May 1941 Sanski Most revolt
Part of World War II in Yugoslavia
Map of the Independent State of Croatia with mark showing location of Sanski Most
Location of Sanski Most in the Independent State of Croatia
Map of the Independent State of Croatia with mark showing location of Sanski Most
May 1941 Sanski Most revolt (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Date6 – 8 May 1941[1]
Result Uprising was suppressed within two days

Serb insurgents:

  • Detachment of volunteers
  • Former members of reserve military units
  • Serb villagers from Kijevo, Vidovići, Tramošnja, Kozica and other neighboring places
Axis Powers:
  • Independent State of Croatia Ustaše Muslims from Kijevo
  • Independent State of Croatia Ustaše Gendarmerie
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
several dozens Serb peasants killed during the uprising
27 Serb civilians executed after the suppression of the uprising
2-6 Ustaše wounded
2–3 German soldiers wounded

The May 1941 Sanski Most revolt (also known as the Đurđevdan uprising (Serbian: Ђурђевдански устанак) or the rebellion of the Sana peasants (Serbian: Побуна санских сељака)) occurred near the town of Sanski Most in what was at the time Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The Serb population revolted against oppression by the Ustaše regime, the rulers of the Independent State of Croatia who were sponsored by Nazi Germany. Many civilians died during the three days of hostilities.


On 6 May 1941, during Đurđevdan slava, an Eastern Orthodox holy day in honour of Saint George, the uprising began in Kijevo and Tramošnja villages and continued for three days. It was the first episode of hostility against the occupying forces.[2][3][4]: 178 [5][6][7]

The celebration of Đurđevdan in Kijevo and Tramošnja was disturbed by the Ustaše. This provoked local Serb civilians to rise up against the Ustaše. To suppress the uprising, the Ustaše requested help from Germany. On 7–8 May 1941, German infantry and artillery forces arrived in the villages. They took 450 Serb civilians hostage. By 8 May 1941, the uprising was suppressed. Many Serb civilians were killed. Up to three Germans and 2 Ustaše were injured. On 9 May 1941, 27 Serb civilians were executed in retaliation. Their bodies were hanged in the center of Sanski Most. In 1973, their bodies were interred in a memorial in Sušnjar.


Main articles: Independent State of Croatia and Genocide of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia

The Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany and Italy. It was created on 10 April 1941 from part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia which had been occupied by the Axis powers. The Independent State of Croatia consumed most of current day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and part of Serbia.[8][9][10][11]

Oppression by the Ustaše regime was directed at Serbs, Jews, Muslims and Roma people, as part of a larger campaign of genocide.[12][13] In Sanski Most, NDH officials, including Viktor Gutić, commissioner incited local Croats and Muslims to attack Serbs. On 23 April 1941, Gutić ordered all Serbs and Montenegrins living in the Bosanska Krajina, who had been born in Serbia or Montenegro, to leave the area within five days.[14] This edict, which had been publicised on local radio and in the press was executed by some local Croats and Muslims.[15] Eugen Dido Kvaternik, a Croatian nationalist politician, and Ante Pavelić, the Croatian fascist dictator, were involved. Under the premise that Đurđevdan, also known as the day of hayduk (bandits), was one of Serb rebel gatherings, they attacked notable Serb civilians.[16]

6 May 1941

Oppression by the Ustaše regime caused spontaneous resistance by civilians which developed into armed uprisings in villages south-east of Sanski Most.[17] [18]

On 6 May 1941, hostilities were precipitated by Ustaše (mostly Muslims) breaking into houses of Serb civilians in Kijevo and Donja Tramošnja. In Tramošnja, several houses were burned. A group of about twenty Serb civilians, most of them with no firearms, prevented the burning of other houses.[19] [20] Up to six Ustaše were injured.[21] The Serb civilians were joined by former members of reserve military units and villagers from Sjenokosi hamlet.[22] The Serb civilians chased away the Ustaše who escaped to Kijevo and Sanski Most and requested help from the German garrison in Prijedor.[23]

