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Braco (1927-2010)

Braco was born in a hospital in Zagreb in 1927 and brought home to Stajnica with his twin sister, Seka. He left Stajnica under fire in 1941 and eventually escaped Yugoslavia in 1945 to meet up with his parents in Austria. They then emigrated to Argentina and tried to make a living there for 20 years. Then they emigrated to South Africa in 1965 and struggled to make a living there for another 30 years. He had moderate success in the taxi industry before the industry became lawless. He returned to Croatia in 2000 and dreamed of resurrecting his home in Lika (Dvor) but failed because of financial constraints. Fell ill in 2004/5 and lay disabled in a nursing home in Zagreb until his death on July 7, 2010.

 

Christened Radovan Josip Murković. Kids started calling him "Rado" in school so he had his name changed to Josip Radovan Murković. He hated the Radovan and never mentioned it. Later in Argentina, the authorities changed his name to Jose Murković and he used that for about 50 years.

About 1934 to 1937: Braco had a fever and was diagnosed with a heart problem. He was told to lie down and not move for a long time (week?). He was eventually taken to see another doctor in Senj and there he was diagnosed with an infected tooth, which was pulled and he immediately recovered.

1944: Braco had to stay in Zagreb. Couldn’t go to Austria w/family. They wouldn’t let him across the border because he hadn’t served army yet.  He was registered as a student at the time.
1945: escaped, caught, returned to Zagreb. With Vlado and cousin (=Ivek, per Seka).
[per Seka: Braco, Vlado, Joško Crnadak, Ivek Tominac and Maco tried to cross into Austria in April 1944. Stopped by the English and returned to Yugoslavia. Seka said that they could have bypassed the English because they had their own car and had the address, but chose to follow instructions. On their return to the border, Vlado, Joško and Ivek were arrested and shot. Braco and Maco were 18 at the time, had student cards and were released.]

In Zagreb, Braco got sick with Typhus 1 and then, immediately afterwards, Typhus 2. He lost a lot of weight and got very thin. He was hospitalized in the hospital “Zeleni Gaj” in Zagreb. Seka Crnadak, whose brother had been arrested and shot when trying to get out of Yugoslavia with Braco and others, helped him. Braco said that he would have died without her help. She brought him food, care.

During this time, all the family property had been confiscated (nationalised) and when he finally got well, he asked for the house in Lika to be returned to him because he had no support system. He then got the house back into his name. Even though the zadruga had lost everything and he had recovered the house for himself, he always felt a moral obligation to pay the remaining members of the zadruga out for their share. The house is currenly owned by his children, Darko and Dunia and by Stella, his sister's daughter. In Zagreb, he completed Veliku Maturu (high school). The school was in Klanjevicevoj Ulici. He enrolled in the Faculty of Commerce and completed two or three semesters.

In 1947 he decided to escape. His father wrote him a letter telling him to meet a man at a time and place in ZGB. He had the name of this man. This man would escort him to a town in Slovenia, close to the Austrian border, where they would meet a second man. He was told the town and the name of the second man. They needed a consistent story, so the story that he had to keep to was that he was a struggling student and had thought that he could buy flint cheaply in Slovenia and sell it in Zagreb. Flint was still used to light stoves at the time. Braco went to the Kolodvor, bought a ticket to Slovenia and went to the meeting spot at the right time, but the first man did not make the meeting and Braco decided to set off for Slovenia on his own.

He walked from the station to the town where the second man was supposed to be. There he asked someone that he met if they knew of this second man. Being a small town, he was soon pointed into the direction of a small restaurant. While he was there meeting with the second man, two Milicia (Military Police) came in and when they saw Braco (a stranger in town) they asked him for his papers. In broken Slovenian, and with their knowledge of Croatian/Serbian, he sat and talked to the Milicia for a while. He had just finished school and as the school syllabus had already been changed to reflect history according to Tito, Braco was more knowledgeable than the general population about Partisans, partisan units, the things they had done and where they had been. So he told the cops about what a big partisan his father was, which unit he served under and what a big hero he and his family was – the cops bought it, hook, line and sinker. When they finished, one of the cops turned to him and said “Oh Comrade, I would never have guessed that you were such a good patriot!” and then they wished him well. That night, he was led through the woods, crossed a wooden bridge into Austria and followed the remaining instructions which he had memorized.

