Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Šušnjar Memorial Complex, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

             Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 1 to 7 July 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The architectural ensemble of the Šušnjar Memorial Complex, Sanski Most, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plots nos, 00023/0017 Gaj, 00035/0001, 00035/0011, 00035/0013 and 00035/0014., cadastral municipality Kruhari, Land Registry no. 0193, Municipality Sanski Most, Federation of BiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of  BiH nos. 2/02 and 27/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display and rehabilitate the National Monument.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




            For the purpose of preservation of the complex the following protection zones are hereby defined:    

            Protection Zone I comprises c.p. 00023/0017 Gaj, 00035/0001, 00035/0011, 00035/0013 and 00035/0014, c.m. Kruhari.

            In this zone all works on the monuments comprising the architectural ensemble are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of FBiH.

            No dumping of waste is permitted in this zone.

            Protection Zone II consists of a strip 50 m in width from the outer limits of Protection Zone I.  In Protection Zone II the construction of industrial and agricultural buildings is prohibited.  Residential buildings must not exceed 6.50 m. to the base of the roof structure, i.e. ground floor and one upper floor, with maximum horizontal dimensions of 12 x 10 metres.

• The Government of the Federation shall be responsible for drawing up and implementing a project for the rehabilitation of the National Monument.  The Monument must be rehabilitated in compliance with the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission

            The memorial complex may be used only for the purpose for which it was originally erected.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are to be revoked.




            Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




            The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




            Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




            This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH and the Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH.


            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


Chairman of  the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović


No.: 08.2-6-959/03

2 July 2003




E l u c i d a t i o n


            Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            On 9 September 2002 Sanski Most Municipality submitted a petition to designate the property as a national monument.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.



            In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

• Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (proof of title, Sanski Most Municipality, with copy of cadastral plan)

• Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.

• Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


            The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:


1. Details of the site


            The memorial complex is 1 km from Sanski Most, on the southern slopes of an elevation known as Šušnjari, close to an old Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish burial ground. The national monument comprises the land designated as c.p. nos. 00023/0017 Gaj, 00035/0001, 00035/0011, 00035/0013 and 00035/0014, c.m. Kruhari, Land Registry no. 0183, Sanski Most Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

            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.

            In August 1941, on the Orthodox festival of Ilindan (St Elias’ Day), the German army shot the Serbs from the town and surrounding area in Šušnjar.  The exact number of victims was never accurately determined, but there are indications that several thousand of the local inhabitants were killed that day.

            The suggestion to erect a memorial to the victims of the firing squad was made in 1968/69, when a committee was appointed to build a memorial complex.  The committee was chaired by Petar Dodik, and the members were prominent citizens of Sanski Most municipality and a number of military figures and state officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Soon after it was set up the committee began fund raising, largely from voluntary contributions.  At the committee’s first session it resolved not to advertise for entries for the design of the memorial, but to invite entries from Bogdan Bogdanović, a Belgrade architect, Vanja Radauš from Zagreb, and the sculptor Petar Krstić of Sarajevo.

            Bogdan Bogdanović’s idea was to build a monument in the shape of a Tower of Babel, which was unacceptable to the committee.  Vanja Radauš suggested a monument in the form of human bones, which was also rejected on the grounds that it would be too disturbing to the families of those who had been killed and that a composition of this kind would constantly incite feelings of hatred on the part of visitors to the complex towards the perpetrators of the deed.  The third proposal, from the sculptor Petar Krstić of Sarajevo, was the most acceptable.  His design was a composition of a park with a central feature in the shape of an obelisk made of aluminium.  One of the controversial issues was whether the memorial should be dedicated to all the victims of the war or only those killed at that particular place.  It was resolved that it be a “monument to the victims of fascist terror and the combatants of the War of National Liberation of the town of Sanski Most and its surroundings.”  The main project design for the complex was drawn up in 1970 in Sarajevo by ŽTP Bureau for studies and project design.

            After the complex was completed, a cultural event was held there every year on 2 August, when the literary works of poets and writers from all over former Yugoslavia were read.

In 1992 many alterations were made to the memorial complex.  A massive concrete cross was erected at the base of the grave mounds, on the grounds that the victims buried there were not atheists but believers.  The plaques with the names of Bosniac Partisan victims from Sanski Most – 20 to 30 plaques – were then removed, leaving only the names of the Serbs and Jews who had been killed.  At the same time the memorial plaque was removed from the entrance to the complex and new symbols were erected, such as the concrete cross set up at the base of the grave mounds.

            After the war ended in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the devastation of the complex continued, with cattle grazed there, cars driven over it and so on.

            In 2002 the complex was cleared.


Legal status to date

            The Regional Plan for the Republic of  Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the memorial complex in Šušnjar as a Category III monument.


2. Description of the monument

            The Šušnjar memorial complex consists of an entrance area, a memorial park with grave mounds and paths, and a raised central area with the obelisk.

            The entrance area is an arched concrete portal faced with limestone.  The portal has gates composed of tubular elements painted black.  Very close to the portal is a concrete cube measuring 1.50 x 1.50 m. faced with 4cm thick black granite slabs, bearing on the upper surface details of the memorial and of the anti-fascist struggle by the inhabitants of Sanski Most municipality.

            The memorial park consists of grave mounds in the form of grassy hummocks about 1.5 m. high and paths edged on both sides with concrete slabs bearing aluminium plaques with the names of the victims and fallen soldiers of the War of National Liberation.

            The central feature of the memorial complex is an obelisk of which the structural elements are steel girders and the facing is of thin aluminium plates.  The obelisk is 15 m. high and stands on a plateau paved with concrete slabs.  Around it are tubular-shaped concrete seats.              The obelisk is of irregular form and, in the words of its designer, symbolizes the life and suffering of the people of the area.  Audio-visual equipment was to have been set up inside the obelisk, but there were insufficient funds for this and for a certain number of the aluminium plates.

            The entire area is fenced off, and trees were planted around the edge.


3. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No conservation or restoration works have been carried out on the monument.


4. Current condition of the site

            The site of the memorial complex is in relatively good condition.  All the damage suffered was caused during and shortly after the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  At the foot of the grave mounds (grassy hummocks), the authorities of Republika Srpska, who controlled the town until October 1995, set up a concrete cross.  The plaques with the names of the fallen soldiers were removed, vandalized and strewn about.  The steel structure of the central obelisk bearing the aluminium plates is in dilapidated condition, as is part of the aluminium facing, where damage resulting from lack of maintenance is to be seen.



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument, adopted at the fourth session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (3 to 9 September 2002), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

                        B.  Historical value

                        E. Symbolic value

                                    E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people

                        F. Townscape/ Landscape value

                                    F.iii.  the building or group of buildings is part of group or site

                        G. Authenticity

                                    G.i. form and design

                                    G.ii. material and content

                                    G.v. location and setting

                                    G.vi. spirit and feeling

                        I. Completeness

                                    I.i. physical coherence


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



            During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Šušnjar memorial complex, Sanski Most, as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:

Bokan, Branko, Srez Sanski Most u NOB 1941-45 (Sanski Most County in the War of National Liberation, 1941-45), 1980


Documentation from SUBNOAR BiH


Dodik, Petar, Paper on the Šušnjar memorial complex written for SUBNOAR BiH, 2002






Šušnjar Memorial  Complex - central composition  Part of the Memorial ComplexEntrance gateDevastate boards
New part built in the war   

BiH jezici 
Commision to preserve national monuments © 2003. Design & Dev.: