The Great war: Austrian hell for 15,000 Serbs in Arad

Posted on March 2, 2014 by


On the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War , the municipality of Arad in the Romanian part of the Banat decided to rearrange the two cemeteries of Serbian internees who have died from 1914. to 1918. The camp Arad fort , where they were detained by order of the Austro-Hungarian authorities . This camp was primarily intended for Serbs expelled from the territory of the former Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina ,the Kingdom of Serbia and other Serbian regions , and there about 15,000 of them . Among the captives was small number of Russians and other Slavic people .

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– The Arad camp was a part of a vast genocidal system conceived and applied by the Viennese establishment  with clear intention to physically liquidate and eliminate the Serbian people . Headquarters of the entire system for the mass extermination of ethnic Serbs  was a network of concentration camps in Bosnia and Croatia , the Czech Republic , Slovakia, Hungary , Slovenia, Austria and Romania. From this irrational hatred of the dual monarchy emerged the camps in the Arad fortress as the imperial institutions of displaced Serbs –   Vladimir Ćorović wrote in his ” Black Book ” where he describes the guidelines of the Viennese Plan.

Here are just a few of implemented ” guidance ” of the monstrous plan : – Just before and during the First World War , through military courts numerous Serbian civilians have been sentenced to death and killed in huge numbers;  while the army killed without trial .
On August 14, Near  Foca, modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, 126 local Serbs  were killed;

–  In Trebinje in Austro Hungarian barracks,  in the presence of the commander of the garrison,  79 of the most prominent  Trebinje Serbs were hanged  including two Orthodox priests .

– The real progroms were done in Srem, (then – Austro Hungaria, modern Serbia) In Zemun near Belgrade 50 people were hanged without trial . The gallows were erected in the 27  villages of Srem . Lot of completely innocent men and women  were killed.
– The forced displacement of the population from the Serbian border regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro toward the interior of the Empire is another measure brought to punish  Serbian people. At that time, ” the wise Western democracy”  didn’t even think of  applying the term “ethnic cleansing ” for these ‘measures’ the Viennese  rulers applied on Serbs.

Before and during the First World War Austro Hungarian  military courts sentenced to death and killed a large number of Serbian civilians , while the army executed thousands without trial . General Oskar Potiorek , commander of BiH , otherwise a frustrated Slovene and huge Serb-hater, established by order of Vienna , auxiliary militia , the infamous Shucka , non- origin . Shucka had unlimited freedom to attack the Serbs , to humiliate , looting , burning their houses , to desecrate and burn their (Orthodox) churches and monasteries , and even to kill them  without being any consequence nor responsibility.

The Serbs were brought to Arad by train and thrown into prison cells . Only during one Sunday afternoon , as it is written , Austro Hungarians ” brought  274 Serbian political prisoners from Dubrovnik , Sibenik, Split and Zadar  .”  AT the beginning  they were placed in the  military facilities as much as 80 persons per room.  As the number of prisoners grew, they were transferred to the basement to sleep on the straw covered benches . Due to the desperate living conditions , and due to starvation , the variety of infectious diseases erupted:  spotted fever and tuberculosis . Few dozens of Serbian people of all ages ( children, women , adults) died daily.

The famous Serbian journalist Radivoje Markovic , whose uncle died in the dungeons of the Arad fortress , wrote :

–  Compressed in damp underground corridors where light never reach , the internees were suppressed in the unbearable stench. In winter , Austro Hungarians kept them almost nude and barefoot  in icy areas on the concrete floor  so their feet were freezing .  Due to that torture the amputation of limbs crippled many inmates , especially juveniles . They were tortured by thirst , tied around a stick and  beaten to death , put in iron chains; women ang girls were mass raped until death.

At the beginning  the prisoners were given some food once a day , and  the ” meat ” consisted of animal skulls, ntestines , liver , larynx , uncleared tails , and  maggoty sheep meat . Starving , people often picked food from the dustbin, because the meals were absolutely insufficient for life.

– Camp in the Arad Fort was the embodiment of Serbian suffering.  Some of the most horrible abuses, unthinkable and ununderstandable to an average human being, were committed there regardless of age or sex; the internees were tortured by thirst , they were beaten to death , put in irons , women and girls raped . Lord, this is not a camp , this is hell ! The first thing I saw and remembered is dead mother living with a child in her arms. It can not be described – wrote Dr. Brandusa , who tried to warn  Hungarian parliament about the Serbian sufferings.

According to the Serbian Orthodox Church of St . Apostles Peter and Paul in Arad  from 1925 , about 4,317 Serbs, civilians, internees died from 1914. to 1918. in Arad .  At the hearing before the divisional court , which lasted several weeks in Timisoara one army officer submitted a report to Military ministry;  he accused the president of the military court  Chajko  for various abuses and crimes . ” They were sentenced to just one year in prison and degradation. The  sadistic torture and murder of  Serbs continued.

Even today, the echoes of the crimes committed against Serbs detained in the Arad Fort 100 years ago are strongly felt among the Serbs in Romania and Serbia .

Several hundred internees who died from 1914 – 1915.  They were buried in the city cemetery ” Pomenirea ” in Arad . This place is marked and there is a small monument; another cemetery is next to the fortress on the coast of Morish. It’s a mass grave of about 4,000 Serbian victims , which has been neglected for a long time. 

Extermination – According to information published in the Memories of Arad ” Ziridava ” number 10,  1978 ,  15,000 Serbs passed away in the Arad camp from 1914. – 1918t.  Due to the torture, they were , as noted, “in danger of extinction , especially after the outbreak of typhoid fever .

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