Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 20, 2012

Kragujevac massacre

October 20, 1941:  The Kragujevac massacre begins. On September 16, 1941, Nazi Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel issued an order to all of occupied Europe. He ordered that 50 Communists be killed for every wounded German soldier and 100 Communists killed for every killed German soldier. In early October, a group of Communist Partisans and Chetniks under Draza Mihajlovic attacked Germans near Gornji Milanovac, Serbia. Not only were German soldiers killed, but reports of mutilation of the corpses reached the high command. The massacre was a direct consequence of the attack. It was not possible to find the required number of victims at Gornji Milanovac and so the city of Kragujevac, Serbia was used.

On October 18, all the Jewish males of Kragujevac were arrested. They and some alleged Communists numbered 70 men. More men were needed to fill the quota and so more males were brought in. Any males between the ages of 16 and 60 were arrested. German troops, members of the 5th Detachment of the Serbian Volunteer Command under the command of Marisav Petrovic, and the Serbian State Guard went into high schools and arrested all the teen males in order to amass the correct body count. Eventually 10,000 males would be arrested.

Executions began on this date at 6 PM. Groups of 400 would be brought together and shot. The killings continued on into the next day, although the pace slowed over time. Those not killed were held as prisoners, should they need to execute more Serbians. The number of boys and men killed has been hotly debated. The reports of the Germans give the number as 2,300. After the war, the Yugoslavian government alleged that between 5,000 and 7,000 were killed. Some number as high as 12,000 have been given. Local authorities give the number as 2,794 killed with 415 of them from neighboring villages and the other 2,379 from Kragujevac. Later, Serbian and German scholars set the number at 2,778.

A memorial park has been created to give voice the multitude of victims. Sumarice Memorial Park, the site of the killings, has become sacred ground. There are several monuments erected there. One is for the killed schoolchildren and their teachers and is called “Broken Wing”.  Another monument entitled “One hundred for one” is dedicated to the resistance movement and freedom. Franz Böhme, the Commanding General of Serbia was captured for trial after the war for the Kragujevac massacre along with other war crimes. When it became obvious that he would be extradited to Yugoslavia, he committed suicide rather than face his victims’ families.

Shooting: 405 hostages in Belgrade (total up to now in Belgrade, 4,750). 90 Communists in Camp Sebac. 2,300 hostages in Kragujevac. 1,700 hostages in Kraljevo. – Franz Böhme

The more unequivocal and the harder reprisal measures are applied from the beginning the less it will become necessary to apply them at a later date. No false sentimentalities! It is preferable that 50 suspects are liquidated than one German soldier lose his life… If it is not possible to produce the people who have participated in any way in the insurrection or to seize them, reprisal measures of a general kind may be deemed advisable, for instance, the shooting to death of all male inhabitants from the nearest villages, according to a definite ratio (for instance, one German dead 100 Serbs, one German wounded 50 Serbs). – Walter Kuntze, directive issued March 19, 1942

Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists. – Antonio Porchia

If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

Also on this day:

Subway Vigilante – In 1987, Bernard (Bernie) Goetz was sentenced.
What Big Feet You Have – In 1967, a film of Bigfoot was taken – maybe.
Football Fiasco – In 1851, Johnny Bright was injured on the field.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Bobby Dias said, on October 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Nikita Khrushchev said to me that this order did not include communists outside the USSR and he said to me that the order was meaningless because both the German and Stalin’s armes were executing each other soldiers in the field because they did not have anyplace to put them. All talk- dead is dead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: