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Banat (1941–1944): Wikis


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Banat region, 1941-1944

The Serbian Banat was a political entity established after occupation and partition of Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis Powers. It existed from 1941 to 1944. Banat was formally part of Axis protectorate of Serbia, but all power within the region was in the hands of the local ethnic German minority. Regional civilian commissioner was Joseph-Sepp Lapp.[1] Following the defeat of Axis Powers in 1944, this German-ruled region was revoked and most of its territory was included into Vojvodina, one of the two autonomous provinces of Serbia within the new SFR Yugoslavia.




War crimes against Serbs, Jews and Roma

Although the region was formally a part of Axis protectorate of Serbia, it was ruled by the German army. The Germans instituted anti-Jewish measures immediately after the German invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia. The Jewish population of the city of Zrenjanin was rounded up and sent to the Tašmajdan concentration camp near Belgrade where they were executed. In September 1941, there was a mass hanging of Serbian and Jewish civilians. Jews were also forced into labor battalions to do forced work for the German occupation authorities. In August 1942, German officials announced that the area was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews.[2]

SS Division Prinz Eugen

After the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia had been established, the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen was fromed from Yugoslav Germans (Volksdeutsche). The backbone of the division was made up of ethnic Germans from the Banat itself, many of whom had been former officers and NCOs in the Yugoslav Army. The core of the Division was made up of the SS controlled Protection Force or Selbstschutz consisting of Volksdeutsche from Serbia. In 1943, Himmler would introduce compulsory military service for the Volksdeutsche of Serbia. Approximately 21,500 ethnic Germans from Serbia would serve in the Waffen SS.

The staff of the "7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen" was located in the city of Pančevo in Banat. The division was formed between April and October, 1942 and was commanded by Romanian Volksdeutsche SS Gruppenfuehrer and Generalleutnant of the Waffen SS, Artur Phleps. By December 31, 1941, the division would be made up of 21,102 men. The Prinz Eugen SS Division was deployed throughout the former Yugoslavia to put down the Yugoslav resistance, the Partisans, but was unsuccessful. During the campaigns it became infamous for reprisals and atrocities against the Yugoslav civilian population. The division was accused of committing the worst atrocities against POWs and civilians during World War II at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

Expulsion of ethnic Germans

Due to the atrocities of the Volksdeutsche 7th SS, but also because of the support and assistance the Yugoslav Germans granted the occupation, in 1944 the parliament of DF Yugoslavia, the Antifascist Council for the Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) decided to expel the Yugoslav German minority. An estimated number of 60,000 Germans in Banat were expelled over the course of the next four years.


Ethnic groups

According to the 1931 census, the population of the region numbered 585,579 people, including:[3]


By religion, the population included (1931 data):[4]

War crimes

During the war, German Axis troops killed 7,513 inhabitants of Banat, including:[5]

  • 2,211 people who were killed directly
  • 1,294 people who were sent to concentration camps and killed there
  • 1,498 people who were sent to forced labour and killed there
  • 152 people who were mobilized and later killed
  • 2,358 killed members of the resistance movement

Of the total number of the victims (excluding the killed members of the resistance movement), 4,010 were men, 631 were women, 243 were old people, and 271 were children.


  • Jelena Popov, Vojvodina i Srbija, Veternik, 2001.
  • Dimitrije Boarov, Politička istorija Vojvodine, Novi Sad, 2001.
  • Slobodan Ćurčić, Broj stanovnika Vojvodine, Novi Sad, 1996.
  • History of Europe, The Times, London, 2001.
  • Richard Overy, History of the 20th century, The Times, London, 2003.


See also

External links


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