European HerStory: Rada Vranješević

, by Rafael Silva

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

European HerStory: Rada Vranješević
Rada Vranješević speaking at the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Unknown photographer; photo in public domain, details here.

History is not merely a question of fact but of how it is recorded and how we interpret it. What is remembered, and how we remember it, is shaped by our socially constructed understandings of the world as it was at the time and as we know it today.

With the feminine history of our continent often sold short under the weight of enduring patriarchal structures, women’s contributions to science, art, politics and beyond are often at best overshadowed or at worst forgotten.

The following article is part of our fortnight-long feature, “European HerStory”, during which we are presenting inspiring stories of women who have contributed to Europe. With this feature, we hope to help rectify the imbalance stemming from our collective prism of history, and inform ourselves and our readers about female achievements and innovations.

You can read the full presentation of the feature here.

Rada Vranješević was a resistance leader in Bosnia during WWII and a Yugoslav Activist. Daughter of a priest and member of the Agrarian Party, she became involved in the Communist Party once she moved to Belgrade. That same year, she was arrested for organizing a strike action and lost her job. After that, she went to Montenegro and continued in the Party.

When the Nazis invaded, Vranješević was capable of hiding by wearing a niqāb, recruiting many Banja Luka women to the partisan cause.

When transferring weapons and ammunition for the partisans to fight with, she would try to conceal them inside her veil. She was so involved in the fight, that she was one of the founding members of the Women’s Antifascist Front of Yugoslavia, later becoming one of the few women to be part of the State Antifascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was arrested multiple times for her involvement with the communist party and organising strike action.

She was sent to Drvar by the Communist Party, and was captured after the Nazis raided Drvar. Rada was killed the next day after she attempted to escape.

Vranješević was given the title of People’s Hero of Yugoslavia in 1951 for her political contributions. This is a very prestigious award, given to individuals, military units, political and other organisations who distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroic deeds during war and in peacetime.

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