Rosina T. Schmidt
The ‘Action’ during which 8,000 ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia were liquidated
(men, women, priests and even children) took place between October 1944 and April 1945
by being shot or killed under torture.
action the ethnic German leadership was to be eliminated and the rest of the
ethnic German population made pliable and submissive to the communist system.
Such mass liquidations happened in the Batschka as well.
shooting commandos worked uniformly. The mobile shooting commandos arrested
the leading, respected and wealthy ethnic Germans, tortured them and in the
end shot them. They choose the elite from the ethnic German groups of
industrialist, the merchants, wealthy farmers, professionals, clergy,
intellectuals, and even children, calling them the ‘capitalists’ and ‘the peoples
The order to eliminate them came most likely from the highest partisan leadership
without any kind of consultation. These were Tito, Rankovic, Pijade and Kardelj.
The "judicial proceedings" consisted of making of a list of "fascists" and
"public enemies" to be executed, which the village mayor had to confirm with
his signature. One such list is to be found in the military archives (Vojni
Sud) of Novi Sad, which lists the 212 men from Filipowa who were murdered on
25 November 1944.
Danube Swabians from
the Batschka were shot and killed as follows:
AVNOJ - ACT
The abbreviation AVNOJ stands for: Antifašističko Veće Narodnog Oslobodjenja
Jugoslavije (Anti-Fascist Council of the Liberation of Yugoslavia).
At the AVNOJ meeting in Jajce on 29th /30th November
1943 MOŠA PIJADE requested -as per paragraphs 11 and 15- that "Public
Enemies" and "traitors" be deprived of their liberty rights and receive the death
penalty. The disenfranchised should be shot. During Tito's administration ALEKSANDAR RANKOVIC implemented this decision on October 1944. The AVNOJ’s
declaration was the cause of the expropriation and deprivation of the ethnic
Germans in Yugoslavia.
It the Batschka ethnic Germans (Danube Swabians)
were affected as well. It started the
confiscation of their assets, their internment and murder. The measures taken
by the partisans to eradicate Yugoslavia’s ethnic German minority prior to the
establishment of this law were adopted and sealed the future of the
Donauschwaben. Even the later elected Yugoslavian National Assembly accepted
this law and allowed it to stay in full force.
1. All persons living in Yugoslavia of ethnic German descent automatically
lose their Yugoslavian citizenship, civil privileges and civil rights.
2. The state has the right of confiscating all the assets - movable and
immovable - of persons of ethnic German ancestry and those assets
automatically became the state’s property.
3. Those persons within ethnic German minority cannot claim any civil or civic rights
and cannot use the courts or state institutions for their personal protection.
This law made outlaws out of about 250,000 ethnic Germans. Anyone was free to commit any conceivable crime
against to him or her without being made
accountable. Anyone could play being a ‘judge’ to the ethnic Germans. The
consequences of this law were mass liquidation by shooting, butchering and the
like, the mass deportation to forced labor and mass extermination in
concentration and forced labor camps. Tito’s administration, which imposed and
enforced this law, was fully responsible for all the crimes before and after
that law came into effect, which were perpetrated against the ethnic German
Were the AVNOJ decisions legal?
On 8th of July 1941 Germany and Italy dissolved the state of
Yugoslavia and divided it. From that moment on the laws of the newly created
states came into effect.
The AVNOJ decisions of 21st of November 1944 were not declared by
freely elected legislative bodies. Therefore those resolutions have no
legality. The AVNOJ decisions violated the declaration of universal human rights. As such
they lack legal standing. Since a wrong cannot be legally enacted,
therefore they would have been void even if proper legislative bodies have
supported them. The violence committed by the partisans on the Danube Swabians
and other ethnic Germans was perpetrated during a time of tyranny and not under a lawful state. They
were performed with hatred against innocent people and are crimes against
It is the duty of all nations to assert the universal human rights of their
people. It means:
1. Make all the AVNOJ decisions null and void.
2. Punishment of the crime.
3. Restoration of the legal rights to the homeland.
4. Compensation for damage to life and limb.
5. Restoration and compensation for the confiscated property.
DISPLACED PERSONS LAW (BUNDESVERTRIEBENENGESETZ)
of the term ‘displaced’ in the displaced persons law (BUNDESVERTRIEBENENGESETZ)
under the common law has been defined as follows:
"Displaced persons are the German citizens or ethnic Germans who through
the events of World War II were displaced by expulsion or had to flee and lost
their homes, which are currently under foreign administration of eastern
German territories or in the areas outside of the German Reich as of December
This also applies to those German nationals and their ancestors that emigrated
decades or centuries earlier and lived in foreign countries. (Volga Germans,
Transylvanian Saxons, Banat Swabian, Danube Swabians).