7 May 1941

On the morning of 7 May 1941, Ustaše authorities imprisoned several notable Serb civilians in the army barracks at the railway station. The population was warned they would be executed if harm came to any member of the Ustaše or German army.[24] One member of the Ustaše, a local forest ranger, may have intentionally wounded himself and then reported to Ustaše authorities in Sanski Most that he had been attacked and wounded by the Serb civilians.[25]

The Germans sent a reconnaissance patrol of one platoon.[26] The forty-two soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 132nd Infantry Division stationed in Prijedor arrived on 7 May 1941.[27] Together with Ustaše and gendarmes, they chased the insurgent Serb civilians. In the early morning of 7 May 1941, Ustaše killed three Serb civilians in Sanski Most.[28]

The Serb civilians, buoyed by their success of the day before, resisted.[29] Serbs from Banja Luka, Prijedor and Sanski Most traveled to Tramošnja to join the fight. They numbered about 200 and were armed with various types of rifles, one machine-gun and one automatic gun. They positioned their force in Kijevo and Tomina.[30] The Serb civilians from Kijevo, Vidovići, Tramošnja, Kozica and other neighbouring places quickly took defensive positions on the slopes of Kijevska Gora above Sjenokos. They resisted the attack of the Axis forces. [31][32] In this battle, three German soldiers were wounded.[33][34]

8 May 1941

Rudolf Sintzenich, general and commander of the 132nd Infantry Division ordered the 3rd battalion of the 436 Infantry Regiment (von Pappenheim) to entrain at 0200h. Their route was from Banja Luka to Sanski Most via Prijedor. The 3rd battalion was commanded by Henigs. One company of 132 Pioneer Battalion traveled by bicycle and one motorised battery from Kostajnica joined Henig's forces.[35]

On 8 May 1941, the German force was strengthened by motorized infantry from Bosanski Novi and a battery of two cannons from the Artillery division garrisoned in Prijedor.[36] Before firing, the Germans captured 450 Serbs.[37] Between 8 and 11 a.m., the German forces fired 38 grenades from two cannons positioned in Čaplje, killing several dozen Serbs.[38][39][40] After shelling Tramošnja and Kijevska Gora (a mountain near Kijevo), the German forces moved toward Tomina, Podovi and Kozica villages.[41]

The uprising was suppressed on 8 May 1941.[42] Germans and Ustaše burned all the houses at Sjenokose hamlet, Kijevo.[43] Many Serb civilians were captured unarmed, having discarded their weapons. The Serb civilians of Tomina were released at the intervention of an Italian soldier. However, the German forces did transport about thirty Serb prisoners from the Tomina area to Sanski Most, even though they had not individually participated in the hostilities.[44]


The memorial complex, Šušnjar
The memorial complex, Šušnjar

On 9 May 1941, Germans killed twenty-seven Serb civilians.[45] Jews and Serb civilians were forced to hang the bodies in the center of Sanski Most.[21] The bodies remained hanging for two days.[46]

At the end of May 1941, Gutić said, "The roads will wish for the Serbs, but Serbs will be no more." He announced further measures to kill all Serb civilians.[47] The Đurđevdan uprising and the June 1941 uprising in eastern Herzegovina preceded a general uprising organized by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.[48]

Until the end of July 1941, most of the leaders of the Đurđevdan uprising hid in a wooded area near Kmećani and planned their next action.[49] The Ustaše oppression and harassment of Serbs and Jews in retaliation to the Đurđevdan uprising continued.[50]

Following the collapse of the NDH in 1945, Gutić fled to Austria and Italy. In Venice he was recognized, arrested, and taken to a camp in Grottaglie. In early 1946, he was extradited to Yugoslavia and in Sarajevo he was sentenced to death.[51] On 20 February 1947, Gutić's execution was carried out in Banja Luka.[52]

In 1971, Serb civilians killed during this conflict were interred in a Memorial complex in Šušnjar. In July 2003, the complex was renewed and designated a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[53]


