Daksa Island is a little paradise near the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia. But behind the beauty of this old-world, pristine island is a morbid history.
Daksa which means “right hand” in Greek is the smallest of the Elaphite archipelago, with 500 meters long and 200 meters wide total area. The little island is complete with cypress woodland and orange grove. A 13th century Franciscan monastery was built in 1281 and was named after St. Sabina. Soon after, the lighthouse and villa were constructed.
However, Daksa Island remained unoccupied for many years because of its dark past that shadowed the attractiveness of the place.
During the World War II, Croatia was part of Yugoslavia but was made independent when invaded by the Nazi forces. Croatian soldiers were obliged to take side to the Germans as they launched a brutal crusade against the Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and Croatians not loyal to the fascist Ustaša Regime. Massacres and merciless executions befell in those days especially inside the infamous Jasenovac concentration camp.
When Ustaša Regime fell from power, Croatia became a republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
In October, 1944, Yugoslav partisans arrested more than 300 people suspected as Nazi sympathizers. Prisoners including the Mayor of Dubrovnik Niko Koprivica, and the local parish priest, Petar Perica were brought to the abandoned island of Daksa and were executed without trial through gunshot to the head. The bodies were said to be dumped in shallow mass grave, others were left to decay.
Relatives of the murdered victims were told by the cold-blooded assassins not to look into the island, else same fate would await them. Since then, no one made an effort to venture to Daksa.
In 1999, the president of the Croatian Helsinki Committee, Ivo Banac, called for an inquiry for the Daksa Massacre. The probe uncovered two grave sites with remains of 53 distinct males. Several of the skeletons were identified but most were still unknown. Near with the remains was a collection of several items such as buttons, necklaces, rosaries, a priestly collar, crosses, bullets and bullet shells.
In 2010, after 60 years, the victims of execution were given proper burial.