The first expropriation of the ethnic German population in the Batschka (as
well as in the other areas of Yugoslavia) took place after the First World
War. Those expropriation measures imposed on the German ethnic group undertaken under
the ‘Agrarian Reform’ were the forerunner of the total expropriation, which
occurred after 1944. This ended the nearly two hundred years of Danube-Swabian
implemented farming agriculture and social culture in Yugoslavia.
The first expropriation law decrees of 25th of February 1919, 21st
of May 1922, 4th of July 1922 and 19th of July 1931,
were the basis for a number of detailed rules and regulations. Large
landholdings of cultivated land, farmland, meadows, vineyards, vegetable
gardens, hop gardens, rice fields, were expropriated, which were larger than
300 hectares (521 KJ) or 500 hectares (869 KJ).
Mostly affected by the expropriation was the ethnic German population. The
expropriated land was allocated to so-called "Dobrovoljci" (volunteers of the
First World War), Optanten colonists and Slavic land-poor farmers (tenant
farmers, farm workers), predominantly of Serb ethnicity. Not a single ethnic
German received any of the allocation land, not even a poor ethnic German
After the First World War a total of 155,195 Katasterjoch (89,315 hectares)
were expropriated in the Batschka. This represented 12.5% of the total
cultivated farmland. Under this agrarian reform 264 farms from 137 individuals
were confiscated from 80 communities, 17 from church ownership, 19 from the
former State of Hungary, 8 from charities and 3 from agricultural communes.
After the Second World War the ethnic German population was totally
expropriated. The “legal basis” of this expropriation was the decision of the
"anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Yugoslavia" (AVNOJ) made on 21st
of November 1944 to transfer the ‘enemy’s’ assets to the ownership of the
state ... (Article l, paragraph 2: "All assets of person of German ethnicity.
.."). Expropriated were a total of 97,000 properties with a combined area of
With the extension of the ‘Law of Restriction’ regarding the real estate ownership
in Vojvodina, which was declared on 24th of February 1938
and 7th of September 1939, which included also Batschka, that the
long term expropriation of the property of the ethnic German population was enforced. Affected
were 80% of ethnic German municipalities.
In the Hungarian part of the Batschka the land reform of 15th of
March 1945 included the total expropriation of the ethnic Germans. It was
confirmed with the law made on 9th on June 1945 regarding the
confiscation and their implementation in Yugoslavia.
Belgrade’s statistical yearbook of 1989 the ‘Law of Agrarian Reform of 23rd
of August 1945’ the following real estate assets were expropriated and taken
over by the "National Fund":
Large farms 235ha = 15.00%
Banks, Brokerages and similar 78ha = 5.00%
Churches and monasteries 164ha = 10.50%
Real estate larger than the maximum of 122ha = 7.80%
From owners who have disappeared 32ha = 2.00%
Assets of the ethnic Germans 637ha = 40.70%
Assets expropriated after a court ruling 92ha = 5.80%
Assets of foreigners 15ha = 0.90%
Assets of the State 12ha = 0.70%
Assets left behind by the colonists 46ha = 3.00%
Assets of communities 3ha = 0.20%
Other assets under the Law of the revision 22ha = 1.40%
Non-agricultural estates 109ha = 7.00%
Total 1,566ha = 100.00%
These statistic confirms that the largest share of the expropriated land was
taken away from the ethnic Germans (40.7%). Even the other points bring us to
the conclusion that more ethnic German assets were included, as there were
also ownerships of large companies, churches and monastery
holdings etc. Under “possession of the foreigners” for example we know that
Danube Swabians who immigrated to America owned real estate in Yugoslavia. The
loss of ethnic German real estate assets is therefore much higher than the
The law enacted on 23rd of August of 1945 by the Federal People's
Republic of Yugoslavia concerning the citizenship rights had no any
practical consequences for the disenfranchised ethnic Germans as they had
been imprisoned some time previously in the extermination camps.
