|2nd Secretary of the
Communist Party of Croatia
1940 – 22 May 1942
|Preceded by||Đuro Špoljarić|
|Succeeded by||Vlado Popović|
6 August 1911|
Končarev Kraj, Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary
|Died||22 May 1942
|Political party||Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ)|
|Religion||None (Atheist)|
Rade Končar was born in the village of Končarev Kraj (part of Plitvička Jezera), Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary, to an ethnic Serb family. After finishing primary school, he left his home for Serbia in order to school himself to become a machinist.
In 1934, Končar became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Employed by the Belgrade power company, in 1936 he was arrested by the Royal police and sentenced to one year in prison for his communist activity. After serving his sentence he went to Zagreb where he took a job in the local workshop of Siemens AG. There he organised a Party cell and led a strike, which led to him rising quickly in the Communist Party ranks. In 1938 he became a member of the Zagreb local Party committee, and in 1939 he became the general secretary of the Croatian Communist Party. One year later he became a member of the Politburo of CPY.
Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, he was working on preparations for an armed uprising against the occupation forces and their collaborators. In September 1941, he organized the sabotage at the General Post Office in Zagreb. Late that month, he took part in a conference with other Partisan leaders in Stolice following which he traveled to Split. Here, he organised a resistance movement against the Italian occupation force. His efforts resulted in series of spectacular actions against Italian soldiers, local Fascists and collaborators, most notable being a grenade attack on Italian military band. In his dispatches to Party leadership Končar bragged about causing "such panic among Italians, that 200 armed men could have liberated Split without shots being fired".
On 17 November 1941 Končar was arrested by the Italian OVRA. Despite being tortured, he refused to give his name and the Italian authorities established his identity only after obtaining old Royal Yugoslav files from the Ustaša secret police in Zagreb. Končar stood trial at a special Italian military tribunal and received the death sentence. He was shot in Šibenik together with 25 other anti-fascists.
Rade Končar quickly became one of the greatest Partisan icons. The later conventional depiction of his sentencing and execution says that, when asked whether he would ask for clemency, Končar said Milosti ne tražim, niti bih vam je dao ("I will not ask for mercy nor would I have it on you"); when they aimed their guns at his back, he said Kukavice, pucajte u prsa ("Cowards, shoot me in the chest"). These two exclamations later became famous and were often repeated as an example of Partisan bravery.
In August 1942 he was among the first to receive title of People's Hero of Yugoslavia. Few months later, in December 1942, the 13th Proletarian Brigade of the National Liberation Army was named after him.
Končar Group, an electrical equipment conglomerate in Zagreb that exists to this day, was named after him. The Electrical Engineering Highschool "Rade Končar" in Belgrade is also named after him. Končar-class missile boat of former Yugoslav Navy was also named after him.
- Končar Gece Rade on www.znaci.net (Croatian)
- "Narodni heroji Jugoslavije", Mladost, Beograd, 1975 (Serbian)
|Party political offices|
|Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia
1940 – 22 May 1942