Order of the People's Hero

  (Redirected from People's Hero of Yugoslavia)

The Order of the People's Hero[3][4][5] or the Order of the National Hero[6][7] (Serbo-Croatian: Orden narodnog heroja / Oрден народног хероја; Slovene: Red narodnega heroja, Macedonian: Oрден на народен херој, romanizedOrden na naroden heroj), was a Yugoslav gallantry medal, the second highest military award, and third overall Yugoslav decoration.[1] It was awarded to individuals, military units, political and other organisations who distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroic deeds during war and in peacetime. The recipients were thereafter known as People's Heroes of Yugoslavia or National Heroes of Yugoslavia. The vast majority was awarded to partisans for actions during the Second World War. A total of 1,322 awards were awarded in Yugoslavia, and 19 were awarded to foreigners.[8]

Order of the People's Hero
Order of the National Hero yug 1.jpg
Order of the People's Hero medal
Awarded forDistinguishing oneself by extraordinary heroic deeds
Presented by Yugoslavia and
 Serbia and Montenegro
First awarded1942
Last awarded1991 (Milan Tepić)
TotalAround 1,400
Order of the National Hero - ribbon.svg
Next (higher)Order of Freedom
Next (lower)Order of the Hero of Socialist Labour (1948–1992)[1]
Order of the Yugoslav Flag (1998–2006)[2]
Order of the People's Hero.

In 1998, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia decided to award the Order of the People's Hero again and decorated several military units, but no individuals.


Socialist YugoslaviaEdit

The bulletin of the Supreme Command of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia no. 12–13 (December 1941 and January 1942) announced the establishment of the title of "People's Hero" for heroic and self-sacrificing participants of the People's Liberation War. The first person to be awarded the title was Petar Leković. A total of 22 persons were awarded this title. On 15 August 1943, the title was formalized as an order together with Order of the People's Liberation, Order of Bravery, Order of the Partisan Star, Order of Brotherhood and Unity and the Medal for Bravery. At the same time, all the persons who already held the title of the People's Hero were awarded the order.[9]

The Order consists of an oval gold badge showing a soldier with rifle and banner superimposed upon a rayed star surrounded by a wreath of laurel. The badge is suspended from a red ribbon, with a narrow white stripe towards each edge. The design for this and the other Orders were undertaken by the painter Đorđe Andrejević Kun and the sculptor Antun Augustinčić. Before 29 November 1943, the title of People's Hero was awarded by the Central Committee of KPJ, after 1945 it was awarded by the Presidium of the People's Assembly of Yugoslavia, and starting in 1953 by the President of Yugoslavia.[9]

From its inception until around 1993, the Order had been awarded nearly 1,400 times. Marshal Josip Broz Tito was awarded the Order three times: in 1944, 1972, and 1977. The holders of the order were entitled to certain benefits, like free fares on public transport, and pensions for the surviving family members of deceased people's heroes. Although the benefits have since been downscaled, post-Yugoslav countries still provide certain benefits to people's heroes. Many schools and streets in post-war Yugoslavia were named after people's heroes, and many of the names remain, to varying degrees in different successor countries.

Not only people, but cities, military units and organizations were also awarded the order. Eight cities in Yugoslavia were awarded the order and proclaimed "hero cities": Belgrade, Cetinje, Drvar, Ljubljana, Novi Sad, Prilep, Pristina, and Zagreb.[9]

Serbia and MontenegroEdit

Following the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed, and later renamed Serbia and Montenegro. In 1998, it passed a law that continued to use some of the decorations of former Yugoslavia, among them Order of the People's Hero,[10] making it, at the time, the fourth-highest order after the Order of Yugoslavia, the Order of the Yugoslav Star and the Order of Freedom.[2]

The Serbian media ridiculed several proposals to decorate Slobodan Milošević with the Order of the People's hero because he would have had to decorate himself.[10][11] It was never given to any individuals, but several military units active in the Kosovo War were decorated:[11]

Notable recipientsEdit

Because of the large number of awards, only people with Wikipedia articles are listed. Date of the award(s) is given in parenthesis.[12] Those marked with a dagger (†) have died during the war. They were all awarded posthumously, except for Petar Leković who was awarded the order before he died in the WWII.

