The Death of Joso Podnar

On 23 October 1995, Joso Podnar, another forgotten hero of the Homeland War, lost his life in a tragic automobile accident. From an early age, this native of Perušić in the region of Lika was a passionate fan of Dinamo Zagreb Soccer Club and travelled throughout the former Yugoslavia and abroad as a member of its Bad Blue Boys Supporters Club. Podnar was also present at the legendary unplayed match between Dinamo and Red Star Belgrade in May 1990 and quickly realized that war was inevitable.

As a volunteer, Podnar joined the forces of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia and after completing his training in Zagreb he returned to Lika where became a policeman. When the town of Gospić was attacked in the summer of 1991, Podnar became actively involved in the defense of that part of Lika and participated in fierce battles that took place at Bilaj, Lički Ribnik and Gospić itself, which was partially occupied by rebel Serbs.

Joso and his son after operation “STORM”

Eastern Gospić was completely theirs and the biggest battles took place there, in that area towards the train station.

recalled Podnar’s younger brother Milan who keeps alive the memory of his brother with whom he shared a deep bond. Bilaj and Lički Ribnik were a special story as they formed an enclave that was completely surrounded by the enemy and Podnar helped hold positions on Velebit Mountain as support for the special forces. He took part in the liberation Operations “MEDAK POCKET” and “STORM” as a member of the 118th Home Guard Regiment together with the forces of the 9th Guard Brigade of the Croatian Army along the Novi Lički Osik – Ljubovo – Bunić axis. Shortly afterwards, Podnar died in an an automobile accident on the Bilaj bridge. He is survived by his wife and son.

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