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 »  Home  »  Croatian Heroes  »  Croatian Heroes: Dr. Juraj Njavro legendary surgeon at the Vukovar Hospital died
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Croatian Heroes: Dr. Juraj Njavro legendary surgeon at the Vukovar Hospital died
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  09/22/2008 | Croatian Heroes , Human Rights , People , In Memoriam , History | Unrated
Outstanding Croatian Humanist

Dr. Juraj Njavro, photo by Hina, Croatia

Dr. Juraj Njavro (1938-2008) is a legendary Croatian surgeon at the Vukovar Hospital in 1991, during one of the most dramatic events in the history of Croatia. He was known as exceptionally pleasant and tolerant person. He wrote a book about his internment after the Serbian occupation of the city of Vukovar.

Dr. Njavro also participated in preparing the important monograph dealing with the history of the Vukovara Hospital, published in 2007. The hospital received 25-30 wounded each day during three months of continous bombing and shelling of the city in 1991. Death rate in the Vukovar Hospital was only 2.5%, despite enormously difficult conditions of work. The surgical operations had to be carried out in the cellar of the hospital, since the building was almost completely destroyed by Yugoslav People's Army and Serbian paramilitary forces.

Dr. Juraj Njavro and Kata Šoljić in 2007 delivering a public lecture in the building of the National and University Library in Zagreb (Tribina Hrvatskog slova). Photo by Snježana Božić.

In the whole of the Republic of Croatia 306 children have been killed during the Serbain aggression in 1990-1995, 1,280 wounded, 4,455 lost both parents, and 131 lost both parents. As many as 185,000 children live in exile.

At the moment of military aggresion on Vukovar in 1991, the city had about 15,000 children. During the summer most of them have been evacuated, many of them returned to the city hoping that the situation will calm and that they will go to school. However, 1,500 of them stayed during the most savage bombing and shelling. As a result of this more than 80 children have been wounded and more than 30 killed.

Here is the list of killed children during Serbien siege of the city of Vukovar. Three of them have been exhumed from the infamous Ovčara mass grave.
  1. Matej Aleksandar, 1989-1991
  2. Dragutin Balog, 1974-1991 (Ovčara)
  3. Josip Bandić, 1976-1991
  4. Tomislav Baumgertner, 1973-1991 (Ovčara)
  5. Željko Cvetković, 1973-1991
  6. Goran Ćećevac, 1990-1991 (less than two years old!)
  7. Dalibor Černok, 1984-1991
  8. Igor Černok, 1977-1991
  9. Vedran Galić, 1973-1991 (Ovčara)
  10. Stevo Gegić, 1973-1991
  11. Sabahudin Gršić, 1975-1991
  12. Gracuela Jelić, 1975-1991
  13. Igor Kačić, 1975-1991
  14. Ivan Kljajić, 1991-1991 (nine months old!)
  15. Mario Kolarić, 1978-1991
  16. Damir Lehkec, 1973-1991
  17. Siniša Marjanović, 1975-1991
  18. Nevenka Markuš, 1974-1991
  19. Karlo Nikolić, 1973-1991
  20. Dario Pakšec, 1976-1992
  21. Damir Pakšec, 1980-1992
  22. Zlatko Palahinjak, 1973-1991
  23. Zorica Pavlović, 1976-1991
  24. Dario Pejić, 1979-1991
  25. Siniša Rajković, 1975-1991
  26. Stjepan Rukavina, 1974-1991
  27. Darko Sučević, 1973-1991
  28. Ante Šarić, 1974-1991
  29. Borislav Šimunić, 1974-1991
  30. Damir Šper, 1973-1991
  31. Đorđe Vidaković, 1978-1991
  32. Antonio Vidaković, 1975-1991
  33. Mario Vuletić, 1973-1991
These data are taken from the following monograph:

Štefan Biro (ed.): Vukovarska Bolnica 1991 (Vukovar Hospital in 1991), Vukovar 2007, 371 pp. In particular, see the article by Vesna Bosanac and Davor Bandić: Djeca u rati (Children in the War), pp. 230-236.

Martyrdom in Croatian Homeland War (1990-1995), lecture delivered in Zagreb by dr. Juraj Njavro in 2005, surgeon at the Vukovar Hospital in 1991, [PPT, in Croatian].
My deep gratitude to dr. Njavro for permission.



Not only that that the remains of three children mentioned above have been found at the Ovčara mass grave. The following twenty employees of the Vukovar Hospital have been assasinated at Ovčara in 1991:

  1. Jozo Adžaga
  2. Ilija Asađanin
  3. Ivan Banrauch
  4. Tomslav Bosanac
  5. Ivan Buovac
  6. Dragan Gavrić
  7. Zlatko Jarabek
  8. Đuro Knežić
  9. Zlatko Krajnović
  10. Tomislav Mihović
  11. Tomisalv Papp
  12. Tomo Pravdić
  13. Stjepan Šarik
  14. Đuro Šrenk
  15. Zvonko Varenica
  16. Goran Vidoš
  17. Mato Vlaho
  18. Miroslav Vlaho
  19. Josip Zeljko
  20. Mihajlo Zera

Four employees of the Vukovar Hospital that were detained druging the Serbian occupation of the city in 1991, and whose destiny is still not known, are:

  1. Ivan Baranjek
  2. Marko Mandić
  3. Ivan Božak
  4. Zovnko Vulić

Twelve identified employees of the Vukovar Hospital, assasinated or victims of the 1991 aggression:

  1. Vlasta Aleksandar
  2. Karlo Crk
  3. Dušica Jeremić
  4. Ljubica Kojić
  5. Goran Krznarić
  6. Nevenka Matić
  7. Zdenka Miličević
  8. Ljubica Obradović
  9. Ivan Raguž
  10. Marica Stanek
  11. Blanka Stefanjuk
  12. Rudolf Terek

In conclusion, there are altogether thirty two (32) employees of the Vukovar Hospital, victims of the Serbian aggression on the city, and four detained employees whose destiny is unknown.


Štefan Biro (ed.): Vukovarska Bolnica 1991 (Vukovar Hospital in 1991), Vukovar 2007, pp. 364-367.

The Vukovar Hospital took care of about 4000 people during the Serbian 1991 aggression, until November 20th, 1991. About 2250 people underwent difficult and long term operations. Each day approximatly 700 (seven hundred) granades was falling on the building of the hospital. The work of medicinal staff was going on in extremely difficult conditions, often without necessary equipment, even without electricity, food and water, in the celler and atomic shelter of the hospital, since the building was totally destroyed.

In 1997 the hospital was reintegrated into the medical system of the Republic of Croatia, and in 1998 its complete renewal was started.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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  • Comment #1 (Posted by ®eljka Marija Èorak)

    I was in Vukovar this past June and I visited the Ovèara site. I met another physician, Dr. Dra¾en ©vagelj, the pathologist, though whose hands the remains of the poor souls of Ovèara passed. He said it is difficult for anyone to be normal who lived though that tragedy. I am sad about the passing of Dr. Juraj Njavro.
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