The flight from Batschka by the Danube Swabians started on 8th of
"Escape" is a term that can be easily glossed over in an attempt to
convey the idea of expulsion. The people flee voluntarily;
they are expulsed under pressure. But what difference does it make if one
decides to leave under highest risk to human life "voluntarily"? Is in that
case the escape not expulsion? Is this different interpretation of the term
not hair splitting?
Generally speaking under international law refugees are people that leave their country behind due to political, religious or racial
persecution. The fleeing Danube Swabians were threatened with death.
The ethnic Germans in Tito’s starvation camps also began to escape. Up
to 1946 anyone
caught fleeing was shot. Then a flourishing business was discovered
and that business was put into practice. The mass exodus into Hungary with a
payment of 1000 dinars was tolerated. The middlemen helped the refugees over
the border into Hungary. The business flourished throughout the winter of
1946/47. It is estimated that the camp leaders of Gakowa and Kruschiwl have
collected about 10-20 million dinars in these "white transports".
Of course the Danube Swabian inmates did not have the money to escape because everything
of value had been taken from them. The money came from
different nationalities, the relatives and friends (Hungary, Bunjewatzen,
Schokatzen, Slovaks, but also from Serbs). The number of ethnic Germans who
escaped from the camps was approximately 30,000.
The Yugoslavian Air Force General SIMOVIC voted against Yugoslavia joining the
Three Powers Pact on 27th of March 1941. Anti-German sentiment
escalated immeasurable throughout the country. A war could no longer be avoided. Even
before the bombs fell on Belgrade the prominent Danube Swabian personalities
in the Batschka were arrested and hundreds of hostages were jailed in the
fortress Peterwardein and other locations. Thanks to the quick end of war nothing
worse happened to these hostages.
These are the people who resided outside the boundaries of the German Reich’s
borders as of 31st of December 1937 and because of the consequences
of the Second World War lost their homeland. The ethnic Germans of Batschka
are a part of them.
INTERMENT CAMP (INTERNIERUNGSLAGER)
The partisans began establishing the interment camps as early as November 1944.
The interment camps were established to accommodate ethnic German children,
the elderly and frail men and women and the incapacitated.
Swabians were driven from their homes house-by-house and forced into the labor
camps or in the internment camps. Most often the ethnic Germans from different
counties were crammed into the concentration or internment camps. The inmates
were prohibited of any contact with the civilian population outside from the
camp and prohibited from begging for food to assure life support. The diet of
the internees was so deficient that as many of them as possible would die.
Shooting was punishment for disobeying orders.
The partisans themselves called the internment camps "extermination camps". In
the most literal sense they were death mills. Hunger caused countless deaths
especially among the children. There was no protection against the cold. Money,
jewelry and other items of worth were taken away from them during recurrent raids. The
food was not adequate enough for survival. The mortality rate was very
high; the dead were buried in the mass
graves either naked or wrapped in shreds of cothes. The relatives were not permitted to be present at the burial.
The last two internment camps in Batschka (Gakovo and Kruschewlje) were closed
in the summer of 1948. There were still 42,000 inmates left. About 40,000 had
escaped; most of them with co-operation of the partisans after the fee for the freedom
was paid. The rest of the originally approximately 250,000 ethnic Germans who
stayed at home had perished.
A brief history of the end of World War II:
20. July 1917:
Declaration at Corfu. The idea of uniting the southern Slavs in a common state
is born. Pašic declared the unification as the target of Serbian politics.
01. November 1918:
The merger of the Southern Slavic peoples into the "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats
and Slovenes (SHS)”. The largest part of Batschka becomes part of the new
state. A referendum did not take place.
06. November 1918:
The occupation of southern Batschka by the Serbs. Only a small remnant of
1,625km² remained in Hungary.
25. November 1918:
The "Grand National Assembly" in Novi Sad decides to connect the Vojvodina to
the Kingdom of SHS by disregarding the self-determination of the nationalities. The
Assembly enforced this decision.
01. December 1918:
Proclamation of the "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” (SHS) by the
Prince Regent on behalf ALEXANDER I. In the name of King PETER I the Hungarian
territories are annexed.
02. December 1918:
Recognition by the victorious powers of the Serbian occupation of southern
Batschka. Additional recognitions took place on 3rd of December
1918 and 20th of March 1919.
29. December 1918:
Ratification of the proclamation on 1st of December in the
Skupština (parliament). Official name of the new government: "Kraljevina, Srba,
Hrvata i Slovenaca" (SHS). Prime Minister was NIKOLA PAŠIC.
