Josip Jović and the Plitvice Lakes Police Action

Urednik News, News

‘Bloody Easter’ is a historic event and a turning point in the Homeland War, the first hint of the difficult path we would take to our independence and freedom, for which the Croatian people suffered many casualties, and Croatian police officer Josip Jović, who died at Plitvice Lakes at the age of 21, was the first among them.

The beginning of the Homeland War and the defence of the sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia are always linked to the Croatian police force from which our victorious army was born. Croatian police officers recognised the importance of this historic moment and were ready to lay down their lives for the freedom of our homeland, for which Croatia is eternally grateful. The Plitvice Lakes police action was the response of the Croatian police force to the occupation of Plitvice Lakes National Park and the blocking of the state road connecting the north and south parts of the country.

Members of the Rakitje Special Tasks Unit under the Croatian Ministry of the Interior, the Lučko Anti-Terrorism Unit and the Kumrovec Special Police Unit successfully carried out this police action, which resulted in the first Croatian casualty and nine police officers being wounded.

As a reminder, on that Easter morning, at the time of the police action of the Croatian police force, there was half a meter of snowfall at Plitvice Lakes. A dense, ominous fog descended, and then gunfire fell from a nearby forest on the convoy of vehicles transporting Croatian police officers. The death of this young Homeland War volunteer, Croatian police officer Josip Jović, went down in history as ‘Bloody Easter’ and thus marked the day when the first casualty of the Homeland War was suffered for the freedom and independence of Croatia. The shot aimed at Josip Jović was, at that time, also a shot taken at the rebirth of Croatia, but today we bear witness to our homeland having risen again from his blood and the sacrifice of thousands of Croatian soldiers. After the calvary at Vukovar, the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia followed, and the final reward for the sacrifice of Josip Jović, who gave his life for our homeland and for a free Croatia, was reaped during glorious Operation Storm, in honour of which our tri-coloured flag will proudly fly on the high rock of the Knin Fortress for generations.

Josip Jović is a symbol of patriotism, dedication and courage, and his premature death that ended his youth became, in the context of the Homeland War, the most powerful motivator for all Croatian soldiers in a ruthless defence against Serbian aggressors. His sacrifice is a symbol of all our casualties and a shining example for new generations, especially the honourable Croatian police officers who protect the Croatian people and the Croatian border as the pride of our people and our homeland.

It is with gratitude and pride that we remember Josip Jović, in whose honour and memory a memorial centre was opened in his native village of Aržano as well as all the Croatian soldiers whose sacrifice enabled us to live in a free and independent Croatia.

May their love for our homeland and their willingness to sacrifice be a lasting source of motivation and of eternal inspiration.

Text: Ministry of Croatian Veterans