27 January 1916|
Opuzen, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Austro-Hungarian Empire
22 May 1942 (aged 26)|
Valjevo, Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia
Stjepan Filipović (27 January 1916 – 22 May 1942) was a Yugoslav communist who led Kolubara Company of the Valjevo Partisan Detachment during the 1941 Partisan uprising. He was captured and executed in 1942 in Valjevo. The photo of him taken shortly before the execution has become a symbol of resistance against fascism in the Second World War. He was proclaimed People's Hero of Yugoslavia in 1949.
Stjepan Filipović was born on 27 January 1916 in Opuzen (modern-day Croatia) as fifth child in the family of Anton and Ivka Filipović. Filipović family moved through Kingdom of Yugoslavia so he lived in Županja, Mostar and Kragujevac. In Kragujevac, he studied locksmith craft and mastered the basics of electrical, carpentry and bookbinder crafts. He joined the labour movement in 1937, but he was arrested in 1939 and sentenced to a year in prison. He later joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1940.
Filipović was commander of the Partisans' Tamnavsko-Kolubarski unit in Valjevo (modern-day Serbia) by 1941. He was captured on 24 February 1942 by Axis forces and subsequently hanged in Valjevo on 27 May 1942, aged 26. As the rope was put around his neck, Filipović defiantly thrust his hands out and shouted "Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu!" which translates as "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!". He urged the Yugoslav people to resist and implored them to never cease resisting. At this moment, a photograph was taken which has since become famous, and from which a statue of Filipović was cast.
Filipović was declared a National Hero of Yugoslavia on 14 December 1949. The town of Valjevo has a statue dedicated to him, "Stevan Filipović". A monument was also erected in his home town of Opuzen in 1968, but was demolished in 1991; reconstruction is planned by the Croatian Ministry of Culture. During the war his two brothers Nikola and Šimun Filipović also died.
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- Narodni heroji Jugoslavije, Mladost, Belgrade, 1975.
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