Prerov, Central Moravia, Feb 9 (CTK) – A four metre high wrought-iron cross will be placed on the Svedske sance hill near Prerov in early June to commemorate a postwar massacre of Carpathian Germans, Prerov Mayor’s Office head Daniela Novotna has told CTK.
A ceremonial event including a religious service will traditionally be held on the day of the tragedy on the hill where 267 people were killed shortly after the end of World War Two in June 1945. “We want to present the cross to the survivors of the victims who regularly take part in the event,” Novotna said.
Prerov town hall will pay 300,000 crowns for the cross that will be made by blacksmith Jiri Jurda, its spokeswoman Lenka Chalupova said.
The cross will have a crown of thorns and bullet holes will be in it.
Historians consider the Prerov massacre one of the worst acts of revenge taken on German-speaking inhabitants in postwar Czechoslovakia.
Carpathian Germans from Slovakia, Slovak Hungarians and Slovaks were returning home from the war by train via the Prerov area. Their train was spotted by soldiers from a Czechoslovak infantry battalion.
“They mercilessly pulled them out of the train and dragged them up the hill to execute them,” historian Frantisek Hybl said previously.
In the night to June 19, 1945, 120 women, 72 men and 75 children were killed.
The victims’ bodies were exhumed in October 1947. The men were buried in Prerov, while the remains of the women and children were transferred to a crematory. Their ashes were deposited in two cases at the Olomouc municipal cemetery. Only in 2017 the ashes were moved to the Prerov cemetery, next to the remains of the men.
The broad public heard of the massacre only after the 1989 fall of the communist regime. There had been no memorial on the hill. In 2015, a memorial plaque commemorating the victims was placed next to a farm road leading on the hill.
Officer Karol Pazur, who initiated the action, told his fellow soldiers that the deportees included collaborators of Nazis and also SS members who were to blame for war atrocities. Pazur also named a firing squad to execute them.
According to Hybl, Pazur initiated the horrible massacre in order to cover up his own dark past as a member of the Andrej Hlinka Guard, a Slovak pro-Nazi paramilitary unit, and the fact that his brother was an SS officer.
Pazur was first sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, and in 1949 the Supreme Military Court in Prague raised his sentence to 20 years. But Pazur spent only one year in prison. Apparently thanks to his contacts with communist leaders, the then communist president Klement Gottwald granted amnesty to him in 1951.