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Raids – Punitive Expeditions of the Wehrmacht in the Villages of the Žica Srez in 1941
October 13, 2022 at 19:00 - November 9, 2022 at 20:00
The cooperation of the soldiers of the Royal Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland and members of the Yugoslav Partisan, as well as their joint insurrectionary actions, coordinated from the headquarters in Drakčići, led to joint actions against the occupiers and to the siege of the German garrison in Kraljevo in early October 1941. In order to ease their position, the German army fired artillery shots at the lines of the insurgents, carried out quick and sharp raids on the insurgent positions, destroyed and burned the surrounding villages and took hostages for shooting – 100 Serbs for every killed German soldier, and 50 for every wounded. Because of the losses suffered in their ranks – 14 dead, two of them officers, and 10 wounded, in the night between October 14th and 15th, the Germans declared a state of emergency and martial law on October 15th.
Raids by the German army (the 717th Kraljevo Infantry Division, parts of the 737th and 749th Regiments and Artillery Divisions) in the surrounding villages that began in September 1941 they had the character of selective punitive measures, directed against specific individuals. However, with the spread of the uprising, the intensification of actions and the expansion of the area of influence, the German troops will move on to retaliatory measures against the entire population of a certain place. They reacted particularly harshly in cases of road endangerment. Residents of villages in the immediate vicinity of the city (Grdica, Adrani, Jarčujak, Čibukovac, Ribnica), villages near military installations (Jovac, Mrsać, Kovači, Žiča), villages on road routes vital for the German military force (Šumarice, Vitanovac, Milavčići, Pečenog – towards Kragujevac; Kovanluk, Ratina, Vrba – towards Kruševac) and villages where there were insurgent positions (Sirča and Drakčići). In the raids of Wehrmacht soldiers in November and early December, the inhabitants of Mataruga, Mataruška Banja, Cvetke and Lađevci also died. The consequences of these punitive expeditions were: the suffering of the civilian population, looted and burned households, destroyed crops and decimated livestock.
According to the data established so far, 264 civilian victims of raids by the German army in the villages of the Žica region were recorded, who perished from August 11th to December 13th, 1941. The youngest victim was a newborn, one day old, while the two oldest victims, Velika Mijailović and Vemija Trifunović, were both 95 years old.
The authors of the exhibition are the historians of the National Museum Kraljevo: Mirjana Savić, museum advisor and Nemanja Trifunović, curator.