The Fate of Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia

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Roberto
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The Fate of Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia

Post by Roberto » 30 Aug 2002 19:40

I translated the following from an article by Fritjof Meyer published in the special feature Die Flucht der Deutschen of the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Mocking the Victims

If Germany can chase away hundreds of thousands of Jews and Russia transports millions of people from one end of the continent to the other, then a few hundred thousand Albanians will not cause a world war. Thus the Belgrade minister Vaso Cubrilovic invoked competent models in an official memorandum written in 1937.
He was able to calculate the risks, for he had in 1914 taken part in the conspiracy for the attempt on the Austrian successor to the throne Franz Ferdinand, which 88 years ago led to the outbreak of the First World War.
The Serbian chauvinists’ call for ethnic cleansing, however, also referred to a German minority whose ancestors had been settled north of Belgrade after the withdrawal of the Turks 300 years before – the “Danube Svabians”. These hard-working people had transformed the steppe in the “Batshka” and the “Banat” into rich agricultural land, the present-day Voivodina.
The Serbian Nikola Pasic, architect of the multiethnic state created in 1918 which called itself Yugoslavia since 1929, considered it a mistake that the Germans were not already expelled back then. Serbian delegates in the 1920s recommended their resettlement to Macedonia, and soon thereafter the nationalist Vladan Joikic published a book about a general “depopulation of non-Slavs”.
But only the occupation by Hitler’s Wehrmacht motivated the nationalist Chetniks as well as Tito’s communist partisans to get rid of the more than half a million fellow citizens of German stock, especially as many ethnic Germans had joined the SS division “Prinz Eugen”.
This was enough for the Tito government to strip the Germans of their citizenship rights on 21 November 1944 and to declare them “enemies of the people”. Members of the German ethnic group who had collaborated with the Germans would suffer the death penalty.
When Hitler’s soldiers fled the Balkans in 1944, they were joined by the majority of Yugoslavs of German ethnicity, but about 200,000 remained in the country. They experienced arbitrary persecution by the victors – for in Serbia there should live only Serbs.
The “ethnic cleansing” of Yugoslavia from its German minority began immediately after Tito’s “go ahead”. Shocked by the German war crimes that had come to light, the world looked away. At that time, it was stated in the London “Observer” by the victim of NS persecution and later head of the British section of Amnesty International, Paul Oestreicher, only “few were prepared to defend the universality of human rights”.
In Hodshag (Voivodina) the Krajiska partisan brigade on 23 November 1944 forced 181 men and 2 women to undress and led them to a pit by the street to Karavukova. There they were shot. One escaped, another three – the barkeeper Franz Kraus, the businessman Ladislaus Kollman and Hans Petko – were saved by the Serbian town council.
Two days later the same brigade tortured and killed 212 men in Filipova, many of its members refusing to participate. In Elemir a Serbian priest prevented the execution of 70 Germans, and a Russian officer avoided a massacre in Setshan. On several occasions the newly formed Serbian town councils intervened, like in Parabutsh, where the head of council was therefore arrested.
Those were exceptions. Nobody kept the marauders in Ruma from dancing on their lying victims – as was repeated with Kosovars at Pec in 1999 – before they murdered the tormented in the brick factory. Women were raped, houses were sacked. In Semlin (Zemum) near Belgrade, where the Wehrmacht had murdered 6,280 Jews in gas vans, now 241 Germans known by name were executed in the salt office. The German communist Alexander Mettler protested but barely managed to save his own skin.
In Homolitz the Sremska partisan brigade shot 173 people with machine guns. In Kubin 108 people died in the same manner; allegedly cruel perversions were witnessed during these killings.
On a field near Brestovatz Tito’s freebooters buried twelve men in the earth up to their necks and then cut off their heads like cabbages, a killing method that has also been reported by former partisan leader Milovan Djilas. In the dairy hall of Kikinda the men were first beaten, then their noses, tongues, ears and penises were cut off and their eyes poked out. When it was all over, there were 136 corpses in the yard.
In Pancevo, where a German officer had given his victims the coup de grace, 222 men and women died by the hands of the partisans, among them the delegate Simon Bartmann, attorney at law Bartosch and the schoolboy Franz Mayerhöfer.
The remaining more than 5,000 Germans in town were expelled, the 1,200 able to work among them taken to the camp Fischplatz under the red-headed female commandant Radoika, in barracks behind barbed wire with two toilets for the lot of them.
The events in Yugoslavia were exactly documented by the Danube Svabian Cultural Foundation in Munich on hand of eyewitness accounts. The names of most of the victims and some of the perpetrators could be established. In that bloody autumn and winter until February 1945 a total of 9,500 Germans were killed – about as many as in Kosovo in 1998/99.
In eight transportation trains an additional 8,000 men and 4,000 women were deported to the Soviet Union; one in every six of them died. The other 167,000 ethnic Germans who had been spared were concentrated in camps. Until August 1945 all Serbian towns and villages had been cleared of Germans, the 637,939 hectares of land they owned falling preferentially to partisans who had distinguished themselves.
In the central camp of Novi Sad (formerly Neusatz) there lived 2,000 Danube Germans on two story plank beds, and there was also a very tight bunker where those guilty of some offense had to stand in the water.
The central camp in Zemun (Semlin) had once been built by the German air force. Through the camp Valpovo in Slavonia the political commissar in charge rode on his white horse without ever dismounting. By coincidence he had the same name as the commander of German extermination camps in Poland in 1942/43, who was the son of a Croatian: Odilo Globocnik.
Old and sick people, children and mothers with babies were placed in “special status camps”, where mass graves were dug right next to the fence. Between November 1944 and March 1948 exactly 48,447 Yugoslavian Germans died of hunger and cold, maltreatment and spotted fewer. The names of almost all of them are documented.
In 1948 the camps were dissolved. Since 1950 the International Committee of the Red Cross achieved the possibility of emigration – against a payment of up to four monthly salaries per family. Until 1985 87,600 Germans managed to leave the country into which their ancestors had been called. At the Yugoslav census of 1981 only 8,712 Germans reported themselves.
The “cleansing” of the Danube Svabians, covered by the silence of the big powers, remained without sanction. This could only encourage treating another minority in a similar way about 50 years later.

