Origins of the Dvor
The first Murkovic house in Stajnica, located between the saw mill and the church.
Sometime in the 19th century, a Murković family lived in a large house in the middle of the Stajnica valley that has since disappeared. This first home was situated on a stream somewhere between the ruins of the old saw mill and the church in Stajnica. The family made their living from running a grain mill and storage facilities on the stream.
While they were there, an Austrian baron, who we think was called Otto Bohutinsky (Tominac has him as German and Bohutinski), bought some property at the foot of the hill (Gaj?) and did some major earthworks to improve the lot. He filled in the back of the Dvor, creating a massive retaining wall out of stone and leveling the entire lot. He then built the Dvor as his hunting and summer residence. Tominac says that the Dvor was built in 1875.
The Murković family got to know the Bohutinsky family and it is possible that someone in the family worked there as domestic help. Janjica (Jozo’s wife) had been educated in Austria, spoke German well and would have been friendly to the Bohutinsky family.
We don’t know how many seasons the Bohutinsky’s spent in Stajnica but the story goes that one season the baron arrived with the wife and kids and then returned to Vienna on his own. The couple may have had marital problems. After some weeks, possibly months, the wife decided to return to Vienna and asked the Murković family to look after the children. Sadly, the children were left in Stajnica for a number of months and the Murković family were the children's guardians. After some time the baron wanted to get rid of the Dvor and so he sold it to the Murković's. We think that Mate Murkovic was still the patriarch at the time, but it is possible that Mate had passed away.
We have a picture of the original Murković home and Vjera Prpić seems about 20 to 30 years old in it, so it was still standing in about 1920. We don't know if the Murković’s sold the original house or just let it fall into disrepair.
With the move to the new house, the family also changed it's main business from a grain mill to a saw mill. The business was successful and the Murković's invested heavily in the house and the mill. Extensions were built around the initial house, until there was a completely enclosed courtyard. There was a lockable gate at each end of the house and the doors were barred fom the inside, making the home into a bit of a fortress.
1941 - 1944
In 1941, the Dvor was attacked and Slave Murković died. The remaining family left the Dvor soon after that and sought refuge in Zagreb and later in Austria. Braco Murković stayed in Zagreb and requested that the home be returned to him. This was approved but then he heard word that someone from Lika was coming to Zagreb to kill him and he too escaped to Austria. Fifty years later the Dvor was returned to him.
"The Murkovic holdings (stables with treasure inside, the magazine, house, saw-mill, small and large stock of ready-prepared wooden goods for export) were set on fire on Wednesday, 17 September 1941. All that is family Murković had was destroyed that Wednesday not only by the armed partisans, but also by 60 unarmed Serb peasants from the Upper end - north Brinje who participated in the arson. They took and plundered whatever they wanted as momentos." - Tominac
Partizan forces took control of the Dvor and eventually made it into a hospital for their staff. It operated as a hospital from July 1943 to September 1943 when a German panzer division attacked the Dvor, killing about 24 patients and destroying the roof. Joško heard that this had happened and he went to the German headquaters (in Zagreb) to ask for reparations. They admitted the damage but said that they would settle up after the war. Whe the war ended, the Germans paid Tito's partizan government reparations for damage done during the war.
1944 - 1991
At this place on the 17th of September 1941, Partzani completed their attack on the Murkovic's industrial operation and disabled it from the service of the occupiers (Germans). From the July until September 1943 this building housed the partizan hospital for the head staff in Croatia. 24 wounded partizans were killed here in the attack by German panzers on 24 September 1943. Memorial plaque erected by the municipal committee SBNOR-A Brinje
4 July 1957.
Under communism the roof was rebuilt and the Dvor was used as a post office and convenience store for years. A family lived there and ran the store/post office during this time.
In 1957 the council in Brinje placed a plaque on the wall commemorating the attacks by both Partizani and by the Germans.
The Dvor and the mill was returned to Braco Murković and he eventually came back to Croatia. The Dvor is in a poor state and the mill is a ruin. In about 2001, Braco sold two trees in front of the Dvor to a local saw mill to help him finance some repairs to the house. In 2010 Šandre (Mile), the owner of the mill recalled that when the logs were eventually milled they were unusable as they were full of lead from bullets, bombs and grenades that dated back to WW2.
Research notes :
Ferdinand Fröhlich, the last descendant of the Fröhlich family in Stajnica, was the machine operator on the Murković sawmill.