brochure “Partizanski spomenik u Mostaru” (1980)
book “Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945.”
another document or proof of the memorial stone (e.g., a photograph).
Rifat H. FRENJO, national hero
RIFAT RIFA FRENJO, born on January 4, 1923, in Mostar. Worker. He came from a large family of merchant HUSEIN Frenjo and his wife AJNIJA. Worker, member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) since 1942, squad leader in the Mostar Battalion. Brother of the fallen fighter Asim Frenjo.
After the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, he participated in the preparations for the armed uprising, led by the local organization of the KPJ in Mostar. In July 1941, he took part in the action of a group of Mostar youth who entered the North Camp barracks in Mostar through a window, climbed to the second floor, collected weapons and uniforms from the rooms where Italian soldiers were sleeping, and after two hours, left the barracks with a rich loot. The group included: MLADEN BALORDA, the leader of the group, MUSTAFA ĆEMALOVIĆ ĆLIMBA, RIFAT FRENJO, ALIJA MURATBEGOVIĆ ŠICE, ŽIVKO PAPO HENĆI, MARTIN RAGUŽ, and HASAN ZAHIROVIĆ LACA.
At the beginning of 1942, he joined the Mostar Partisan Battalion, but was soon sent back to Mostar to bring a new group of youth. In the city, he learned that the party organization was planning some actions, so he offered to participate in them. He and a comrade entered the building of the North Camp, where the Ustasha-domobran warehouse was located, and took military equipment from the warehouse, which they then carried to a cave on the Neretva River and transferred from there to Cazin.
In the attack on Ostrožac in July 1942, he distinguished himself as a bomber when he crossed the Neretva River with several fighters and attacked enemy bunkers and a barracks. In July, he was admitted as a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. This action enabled a faster and easier capture of Ostrožac. In August 1942, the Mostar Battalion, which was part of the Tenth Herzegovinian Assault Brigade, attacked the Ustasha garrison in Posušje. In this attack, Rifat was among the bombers who destroyed the garrison and two enemy bunkers. In addition, his bombers managed to seize large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies.
During the battles in Jajce in the fall of 1942, he destroyed three enemy bunkers with a group of bombers. Several days later, his unit attacked Turbe, near Travnik, where he also demonstrated bravery. Thanks to him and his bombers, despite strong enemy defense, Turbe was captured and a heavily fortified enemy stronghold was broken. In late December 1942, the Tenth Herzegovinian Brigade attacked the heavily fortified Žepče. During this operation, Rifat and his bombers attacked an armored train, which caught fire and crashed into a ravine.
During the Fourth Enemy Offensive, as a fighter of the Tenth Herzegovinian Brigade, he distinguished himself in the battles near Prozor, particularly in the fights on March 9, 1943, along the Kvak-Trešnjevica line when the German group “Apakeg” was pushed back. He also participated in battles fought by the Mostar Battalion around Nevesinje, Gacko, Bileća, Kobilja Glava, and other locations.
He was killed on the night of June 9/10, 1943, near the village of Rudine, above the Piva River, during the Fifth Enemy Offensive on the Sutjeska River, when his battalion was attacked by heavy artillery fire. Rifat Frenjo, who “rode wounded on a horse, and was killed by a cannon shell near Rudine, at the approach to the Piva River.” Meha Trbonja was with him, and he “crawled out from under the dead horses, wounded and half-dead.”
By the decree of the President of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, on July 24, 1953, he was proclaimed a national hero, becoming the youngest national hero of Mostar. In 1965, his remains were transferred and buried at the Partisan Cemetery in Mostar. The bust of national hero Rifat Frenjo, created by academic sculptor Florijan Mićković, was unveiled on May 23, 1985, and was located in the park between Karađozbegova Mosque and the former building of the municipal administration of Mostar, in Braće Fejića Street. It has since disappeared, and only the pedestal remains.
Rifat is remembered as a brave and skilled bomber who “returned (bombs that fell on him) to the enemy (Chetniks and Italians) by throwing them back.”
From some memories:
“The leaders of the bombing groups, Mustafa Ćemalović Ćimba, Mehmed Trbonja, and Hasan Zahirović Laca, were allowed to choose the best machine gunner from their squad to protect them while approaching the bunkers. When Rifat Frenjo heard about this decision, he approached Mehmed Trbonja and asked to be the accompanying machine gunner for his bombing unit. Trbonja refused Frenjo, saying, ‘I know you, you will go ahead, in front of all of us, and what will be left for us? Stay with the squad!’ A dispute arose between the two of them. Frenjo swore that he would only accompany them, but it didn’t help. Trbonja stuck to his decision, and Frenjo sadly withdrew into the formation of the squad. Trbonja chose Irfan Ćatović as the escort for his group, who was a true master in using his machine gun.”
“We set off on our tasks. With the 1st and 2nd squads, we headed to the upper part of the city known as Varoš, and then proceeded towards the market and occupied the Primary School, Old Municipality, Cadastre Office, County Headquarters, and the Court, and partially advanced to Ponir and joined forces with the Dalmatians around 3 o’clock in the morning. Approaching the command, Rifat Frenjo had previously eliminated a guard with a knife, who was moving in front of the entrance, by jumping on his back and throwing him to the ground. We immediately entered the corridor and threw bombs into the rooms. There was crying and chaos. In the rooms we entered, the dead and wounded were lying on the floor, while the living surrendered with their hands raised, bewildered and trembling with fear. We collected the weapons. The survivors and the wounded were gathered in one room and placed under guard. Through the telephone central, using an Italian non-commissioned officer, we issued a statement to the crews in the bunkers that we had eliminated the command and called for their surrender.”
“After repelling the second Chetnik attack, we chased the Chetniks down the Bišina River towards Mostar, along with the other battalions. Rifat Frenjo, running ahead of our fighters, caught up with the Chetnik standard-bearer, who was lagging behind carrying a large Chetnik black flag with white symbols – a skull and two crossed bones. When Rifat reached the standard-bearer, he threw himself on his back. A wrestling match ensued, in which Rifat, using a knife, decided the outcome of the fight, took the flag, and waved it, bidding farewell to the fleeing Chetniks who escaped to Blagaj via Buško.”
He was present when Hasan Zahirović Laca was killed: “The nurse Staka Mićković, Lacina’s comrade, and Rifat Frenjo were crying like children, kissing and caressing the lifeless Laca.”
grupa autora (1988): Ćemalović, Enver (1986): Mostarski bataljon, Mostar; grupa autora (1961): Hercegovina u NOB 1. dio, Beograd, Vojno delo; https://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A0%D0%B8%D1%84%D0%B0%D1%82_%D0%A4%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%9A%D0%BE ; https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2034243040194598; Seferović, Mensur (1955): Drugovi iz bataljona, “Narodna prosvjeta”, Sarajevo Seferović, Mensur (1957): „Tajna partijske ćelije“, Sarajevo; Seferović, Mensur (1958): “Bataljon u okupiranom gradu”, Sarajevo; grupa autora: Spomenica Mostara 1941-1945. Photos: Narodni Heroj – Rifat Frenjo Iz Mostara ( BiH ) (yu-nostalgija.com); https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2281269345491965 https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2281269628825270; https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1943908115894758&set=nekada-je-tu-bila-bista-narodnog-heroja-rifata-frenje-ostao-je-samo-postament-ko; Narodni heroji Jugoslavije A-M, Institut za savremenu istoriju, Partizanska knjiga, Ljubljana, Narodna knjiga, Beograd, Pobjeda, Titograd, 1982.
Photos: family archives, Facebook.
Photo of the memorial plaque: S. Demirović.
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