Chetniks terrible crimes against Bosnia’s and Croats

12-06-2018

The Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army, also known as the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland or The Ravna Gora Movement, commonly known as the Chetniks was a World War II movement in Yugoslavia led by Draža Mihailović , an anti-Axis movement  in their long-term goals which engaged in marginal resistance activities for limited periods.They also engaged in tactical or selective collaboration with the occupying forces for almost all of the war

On 28 June 1941, Chetniks   killed 47 Bosniaks, mostly women, and children, in the village of Avtovac, which they robbed and burned. Dragutin Šimunčić, officer of the Croatian Home Guard’s 3rd Company  wrote in a report dated 24 October 1941 that he saw a corps of a slaughtered child age between 6 and 8 at the entrance to the village, a man whose heart had been pulled out by Chetniks, another man whose genitals had been cut off, and a woman whose arms had been cut off.

 On 27 July 1941, Chetniks, under the command of Branko “Brane” Bogunović,  killed 62 Croats, of whom 5 were women and 9 children, during the Bosansko Grahovo massacre. They also robbed and burned a number of Croatian houses in Bosansko Grahovo and five surrounding villages. More than 250 Croatian men, women, and children from Obalj, Korita, Luka, Ugarci and Crni Lug were killed. During the massacre, the Chetniks tortured a Catholic priest, Rev Juraj Gospodnetić, and later burned him alive in front of his mother. Some Croats who had fled to Knin started returning to the area in early November 1941, but Bogunović barred them.

In a report from the Knin police district from 13 November 1941, it’s written that Bogunović “threatens and slaughters Croatian people every day until he kills the last Croat because [according to him] no Croat shall live on his territory. (…) On 12 November, Bogunović killed five shepherds from Luka and then took their 500 sheep, 20 cattle, and 10 horses. It’s also known that a few days ago Mate Samardžija, his wife, and child went missing under Bogunović’s authority. (…) [Due to Bogunović], the Croatian people are forced to leave their homes and properties and run to Knin to at least save their lives”. On 12 November 1941, Bogunović said in Sava Dešić’s inn near Kninsko Polje that “There is no salvation for the Croats, and there is no need for them to run because they cannot escape, there is no Croatian state, nor will it be, and all Croats need to be slaughtered.” In addition, a significant number of Bosniaks who worked in the nearby cellulose factory were killed.

 

Between 11-13 April 1941, Chetniks killed 17 Croats, of whom 5 were women, in Derventa. Between 13 and 15 April 1941, Chetniks killed 20 Croats and 5 Bosniaks and burned 40 houses in the area around Čapljina and on 15 April 1941 in the area near Mostar killed 5 Croats, including 1 woman, and burned the Croatian villages of Cim and Ilići. During the Italian Fascist Operation Albia around Biokovo, that lasted between 29 August and 3 September 1942, Chetniks, under the command of Petar Baćović,  committed crimes against Croat civilians, most notably in Zabiokovlje during which they killed at least 141 Croats, and robbed and burned the villages of Rašćan, Kozica, Dragljane, and Župa.

Baćović mentioned these crimes in the report to Mihailović from 5 September 1942: “(…)  Additionally, I would like to add in regards to the departure of our criminal expedition in Ljubuški and Imotski, that our Chetniks (…) skinned alive three Catholic priests between Ljubuški and Vrgorac. Our Chetniks were killing all men aged 15 and above.    Woman and children under the age of 15 haven’t been killed. 17 villages were completely burned.” Over the night of 1/2 August 1941, Serbs from the Donji Lapac area rebelled against NDH so around 2,000 Croats from Boričevac were forced to flee to Kulen Vakuf. On 2 August, Chetniks entered Boričevac,  killed around 400 people and destroyed the village, including a Catholic church, and committed numerous crimes in Brotinja, Mišljenovac, Donji, Gornji Lapac, and other surrounding villages.

On 27 July, Chetniks threw 37 Croats into a pit. They also killed a group of 300 Croats at Trubar near Drvar, who had been led by Father Waldemar Maksimilian Nestor home from a pilgrimage in Knin.

Between 9-10 August 1941, Chetniks massacred Croats, mostly seniors, women, and children (including 49 children under the age of 12) in Krnjeuša. Croatian homes were burned and robbed. So far, 240 killed civilians were identified, including a 34-year-old Catholic priest, Rev Krešimir Barišić, who was tortured and burned alive, as well as 49 children and 72 women (a number of whom were pregnant). That same day, Chetniks killed about 70 Croats in the neighboring village of Vrtoče. A number of people ran to Bihać. After the massacre, the Croat population almost entirely disappeared from the area.

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