National Heroes

National heroes are the Partisan fighters in the Second World War, who distinguished themselves in bravery or heroic deaths. The title of National heroes was introduced during the war, in 1942, and the first National Hero was Petar Leković, an experienced fighter in the two wars. The next year, 1943, an Order of the National Hero was introduced, awarded even after the war, mostly posthumously – to the fallen warriors. The communist authorities in Yugoslavia ensured that the national heroes would be only those who fought as members of the Partisan Movement.


The last Order of the National Hero was conferred in Yugoslavia in 1974 to Milka Bosnić, who – as sixteen year old girl – died in a German raid on Drvar in 1944, defending a partisan tank. The last Yugoslav national Hero was Milan Tepić, a Yugoslav Army major. Unlike the majority of national heroes who fought in the Second World War, Milan Tepić participated in the not-so-long-ago 1991 war, which was the result of the Yugoslavia breakup.  he was a major in the military barracks in the village of Bedenik near Bjelovar. The major and the Yugoslav Army soldiers defended the barracks from the Croatian forces. In order to prevent the weapons to fall into the enemy hands, the major ordered the soldiers to leave and blew up the ammunition depot, dying in action. This deed, similar to the one of Stevan Sinđelić, brought major Tepića among the Serbian heroes never to be forgotten. Today, streets in Belgrade and Banjaluka bear his name, and the Republika Srpska army introduced a decoration of his name.


The best known Serbian national heroes are Boško Buha, a young bomber who died in 1943; Savo Kovačević, a legendary commander of the Third Battalion of the NLA, who died in the Battle on Sutjeska – the Fifth Offensive; Vladimir Perić Valter and many others.