Croatia: Goodbye Violeta-Vicky, The Heroine Of Freedom

Tribute to Violeta Antolic - Vicky Original photo collation by Goran D.

Tribute to Violeta Antolic – Vicky
Original photo collation by Goran D.

 

She was barely 21 years old when she left her three-year-old son in the care of others at the bomb shelter in Vukovar, took a rifle into her hands and went shoulder to shoulder to the front-line with her male veterans, the heroes of Croatia’s Homeland War, to defend the city from Serb aggression, beastly destruction of anyone non-Serb, of their homes, infrastructure, community and religious buildings…Violeta Antolic – Vicky defended Vukovar’s Sajmiste to the last minute, until ethnically cleansed and devastated Vukovar fell into Serb occupation (November 1991), only to end up in a Serb concentration camp – as a courageous defender she was the only woman in HOS (1991 Croatian Defence Forces arm of Croatian Party of Rights made up of volunteers from Croatia and abroad) fighting the enemy on equally strong and determined love for freedom as her male veterans. She endured all the imaginable and unimaginable horrors of war; she was a heroine the kind of which one rarely sees in battlefields only to die in a fatal car crash in Zagreb, in her free Croatia, on Tuesday 29 July 2014.
The first line of defence was at Sajmiste, the place where I grew up and where I lived. When I arrived (to HOS local headquarters) I said that I did not want to be someone who is entrusted for First Aid, that I did not want to be nurse or a cook,” said Violeta in an interview two months ago for Oluja (Storm) magazine.
Here is some more of Violeta’s story of courage, suffering and determination for freedom:
When they started shooting at our home from the barracks, we had to run into our neighbour’s cellar. The army started to come out of the barracks and we were not aware of this. They also started to shoot at my son, whom I was carrying in my arms. As we broke through to Olajnica my three-year-old son screamed and cried: mama, mama. The shelter was full of men and women.

 

I felt safer but everything in me burned with rage.

 

I thought: they shot at my son – I’ll strike back.

 

In a coincidence, the boys from HOS formation were passing by. I asked if they had a gun for me, because I had no money to buy one. They gave me a Kalashnikov. Street battles ensued that night. They captured one of ours. Sajmiste echoed from his screams. I froze then, but I decided to remain at Sajmiste. We found clean clothes in houses and brought water from the well. That’s how we kept ourselves clean. A sniper fatally hit our first commander Vladimir Derek-Sokol at that spot. We did not go out for water any more. Things were getting worse and worse. When Vukovar “fell” we withdrew from the front lines.

 

The stench of death was in the air; the city had collapsed under the final defence.

 

The Serb paramilitary and local Serbs took the few people that remained to Velepromet. After that I dressed in civilian clothes and went to get my son, and with my child was taken to Velepromet. They separated us into male and female columns. They pulled out my stepfather and beat him.

 

They separated me from my son; I thought I would go mad. I pleaded with them to return him to me.

 

They laughed and giggled at me saying that they would take him to Belgrade and place him in an orphanage. Luckily a friend of mine took my son. Soon after four men came and took me away and beat me with batons, rifles, sticks and feet. My first neighbour who drove his fist into my face first hit me. He was younger than me. Predrag Marusin-Pedja hit me after the main gendarme Nenad Zigic gave him approval for that. Pedja was a dear young man before the war. I think he was an artist. If the situation were reversed I would never let a hair fall from his scalp. Miki Ikac and another enemy man were there too.

 

The four of them took turns in beating me. They beat me with batons, rifles, sticks and feet. I collapsed, lost consciousness and then they dragged me into the ‘room of death’ in which they had murdered four people on the same evening. They weren’t sure if I was at the front line as I lived in Sajmiste. A Serb woman had previously seen me in uniform near the hospital and it was probably she who revealed my identity.

 

 

A man returned with his face slashed, another was forced to eat bullets, and the hands of many were tied with barbed wire.

 

 

I remember how they ridiculed and giggled when they took a young man. He said: let me just get my tennis shoes. They replied: you won’t need them where you’re going.

 

 

Ljubce Atanasov saved me from certain death. He said I should be as silent as possible. When they started to beat me again, he yelled at them. He set up guard and did not allow anyone near again. One day a real Chetnik arrived, as from a movie, ripped from a mountain, bearded … I stood before him with my face all beaten up and swollen. He took out a knife and said to me – oh, you’re so swollen, I bet your tooth aches. Come on, open your mouth so I can pull it out and it won’t hurt any more. I put my hand to my mouth and kept saying my tooth did not hurt.