05. December 1919:
International recognition of the kingdom SHS by the major powers and their
06. June 1920:
Final annexation of the largest part of the Batschka into the Kingdom SHS.
28. June 1921:
Centralist constitution of the new kingdom SHS (Vidovdan Constitution).
Start of internal difficulties between the nationalities, especially between
Greek-Orthodox Serbs and the Roman Catholic Croats and Slovenes.
05. January 1929:
Military dictatorship under ALEXANDER I.
03. October 1929:
Renaming of the state by a new law into "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" (Kraljevina
Jugoslavija). Batschka becomes part of the Ban Danube (Dunavska Banovina),
with headquarters in Neusatz (Novi Sad).
Yugoslavia gets a new constitution.
12. December 1940:
Friendship treaty between Yugoslavia and Hungary on "permanent peace and
06. April 1941: The start of Yugoslavia campaign.
11. April 1941: Invasion by the Hungarian troops of the Batschka and their
A brief history:
25. March 1941:
Yugoslavia joins the Tripartite Pactin Vienna. The signature on the documents was provided the Prime
Minister DRAGlŠA CVETKOVIC and Minister of Foreign Affairs CINCAR MARKOVIC.
27. March 1941:
Coup d'etat in Belgrade by the Air Force General Dušan SIMOVIC. Overthrew of
the government. King PETER is declared of age. The anti-German demonstrations
start. The slogan: "Bolje rat nego pact" (Better War than The Pact). The
anti-German sentiment in the country also rose against the native ethnic
German minority (Danube Swabians). There were hostage-takings and finally it
came to war, in which Batschka was occupied by the Hungarian troops.
31. March 1941: All schools closed because of the uncertain situation in the
01. April 1941: General mobilization in Yugoslavia.
06. April 1941:
Germany declares war on Yugoslavia. Beginning of the Yugoslavian campaign and
the invasion by German troops (5.30 clock). Bombs falling on Belgrade.
11. April 1941:
Hungary's entry into the war. Invasion of the Batschka by Hungarian troops without having encountering
any significant resistance. The Yugoslavian
troops had already withdrawn in flight.
17. April 1941:
Unconditional capitulation of the Yugoslavian army. Batschka is annexed by Hungary
and at first is placed under military rule.
08. July 1941:
End of the State of Yugoslavia through a declaration by the victors. The
negotiations by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Italy in Vienna are
ongoing beginning 20. April 1941.
15. August 1941: Introduction of the Hungarian civil administration in the
CONCENTRATION CAMPS OF BATSCHKA
Y 21236 - Bački Jarak (Jarek).
3. December 1944-13th of April 1946.
Of some 15,000 inmates at least 9,300 died. In April 1946 the remaining
inmates were sent partly to Kruschewlje and partly to Gakowa.
Y 25280 - Gakovo (Gakowa)
15th of March 1945-January 1948.
At the end of 1947 the camp had around 17,000 inmates, of whom about 8,900
died. The rest of the internment camp was relocated in January 1948 to
Knićanin (Rudolfsgnad / Banat).
Y 25282 - Kruševlje (Kruschiwl).
12th of March 1945-1947/48.
Of about 7,000 inmates approximately 3,600 perished. The camp was dissolved
in 1947/48 and the remaining inmates were relocated to Gakowa.
Self-determination is the right of a minority to preserve and develop their cultural
identity. In January of 1919 the Prime Minister STOJAN PROTIC promised the
ethnic German delegation under Dr. Stefan Kraft cultural autonomy. It remained
an empty promise.
Liquidated were "Public Enemies", "fascists" and "collaborators
with the occupier."
The purpose of the liquidations was:
1. Weakening the political opposition.
2. Spreading the terror.
3. Creating the benefits for the establishment of the communist system.
The victims of the liquidation were: rich farmers, merchants, industrialists,
academics, intellectuals and leading citizens. There was a total of approximately 6,000
men, women and teenagers, aged 16 to 60 years. (Action intelligentsia).
By the mass elimination in the forced labor camps the Yugoslavian ethnic
Germans were to be terrified, worn out, their physical resistance destroyed and
their moral grip broken. For this reason they were ordered to perform often
As a rule the work began at 4 in the morning and lasted until late into the
evening, with a piece of bread and a non-nourishing soup as food allotments.
