Andrija Hebrang

Chronology of life and disappearance of Andrija Hebrang

Contract killing






Chronology of the life and disappearance of Andrija Hebrang


1899 - born in the village of Bacevac (Bačevac) near Virovitica in the Slavonija region, to Andrija and Cela, née Strasser

1906 - his father dies, the mother Cela remarries, to Julius Terek

1912 - departs to Szent Lorencz near Pécs in Hungary, to study for the job of commercial assisstant

1914 – returns to Suhopolje where he finds a job

1917 – begins his military service in the artillery regiment in Osijek;

is later transferred to Zagreb to train for the liaison branch;

in the autumn he is sent to the Italian front near Gorizia

1918 – spends time on the Italian front until November

1919 – has a part time job at his family’s inn in Suhopolje;

called back to the army, serves in Osijek, where he joins the Socialist Labour Party of Yugoslavia

1921 – deployed in the artillery regiment in Nis (Niš), Serbia, where he and a group of others sharing the same views are imprisoned for six months for disrespecting the military discipline and disobeying officers (First imprisonment)

1923 – moves to Zagreb, staying at his sister Ilona Sauer’s apartment;

gets a job in the “Royal” company in 44 Ilica St, and later in “Rekord” in 5 Moravska, today Massarykova St.; he was insured through the “Merkur” society

1924 – falls under Zagreb police surveillance; taken into custody following March 24 street demonstrations, registered, and let go;

active in trade unions, using the conspirative moniker Fatty

1925 – becomes a member of the Party’s Zagreb branch;

the newspaper “Trgovacki pomocnik” publishes several of his articles

1926 – becomes cashier in the administrative committee of the Zagreb branch of the Union of Private Employees

1927 – runs in Zagreb city elections on September 4, 41st on the list of the Workers-Farmers Republican Alliance;

elected president of the Workers Choir “Buducnost” (“Budućnost”) in December

1928 – chairs the secret eighth conference of Zagreb’s communists in late February; participates in the antifaction bloc which wins the members’ confidence;

makes it possible for Josip Broz aka Tito to assume leadership; elected Municipal Committee delegate at the conference of Yugoslav communists in Berlin; en route to the conference, he is arrested while crossing the border and taken into custody in Graz; sentenced to three months in prison in Maribor but lodges an appeal and is released after six weeks (Second imprisonment); leaves the Maribor prison on May 7 but is escorted to Belgrade as a witness and on May 9 to Zagreb; kept in custody until May 25 when he is turned over to the Royal Court in Zagreb for further procedure; also arrested were Mihailo Vranes (Vraneš) and Josip Halapija, the leaders of “Buducnost”; charged in connection with his work in “Buducnost” whose rules had allegedly not been approved; released on July 7 due to lack of evidence (Third imprisonment); banished to his home municipality for a period of five years; escorted to Virovitica; does not stay long in Bacevac, returns to Zagreb shortly thereafter; Andrija and Vranes are arrested again in Zagreb’s Gunduliceva St. on September 7, bearing documents which pointed to their illegal activity

1929 – Andrija and the others who were arrested (Blaz Valjin (Blaž), Josip Kras (Kraš), Mihajlo Vranes, and Vilim Horvaj) fall under the jurisdiction of Belgrade’s judiciary after the King on January 6 revokes the Constitution, dissolves Parliament and bans all political parties from any activity; Andrija and the others are escorted to Belgrade on November 4, except Vranes and Horvaj, who escape from the Zagreb prison; the main hearing is held on November 11 and 12; at the trial Andrija denies being a member of the Communist Party, claiming he is a communist out of conviction; at a political trial in Belgrade, the State Court for the Protection of the State sentences Andrija to 12 years and two months of hard labour on charges of communism and failure to comply with the previous banishment sentence (Fourth imprisonment)

1930–4 - while imprisoned in Lepoglava, he studies Russian, English, political economy and history; gets the nickname Mirotocivi (Mirotočivi)

1935 – following a summer strike of political prisoners, all are transferred to Srijemska Mitrovica

