17:04 / 22.06.2021.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Pilgrimage to Jazovka Pit mass grave commemorates Partisan victims

Jazovka Pit in Žumberak Mountains

Jazovka Pit in Žumberak Mountains

Foto: Slavko Midzor / PIXSELL

Hundreds of people participated in a pilgrimage to the Jazovka Pit in the Žumberak Mountain range to the west of Zagreb on Tuesday, to pay their respects to Croatian citizens killed there by partisan forces during and after the Second World War.

The Jazovka pit and many others like it in the region have long been known to locals as the site of mass executions and burials committed by partisan forces during and after the Second World War. However, no official investigation was allowed under the communist regime in Yugoslavia. It is believed that thousands of civilians and wounded Croatian soldiers taken from hospitals in Zagreb were dumped into the Jazovka Pit and other caves in the area.

When Croatian declared independence in 1991 an investigation into the Jazovka Pit was initiated. The results saw the remains of more than 800 people exhumed from a depth of roughly 40 meters. The first victims are believed to have been soldiers of the Independent State of Croatia, captured by Partisan forces after a battle near Krašić in January 1943. Some were likely shot before being dumped into the pit, while others are believed to have been thrown in alive. Later in 1945 the Partisans used the pit to secretly dispose of the bodies of prisoners of war they had murdered. They also dumped wounded Croatian soldiers, medical staff, and Catholic nuns into the pit, where they would die of exposure or from their injuries.

Since 1991, the Catholic Church in Croatia has organized an annual pilgrimage to the site. However, no top state officials were on hand for today’s commemoration.

Source: HRT

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