Radovna


On September 11, 1944, a German unit arrived in the village of Radovna to retrieve firewood but ended up in an ambush and two German soldiers were taken prisoner. The next day the Germans returned to the village of Frzkovo and threatened to kill all the inhabitants of Radovna unless the two captured germans were returned within eight days. When the Germans were not returned (probably they had already been killed), they returned to Radovna on 20 September and burned down the village’s 12 houses, 24 of which were incinerated. The youngest was only seven months old and the oldest was 81.

Current status: Demolished with monument (2011).

Location: 46°24'39.98"N 13°59'44.62"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The site is located among mountains and small villages that are joined by small gravel roads and is not easy to find. In addition to the monument, the ruins remain after one of the stone houses, which gives a visual impression. The simplicity and privacy of the place is a strength in itself, a simple monument, a small information board and the ruins after the house create a whole with small simple means. Sometimes a little can be better than a lot.

The massacre was carried out by units of the German army (Wehrmacht) and not by SS units. Nowadays there is no longer any doubt that the Wehrmacht carried out massacres of civilians, participated together with the SS or otherwise assisted the SS in massacres. But a long time after the war there was in what was Wehrmacht an interest in distancing oneself from the war crimes that the SS was guilty of. Wehrmacht wanted to spread an image of itself as a mere combatant unit that followed the martial law that existed and did not engage in war crimes.

This was a perception that spread and for a long time there was a perception that it was only the SS who engaged in war crimes. But even though a large part of the Wehrmacht did not commit war crimes to the same extent as the SS, there were massacres that make them no longer innocent. Wehrmacht was not directly involved in the extermination camps, but they assisted the Nazi Einsatzgruppen and carried out, as in Radovna, retaliation against civilians, particularly in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

Follow up in books: Hamburg Institute for Social Research: The German Army and Genocide: Crimes Against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians in the East, 1939-1944 (1999).