Partisan hospital in the National Liberation War 1941 - 1945

The Partisan ambulance service began to develop in parallel with the formation of rebel units and partisan detachments. It was created based on preparations made between April and early July 1941, led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The health service is established in partisan detachments, depending on the task of the unit, material capabilities, and primarily on personnel.

With the development of the medical service, but also with the liberation of the territory, the first partisan hospitals were created. The smaller territorial hospitals that operated separately from one another connected with the formation of partisan military hospitals at the end of 1942. The first surgical team was formed in September 1942, and a pharmaceutical service began to be created early. In the liberated areas, special civilian health services were organized, which were closely linked to the unit medical service and territorial hospitals. In 1943, the ZAVNOH (The State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia) Health Department issued "Instructions for Work on the Establishment of a Health Service in the Liberated Territory of Croatia" and "A Manual for the Operation of Rural Health Sections".

Doctor Rewinds Wounded Captain of the US Army James Goodwin, Slovenia, 1944. Excerpt from the book: John Phillips, The Yugoslav Story, Belgrade, 1983, p. 101.

The Maintenance of the Second Congress of Partisan Doctors in Glina, Topusko, and Slunj from 24 to 27 February 1944, with the participation of a large number of physicians from the territory of Lika, Kordun, Banija, and Slavonia, speaks of the good organization of the medical service and it's mass.
After the capitulation of Italy, about 100 doctors, pharmacists, and medical students came to the partisans. They are staffed by brigade and divisional hospitals and surgical teams. From hospitals on the islands of Hvar and Vis in 1944, a large number of wounded and sick were transported by ship to Allied hospitals in Italy.

The Slavonia ambulance service with territorial hospitals, located in the forests with a system of secret underground shelters for the wounded and sick with each hospital was extremely well organized. Secret underground shelters for the wounded and sick, medical supplies.

Part of the equipment of the partisan hospitals on display at the Military Museum in Belgrade

Partisan hospitals were health institutions formed during the armed struggle to treat the wounded and the sick. They enabled thousands of wounded and sick to be brought back to fight.

During the war, there were mainly two basic types of hospitals:
immobile, tied to a specific territory,
mobile hospitals of individual units.

Near Delnice, summer 1944. Caring for the wounded after the bombing

Immovable hospitals that were located on the free territory were in most cases the public ie. they knew about and served the population from closer and beyond. Such hospitals are initially uprising and even later in Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Croatia. Secret hospitals were built primarily in areas where, due to the greater number of enemy strongholds, they could not apply other methods of care for the injured and ill. Very few people knew about them, in fact only as much as was necessary for the operation of the hospital, and the wounded and the sick were received with special precautions (at night, through public hearings when taken by hospital staff, during the day, blindfolded, etc.) During construction, care was taken to adapt them as closely as possible to the environment, so that they were not observed even from a distance of several steps, usually in forests or other suitable places.

Franja Partisan Hospital in Slovenia.

The most famous hospitals in Slovenia include, first of all, the Slovenian Central Military Partisan Hospital Kočevski horn with about ten wards Jelen Breg, Jelen Žleb, Pugled, Spodnje Lšće, Zgornje Lasce, Stari Log, Vinice, Jelen Dol and Lesen Kamen, in the range of 10-15 - {km} - with a total capacity of about 300 beds. The hospitals on Pohorje were similar, but these were partly buried in the ground. Although the security of secret hospitals rested largely on secrecy, some were thought of in advance, but when choosing a hospital location and the possibility of defense. Such was the Franciscan Hospital, one of the 9th Corps hospitals near Cerkno, built in an inaccessible gorge. It had an entire defense system (external and internal lines with minefields, machine guns, and finally the defense of the wounded and sick themselves.)

Mobile hospitals are mainly organized in units because of the constant movements and the need to care for the wounded and sick as soon as possible.

Medical student clears face a wounded partisan, Slovenia, 1944

The largest and most important mobile hospital during the National Liberation War is the Central Hospital of the NLA Supreme Headquarters, formed during the Fourth and Fifth Offensive, with about 3,500-4,000 wounded and sick. Because of this, a famous battle for the wounded was fought near the Prozor in February 1943.

The air evacuation of wounded partisans from Bela Krajina to Italy from the airport Otok in Slovenia

In addition to the listed hospitals in the country, several partisan wounded, some 12,500 were also treated at Allied hospitals in Italy and Malta.

According to the data collected, 3,081 physicians (including 319 physicians) were employed in the NOP in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. 213 were killed, most of whom were killed outside the fight. The Order of the People's Hero honored 9 of them (7 dead and 2 surviving the war).



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