CAF member finds grandfather’s war grave in Germany
By Capt Milovan Krgusic, 2 Wing Bagotville Construction Engineering Officer
Captain Krgusic began the search for the grave of his grandfather, a Second World War prisoner of war, in 2008. With little known about his grandfather, Capt Krgusic felt an obligation to learn more about the man he is named after.
My grandfather was a private in the Yugoslav forces loyal to the king. He fought against the Germans and the Communists during the Second World War on territory that is currently part of Montenegro.
In 1943, he was captured by the Germans and taken to a prisoner of war (POW) camp for Yugoslav soldiers called OFLAG VI-C in Osnabrück, in northwest Germany. This camp was built by the Germans in 1941 after they invaded Yugoslavia, during which over 3 000 Yugoslav officers were captured and taken to Germany. During the war, the number of combatants increased to 6 000 with the new arrivals from Yugoslavia, and unfortunately my grandfather was among them.
Knowing my grandfather was buried somewhere in Germany was one thing, but not knowing where, or what happened to him, or the circumstances of his story was a different thing. So in 2008, I started to search for answers to my questions, and then I finally found my grandfather’s resting place.
The search started with an old photo of his grave somewhere in Germany. I used personal data I had to contact the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland for information on how to continue my search. Shortly after, his prison card arrived in the mail, which was helpful when contacting the German government for more information on my grandfather and where his grave might be located. The German government sent me the name of the city where he was buried, the name of the cemetery, and his cause of death. I then contacted Osnabrück, and the local authorities confirmed the location of the grave and suggested I contact the local Serbian community. So in 2009, I finished the first phase and was waiting to finalize my research.
In January 2017, during a military engineering course in Ingolstadt, Germany, the second phase of my research began. After sending all the information I had received to a local Serbian priest, he found the public cemetery where my grandfather’s body rested in the section reserved for Yugoslav prisoners of war who had died in the camp during and after the Second World War.
After finishing my course, I headed to Osnabrück where I was shown the cemetery, the Serbian church, where the remains of over 400 Serbs are still buried in the basement, and the remains of the camp. Only two of about 50 POW camp barracks survived, and a memorial was scheduled to be opened in one of these barracks to preserve the camp’s Second World War history.
The German authorities stated that my grandfather apparently died by drowning in August 1946; however, the circumstances surrounding his death remain vague and unknown.
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