Escape and Evasion from Yugoslavia

To provide background on the complex situation in Yugoslavia during WWII, this page begins with a sample map of Yugoslavia during the war (for additional maps, click here) and some links to articles available on the Internet:

The following are links to articles about escape and evasion events that took place in various parts of Yugoslavia.  Most of the articles appeared in the AFEES newsletter, Communications.  To view an article, click on the link.

  • “‘George’ Was Busy Helping Airmen”.  Click here.
  • “Downed in Yugoslavia”.  Click here.
  • “WWII Veterans Honor Croation”.  Click here.
  • Operation Halyard.  Click here.
  • “A Dream Comes True for Joe Maloney.”  Click here.
  • “I Was There”  (Slovenia) by Les Laws.  Click here.
  • “Joe Puts Together His Story”.  Click here.
  • “Chetniks Help Pilot Fly Again”.  Click here.
  • “OSS Captain Remembers the General”.  Click here.
  • “Serbian Rescuers Aided U.S. Crews”.  Click here.
  • “‘Zvonko’ led Halyard Mission.  Click here.

For more articles on this subject, see these listings which also appear under the headings of Croatia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia in the Index to Helpers on this website:

  • Article by Dura (George) Janosevic of aid to downed airmen in Yugoslavia – Sept. 1998, pg. 8-9;
  • Commemorative plaque marking 60 years since 500 airmen rescued, Galovic Field Apt. near Pranjani – Winter (Dec.) 2004-5, pg. 20-21;
  • Identification request of person in photo – Winter (Dec.) 2004-5, pg. 12;
  • Mihailovich, Gen. Dragoliub – Legion of Merit Medal and Certificate in the Degree of Chief Commander presented to his daughter – Fall (Sept.) 2006, pg. 20-21;
  • See also listings under Yugoslavia in the Helpers List.
  • See article, “Downed in Yugoslavia” on this website.
  •  Letter from John Rucigay.  Plans to reunite airmen with helpers in Yugoslavia in Sept. 1991 probably will not happen because of political unrest and uncooperative local governments – Spring 1991, pg. 2;
  • “A Wild Trip Back Across Yugoslavia” – March 1997, pg. 16-17;
  • Thank you letter from Djura (George) Janosevic for publishing his story.  He was not allowed to publish it in Yugoslavia.  He was imprisoned after the war. – Dec. 1998, pg. 5.
  • Natl. Committee of American Airmen Rescued by Gen. Mihailovich seek honor for him – Summer 1990, pg. 15;
  • Letter from Ivo
  • Request for help identifying an evader downed on 8/24/44 near Daruvar, now in Croatia (Jovita Podgornik shown in accompanying photo) – Summer (June) 2007, pg. 5;
  • Situation in Yugoslavia by John Rucigay – Summer 1991, pg. 9; Summer 1992, pg. 2;
  • Story about Stanley Taxels who evaded in Bosnia and was helped by Dragutin Dvijanovic (, pg. 15;
  • Tito, Marshal – Winter (December) 2003-2004, pg. 29;
  • Tribute to Slovenian helpers – Winter 1992, pg. 10;
  • Identification of Americans in photo published in 2001 Summer issue – Sept. 2001, pt. 23;
  • Yugoslav Resistance, 1943-1944 by Kirk Ford, Jr., Texas A&M University Press, Sept. 2001, pg. 23;
  • “A 1995 Return to Serbia” reprinted from the Tucson, AZ Citizen, June 1995 – August 2002, pg. 25-27;
  • Indrija Museum in Slovenia rebuilt the Franja Hospital built by Partisans to treat their wounded and evaders – Winter (Dec.) 2007, pg.4;

See also the recent article, “Hazardous Balkan Air Rescue” by Kevin Morrow, in WWII History magazine, February 2022, pp. 64-73.

For books on the subject, see: 

Stanley, Charles E., Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines, 2022.  “Late in 1944, thirteen U.S. B-24 bomber crews bailed from their cabins over the Yugoslavian wilderness. Bloodied and disoriented after a harrowing strike against the Third Reich, the pilots took refugee with the Partisan underground. But the Americans were far from safety.

“Holed up in a village barely able to feed its citizens, encircled by Nazis, and left abandoned after a team of British secret agents failed to secure their escape, the airmen were left with little choice. It was either flee or be killed.

“In The Lost Airmen, Charles Stanley Jr. unveils the shocking true story of his father, Charles Stanley-and the eighteen brave soldiers he journeyed with for the first time. Drawing on over twenty years of research, dozens of interviews, and previously unpublished letters, diaries, and memoirs written by the airmen, Stanley recounts the deadly journey across the blizzard-swept Dinaric Alps during the worst winter of the Twentieth Century-and the heroic men who fought impossible odds to keep their brothers in arms alive.”  Available from AmazonAbeBooksThriftbooks.