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wildboar
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Excellent article

Post by wildboar » 05 Sep 2002 18:48

Roberto,

Thanks for posting a excellent article.

cheers

wildboar

but why do absolve Beria & co which planned for such monostorous acts?

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Roberto
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Re: Excellent article

Post by Roberto » 05 Sep 2002 19:51

wildboar wrote:Roberto,

Thanks for posting a excellent article.

cheers

wildboar

but why do absolve Beria & co which planned for such monostorous acts?


Thanks, I also liked it very much.

As to our friend Lavrenti, show us evidence that he had something to do with Tito's butchery and we'll nail him for it. :D

Cheers,

Roberto

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Post by K.Kocjancic » 03 Mar 2004 07:34

Does anyone has any other info/evidence of those Partisans crimes? I never heard of them.

Regards,
Klemen

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Post by David Thompson » 03 Mar 2004 08:30

K.Kocjancic -- You asked:
Does anyone has any other info/evidence of those Partisans crimes? I never heard of them.
The Corvinus Library at http://www.hungary.com/corvinus/lib/yug.htm has a number of books on this subject, which can be freely downloaded. Click on Library and then the A-F, G-L or M-W hyperlinked sections for a larger selectrion.

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Post by Benoit Douville » 04 Mar 2004 02:35

It's great to see an old thread coming back on the first page because I didn't have a chance before to read that excellent article about the ethnic cleansing of the Danube Svabians by Tito partisans.

Regards

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Post by Tom Houlihan » 18 Jul 2005 01:04

I have learned not to take anything in Siegrune as gospel, but I stumbled across this story while researching a newly acquired volume today.

On 18 May 1945, 1,600 members of the 7th SS Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen" were "liquidated" by the "Allied"-equipped 2nd Titoist Partisan Brigade in St. Jurij, Yugoslavia, between the cities of Cilli and Zagreb. Between 20 May and 19 June 1945, a further 1,800 ethnic Germans from "Prinz Eugen" were murdered in cold blood at Rann, Yugoslavia.
To celebrate Tito's birthday, 20-25 Waffen-SS wounded were shot in their hospital beds by "freedom fighters" in Neu Cilli (Novo Celje). At POW Camp 101 at Agram (Zagreb), 800 members of the 13th SS Mountain Division "Handschar" were executed by other Tito underlings. Twenty more were killed in Smederevo adn another 200 shot in Dubrovnik. Still another 250 "Handschar" members were murdered in a ravine at Eisen Kapel. But all of this was mere prelude to the greatest atrocity at all when 10,000 former "Handschar" soldiers were put to death adn thrown into a mine shaft near Windisch-Feistriz.
The job still wasn't finished. Some 20-30,000 German POWs were violently murdered in captivity at Marburg, including many thousand survivors of the "Prinz Eugen" Division. In sum total, in excess of 80,000 German POWs were killed - often quite gruesomely - at the behest of Tito. Yet we are constantly reminded by those who control the information media that the members of the Waffen-SS were "soldiers of infamy" and that Tito's "partisans" were heroic, democratic freedom fighters!
Is there anything to support this claim? Over eighty thousand killed after the end of the war? Does anyone know of any information that either supports or refutes this claim?

