Death of war hero Miroslav Juraček

Miroslav Juraček, hero of the Homeland War was killed during a reconnaissance mission on the enemy stronghold of Derez between Pakrac and Daruvar 14 December 14, 1991.

Juraček was born on 2 July 1952 in the village of Badljevina located exactly halfway between Pakrac and Daruvar in western Slavonija. He lived there with his parents and older brother until 1960 when the family moved to Pakrac. Juraček completed elementary school in Pakrac and was in secondary school for electrical engineering in Daruvar when he entered the military. In order to avoid fulfilling his military service outside of Croatia, he enlisted in the navy where he served a total of three years. Juraček then moved to Zagreb where he graduated from high school and acquired the title of electrical engineer.

Juraček was employed Immunology Institute where he maintained medical equipment. He loved repairing machines, was able to fix anything put before him and even patented a bag making machine he invented. Remembered as a caring, hardworking, cheerful and sociable person, Juraček enjoyed bowling, music, the sea and Dalmatia. He had a special love for sailing and in 1991 passed the exams for sailboat management and took his family sailing on the Adriatic Sea that same summer.

War began to rage in Croatia. Juraček heeded the call of his homeland and in September 1991 went to defend his hometown Badljevina which was on the front line. He was a member of the 4th Company of the 76th Independent Battalion where he served as a detachment commander. Juraček is remembered as a very brave warrior and he proved it on a reconnaissance mission in preparation for Operation “DANDELION” that would liberate the village of Dereza. Žarko Seleši, Zdravko Josipović, Juraček and several comrades from Sirač reached Dereza unnoticed and came upon an empty enemy bunker. When they reached a second bunker, they were detected by the enemy who then opened fire. Following a short clash, two enemy soldiers were neutralized but Juraček was killed as well.

They attempted to take his body back to Badljevina through the forest but failed. Žarko Seleši stepped on a landmine and was seriously wounded. The exploding mine revealed their position and Josipović was also wounded by subsequent enemy fire. Fortunately, his injuries were not so severe and he managed to pull Seleši out to Croatian controlled territory. Juraček’s body remained in the minefield for another two weeks until it was finally retrieved by Croatian forces. Miroslav Juraček was laid to rest at Stenjevec Cemetery in Zagreb.

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