1937 – clashes with Petko Miletic (Miletić), a Montenegrin communist, over the organisation of living in prison and some other issues; proclaimed a Trotskyite; on August 6 Miletic stages an attempt at Andrija’s life; following these incidents, Andrija chooses solitary confinement;

Andrija Mur, the son from his first marriage, dies

1941 – his sentence expires on February 15, when he returns to Zagreb; he spent 12 years, five months and eight days in prison; is escorted to Bacevac, but leaves for Zagreb immediately; lives at Vladimir Frajtic’s at 7 Heinzelova St; becomes politically active and soon assumes important functions in the Communist Party of Croatia; in October he and Vlado Popovic found the General Staff of People’s Liberation Partisan Units; in November Andrija is appointed secretary to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia (CKKPH)

1942 – on February 25 Andrija is arrested by agents of the Ustasha Surveillance Service at the home of Ivan Srebrenjak-Antonov in the Zagreb suburb of Vrapce (Vrapče); during the arrest he offers armed resistance to give Franciska Srebrenjak time to destroy documents; after a two-hour shootout, he is wounded to the head; the injury is serious, leaving him in a coma for three days and able to distinguish only light and dark with the right eye; after completing treatment, he is taken to the prison in Kulin Ban Square (today Victims of Fascism Square); in June he is transferred to the Stara Gradiska concentration camp (Fifth imprisonment);

near Okucani (Okučani) on September 23 he is exchanged for Ustasha officials Mirko Vutuc and Karlo Wagner, who had been captured by partisans from Slavonija; later in the year he assumes the duties of CKKPH secretary; attends the AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Yugoslavia) conference in Bihac (Bihać), Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Croatia’s representative;

marries Olga Kuhn, née Strauss, in Slunj in December

Andrija Hebrang1943 – participates in the founding and activity of ZAVNOH (Anti-Fascist Council of the People’s Liberation of Croatia), to which he is elected vice president; the Executive Committee of the Croatian Peasants’Party (HSS) and ZAVNOH’s Serb Club of Councillors also take part in ZAVNOH’s activity;

Andrija and Olga adopt Dragan Stanic (Stanić), a war orphan;

daughter Dunja is born

1944 – at ZAVNOH meetings in Otocac (Otočac), Plaski (Plaški) and Topusko, Andrija initiates and organises the annexation of Istria, Rijeka, Zadar and the islands to Croatia and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia, initiates the establishment of the Croatian Telegraph Agency; religion is introduced as an optional school subject; members of the HSS and the Serb Club of Councillors take part in ZAVNOH’s activity; in October Andrija is relieved of duty as CKKPH general secretary and appointed trade and industry commissioner to the National Committee for the Liberation of Yugoslavia (NKOJ) due to his pronounced aspirations towards the realisation of the Croatian national idea and statements like “Croatia is entitled to self-government, to have its own parliament as the supreme legislative body and sovereignty carrier, and to have its national government”; in December Andrija is appointed chairman of NKOJ’s Economy Council

1945 - heads a Yugoslav delegation to Moscow in January; in March he is appointed industry minister in the Tito-Subasic (Šubašić) cabinet; at elections in November he is appointed member of parliament in the People’s Republic of Croatia and envoy in the Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Federative Yugoslavia, as a representative for the counties of Virovitica and Zagreb (the Crnomerec and Kustosija (Črnomerec and Kustošija) districts)

1946 – in the new Government of the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (FNRJ), he is reappointed minister of industry, as well as chairman of the Economy Council and of the Federal Planning Commission; in April he is ousted from the Politburo of the CKKPJ (Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia) due to conflicts over concepts of economic development; in June he is relieved as industry minister and Economy Council chairman;

son Andrija is born

1947 – works on the drawing up of the first five-year plan, pointing to the fact that farming lags behind; heads an economic delegation to Poland in May;

