Josip Metzger

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Josip Metzger
Born (1883-08-17)August 17, 1883
Franzfeld (Kačarevo)
Died (1945-06-21)June 21, 1945
Allegiance  Austria-Hungary
 Independent State of Croatia
Service/branch Austro-Hungarian Army (until 1918)
Domobranstvo (1941–1944)
Croatian Armed Forces (1944–1945)
Rank Major-General
Awards Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir

Josip Metzger (17 August 1883 – 21 June 1945) was general of Independent State of Croatia.

Early life[edit]

A Danube Swabian who was born in Franzfeld in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Kačarevo in Serbia),[1] Metzger graduated from the Austro-Hungarian Military Academy in Trieste.[1][better source needed]

World War I[edit]

During World War I, Metzger served as an Officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, reaching the rank of infantry Captain.[2]

Interwar separatism[edit]

After the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs declared independence on 1 October 1918, however on 1 December 1918, Regent Alexander announced the union of the Kingdom of Serbia with the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[3]

On 5 December 1918, Metzger led a minor revolt of Croat soldiers in Zagreb, contemporaneously with other regional uprisings,[2] and continued to lead action into 1919 as commander of the Hungarian-based Croat Legion, the small paramilitary wing of the Croat Committee.[4]

Metzger was arrested several times, including for his participation in the so-called Diamantstein affair (sh) (Croatian: Afera Diamantstein) of 1919. Acquitted on 7 April 1920,[1] he fled to the Hungarian border village of Vízvár, and distributed political leaflets in the neighbouring Yugoslav Medjimurje region.[5]

Metzger worked for the Hungarian Defense Ministry.[6] During 1930, Metzger, then a Hungarian intelligence officer, engaged with other members of the Party of Rights in organisation of proto-Ustaše activity among Croats in towns along the border of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.[7]

Metzger's German descent was a rarity among the small number of pre-World War II Ustaše members, given the Ustaše's racialist principals.[8] He was allegedly one of the organisers of the 1934 assassination in Marseilles of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia.[9]

World War II[edit]

On 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers, the puppet government of Independent State of Croatia was created, headed by Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić.[8]

In response to the June 1941 uprising in eastern Herzegovina by Serb rebels, General Vladimir Laxa intended for Metzger (by-then promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel) to command a newly formed special unit to clear the Montenegran hinterland of any remaining rebels once its border areas had been cleared.[10]

In the summer of 1944, the People's Uprising Corps (Croatian: Pučko Ustaški Sbor, lit. 'Ustaše Reserve Corps') was formed with four regiments of older reservists under Metzger, by then a Major-General.[11] The Corps, named after the original corps which fought alongside the Royal Croatian Home Guard (Croatian: Hrvatsko Domobranstvo) against Serbia in 1914,[citation needed] was disbanded in March 1945.[11] Metzger then led the 4th Division in the Battle of Lijevče Field between March 30 and April 8, 1945.[citation needed]

For his service to the Independent State of Croatia during World War II, Metzger was awarded the Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir 1st Class Cross with Star, which granted him Knighthood and allowed him the title vitez.[citation needed]


Metzger surrendered on 15 May 1945[12] to the British and was repatriated to Yugoslavia. Having been convicted as one of the chief organisers of the Janka-Puszta concentration camp[better source needed] in Hungary, was executed in Zagreb on 21 June 1945.[1][13]


  1. ^ a b c d Bulajić, Milan. Jasenovac: the Jewish Serbian holocaust (the role of the Vatican) in Nazi-Ustasha Croatia (1941-1945). Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism. 
  3. ^ Berend, Ivan T. Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe before World War II. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Newman, John Paul. Yugoslavia in the Shadow of War: Veterans and the Limits of State Building 1903-1945. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Banac, Ivo. The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Kenyon, Kevin. Italy, Hungary, and the Dissolution of Yugoslavia, 1920-1937. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. The Three Yugoslavias: State-building and Legitimation, 1918-2005. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Bartulin, Nevenko. Honorary Aryans: National-Racial Identity and Protected Jews in the Independent State of Croatia. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Request by the Yugoslav Government Under Article 11, Paragraph 2, of the Covenant. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Marijan, Davor (October 2003). "Lipanjski ustanak u istočnoj Hercegovini 1941. godine" [The June uprising in eastern Herzegovina 1941]. Časopis za suvremenu povijest (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb, Croatia: Croatian Institute of History. 35 (2): 565–566. ISSN 1848-9079. 
  11. ^ a b Thomas, Nigel; Mikulan, Krunoslav. Axis Forces in Yugoslavia 1941-45. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Dramatis Personae and Finis of the Independent State of Croatia in American and British Documents. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Yugoslav Traitors Get Death Penalty". The Milwaukee Journal. 26 June 1945. p. 6. Retrieved 1 January 2016.