BANJALUKA, April 21 /SRNA/ - Clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church today served a memorial service at the memorial in Bijeli Potok near Banjaluka for innocent Serbs butchered by Croatian Ustashe on Orthodox Easter, April 5, 1942.
The president of the “Bijeli Potok” Association of Families and Decedents of the Victims, Branko Milinkovic, said that 54 innocent people were butchered, including his one-year-old brother Uros, whom the Ustashe beheaded.
“They were butchered with knives and smashed with mallets so that as little noise as possible is made. A group of Ustashe came to Bijeli Potok from Debeljaci, and another from Pionir, so that the people had no way to escape,” Milinkovic told reporters.
He said that the authorities kept quiet about this crime for 60 years, and that 13 years ago, thanks to the City of Banjaluka and the SUBNOR [Alliance of Veterans of the People Liberation War /WWII/] a memorial was erected, by which a memorial service is said on every second day of Easter.
“No one was brought to justice for this crime, nor will anyone, even though it is known that the crime was committed by our neighbours from the nearby village of Debeljaci. But what is even more insulting is the fact that the decedents of the criminals have never apologised for the massacre of innocent people,” Milinkovic said.
Dusko Cetkovic, an envoy of Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, said that such crimes must not be forgotten, since the younger generations will have a certain future only if they know who they are and where they come from.
Historian Predrag Lozo said that there were numerous mass killing grounds for Serbs in WWII in the Independent State of Croatia /NDH/.
“This commemoration today shows that it is necessary to mark all killing grounds and for the decedents of the victims to nurture the memory of their ancestors and our fellow citizens who were killed only because they were Serbs,” Lozo said.
The envoys of the Republika Srpska President and the Republika Srpska Parliament, representatives of the City of Banjaluka, veterans’ organisations, SUBNOR, Banjaluka communities and many NGOs laid wreaths at the memorial.