The harassment in the camp was constant. There was a great deal of flogging and
shootings. The people were beaten on the way to work. Many died already after
only the first week. Private persons outside of the camps could rent the workers
from the internment camp. This often saved lifes of the prisoners.
Batschka forced labor camps were in Novi Sad, Palanka, Hodschag, Werbaß,
Apatin, Sombor and Subotica.
Even in the concentration camps the disabled ethnic Germans were constantly
exposed to abuse. The mortality rate in these camps was very high. In the
Batschka such camps were in Jarek, Filipowa, Sekitsch, Gakowa and Kruschiwl.
deportation occurred on Christmas Eve of 1944. That day thousands of
children became orphans.
Abducted were men aged 18 to 40 years and women aged 18 to 30 years
following an inspection to affirm their physical fitness for work by
a Soviet commission. Stuffed in
the cattle cars they were sent on a weeklong trip to the Soviet Union. Pregnant women and mothers of infants
At the beginning of January 1945 new deportations began again. The age of women
was raised to 35 years and in some places mothers of infants were also
included in the deportations.
About 40,000 ethnic Germans were abducted. From Apatin alone 2,400 people
were deported. A grandfather in Filipowa remained back with 28
grandchildren after all his adult children were abducted to the Soviet Union.
The liquidation of the ethnic Germans began with the establishment of the
military administration by Tito's partisans. There are no words to
describe the cruelty and bestiality, which unfolded. The methods used
before and after AVNOJ declaration (21st November 1944) did not change.
Even though after January 1945 the mass liquidation became rare, the
slaughter of individuals was so much more frequent and crueler. Such
liquidations of the individuals never stopped entirely. Last known victim
in the prison camp of Werschetz / Banat was the Benedictine monk count
The number of Danube Swabians shot and liquidated in other ways up to 21st
of November 1944 was approximately 20,000 to 25,000.
On 10th of December 1948 the United Nations ratified the
"Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Article 13 protects the
right of every person to leave his country and to return back to it. The
declaration prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of citizenship and
prohibits the deportation of the population of the occupied country. Tito
and his partisans violated Article 13 in its entirety.
The incursion of the partisans into the Danube Swabian villages in the
Batschka in 1944 resulted in the severe persecution of the local
population. Stripped of all their
assets they suffered unspeakable. Despite the threat of harsh penalties
during this time there were Hungarians, Croats, Serbs and others who helped the ethnic Germans wherever or however they
could. They requested that the ethnic Germans work for them to at least
temporarily relieve them from the heavy lot of their burden and to save their lives.
also provided them with money later so that they were able to buy they
freedom and escape with the willing connivance of the partisans. If a book
of those who have shown humanity to others is ever written those brave people
would fine a place. About 40,000 confined ethnic Germans in the internment
camps were able to flee to safety. Of these about 25,000 were able to pay
the high fee to the partisans who tolerated the escape.
Such a ‘rights option’ was available after the First World War in the
Batschka too. The population in the ceded territory of the Hungarian part
of the Batschka could decide up to 22nd of January 1922 whether
they wanted to resettle to Hungary or Austria. Until then they had no
political rights in the new state of "SHS", but also no political
obligations, except for a good conduct towards the new government. After
the expiration of the option period the integration and equality of all
minorities in the Kingdom of SHS become enforceable by law. However, the
equality was never implemented. The Batschka ethnic Germans made no use of
their ‘rights option’.
armed guerrilla fighters. Residents of a country, who do not belong
to a military power, but take the fight against an invading enemy.
Making sneak attacks and carrying out assassinations they had no protection
according to the laws of war. The Yugoslavian Army under Tito decided on 4th
of July 1941 to use guerrilla attacks against the occupation forces.
Instead the first battle instead took place on 2nd of November
1941 between Tchetniks and Tito’s partisans. On 20th of November
1944 Tito’s partisans occupied Belgrade. On 12th of July 1944
the partisans revived activity in the Batschka. The attacks were not
numerous. After the invasion of Soviet troops Tito's partisans formed what
they called the military administration, whose reign was accompanied with
mass liquidation, atrocities of all kinds and terror.
The "Potsdam Conference" between TRUMAN, STALIN and CHURCHILL took place
between 17th of July to 2nd of August 1945 at the
Cäcilienhof in Potsdam. They endorsed the expulsion of ethnic Germans from
Eastern and Southeastern European territories under the condition of a
"humane transfer". The ethnic Germans of the Hungarian
Batschka were included.
The atrocities of Tito’s partisans towards the ethnic Germans in
Yugoslavia after the Second World War - contrary to assertions
otherwise – were not because of some anti-state behavior. If it had been
so, then the ethnic German priests would have been left unmolested.
However, they were the preferred victims in the liquidations. Actual
reasons for their persecution were:
1. They were ethnic Germans.
2. They represented one ideology, which was not compatible with the
3. They were intellectuals.
In the Batschka alone, 48 Catholic priests were exterminated as the result
partisan blood lust towards their victims, of which 18 were killed, 4
disappeared in the Soviet Union and the rest was imprisoned in
Cvetković joined the three powers in signing an agreement in Vienna on 25th
of March 1941.
A military-junta led by Air Force General Dušan SIMOVIC took over
power on 27th
On the day of the coup d'état the ethnic leader Dr. SEPP JANKO ordered the
cessation of any activity on the part of SDKB. In the wake of the coup, there were
hostage takings of the ethnic German population, disappearances, mass
arrests and terror. On the first day of war in Yugoslavia (6 April)
the Danube Swabian leaders went into voluntary house arrest into HABAG-hall
in Novi Sad (Neusatz) taking shelter behind makeshift barricades and
refused to be taken away by the police. A contact with the outside world
The torture and killing methods of Tito’s partisans were sadistically
excessive. One has to go far back in the history to find similar examples
of sadism. Even the Huns and the Tartars could not have murdered more
relevant literature cites –without claiming to be exhaustive-, the following
torture and killing methods:
- "Layer Cake" effect (see definition);
- Shooting, hanging, killing, drowning;
- Suffocation in overcrowded bunkers;
- Pushing burning cigarette on the nipples;
- Pulling pubic hair;
- Sticking the monthly period napkin in the mouth;
- Slow death by dehydration and starvation;
- Pulling a person by the hair through the internment camp;
- Pulling the nostrils apart;
- Forcefully pulling out the teeth;
- Smashing of the teeth;
- Breaking the hands;
- Breaking the ribs;
- Using weights to smash the genitals;
- Electrocuting the genitals;
- Pulling skin stripes;
- Cutting off the genitals;
- Cutting off the limbs;
- Cutting the throat;
- Jumping on the person laying on the ground;
- Torturing the person on a nail board;
- Tearing out the fingernails;
- Sprinkling salt into open wounds;
- Cutting off arms and legs while the person is still alive;
- Inflicting burns with the hot iron;
- Force the person to stand barefoot in the snow for hours;
- Pull the eyes out;
- Throw a living person in the Danube River;
- Press the head under water until drowned;
- Flogging to unconsciousness;
- Beat to death with sticks and rifle butts;
- Smash the skull with the stones;
- Damage the kidneys with the rifle butt;
- Placed in a pit and beaten to death with a showel shovel or spade;
- Shooting when caught begging for food;
- Shooting when caught visiting a grave;
- Bound together the victims and shooting them in the pit;
- Shot in the neck;
- Leave the wounded to bleed to death;
- Shoot several people with a one shot;
- Shot when finding money during a search;
- Dum-Dum bullets in the stomach;
- Shooting for drinking water from a puddle;
- Shot if too close to the barbed wire fence;
- Beheading while alive;
LAYER CAKE EFFECT
"Tito’s partisans had many opportunities to prepare ahead of
time on how to eliminate, in their opinion, unwelcome people and punish them to death. One of the
more popular forms of elimination was the 'layer cake effect”. This method
of liquidation had two advantages: 1. It was particularly unpleasant for
those concerned and 2. Larger quantities of opponents could be removed with
one strike. The technique is the following: There had to be a wide and
deep well or mine shaft around. Then one takes the first batch of ethnic
Germans, it can also be Croats or Slovenes, and throws them into the pit.
Next comes a layer of exploding hand grenades, then a layer of people and
then a layer of new hand grenades - hence the name 'layer cake effect’.
The procedure continues until about two meters below the top of the shaft
or well, so that the top people who perhaps were only wounded could not
creep out. " (Nikolaus von Preradovich in "Deutschen Anzeiger" on 26th
American president WILSON on 8th of January 1918 proclaimed the right to
self-determination minorities. His 14 points would become the
guidelines for the peace treaty at the completion of the First World War.
national minority may be forced or placed under the jurisdiction of a
government under which it does not
desire to exist.
includes the right of the individual as well as the social groups to
autonomy, i.e. to freely select and make solely responsible decision in
individual and social affairs. Each person has the right to full political
independence within the structure of the state in which he adheres.
