Zagreb – Villa Rebar


On a forest slope just north of Zagreb, the Croatian dictator Ante Pavelic built a luxurious villa in 1932. Pavelic was the leader of the ultra-nationalist fascist party Ustasha between 1929 and 1945. Between 1941 and 1945 he was the leader of the independent Croatian state that had been formed in the wake of the German invasion of Yugoslavia in april 1941. Croatia and Pavelic were in reality a puppet of mainly Nazi Germany but also of fascist Italy. Between 1941 and 1945, Ustasha carried out what can be likened to the genocide of Serbs, Jews and Roma who were murdered or imprisoned.

Adjacent to Villa Rebar was built an extensive tunnel system that connected the villa with military facilities built into the mountain. After the war, Pavelic fled via Austria to Argentina and worked as a security adviser to Juan Peron. In 1957, a Serbian nationalist subjected his hand to an assassination attempt. Pavelic survived but did not feel safe in Argentina and therefore fled to Franco’s fascist Spain. The injuries he sustained during the attempted murder led to his death in 1959. He was buried in a cemetery in Madrid. Villa Rebar was rebuilt after the war into a hotel but in 1979 the hotel burned down and has since been a ruin.

Current status: Demolished (2023).

Location: 45°51' 48.20" N 15°58' 44.79" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The villa may be burned down with the stone construction on the ground floor is preserved and really interesting to visit. Graffitti and doodles characterize the ruins but it does not take away the ruins of its historical attraction. The tunnels that belonged to the villa are also left and can I know visited for those who feel like it. It is usually so-called urban visitors who take on the tunnels while such as I content themselves with exploring the exterior ruins that more than well give a sense of historical presence. Although Pavelic lived there, the ruins do not seem to attract sympathizers and thus have no value charge that creates debate whether the ruins should be removed or not. But on the other hand, Croatia seems to have a more ambivalent approach to its history than, for example, Germany.

Follow up in books: Pavlowitch, Steven: Hitler’s New Disorder: The Second World War in Yugoslavia (2008).