 

 

After that they transferred us to a military base in Mitrovica (Serbia, concentration camp) where we waited for a prisoner of war exchange. Luckily I was in the first exchange group and came out at the same time as dr. Vesna Bosanac. My recovery time did not last long. In May, together with the 204th Vukovar Veterans Bridage I went to Suica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When the air attack occurred I shot at the plane with anti-aircraft weapons, saying to myself that I could finally confront the plane that had shot at me when I was in Vukovar…

Violeta Antolic – Vicky earned the rank of Sergeant Major during the war.

An amazing photo-video tribute: “Violeta Antolic –Vicky: goodbye my friend”

Violeta’s tragic death in a car accident barely attracted a few lines on back pages of mainstream print media in Croatia. No doubt, the culprits for such a shameful display are those who still sit in high positions of power, pining for communist Yugoslavia, making sure Croatia’s heroes and heroines are kept away from widespread national show of pride. Never mind – God is great! For Violeta’s funeral will come in the days of celebrating 19 years since Operation Storm (5 August 1995), which freed much of Croatian territory from Serb aggression and set the path to freedom and democracy.

I will end this post with the words of 1LT Anne (Sosh) Brehm, US Army Nurse Corps/WWII:
Let the generations know that women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom. That our resolve was just as great as the brave men who stood among us. And with victory our hearts were just as full and beat just as fast – that the tears fell just as hard for those we left behind”.

 

Screenshot from movie "The Heroes of Vukovar" -  Violeta Antolic - Vicky

Screenshot from movie “The Heroes of Vukovar” –
Violeta Antolic – Vicky

 

Rest in God’s peace, Violeta – Vicky!
Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

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  2. annathrax says:

    What an amazing and courageous woman! Thanks for showing us her story.

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  3. Wow….

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  4. Tears fell shamelessly as I read Vicky’s words. Her legacy will live within those of us who did not know her, and now I will never forget this young courageous woman. Bravo Ina i hvala vama for sharing her story with the world.

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    • Thank you Dubrovniklady – she was and will remain a hero and a heroine in my eyes for Violeta-Vicky represented so deeply the resolve and strength of that what Croatia needed and received from its people in those times of terrible aggression.

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    • Thank you Dubrovniklady – she was and will remain a hero and a heroine in my eyes for Violeta-Vicky represented so deeply the resolve and strength of that what Croatia needed and received from its people in those times of terrible aggression.

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  5. I had not known her story before this – thank you, Ina.

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  6. People like her do not die their memory keep living….. what a sad thing the Yogoslav air forces meant to protect their people were used aganist mothers and children.

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  7. God be with you Vicky. Rest in Peace.

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  8. Got chills. Omg. To read this as a mother…It is beyond words, how beastly people can become in war. But the worst situations can bring out the best in us. I grieve for the boy, but how proud he should be as a young man to have had such a heroic, strong mother.

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  9. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    What a courageous young woman she was! How sad that her son will grow without her; in years to come he will put her picture on the wall and point to it saying, ‘she did this for me!’ It breaks my heart to think of him without her. 😦

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  10. Bog joj blagoslovi.
    Komunisti i četnici trunuti u paklu

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  11. What a story. We need more people like her.

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  12. Brave woman! This is the type of women that should be our rolemodels not Beyonces and Lady Gagas of this world! RIP

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    • Oh yes, Dani – we need to keep hold of that fact for if we don’t we lose ourselves in the crowds that have no direction and seek instant gratification. The gratitude that comes with Violeta-Vicky is the substance of pride in humanity.

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    • Exactly, dani… Catholics also have Catholic martyrs and saints, so many of whom suffered/died for their faith (Margaret Clitherow comes straight to mind) as eternal inspiration for life…

      “I felt safer but everything in me burned with rage.”

      “I thought: they shot at my son – I’ll strike back.”

      That’s the Croatian way…

      God bless you, Violeta Antolic – Vicky, and THANK YOU…

      (and thank you, Ina, for your great blog 🙂 … I like to read it, but have never posted before, but I had to post something here in tribute to Violeta)…

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  13. Very fascinating Ina. This is all new to me. I read it with great interest re how the truth is so distorted on many levels and how easily freedoms and human dignity are replaced with those that ‘giggle’ while committing evils. In the U.S., the average citizen has little understanding of the atrocities of history, particularly in SE Europe.

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  14. Thank you for sharing the story. She was a brave woman.

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  15. Site Owner says:

    Watched the video. A moving tribute in images to her. She was a brave woman. I stopped by to say Hi because I haven’t been on my other site. It got sidetracked due to the slaughter in Gaza–that we both mentioned in a previous discussion.

