German tragedy of destiny

Yugoslavian camps

 

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In Yugoslavia experienced the captured soldiers and members of the German civilian communities the same terrible fate.

 

They were often transported to the same camp. There they were subjected to hunger, cold, immense hardship, forced labor torture and massacre.

 

The exact number of the German prisoners in Yugoslavia, most of those had surrendered there, is difficult to establish, but it could be between 200,000 and 240,000.

 

According to estimates about 80 000 prisoners were murdered after arrestation. Most members of the Division "Prinz Eugen", consisting mainly of ethnic Germans of Banat, were killed on their capture.

 

On 8 May 1945, the date of surrender, there were still some 150 000 German soldiers before the border in Slovenia. The British refused to take over these troops into Carinthia.

 

German POWs in Serbia

 

 

"punitive marches"

 

After disarmament, on 16 May 1945, they began their march into captivity to Cilli, St. Veith bei Laibach, Esseg, Belgrade and Pancevo.

 

On these forced everyday marches of 30 - 40 km the prisoners got no food. Many didn't reach the destination. The exhausted prisoners, not capable of marching, were shot by the guards.

 

The number of prisoners perished on the so-called "punitive marches" totalled 10,000. The marches ended in labor camps.

 

The largest camps of 4,000 - 5,000 men were in Belgrade, the Camp No. 5 in Sarajevo had 4,000 men and the officers' camp in Werschetz 3,500 men.

 

The prisoners were used in the agriculture and forestry, in mines, at road and railway construction and in the industry. The conditions were extremely harsh.

 

Particularly dangerous was the work in the copper mines and the mine-sweeping. However, the malnutrition, disease and physical exhaustion claimed countless additional victims.

 

 

torture, show trials and mass executions

 

Parallel to this, thousands of prisoners were convicted in show trials and executed by mass shootings based on confessions extorted by torture.

 

Even in the camps ruled violence, hunger and terrible sanitary conditions.

 

These camps were:

Rudolsgnad,

Groß Kikinda,

Molydorf,

Birndorf,

Schönhausen,

Kerndia,

Abthausen,

Altwiesen,

Pancevo,

Deutsch-Ellmer,

Deutsch-Etschka,

Ernsthausen,

Eugendorf,

Eugenwall,

Filipsdorf,

Groß Betscherek,

Gutacker,

Hanfhausen,

Josefsdorf,

Kubin,

Lazarfeld,

Modosch,

Neudorf,

Neuhatzfeld,

Neusatz,

Neuzerne,

Pardab,

Petersheim,

Plankenburg,

Rotweil,

Ruma,

Sartscha,

Semlin,

Schomburg,

Schorfeld,

Sonnhag,

Stefansfeld,

Tenje,

Torschau,

Walpach,

Weidenheim,

Weißkirchen and

Wolfsburg

 

Of the approximately 194,000 soldiers of the Wehrmacht who fell into Yugoslav captivity, about the half died, often under brutal conditions.