He walked for a few hours in Austria and was caught by American troops, interrogated and imprisoned for three months. They suspected that he was a communist spy. Eventually, they believed (or verified) his story and released him into quarantine for 30 or 40 days. He was really annoyed at that – after spending 3 months where he could have infected everyone, they thought he was now cleared for quarantine! When he was released, he walked for ages, eventually getting to Althofen, to meet with his family.

His father met him outside the house and was unbelievably happy. Then he went in to see his mother. She was lying in her bed when he came in. When she saw him at the door she screamed “Joško! Joško!  I've gone mad! It's as if I see Braco in the doorway!“ That night, they set his mattress on the floor at his mother's bed and she stroked his head all night.
 
Maco Parac was not only Braco's cousin, but his good friend. They spent 8 years together in the Internat (high school) in Zagreb. Went on journey to Austria in 1944 and returned alive. 1992: met Braco at airport, gave him some Kuna to help him get through the first few days back in Croatia.

Braco was disabled for the last five years of life and died in Zagreb on July 7, 2010 from multiple organ failure, four days short of his 83'rd birthday. He lies in Stajnica, Lika

Article in Stajnica.com

Article in Stajnica.com under the page "Presenting famous Stajnican's"
JOSIP BRACO MURKOVIĆ
 


President Tudjman awarding Braco his two medals in South Africa.

 Obitelj Murković bila je nositelj vrlo značajnijih gospodarskih aktivnosti u brinjskom kraju između dva svjetska rata. Zapošljavali su veći broj domaćih ljudi, čime su zadržavali domaći živalj od iseljavanja. Početkom rata njihovo veliko gazdinstvo napali su partizani i uništili. Tako je 17. rujna 1941. nestala značajna gospodarska snaga u Stajnici koja se nikada nije oporavila. Napad je izvršilo pedesetak partizana pod zapovijedanjem Ivice Lovinčića. Tom je prilikom ubijen Slave Murković, kojega je ubio partizanski aktivist Srđan Uzelac, a lakše je ranjen Vlade Murković

Preživjeli Murkovići uspijevaju nabaviti kamion i s malo spašenih stvari odlaze u Zagreb. Tu borave do 1945. godine kada većina obitelji odlazi u Austriju. U Zagrebu ostaju Vlade i Josip Murković. Međutim, kada su se partizani krajem rata približili Zagrebu i njih dvojica kreću prema Austriji. Tako su stigli do mjesta Pörtschacha, gdje ih Englezi zaustavljaju i upućuju na vlak za Italiju. Ukrcavaju ih u stočne vagone na stanici Maria Hilfe na Vrpskom jezeru. Umjesto u Italiji završavaju u Kranju. Kada su neki shvatili gdje su i što ih očekuje, otrovali su se i izvršili samoubojstvo. Bez hrane i pića nastavili su poput brojnih kolona prema Hrvatskoj. Putem su jeli travu samo da bi preživjeli.

U Ljubljani je odvojena vojska od civila. Nad vojnicima je odmah izvršena smrtna kazna bez suđenja. Josip je temeljem učeničke iskaznice stigao u Zagreb, dok je njegov stric Vlade proveden u zatvor u Savskoj cesti, gdje je ubijen. Kada se vratio u svoj stan tamo je zatekao nove stanare. Ubrzo je obolio od tifusa pjegavca zbog čega završava u bolnici. Brigu o njemu vodila je sestrična iz obitelji Crnadak. Usput polaže ispite iz 7. razreda gimnazije. Međutim, opet obolijeva od tifusa. Nakon ozdravljenja boravi kod strica (po baki) Tominca. Maturira 1946. godine i upisuje Ekonomski fakultet.

Međutim situacija se naglo pogoršava. Otac mu je u odsutnosti osuđen na smrt i konsifikaciju cjelokupne imovine. Jedna ga osoba iz Stajnice upozorava da mu je život u opasnosti. Uzima nešto najnužnijih stvari i odlazi u Austriju. Zarobljavaju ga Englezi i zatvaraju. Nakon kraćeg vremena pušten je na slobodu i spaja se s ostatkom obitelji.

