Eyewitness to Genocide
On July 28, 1944 in the village of Velika in the Lim region of Montenegro, Skanderbeg massacred 428 Serbs of which 120 were children and burned around 300 houses during Operation Draufgegner, in a joint attack with the 7th Prinz Eugen Division. Milunka Vucetic was an eyewitness, whose account of the massacre follows:
I approached the house of Milovan Vucetic. Around afternoon an army from Ivanpolje came into the area.We decided to take them bread, salt, which we had.
When the army approached, I saw how in the olive grove Tomislav, the son of Milovan Vucetic, played.Two soldiers took him, a third ran over, ...one took out a knife and began to skin the child alive from his eyes downwards. I could not watch what occurred. I began screaming and his mother Leposava-Lepa ran over to protect him. She was killed
Radoje Knezevic, who survived the massacre, recalled:
I was only 11 years old when Hitlerís Division "Skanderbeg" and "Prinz Eugen" burned down the village of Velika and killed about 428 persons.Our family paid a heavy price that day.
On that day my mother Stojanka was killed and then her body burned. The same fate befell my two brothers Nedeljko (5 years old) and Ratko ( 11 months old). My sister Raba ( 18 years old) was killed as she was trying to protect her mother and young brothers. And she too was burned.
Draguna Knezevic gave the following account:
In the house of Andra Knezevic were killed Mona Stamatovic...and Toma Savic with her daughter. ...In the house of Leka Knezevic, Stojanka Knezevic (aged 42), her daughter Rabija (18 years old) and sons Nedjelko (6 years old) and Ratko (1 year old).
In the house of Ljuba Stamatovic Miroslava Stamatovic (50) was killed.
In the house of Janka Simonovic, his two daughters, Kosa (18), and Milojka (19) were killed. Milojka was thrown alive into a fire. In the house of Radote Simonovic, his daughter Milena (20) was killed. ...In the house of Nikola Tomovic, his wife Rabija and his daughter Milica, who was five years old were killed. Milica was killed outside and thrown in a fire, in the house.
Divna Vucetic, a resident of Velika, gave the following account of events during the massacre:
...I heard news of massacres in the surrounding villages so I became concerned for the safety of my children, the two eldest of whom I sent in the woods...I held in my lap my one year old son, Boza.On the threshold my daughter Persida approached, who was only three years old, and after her my two nieces, four year old Kata and three year old Nata, and daughters Cvete and Dusana Vucetic.
...A soldier approached with a gun...I told him that I wanted to bring him bread, as I was ordered to. He replied to that: "Germany has bread!" He spoke our language perfectly. He then shot at me, killing my son Boza in my lap, and wounding me in the right hand.
The Kosovar Albanian Skanderbeg SS Division drove out or ethnically cleansed approximately 10,000 Kosovo Serbian families, most of whom fled as refugees to Serbia while Albanian colonists from Albania entered Kosovo and took over their lands, homes, and possessions.In Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, Miranda Vickers described the ethnic cleansing of the Skanderbeg SS Division as follows:
Until the first months of 1944 there were continued waves of migration from Kosovo of Serbs and Montenegrins, forced to flee following intimidation... The 21st SS ëSkanderbeg Divisioní (consisting, as already mentioned, of two battalions) formed out of Albanian volunteers in the spring of 1944, indiscriminately killed Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo. This led to the emigration of an estimated 10,000 Slav families, most of whom went to Serbia... replaced by new colonists from the poorer regions of northern Albania.
The Skanderbeg Division engaged in acts or war crimes against the Kosovo Serbian population that constituted genocide and crimes against humanity.
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