» In Memoriam
» The biggest known post-WWII execution site in Europe
» The biggest known post-WWII execution site in Europe
|The biggest known post-WWII execution site in Europe
|By Brian Gallagher |
In Memoriam , History
Tezno Forest, Slovenia, holds remains of more than 15,000 post-WWII victims
A story largely ignored, a couple of what did appear:
Worse than Srebrenica?
Published: Friday, August 10, 2007
MARIBOR, Slovenia - Officials are exhuming a mass grave in the Tezno Forest of northeastern Slovenia, thought to hold the remains of more than 15,000 people slain after the Second World War by the former communist regime.
"It might turn out that the Tezno mass grave hides the largest atrocity after World War II, exceeding even that of Srebrenica," the head of the Slovenian Commission on Concealed Mass Graves said yesterday.
In 1995, Bosnian Serb troops massacred 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. The Tezno grave was found in 1999 during highway construction.
The Vancouver Province 2007
POST-WAR EXECUTION SITE'Core' of Croatian Army Buried Near Maribor?
Slovenian historian Mitja Ferenc says that they must ascertain the number of victims and see if the core of the Croatian army lies there.
A probe of a buried anti-tank trench near new Maribor cemetery Dobrava has confirmed the thesis offered by some historians, saying that this is the biggest post-war execution site in Europe and that the Croats who were singled out among those departing from Bleiburg may constitute the majority of the victims.
[We] must ascertain how many people who were killed there are and whether the core of the Croatian army lies here, - historian Mitja Ference told Maribor newspaper Vecer on Thursday. Ferenc is conducting test exhumation of the remains in a forest near the Dobrava cemetery in Tezno, a residential district in southern Maribor.
He is a member of the commission for hidden grave sites which has existed for eight years and documented 540 mass graves across Slovenia where executed members of enemy armies, runaway civilians and "class enemies" were thrown after World War II. The biggest among them is definitely the anti-tank trench built by Germans around Maribor toward the end of the war, in anticipation of a Red Army attack coming from Hungary.
The probe was funded by the present government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. On Wednesday, the trench was probed in eight places. The work continues on Thursday, possibly on Friday.
There is a more than a metre thick layer underground that contains human remains, which was evident after the first eight probes, said Joze Dezman, the president of the governments commission for hidden grave sites. Dezman compares Slovenia in the months after the war in 1945 to the state of affairs in Cambodia 30 years later, with the Red Khmer sowing the fields of death under Pol Pot.
The last, eighth probe opened late in the afternoon on Wednesday showed that the gave site contains the remains of wounded and disabled people, probably soldiers. The initial probes along the edges of the Dobrava cemetery revealed horrrific images of skulls with preserved teeth, leather belts and remains of the wire used to tie the victims before they were shot, writes Vecer.
Members of the Slovenian commission conducting the probes claim that the biggest number of victims, possibly as many as 15,000, are Croats, members of the Croatian Home Guard (Domobrani), who were taken back to Yugoslavia after surrendering in the Bleiburg field.
As they say, there was a selection of some of the prisoners who were shot there and thrown in the anti-tank trench in Maribor, but also in several other places, into craters formed in the course of the bombing of Maribor and the neighbouring area.
Even though the probes have yet to confirm this, 80 percent of the victims buried around Maribor are expected to be Croats, even though Montenegrin chetniks who were fleeing to Austria were also singled out and some witnesses say that this is also where the Soviet Red Army killed the Cossacks who collaborated with Germans.
Vecer writes that Dezman and Ferenc see solving the problem of hidden grave sites as a moral imperative which Slovenia must resolve for its own sake.
This is a problem that can also be posed in such a way that we ask ourselves whether Slovenia will become one of the normal states or not, - claims Dezman, while Ferenc says that the present government ensured enough financial means for the probes of post-war executions, mostly committed by Yugoslav security and intelligence agencies OZNA and KNOJ, but there are still strong political obstacles coming both from the opposition left and right wing parties in power, that hinder the final resolution of the issue
Both men have also raised the issue of the agreement on the burial of the victims, which should primarily be agreed on with Croatia, but also with other states of the former Yugoslavia.
Dezman warns that Slovenia has made such agreements with Italy and Germany, so the procedure of dealing with the mortal remains of the members of the occupation forces from those countries is already set, while such an agreement with Croatia does not exist.
Slovenian historians say that there is not much enthusiam in Croatia for resolving the issue.
However, Bozo Vukusic, president of the association Honorary Bleiburg Guard, who witnessed the probes in Tezno, has made claims to the contrary, saying that Croatia is interested in such an agreement and thinks it would be best for the Croats remains to be exhumed and placed in a mausoleum in Slovenia.
EXECUTION SITE PROBE
Honorary Bleiburg Guard Calls for Govt Involvement The association is asking the government to sign an agreement on probes and marking of mass graves with Slovenia.
The Honorary Bleiburg Guard association asked the Croatian government today to urgently get involved in the probes that are being conducted in Tezno near Maribor these days, where there is presumably a mass grave containing the remains of the Croats who were killed after World War II.
In a press release, the association is asking the government to sign an agreement on the probes and marking of Croatian mass graves in Slovenia with the neighbouring country and to find a solution for the burial of the mortal remains lying in those graves.
The Honorary Bleiburg Guard points out that even yesterday's initial probes in Tezno indicate that the assumptions about the site hiding the biggest post-war Croatian mass grave were justified.
Following the Slovenian government's decree, the probes started yesterday in Tezno, where thousands of members of the armies defeated in World War II, killed by Yugoslav Partisans, were thrown into anti-tank trenches surrounding the Slovenian city.
Published: August 09, 2007
More information: Društvo za obilježavanje grobišta ratnih i poratnih žrtava - Varaždin
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