Dotrscina Forest Memorials
Zagreb, Croatia
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Dotrscina is a forest on the outskirts of Zagreb, just beyond the city boundaries. It is out of the way and this probably influenced its fate. After the beginning of the war in Croatia, in April 1941, a Quisling government was established. Very soon, the resistance movement started and prosecutions and arrests happened every day. Unfortunately many of those arrested never came back, being eliminated by firing squads, by hanging, in hospital as a result of torture or..... So the forest of Dotrscina was selected as a burial ground for those already dead and an execution site for others.

Some elderly residents currently living in the vicinity still remember the sound of shooting heard from the forest. According to recent investigations, there are more than 7,000 people buried there. In the beginning of 60's, it has been decided to establish a memorial zone here. In 1990 this project was partially realized, so we can find four single memorials and a Valley of Graves. Today, the whole zone is in good shape and well maintained. Visiting the site now you can find people walking around with their children, with dogs, even sometimes on horses. The whole zone lives as a recreational as well as a memorial area.

The first memorial is situated on the southeastern tip of the forest and is visible for all those who approach the forest or even pass by. The stone path seen here is the "official" entrance to the zone. This memorial is the place where on special occasions people place flowers or candles. In 1964 this was the first memorial erected. It is made from stainless steel and the sculptor was Vojin Bakic. It is dedicated to all those who were executed in the forest.

Another view of the memorial.

Flowers and candles surround the base of the memorial.

This inscribed stone is located just behind the memorial. It reads "Unfailing sources of strength, unbreakable wings of freedom, brave in their deaths, eternal in their lives, in the deeds of living your deeds live".
(All photos and text courtesy of Vladimir Tarnovski)
© 2014 Vladimir Tarnovski all rights reserved

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Page published May 28, 2014