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How the Serbs treat their prisoners of war ^ | June 4, 2011 | R. A. Reiss / Aleksandra Rebic

Posted on 06/04/2011 10:08:49 AM PDT by Ravnagora

Dr. Archibald Rudolph Reiss

Aleksandra's Note: Three proverbs capture the essential nature of how things work in the Balkans. They are: "History repeats itself", "The first casualty of war is truth", and "What's old is new again". The more one researches the history of the Balkans the more one becomes struck with just how relevant the past is to today's events. The unfortunate thing about this phenomenon is that those in power and the policymakers and the historians and journalists who evaluate what is going on presently never seem to pay attention to the fact that the same lies keep repeating themselves. It seems they are not even aware that they are repeating the same lies established long before any current sophisticated and modern methods of propagandizing were developed. Or are they, indeed, very aware?

Anyone following current 21st century events with regards to the Serbs who happens to care about "the truth" will be struck at just how relevant the observations made and conclusions drawn by a professional German criminologist almost 100 years ago remain today.

The question I have is this: Why are some observers willing to see beyond the propaganda in evaluating the realities of war and the conduct of the players involved and others are not willing to do so. Is it because it requires more time and effort to go beyond the manufactured boilerplate conclusions? Or is it that once an agenda is established nothing will be allowed to get in the way of bringing that agenda to fruition, least of all "the truth".

Dr. R. A. Reiss was one of those observers willing to see beyond...

Archibald Rudolph Reiss was born in Germany in 1875. After high school, he moved to Switzerland to pursue his higher education. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry and became an expert forensic scientist, becoming a professor of forensic science at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in 1906.

With the advent of World War One, he found a new calling. Invited by the Serbian government to investigate the crimes committed against the Serbs by the occupying Central Powers, Dr. Reiss would end up extensively documenting his findings in two reports. The first, "Report upon the atrocities committed by the Austro-Hungarian army during the first invasion of Serbia" was written in 1915 and published in 1916, focusing on the crimes committed by the Austro-Hungarians against the Serbs during their invasion and occupation of Serbia in the first few months of World War One in 1914. The second Reiss report focused on the second round of the invasion and occupation of Serbia and crimes committed against the Serbs which began in 1915, this time by the combined forces of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany. This second report, "Infringement of the Rules and and Laws of War committed by the Austro-Bulgaro-Germans: Letters of a Criminologist on the Serbian Macedonian Front", was published in 1919.

Below is a portion of the first report specifically documenting the testimonies of Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war in the custody of the Serbs, their mortal enemy, whom they had sought to vanquish and upon whom they had committed atrocity after atrocity in just a few short months in 1914. They had good reason to fear potential Serbian retaliation.

Pay special attention to the documention describing what the Austro-Hungarian prisoners had been told to "expect" from their Serbian captors and what happened to those expectations.

Everything old is new again...

History repeats itself...

But, thanks to Dr. Reiss, "truth" did not remain a casualty of war.


Aleksandra Rebic



From the first Reiss Report: "Report upon the Atrocities Committed by the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First Invasion of Serbia"

Published 1916

By Dr. Rodolphe Archibald Reiss

Professor at the University of Lausanne



“During my stay in Serbia I have frequently come in contact with Austro-Hungarian prisoners through interrogating them on the various points connected with my enquiry. I thus had the opportunity of observing, at all hours of the day, and in the different prisoners' camps, the treatment which was meted out to these people. I think it advisable to append here a brief summary of my observations, supported by the depositions of prisoners, which I obtained, and of which I render a few of the most typical.”

“I will say at once that the prisoners of war of the Serb race feel absolutely at home, and, as if to show their satisfaction, they wear a small ribbon with the Serbian colours on the breast of the tunics or on their caps. I saw several hundreds of these prisoners wearing the tricolor, and who, though perhaps not quite so comfortable as in their own homes, seem to be delighted to find themselves in Serbian territory. I also noticed that they are shown great confidence, and that outside the hours of work they are permitted to go about quite freely.”

“In the prisoners' camps I had occasion to visit, the prisoners are divided into companies, according to their trades. They are made to work: some are tailors, others bakers, yet others are employed in repairing the roads, etc. One soldier (a Czech), an architect by profession, directed the construction of the bakehouse at Nish. The "one-year volunteers," boys who have received a good education, are unoccupied and complain of the weariness brought on by this lack of occupation. One of them, a student of engineering, asked me if he might not be employed in a technical office.”

“The prisoners were given the same food as the Serbian soldiers : soup twice a day, meat, vegetables, and an allowance of bread. Their companies are often commanded by officers of the Serb race.”

“I have often seen the prisoners in contact with the native population, and I have never observed the slightest hostile demonstration on the part of the latter. There are many married men among the prisoners, and these are very anxious about their families, because they only very rarely hear from them.”

“As for the officers, wherever I have been, they are suitably lodged. In Nish, for instance, they are housed in the citadel. There was an Austrian commander there who assured me that every possible thing was done to make matters agreeable for them and he only regretted one thing, which was that they were only allowed to go out once a week. At first they had been given their meals at the Officers' Casino, but after the massacres at Shabatz, demonstrations were feared, and they were made to take their meals in tlie citadel. This particular major told me that he quite understood the precautions which had been taken. For the rest they have the free use of a pretty garden, and they have an Austrian cook who works under the supervision of an Austrian officer. These officers did not give me the impression of being too discontented with their fate, as they sang and entertained themselves as well as they could. The rooms in which they are lodged are simple, but very suitable.”

“I append a few typical depositions by Austro- Hungarian prisoners of war.”