Swabians led a constant fight – in Hungary as well as in Yugoslavia – for
at least a minimum of autonomy. At no time was their right to full
self-determination ever spoken off.
Bundesamt for statistics in Wiesbaden wrote the following about ethnic German victims in Yugoslavia after the Second World War:
“It has been
determined that the total losses of the German-Yugoslavian population
both during and after the war during and after the war amounted to 175,000 persons, or 32.7 percent of
the total population of 1939. Of that 40,000 were men (7.5 %) in the
armed forces, and about 135,800 persons (25.3 %) were civilian losses. The
largest losses under the civilian population happened immediately after
the military occupation of the ethnic German settlement areas by the Red
Army and/or by the establishment of the partisan administration, from mass
shootings as well as from other arbitrary and common mass liquidations.
desecration of the ethnic German graves started right after the Danube
Swabians were driven out of Batschka and Yugoslavia. The crypts were broken
open, corpses and skeletons were thrown into mass graves and the
bricks of the crypts were used for new construction. With that two
objectives were reached at the same time: one procured building material
and all the traces of the ethnic Germans past was eliminated.
On the 4th
of June 1920 a peace treaty between Allies of WWI and Hungary was signed.
Almost all of Batschka became part of the new state of ‘Kingdom of the
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes’ (SHS). The contract contained a minority
protection clause and an ‘option right’ for the non Slavic population
living in a separate part of the Batschka. The minority protection law was
never implemented in Batschka.
TSCHETNIK (Serbian Cetnik)
Serbian partisans united for protection of the Serbian population in
Macedonia. In the First World War they fought against the occupying
powers. In the Second World War they were lead under general DRAŽA
MIHAJLOVIC who established partisans groups and they became later
non-communist resistance fighters, which protected Serbian interests
against the Ustaša and the occupying powers. About 4th of July
1941 the conservative Tschetniks began with the preparations for the
guerilla actions with the agreement of the Yugoslav government-in-exile in
London, England. On the 2nd of November 1941 it came to first
battles between the Tschetniks and Tito’s partisans.
extermination camps were concentration camps for those not able to perform
work. All ethnic German women, children and above all the old men who no
longer could work were put there. Those able to work were sent to the
slave labour camps. Among them were also women and older children.
in the extermination camps (so called by the partisans themselves) were:
Leaving the camp was forbidden.
Contact with the outside world was forbidden.
Begging was forbidden.
The plan was to starve the inmates.
inmate was caught begging for food, he received the death penalty. Raids
took place systematically in the extermination camps. Anything found
was taken away. Twice daily the food was given out. It consisted of a weak
soup and on some days a peace of bread the size of a matchbox. Bread and
soup were not salted and the soup was without any lard.
deceased people were thrown naked or bound in cloth scraps on a cart,
driven out of the town and buried in a mass grave. Jarek, Gakowa and
Kruschwil were the extermination camps in the Batschka.
annihilation of the ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia during 1944-1948 by
Tito’s partisans followed a prescribed system and was implemented in three
Mass extermination through hunger and hard labour in the
concentration camps (starvation camps) as well as slave labour camps.
The annihilation of the ethnic Germans was not only tolerated, it was
planned and therefore ordered.
of ethnic Germans from the Batschka, both men and women, were dragged away
to the slave labour camps in the Soviet Union. Mostly they worked in the
coalmines. A great many died from accidents, diseases and hunger.
Germans expulsion from Yugoslavia had a long history. Already back in 1916
VLADIMIR MATIJEVIC worked on behalf of the Serbian government on a concept
of expropriation, expulsion and extermination of the ethnic Germans after
the First World War from the planned state of Yugoslavia. This plan
incorporated the following methods of expulsion:
To burn the villages and let the citizens flee.
Shooting at the villagers and insist that the
inhabitants were involved in a revolt.
To shoot one portion of the inhabitants and the other part
would flee on their own.
driving force behind the establishment of a south Slav (mostly Greater
Serbia) state was NIKOLA PAŠIC, STOJAN PROTIC, ANTE TRUMBIC, ANDRE NIKOLIC
and SVETOZAR PRIBIČEVIC.
relocate the ethnic German population was decided prior to the end Second World
War by the Allied leaders at the conferences in Teheran and Yalta.
