How This Yugoslavian Resistance Soldier Lost Her Eye

albina mali-hočevar

Our scars, both physical and not, show the pain we’ve endured, but alsoo what we’ve survived. And, that is definitely the case for Albina Mali-Hodevar.

Albina Mali-Hodevar has become known for her scars. She was a Yugoslavian resistance fighter who made many sacrifices during her time of service. Unfortunately, not many people know her name or story. 

So, let’s dive into the history behind the woman in the picture, to uncover her truth. Here are four questions about Albina Mali – answered!

1. Who Is The Woman In The Photo?

The girl in the photo is named Albina Mali-Hodevar. She was a resistance fighter in Slovenia in 1941 after Germany invaded Yugoslavia during World War II. While World War II is flooded with endless tragic wartime stories, Albina’s story and service to Yugoslavia has gone unnoticed for a long time.

She was born on September 12, 1925, and was one of eight children. At the age of 16, Albina joined the People’s Liberation Movement, which was a part of the People’s Liberation War of Yugoslavia. She was initially designated to be a nurse, but ended up being involved with action on the battlefield.

2. How Did Albina Mali Get Those Scars?

She was wounded a few times during the war. More specifically, she was wounded twice by the age of 17. After her 18th birthday, she was tragically wounded again by exploding mines. During her time of service (1942-1943), she had sustained multiple injuries, including the injury seen in the photograph, which caused a disfigurement of her face and the loss of her eye.

3. What Was Her Role In The War?

Her efforts of assisting continued long after she was no longer on the battlefield. She had transitioned from soldier to nurse, going above and beyond to assist the wounded. Even though she wanted to be a soldier and actively fighting against invaders rather than a nurse, she did not take her new role and responsibilities lightly. Her dedication to her duties and her patients did not go unnoticed by those around her.

Multiple people who were around Albina during her time of service, recall her work on the battlefield as a nurse:

“The nurse Albina always paid more attention to the wounded than to herself”

“She knew neither fear nor exhaustion while… there were wounded [partisans] to be taken care of.”

4. What Happened To Albina Mali After The War?

Due to her dedication, courage, and bravery during particularly hazardous and dangerous situations, the country of Yugoslavia awarded Albina the Yugoslavian Order of the Partisan Star, 3rd class. She then went on to have a prominent role in the government before passing away on January 24, 2001 at age 76.

albina mali

Albina gave her life and even her eye for freedom. Even though a lot of people have seen this photo, tragically most people don’t know about the incredibly powerful and brave woman behind this photo. There is still a lot unknown about Albina’s life and not many photos of her beyond this one, but what we do know is that she was incredibly courageous and driven to help free her country from invaders and oppression. Her legacy goes beyond this picture. And this photo is a symbol of what horrors and tragedies war puts the men and women serving through, but also what real-life heroes look like.

Watch this video to learn more about Albina Mali-Hodevar’s story!

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