"I am Martin Prell’s sister and
I witnessed the outcome of the gruesome manner in which he was killed by
communist partisans. I am very grateful that this acknowledgement is made which
he so deserves.
He was with another soldier,
whom I have forgotten his name, I think he was living in Petrejevac. Martin’s
wife Ana went to see this man (he survived the horrible attack) and found him
crawling on the floor without any legs in the presence of his children. His legs
were amputated because they were totally sprayed with bullets. My brother also
was missing his right leg. He was mutilated beyond recognition. The only
identifying feature was his hair and the way he always combed it. His head was
very large due to gangrene and his arm was full of bullets so it was also very
large due to swelling.
Martin's fellow soldier
described to Martin’s wife how the partisans caught them when they were
patrolling in the forest around Bjelovar and forced them to go back to the
school where their unit was stationed. The partisans ordered them to call out so
that someone would open the door, but Martin and his fellow soldier refused to
do this knowing that the partisans would burst in and kill everyone there.
Because they refused the partisans shot them with machineguns, then tied them to
the back of a wagon and made the horses run on the road to the end of the
village where they dumped them into a ditch and left them for dead. In the
morning, dairy farmers found them all beat up lying in a pool of blood. My
brother died at a hospital in Bjelovar and his companion survived. The hospital
notified us that he was there and that he died. My mother and I immediately
traveled from Osijek, where we all lived. We found him in a room by the yard.
He was on a table with no cover over him, the sun was shining through a window
that had no curtains, and flies were flying around. I would have expected better
conditions in such a hospital.
He was buried in Bjelovar
many other Croatian young men at the cemetery. Shortly afterwards the partisans
leveled all the graves so there is no trace of the cemetery. But I have a
picture of the grave.
Martin deserves this recognition because if he and his fellow soldier had opened
the door, there would have been many more victims. He was among the first
volunteers to give his life in 1942."