Radić, Lepa Svetozara.

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Radić, Lepa Svetozara. born 19-12-1925, in the village of Gašnica near Bosanska Gradiška to a Serb family. After graduation from the elementary school in the nearby Bistrica, she attended the first grade of Women’s School of Crafts in Bosanska Krupa and completed the remaining grades at school in Bosanska Gradiška.

As a pupil, Lepa emphasized hard work, seriousness, and was also interested in reading advanced literature. She developed her core positions under the strong influence of her uncle Vladeta Radić, who was involved in the labor movement. Vladeta Radić, son of Milošev, born in 1914 in Gradiška, fighter in 1941, activist in preparation for the uprising, died in 1942 as a battalion commissioner in the offensive on Kozara.

Starting with becoming a member of the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ), she eventually joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1941 at the age of 15.

On 10-04-1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia, the Axis powers established the Independent State of Croatia, which included Bosanska Gradiška and surrounding areas.

In November 1941, Lepa Radić and other family members were arrested by the Ustaše, but with the help of undercover partisan associates, Lepa and her sister Dara managed to escape from prison on 23-12-1941. Following her escape, she joined the 7th partisan company of the 2nd Krajiški Detachment.

Death and burial ground of Radić, Lepa Svetozara.

In February 1943 Lepa Radić was responsible for transporting the wounded in the battle of Neretva to a shelter in Grmech. During the fight against the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen under command of SS Brigadeführer August Schmidthuber, she was captured and moved to Bosanska Krupa where, after torture for several days in an attempt to extract information, she was sentenced to death by hanging.

With the noose around her neck, she cried out: “Long live the Communist Party, and partisans! Fight, people, for your freedom! Do not surrender to the evildoers! I will be killed, but there are those who will avenge me!” In her last moments at the scaffold, the Germans offered to spare her life, in return for the names of the Communist Party leaders and members in the shelter, but she refused their offer with the words: “I am not a traitor of my people. Those whom you are asking about will reveal themselves when they have succeeded in wiping out all you evildoers, to the last man.”  When they asked her the names of her companions, she replied: “You will know them when they come to avenge me.”  She was made to stand on a large chest, her hands were tied behind her and she was noosed with a thin cord.

The chest was pulled away leaving her suspended.  Lepa Radić was only 17 years old when she was publicly executed. Her grave location is unknown, but there are different remembrance stones for her.

On 11-02-1943, SS Brigadeführerl Schmidthuber received from his subordinated executions report: “A bandit hanged in Bosanska Krupa showed an unprecedented incarnation.” During the security warfare in Kosovo, Schmidhuber issued more orders to kill prisoners and burn villages. Convicted of war crimes in Yugoslavia, he was executed on 19-02-1947, age 45, in Belgrade.

A battalion of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen took part in revenge actions against the villages of Dorfer Otok, Cornji, Ruda and Dolac Delnji in Dalmatia. These actions eventually resulted in 834 deaths.

Sonderkommando Bothmann (also known as Sonderkommando Lange), responsible for massacres in Chełmno extermination camp, was transferred to the division in April 1943. Sonderkommando Bothmann was under command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Johann Bothmann   the last commandant of the Chełmno extermination camp from 1942 on (SS card number 117630); leader of the SS Special Detachment Bothmann conducting the extermination of Jews from the Łódź Ghetto and other places. He committed suicide in British custody, on 04-04-1944, age 34, while in Heide.

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