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Winona Daily
Winona, MN
17 Aug 1995

Ethic Cleansing' recalls dirty events of '40s
Mass Graves of Knicanin, Molin, Krusevlje, Jarak, Gakova, Sremska Mitrovica and elsewhere in the Vojvodina.
by Jacob Steigerwald

Published at DVHH.org 25 Feb 2021 by Jody McKim Pharr


'Ethnic cleansing' recalls dirty events of '40s Recent aerial photos shown on TV of what could be mass graves near Srebrenica, Bosnia, served as a reminder concerning sizeable unmarked burial sites of 50 years ago, at places like Knicanin, Molin, Krusevlje, Jarak, Gakova, Sremska Mitrovica, and elsewhere in the Vojvodina. At that time, a process of "ethnic cleansing" was aimed at what had remained of Yugoslavia's ethnic-German minority. Group members who dreaded the arrival of the Red Army, along with individuals who had reasons to fear reprisals for having collaborated with Hitler's accomplices, had mostly left the country by late September and early October 1944, However, about two-fifths of the minority were unable or unwilling to leave their hereditary homes in villages throughout the Banat and the Backa (now part of the Vojvodina), where their ancestors took up residence (luring the 18th century. They were later summarily herded into forced labor and starvation camps and detained until 1948. Early on, quite a few were simply shot by angry partisans. Many others died of maltreatment, including torture and bodily disfigurement, deprivation and illnesses including epidemics. Sadly, the toll in terms of number victims included primarily children, old people, and women, since most able-bodied men were not present, because they had joined, or were inducted into German military units. Yugoslavia has yet to officially acknowledge this particular crime against humanity and the resultant genocide, to which 58,730 ethnic-Germans succumbed 30.2 percent of those who had remained in the country. If some of Tito's guilt-laden partisans had been called on the carpet for their ignored criminal conduct, perhaps others would have been spared the fate of more recent "ethnic cleansings," which the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague is currently trying to deal with at last. Ironically, the resolution by AVNOJ (the anti-fascist council for the national liberation of Yugoslavia), to deprive Yugoslavia's ethnic-German minority of its economic basis of existence, was passed in Bosnia (at Jajce), where a recurrence of "ethnic cleansing" has now been in the offing for about four years. A German translation of this resolution of November 21, 1944, appeared in the weekly Der Donauschwabe, vol. 45, number 24 (June 18, 1995), p. 4. - JACOB STEIGERWALD. Winona


Last Updated: 25 Feb 2021

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