Vučić laid a wreath on the 80th anniversary of civilians' mass shooting in Kragujevac
"Kragujevac October" Memorial Park in Sumarice is marking the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the World War II, state ceremony is led by President Vucic.Source: Tanjug, B92.net
The prayer, in memory of the victims, was served by Bishop Jovan of Šumadija with the clergy, and after that, President Vučić laid a wreath at the "V3" monument, erected at the place where students and professors of the Kragujevac high school were shot dead on October 21, 1941.
"We don't forget," the president said via Instagram ahead of the start of the event.
He reminded of the killing of innocent people, emphasizing that they killed our children.
"Entire classes of our children were taken to be shot, as if they were being taken to a school event. We will never forget those children, the children of Šumadija and Serbia. Eternal glory to all the killed heroes and may Kragujevac and Serbia live forever," the president said.
Wreaths were also laid by ministers in the Government of Serbia, representatives of the Assembly of Serbia, the Serbian Army, religious communities, the City of Kragujevac, SUBNOR, as well as students and professors of the First Kragujevac Gymnasium.
Ministers Branko Ruzic, Nebojsa Stefanovic, Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, Gordana Comic, former Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, as well as numerous citizens attend the commemoration. Among those present are also U.S. Ambassador Anthony Godfrey, Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth, and representatives of the embassies of Poland, Slovakia, Austria, France, Belarus, Palestine and Kazakhstan. In memory of the suffering of innocent civilians, the traditional "Great School Class" is being held in Kragujevac.
The mass shooting of civilians in Kragujevac is considered one of the greatest crimes of the German army in World War II, and the shooting took place on October 19, 20 and 21 in retaliation for 10 killed and 26 wounded German soldiers after clashes with partisans and Chetniks on the road between Kragujevac and Gornji Milanovac. An order was issued to shoot 100 people for one killed German soldier, and 50 for the wounded.
The exact number of victims of German revenge has not been determined exactly, and the director of the Museum on October 21, Mariana Stanković, told Tanjug that the institution has data on 2.796 executed civilians.
"Our institution officially adheres to the research of our late colleague Stanisa Brkic and has 2.796 identified victims. It is believed that there are several hundred more, and we will continue that research, which will probably last for decades," Stankovic said.
Among those shot, she says, are about 300 young men and children aged 12 to 20, and among them are students from the First and Second Gymnasiums and the Teachers' School, as well as young men who worked at the Military Technical Institute. She adds that, according to the Museum, on October 19, 415 citizens were shot in the vicinity of Kragujevac, in the villages of Grošnica, Mečkovac and Maršić, and on October 20, a group of 122 citizens were shot in Kragujevac, including Jews.
"The most massive shooting took place on this day, when more than 2.200 citizens were killed," says Stanković. As previously announced, the poem "Black Day" by Dusko Radovic is being performed at the "Great School Class", the first poem written specifically for that event, which was performed in 1971. The play was directed by Dragan Jakovljević, and the poem is performed by 12 actors of the Knjaževac Theater with a guest actor Miloš Lazić, in cooperation with the Kragujevac Theater.
"With that poem, Dusko Radovic laid the foundation and standards for poems written in the last 50 years. The poem is very sad, it talks about the suffering of innocent child victims who are not guilty of anything. The poem warns and carries a strong message that such crimes must not happen," Stankovic said.
She adds that the "Great School Class" in Šumarice has been held as a commemoration since 1957, and since 1961, that event has been held at the Monument to the executed students and professors, which was unveiled that year.
A large school lesson near the monument to the executed students and professors was held for the first time in 1957, and since then more than 50.000 participants have participated in the program, writing dozens of poems, original musical and literary works.
In memory of the victims of the shooting, the entire area of Šumarice was turned into a memorial park in 1953, and the memorial complex covers an area of 352 hectares on which there are 30 mass graves. Within the complex, there are 10 monuments that were erected on the mounds of the executed students.