President Nikolic lays wreaths at Sumarice memorial
KRAGUJEVAC - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic laid a wreath at the Sumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac, central Serbia, Sunday, commemorating National World War II Victims Remembrance Day - October 21.
At the spot where German Nazis killed a total of 2,792 civilians 71 years ago, wreaths were also laid by officials of the Serbian government and parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, including the ambassadors of Germany, Palestine, Slovakia and Belarus to Serbia, and representatives of the local government and Kragujevac's twin cities.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and a great number of citizens.
German soldiers were attacked by the Communist Partisans and by Chetniks under Draza Mihajlovic near Gornji Milanovac in early October 1941, which ended with 10 dead and 26 wounded soldiers on the German side.
As a direct reprisal for the losses in that battle, German occupying forces executed several thousand civilians in Kragujevac on October 20 and 21, one of the most tragic World War II events on the Serbian terrritory.
At the 1947 Nuremberg Trials, 7,000 civilians were reported to have been executed according to a witness. Modern research speak about 2,792 victims, including 270 children, the youngest of them aged 11.
The Kragujevac massacre was commemorated as a national holiday for the first time this year, after amendments made to the law to national and other holidays in November last year.
People never stand by criminals, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in Kragujevac, central Serbia, during a commemoration of 71 years since the World War II Kragujevac Massacre Sunday, adding that the crime that happened at the Sumarice locality is a warning to us all.
Nikolic told reporters he was pleased about having Ambassador of Germany to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm attend the wreath laying ceremony commemorating the civilian victims killed by Nazis in 1941.
“I think this is a good reminder for everyone and I am glad about having here His Excellency Ambassador of Germany, who has proven the greatness of his people, because people never stand behind criminals,” Nikolic said.