A memorial service will be served and a wreath will be laid in a memorial complex in the Banja Luka settlement of Bijeli Potok today, to mark 78 years since 54 Serbs of that settlement were cruelly murdered by Ustashas on Orthodox Easter in April 1942.
Branko Milinković, president of the Association of Families, Descendants and Worshipers of Victims of the Ustasha terror “Bijeli Potok”, told SRNA that there will be no larger gathering of citizens to commemorate the event this year, to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Republika Srpska.
Milinković, whose family members were killed in Bijeli Potok, said that every year, on the second day of Easter, the descendants of the victims killed in the Ustasha massacre on April 5, 1942, gather in Bijeli Potok.
“On that day, a crime against Serbs committed by Croat neighbors from the Debeljaci settlement in Banja Luka happened. The families of Vujasinović, Bogojević, Milinković, Ćurlić i Adamović were the ones who suffered the most”, Milinković said.
He told the younger generations in Republika Srpska that they should not forget this horrific crime so that it would never be repeated to anyone.
Historian Goran Latinović told SRNA that on Easter 1942, Ustashas, including those from the Banja Luka area as well as those from Herzegovina, conducted an action between Vrbas and Vrbanja.
“The Ustasha killed 54 Serb civilians in Bijeli Potok in one day, including women and children. Some were slaughtered and some killed with firearms. The neighbors of the killed Serbs, Croats from Debeljak, not only did not protect them but arrived, the day after the crime, in the robbery of the property of killed Serbs”, Latinović noted.
According to him, the Ustasha committed the most serious crime in the area of Banja Luka on February 7, 1942, when led by Roman Catholic priest Miroslav Filipovićem Majstorovićem “Fr. Satan” in the area of the Rakovac mine and the villages of Drakulić, Motike and Šargovac, using exclusively cold weapons, they killed more than 2,300 Serbs, including women and children.
“About 520 Serbs were killed in Piskavica and Ivanjska on February 5 and 12, 1942. There were a total of 23 execution sites in the Banja Luka district, at which Serbs were massacred, and one of them was the village Bijeli Potok”, Latinović said.
Latinović pointed out that the first Roman Catholic priest who has spoken publicly about the massacres of Serbs in Banja Luka and Krajina was Bishop of Banja Luka of Austrian descent Alfred Pichler.