Saturday, August 25, 2007
Slovenian Mass Grave Could Be The Largest In Europe
MARIBOR,Slovenia - Slovenian authorities have begun exhuming a mass grave in the Tezno forest, north-eastern Slovenia, where over 15 000 victims slain after World War 2 by the former communist regime are supposed to be buried.
Slovenian officials estimate that a mass grave found near Maribor will most likely prove to be the largest in Europe, surpassing even that of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica where the genocidal Serbian army mass murdered up to 10,000 unarmed Bosnian men and boys in July 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
Exhumations in Tezno, a residential district of Slovenia's second-largest city Maribor, are likely to uncover the remains of thousands of victims of purges carried out immediately following World War II, according to Slovenian government officials.
"It just might be that the greatest crime of the period following World War 2 will be uncovered in the mass grave in Tezno, one that even surpasses that of Srebrenica," Joze Dezman, head of the Commission on Concealed Mass Graves, told Slovenian state radio.
Dezman referred to Tezno as "the murderous epicentre of Europe," according to the English-language newspaper The Slovenia Times.
Slovenian officials believe the grave might include the remains of roughly 15,000 Croat members of the forces of the Croatian pro-Nazi Ustashas regime, who were trying to escape from Yugoslavia at the end of the World War 2.
The mass grave was originally an anti-tank trench dug by Germans near the end of the World War 2. It is 1 kilometer long, 4 to 6 meters wide and the layer of human remains measures 1.5 to 2 meters deep, according to the Slovenian daily Delo.
The mass grave was first found by chance in 1999 during highway construction in a forest near Tezno. At the time, 1,179 remains were found in an incomplete excavation of the site. A new exhumation began two weeks ago.
After holding elections in 1990, Slovenia declared independence and was spared the violence that tore the region apart in the following decade.. It is the only one of the six former Yugoslav republics to have joined the European Union and Nato.