JAGOS Zaric, the last commander of the legendary First Proletarian Brigade, under whose leadership this unit liberated Belgrade, will soon be in the Alley of Merited Citizens, at the New Cemetery. As his daughter Aleksandra confirmed for “Novosti”, the urn with Žarić’s ashes, two decades after his death, will be transferred from the Central Cemetery and, in the presence of the highest guests, laid in Aleja, on December 21.
That day marks exactly 80 years since the formation of the First Proletarian, from which the JNA later grew, in Rudo, in 1941. Žarić was a part of it from the very beginning.
This forgotten hero will be buried next to Zdenko Duplančić, a participant in the People’s Republic of Croatia and a colonel in the JNA Air Force, of which he was also the commander. Duplancic was only 15 years old, when he participated in the liberation of Belgrade under Zaric’s leadership, and he passed away on the last day of last year.
– My father was a pioneer, the bearer of the partisan monument with the number 45. Immediately, at the beginning of the war, he participated as the deputy commander of the company in the famous Battle of Pljevlja. From its founding until the end of the war, he was always in leading positions in the First Proletarian Brigade – company commander, battalion commander, deputy brigade commander, and from February 1944 until the end of the war and its dissolution he was commander. He went through all the enemy offensives during the war, played a significant role in breaking through the ring on Sutjeska, liberating Belgrade, breaking through the Srem front, capturing members of the SS Prince Eugene Division, liberating Zagreb, and finally reached Trieste and guarded it until its surrender – says Aleksandra Žarić.
Jagos was considered not only a brave fighter, but also an excellent strategist. He showed his skills when pulling out partisan troops during the battle of Sutjeska, but also by making passages on the Srem front. The fighting lasted for days, many people died when someone remembered and called Žarić. This one looked at the maps and saw the minefield. He knew that the weakest was guarded. He suggested that cattle be chased there, and fighters rushed after him and thus broke through the front. The Americans then sent reporters to film the man who captured members of the elite German SS Prince Eugene Division.
In Shido, in the headquarters, located in the house of Judge Vladimir Krotić, who was killed by the Ustashas, Jagoš also met his future wife Katica, Aleksandra’s mother.
During the battles for the liberation of Belgrade, he fought with General Vladimir Ivanovic Zhdanov, with whose soldiers he liberated street by street, house by house. The most difficult battles were fought around the Main Post Office, the “Albania” Palace, the National Theater … The Russian general demanded that Žarić, who was already serving his sentence on Goli Otok as an Ibean, wait for him at the airport during his visit in 1964. The meeting never took place. because the plane with the delegation from Moscow crashed on Avala. Three decades later, the representatives of the Russian Duma brought Jagoš a decoration on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Patriotic War, and the decree was signed by the then president Boris Yeltsin.
After the war, Jagoš graduated from the FRUNZE Higher Military Academy in Moscow, and upon his return he was a division commander in the rank of colonel. He was proposed as a national hero, but not only did he never receive the decoration, due to the IB Resolution, but, after his arrest, he was deprived of the one he had: two orders for bravery, the Order of the Patriotic War of the first degree of the USSR, the Order of the Partisan Star of the first and second order, the Order of Merit for the People and the Order of Brotherhood and Unity of the first order and the rank of colonel. Only the Partisan monument was left to him.
He was arrested on November 7, 1949, on charges of “trying to annex Montenegro and Macedonia to Greater Albania.” He passed through the Banjica camp, Stara Gradiška, Goli otok and Bileća. Whatever prison he was in, he was beaten and tortured. He was arrested and beaten by his former comrades-in-arms from the First Proletarian Party. He was imprisoned in the infamous Peter’s hole, on the “hell island”, with his comrade-in-arms, Vlado Dapcevic. On Goli Otok, even though his ribs were broken due to the beating, he had to pull a “tracker” full of stones. At night, he pounded stone against stone with his hands and crushed it into shoder. When he fell asleep, they woke him up and pushed him through a line of beatings.
He was amnestied on Republic Day, November 29, 1956, but was followed by udbas for the rest of his life. He died in 2001, and was rehabilitated, at his daughter’s request, in 2013. To this day, however, his decorations have not been returned to the family.
– I addressed the General Secretariat of the President of the Republic and the Ministers of the Army and Police, so I hope that the confiscated medal will be traced or at least replicas will be made. We want to expose them during the laying of the urn – says Aleksandra Žarić, who hopes that her father will be posthumously restored to the rank of colonel, which is familiar to the Human Resources Department of the Human Resources Department of the Ministry of Defense, but also awarded the Order of People’s Hero. he was once denied for political reasons.
The Ministry of Defense, the Directorate for Tradition, Standard and Veterans confirmed to her that there is documentation on the awarding of the medal to Jagoš, but there is no act on their confiscation, nor is it known where they are now. This sector will propose to the Minister of Defense that, in cooperation with the Office of the Order of the President of the Republic, he present the family with a certificate of the awarded decorations, and “then he will dedicate himself to trying to find them”.
LEAD 530 FIGHTS
14,094 fighters passed through the First Proletarian Brigade, of whom 4,818 were killed and about 9,000 wounded. The brigade fought about 530 battles in 1,240 days and covered more than 22,000 kilometers. She gave 91 national heroes. The first commander was Koca Popovic, and the last was Jagos Zaric. In its ranks there were 9,426 Serbs, 1,776 Croats, 1,076 Montenegrins, 301 Muslims, 85 Slovenes, 29 Macedonians, 951 Italians, 82 Hungarians, 66 Jews, 42 Albanians …
STREET IN VOŽDOVAC
JAGOŠ Žarić, with his daughter’s great efforts, got a street with his name, in Voždovac, in 2019. The ceremonial unveiling of the plaque was held that year, on October 20, on the Liberation Day of Belgrade. Among others, one of the last fighters alive at that time, Zdenko Duplančić, was present.
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