  1. ^ Bianchini S. "6 aprile 1941: l'attacco italiano alla Jugoslavia." Marzorati 1993 p198 ISBN 978-88-280-0126-3 "Maggio....6-8 insurrezione di contadini contro gli ustasa a Sanski Most."
  2. ^ Vojno-istoriski glasnik. p155 "The conflict broke out on May 6th, when many Serbian families in Kijevo and Tramošnja villages celebrated."
  3. ^ Zadruga M. et al "Genocid nad Srbima u II svetskom ratu." Muzej žrtava genocida i Srpska književna zadruga 1995 p258 "Уз то је први усташки напад био на домаћинства која су славила крену славу Ђурђевдан 6. маја 1941, због којег је услиједила и побуна санских сељака 6–8. маја 1941. године."
  4. ^ "Mesec dana od izbijanja aprilskog rata i 18 dana od kapitulacionog akta došlo je do sukoba srpskih seljaka iz okoline Sanskog Mosta, sela Kijevo i Tramošnja 6, 7. i 8. maja 1941. godine, poznatog kao Đurđevdanski ustanak sanskih seljaka." ("A month after April war broke out and 18 days since capitulation, Serb villagers from Kijevo and Tramošnja near Sanski Most, participated in the conflict on 6, 7 and 8 May 1941 which is known as Đurđevdan uprising of Sana villagers.")
  5. ^ Nikolić K. "Istorija 3/4: za III razred gimnazije prirodno-matematičkog smera i IV razred gimnazije opšteg i društveno-jezičkog smera", Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva 2005 ISBN 978-86-17-12413-5.
  6. ^ Jović R. "Šušnjar 1941." Opština Oštra Luka 2011 p. 39; ISBN 978-99938-41-08-1
  7. ^ Kazimirović V. "Srbija i Jugoslavija 1914-1945." Prizma 1995 p. 877
  8. ^ "Independent State of Croatia." Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 8 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Croatia." Archived 1 November 2009 at WebCite Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Yugoslavia." Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed 8 September 2009.
  11. ^ [1] Archived web citation, 31 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Holocaust, Jasenovac." Jewish virtual Accessed 3 June 2011.
  13. ^ Pavlowitch S. "Hitler's new disorder: the Second World War in Yugoslavia." Columbia University Press 2008 p34. ISBN 0-231-70050-4
  14. ^ Goldstein I. and Ramet S. (ed.) The Independent State of Croatia in 1941: On the Road to Catastrophe in The Independent State of Croatia 1941-45. Routledge, New York, 2007 p22. ISBN 0-415-44055-6.
  15. ^ Dodik P. "Šušnjar 1941 proceedings (papers, testemonies and documents)." Opština Oštra Luka 2011 p58 ISBN 978-99938-41-08-1. "Unfortunately, that kind of propaganda on the radio and in the press fell on fertile ground and was accepted not only by the Croats, but also by a great number of Muslim people."
  16. ^ Goldstein I. "Hrvatska: 1918-2008." EPH 2008 p264
  17. ^ "Jugoslavija 1918-1984." ČZ Uradni list Slovenije 1985 p426. "...zbog ustaškog divljanja spontane manifestacije otpora izbijale su u Hercegovini početlęom juna 1941, u Bosanskoj krajini kod Sanskog Mosta maja 1941..."
  18. ^ Đurđev B. et al "1941, Hiljadu devetsto četrdeset i prva, u historiji naroda Bosne i Hercegovine: Naučni skup, održan u Drvaru od 7. do 9. Oktobra 1971." Institut za istoriju radničkog pokreta Sarajevo, Veselin Masleša 1973 p74. "Sve to je imalo za posljedicu nezadovoljstvo naroda i spontani otpor, koji je prerastao u oružani ustanak manjačkih sela jugoistočno od Sanskog Mosta.
  19. ^ Đurđev B. et al "1941, Hiljadu devetsto četrdeset i prva, u historiji naroda Bosne i Hercegovine: Naučni skup, održan u Drvaru od 7. do 9. Oktobra 1971." Institut za istoriju radničkog pokreta Sarajevo, Veselin Masleša 1973 p74. "Neposredni povod izbijanju ustanka bio je oružani sukob do kojeg je došlo 6 maja u selu Kijevu."
  20. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447a: "У Трамошњи усташе су запалиле неколико кућа, али је група од 20 сељана, од којих су неки били наоружани, спријечила даље паљење."
  21. ^ a b Dodik 2011, p. 58.
  22. ^ Đurđev, Antonić & Redžić 1973, p. 74c: "..., napadnuti su od jedne grupe boraca iz Dobrovoljačkog odreda, kojoj su se pridružili bivši rezervisti i seljaci iz kijevskog zaseoka Sjenokosi."
