News 15 Jan 15

Pro-Yugoslav Montenegrins Oppose ‘Nazi’ Cemetery

Government plans to build a cemetery for German soldiers killed in World War II in Montenegro insult the country's history and anti-fascist traditions, a group of protesters say.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Marko Perkovic, head of the group opposing the cemetery. Photo: SFRJ Consulate.

A group calling itself the Consulate of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia on Wednesday asked Montenegro's parliament and the state prosecutor to halt the burial of the remains of World War II German soldiers near the military airport in the capital Podgorica.

The authorities plan to build a German cemetery there. But the NGO says the plan humiliates Montenegro and belittles its anti-fascist traditions. Nazi Germany occupied Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1945.

The head of the so-called SFRJ Consulate, Marko Perkovic, said the organization did not oppose the "civilized act of burial of the German soldiers" but their remains do not belong in one of the few active barracks of the Montenegrin army.

"All those coming through Podgorica airport will have to pass a monument to unknown fascists, which is humiliating for anti-fascist Montenegro," Parkovic said in a statement.

In 2011, Berlin and Podgorica signed an agreement on burying the remains of the German troops killed in Montenegro during World War II.

A site containing more than 400 bodies was excavated in Podgorica in 2007. Since the discovery of the bodies by construction workers, the remains have been kept at a Catholic community house near the capital.

Around 2,000 German soldiers believed to have been killed in Montenegro during the war are still officially considered missing.

The so-called Consulate is a non-government organisation based in the coastal town of Tivat, where it has opened a museum of the former Yugoslavia.

Visitors can see memorabilia from the former regime and some of the uniforms and vehicles owned by Yugoslavia's long-time leader, Josip Broz Tito.

It has also issued commemorative former Yugoslav "passports". Nearly 5,000 people have requested them so far.

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