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World War II in Yugoslavia
The Kočevski Rog massacre were a series of massacres near Kočevski Rog in late May 1945 in which thousands of members of the Nazi Germany–allied Slovene Home Guard were executed, without formal charges or trial, by special units of the Yugoslav Partisans; other victims were Croat, Serb and Montenegrin collaborationists, Italian and German troops.
After the armistice, the British repatriated more than 10,000 Slovene collaborators who had attempted to retreat with the Germans; Josip Broz Tito had most of them massacred at the infamous Pits of Kočevje.
The killings continued after the war, as Tito's victorious forces took revenge on their perceived enemies. The British forces in Austria turned back tens of thousands of fleeing Yugoslavs. Estimates range from 30,000 to 55,000 killed between spring and autumn 1945. Most of these prisoners of war who were repatriated by the British military authorities from Austria, where they had fled, died in these post-war summary executions.
Number of victims
The victims were thrown into various pits and caves, which were then sealed with explosives. There were many thousands of victims, including most of the more than 10,000 POWs according to Encyclopædia Britannica.
Author Nikolai Tolstoy wrote an account of the events in his book The Minister and the Massacres. British author John Corsellis, who served in Austria with the British Army, also wrote of these events in his book Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II.
In his 1958 book Kočevje: Tito's Bloodiest Crime, Borivoje Karapandžić, a publicist and WWII propaganda chief for the Serbian fascist, anti-Semitic and Nazi-collaborationist Zbor organization of Dimitrije Ljotić, estimated the total number of victims at about 18,500: 12,000 Slovenian "home guards," 3,000 Serbian volunteer troops, 1,000 Montenegrin chetniks, and 2,500 Croatian "home guards." Karapandžić's evaluation is reported in another newer book printed in Slovene and Italian by a group of scholars.
- European Public Hearing on “Crimes Committed by Totalitarian Regimes" Ref: Milko Mikola, Crimes Committed by Totalitarian Regimes. Chapter 3. "Mass killings without court trials", p. 159.
- Dinah L. Shelton (ed.) "Yugoslavia", Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Gale Cengage, 2005. eNotes.com. 2006, 26 June 2010.
- Thompson, Mark. Yugoslavia: Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity
- Kranjc, Joseph G. To Walk with the Devil (2013), Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 15.
- Mojzes, Paul (2011). Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 127–28. ISBN 978-1-4422-0663-2.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica in article "Slovenia" section "History" subsection "World War Two": From its principal base in the forests near Kočevje, in the mountainous region of Kočevski Rog, the Front combined operations against the occupiers and their Slovene collaborators in the White Guard with a ruthless struggle against potential rivals, such as members of the Slovene People’s Party. In November 1943 the Front joined Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans in proclaiming a new Yugoslavia, and in May 1945 Ljubljana was liberated. After the armistice the British repatriated more than 10,000 Slovene collaborators who had attempted to retreat with the Germans, and Partisan forces massacred most of them at the infamous “Pits of Kočevje", britannica.com; accessed 21 August 2017.
- Corsellis, John & Marcus Ferrar Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II, pp. 87, 204, 250.
- "KOLUBARA Izdavačko društvo * Valjevo, Srbija". revija.kolubara.info. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- book's title: KOCEVJE -Tito's bloodiest crime, year 1958
- Book's title: Tudi mi smo umrli za domovino/Slovenia 1941-1948-1952: anche noi siamo morti per la Patria, translation: We Also Died in Defense of the Homeland by various authors, published in Trieste, 2005, in Slovene with Italian translation.