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Best Of 2016

(January – December 2016)

Kenneth A. Butt

Cape St Mary's Ecological Reserve

Boštjan Burger

WW2 memorial: Signing the capitulation of German army in Topolšica.

Topolšica, Šoštanj Municipality, Štajerska Region, Slovenija

22nd December 2016, 10:30 CET

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© 2016 Boštjan Burger, All Rights Reserved.

Memorial room in Topolšica is consecrated to the signing of one of four partial capitulations of German army. With this document the Second World War ended for Slovenians.

A memorial room that represents partial German capitulation of the army troop E and German forces for southeast Europe is in the health resort in Topolšica. It was signed by General Aleksander Löhr.

The following text is a mix of offciall records and my hearing the people who were involved talking about the events (My grand father was a batalion commander of Slovene Army and degraded and replaced by the Yugoslav Army commander in 1943 when Slovene Army “joined” to Yugoslav resistance troops – the official record - “too tolerrant” to the enemy)

Some of Wehrmacht troops, along with the NDH (Nazi Puppet State of Croatia forces) forces, Slovene Quisling troops, Montenegrin People's Army (former Chetniks), and elements of other factions, continued to resist and tried to fight their way west to what they hoped would be the protection of the British Army occupying Austria. Just before 9 am on May 14, a significant force of mostly Croatian Nazi forces units with some Montenegrin People's Army and Slovenian Quisling troops approached Slovene Army – the 3rd Tomšič Battalion positions at the Šurnik farm near Poljana demanding free passage west. This was refused, and firing commenced on both sides. Croatians attacks, including artillery fire support, intensified in the afternoon, evening and overnight. The battle was very wrathful with the attacking 30.000 Nazi troops with heavy guns on the area of 24 square kilometers. The Yugoslav 3rd Army came to support (11th Dalmatian Assault Brigade ) and the fire finally ceasing on the morning of 15 May with the arrival of around 20 British tanks. Tense negotiations followed, during which British officers made it abundantly clear that they would not offer protection to the retreating Nazi forces and that unconditional surrender to the Yugoslav Army was the only option. White flags of surrender were finally raised around 4 pm on 15 May. Casualty estimates were at least 310 Croats dead in the two main locations of fighting, and 250 wounded. On the Partisan (Slovene Army) side, losses were considerably lower, numbering fewer than 100 dead and wounded. The surrender of this last area of Axis resistance 8 days after the official end of World War II in Europe, the surrender of the Germans on Monday 7 May 1945, was the last major battle of World War II in Europe... but this was actually not the last battle as when Yugoslav Army came (Serbs and Dalmatians, with different treatment to Croats (reason was the revenge due that The Independent State of Croatia (puppet nazi state) conducted a systematic campaign of mass murder of minorities with thousands of executed Serbs) than was by Slovene partisans) the Croat Nazi troops (~ 2000 armed men) found that prisoners were treated badly by Yugoslav Army and started with the armed resistance on May 20th which ended on May 21st 1945. (so this should be the last battle of WW2 in Europe) The remains of the Croat Nazi troops surrender to British Army at Pliberk settlement (nowadays Austrian town Bleiburg). After the immediate repatriation of the Croat Nazi troops soldiers at Pliberk was complete, the Yugoslav 3rd Army received new orders from Tito (Yugoslav Army commander) on 17–18 May, while the rear Yugoslav forces were left in charge in transporting the prisoners back. A large number of prisoners of war were sent on a forced march back through Slovenia, where some were immediately subjected to summary executions and disposed of either in former tank trenches or in natural pits. British journalist Misha Glenny wrote in his 1999 book,The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804–1999, "As German troops streamed out of Yugoslavia the Croat Nazi leader Ante Pavelić and 100-200,000 Ustaša troops and civilians set off for the Austrian border on 7 May 1945, with Partisan forces in hot pursuit. They got as far as Bleiburg, a small Austrian border town, before being surrounded by British troops to the north and Partisans to the south. With RAF Spitfires buzzing overhead, about 30-40,000 soldiers, including Pavelić, managed to disappear into the surrounding woods and then deep into Austria. But the remainder were taken prisoner by Partisan forces amid scenes of carnage. Some 30,000 Ustaše were killed on the four-day march towards the Slovene town of Maribor. On 20 May, in the Tezno trench, 50,000 Croat soldiers and about 30,000 refugees, mainly women and children, were executed over a five-day period... and that was not the end of the another war crime... this story about how British Army returned the POW and their families to Yugoslav Army was a forbidden topics in United Kingdom and Yugoslavia until 90-ies of the 20 century. Over 200.000 people were hid-deny executed in a nowadays Slovenia only some weeks after the end of the WW2. We are still finding karst caves, coal mines where people, complete families, children were buried alive... no one was punished until nowadays... WW2 didn't end in 1945...

Europe / Slovenia

Lat: 46° 24' 15.58" N
Long: 15° 1' 2.01" E

Elevation: 380 m

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