son Branko is born

1948 – relieved of duty as Federal Planning Commission chairman on January 8, the day he signs the order for the first post-war census, which turns out to be the last document signed by him, and is appointed light industry minister; his telephones are wiretapped on March 3; in April he is put under house arrest at 56 Rumunjska St; relieved of duty as light industry minister on May 5; at six a.m. on May 7, he is taken to a party interview somewhere at Fruska gora, escorted by general Ivan Gosnjak and two unknown persons; the Party commission concludes that Andrija had collaborated with the Ustasha, had led a chauvinist policy towards the Serbs… and a series of other lies; Udba’s Milorad Milatovic is appointed investigator and is later promoted to the rank of general; during investigation Andrija is charged with being an Ustasha agent for having pointed to Zagreb’s underground communists in an Ustasha prison, as well as with being a Soviet agent for having revealed state secrets to the Soviets and supported the Cominform resolution; he is arrested the same day and taken to the Glavnjaca prison in Belgrade (Sixth imprisonment); his wife Olga and three children are placed under house arrest the next day; on October 27, FNRJ public prosecutor Josif Malovic orders an investigation over allegations of a criminal act “against the people and the state”; the investigation is never officially closed

1949 – in the “The Hebrang Log Sheet”, which is enclosed in The Hebrang File, the officer on duty in Udba’s prison Glavnjaca writes:

0-3 hrs: Sremac was at interview until 1 a.m., was later taken out of the building, the others were all asleep

… 18-21 hrs: Sremac has not come back.

The same note was entered on the following days as well; investigator Milatovic and the comrades wrote a death record in the early hours of June 11 “regarding the death of arrestee Andrija Hebrang from Belgrade” in which they concluded “that the arrestee Hebrang committed suicide”

1950 – several Supreme Military Court judges are arrested for refusing to prosecute Andrija

1952 – Milatovic’s version of Andrija’s death, that he hung himself from a radiator in Glavnjaca on 11 June 1949, is published for the first time after the 1948 arrest in the Borba daily of May 27, in an issue printed in both the Latin and Cyrillic scripts; the May 30 issue of the Communist Party of Croatia bulletin “Naprijed” runs an ad for Mile Milatovic’s book “The Case of Andrija Hebrang”; Andrija’s family is not notified about his death, his body is not returned, his belongings and accompanying documentation are not turned over

1957 – subsequent death; Andrija Hebrang is declared officially dead based on a decision of the Belgrade-based Secretariat of Interior Affairs dated November 25 and a supplement dated December 6; he is entered into the book of the dead of the Stari grad municipality on 27 November 1957; the day, month, year and hour of death are entered as 11 June 1949, with Belgrade given as the address

1958 – a decision of the State Secretariat of Interior Affairs of the People’s Republic of Croatia dated March 17 changes the family name Hebrang into “Markovac”; even though Andrija had already been declared dead, in later Belgrade books the comrades changed his last name to “Markovac”!

1983 – Ivan Supek publishes “The Key Witness Against Hebrang” in Chicago, using Vladimir Frajtic’s life to illustrate Udba’s foul play in Andrija’s plight;

Dragan Kljakic publishes “The Hebrang File” in Belgrade, reiterating Milatovic’s claims and adding new “findings” to focus on more sins committed by Andrija, the result of the fear of the Party and the police that the truth might be discovered;

Throughout the years, Serbian and Croatian journalists, in agreement with the political police, publish parts of Milatovic’s claims about Andrija’s “treason” to support the myth about an Ustasha-inclined Croatia and a Serbia that was always on the right side; in the early 1980s Zvonko Ivankovic finds evidence about false documents and false accusations against Andrija; his attempt to rehabilitate Olga Hebrang and Vladimir Frajtic threaten the party-judiciary apparatus

1984 – Zvonko Ivankovic-Vonta publishes “Notes by Former Udba Member I.” in Zagreb; Zvonko Ivankovic is arrested early in June; he is a private investigator probing Andrija Hebrang’s life who is the first to point to the many false documents Milatovic used in his 1952 book “The Case of Andrija Hebrang”;

the Party is appalled at Ivankovic’s study and demands for the rehabilitation of Olga Hebrang and Vladimir Frajtic (Frajtić); the Party’s Croatian branch, apparently under pressure as a result of Ivankovic’s findings, requests to view The Hebrang File;

the police harass Ivan Supek over the book he published abroad

1985 – the Presidency of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia on February 13 decides to turn over The Hebrang File to Croatia, which is done on July 25