Yugoslavia was not included in those resolutions, but Hungary was.
Yugoslavia solved the problem of expulsion in its own way by replacing
expulsion with extermination. Yugoslavia’s extermination methods represents a
new form of state approved liquidation politics. The brand name was
‘TITO’, who was later courted by the Reich’s German politicians.
Hungary approximately 239,000 ethnic Germans were expulled; another
230,000 remained in the country. The usage of the German language was
forbidden in the church, school and in the public. That led to a ‘lost
generation’, which no longer was able to speak their mother toque.
remaining ethnic German population in the Batschka was also affected by
did not belong to those countries expelling their ethnic German population like Poland, Hungary and
Slovenia and partly in Slavonia was the expulsion completely implemented.
In the ethnic German settlement areas of Vojvodina however, the ethnic
Germans were dragged into the numerous extermination camps, where they
lost their lives through murder and starvation.
of November 1944 at the AVNOJ partisan conference the resolution was
approved to deny the Yugoslavian ethnic Germans the civil rights and to
declare that their assets were enemy property. With it began the Danube
Swabian Leidensweg, which ended in murders and torture of unimaginable
chief of OZNA (organization, which implemented the murders) was ALEXANDER
RANKOVIC. He planned the system of extermination and ensured for its
fully implementation. The extermination methods were:
Mass exterminations through hunger and slave labour in
the concentration and extermination camps.
well-known Batschka’s Donauschwaben Leidensweg places were Gakowa,
Kruschewlje and Jarek, as well as other less know localities in which the
Danube Swabians died in huge numbers due to the orders of the criminal
head of state and his helpers.
initial mass murders by shooting and killing were followed by deaths in
the camps. The little children died there of hunger and of illnesses, as
there was no medication and only a few physicians. Typhus fever took many,
because there was no way of getting rid of the lice. Hunger and cold
took their toll and the death rate rose rapidly. In the extermination camp of Gakowa thus
30 to 40 died daily, sometimes even 50 persons between December 1945 and
March 1946, as the diary of pastor MATTHIAS JOHLER documents. At the end
the Yugoslavian partisan rulers succeeded to exterminating approximately a
third of the ethnic Germans. This GENOCIDE on the ethnic Germans is
still unpunished to this day and is even concealed by the present day
genocide of the Donauschwaben in the Batschka began in October of 1944
after the invasion of the Soviet troupes and Tito’s partisans into the
towns and cities with ethnic German population. The mass shootings started
immediately, which cannot be accounted here in detail.
post-war years there was no one to protect Yugoslavian ethnic Germans, as
they had no civil rights and were outlaws. Even so, there were many cases
where the Pannonian Serbs as well as the Hungarians helped the ethnic
Germans in the extermination camps as much as they could.
of TARAS KERMAUER, a Slovenian author in the Leibach’s communist partisan
is no nation, which is immune to fascism – the Slovenes included. Us
Slovenes are boasting –just like the Serb - that until now we have not
committed genocide. But what was then the liquidation of the ethnic German
minority in Slovenia in 1945? And what is meant with the final solution of
the ethnic German question in the Banat?”
Immediately after the establishment of the partisan’s military
administration ethnic German population, who were stripped of all their
civic and civil rights, were forcible sent to slave labour camps to
perform often meaningless and irrational labour. The slave labour camps
were erected in many counties and in many communities. As of autumn 1944
each county had already established a centrally located large slave labour
camp. The goal was to wear down and destroy the physical and emotional
health of the ethnic German people. Fearful and emotionally worn down were
they to become.
workday usually lasted from 4 o’clock in the morning into late in the
evening, or until it became too dark. As provision, a bit of bread and a
week soup was the daily quota. Misuses were the order of the day and the
weakened slave labourers survived those daily strains often only for a few
often inmate exchanges between the labour camps. The work teams were
shuffled from one labour camp to the other, contributing to even bigger
poverty of the inmates, as at each transfer what little remained of their
personal possessions was taken away.
camps were guarded by the military and armed civilians escorted the work
teams. The contacts with the outside population were firmly forbidden, as
well as giving or receiving any gifts.
civil law implementation on 3rd of March 1945 each slave
laborer in the slave labour camps had to be paid daily between 50 to 100
Dinar for the work performed besides the lodging and provisions. Private
individuals were able to lease the slave labourers. In mane cases it was a
more humane treatment for the slave labourers, in many cases even a life