    Lots of brave people being massacred there also. I’m doing what I can for them through social media, and by forming social alliances. Hopefully, it will make some difference. The war criminals — sadly my country arming them — are ruthless and very well financed.

    Definitely wanted to say hello. Godspeed with your efforts.

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    • Must admit, I have been living in perpetual sadness regarding Gaza and what’s happening there, the suffering … Site Owner

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      • Site Owner says:

        Oh sorry, Ina. I didn’t put my name on there, did I. Donald Miller. 😀

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      • Thanks, Donald – I thought it was you, Donald 🙂

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      • Site Owner says:

        🙂 I know you’re busy. Stop by when you can.

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      • I do, I do 🙂

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      • Michael Silovic says:

        Vicky is but one of many a Croatian hero that made the ultimate sacrifice for all of the people of Croatia. They should always be honored and remembered for their sacrifices as they are the reason we are free. I only hope her family is doing well.I will never forgive Serbia for the crimes they have committed. when I go home to visit it is with a heavy heart knowing the death and destruction to our beautiful country. As to your comments on Gaza I can say it is very bad situation that did not have to happen and a lot of war crimes are being committed but we will see how it plays out.Stealing peoples lands for a greater state is similar to what Serbia attempted to do to us

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      • I agree with you, Michael, on all counts, but forgiveness may be good when time for that is ripe, although we should NEVER FORGET the crimes done against our people.

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  16. Great post and thank you for this incredible story. A courageous woman to remember, she gets all my support, RIP.

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  17. Great blog post Ina.!! Thank you for the tribute to Violeta – it was beautiful.

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  18. Hi there! I love visiting your blog and thanks so much for visiting ours but I see that you have been liking the blog posts of someone who is stalking me. Just so that you are aware of what you are supporting – http://wp.me/p3LSyI-JE. Thanks!

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  19. therealamericro says:

    R.I.P. Violeta.

    The sacrifices from August 1991 through the end of July 1995, helped secure total victory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEWtOrNp_uA.

    Every skirmish, every patrol, every recon patrol, every troop movement, every small unit terrain gain, was part of a giant whole: total victory.

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  20. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    MAY HER CHILDREN AND HER COUNTRY BE PROUD OF HER!!!!

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  21. I am ashamed to admit I did not know about Violeta Antolic until now. Thank you Ina, for telling her story. It’s blogs like yours that keep my interest in learning more about Croatia and the people that make our country.

    Rest in Peace, Violeta. Lets never forget her sacrifice and all the sacrifices made during the Homeland war.

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  22. Reblogged this on The Mind of RD REVILO.

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  23. Veronika says:

    Incredibly important day in the history of Croatia. It should be studied by every child in school there. God Bless these brave men and women. If the operations that fall under the name ‘OIuja’ were put on by a larger Western power, these actions would be studied in history classes and military training centres across the planet. Incredible victory which allowed for western Bosnia to be secured…until the West said no, stop ! If these operations had continued we would not have a divided Bosnia today. Zivjeli.

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  24. Veronika says:

    Sorry Ina, I was so excited about today I wrote in the wrong section. God Bless Violeta and the other brave men and women who fought to free Croatia from Greater Serb/Yugoslav aggression!

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    • It’s OK, Veronika, because Violeta – Vicky is also remembered and thanked on this big day of Homeland Gratitude, Victory and Veterans

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      • Veronika says:

        You know Ina, this is the stuff Hollywood should do movies on, courageous women like this, not garbage like Monster on the pathetic life of Aileen Wuornos staring Charlize Theron. Women like Violeta are real life heroes.

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      • Totally agree, Veronika. Perhaps after the awarded movie Number 55 on Homeland war a movie about Violeta will come.

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  25. Out of war comes people who have strength and conviction, but this is not an encouragement for war, but purely one of its outcomes.

    I hope the day will come when there are no wars and lasting peace will be resulting, but until then lets all live the lives we can.

    I did not know Violeta-Vicky, but I am still sorry for her passing.

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  26. The government should build monuments to people like Violeta. Like they did for heroes like Blago Zadro, Josip Jovic, and Rudolf Perešin. Too many Homeland War Heroes to list in this small space. I encourage everyone to learn about these people. An easy task through the internet! These people and their stories should be in all the kids school books, taught over and over again. These are the folks kids should look up to, not useless pop musicians and actors!

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  27. What an amazing woman. Be in peace, Violeta!

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  28. Incredible indeed.

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  29. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you will check out my paperbacks at amazon now converted from eBooks. Your post continue to be outstanding, giving a voice to so many subjects and situations, you have enlightened me on a world once unknown. Have a great weekend. Ann

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  30. heartfelt tribute that helps those of us that hadn’t heard of her get to know her 🙂

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