  23. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447b: "Устаници су успјели потиснути усташе, које су у паници побјегле у Кијево и Сански Мост тражећи помоћ од њемачког гарнизона из Приједора"
  24. ^ Praća Veljović S. Šušnjar 1941, proceedings (papers, testemonies and documents). Opština Oštra Luka 2011 p77. ISBN 978-99938-41-08-1. "Рано ујутро 7. маја 1941 .г. усташка власт је послала позиве угледнијим Србима да се јаве у усташки логор,... и рекао им да ће бити таоци зато што је дигнут устанак у селу Кијеву, и ако и један њемачки војник или усташа погине, усташе ће стријељати поменуте таоце."
  25. ^ Ilić, Ratko (1983). Ratne godine. NIŠRO "Oslobođenje". p. 12.
  26. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447c: "Најпре је 7 маја дошла патрола од 42 њемачка војника,"
  27. ^ Petranović 1992, p. 178b: "... nemačko odeljenje iz 1. diviziona 132. puka stacioniranog u Prijedoru."
  28. ^ "Vojno-istoriski glasnik." p155. "Having killed three Serbian peasants in Sanski Most in the early moming of May 7th, the Ustashas started towards Kijevo and Tramošnja once more."
  29. ^ Hurem R. "Kriza narodnooslobodilačkog pokreta u Bosni i Hercegovini krajem 1941. i početkom 1942." Svjetlost 1972 p34. "I u Bosanskoj Krajini je bilo slučajeva da su grupe seljaka pokušavale da se suprotstave ustaškom teroru... od Sanskog Mosta gdje je grupa seljaka 6. maja 1941. pružila otpor ustašama koji su ometali krsnu slavu nekih seljaka i uopšte vrijeđali religijska osjećanja stanovnika sela. Taj otpor, podstaknu prvim uspjehom, evoluirao je do tog stepena da su seljaci odlučili da se suprotstave jačoj grupi Njemaca i ustaša... Spontane reakcije ustanika u raznim prilikama često se javljaju i kasnije...."
  30. ^ "Vojno-istoriski glasnik." p155. "The news that a group of Ustašas had been attacked attracted a great number of Serbian peasants .... A few hundred of them armed."
  31. ^ Đurđev, Antonić & Redžić 1973, p. 75a: "Neprijateljsko reagovanje i odmazda na ustanak uslijedili su veoma br-zo. Već sjutradan, 7. maja, na zahtjev Ustaškog stožera, iz Banjaluke dolazi jedna njemačka izviđačka jedinica, koja je sa žandarmima i ustaškim formacijama iz Sanskog Mosta i okolnih tabora krenula u potjeru za ustanicima. Međutim, seljaci Kijeva, Vidovića, Tramošnje, Kozice i susjednih mjesta, zajedno sa pripadnicima Dobrovoljačkog odreda, blagovremeno su zaposjeli položaje iznad Sjenokosa i pružili uporan otpor napadačima."
  32. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447d: "С обронака Кијевске горе бранили су прилазе Трамошњи, и када су усташе покушале да продру у село, устаници су их оружјем спречили"
  33. ^ Avakumović & Nikolić 2004, p. 88a: "Кад су Немци послали мали одред да извиди ствар, наоружани грађани су отворили ватру југозападно од Санског Моста и ранили три немачка војника."
  34. ^ Đurđev, Antonić & Redžić 1973, p. 75b: "U borbi sa brojno nadmoćnijim, iako nedovoljno naoružanim ustanicima, Nijemci i ustaše su pretrpjeli gubitke od nekoliko ranjenih..."
  35. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 745.
  36. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447e: ".... а 8 маја ступа у борбу ојачани батаљон, у којем је била моторизована пјешадија из Босанског Новог и батерије артиљеријског дивизиона из Приједора."
  37. ^ Avakumović & Nikolić 2004, p. 88b: "Сутрадан командант једне немачке дивизије послао је један батаљон са једном батеријом, који су прво покупили 450 талаца међу Србима, и онда уз помоћ артиљерије напао Србе који су се после кратког пушкарања разбежали."
  38. ^ Hadžimuhamedović, Amra (2003). "Šušnjar Memorial Complex, the architectural ensemble". Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission to Preserve National Monuments. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. To quell the uprising, German army troops were sent to the area from Prijedor, who set up two cannon in the village of Čaplje and then opened fire on the rebel villages, routing the Orthodox inhabitants.
