is difficult to make the irrational choice of murdering an enemy when you know that after this action the consequence will be paid with the same bullet. Even if they have murdered your whole family in front of your very eyes, our instinct is to do anything possible to survive. History has shown us that some would die for their country so they can honor it.
However, one brave soul made the decision of taking justice into her own hands as she had the right to condemn those that had wronged her with death. Lepa Svetozara Radić was a Bosnian Serb member of the Yugoslav Partisans in World War II. She joined the partisans because she wanted to avenge the death of her parents and protect those that didn’t have the courage to fight against the German invasion.
Sadly, one party of Yugoslav Partisans had fallen into the hands of the German troops and they were all executed for killing German soldiers. It was Lepa that did not go out without a fight. In February of 1943, she was up for execution for shooting at German troops. What is more surprising and the reason as to why I have said ‘a girl’ is because this happened when she was only 17 years of age.
As her execution was prepared, a German commander wanted to offer her a way out of her sentence in exchange for revealing the location and identities of her leaders. Her response shocked not only the soldiers but the entire world.
She responded by saying that she wasn’t a traitor and that her comrades from the Yugoslavian Partisan party would reveal their location as well as their identities themselves when they came to avenge her death. It is incredible the courage that this teenager, or better yet, hero showed, even when faced with death.
However, those were not her last words. As the German troops were waiting for the order to push the chair she was standing on she shouted these last words:
“Long live the Communist Party, and partisans! Fight, people, for your freedom! Do not surrender to the evildoers! I will be killed, but there are those who will avenge me!”
These words would have just shown the braveness of not only such a teenager but the partisans as a whole. Even with how outgunned they were, that did not matter to them as they knew that the Reich would fall and crumble someday. This can be seen in Lepa’s last words. No matter if she did make the ultimate sacrifice, her death would be avenged which would bring her soul a step closer to victory.
It is imperative to realize that, unlike others that died throughout World War II, she had a choice and she chose to die with dignity and honor.