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Post by TISO » 18 Jul 2005 16:32

Some 20-30,000 German POWs were violently murdered in captivity at Marburg, including many thousand survivors of the "Prinz Eugen" Division.
Mostly Croats, Serbs small amount of Germans (mostly advisors to Croat units). Reportedly there are much more victims in the area. They used German anti tank diches all around Maribor (ger. Marburg am Drau).
On 18 May 1945, 1,600 members of the 7th SS Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen" were "liquidated" by the "Allied"-equipped 2nd Titoist Partisan Brigade in St. Jurij, Yugoslavia, between the cities of Cilli and Zagreb
Could anyone elaborate on the exact area. Betveen Celje (ger.Cillia) and Zagreb is very vague. If it is ment Teharje ( next to Celje) there vas concentracion camp for Slovene Domobranci and civilians that were killed in the area around Celje and also in mine shafts in Zagorje area.
Valy of Sv. Janeza ( St. John) site of abandoned monastry was concentracion camp up untill late 1940's or early 1950's reportedly for civilians ( no exact data as nobody wants to talk even today as poeple are still to scared) .
mine shaft near Windisch-Feistriz
Could someone translate the name of the town?

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Post by Larry D. » 18 Jul 2005 23:22

For those who do not read German, the following is an excellent source on the treatment of the Swabian Volksdeutsche population in the former Yugoslavia, 1944-45:

Harriman, Helga Horiak. “The German Minority in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945.” Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Oklahoma State Univ., 1973. Pb. 198p. Extensive footnotes. Bibliography.

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Allen Milcic
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Post by Allen Milcic » 19 Jul 2005 18:03

For general interest purposes relating to this topic, my grandfather (volksdeutsche from Baranja, Croatia) was not bothered in any way by the post-war Yugoslav government. His lands were nationalized, though, except for 1 acre around the family house, but this was Communist policy that applied to all landowners in the new state.

Allen/

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Post by TM2000 » 20 Jul 2005 13:06

mine shaft near Windisch-Feistriz

Could someone translate the name of the town?
Slovenska Bistrica

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TISO
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Post by TISO » 20 Jul 2005 22:33

mine shaft near Windisch-Feistriz

Could someone translate the name of the town?



Slovenska Bistrica
Thought this could be it but it but I was not shure as i hear of this for the first time. Inccidently i live ~15 km of Slovenska Bistrica.
This is probably some mistake. There is a mass grave there, but it was former air raid shelter for Impol factory. Local (mostly) civilians were buried there (mostly class enemies, ''colaborators'' ( enyone new rulers disliked) and Germans). There was quite a lot written about this site as it was excavated couple of years ago ( the only thouroughly investigated site at this time). As i reccal number of bodies is much less than 500.
And there are no mines shafts around Slovenska Bistrica. Mine shaft that were used were mostly in Zasavje area (Trbovlje - Zagorje).
There were some rumours that small numbers were killed on Konjiška Gora (over my home town of Slovenske Konjice) in disused small coal mines (very small as they were only around 50m long), but that is highly unlikly becouse of size of these shafts that were disused a long time before that time (they colapsed very quick as they were not deep only a few meters deep and the type of soil - that information i got from my uncle that is geologist) and as my family lived in close vicinity and they claim that they know nothing about it (they know some other things though).
There is a site near Tepanje (5km from my town) for wich i heard from locals that around 80 men were buried. Locals claim they were some sort of military as they found burned heap of military clothes (greatcoats, buttons, etc.), but nationality is not known.

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Post by Peter » 09 Aug 2005 12:51

Hopefully someday we'll know where the murdered "Prinz Eugen" troopers were buried :(

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Post by Slavomir » 09 Aug 2005 13:47

I'm not keen in "eye for an eye, tooth for the tooth" policy and for sure I do not favour killing POW's even if they are Waffen SS. But I'm sitting in front of the computer 60 years after the war. Just imagine those people after four years of occupation and extermination.

Waffen SS was too often a band of murderers and "Prinz Eugen" was one of the worst among them.

Once again, I do not justify killing SS POW's instead of putting them on trial, just want to put it into broader perspective.

Do not change the old cliche :"good partisans - bad Germans" into another one: "poor Germans - bloodthirsty partisans".

World was much more complicated at the end of WW2.

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Post by Larry D. » 09 Aug 2005 14:15

....just want to put it into broader perspective.
Another thought along the same line might be the question: "What was the Wehrmacht doing in the former Yugoslavia in the first place?" I know that if powerful Mexican forces invaded and occupied the United States many if not most fit Americans would head for hills, form guerrilla bands, and fight the occupier to the death, without mercy and without quarter, until we had liberated our country. I think the patriotic citizens of most countries would do the same, especially 60 years ago before the rot of pacifism set in and made armed resistance politically incorrect. It is amazing and even a miracle that more massacres didn't occur in those lawless days immediately following the 8 May surrender. That the retribution was particularly savage in the Balkans should come as no surprise, either.

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