Foreign citizens recipients of the orderEdit

Source: [15]

Hero CitiesEdit

Eight cities were the Order of the People's Hero (one in each Socialist Republic and Socialist Province), and granted the title "Hero City". Dates of the award are given in parenthesis.[17]

Public and political organizations recipients of the orderEdit

World War II military units recipients of the orderEdit

  • Brigades
    • 1st Proletarian Strike Brigade[21] (1958)
    • 2nd Proletarian Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 3rd Proletarian (Sandžak) Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 4th Proletarian (Montenegrin) Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 5th Proletarian (Montenegrin) Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 6th Proletarian (East Bosnian) Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 1st Lika Proletarian Strike Brigade (1977)
    • 2nd Lika Proletarian Strike Brigade (1977)
    • 3rd Lika Proletarian Strike Brigade (1974)
    • 1st Krajina Proletarian Strike Brigade (1975)
    • 3rd Krajina Proletarian Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 7th Krajina Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 1st Dalmatian Proletarian Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 2nd Dalmatian Proletarian Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 3rd Dalmatian Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 12th Slavonian Proletarian Strike Brigade (1977)
    • 13th Proletaraian Strike Brigade "Rade Končar" (1972)
    • 1st Slovenian Proletarian Brigade "Tone Tomšič" (1974)
    • 2nd Slovenian People's Liberation Strike Brigade "Ljubo Šercer" (1979)
    • 10th Herzegovinian Strike Brigade (after 1952: 17th Proletarian) (1958)
    • 1st Vojvodina Strike Brigade (after 1958: 18th Proletarian) (1973)
    • 1st Macedonian-Kosovan Proletarian Strike Brigade (after 1951: 15th Proletarian)
    • 3rd Serbian Proletarian Brigade (1977)
    • 7th Banijan Strike Brigade "Vasilj Gačeša" (1958)
    • 8th Banijan Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 16th Banijan Strike Brigade (1958)
    • 15th Majevica Strike Brigade (1958)
  • Batallions and regiments
  • Army institutions
    • Central Hospital of People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (1968)
    • Partizan Hospital on Petrova Gora (1971)
    • Security and Intelligence Service (Varnostno-obveščevalna služba)


A total of 1,322 persons were awarded in Yugoslavia by 1981. Most of the awarded were men (1231) and 91 were women. Most People's Heroes were either miners or industrial workers (34%), 19% were university and high school students, 18% were farmworkers and 13% were experts of all kinds.[8]

Most of the awarded were very young. Half of them joined the Army before their 25th birthday, and only 325 of them were over 30. 42% of the Heroes who died in the war were between 16 and 26 years old, 38% were between 27 and 34. Three Heroes were less than 17 years old when they died. Milka Bosnić was the youngest recipient of the order, she was just 15 when killed during the Raid on Drvar.[8]

Most recipients were awarded in the years following World War II, most of them between 1951 and 1953. Tito was the only person to be awarded multiple times, he was awarded the order three times. Of the 955 recipients who died in the war, 77% were killed in combat, about 15% were executed or died in prison, and about 7% died from wounds. Most of the Heroes died in 1943 (about 30%) and in 1942 (27.5%). Nine of them were killed after the war officially ended during the fight with the remaining enemy forces. 55 People's Heroes committed suicide to escape arresting.[8]

Most of the recipients of the Order were born in Croatia (21.9%), followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina (20.6%), Montenegro (18.7%), Central Serbia (15%) and Slovenia (11.05%). Most of those who died during World War II died in Bosnia and Herzegovina (32%). In 1957 there were 410 living People's Heroes, in 1975 there were 367, and in 1981 there were 343 living Heroes.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Orders and Decorations of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1945-90 by Lukasz Gaszewski 2000, 2003
  2. ^ a b Orders and Decorations of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1990- by Lukasz Gaszewski 2000, 2003
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Americana, volume 8. New York: Grolier. 1984. p. 608. ISBN 9780717201167. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Ruggenthaler, Peter (2015). The Concept of Neutrality in Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1945–1953. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 99. ISBN 9781498517447. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Rosen, David M. (2015). Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination: From Patriots to Victims. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813572895. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "Yugoslavia Honors Dead Soviet Officer". Star Tribune. October 21, 1964. p. 12. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ "Yugoslavia Honors Tito as 'Hero' for Third Time". The Los Angeles Times. May 17, 1977. p. 9. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  8. ^ a b c d e Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, page 463
  9. ^ a b c Encyclopedia (1975), volume 1, page 7
  10. ^ a b "Zakon o odlikovanjima". Vreme (in Serbian). 1999-04-24. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  11. ^ a b "Milošević bi morao sam sebe da odlikuje". Blic (in Serbian). 2000-06-08. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  12. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2
  13. ^ "Zakon o odlikovanjima". www.vreme.com. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  14. ^ "On je poslednji odlikovani heroj JNA, a poginuo je u podvigu na koji bi se odvažili samo NAJHRABRIJI". Blic. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  15. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, pages 393-402
  16. ^ "Одликованиа президиумот" (PDF). Службен лист на ФНРЈ (95): 1206–1207. November 1946.
  17. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2
  18. ^ a b Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, page 432
  19. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, page 431
  20. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, page 434
  21. ^ Encyclopedia (1982), volume 2, page 407


External linksEdit