60th Annuiversary of Nazi Massacre Near Split
The following is a translation of an article which appeared in the March 27,
2004 edition of Slobodna Dalmacija, a daily published in Split. It concerns
the massacre of 272 inhabitants of Donji Doca, a village located on the
landward side of Mosor Mountain, between Split and Omis. As the article
notes, the actual perpetrators of the attrocity remain subject to dispute.
Nevertheless, it is one of the biggest wanton acts of violence against
Croats during World War II. It is one that, typically for Croatia, is
forgotten and ignored - despite the magnitude of the killing (as noted -
greater than the total deaths in the recent terror attack in Madrid), I am
not aware of one tourist guide which tells guests in Croatia about this
Slobodna Dalmacija, March 27, 2004
"Death Came from the Banat: A Commemorative Gathering in Honor of the 60th
Anniversary of the Nazi Massacre in Donja Doca." By Damir Pilic.
"It happened on this night. Those two came in with their rifles ordering
all of us to gather in the village so that they can issue passes to us to
be able to move around. We all gathered in two large houses and they began
shooting. I was saved because the man in front of me, Ciro Dagelic, son of
Jure, was killed and fell on top of me, and I stayed laying down under him.
When they killed all of us, they set the house on fire and I went out
through the window. Two other women jumped out with me, one of whom was
killed immediately at the window. They then ran after me with their
bayonets since they saw me jump out but I hid under a fig tree and they
didn't find me. I then ran to Mosor Mountain. Only on the sixth day did I
come home to see: not one of my relatives, they killed my sister . . . Half
were killed in those two houses, and the other half in their houses . . .
Who killed them? Serbs! They spoke our language. I don't know why no one
has researched who was responsible for that . . . ."
So said 77 year old Ivan Silovic at a commemorative meeting in Donja Doca.
Silovic is one of the rare inhabitants of that village at the base of the
Mosor who succeeded in surviving a terrible Nazi massacre on March 26, 1944,
when German soldiers in a matter of a few hours killed 272 inhabitants of
Donja Doca, 103 of whom were children.
Other than memories of that traumatic night in which almost every person in
the village lost some close relative, the people of Donja Doca even today,
60 years after, remain puzzled by who cursed their village. The surviving
inhabitants have specifically claimed for decades that they were soldiers in
German uniforms who spoke Serbian (ekavica).
"They were both Germans and Serbs," says Stjepan Daglic, born after the
massacre, a member of the Village Committee (mjesni odbor). "They were
looking for Partisans from the Mosor Unit, but they weren't able to catch
them because the Partisans only came to the village whenever they needed to
slaughter sheep or a cow, or to take some bread. Then these guys killed the
entire village in anger. They killed my mother's father, sister . . . ."
"They killed my great grandmother," added a young man in his twenties.
"Before it couldn't be spoken about, but the Partisans cooked it all up.
They shot at an SS Division which was passing through the village and then
the Partisans withdrew. But you know what an SS Division is, you know that
they will come back. And then when they couldn't catch the Partisans, they
then killed women and children."
Several hundred people attended the commemorative meeting: practically all
the inhabitants of Donja Doca, the children, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren of the victims. Among the other invitees
(representatives of the County of Split-Dalmatia, the Croatian Army, the
Ministry of Internal Affairs, the cities of Omis and Trilj, the townships of
Ernestinovo and Sestanovac, the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters and
Anti-Fascists of the City of Split, etc.), there were surviving members of
the Mosor Partisan Unit.
"I was here when it happened and it hurts me most today when they say that
we incited the Germans and that we abandoned the people to be killed," says
Miroslav Velic (81 years old) the head of the Split Section of the Mosor
Partisan Unit. "The basic goal of the enemy was to destroy the Mosor
Partisan Unit. After the Sixth Offensive, at the end of 1943, we retreated
from Mosor to the Biokovo Mountains [about 50-60 kilometers south of Split]
and then the Germans and the Ustashe got together and established 30
garrisons in this area in order to liquidate us."
"The people here say that they were Germans and Chetniks," we interrupt
"No, no, there were no Chetniks in this area at the time," he says. "Donji
Doca was destroyed by members of the 7th SS Division, and that is that Banat
Division which the folksdeutshers joined [Banat is in Vojvodina in Serbia
which had a significant German minority (commonly known as folksdeutshers)
prior to 1945. The Communists expelled the Germans en masse following the
war]. There were 30,000 of them in four battalions, and they worked with
the 264th Division, the Legionnaire Division and the 313th Hunter's
Division. In January 1944 we returned to Mosor and began to carry out
actions against them. In the battles around Donja Doca there were a good
number of losses on both sides. They surrounded us and our commanders
ordered our retreat on March 25. Only a small group of our fighters
remained in the village and they were discovered by the Germans and killed
with the others, in revenge for failing to liquidate us."
The commemoration began at 10 a.m. near the parish church of St. Martin
where in honor of the commemoration public lights for the village were
presented and a sanitary station (realized with the help of the County and
City of Omis) was opened. Afterwards a concelebrated Mass was held in the
Church in which the names of all the victims were read. At noon, the
gathering moved to the monument to the victims of the massacre, where the
hosts and the guests placed wreaths after a cultural program shown by the
children of the Gornja Poljica elementary school.
During this time, the hosts did not hide their disappointment that no one
from the Croatian Parliament or Government came to the gathering, even
though, as was heard during the event, it concerned a "large number of
victims even for Croatia as a whole, to say nothing of this small place."
As was also said, it concerned "a larger number of victims than the recent
massacre in Madrid."
Speeches were given by Marin Matovac, the President of the Local Committee
of Donja Doca, Ivan Skaricic, mayor of Omis, Petar Kacunko, a representative
of the County of Split-Dalmatia and representatives of the township of
The commemorative gathering ended in front of the "26.3.1944" School, where
wreaths were placed in honor of the 103 children who became angels that