Slovene warcrimes

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Apr 2003 15:08

Krasnaya Zvezda -- Your point is well-taken. As you can imagine, similar situations have occurred from time to time, in which a belligerent group refuses to honor the customs and usages of war. The traditional response has been the use of reprisals by the offended belligerent. This involves notifying the enemy commander of the war crime committed by his forces, and the intent of the offended commander to exercise the right of reprisal by executing a like number of captured enemy troops. Henry Maine described this practice in his 1888 classic work "International Law" (Lecture IX: Rules as to Prisoners and Quarter), on-line at: (index) and (lecture IX)

"It is perhaps an inevitable but certainly a frequent result of the present want of rules, that when enemies are fighting in the same country, and one side complains of the measures adopted by the other, there is no means of punishing what is thought to be an infraction of rule except retaliation or, as the technical word is, reprisals. Retaliation, we are told, is military vengeance. It takes place where an outrage committed on one side is avenged by the commission of a similar act on the other. For example, an unjust execution of prisoners by the enemy may be followed by the execution of an equal number of prisoners by their opponents. Retaliation is an extreme right of war, and should only be resorted to in the last necessity. 'It may be well to notice,' says the writer I am quoting, incidentally for the purpose of reprobating it, 'the idea once prevailed that a garrison which obstinately defended a place when it had, in the opinion of the enemy, become untenable, might be put to the sword.' There is no doubt that during the Franco-German war reprisals were carried to unjustifiable lengths on both sides. The French Government has published a curious volume which reproduces all the placards which either they or others had affixed to the walls during the contest in France. At one point the Germans granted no quarter during an attack on a village, on the plea that twenty-five francs-tireurs (riflemen) had hidden in a wood near it, without any regular officer or uniform, and had shot down as many Germans as came within range of their guns. On another of these placards is a notice by a French officer to the Prussian commander of Châtellerault in reference to the alleged resolve of the latter to punish the inhabitants of that place for the acts of some of the francs-tireurs. 'I give you my assurance, threat for threat, that I will not spare one of the two hundred Prussian soldiers whom you know to be in my hands.' And indeed General Chanzy, himself a gallant officer in high place, wrote to the Prussian commander of Vendorne, and stated that he intended to fight without truce or mercy because it is a question now not of fighting loyal enemies but hordes of devastators. On this great subject the Brussels Conference was able to do but little except to suggest that retaliation should only be resorted to in the most extreme cases, and should be conducted with the greatest possible humanity."

Under this rule, the war crime would consist of adopting the general rule of no quarter, as opposed to the use of measured and documented reprisals. During the American civil war, there were a number of incidents of measured and documented reprisals, judging from the surviving correspondence. Fortunately, the theater area commanders on both sides tried to keep their subordinates in check. Needless to say, the German policy in the Balkans was entirely different. Under circumstances like that, warfare quickly degenerates to the lowest and most barbarous levels.

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Post by Krasnaya Zvezda » 23 Apr 2003 17:43

Thanks a lot David for the very usefull post. The text explains everything and Henry Maine has gotten to the point of the whole problem. During war it is impossible to punish the war criminal, so basically one can and will resort to reprasials sooner or later if things do not change fast.

In the case of Yugoslavia (Slovenia) it was the Germans who came there first and started commiting atrocitites. I can not judge on how justified partisan response was but I understand Slovene point.

I also found this short text on reprasials, hope it will be usefull to clarify what is considered a war crime and what not, from legal and moral standpoint:

This site has quite other usefull topics on war crimes. All the best.

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Apr 2003 18:16

Thanks, Krasnaya Zvezda!

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War crimes in Slovenia

Post by Octavianus » 24 Apr 2003 16:18

Ave amici,
I'm sorry Mr. Miller, but did you just say that Slovenes committed countless crimes during world war 2???
Actually I agree with Michael to some extent, namely that Slovenes have committed a line of heartless war crimes, although then again the nature of their war crimes was not the same as in Croatia or Bosnia were the infamous Ethnic Cleansing was set in motion by the Croats and Ustashi. In Slovenia they did not have that, as almost 95% of population of Slovenia in 1940 was Slovene with a substantial Gottschee, German and Hungarian minoritis and about 20,000 people from other former parts of Yugoslavia who were mostly employed in the military, gendarmerie or were simply economic refugees. But this doesn't mean that there were no war crimes...
What “heartless brutality” did Slovenes commit during the second World War?
The list can be quite a long one. Now I ask you, do you really want to read it?:roll:

To Marcus: Marcus, you're a bit clumsy by giving the examples of Slovene war crimes in Slovenia (taken from Slovenian Axsi Forces, not so?:)), because a large majority of these examples which you have posted here are mentioning more or less only German war crimes in Slovenia but not anything about Slovene war crimes, what I think is the main point of this discussion..... :wink:

Or did I again got the meaning of this thread wrong? :)
This is probably wholly innapropriate, but from my experiences, Slovenian women are to be envied throughout the world, classy and be back in Ljubljana
Being married to a Slovenewoman for almost 22 years by now and myself being a Carinthian Slovene, I won't argue to this! he,he,he... :lol:
That's interesting. So you believe that the Slovenes did not committed Warcrimes during World War II. Like Marcus mention, if we look to what happened in Yugoslavia between the Chetnics and the Ustachas it is hard to believe that the Slovenes did not get involved in some brutally. But maybe you are right and it is true and they didn't commited any Warcrimes.
Almost all nations committed some sort of brutality during World War II and Slovenia by all means was no exception here. In 1941-1946, the lovely Alpine nation on the southern side of the Alpes showed his dark side.
Also, what was the major battle in Slovenia if any during World War II?
There were no major battles in Slovenia in WWII like we have seen them at Caen, El-Alamein or Falaise if this is what you're looking for, but there have been numerous petty German offensives directed to destroy a partisan division or more likely an entire partisan corps. I believe the largest and most crucial military operations in Slovenia during WWII were carried in the second half of the war of 1944-1945:

* Operation "Primavera" (1942) or the sweeping of Kocevski Rog forest area. The Italians deployed almost four full divisions which could boasted nearly 70,000 men at its peak.


* German offensives "Winterende" and "Frühlingsanfang" or the sweeping of the Western Slovenia at the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945 when there was launched a serie of attacks by the Germans, RSI, Slovene Landwehr, Serbian Chetnik, 14th SS-Grenadier, Serbian Volunteer Corps, Greek Battalion, Spanish Frewillige Company's et cetera forces, all in order to destroy the 9th Yugoslav (Slovene) Corps and to free the communications leading to Triest and Southern Austria. The Slovene Landwehr, in co-ordination with German SS-Polizei, also launched a serie of attacks on "liberated" areas in Bela krajina in the winter of 1944, which also saw some heavy fighting.

But if you're asking for the greatest battles ever fought on Slovenian soil, than the answer is without any doubt the 11th Isonzo Battle in 1917. :wink:
Firstly, the brutality that Slovenian partisans inflicted upon the Germans shouldn’t be considered a warcrime. After all, it was a defense, liberating the people by a foreign occupier. Actually, I’ll just make a few comments on your previous quotes from that book:
This is complete nonsense. The fact that someone occupied someone using as a pretend for getting free when committing war crimes is really ridiculous.
parts of Africa, and very rarely if at all at home. In fact, I’ve read articles claiming that Slovenian soldiers were unloyal even though they served for the axis – so I doubt anyone could accuse them of killing children or families abroad.

Who has said that some of Slovene soldiers, serving in Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS during World war II, were not taking part in any war crimes as an active particpants or as an eyewitness? I know at least two stories where former Slovene Wehrmacht soldiers mention they were eyewitnessing a German war crime, one in Warschau in 1944 and another one in Central France in 1944.
Ok, indeed. The postwar period is different and the communists in the socialist Yugoslavia did deal with the “enemy” in a brutal way – but Michael Miller was referring to the heartless brutality that Slovenes committed during the war, and I just made a comment on it.
Now tell me sLOVEne (Kocjo or any other Slovene participants of this forum), have you ever visited the German military Cemetery in Ljubljana and Kranj? If so, have you noticed anything peculiar on tombstones?
It was mostly made up of young boys that were brainwashed and often did not know the cause they were fighting for.
If someone was brainwashed than this was sLOVEne. :)

