brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Hilmija A. HAKALO
HILMIJA HILMA HAKALO, son of ALIJA, born in 1919* in Mostar. A barber, member of the League of Communist Youth (SKOJ) since 1940 and KPJ since 1942. He participated in a series of actions, such as the action of taking out ammunition and other equipment from the North Military Camp in Mostar on April 21, 1942. The action was carried out by Mehmed Trbonja, Živko Papo Henći, Rifat Frenjo, Martin Raguž, and Alija Muratbegović Šico, assisted by Meho and Omer Dina, Mehmed Frenjo, Hilmija Hakalo, Pero Lažetić, and Hamid Vuk. In the Battalion since October 1941. Captured with a group of partisans on April 10, 1942, after a several-hour unequal battle with Ustaše forces (nine fighters against 170 Ustaše) in a surrounded house in Janjina near Konjic. Two were killed, and the seven captives were beaten during interrogation (none of them confessed to anything), then stripped naked, tied up, and taken towards Bjelimići. Despite being wounded and tied up, Hilmija and Ismet Kreso managed to escape into the Neretva River and jump into the water. They were carried by the water for 3-4 km, and then they swam ashore. They managed to reach Glavatičevo and tell about the battle in Janjina. For a while, they were spared from combat and actions: “They looked too weak, sick, and pale. They had deep cuts on their faces and bodies made by bayonets. (…) Despite their poor physical condition at the time and not participating in combat, they were cheerful and in a good mood, entertaining other fighters with their jokes.” Hilmija, as a platoon commander, was killed in Sutjeska during the Fifth Offensive (Krekovi near Tjentište).
EXCERPT FROM LITERATURE
About the dramatic escape from Glavatičevo: “When the Ustaše started arguing about who would get the leather coats and shoes of the fighters and prepared to shoot at these two, already stabbed and covered in blood, Kreso winked at Hakalo, signaling that it was time to attempt an escape. At one point, both of them kicked the Ustaše in the stomach (each their own, as they were tied separately with ropes), and then at the same moment, they jumped tied together into the Neretva River and continued diving towards the other bank. Luckily, it worked in their favor that the river was fast and murky, and they were excellent swimmers. The Ustaše were completely confused, firing shots from their rifles, but the darkness prevented them from aiming accurately. Both managed to reach the other bank, albeit far downstream. The question arose of where to go naked, and dawn was already breaking. Seeing a house not far from the shore, they headed towards it. At that moment, the housewife came out of the door and saw completely naked people, still scratched and swollen. She immediately screamed and fainted. Fortunately, at that moment the host, our sympathizer, came out and immediately understood the situation. There was no clothing in the house because of the war and their poverty, but they found two old pieces of blankets, which they wrapped themselves in and set off with the host towards Glavatičevo, to the Command Headquarters. When they arrived at the Headquarters in the morning, their eyes were already swollen shut. Their entire bodies were pierced with Ustaše knives, and they could no longer speak. Our medical team from Borak, led by Dr. Papa, took over these comrades and began treating their severe wounds all over their bodies.”
*According to the information from the book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
Ćemalović, Enver (1986): Mostarski bataljon, Mostar; Seferović, Mensur (1955): Drugovi iz bataljona, “Narodna prosvjeta”, Sarajevo; grupa autora (1961): Hercegovina u NOB 1. dio, Beograd; grupa autora (1986): Hercegovina u NOB 4. dio, Beograd, vidi članak Vlatko Lazarević, „Junačko držanje desetine u Janjini“; grupa autora: Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945. Fotografija: Centar za mir podsjetio na obnovu Partizanskog spomen groblja iz 2018. (vijesti.ba)
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!