The Death of Zoran Bošković, Hero of Vukovar and the Homeland War

On 12 October 1991, Zoran Bošković, one of the heroes of Vukovar and the Homeland War was killed during an enemy attack.

Bošković was born on 22 February 1965 in Vukovar. After experiencing the tragedy of World War II in their native Herzegovina, his parents Boško and Mara migrated to the region of Srijem to start a new life. Bošković grew up with two older brothers Ante and Ivica and upon completion of his primary education he graduated from the textile secondary school in his hometown and found employment in the local VUTEKS factory. Along with his brothers, he enrolled in the First Croatian Police Officer Course in July of 1990 and all three were among the approximately 1,700 selected to form the first legal Croatian police force.

While older brother Ante joined the newly formed Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit where he spent the duration of the war, Bošković and brother Ivica returned to their hometown and participated in the defense of the city as policemen during the Battle of Vukovar. After being stationed together on the frontline at the House of Technology (cro. Dom tehnike) in Borovo Naselje, they were then deployed to the Mitnica district of the city where Croatian forces defended the bank of the Danube River and entrance to Vukovar by way of Vučedol.

It was from that direction that a heavy tank attack was launched on this day in 1991 and the house in which Zoran Bošković was staying was particularly targeted. A supporting wall and adjacent chimney beside which he stood took a direct hit from a tank shell and he was buried beneath a pile of collapsed concrete and bricks. His older brother Ivica was among the soldiers present at the house and after he was pulled from the rubble, Zoran died in his brother’s arms.

Ivica Bošković

Ivica Bošković was also killed soon afterwards. When it became clear that Vukovar was about to fall, he tried to break through to unoccupied territory but unfortunately failed. He and his comrade-in-arms, police officer Miroslav Pap were captured near the village of Marinci and killed. Following the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region to the authority of the Republic of Croatia, Ivica Bošković’s remains were exhumed from the local cemetery in Marinci and reburied alongside brother Zoran in the Cemetery of Croatian Defenders in Vukovar.

When the battle for Vukovar began, both brothers each had one child and their wives were pregnant. Zoran Bošković and wife Tatjana had a two-year-old son, Antonio and on 17 September 1991 they welcomed Vido, who Zoran managed to see as a newborn briefly before his wife and children fled the city. Ivica Bošković had a three-year-old daughter Ivana and after his death, his wife Ankica gave birth to his son on Christmas Eve in 1991 and named him Ivica in honour of his late father.

Sources
Literature
Šaravanja, Vjekoslav. 10.000 djece bez roditelja u Domovinskom ratu. Slavonski Brod: Obiteljski centar župe Duha Svetoga, 2001

Testimonials
Oral testimony of Ante Bošković, collected on October 10, 2018

Internet
Tanja Belobrajdić: “Braća Bošković jedinstven su primjer u Hrvatskoj; gdje ste bili 1990.?”, Direktno.hr, access achieved on October 6, 2020, https://direktno.hr/direkt/braca-boskovic-jedinstven-su-primjer-u-hrvatskoj-gdje-ste-bili-1990-144013/

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