Interesting by most Slovenes is that no one asks himself WHY the MVAC and Slovene "Domobranstvo" was formed, and HOW COME the number of men in the OBERKRAINER SELBSTSCHUTZ was raising even in 1945? Anyone care to explain this?
I won’t continue and just let the rest in peace.
So that there won't be any misunderstandings guys - this is also the official stand of the current Slovene government.
Miller’s comment just annoyed me, putting Slovenes together with the likes of Ustase.
I agree that Michael should not be putting Slovenes and Ustashe in the same basket, but this does not mean that Slovene partisans and in some cases even Landwehr troops did not commit any serious or large scale war crimes!
Even after the official date of the 8th of May, there were pockets of German resistance still for a couple of weeks (many German forces retreating from the Balkans).
Never heard of any pockets of German resistance to continue to resist for several weeks after May 8th! The last German troops on Yugoslav laid their weapons down on May 15th 1945, exactly a week after Germany has capitulated, after much confusion if I may add. Now if we are speaking of Slovene Landwehr, Chetnik or Ustasha forces then the resistance, particularly in Bosnia, lasted long into 1946 and in some cases even required a deployment of Il-2 bombers of the Yugosslav People's Army.
If you are concerned about your spelling, then “Bjela Garda” is actually “Bela Garda”. icon_biggrin.gif You mention Jews, but Jews haven’t lived in Slovenia since they were expelled in 1496 by Emperor Maximilian I of Austria. (they did have communities in Ljubljana, Maribor - and other major towns).
Bela G(g)arda is totally an unappropriate term, a brainchild of the communist partisans who started to call them like this, "borrowing" this term from the Russian Civil War when the Red Army started to rferr to the Kolchak's Army as the "White Guard" (do I need to call the Partisans "Red's" or "Commie's" now???), id est the remnats of the army of the Old Order. Similar was in the French Revolution of 1789 when the Republican volunteers nicknamed the French troops from the time of the monarchy as "White Ass". Anyway, to get to the point here, the members of the so-called Bela garda never called themselves like this but they usually referred to themselves as the Village Guardsmen or the Legionnares. official their title was MVAC, an abbreviation for "Milizia Volontaria Anti-Communista" or to translate this in English -> Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia. I guess their title says pretty much all about the meaning of their existence.
And concerning Tezno and the “concentration camp”, yes of course I’ve heard of it. Recent findings a couple of years ago found a number of graves, I won’t blame you on the important fact that you missed that these graves are actually after world war 2 (and the communists are to blame of all nationalities in Yugoslavia).
A large anti-tank ditch built by the Germans during the war, was after the war used as a massive place of burial for executed Croats, Germans, Slovenes and Serbs. I believe oin the casde of Tezno only about 1 kilometer of a former anti-tank ditch was uncovered and in it they discovered remnants of some 1,500 bodies. The ditch was, I believe, some 15 kilometers long in total.

About two weeks ago the official Slovene Commision for Forgotten War Graves came out with a shocking news that in Slovenia there are up to 200 mostly non-located, graveyards from WWII era and not "just" 80 as they previously assumed. How many bodies are buried in them is left to wild speculation but majority of historians and experts agree that the number should be varying around the cipher of 100,000. Most of them were probably executed from May 1945 to August 1945.

