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Announcement of the Burning of the Skela Village

Announcement of the Burning of the Skela Village

  • Date: 15 August 1941
  • Technique: poster
  • Dimensions: 63,7 х 48,5 cm
  • Inventory number: I2/2 4118

World War II was an opportunity for Germany to retaliate upon Serbia for the defeat the Central Powers had suffered during the 1914-1918 War. Serbia was one of those blamed for that defeat. Therefore, through different means Germany attempted to make it impossible for Serbs, Serbian people and citizens of Belgrade to enjoy legal, material and personal security. The occupying authorities actively applied repressive measures, while terror was present in the everyday life of Belgrade by way of an organised system of retaliation. Besides executions and hangings of individuals, massive liquidations of prisoners and hostages took place. For one killed German soldier 100 people were executed, while for one wounded German soldier 50 were killed. A permanent state of fear was possible to achieve only through death penalties. By Hitler's order entitled "Night and Fog", severe punitive measures were envisaged against all anti-German elements.

Thus, after an attack against and killing of German soldiers in the village of Skela near Obrenovac, punitive measures were taken on 15 August 1941 by burning down 350 houses and shooting of 65 hostages in that village. Before the shooting 42 prisoners from the concentration camp at Banjica were brought to the site along with 15 villagers of Skela. In order to intimidate the population, the dead bodies were publicly hung and the reprisals made public through radio broadcasts, newspapers and posters.

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