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