Vukovar Nocturne is a story of love and courage, strength and pain, human dignity and victory of life. The story of a tragedy of one nation, of victims, heroes, of defiance and pride was turned into Vukovar Nocturne, joining together all memorial sites in the town. Numerous institutions included in the Vukovar Nocturne were originally built for some other purpose, but the history had obviously decided to give them another role.
The story of the Vukovar hospital is a tragic truth about the struggle between good and evil, about humaneness and care for each wounded. The permanent exhibition is made of medicine plaster, consisting of human figures placed in the original shelter to show the time that stopped here.
Ovčara… just an ordinary farm, similar to many others, located some 10 km southeast from Vukovar. In addition to two other farms, Grabovo and Jakobovac, it painted a picture of the wealth and power of the noble family Eltz, and today it is a part of the Vukovar agricultural combine collective VUPIK. If 1991 had not happened, no one would have even known about it. It was a horrifying act of hatred, inhumanity and the basest human urges. If all that had not happened, the farm would still be anonymous, known only to its employees and to people who used to live and attend school here, and who return more and more often as the time goes by.
Ovčara… the mass grave, the holy place where the wounded and the medical staff from the Vukovar hospital were killed. The 261 of them. From there, they moved to the stars.
Ovčara… The Memorial Hall, opened on 20 November 2006 in the hangar where those who were killed there in 1991 spent the last hours of their lives and where they left their unfulfilled dreams. And while those honest, wondering, innocent eyes observe us from the walls, we cannot help but think how they must have felt on that cold day in the late fall of 1991 and wonder had they known that they had embarked on a journey of no return. To whom did their last thought go, whose name was silenced on their lips? It will remain a mystery forever. Thanks to them for the courage, for their lives, thanks to them for Vukovar and for Croatia!
They say that the Memorial Cemetery of Homeland War Victims is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Croatia. They deserve it. It would have been much better if the graveyard never had to be made.
As a crown of remembrance of all events that took place in the Homeland War throughout Croatia, the Homeland War Memorial Centre in the Croatian Armed Forces Barracks was founded. The complex is thematically divided, including the overview of the Battle of Vukovar and the surrounded town, symbolically depicted using a wooden Slavonian fence where each bar represented one day (and the town had been surrounded for 100 days), the outdoor display of weaponry and other military resources, the replicas of concentration camps Stajićevo and Begejci with multimedia photos of the capturing, the imprisonment, the drawings of the captured soldiers and their exchange and return to their homes.
At the centre of Vukovar, where the Vuka flows into the Danube, a monument was raised for all those who gave their lives for a free and independent Croatia. The monument’s author, sculptor Šime Vidulin, created it in the shape of a cross. At the place which always offered a view of the wide, mighty river, now stands a white cross, as a symbol and a memento, but also a warning.
“Navik on živi ki zgine pošteno” (“He who dies honourably shall live forever”) – words are set in stone in the oldest Croatian alphabet, the Glagolitic script. They live on in us, and we live with them every day.
Vukovar is the metaphor of life.
As nothing in life comes as a straight course, but the sorrow and joy, the tears and laughter, the rises and falls keep intertwining, so is the case with Vukovar. It has gone through its ordeal, but it had not broken the town; it has its Vukovar Nocturne, which is both sorrow and pride at the same time, but it also has the Danube and the Vuka, Vučedol and Adica, the people and the buildings that make it famous, the tourist attractions and the gastronomic offer. It also has the Vučedol Dove as a synonym of peace and life continuity.
The word “nocturne” includes a gradation of feelings and even though we feel great sadness, an enormous pride remains in the end. If we had stopped without moving on, it would be a surrender and our defeat, but everything we do is our THANK YOU to them. And since tomorrow is always a new day and a new hope, thus the same picture always looks differently at daylight.
Vukovar is a marvellous town…
Vukovar is pride…
Vukovar is defiance…
It is a tear in the eye,
the sorrow in heart…
And a smile on one’s lips
Vukovar is the past and the future.
Vukovar should be experienced here, in the exact space, its soul has to be felt. Do come, become a part of the Vukovar story, be that little droplet which aims to weave the truth about Vukovar – in order not to be forgotten.