Serbia will not forget and will not forgive perishing of children
By laying wreaths and paying tribute in Draginac near Loznica today, 75 years since perishing of 2,950 civilians was marked, and the Minister for Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, Aleksandar Vulin, said on that occasion that Serbs cannot forget and forgive 350 shot and burned children from Draginac.
Serbia was not guilty for any war, he said and added that this generation fought for their rights to preserve their country, develop it and lead it "the way they want."
According to him, generations have fought for our right to be on our own, militarily neutral and to take care of the interests of our country and the nation, and we will not give it up.
"Only free, developed, strong, loved, peaceful Serbia, is Serbia that will never allow Draginac or another three-day baby killed before the eyes of impassive, cold world", Vulin said.
He added that no child killed in wars can be forgotten or forgiven, and at the Serbs, children were those who were killed and at Draginac the evil showed its true face and said what awaits occupied Serbia.
He stressed that the crime in Draginac was not done by any Hitler's ideological army, but the killers were from the regular army of the German state – Wehrmacht, and that this is evidence of what Serbia has known for long time – that there is no good or bad occupier, lesser or bigger evil, or that there is no life other than freedom.
As he stated, the Serbs often wonder where their fault is and why we had so many wars, why we are the ones to be blamed for the First and the Second World War, the bombing and they cannot find the answer.
The Minister asked what is the fault of the child from Draginac that was only three days old, or one-year-old Bojana Tosovic from Merdare or three-year-old Milica Rakic from Batajnica, except that they were born in this area.
"There is no guilt, it is not Serbia that sought or caused the First and the Second World War or the Yugoslav wars, or attacked any of the 19 countries that bombed us. Serbia did not ask to have any single child killed nor it provoked and there is no our fault in wars that rumbled this country", Vulin said.
He reminded that people whose three-day-old babies were killed knows what is the value of peace and how much it needs to fight for peace to be preserved, adding that this generation has a responsibility to create a stronger, better, fairer Serbia, to preserve stability and peace.
Loznica Mayor Vidoje Petrovic said that in this place, 75 years ago, big crime was committed, where civilians in the villages were arrested and killed.
"It lasted several days, and all those who were present in their fields at homes or with relatives and friends were victims of the occupying army", he said.
In Draginac, a village in the valley of Yadar, on the route from Loznica to Valjevo, the first mass crime against civilians in the occupied Serbia during the Second World War was committed.
As the uprising in occupied Serbia, during summer 1941, got a massive scale, starting from the second half of September 1941, the Nazi occupiers launched a brutal campaign to breakdown the uprising in Serbia.
The punitive expedition moving towards Krupanj was stopped and broken up by the rebel forces on the bridge over Yadar, at the place called Gajic rock near Draginac.
The German occupying forces, in retaliation for the defeat, collected and then executed, at several places in Draginac, a total of 2,950 persons from Draginac and the surroundings.
The youngest victim was only three days old. After that, they buried them all in common graves. They were residents of Draginc, Korenita, Veliko Selo, Cikota and the neighbouring villages.
The mortal remains of the killed residents were transferred to the common memorial ossuary outside the village in 1961.
The memorial ossuary is marked by a granite monument seven meters high, by Ostoja Gordanic Balkanski. At the memorial, commemorative texts are inscribed, and on the place of earlier graves, arranged mounds are left on which there are plates with lyrics by Djordje Radisic.
The memorial ossuary in Draginac has been fully renovated with funds from the relevant Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in 2011.
The crime in Draginac that preceded similar tragic events in Kraljevo and Kragujevac, in October the same year, was the first mass crime against civilians in the occupied Serbia during the Second World War.
Draginac, which was named after Queen Draga Obrenovic, according to the 2011 census, has a total of 100 households.