brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Mladen D. BALORDA, national hero
MLADEN BALORDA also known as LOBRA, son of DUŠAN, born on January 13, 1921, in Mostar, a metal worker (locksmith) and a football player for FC Velež’s youth section. He became a member of the League of Communist Youth (SKOJ) in 1938 and joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) in 1940. After the April War and the occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, in the occupied Mostar, Mladen was tasked by the KPJ to collect weapons and other military supplies. In July 1941, he and his family were deported to Serbia by the Ustaše, but Mladen returned to Mostar in September 1941 with a comrade. He traveled mostly on foot with communist comrades from Montenegro, passing through Sandžak and Montenegro. He organized the youth at the Customs Office, formed strike groups, and together with them, raided military depots and took out weapons, ammunition, clothing, and food.
Upon his return to Mostar, he worked in an underground group that collected weapons, medical supplies, and other necessities for partisan units. As an underground member, he and a group of partisans from the unit infiltrated an Italian camp in Mostar, seized large quantities of ammunition, and took them to Boračko Lake.
When the wounded fighter Esad Fejić was captured, Balorda and Ahmet Pintul presented themselves as Ustasha and “took over” Fejić, issuing a “receipt” of the escort, after which they escaped (Esad was treated by doctors from Mostar in a hidden place). In the Battalion since October 1941, he served as the Deputy Commander of the Battalion. Due to his bravery, he often participated in special missions. In the battles with the Chetniks in June 1941, one group of fighters was captured and handed over to the Ustasha authorities in Konjic. However, a group of battalion fighters, including Mladen, entered Konjic, broke into the prison, and freed their captured comrades. During the capture of Jajce at the end of November 1942, Mladen Balorda was at the head of his squad and distinguished himself in capturing bunkers. During the Fourth enemy offensive, prior to the attack on Prozor, Mladen and two other comrades broke through enemy positions and set fire to a house in the town to confuse and demoralize the enemy. He also distinguished himself as the Deputy Commander of the Mostar Battalion in the Fifth enemy offensive. Thanks to his leadership, about 100 enemy soldiers were destroyed near Nikšić. He came to Mostar several times during the war, and the last time he returned for recovery with 80 exhausted fighters after the Fifth offensive.When the time came to leave Mostar, according to some sources, up to 80 young people volunteered to go with him, and the Mostar Youth Detachment was formed, with Mladen Balorda as its commander. The intention was to join the Tenth Herzegovina Assault Brigade on July 15, 1943, but they were attacked by 200 German soldiers in the village of Kamena near Blagaj, where they had spent the night in a forest. There were suspicions of betrayal, which were never proven. One part of inexperienced, newly recruited fighters was killed, while the other part, consisting of 18 fighters, including the severely wounded Mladen, was captured. He was taken to the hospital in Mostar. Plans were being made to rescue him, but his execution in the Mostar swamp preempted the operation. At the same time, the following individuals were also executed: ŠAĆIR ČELEBIĆ, a worker from Mostar, MUZAFER DERONJA, a worker from Mostar, ALIJA DRAČE, a worker from Mostar, MARTIN DRVLJANOVČAN, a musician from Croatian Zagorje, IBRAHIM ĐUKIĆ, a student from Mostar, OMER ĐUKIĆ, a worker from Mostar, ABDUSELAM ELEZOVlĆ, a worker from Mostar, SMAJO IBRULJ, a student from Mostar, NAFIK KAZAZIĆ, a student from Mostar, MIRKO KONJEVOD, a worker from Mostar, KRUNO MILIĆEVIĆ, a worker from Mostar, OSMAN NOŽIĆ, a worker from Mostar, and ŠERIF SELIMOVIĆ, a student from Mostar.” Two fighters from the Detachment, Drago Palavestra and Alica Rizikalo, were hanged in the main city square.
Mladen was declared a national hero on July 5, 1951. According to the archives of Radmilo Braca Andrić, Mladen’s remains were transferred and buried in the Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar. After the war, Mladen was immortalized in the song “Mostarska mati” by Mostarske kiše (full text in SBC). A bust of Mladen Balorda was erected next to Laca‘s bust near Musala square in Mostar. A street in Mostar is named after him. Also, a city graffiti has Mladen’s depiction.
Mother Jovanka learned of Mladen’s death only when she returned to Mostar after the liberation. Mladen’s brother Vasilije and father Dušan were killed by the Germans in Kraljevo during a mass execution of citizens in October 1941 (according to some sources, Dušan was killed a year later).
Mladen’s comrade, general Enver Ćemalović, spoke of him with admiration: “He was a thoughtful, cool-headed, and cunning fighter. As a commander in the Battalion, he always led his units and bomb squads. He radiated integrity, sincerity, humility, and camaraderie, and he was loved by all who knew him. As a soldier, his intelligence promised much, but his untimely death cut short his path in life.”
EXCERPTS FROM LITERATURE
Examples of actions in Mostar:
“The group consisted of: MLADEN BALORDA, the group leader, MUSTAFA ĆEMALOVIĆ ĆlMBA, RIFAT FRENJO, ALIJA MURATBEGOVIĆ ŠlCE, ŽIVKO PAPO HENĆI, MARTIN RAGUŽ, and HASAN ZAHIROVIĆ LACA. The group’s accommodation in Mostar was taken care of by Hamid Vuk, while Safet Džinović ensured cooperation with the local organization. Several night actions were carried out in a short period of time:
– The group took two bags of cotton, a can of petroleum jelly, a sterilizer, and some medical instruments from the People’s Health Center. They also took four bags of flour, a can of oil, and a crate of sugar. Safet Džinović took the food items for the nourishment of fighter’s families and underground fighters, while the medical supplies were sent to Dobrč.
