Together in war, peace and eternity
After he regained consciousness, when asked by a journalist how he endured such terrible pain, he said: "Because of Croatia and because of Jasna".
"Dear and respected President Tuđman, maybe this is presumptuous of me to address you, but, well, I simply have to. This letter may end up in the trash, but so be it. I am an exile from Borovo Naselj. From June 10, 1991, I joined the Reserve Corps of the National Guard Corps of the Republic of Croatia. I was in my position, of course with a weapon, at the Technical Center until the last day, i.e. until 11/19/1991.
But now enough about me. My husband Zoran Šipoš was in the same position from 5/2/1991 to 11/19. He was a commander there. By the way, we are both HDZ members, although that is not important. It is important that we both fought together, for our Croatia.
Now he is in a military prison in Belgrade and his trial is ongoing. I learned that the death penalty is proposed. That's why I'm turning to you, and I'm asking you to do everything in your power to help him. And not only to him, but to everyone who is on trial. Believe me, they deserved to be helped. I believe in you and thank you in advance!"
This is a letter from Jasna Šipoš, a Croatian defender and heroine who defended Vukovar to the very end. Her husband was taken to a camp and sentenced to death. While her Zoran feared execution every day, Jasna sent letters, requests, requests. She fought with all her might to save the life of her beloved husband.
But Jasna didn't just write to Tuđman. She also wrote to President Bush, Yeltsin, Pope John Paul II, and she probably would have written to God too if only she could have found his address.
She went to every exchange of prisoners and followed every bus with her eyes, with the hope that she would see Zoran's face behind one of the window panes.
But he wasn't there. Zoran was imprisoned in a camp where he suffered horrors....
And there were better days in their lives. Jasna and Zoran's story began back in 1981 in Borovo. Since then, until the fateful 19 November 1991, the two were inseparable.
The anecdote about how they got engaged is especially nice. One day, they were driving towards Vukovar. Zoran stopped his car at a jewelry store, went inside and got back in the car in no time. He continued driving as if nothing had happened. He didn't say anything.
He drove them to a restaurant twenty kilometers from Vukovar. When they sat down inside, Zoran took out a box and gave it to Jasna. - There were two wedding rings and a bracelet in it. Jasna said. - That's where he and I got engaged and celebrated it ourselves. - she added. Only then did the young couple inform their parents about the engagement and they celebrated the joyous day with him.
Their love idyll was interrupted by the beginning of the war. Both rose to defend their city. Defense attorney Damir Plavšić recalled how Zoran, under the rain of bullets and shells, calmly and organized actions. And the brave and faithful Jasna always stood next to him. This is how they described her: "a woman who was small in stature, black, as people would say chubby. But she had a heart like a lioness. Hits with a machine gun (sharka). Jasna strikes with all her might! Our morale has gone to heaven."
The young men loved them like father and mother and trusted them endlessly. With them, they heroically defended the House of Technology. Everyone knew about Zoran and Jasna, and their love and courage was a great inspiration to the veterans. So much so that their friend Mijo composed a song about them and the defense of the House of Technology, the lyrics of which read: "Šipoš Zoran and his Jasna are ready for anything." Grenades, howitzers, cannons, bombs, they all said - no!"
The story of how Zoran was wounded for the first time testifies to their perseverance. It was September 12. Then Jasna took him to the hospital. Zoran was so bad that Doctor Njavro did not allow Jasna to see him after the operation. She asked to at least look at him once from the door, but the doctor refused. He just handed her the uniform and boots in a black bag...
When she returned to her position, she started following Zoran's uniform. And from the jacket full of holes, so much blood flowed out that Jasna was sure that Zoran would not survive. The next morning she went to the hospital again and couldn't believe what she was hearing.
Doctor Njavro begged her to persuade Zoran to stay lying down. Namely, Zoran already that night, as soon as he woke up, wrapped the sheet and said that he would go back to his position, to his comrades! They barely managed to calm him down with injections so that he could sleep peacefully that night.
That morning, Zoran didn't want to stay lying down anymore. He asked Jasna for a uniform, and signed that he was voluntarily leaving the hospital.
The unforgettable couple defended Vukovar to the very end. After the fall of the city, Zoran thought about starting a breakthrough with Jasna. He took a gun, not for defense, but to kill them both if they fell into enemy hands. But when he saw the columns of men being loaded into buses by the army, he couldn't leave. He told Jasna to change into a civilian and try to get out of town with them. He joined the column...
Although she refused at first, Jasna finally did it. She arrived in Zagreb, where she painstakingly fought to save Zoran from the camp, where he was taken.
At another exchange, an older man called her aside. He shared a blanket with Zoran in Stajićevo. He told her all the atrocities they had done to him. He told her that Zoran was brought from the interrogation wrapped in a blanket, covered in blood. If they sat him on a chair, he would fall down from the pain. The guards would then mock him, tell him what kind of commander he is who can no longer even sit.
From the beginning, he hid the cruel torture he was going through in his letters. But after long months, he could no longer endure the suffering. He sent a watch to Lavoslav Bosanac Jasna. He said that he was sending it so that she would have a memory of him. Namely, he confided in his comrades that he would no longer be able to endure that experience. They will try to escape, to kill him.
"Dear Jasna, I received the package, so thank you on my behalf. If I ever have the chance, I will do that too. Everything seems to me that it will not happen, because the way it is going, I am written off. Regardless of what happens with me, know that I love you, that I only loved you and that I spent the most beautiful part of my life with you. Everything else is not important, your Zoran," he wrote in one of his last letters.
Jasna said that she had heard from many people that if you think about the person you love at night, you can also dream about them. However, it did not come true for her. Through tears, she said: - I keep thinking about Zoran. I would like to be with him even in a dream. –
And then with the arrival of bus number 2, her greatest wish came true. Long months of struggle and spite, writing and begging, paid off. Jasna saw the face of her Zoran. After more than half a year of waiting, daily fear and anxiety, she finally flew into his arms. Zoran was released. After he regained consciousness, when asked by a journalist how he endured such terrible pain, he said: "Because of Croatia and because of Jasna".
They lived in joy for several years, waiting for the liberation of their beloved city. They passed away at the beginning of the new millennium, both from cancer that came as a result of all the suffering they experienced.
On the journalist's claim that he became a hero in the war, Zoran once admitted in the media: "Most people make mistakes. Okay, I admit it, war makes heroes. I'm not. I can't call myself a hero. According to the media, I may have been a hero for leading that unit, but that unit itself made me a hero."
The name of the brave fighters Jasna and Zoran will forever be written in the book of Croatian freedom. And their love, perseverance and togetherness still inspires today.
Source: Zoran Šipoš and his Jasna (documentary film). Directed by Petar Krelja in 1992.