The Kragujevac massacre was the murder of men and boys in Kragujevac, Serbia, by Nazi German soldiers between 20 – 21 October 1941. All males from the town between the ages of sixteen and sixty were assembled and the victims — including high school students — were selected from among them. On 29 October 1941, Felix Benzler, the plenipotentiary of the German foreign ministry in Serbia, reported 2,300 people executed. When in 1953 the „Kragujevac October“ Memorial Park was established, which included museum „21 October“, the process of investigating the shooting and collecting material about the people shot was continued. This process continues to the present day. The results of this work indicate 2796 men shot. In 2007., Stanisa Brkic, curator at the 21st October Museum, in his book titled Name and number, collected 2796 names and personal data of victims.
21.10.2012. by FBR Biljana Diković
German soldiers were attacked in early October by the Serbian resistance movements near Gornji Milanovac, and the massacre was a direct reprisal for the German losses in that battle. Nazis issued a directive:
The cowardly and treacherous surprise attacks on German soldiers during the previous week, on which occasion 10 German soldiers were killed and 26 wounded, had to be punished. For that reason 100 people were shot for each killed German soldier, and for each wounded 50, mainly communists, bandits and their siders, 2300 altogether. Every similar case, even if it were only sabotage, will be dealt with the same severity.
Chief of local command
To commemorate the victims of the massacre, the whole of Šumarice, where the killings took place, was turned into a memorial park. There are several monuments there: the monument to killed schoolchildren and their teachers, the „Broken Wing“ monument, the monument of pain and defiance, the monument „One hundred for one“, the monument resistance and freedom.
Desanka Maksimović wrote a poem about the massacre titled „Krvava Bajka“ („A Bloody Fairytale“).
An English poet, Richard Berengarten, has written a book of poetry based on his experiences of visiting the commemorative museum at Šumarice in 1985 when a blue butterfly landed on his hand at the entry to the museum. The book is titled ‘The Blue Butterfly’. In 2007, the title poem from the book provided the oratorio at the open-air memorial event for the victims at the annual commemoration of the massacre.
It is worthy to mention the act of German soldier Joseph Schultz who refused to shoot civilians, accepting his own death as a consequence of his moral action.