1986 – the Party engages Milenko Doder, a KOS (Counter-Intelligence Service) Lieutenant Colonel, to analyse Ivankovic’s findings; Doder confirms that there is no evidence about Andrija’s “treason” and points to the naivety of arguments that he had signed on to collaborate, which was first mentioned by Milatovic and later by former Soviet agent Kopinic; Doder publishes his findings in the book Kopinic (Kopinić) Without the Enigma, which was printed by CIP Zagreb in 20,000 copies, with Slavka Odic and Joza Vlahovic as consulting editors; Doder publishes more lies about Andrija’s political cooperation with the Germans in order to provide some justification for the Party’s 1948 fabrication;

Ivankovic is released after 30 months of “investigation”;

at the family’s request, the commission for petitions and complaints of the Presidency of the Tenth Congress of the Alliance of Communists of Croatia on November 20 concludes that there are no grounds to review the facts about the activity and accountability of Andrija Hebrang established by the Ploitburo and the CKKPJ (Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia) Plenum in 1946 and 1948

1988 – Zvonko Ivankovic-Vonta publishes Hebrang in Zagreb; this is the first public study of the Party’s monstrous conviction and the rigged trials against Andrija and the other victims of Udba’s secret “investigation” and the Yugoslav judiciary; the book lists document sources and the matrix of the forgeries; the book is published by the Zagreb-based Scientia yugoslavica, edited by Sinisa Maricic (Siniša Maričić), with Bozidar Jaksic (Božidar Jakšić), Predrag Matvejevic (Matvejević) and Peter Vodopivec as consulting editors, printed in 2,000 copies

1989 – Zivorad Mihajlovic (Živorad Mihajlović) publishes Hebrang – Traitor of Victim of a Political Game in Belgrade; an attempt to question Ivankovics findings and a response to attempts to rehabilitate Andrija and Olga Hebrang and Vladimir Frajtic; the book claims Andrija had collaborated with the Germans and attempted to have the KPH (Communist Party of Croatia) legalised in the NDH (Independent State of Croatia)! This “work” cites as its sources the Udba archive and some other documents, but not Zvonko Ivankovic’s book Hebrang;

the Alliance of Communists of Croatia rejects the family’s initiative to morally rehabilitate Andrija

1990 – at the family’s initiative the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) in February forms the Andrija Hebrang Truth Committee in an effort to morally rehabilitate him;

Ivan Supek publishes Key Witness in the Hebrang Case in Zagreb which is the Croatian edition of the book from 1983

1991 – Andjelko Vuletic’s (Vuletić) play Andrija Hebrang premieres at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on March 9;

Pavle Kalinic’s (Kalinić) book Andrija Hebrang: the Witnesses Speak is published by Azur Journal from Zagreb; this is a collection of statements from witnesses of political trials and persecutions and documents about secret political trials and rehabilitation attempts

1992 – the Croatian Parliament on February 14 adopts a Declaration condemning the arrest and murder of Andrija Hebrang

1996 – Nada Kisic-Kolanovic (Kisić-Kolanović) publishes Andrija Hebrang: Illusion and Sobering in Zagreb, a monograph in which the author, the first not to belong to the party-police circle, offers a scientific interpretation of all available sources about the life, work and demise of Andrija Hebrang; the monograph is published by the Institute of Contemporary History, edited by Mirko Valentic, with Ivo Banac and Ivo Peric as consulting editors, and printed in 1,500 copies;

Narodne novine from Zagreb publishes the second edition of Pavle Kalinic’s Andrija Hebrang: the Witnesses Speak

2002 – an attempt is made to return Andrija’s body to the family and all the items and documents from Belgrade relating to Andrija’s life, work, and end.

Andrija Hebrang

The investigation was never officially closed. An indictment was never filed. Charges were never pressed. Andrija was not prosecuted.

In truth, Andrija went missing between 7 May 1948 and today. Today because the exact way in which Andrija Hebrang died remains unknown, as do the time of death and the place of death, because there exists no valid death certificate, because the body has not been returned to the family, because the family was never notified about Andrija’s death, and because the place he was buried at is unknown.