As far the Jewsih community is concerned, there were about 500 Jews living in Slovenia in 1941, mostly in Prekmurje, that is the province that is bordering to Hungary. As sLOVEne correctly pinpointed the majority of Jewish population moved from Slovenia after it had been banned by Emperor Maximillian in the 16th century, and the reason was quite banal: almost all nobility families and princes in Steiermark and Krain were heavily in debts by the local jewish bankers and since they could not repay their debts they think of a better solution and expelled them from the country. Ironically is that majority of Jews in Slovenia, especially the ones in Prekmurje openly supported the Hungarian occupation and annexation of this province back to Hungary in December 1941, a fact they were bitterly regretting when the same Hungarians helped the Germans to deport them to KZL Auschwitz where all community, except eight or so, (have somwhere digged more detailed numbers if someone is interested in them), perished in gas chambers. However there were some lonely cases when Slovenes had helped to save some small groups of Jewish people, the most spectacular being the saving of a group of some twenty Jewish girls from Austria who crossed the border illegaly in 1939 and would be sent back to death in Austria if there would not be for the police commissionar in Maribor who saved them by re-locating them to Lower Carniola and then via Italy and North Africa to Palestine, thus deserving his name to be carved on that famous wall of friends in Israel, along oskar Schindler and others. As far anti-semitism in Slovenia is concerned, it can be say that it was much present at the end of 19th century, but mostly among students and intelectuals who were returning back to Slovenian provinces from Vienna or Graz. There were also much anger on the Jews, because at the end of 19th and at the start of 20th century many of Austrian extreme nationalist politicians or owners of the influental nationalist papers in Vienna who by the way also strongly opposed to forming of a third political body in the monarchy, were Jews. But except making some bad comments about their nose or their lazyness the official Slovene policy never developed any theory of "Super-Mensch" ( :) ) or approached to any such orthodox plans to eliminate Jewish community like Croats or Serbs did in 1941-1943.
Don't worry, most Americans have never heard of the Balkans. I like your posts, though.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
I didn’t realise that the number of the Home Guard was in excess of 15,000 – serves me for using old books. (I was under the impression that there were 10,000 fighters, and roughly 5000 Slovenes that collaborated). But weren’t many of the Domobranci / Home Guard, together with the Vaske straze / Village Guard, as well as other small factions – full of young boys aged around 16? Did they really know what they were fighting for? I really don’t think that during the war, Slovenes should be guilty of war crimes, there was never any large and organised movement were Slovenes would gather the Jews as Luftstuka pointed out earlier, or expel a minority because of their origin, because we were occupied and we were the minority.
At its peak in early 1943 the MVAC could boast some 6,200 troops versus some 2,500 partisans. Later in mid-1944, the "Slovensko Domobranstvo" could raise a field army of 13,000 men in the Province of Ljubljana in addition to 2,000 men of the SNVZ in the Littoral and 3,500 men of the Oberkrainer Selbstschutz in the Upper Carnola plus various small detachments of Chetniks and other anti-communist irregulars, total about, 18,500 men. The strength of the partisan force, which from September 1943 onwards, depended largely on the mobilization and not anymore on volunteer basis as this was the case in 1941, did suffer severly in October 1944 and mid-1944 but carried out a large mobilization call in Lower Steiermark and Prekmurje in 1944/1945 when the partisans with the help of Soviets and Bulgarians took substantial parts of Eastern Slovenia.
Actually "why" is totally irrelevant, it does not matter if you are on the side of "good" or "evil", a warcrime is still a warcrime.
I totally agree with Marcus on this! A war crime is still a war crime no matter which side you are on or when does this crime occurr. How can we then interepretate a planned execution of German POWs in 1946, when the war was over for almost a year??
Partisans didn’t have the man power, the equipment nor the organization that the Germans possessed – so it was much harder to keep prisoners of war.
The Partisans often traded high-ranking captured Ustasha or German officers with the Croats or Germans with their own men who were kept in Ustasha prisons in 1941, so making an exchange of prisoners could be considered as one of possible alternatives. I believe Andrija Hebrang the leader of Croatian Communist party was saved of his certain exectuion by the Ustashi on this way.
What about the hostages, that were executed by Germans?
These are war-crimes!!
As Marcus had commented the question whether executing hostages is a war crime or not was never put in question here, although it remains a question on whom does lay the main guilt for their actual execution. I am pinpointing here on the assasination of Anton Dorfmeister near Cilli in 1945, which resulted in hanging of one hundred innocent civilians at Frankolovo.
In the case of Yugoslavia (Slovenia) it was the Germans who came there first and started commiting atrocitites.
Depends what do you mean under "atracities". Although it was the case in Poland that Germans started with a careful selection and massive executions of inteligentsia, clergy, nobility, ex-military and other prominent persons from the top of Polish society, this was not the case in Slovenia, where the Germans at first set up a wide spectre of Nazi racial standards, expelling some 100,000 people from Untersteiermark to Germany but also to NDH and Serbia and instead of them settled there ca. 12,000 Gottscheers and 4,000 Reichsdeutsche and Volksdeutsche from Bessarabia, Bukowina or Germany. The first massive executions started after first sabotages came on scene and after first partisan guerilla detachments appared -> the burning of the first Slovene village of Rasica, north of Ljubljana, after a German police patrol was ambushed nearby.

But let's not forget the following and namely that during WWII a small but extremly bloody civil war was raging throughout Slovenia between the Communists and the Anti-Communist forces which resulted in deaths of many Slovenes. The worse enemy to a Slovene was the Slovene himself. Shortly after the attack of Germany on Soviet Union the partisan security service called the VOS started to carry out a serie of bloody executions (mostly in the city of Ljubljana itself) among the prominent Slovenes and other Slovenes who opposed the unilateral role of the Communist Party in the Slovenian Liberation Front Movement. These executions were carried out under the accusation of the Communists (who're they to judge??) that they are collaborating with the enemy, but suprisingly if you take a quick look on a huge list of executed persons in 1941, you'll notice that most of them are prominent Slovene pre-war politicians, industralists, people who were close to the Catholic and Liberal parties, people who openly declared themselves as anti-communists and people who the communists considered as their "class-enemies". I would like to draw here your attention to a similar situation that was happening in Montenegro at about the same time, where the partisans, enjoying a wide support of the civilian population, liberated in a matter of days almost entire territory of Montenegrto, except for larger cities such as Podgorica, Plevlja and Cetinje from the Italians. However, immediately when this first phase ended the communists started to carry out a social revolution killing people who were either too rich, against them or too noisy and the people subseqently turned against them. After Montenegro partisan force was heavily defeated at Plevlja during winter of 1942, when they lost 500 men dead in just one day, a large percentage of population and the partisan army deserted to the Chetniks, what was a serious blow for the communists who were not able to restore their influence not until late 1944.

