The Partisan Necropolis

In the heart of Former Yugoslavia stands the Partisan Memorial Cemetery, a poignant symbol of both architectural significance and anti-fascist resistance. Yet, this revered landmark faces a dire threat from neo-fascist forces. Amidst the divisions of Mostar, a determined coalition of locals try to safeguard it and their city’s history.

Built in 1965 the Partisan Memorial Cemetery is dedicated to those who died fighting as Yugoslav Partisans against the Independent State of Croatia – a puppet state of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. It was designed by renowned architect Bohdan Bogdanovic and listed as a National Monument. A hillside landscape of memorial plagues and remains of young partisans explicitly conceived as a “city of the dead” facing the “city of the living” to remind Mostar of the sacrifices made. 

Today not even the local residents visit, claiming it’s overrun with drug takers and an eye sore. Many residents and politicians want the site to disappear – claiming it is a communist relic from the past and not part of ‘their history’ as Neo-fascist groups slowly vandalise the site.

The most recent full-scale attack happened in June 2022 when over 500 hundred named memorial plaques were smashed into pieces. No one has ever been held responsible and many argue that police inaction is part of the problem and evidence of larger political forces at work.

Like the divided city of Mostar itself, the site divides opinion, and is a bitter ideological battleground at a time when fascism and far-right revisionism are on the rise everywhere.

This documentary will tell the story of the Partisan Memorial – its history, design, cultural heritage, legacy, and most importantly, its fight for survival as a small group of determined locals and activists fight an uphill battle to protect the site and preserve their city’s history.

Marina Mimoza - Partisan Necropolis - Mostar by Chris Leslie
Broken memorial plaque in the Partisan Memorial Cemetery, Mostar