Danube Swabian History
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"Völkermord der Tito-Partisanen" 1944-1948
"Genocide Carried out by the Tito Partisans"
Österreichische Historiker-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Für Kärnten und Steiermark, 1992
(Austrian Historian Working Group for Kärnten & Steiermark) 
Translated & Contributed by Henry Fischer. Edited & Published at dvhh.org by Jody McKim, Sep. 2006
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4

Chapter 3

(After World War I, the Banat was divided between Yugoslavia & Romania, with two thirds going to Romania & one third annexed to Yugoslavia)

Genocide In the Yugoslavian Banat

"This is where innocent blood flowed like a river" 

  Following the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, the Banat was always under occupation by German troops.  The Banat state administration supported the regime of the Serbian General Nedic in Belgrade.  When local Danube Swabians in the Banat made application to or approached the state administration on issues of concern to them it was done so in the name of Serbian government in Belgrade and would only affect areas of the Banat in which they resided.  There was apprehension on their part with regard to some of the measures taken by the German occupation forces and their commanders that had adverse effects on their Serbian neighbors and the Danube Swabians sought to eliminate or weaken the consequences of them if at all possible.  Often they were unsuccessful and this created negative feelings among the Serbian population that became a Partisan recruitment area. 

  The Partisans introduced a systematic extermination program to the extent that only a small fraction of the Danube Swabian population would survive.  But what characterized it most were the gruesome and bloodthirsty methods that were used in carrying it out.  The use of the division of the region into the former areas of administration enabled this well planned operation to be put into effect here as elsewhere.  (Translator’s note: A sentence consisting of the next six lines in the text follows for which I offer a simple précis as follows).  With the benefit of hindsight this systematic liquidation program was modeled on the one that was operational in the Batschka as previously cited.  How is it possible that one can speak of this one area, the Banat in comparison to others in Yugoslavia, as the one where rivers of innocent blood flowed?  We need to reiterate that in a single day in all of the communities in a district the liquidation squads appeared at the same time with the request of the local administrations for the arrest and mass execution of Danube Swabian men and women.  This was carried out even though in many communities the local Serbian officials and population protested against it and as a result saved the lives of many, but these genocide squads seldom listened to any attempts at intervention and proceeded in spite of local opposition and liquidated every Danube Swabian man, woman and child.

Pardanj 

  Individual stories and the experiences of whole families best describes what took place here in the words of Appollonia Schütz one of the residents:

  “We were driven out of Pardanj on April 18, 1945.  My husband was kept in Pardanj, while the children and I along with the elderly and those unable to work along with other mothers and their children were taken to Stefansfeld.  We were four hundred and fifty in number.  My sister and her daughter along with her two children who were eighteen months old and two and half years old were taken to Stefansfeld with me.  My niece got typhus in August.  When we were sent to Molidorf on September 28th we had to leave her behind.  In Molidorf we never heard from our family members again, neither my husband nor my niece.  (She describes the kind of food ration they received much like what has been described elsewhere previously)  Of the one hundred and twenty-six persons brought to Molidorf who were originally from Pardanj, on September 28th in 1945, in August of 1946 only nine women and one man had survived of the one hundred women and twenty-six men. 

  My sister did not want to let her grandchildren die of hunger.  She sneaked out of the camp and traded her clothes in neighboring villages for food.  One day she went along with five other women and three children who were from Stefansfeld and went to Tova.  The camp commander became aware of this forbidden activity and surrounded Molidorf with sentries who awaited the return of the women at night in order to take them prisoner and put them in the camp jail.  The women left on the evening of August 6th and returned at midnight on August 8th.  The food they had traded was immediately taken from them and they led them away to be shot.  They had only walked about a meter along the street, when a shot rang out, that hit my sister.  She fell to the ground.  Uttering curses the Partisan who shot her stepped closer to her and shot her in the stomach with a dum-dum bullet so that her intestines burst and became visible.  He left her just lying there and took the other women to the commander.  My sister just lay there and lived until 4:00am.  Then she died.  While she was still alive and whimpered with pain, a fourteen year old Partisan stepped up to her, scolded her, took a rock and hit her on the head with it.  Everyone was afraid to approach the dieing woman.  I only found out what happened at 6:00am that morning.  I immediately went to her.  Even now the young Partisan who had hit her with the rock still stood there with his hands on his hips, glaring down on her and now at me.  He struck me and battered me with his rifle.  Then he led me to the camp commander.  My sister would be left to lie in the hot sun all day, but the commander allowed me to cover her with a blanket. 

  My brother-in-law had earlier been taken to Cernje along with one hundred others from Stefansfeld, where he was shot along with sixty-eight of those from Stefansfeld.  In Cernje, on another occasion eighty-five persons from Pardanj were also shot.  Among them was another one of my brothers-in-law.  My daughter who had become ill at Stefansfeld was later sent to Rudolfsgnad as well as my husband.  Both would die of starvation there.  My second sister remained in Stefansfeld.  Her husband was also shot.  While attempting to cross the Romanian frontier one of my brother’s sons was shot by border guards. In turn, his own son and my other brother were also killed. Of my sister’s family only the two small grandchildren survived and I took them with me when I later escaped into Hungary and made my way with them to Austria.” 

The Northern Banat "Where the lust for murder raged":
Sanad | Kikinda | Nakovo | St. Hubert, St. Charleville & Soltur | Heufeld | Ruskodorf | Beodra | Molidorf

 

[Edited and Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr Sep 2006]
 

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