Balkans: November 29, 2002


Heres a history-rich item that will give some perspective on current concerns that the Afghan Northern Alliance will execute captured Taliban fighters. In the aftermath of World War Two, particularly in Yugoslavia, the knives were out in Europe, en masse. Radio Free Europe (RFE) ran a very informative report covering the investigation of a mass grave sites in Slovenia. The grave sites date from the end of World War Two and were used by the former Communist authorities as a burial ground for traitors. One of the chief sources for the article is a Slovene organization called the Society for the Regulation of Suppressed Graves. (RFE also quoted several Slovene news articles published since September.) One site mentioned is located near a village named Huda Jama (which RFE says translates into English as bad cave). Another site is part (70 meters worth) of what was a 3-kilometer long antitank ditch. Located near the town of Maribor, 1,179 skeletons have been recovered from the grave site. The grave site (the whole ditch) may hold as many as 30,000 (yes, thirty thousand) bodies. Slovenes say that many of the dead are Croat Ustase (pro-Fascist) troops who were forced back into Yugoslavia after the end of World War Two and then executed by Titos partisans. Many Slovene Domobranci troops (Home Guard) were also massacred. Slovene authorities estimate 12,000 Slovenes were executed after the war. The Croats estimate the Communists executed from 60,000 to 100,000 former Croat troops and civilians. Tito managed to put a lid on any investigations into the executions. Not anymore. In the wake of the fall of Milosevic, Balkan graves, from several past wars, are opening. (Austin Bay)




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