  39. ^ Vojno-istoriski glasnik. p. 147.
  40. ^ Dedijer, Vladimir (1974). History of Yugoslavia. McGraw-Hill Book Co. p. 591. ISBN 9780070162358. German documents show that on May 8 heavy artillery was used at Sanski Most against Serbian peasants of the Bosnian March and that several dozens were killed
  41. ^ Bokan 1972, p. 447f: "са више артиљеријских оруђа по Трамошњи и Кијевској гори, а онда су кренули из више праваца према Томини, Подовима и Козици."
  42. ^ Petranović 1992, p. 178.
  43. ^ Lukač, Dušan (1967). Ustanak u Bosanskoj krajini. Vojnoizdavački Zavod. p. 60. Neprijatelj je centar pobune — zaselak Sjenokose u selu Srpskom Kijevu — potpuno spalio [Enemy burned the center of the rebellion - hamlet Sjenokose in the Serbian village Kijevo]
  44. ^ Vojno-istoriski glasnik. p. 155.
  45. ^ Redžić, Enver (2005). Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Second World War. Psychology Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7146-5625-0. On 9 May the Germans shot 27 Serbian villagers and hanged them in the city park in Sanski Most.
  46. ^ Paris, Edmond (1988). Convert-- or die!: Catholic persecution in Yugoslavia during World War II. Chick Publications. p. 81. ISBN 9780937958353. At Sanski Most, from whence he had come, twenty-seven corpses had been hanging on the trees of the public square for two whole days.
  47. ^ Dr Drago Njegovan: SRPSKI USTANAK U DRVARU I SRBU 27. JULA 1941.
  48. ^ Vojno-istoriski glasnik. p. 154.
  49. ^ Šućur, Krstan (2011). Šušnjar 1941. : proceedings - papers, testemonies and documents. Opština Oštra Luka. p. 58. ISBN 978-99938-41-08-1. Most of the activists from the right bank of the Sana River and the Đurđevdan uprising leaders were hiding in the forests near Kmećani.
  50. ^ Vojno-istoriski glasnik. p. 152. Poslije majske pobune sanskih seljaka i ugušenja đurđevdanskog ustanka, ustaše koriste tu okolnost i još više pooštravaju teror nad Srbima i Jevrejima. [After May rebellion of Sana peasants and suppression of Đurđevdan uprising, Ustaše used it to additionally exacerbate terror of Serb and Jewish population.]
  51. ^ Dizdar et al. 1997, p. 145.
  52. ^ "Strahovlada Viktora Gutića" [Viktor Gutić's Reign of Terror] (in Serbian). Glas Srpske. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  53. ^ Hadžimuhamedović, Amra (2003). "Šušnjar Memorial Complex, the architectural ensemble". Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission to Preserve National Monuments. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. First to be buried on the site of the present day Memorial complex were the bodies of 27 civilians of Serbian nationality shot by the Germans on 8 May 1941. On Đurđevdan (St George’s Day), when many Orthodox Serb families celebrate the saint’s day, there was an insurrection by the Orthodox inhabitants of the village of Kijevo and other settlements around Sanski Most in protest at being prevented by the NDH (Independent State of Croatia) authorities of the day from celebrating the festival. To quell the uprising, German army troops were sent to the area from Prijedor, who set up two cannon in the village of Čaplje and then opened fire on the rebel villages, routing the Orthodox inhabitants. In retaliation for the casualties they had suffered in this encounter, the German army arrested 27 Serbs, took them to Sanski Most and shot them by the Mašinski bridge, as an example to the rest of the population. After they were shot, the bodies were loaded on a horse-drawn cart and driven through the town before being removed from the cart and hanged in the town park. Three days later they were removed to a site opposite the existing Orthodox burial ground in Šušnjar, where they were buried. Prior to this event, all the Jews of Sanski Most had been deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp, where they were killed.