A similar development can be observed in Slovenia as well. A long serie of crimes, looting, and executing of political opponents, committed by the so-called "partisan dukes" on the liberated territories of Provincia di Lubiana in 1941/1942 largely contributed that a significant percentage of people turned against them. The pressive partisan terror is also one of the main (if not the main) reason for the formation of first armed anti-communist detachments, starting in St. Jost in 1942 and then throughout the Province of Ljubljana, eventually reaching its peak in September 1943 by boasting with ca. 6,200 men.

Although the actual executions in the infamous Kocevski Rog in May-June 1945 was carried out by a special mixed detachment of liquidators from Montenegro, Dalmatia, Slovenia and Serbia, the 17,000 strong Slovene KNOJ Division (Communist Party's armed police) and OZNA (political secret service) were heavily involved in these crimes, either by the means of guarding these military prisoners, by mistreating them, transporting them to the places of execution or by actual participating in these orgies of death. A recent discovery of some 600 bodies of civilians in a cave in Slovenska Bistrica has opened a new insight, and namely that immediately following the war there was made a brutal execution of all those who did not fit into new communist understanding of the world and society or to put it another words they were too materialistically too wealthy to live in a communist paradise, so they had to go. Ironically, at least in the case of Slovenska Bistrica, a nice percentage of them actively supported the Communist ruled National Liberation Movement during the war, some of them even actively taking part in it! If there are proofs that Tezno or Kocevski Rog executions were most likely carried out by the special liquidation detachments from Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, with the knowledge of the Slovene political cream, OZNA and KNOJ, there is no doubt that this second wave of executions of class-enemies in Slovenia was undoubtedly carried out by Slovene communist armed militia (KNOJ and OZNA) with an encouragement of some top officials of the Slovene Communist Party like for example E. Kardelj, B. Kidric and General C. Ribicic, the Head of OZNA and KNOJ in 1945; the lattest is actually still being alive but refused to talk about this, saying "that he doesn't know anything about those post-war executions". Still kicking alive is also the Commanding Officer of the 17,000 strong Slovene Division KNOJ (whose members carried out these second wave executions of civilians in June 1945), who, during discoveries of a mass grave in Slovenska Bistrica, gave an interview claiming "he didn't know those massacres were happening at all", what of course leaves me wondering what in the hell was the CO of the Slovene KNOJ Division doing in May-June 1945??? Also alive is the Head of OZNA and KNOJ section for Slovenska Bistrica who interrogated those people before execution and most likely sentenced them to doom, and he too, after spending some time hiding (ironically) in Germany, returned to Slovenia, also claiming "he doesn't know anything as he doesn't remember any events from that time anymore".

If anyone of you is right now asking himself how is this possible, let me just get one point on open and namely that one of closest advisors of former Slovene president Kucan was a former high-ranking member of OZNA from 1945, who was personally involved in torturing of a large group of political inmates or personally running their interrogations in a cell.

I hope I was able to clarify some facts about Slovenia and her involvement in war crimes during and after WWII. To give a final verdict whether there were war crimes committed by Slovenes in WWII, I can give a definate YES, but most of these crimes have been directed against the fellow Slovenes themselves.



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Post by K.Kocjancic » 24 Apr 2003 16:43

Someone has a lot of free time!
:D :P :x :D
Being married to a Slovenewoman for almost 22 years by now and myself being a Carinthian Slovene, I won't argue to this! he,he,he...
This explains yours knowledge of Slovene history!
Now tell me sLOVEne (Kocjo or any other Slovene participants of this forum), have you ever visited the German military Cemetery in Ljubljana and Kranj? If so, have you noticed anything peculiar on tombstones?
Which cemetery in Ljubljana? Are you refering to monument of fallen German soldiers near Italian cemetery in Žale? I've never been in cemetery in Kranj, sorry!


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Post by Octavianus » 24 Apr 2003 17:01

Ave Kocjo,
Someone has a lot of free time!
Not getting any bad ideas, Kocjo, but I was working on this message yesterday evening and today morning. Living in a house with three teenage daughters and a wife, it takes me a lot of battling to secure my place at the computer. :wink:
This explains yours knowledge of Slovene history!
Ja, znam slovensko, zatorej ne poskusaj kaj nepredvidljivega... :lol:
Which cemetery in Ljubljana? Are you refering to monument of fallen German soldiers near Italian cemetery in Žale? I've never been in cemetery in Kranj, sorry!
Yes, there is a monument of fallen German soldiers in Zale.



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