17 November 2015

0104 | Photo | SS-Freiwilligen-Division "Prinz Eugen"



Members of the I Battalion, 2nd Regiment, SS Division "Prinz Eugen", practising mountaineering, somewhere in Serbia. Just a few weeks earlier, during the division's first action, this battalion committed a series of atrocities against civilians (among them was the one in Kriva Reka, when they blew up a group of people in a church). This is a rare photograph that shows their commander, SS-Sturmbannführer Richard Kaaserer (up on the rock, bareheaded) – one of the biggest criminals in the territory of Yugoslavia during World War II. In addition to abusing the civilian population, Kaaserer also tortured his own soldiers, and was tried for it too, already during the war, in Germany. He was accused of beating, kicking and whipping soldiers during the training, of running one over with a horse, of keeping an entire company "at attention" under the sun until everyone would faint, and even of shooting one of the soldiers. The court attributed the crimes to his mental incompetence – and Kaaserer continued his service in Yugoslavia, and ended as the SS and Police Commander in Sandžak. His bestialities and derogation of recruits of this division, most of whom were just plain farmers, may at least partially explain their incomprehensible violence against civilians that followed (as it is known, violence begets violence). In any case, it was Kaaserer and his battalion who were responsible for the creation of criminal reputation of this SS division – the reputation which was later only strengthened, and is to this day remembered. He was hanged in Belgrade, as a war criminal, in January 1947.

Text © Ivan Ž.

Photographer: Homann.
Date: November 1942.
Location: unknown, Yugoslavia.
Original caption: unknown.

File source: National Archives, 242-JRP-34-30-14.

NOT ALLOWED: removing source credits from the files – using text without crediting the original author – using files and information for political propaganda and commercial purposes.



Pripadnici I bataljona 2. puka SS-divizije "Princ Eugen" vežbaju planinarenje, negde u Srbiji. Samo nekoliko nedelja ranije, za vreme prve akcije divizije, ovaj bataljon je izvršio niz masovnih zločina nad civilima (među njima i onaj u Krivoj Reci, gde su grupu ljudi u crkvi digli u vazduh). Ovo je retka fotografija na kojoj se vidi i njihov komandant, SS-šturmbanfirer Rihard Kazerer (gore na steni, gologlav) – jedan od najvećih zločinaca na prostoru Jugoslavije za vreme II svetskog rata. Osim zlostavljanja civilnog stanovništva, Kazerer je mučio i sopstvene vojnike, zbog čega mu je i suđeno, još za vreme rata, u Nemačkoj. Bio je optužen da je tokom obuke udarao, šutirao i bičevao vojnike, gazio konjem, da je celu jednu četu držao u stavu "mirno" na suncu dok se nisu svi onesvestili, i da je jednog vojnika čak i upucao. Sud je zločine pripisao njegovoj neuračunljivosti – i Kazerer je službu u Jugoslaviji nastavio, i završio kao komandant SS-a i policije u Sandžaku. Njegovo iživljavanje i nipodaštavanje regruta ove divizije, koji su većinom bili obični ravničarski seljaci, može makar delimično objasniti njihovo neshvatljivo nasilje nad civilima koje je usledilo (kao što je poznato, nasilje rađa nasilje). U svakom slučaju, upravo su Kazerer i njegov bataljon zaslužni za stvaranje zločinačke reputacije ove SS-divizije – reputacije koja je potom samo učvršćena, i do danas upamćena. Obešen je u Beogradu, kao ratni zločinac, januara 1947. godine.

Tekst © Ivan Ž.

Fotograf: Homan.
Datum: novembar 1942.
Mesto: nepoznato, Jugoslavija.
Originalni natpis: nepoznat.

Izvor fajla: National Archives, 242-JRP-34-30-14.

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