Pošto je gospodarska situacija u Austriji bila vrlo teška i složena odlučuje na odlazak u Kanadu, gdje mu je živjela sestra blizanka. Od kanadskih vlasti osumnjičen je za komunističku djelatnost i ne dobiva vizu (!) Godine 1949. odlazi sa sestrom Vesnom u Argentinu. Bavili su se raznim poslovima kako bi stekli nešto financijskih sredstava, koja su dijelom slali roditeljima u Austriju. Pokušavaju roditelje dopremiti u Argentinu. Majka zbog bolesti nije mogla dobiti dozvolu za useljenje sve do 1952. godine.

Godine 1963. Josip napušta Argentinu i na nagovor prijatelja seli se u Južnoafričku Republiku. Na početku je radio kao tekstilni tehničar a kasnije je osnovao uspješno taxi poduzeće.

Ljubav prema Hrvatskoj vraća ga poslije osamostaljenja na domaće tlo. Tijekom Domovinskog rata značajno pomaže Republici Hrvatskoj, zbog čega je odlikovan s dva odličja, koja mu je pokojni predsjednik Tuđman osobno uručio u JAR (na slici u prilogu)

Danas živi sa suprugom u Zagrebu.

The Murković family brought very important economic activity in the Brinje region between the two world wars. They employed a large number of local people, thereby keeping the domestic population from emigrating. At the beginning of the war, partisans attacked and destroyed their large holdings. So on 17 September 1941 a significant economic force in Stajnica disappeared and was never recovered. The attack was executed by fifty partisans under the command of Ivica Lovinčić. In the attack Slave Murković was killed by a partisan activist Srdjan Uzelac and Slave's brother Vlado Murković was wounded.

The Murković survivors managed to get a truck and with a few rescued things, went to Zagreb. They stayed there until 1945 when most of the family went to Austria. Vlado and Braco remained in Zagreb. However, towards the end of the war, when the partisans approached Zagreb, the two of them also decided to move to Austria. So they came to Pörtschach, where the Engllish troops stopped them and placed them on a train to Italy.
They were loaded into cattle wagons on the Maria Hilfe side of the Vrpskom Lake. Instead of taking them to Italy, they ended up in Kranja. When some of them realized where they were and what awaited them, they poisoned themselves and commited suicide. Without food or drink they continued in many columns to Croatia. Along the way they ate grass just to survive.

In Ljubljana, soldiers and civilians were separated. The soldiers were immediately sentenced to death without a trial. Braco managed to get to Zagreb thanks to his student card, but his uncle Vlado was taken to prison in Savska Road where he was killed. On his return to his flat in Zagreb, Braco found that he had new tenants. Soon he fell ill with typhoid fever (of the stomach?) and he ended up in hospital. His cousin Seka Crnadak cared for him during this time. During this time he managed to pass his 7th grade exams however he once again fell ill with typhiod fever. He returned to health after staying with his uncle (by grandmother) Tominac. He matriculated in 1946 and registered in the Faculty of Economics.

In the meantime, his situation suddenly got worse. His father was sentenced to death in absentia and all his property was confiscated. A person from Stajnica warned him that his life was in danger. He packed some essentials and set for Austria. He was captured by the English and was imprisoned. A short while later he was released and he met up with his remaining family.

As the economic situation in Austria was very difficult and complex, it was decided to go to Canada where his twin sister lived. He was suspected of being a communist by the Canadian government and did not get a visa! In 1949 he set off for Argentina with his sister Vesna. They tried to get financial resources in a number of ways, a part of which they sent back to their parents in Austria. They were trying to bring their parents to Argentina. Because of illness, their mother could not get permission to immigrate until 1952.

In 1963 Braco left Argentina and on the advice of friends, emigrated to South Africa. In the begining he worked as a textile technician but later he ran a sucessful taxi business.

His love for Croatia brought him back onto domestic soil after independence. During the Homeland War he greatly assist the Republic of Croatia, for which was decorated with two medals, which his late President Tudjman personally awarded to him in South Africa (picture attached).

Today he lives with his spouse in Zagreb.

P.S. Josip (Braco) ju umro 7 Srpnja 2010 P.S. Braco died on July 7, 2010

 
 
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