Friday, April 15, 2011

Serbia locates execution site of WWII guerrilla [Draza Mihailovich] convicted as traitor by communists / Winnipeg Free Press / April 14, 2011


Aleksandra's Note:
"60 years" should have read "65 years".


The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Winnipeg Free Press

By: Jovana Gec, The Associated Press
April 14, 2011

60 years after a World War II Yugoslav royalist guerrilla was sentenced to death as a traitor by postwar communist authorities Serbian officials say they have located the site of his execution.

But Serbia's state commission — tasked with finding the grave — say that Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic's remains may have been unearthed and reburied elsewhere after the execution.

State Prosecutor Slobodan Radovanovic said Thursday that if nothing is found "it is highly unlikely the second grave will ever be discovered."

Radovanovic said the site in Ada Ciganlija where Mihailovic was executed on July 17, 1946 will be investigated. The area is now used for recreation, but previously housed a prison.

Exhumation will follow if his remains are found, Radovanovic added.

For decades, Mihailovic's fate has fueled division in Serbia, where many Serbs see him as a hero who died for political reasons. Pro-Communist Serbs, however, maintain that he collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, and non-Serbs in the former Yugoslavia have accused his troops of committing atrocities.

He is particularly revered among America's Serbs, many of whom fled communism.

As a Yugoslav army officer Mihailovic launched a resistance movement in 1941 against German occupation, before turning against Communist guerrillas later in the war. When World War II was over, he was jailed and sentenced to death in a hasty trial.

In 1948, U.S. President Harry Truman posthumously awarded Mihailovic the Legion of Merit award for his role in rescuing hundreds of U.S. airmen downed by the Nazis over Serbia.

Mihailovic's relatives and supporters have filed a request with a Serbian court for his full political rehabilitation.


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