WWII, Occupied Serbia, 1942: Operation Kopaonik – The Kriva Reka massacre

Posted on May 17, 2017 by


Mutilating and Roasting Serbs – even one month old infants were massacred by Wolksdeutchers ( Germans from Northern Serbia).

Operation “Kopaonik”   leveled 75 years ago  the village of Kriva Reka, Kopaonik.

Princ Eugen pali selo

Prince Eugen with their allies burning down the village of Kriva Reka, 1942. 

Wolksdeutchers ( Germans from Serbia) together  with their allies in mid-October 1942,  liquidated 309 residents in the cruelest way .
They roasted the Serbs  alive,  set fire to the huts, mutilated and shot without mercy.
The Kriva Reka inhabitants were killed  in their homes, in fields , in the Church of St. Peter and Paul, under the spruces …

The oldest victim  Jablan Mišković was 80, and the youngest,  Vera Trifunovic , has just turned a month.

”  Cry from empty cradle ” is the title of a documentary  movie directed by Goran  Erčević.
Descendants of  martyrs have gathered the money and financed the shooting of a documentary about one of the bloodiest , yet hardly known massacres of World War II occupation , which was, in order to terrify Serbian people,  used as propaganda, and that was noted in German press.
Kriva Reka crkva sv. Ilije

The Church of Saint Elias in Kriva Reka, devastated in Prinz Eugen ‘action’ 

There were 72 women and 105 children under the age of 18 years among the victims.  And after the massacre the village was burned and looted.
 Locals and people originating from those areas wanted to permanently preserve the memories of that tragedy.
Many supported the projest by donations.
They personally feel the consequences of the massacre.Spisak Kriva R..png

Hamlet Mackovac, on the left is the list of children and infants executed; 
The right side of the list are the eldery victims. 

From the Ljubo Milincic household nine wedding guests were massacred.
None of the surrounding hamlets was spared .
Jankovici, Nikitici, Novcici, Lazarevići, Djurici and others ceased to exist.

Operation “Kopaonik” is considered to be one of the worst crimes against the civilian population, whose victims were primarily from Kriva Reka; but during the few days of October  civilians from other mountain villages were killed  as well– says  writer Slobodan Cenc.  Every house has lost 5- 20 members.

Division “Prinz Eugen”, made up of the Danubian Germans from Romania and Yugoslavia, consisted of  1,500 troops, under the command of Colonel of the former Armed Forces of the Kingdom of  Yugoslavia Francis Kodra.

Prince EUgen vezuju Srbina

Taking young man to execution  – over 270 inhabitants of Kriva Reka and area were massacred.  

The notorious division,  in cooperation with the Bulgarian 36th infantry regiment of 1,000 soldiers led by Peter Panev, as well as 300 units of White Russians, massacred the unfortunate population .
The few survivors are still alive mainly  thanks to the fact that they were in the fields, engaged in grape and corn harvest.
—- I remember … 11 members of my family were massacred by Germans  – testified Radoslav Trifunovic (86y.o.)
Here my grandfather Radovan was baked alive in front of the church. He was a mayor, president of the municipality, and right there his son and his nephew, who had been recruited for the military, were killed.
I survived because I was with my father busy with barrels. My mother and my brother were killed here at home.

Commander of Division “Prinz Eugen” general Artur Phleps in order to start operations “Kopaonik” has ordered, among other things, for the division to hit hard and brutally so the enemy would  think twice whether to continue to rebel and keeps their head high.
After the  ‘success” of the operation Heinrich Himmler promoted directly responsible for the massacre at Kriva Reka SS commander Richard Kazerer.

After the WW II, Kazerer and his superior August Schmidhuber, commander of the “Prince Eugen”, were convicted and executed for war crimes.

The report from the scene

The first report from the scene and a list of the victims was made by judge Radovan Markovic on 14 October 1942, for the needs of County Authorities Krusevac.
The report was sent on 20 October, the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of General Milan Nedic. Unnamed victims were named and the numbers during the research of historians Budimka Kovbasko was corrected due to the testimony of survivors and forensic reports.
Kriva Reka was, together with  local stone church, rebuilt.  Nowadays this jagged mountain town is home to fewer than 600 inhabitants.

Kriva reka unutrašnjost crkve

Interior of  Saint Elias church after the  massacre. Notice that both Germans and Albanians treated Orthodox Christian shrines the same way. 

It has never been known in human history that one nation erects monument to those who destroyed and killing en mase their compatriots.
Except Serbia.
Like there haven’t been enough humiliation on their foggy ‘path to EU membership” , every Serbian goverment makes few steps further in humiliation.
Apart from kneeling before neonazi Croatia well known for their repeated genocide of Serbs and cultural, ethnological theft unrecorded in history,  handing over industry and agriculture to Croatia, the latest thing Serbian goverment did with errecting monument to Wolksdeutchers in Backi  Jarak is beyond all sense and reason.
All that, including Serbian PM bowing before the monument to those who have killed, only in 20th century , several millions of Serbs, holds a horrible symbolism.

преузимање (3)



Archive of Cultural Center of Brus,