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Gospa Talić – The Woman Who Saved Josip Broz Tito

One of the most critical moments during the war years for Josip Broz Tito and the Supreme Headquarters occurred in May 1944, in the small Bosnian-Herzegovinian town of Drvar. During those months, the entire partisan political and military leadership stayed in a hidden cave in this town. A well-organized German airborne assault surprised the partisan military leadership. In the attack that began at 6:00 am on May 25, around nine hundred well-trained German paratroopers covered the clear sky above Drvar. The operation to capture Josip Broz Tito, the primary goal of this operation codenamed Rösselsprung  (Knight’s Move) in German, could now commence.


Among those present in the town that day was the young seventeen-year-old partisan Gospa Talić. While German paratroopers descended, Gospa and her comrades were preparing lunch for the telegraph course comrades. After the alarm signal in the town, Gospa ran out of the building and hid in a nearby trench. However, it was already too late. German paratroopers were everywhere in the town. Shortly after the landing, Gospa Talić was among those captured. German soldiers persistently tried to get information from Gospa about the location of the Supreme Headquarters and Tito. However, despite being tortured, she refused to provide information about the partisan leadership hiding in the cave. Along with some other prisoners, she was taken to the nearby Šobići cemetery in Drvar, where she remained for three days. It was at this location that the iconic photograph was taken, featuring the captured Gospa Talić and German soldiers interrogating her. This photograph was published in the American magazine Life and the German magazine Signal, with the caption: “Among many, this young Amazon was also captured, who paid dearly for her longing for adventure.” Gospa was fortunate to survive the German airborne assault, even though a large number of partisans who failed to escape in time were executed in Drvar during those days.


After the end of World War II in 1966, Josip Broz Tito and Jovanka hosted Gospa and her son Safet. This was the only privilege granted to this heroine after the war. Gospa lived very modestly in Bihać. She passed away in 1977 at the age of 52 and was buried in the family cemetery in Bihać at the foot of the Debeljača hill.


Dino Dupanović

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