Zoran Gruber

Sep 5, 1969 - Nov 20, 1991(22)

About the only son

Twenty-two-year-old Zoran fought honorably and heroically on the front lines of the Vukovar battlefield. He kept his pride until the very end...

Zoran Gruber was the only child of Anica and Ilija. He was born in the village of Migalovci and grew up in Eminovci near Požega. He finished elementary and high school there, where he earned the title of mechanical technician.

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His comrades describe him as a calm man with a pleasant voice, in which his firm attitude and character were revealed. Physically, he was of medium height and slim, recognizable by his light brown hair and narrow face. Comrades and friends called him Grubi.

Already in 1990, he recognized the danger his country was in. With a group of young men from Požega, he went to Zagreb, where he enlisted in the HOS units. His comrade from the Special Tasks Unit "Rakitje" Josip Širić recalled the day that changed their lives.

"Among us was a young man, Gruber Zoran, who came with me from Požega. He was from a mixed marriage, his father was a Serb and his mother a Croat. I remember when he was filling out the questionnaire when applying to the MUP, he said he was miserable as a Yugoslav. That's what the man wrote and some thought he was an informer. I told them that he came with us and that he wants to create a Croatian state. He quickly gained the trust of everyone, especially the commander."

He first fought in Pakrac and Plitvice, and at the beginning of August 1991 he arrived in Vukovar with the "Tigers". He went where it was most needed. The area covered by the "Tigers" under the command of Zlatko Horvat stretched from Trpinjska cesta via Lička, Nova and Stara Banijska to Borovska cesta, i.e. the "Elephant" point.

After the death of Commander Horvat, Zoran took command of the "Tigers". He is remembered as a brave, cold-blooded and talented commander, specialized in the fight against tanks. Under no circumstances did he want to leave the city.

At the beginning of November, he was wounded in the shoulder in battle. According to the memory of his comrades, I got out of the attacked area, and then he was given first aid. He was taken to the Borovo Commerce reserve hospital, and due to the severity of his injuries, he was transferred to the Vukovar hospital. In it, he met the fall of the city.

Defender Vilim Karlović recalled Zoran's heroism and dignity, which followed him to the very end. In the Vukovar hospital, sensing a breakthrough and the enemy's revenge, he asked his comrade: - Have you paid for yourself, countryman? - and when the latter answered in the affirmative, he said to him: - Then don't worry -.

His lifelong wish was for Croatia to become an internationally recognized country, but, unfortunately, he did not receive that recognition...

Together with many wounded, medical staff and civilians, he was taken from the Vukovar hospital. He was tortured at Ovčara. He was killed and buried in a mass grave, and the family learned about the tragic fate of their only son - one of the greatest Croatian heroes - only years later. The street in Eminovci, where the hero from the Gruber family grew up, is named after him.

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