– The group entered the textile shop owned by Salih-aga Demirović in the city center, on Tepa, by climbing onto the roof. They dressed in new suits and filled bags with various clothing. They then poured gasoline in the clothing storage room in the basement and set it on fire. With their loot, the group left the shop and went to the Papo family’s house, where they observed the high flames engulfing the burning shop from the rooftop of the house.
– Around 150 tablecloths for bandages, some kitchen utensils, and alcoholic beverages for the hospital in Borci were collected from the “Lira” café in Carina.
– Two bags of paper and various writing supplies for schools in the liberated territory were taken from Paher’s bookstore. The youth of the city carried out similar actions to supply our families and the Battalion with food and various necessities. During the stay of both groups, Trbonja’s and Balorda’s, most of them stayed in the Papo family’s house, where Henćijeva’s mother, Tereza, took care of feeding the comrades, and her son, Isidor, maintained communication with the organization and group members hiding in Carina.”
“The group of fighters, led by Omer Maksumić, dismantled the railway tracks at a nearby curve, and Mladen Balorda suggested setting fire to the locomotive. Once the steam reached the maximum allowed pressure, Mladen set the locomotive in motion. As soon as the train picked up speed, Mladen jumped out. Arriving at the curve, the train plunged into the Bosna River bed. It happened at dawn. One composition, destined for Germany, was carrying tobacco, dried plums, and walnuts. Our fighters took as much as they could carry, and then all the wagons were set on fire, along with the buildings and warehouses at the Railway Station. Later, the Court and the County Administration buildings were also set ablaze.”
Circumstances of Mladen’s capture at Kamena and his subsequent death several days later:
“The commander of the Gendarmerie Station in Blagaj, Sergeant Mujo Đonko, reports to the Command of the 6th Gendarmerie Regiment in Mostar: ‘On July 4, 1943, around 2 o’clock after midnight, about 200 German soldiers from the SS group arrived in Blagaj from Mostar, accompanied by 3 officers. They requested gendarmes from this station to show them the way, or rather, to accompany them as guides from the location of Kaluđer Bunar towards Stjepankrsta… This report testifies to betrayal because the Detachment spent the night at the mentioned location after wandering for two to three hours. It was not known who informed the Germans. Most likely, the German station in Bišina was informed, and they reported to their command in Mostar through their radio station. The Chief of the Župa Police District in Mostar, Mato Roko, in his report to the Main Directorate for Public Order and Security in Zagreb and the Great County of ‘Hum’ in Mostar, among other things, reports on July 20, 1943: ‘On July 8, 1943, it was reported to the gendarmerie station in Blagaj, Mostar District, that there are dead partisans in the forest known as Kaluđer Bunar. Immediately, the patrol from the station went to the scene with the reported villagers and found 10 corpses, one of which was a woman, and they also found one wounded partisan named Huso Maslić…’”
Regarding Mladen’s capture:
“Nineteen comrades were captured and taken to Mostar through Stolac. After breaking out of the encirclement, a group of 11 comrades was formed, including Mladen Balorda, the Detachment commander, who was seriously wounded in the shoulder and right leg, Mijo Mrković, wounded in both arms, Milivoje Bilanović, Miro Boras, Omer Ćišić, Remzija Duranović, Mugdim Hadžović, Muhamed Kreso, Jaroslav Novak, Ahmet Pintul, and Avdo Zvonić. Mladen Balorda, severely wounded and carried more by two comrades than he could move himself, insisted on being left behind. In the end, he ordered the group ‘under the leadership of Miro Boras to go with the wounded Mijo Mrković to Dobrč,’ while Remzija Duranović and Ahmet Pintul stayed with him. Ahmet and Remzija helped Mladen move, and when they were far away from Kaluđer Bunar, they agreed that Ahmet and Remzija would go to a village in Podveležje to fetch a horse, while Mladen, well disguised, hid in the forest. When the two of them returned for Mladen, he was no longer at the agreed location. It was never known how Mladen fell into captivity, but it is known that the Germans searched the surroundings with trained dogs. Three days after the tragedy at Kaluđer Bunar, the Germans reunited Mladen with the other captured comrades in Mostar. Immediately upon Mladen’s arrival in the room, an SS officer entered and asked, ‘Who is a fighter from the early days?’ Mladen responded, ‘Me!’ When asked by the officer, ‘Since when?’ Mladen answered, ‘Since the day the call was made to the patriots of Yugoslavia to fight against the occupiers and fascism.’ Shortly after that conversation, Mladen was separated and bound in a separate room.”
Ćemalović, Enver (1986): Mostarski bataljon, Mostar; grupa autora (1961): Hercegovina u NOB 1. dio, Beograd, Vojno delo; grupa autora (1986): Hercegovina u NOB 2. dio, Beograd; група аутора (1986): Херцеговина у НОБ, Београд; Deseta Hercegovačka brigada (spisak boraca); Mladen Balorda – Narodni Heroj Iz Mostara ( Bosna I Hercegovina ) (yu-nostalgija.com); Vikipedija ; Seferović, Mensur (1970): Pred očima grada, “Informativni centar”; Narodni heroji Jugoslavije A-M, Institut za savremenu istoriju, Partizanska knjiga, Ljubljana, Narodna knjiga, Beograd, Pobjeda, Titograd, 1982. , spomenicinob.info; Ibrulj, Saša (2022): Velež, priča o 100 godina mostarskih rođenih , Dobra knjiga, Sarajevo
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!