A Note on the Toponyme Ćirina kuća (Ćira’s House)

(Recorded in August 2006 for the web page of the village of Prebilovci)

Tripko Ćirić

On big maps, even on those military ones, called specialists, you will be searching in vain for the toponyme Ćirina kuća in the area of the village Prebilovci. It is not to be found even in history books. It is one of around ten toponymes in the area of Prebilovci which borrowed their names either from the names or the surnames of the people living in this old settlement. The ruins of Suhić (or Ekmečić), the toponymes which can be found on maps, bear witness, among other things, to the age of the settlement in the area of the present village of Prebilovci. The toponyme Ćirina Kuća is impressed in people’s memory. It should be good to spread the word about this toponyme, to transfer it from memory to the books aiming at teaching young generations, growing on that piece of land called ”the world’s chains”, what happens with a man and his kin when evil enters some other man and his kin.

 Ćira’s real house, responsible for the toponyme, although a ruin, is still resisting the r avages of time . Situated to the right of the road leading out of Prebilovci toward the hamlet of Vrlić, and encircled in shrubs, it is almost invisible. With great effort, creeping under the brambles and perennial dog roses, we reached the house. Its old walls are still resisting the ravages of time . On the walls of one of the two rooms into which one comes in from the yard, there is still plaster.On the eaves entangled in ivy - a few bricks. Everything seems to have fallen to pieces but the deed of the household hand is still visible. The farmstead is rather spacious and it can be seen, even after more than half a century, that it was well designed. At a good distance from the former firm house - traces of the old constructions - stalls and sheepholds. On every side, traces of the crumbling walls known here as ”duvars.” A piece of land of several square

meters to plant no more than a few savoy cabbages, an onion, a bit of grapevine and all about – stones in abundance. The duvars. All this, however, is felt as a monument to the man..For, every stone here around Ćira’s house went through his hands, as well as through his ancestors’. And it stood at its place until 4 August 1941.

In the book by Prof Dr Novica V. Vojinović, "Српске jаме у Пребиловцима - Геноцид хрватских клероусташа над Србима у Херцеговини" (”Serbian pits in Prebilovci – the Clerico-Ustašas Genocide of Serbs in Herzegovina), on thirty-one pages – a list of victims from Prebilovci. It is, as far as is known, the most complete list of the inhabitants of Prebilovci killed in 1941. The list was made per household and in alphabetical order with the surname, middle (father’s ) name and first name of the victim; in the case of married women-victims – their maiden names are also recorded. This unique list includes also the victims’ ages, the dates of the persecution (Vojinović used the term ”the date of the taking away”), as well as the date and place of death with the description of distinctive cases of the torturing and murdering of innocent people. On page 466 we read that Tripko Ćirić Ćira, son of the late Savo, was found in Dol, below the village, on 5 August 1941, "with his throat cut and his son in his arms." About his daughters, Stana (26), Joka (21), Dana (19) and the twin sisters, Sava and Radojka (17), it is written that they were "raped and thrown into a pit." His wife, Stana (née Nadaždin), and four other daughters, Stoja (14), Slavojka (10), Neđa (8) and Angelina (5), ended their lives in the pit. They were all killed on the same day, on 6 August 1941. Ćira’s father, we learn thanks to this list of the inhabitants of Prebilovci, was called Slobodan, and was only three years old in August 1941.

In the summer heat, exactly 65 years after the violent and unheard-of atrocity in the human history was perpetrated against the entire village, we leave the toponyme Ćirina kuća. Deeply moved by the experience which is still to be described (will it be possible at all (!?), since words are here, as is the man, unable to state or describe the whole width and depth of the Prebilovci tragedy, we are carrying the picture of Ćira’s house in a digital camera. And a question on the spot: When will the ruins on this toponyme be protected such as they are, and when will a marker be placed here to indicate that there once lived a twelve-member family of Tripko Ćirić Ćira, destroyed in 1941, along with another 50 Prebilovci families? There’s no doubt this should be done. However, there is a question who should do that in the village from whose homes, in the last war, the people were expelled and their houses burnt down. Those who have returned to their native homes are small in number and helpless.

Aleksa Dragić


* The toponymes in the area of Prebilovci named after the surnames or first names of the people who lived here through times and through the ages: Suhića Gradina (Suhić’s Ruins), Ekmečićeva Gradina (Ekmečić’s Ruins), Gojkov Do (Gojko’s Valley), Jevrin Kuk (Jevra’s Rump), Lasohanov Grob (Lasohan’s Grave), Milikića Bus (Milikić’s Lawn), Krunuša (Jaruga; Ravine), Ždrakanovića Jaz (Ždrakanović’s Ditch ), Drakanovića Jaz (Drakanović’s Ditch; three toponymes in Hutovo Blato). A legend about medieval towns once erected here where the present day Suhić’s and Ekmečić’s ruins are speaks about the unhappy ending of a young couple’s love, testified, even today, by the Đevojkin Grob (The Girl’s Grave) at Dijela.

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