Commemorative Medal of the Partisans of 1941

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The Commemorative Medal of the Partisans of 1941

The Commemorative Medal of the Partisans of 1941 (Serbo-Croatian: Partizanska Spomenica 1941. Slovene: Partizanska spomenica 1941) is a commemorative Yugoslav medal instituted on 14 September 1944, awarded to those actively involved in leading the Partisan National Liberation Army or political units between 1941 and the end of World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, the numbers of recorded active soldiers of the Partisan National Liberation Army fighting rose from 81,000 to over 800,000 across Yugoslavia. These figures do not include other members of the partisan resistance who were simultaneously active at the time in other capacities including political personnel, civilian duties, undercover operatives, amongst whom some of these medals were also justly distributed. In total 27,629 of these medals were awarded by the end of its awarding period in 1963. It was given only to surviving soldiers, whereas families of those killed in action were awarded the Commemorative Medal of Martyrs of 1941.

The first set of medals awarded between 1944 and 1946 were produced in the Soviet Union and made of bronze and red enamel. After the Partisan Monuments Act of 1941, these were replaced by a new design for the medal designed by Antun Augustinčić and Djordje Andrejevic Kun. This later model is made out of silver with gold-plated parts, and is worn on the left side of the blouse or coat pocket.

According to the "Law on Fundamental Rights of holders of the Commemorative Partisan Medal 1941" dated December 21 1972, holders were entitled to health care and other rights to health insurance, pension supplement, fixed monthly allowance, annual allowance recovery, free and privileged access to public transportation means and holidays. The medals were presented with a special personalised booklet as a type of passport for these privileges. Applications for the medal were possible until 1957. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, recipients of the medal were still able to receive some of the benefits of their award in the former Yugoslav countries.

Although originally ranked alongside the other recorded Yugoslav medals, this was later changed. Since then it has historically been considered to be of its own category separate to other traditional Yugoslav decorations.