The Death of war hero Miro Petrin

Of course, we agree that everything should be according to the law but my brother was buried with the highest military honours, decorated with the Order of Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan and now suddenly someone brings it into question. We are not Ustashas ​​as some now call us and disrespect our deceased, but we stand by the Croatian Defense Forces’ (eng. CDF; cro. HOS) motto “Prepared for the Homeland” under which my brother was killed. We would be deeply hurt if someone took it off the memorial but if a legal or political decision decides differently, then we have nothing more to add.

said Marina Petrin Horvatić after a “storm” arose around the memorial plaque in Jasenovac with the CDF coat of arms and names of CDF members killed in the area during the Homeland War. Her brother Miro Petrin was one of the names on the plaque.

Miro was born in Zagreb on 8 July 1971 and grew up in the western district of Kustošija with his parents  Franjo and Zdenka and older sister Marina. He finished primary and secondary trade school in his hometown after which he got a job at “Unikonzum”, today’s “Konzum”. Many residents of Kustošija and Trešnjevka still remember him as an excellent center forward for the local Football Club Šparta Elektra.

He played a lot of great games as a center forward. He was one of the first to join in the defense of the Republic of Croatia, which speaks volumes about him as a man. In terms of character, you will rarely know such a wonderful person. His kindness was captivating, especially with his unique smile which remained on his face even in the most difficult of situations. He was a great man; full of humour and always ready to help and cheer up his friends. Everyone who knew him appreciated and respected him very much. With his behaviour and way he lived his life, instilled in him by his wonderful parents, he became a legend of our club and our Republic. We emphasize that we who knew him well were fortunate and had great pleasure to be in his company… Unfortunately, fate showed its ugly face and tore our “Little One” (as we called him, even though he was 187 cm tall) from us but he will remain in our memories and our hearts. He died near Novska in 1991 but he will never be forgotten as by his example he will be a guiding light for all generations of our club.

Julio Kožinec, president of NK Šparta Elektra

Miro’s late mother Zdenka was born in Stajnica near Brinje and Miro himself often went to the Lika region as a boy where he spent much time playing and spending time with his relatives.

Miro was my cousin but I always considered him my brother and I loved him so much as we were so close. I was two years older than him and we hung out often. Until he reached grade 4, Miro visited us in Lika and later I always visited them in Zagreb. He was cheerful, eternally smiling and simply did not know how to get angry. That boy could never even step on an ant. He was a favourite in our group of friends, was nicknamed “Jigi”, played great soccer and also played the accordion. As a child in Kustošija, he fell from a chestnut tree, landed on his head and suffered a brain injury which is why he was never conscripted into the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (YPA). In the summer of 1991, he enlisted in the CDF with the other neighbourhood boys and went to war. After one stint, he returned to Zagreb where a job promotion awaited him and his parents begged him not to return to the front. He went and died rescuing a wounded comrade. He had already two others and when he returned for the third, a dum-dum bullet from a sniper gun hit him in the head.

Mile Movrić, cousin

Miro Petrin was a member of the 1st “Ante Paradžik” Company of the CDF and died rescuing a wounded comrade between Drenovo Bok and Jasenovac. Fellow CDF member and Zagreb native Davor Milaković also laid down his life during that noble act of bravery. Unfortunately, the man they tried to save, Slavko Jeger, a Slovenian CDF volunteer from Maribor was brutally killed. After he was captured, the severely wounded man was tortured, his eyes dug out with a screwdriver and broke every bone in his body. An autopsy revealed that he suffered 76 bullet wounds.

The report of the Posavina Operational Group Command also speaks of the fierce fighting that began around noon that day on the Novska battlefront:

Strong infantry and tank attack supported by artillery fire on the village of Drenov Bok (Bunari district) from Jasenovac. The enemy pushed our front end forces back 500 metres after which a counterattack was carried out (at 3:30 PM) with the support of artillery and our tanks. After fierce fighting, our positions were regained and the enemy was pushed back to its original positions.

Although the attack was repelled, CDF personnel made a significant sacrifice as three members laid down their lives on the altar of the homeland.

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