Killing Sites

Leskovac

 

Timeline

  • 3 December 1941 – an offensive against the partisan forces in the liberated territory Pusta Reka and Jablanica
  • 11 December 1941 - the shooting of hostages in Gavrina (Arapova) dolina on Hisar. 293 Roma, 11 Serbs and 6 Jews killed
  • 1973 - a monument to the executed Roma unveiled

 

 

On the 3 December 1941, German and collaborationist forces organised a vast offensive against partisan forces on the liberated territory of Pusta Reka and Jablanica. During the battle, several German soldiers and quislings were killed. Two days after the offensive, German authorities ordered the arrest of hostages in Leskovac itself. Nedic’s gendarmerie blocked the Roma districts of Podvorci and Sat-Mala. Similarly to what had happened two months earlier in Belgrade, they went from house to house and collected all men over the age of 16, telling them they had to go unload goods at the railway station. All detainees were taken to the nearby school and detained there. However, having managed to arrest only 120 Roma, they decided to let several of them go, so as to show that all the others would also soon be released. On 9 December, after the situation had calmed down at least temporarily, the gendarmes blocked Roma districts again, this time including Vinarce and Pecenjevac. Together with the Germans, they captured men and forced them into trucks. They were all shot at a place called Gavrina dolina, on Hisar mountain near Leskovac. In total, 293 Roma were killed, together with 11 Serbs and 6 Jews.

Available testimonies speak of the exchange of hostages similar to that which occurred in Kragujevac: Roma were handed over to the Germans instead of hostages of Serbian nationality.

A monument to the executed Roma was erected on the site of these executions in 1973, where commemorations still regularly take place.