15 September 2016

0191 | Photo | SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen"



A kind-hearted village woman serves milk to a (rather unkempt) member of the SS Division "Prinz Eugen", somewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Germans often took similar photographs with the people, for propaganda purposes, in order to present their soldiers as protectors and liberators. In reality, the kindness of civilians was generally a product of fear – and of upbringing as well (it was polite to serve the guest, whoever he may be), and there certainly were some individuals who even saw the Germans as liberators (the people abused by members of some of the other armed groups, on religious, ethnic, political, gender or material basis). In the general chaos caused by the war, there were also many unusual encounters; one of them was described by history professor Jovan Milinković, based on a memoir of his father (an eyewitness), whose family (being Serbian) was expelled at the beginning of the war from Bačka to their native Herzegovina (two years later, some of the Bačka Germans also found themselves in Herzegovina, but on a mission, as members of the "Prinz Eugen" Division): "After the war broke out in Yugoslavia, my ancestors were expelled from Temerin by Hungarian fascists, and they returned to Herzegovina. During the Battle of Sutjeska (Operation 'Schwarz'), in my ancestors' home village (called Lipnik, near Gacko), there was a German field hospital (they moved their wounded from there down to the Gatačko Polje and then transported them by planes to Sarajevo, Mostar or elsewhere). When the Germans arrived, all able-bodied men from the village had taken refuge, so my grandmother remained alone with the children. One day, in the midst of fighting, someone knocked on the house door, and grandmother Vasilija opened. It was a German soldier. He greeted my grandmother in Serbian and introduced himself, saying that he was from Bački Jarak and explaining whose son he was. His father was friends with my grandfather Jovan before the war (they presumably traded cattle together). Both he and his father visited our home many times. When the grandmother asked him how he found them, he replied that he recognised the cart next to the house, that he knew they were my grandfather's and that he assumed they were living there now, since he knew they were refugees and Herzegovinian by origin. He left all the food he had to the grandmother, including cigarettes for 'uncle Jovan' and some chocolate for the children (incidentally, when the Hungarians expelled my ancestors from Temerin, as they were passing through Bački Jarak, German women approached the refugee women, weeping and giving them bundles of food for their children). He advised the villagers not to disturb the Germans so that they wouldn't burn the village down, and said that they would soon leave. And so it was, they did no harm to the village and left after the Chetniks were pushed back to Montenegro and the Partisans to Bosnia." Stationed in the Gacko area at the time (early June 1943) was the SS Division "Prinz Eugen". Just a few weeks later, the division continued torching villages. At the end of the same month, near Nevesinje (50 km from Gacko), villages of Donji Drežanj and Ljeskov Dub were burnt down, and 244 civilians were killed – including women and children.

Text © Ivan Ž. / Jovan Milinković.

Photographer: Hermann Heiss.
Date: June/July 1943.
Location: unknown, Yugoslavia.
Original caption: unknown.

File source: The SS-Kriegsberichter Archive / National Archives and Records Administration.
Number: KB Heiss 045 / unknown.

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Dobrodušna seljanka poslužuje mlekom jednog (prilično zapuštenog) pripadnika SS-divizije "Princ Eugen", negde u Bosni i Hercegovini. Nemci su često pravili slične fotografije sa narodom, u propagandne svrhe, ne bi li svoju vojsku prikazali kao zaštitničku i oslobodilačku. U stvarnosti, ljubaznost civila bila je najčešće plod straha – ali i kućnog vaspitanja (red je poslužiti gosta, ko god on bio), a svakako je bilo i pojedinaca koji su čak i Nemce doživeli kao oslobodioce (ljudi koje su pripadnici neke od ostalih oružanih grupacija zlostavljali na verskoj, nacionalnoj, političkoj, polnoj ili materijalnoj osnovi). U opštem ratnom haosu dešavali su se i mnogi neobični susreti; jedan od njih je opisao profesor istorije Jovan Milinković, po sećanju svoga oca (očevica), čija je porodica (kao srpska) početkom rata proterana iz Bačke u rodnu Hercegovinu (dve godine kasnije, i pojedini bački Nemci su se obreli u Hercegovini, ali na zadatku, kao pripadnici "Princ Eugen" divizije): "Kada je počeo rat u Jugoslaviji, moji su proterani iz Temerina od strane mađarskih fašista, i vratili su se u Hercegovinu. U vreme bitke na Sutjesci (operacija 'Švarc'), u selu odakle su moji (zove se Lipnik, kod Gacka) bila je prihvatna nemačka bolnica (odatle su ranjenike spuštali u Gatačko polje i avionima prebacivali za Sarajevo, Mostar ili drugde). Pošto su došli Nemci, svi vojno sposobni muškarci iz sela su se sklonili, tako da je moja baba ostala sama sa decom. Jednog dana, u jeku borbe, neko je zakucao na vrata kuće, i baba Vasilija je otvorila. Kad ispred vrata – nemački vojnik. Pozdravlja moju babu na srpskom jeziku i predstavlja se, kaže da je iz Bačkog Jarka i govori čiji je sin. Njegov otac je sa mojim dedom Jovanom bio prijatelj pre rata (valjda su trgovali stokom zajedno). I on i otac su u našu kuću dolazili više puta. Kada ga je baba upitala kako ih je pronašao, odgovorio je da je prepoznao zaprežna kola pored kuće, da je znao da su mog dede i da je pretpostavio da oni sada tu borave, jer je znao da su izbegli i da su poreklom Hercegovci. Babi je dao šta je imao od hrane i cigar za 'čika Jovana', a za decu je ostavio čokolade (inače, kada su moje proterivali Mađari iz Temerina, dok su prolazili kroz Bački Jarak, Nemice su plačući prilazile i davale ženama zavežljaje sa hranom da imaju za decu). Savetovao je da seljani ne diraju Nemce da ne bi selo popalili, i rekao da će oni brzo otići. Tako je i bilo, ništa nisu selu nažao učinili i otišli su kako su četnici potisnuti ka Crnoj Gori, a partizani ka Bosni." Kod Gacka se u to vreme (početak juna 1943) nalazila SS-divizija "Princ Eugen". Samo par nedelja kasnije, divizija je nastavila sa paljenjima sela. Krajem istog meseca, kod Nevesinja (50 km od Gacka), spaljena su sela Donji Drežanj i Ljeskov Dub, i ubijena su 244 civila – uključujući žene i decu. 

Tekst © Ivan Ž. / Jovan Milinković.

Fotograf: Herman Hajs.
Datum: jun/jul 1943.
Mesto: nepoznato, Jugoslavija.
Originalni natpis: nepoznat.

Izvor fajla: The SS-Kriegsberichter Archive / National Archives and Records Administration.
Broj: KB Heiss 045 / nepoznat.

NIJE DOZVOLJENO: uklanjanje naziva izvora sa fajlova – korišćenje teksta bez navođenja izvornog autora – korišćenje fajlova i informacija u političko-propagandne i komercijalne svrhe.