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The Republika Srpska Minister of Labor and Veterans’ Affairs, Milenko Savanovic, said today in Drakulic, where the 75th anniversary of the Ustashe massacre of Serbs in this Banjaluka community and the nearby communities of Motike, Sargovac and the Rakovac mine, was marked, that 2,300 innocent Serbian civilians fell victims to the most extreme Fascist creation called the Independent State of Croatia /NDH/.
Savanovic stressed that the NDH was the executor of that which 150 years ago the then Croatian leaders planned in order to resolve the so-called Serbian question – one third of Serbs should have been killed, one third converted into Catholicism and one third displaced.
“All crimes committed in these parts, in the area of Jasenovac, Susnjar, Grabovica, Herzgovina and the Slavonia speak of the corruptedness of our environment,” Savanovic told reporters after the memorial service and the laying of wreaths at the Memorial Ossuary in Drakulici for 2,300 Serbs.
He said that this is why the Serbs must raise the level of awareness and be better organized in order to be able to survive in these parts.
Savanovic called for unity and work on a quick economic development, adding that history must not be forgotten since “the environment is hostile towards us.”
“We must not take revenge, but we must strengthen, particularly economically, in order to be able to defend ourselves,” Savanovic said.
The Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, said that Serbs must not forget such events for the sake of their future.
“These things show us how much it is important to keep our institutions and how much they preserve our right to live, remember our dead and turn with certainty to the future,’ Ivanic said.
Banjaluka Mayor Igor Radojicic said that Serbs in Drakulic and surrounding villages were killed only because of their faith, and that the crime was a part of the then state policy of the Fascist NDH.
“We should learn from every tragic event and this is why Republika Srpska, which is a guarantor of freedom and survival in these parts, is extremely important to us,” Radojicic said.
The Republika Srpska Minister of Justice, Anton Kasipovic, members of the Republika Srpska Parliament, representatives of the City of Banjaluka, NGOs that came into being after the patriotic defense war and the 3rd Infantry Regiment /Republika Srpska/ of the BiH Armed Forces, descendants of victims of the Ustashe massacre and a number of Banjaluka residents attended the memorial service.
An envoy of the Republika Srpska President, delegations of the Republika Srpska Government and Parliament, the Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, Banjaluka Mayor Igor Radojicic, representatives of the 3rd Infantry Regiment /Republika Srpska/ of the BiH Armed Forces, representatives of SUBNOR, descendants of victims of the Ustashe massacre and many others laid wreaths at the Memorial Ossuary.
A Holy Liturgy was previously held at the memorial church of the Holy Great Martyr George.
In the early morning of February 7, 1942, the Croatian Ustashe committed a massacre of Serbs in the Banjaluka villages of Drakulic, Motike and Sargovac and the Rakovac mine, and according to official information, at least 2,300 people, including 551 children, were killed.
Commanded by Lt. Josip Mislov and Catholic priest Vjekoslav Filipovic, the Ustashe from Zagreb and Banjaluka massacred Serbs without firing a single bullet – they killed them by axes, knives and pickaxes.
The novel called Drakulici, written by late journalist Jovan Babic who investigated this crime for years, says that the massacre of the Serbian population in villages around Banjaluka in 1942 is genocide.
The plan of a massacre was made by the Ustashe commander for the Croatian Krajina, Viktor Gutic, and Catholic priest Nikola Bilogrivic. Notorious Catholic priest Filipovic committed particularly monstrous crimes. Before the massacre, dogs were poisoned so that they could not announce the arrival of the Ustashe to these villages.
Documents, even those from the Ustashe sources of the then Independent State of Croatia /NDH/, state that the crime in these Banjaluka communities was the largest massacre committed in only one day.
The first monument to these victims was erected in 1965, and since 1991, a memorial service is held in the community of Drakulic every Sunday before the anniversary of the massacre.