died every day. Jews were forced to dig graves to bury the corpses. Every two to three months, all Jews were replaced with other unfortunate individuals, and they were killed. They were killed with axe blows or sticks because ammunition was too expensive. Many were sent to Krivo Đakovo, a place where there was a high furnace for cremating bodies, and they were thrown in alive and burned. Most of the assigned individuals for this job were from Mostar: Jozo Bevanda, 26 years old, Nikola Gazdić, a clerk at lawyer Kordić’s office, 30 years old from Mostar, Šimun Buntić, a judicial intern at lawyer Božić’s office, 42 years old from Mostar, Ljubo Miloš, an Ustaše lieutenant, 24 years old from Ljubuški. Around September 6 or 7, I was called to follow Lieutenant Ante Vrban, originally from Lika, who took me to the Ustaše headquarters located behind the wall of the Concentration Camp. This command summoned me to tell them all the facts in which I was the main person involved. I told them everything I knew, but they were dissatisfied with my statements and began beating me with sticks. Matković broke a thick stick on my body. Dissatisfied, he brought another stick. They hit me with their fists, slaps, and a leather belt. They forcibly removed my stockings and beat me three times from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., then they took me to a cell. After two days, Nikola Gazdić came to me with the intention of convincing me of his good intentions. He took me to the courtyard and said he would protect me if I agreed to what he demanded. He was interested in the names of people who were opposed to their ideas; I must also mention that the floor and walls of my cell, where they put me, were splattered with blood. There was one cell known as the ‘dead cell,’ which was always in use. I expected to be finished from hour to hour and wanted to end my life since the torture became more frequent. I intended to commit suicide, but I didn’t have the opportunity. However, the Ustaše had divided intentions, and their purpose was to sexually exploit me. The behavior of the Ustaše individuals, in my eyes, seemed good when they visited me in my cell. Each of them demanded that I submit to them and sexually exploit me (each separately). Ante Vrban, when he escorted me to the cell after the beating, wanted to rape me even though I was half-dead. I don’t know how I found the strength to resist, but no matter how much he desired it, he could not fulfill his desires. After several days, I was transported to a large hospital hall in the Concentration Camp. Ljubo Miloš and Šimun Buntić were present. Later, Nikola Gazdić and Stjepan Barbarić arrived, followed by Dinko Šakić… They stripped me completely naked, tied my legs tightly with iron wire without mercy, and hung me on a coat rack. I was covered in blood, with wounded legs, while they beat me with some iron plate for about five hours… Ljubo Miloš placed a hot iron on my chest…”
Halilbegović, Nihad (2006): Bošnjaci u jasenovačkom logoru, Sarajevo; Nataša Mataušić (2013): Žene u logorima Nezavisne Države Hrvatske (naveden je Izvod iz saslušanja Fatime Brkić o njenom zlostavljanju u Koncentracionom logoru Stara Gradiška. Originalni dokument u VII, a NDH, k.39, reg.br. 57/6); Miletić, Antun: “Koncentracioni logor Jasenovac 1941-1945. Dokumenta“, knj. I-II, 1986, knj. III, 1987, knj. IV, 2007, str. 2500, Narodna knjiga, Gambit, Belgrade, Jagodina ; Seferović, Mensur: Mostarski kolopleti, edicija “Mostar u borbi za slobodu”, knjiga 8, Mostar; Seferović, Mensur (2009): Zvijezde stajaćice, Zapisi o djevokama i majkama iz dva rata 1941-45 i 1991-95.; 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; Seferović, Mensur (2014): Život piše svoju priču, Bosanska biblioteka Čikago; Seferović, Mensur (1981): „Istočno i zapadno od Neretve“, „Narodna armija“, Beograd; https://www.portalnovosti.com/mostarke-otpor-u-zicama ; kustos muzeja JUSP Jasenovac; grupa autora (1986): Hercegovina u NOB 2. dio, Beograd; Seferović, Mensur: Mostarski kolopleti, edicija “Mostar u borbi za slobodu”, knjiga 8, Mostar; grupa autora: Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.
Photo of the memorial plaque: S. Demirović, source: Nataša Mataušić, “Žene u logorima NDH”; https://www.tacno.net/kultura/dani-antifasizma-u-mostaru-i-ove-godine-bez-setnje-do-partizanskog/?fbclid=IwAR0MYP4bPi-LGribXBQ2SW0y-CXTcslDwM_vO4ZAUUmzGekaXJAUDh6qgPY ; https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/foto-na-partizanskom-groblju-u-mostaru-razbijeno-vise-od-600-ploca/2372374.aspx
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