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Resistance in cities Young people

Vladimir Perić Valter and the resistance in Sarajevo

Resistance operative, member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, People’s Hero, symbol of Sarajevo and icon of pop culture:  Vladimir Perić, who became known under his pseudonym Valter, left an indelible mark in the history of the city. Born in 1919 in Prijepolje in Serbia, today he is most associated with Sarajevo: He lived in the city at the beginning of war and then came back in 1943 with a special assignment. The underground resistance movement, which was almost destroyed after massive arrests by the Ustasha police and the Gestapo, had to be rebuilt. Valter’s letters from the Archive Collection of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina can illustrate that process.

 

The collection contains six letters from Vladimir Perić Valter, the first being dated November 18th 1943, in which he writes to comrade Marko about the state of the resistance movement upon his arrival. The situation was disturbing, the morale was low and the atmosphere fearful among those who belonged to the underground resistance network. In one of his letters he wrote: “There were also such cases where it was almost certain that they would bark out everything they knew after one slap.” Despite this, he pointed out that in three months he managed to put the organization on a “more solid and permanent foundation“, working on the recruitment of new members and the improvement of communication within the underground network and with the Partisans outside the city. A few months later, on May 23rd 1944, significant progress was noticeable in all areas. The problem of communication was solved as he stated in the letter: “Our radio station “Meho” will be able to do all the work.“, and the propaganda activity was intensified. Thanks to connections with influential figures within the state apparatus, resistance operatives got access to plenty of confidential information. Analyzing the state of morale of the Home Guard units, Valter pointed out that there is a high chance that these units will not offer any resistance to the partisans if they attack the city, but moreover that they will join them. In further letters, the main topic is the establishment of a connection between the resistance movement and partisan units in the vicinity of Sarajevo, to transfer the people to free territory. One such example was the transfer of Home Guard Lieutenant Murat Salman and 100 militiamen who decided to join the NOP.

 

The last letter from the collection is dated March 25th 1945, but there is no mention of the impending attack on Sarajevo. In it, he talked about the connection by which the recruits will be transferred to the free territory. Eight days later, on April 6th, the attack on Sarajevo followed. In the liberation of the city, the resistance movement played a crucial role led by Valter, who died in the last battles for the liberation of the city. He was proclaimed People’s hero in Yugoslavia in 1953.

 

Nedim Pustahija

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