SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Pleiweiss Mirko

An anchor symbolizes determination, strength, calmness and loyalty. These are qualities that can be attributed to the here buried, senior maritime officer, who choose anchor as his symbol. This was witnessed by his turbulent life story.

Pleiweiss Mirko, a fresh graduate of the Austro-Hungarian Naval Academy in Pula, with 19 years finds himself in the bustle of the World War I. In 1918 he joined the newly established navy of SHS state, where he was named captain of  the warship called "Mighty", the second largest in the fleet. The crew under his command in 1918 had the honour of  being the first who raised the flag of SHS state. In the same year, Pleiweiss was positioned as captain of the largest warship in the fleet, which he took as a great honour. Later he became an important player in navy force of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

In April 1941, when Germany attacks the kingdom, fate brought Pleiweiss, then commander of the naval defence of the northern sector, and warship "Mighty" together again. Pleiweiss ordered to the captain of "Mighty" to sail into the bay Šilo and inform commanders of steam ships anchored there, that they must sink all their ships without exception. After that, warships "Mighty" with the crews of sunken ships sailed south to Sv.Juraj, where it was sunk by its former captain.

Pleiweiss as commander then focused his forces on land. Four days after the German attack and according to command of the new authorities in Zagreb, Croatian collaboration forces tried to take power in Crikvenica. Same day Pleiweiss as representative of the Royal Yugoslav Army ordered the arrest of key players. Two of them died in detention during transport in suspicious circumstances, which are not explained to this day.

In same month, Pleiweiss is mentioned in testimonies about the revolt in the village of Zrmanja, again against the Croatian collaborationist authorities. This time he was commander of an armed group of rebels with experienced sailors from ex kingdom navy being the core of it. Now his the operation did not go according to plan. Commander of Croat collaborationists managed to escape to the neighbouring town, where he informed Italian military authorities about situation in the village. But before Italian army arrived in Zrmanja, the rebels hid their weapons and mingled with the locals. And when the Italian soldiers arrived in the village, there were no visible signs of rebels. Italian solders stopped in the main square, where they assembled a large group of locals, mixed with rebels. Then the Italian officer asked some local if he knew where the wife and daughter of the escaped Croat commander could be. The man exchanged looks with one of the rebels and began to play ignoramus. Then a tall man appeared at the scene, dressed like a village craftsman, dressed in blue, worn out clothes and a sport hat. When Italian officer noticed him and repeated the question, the unknown man showed with his hands that he is deaf. This man was head of operations Mirko Pleiweiss, who appeared in the most critical moment and lived to see the happy ending, because Italians fell for the trick and soon left. Next month he and his group worked in the area of Lika and later joined the partisans.

After World War II he lived in Maribor and completed his book "Broken anchor" memoirs of a battleship captain. His last harbour is Pobrežje cemetery.

Stone from the Kvarner sea

In 2018, based on a talk with his son in law, a stone was put on the grave. Stone was taken from the seaside in Sveti Juraj near Senj, where he sunk the "Mighty" ship.

The plant which connected them all?

There might have been a person who knew almost all of those we visited today. Franc Vojsk, the expert in the most important area of knowledge around this town - grapes and wines.

naval officer