Heroic struggle and resistance: Anti-fascist spirit in Banat 1941–1945

National liberation struggle, organized resistance and courage: A look at the anti-fascist movement in Banat during the Second World War. An investigation of the geographical, political and social conditions that shaped the struggle against the Nazi occupation, with an emphasis on the role of partisan units, local cooperation and the challenges of the lack of war materials. A depiction of the heroism and sacrifices of young fighters in the fight for freedom and justice.

Sofija - Sonja Marinković (1916–1941)
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Sofija - Sonja Marinković (1916–1941)

Sonja Marinković is one of the most inspiring figures of the People's Liberation Struggle in Vojvodina. She was born on April 3, 1916, in Striježevica near Požega. Her mother was a teacher and her father a priest. After her mother's death, she moved to Surduk, a village in Srem near Stara Pazova, where she enrolled in elementary school.

She later moved to Sombor, where she began lower gymnasium. She graduated from the State Women's Real Gymnasium in Novi Sad and then went on to study in Zemun. There, she graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Sonja was of delicate build and had problems with her leg, making her partially lame, but this didn't deter her. She was spirited and refused to accept defeat. She joined numerous student organizations, held leadership positions among students at her faculty, and served as vice president of women's dormitories in Zemun. She participated in the International Peace Congress in Paris in 1937 as a representative of the youth of Vojvodina. She was very popular among the students of Vojvodina; it is even recorded that she was cheered several times during public appearances.

Leftist ideas intrigued her through books. In 1935, she joined the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ), and in 1936, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ). As an agronomist, she worked in agricultural organizations in Novi Sad. She organized activities for SKOJ, collected aid for the International Brigades in Spain, as well as for political prisoners in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Her activities were closely monitored by the authorities; she was arrested twice, first in Belgrade in 1939 and then in Novi Sad in 1940. She was released from prison just before the start of the April War. To avoid further persecution, she moved to Petrovgrad to stay with her sister Vida. In May, she attended a conference of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CK KPJ) in Zagreb. To support and accelerate the formation of units and the implementation of actions, Sonja embarked on a special mission to Belgrade. As a well-known rebel, she was recognized by police agents. She was arrested in Pančevo on July 14 and brought to Petrovgrad for interrogation. She was severely tortured but did not speak. She was executed on July 31 at the old cemetery in Bagljaš. She refused to turn her back on the firing squad and demanded that they shoot her in the chest. Sonja Marinković, through her actions, became an guiding idea for many insurgents from Banat and throughout the former Yugoslavia. The burning of her remains two years after her death was an attempt to suppress that idea, but instead, it only ignited it further. Her father immediately joined the People's Liberation Struggle after her death, and a large number of Banat residents followed Sonja's ideals, eager for the fight. Sonja Marinković was declared a national hero on October 25, 1943. 48 schools in Vojvodina bear her name.

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