“No. 114, of the 25th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 12th Company, complains of the lack of food in the Austrian army. The Army Transport Corps was never on the spot. The troops were told that the Serbs maltreated their prisoners, cutting off their noses, ears, etc. Witness is greatly surprised at the humane treatment he is experiencing in Serbia. He was slightly wounded, and the doctors and hospital attendants were very kind to him.”

“No. 115, squad leader of the 1st Bosnian Regiment, deposes that an Austrian Hospital Corporal was taken prisoner by the Serbs, and subsequently released. This incident was greatly praised by his Austrian colleagues. Their officers were of German extraction. He himself was wounded in the shoulder, and congratulated himself on having been very well treated by the Serbian hospital attendants, who gave him tobacco and bread.”

“No. 116, of the 32nd Landwehr Regiment. The bread is much better than the Austrian bread. His comrades and he had not expected to be so well treated in Serbia. It was said everywhere in Austria, and especially in the army, that the Serbs ill-treated their prisoners, cutting off their nose, ears, the penis, etc.”

“No. 117, of the 91st Regiment, from Budweis, and No. 118, from Karlsbad. Both declare that the Serbian population provided the Austrian prisoners with food, and that in hospital they were treated the same as the Serbian soldiers. A Major commanding, prisoner in Nish, witness No. 119, assured me that the Serbs did all they could to make things pleasant for the prisoners, and there was only one thing he regretted, and that was that they were only allowed to go out once a week. They had at first been admitted to the Officers' Casino, but after the massacres of Shabatz, demonstrations had been feared. The commander said, he quite understood the precautions taken by the Serbian military authorities. The officers are lodged in the citadel, and a fine garden is at their disposal. They have an Austrian cook, and one of themselves superintends the catering.”

“No. 120, of the 78th Hungarian Infantry Regiment. He cannot but admit that he is very well treated. The food is good, and there is meat twice a day. He does not feel cold at night in the large rooms in the prison, which serve as dormitories. The officers had told the men that the Serbs ill-used their prisoners.”

“No. 121, of the 8th Landwehr Regiment. He is satisfied, and has nothing to complain of. The police beat some of the prisoners, but he does not know why they were thus treated. The men who were beaten belonged to different races, and they met with this rough usage after the news of the massacres of Shabatz had been received. Such occurrences were rare, however, He himself had always been well treated. Never had the population demonstrated against the prisoners on their journey.”

“No. 122, of the 78th Regiment, is satisfied with his food and treatment. He saw that some of the prisoners were beaten by the police ; but he does not know why.”

“No. 123, ‘one-year volunteer,’ in the 92nd Infantry Regiment, finds the food good, but misses his first breakfast, the cofFee-and-milk in the morning.”

“No. 124, of the 79th Infantry Regiment. Both he and No. 125, of the 28th Hungarian Landwehr Regiment, are satisfied with their food and treatment. From all this evidence, and a great deal more which I obtained, it is quite plain that the prisoners are satisfied with their food which, taken all round, appears to be far more plentiful than that which they had received on the Austrian front. It is also apparent that the great majority of these Austro- Hungarians are quite astonished at being so humanely treated in Serbia. I have already explained in the preceding chapter that those soldiers had been led to believe that your army ill-used and massacred its prisoners. These men were therefore agreeably surprised to experience the very opposite.”

“It is true that privates Nos. 120, 121 and 122 relate that several prisoners were man-handled by the police at Skoplje. This incident actually took place, but the explanation is already contained in the evidence of the witnesses. It was an outburst of excitement after the massacres of Shabatz, and moreover directed against men who, perhaps, had nothing to do with it, but who belonged to the enemy who had done so much evil. Still, I think it would be as well to see that such man-handling episodes do not recur, for the beauty of the part played by Serbia in this war consists precisely in this, that she has indulged in no reprisals towards the Austro-Hungarians who have committed atrocities without name or number.”

“I know that the maintenance of so many prisoners of war is a heavy tax upon your country, and that it is a difficult matter to house them. Your military authorities are doing their utmost to make life as endurable as possible for these prisoners. I have frequently met Colonel Ilitch and I know that this excellent man has done almost more than possible for the captured soldiers of the enemy. He made it a point of honour to treat them like Serbian soldiers. The Austrian Lieutenant F. S. said to me: "Colonel Hitch is like a father to us." Obviously your resources are only limited, and the sheds in which you are obliged to house these men cannot be easily heated. It is inevitable that some of them should suffer, but this occurs even in countries which are far less sorely tried than yours. These countries cannot make the irrefutable excuse which you have every right to quote : the " impossibility of doing better." The lot of a prisoner of war is never an enviable one, and judging by what I have seen, you will always have the right to say that, in spite of the economic difficulties that beset your country, you have done your duty as far as possible, and often even more than your duty. You have practised humanity.”


Professor at the University of Lausanne.

Lausanne, Switzerland

January—March, 1915.


TOPICS: History; Politics
KEYWORDS: balkans; crimes; prisoners; serbs; war

1 posted on 06/04/2011 10:08:57 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: joan; Smartass; zagor-te-nej; Lion in Winter; Honorary Serb; jb6; Incorrigible; DTA; vooch; ...

2 posted on 06/04/2011 10:13:38 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: Ravnagora

The Serbs are probably the most maligned people in the world. God save Serbia!

3 posted on 06/04/2011 10:23:14 AM PDT by OldCorps
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Ravnagora
How were the Germans treating their Jewish population during the same time period?

Does that diminish what they did 20 years later?

If not, what relevance does this have to what occurred in the 1990's?

The answer is 'none', of course.

5 posted on 06/04/2011 11:11:37 AM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Hoplite
Maybe what they are trying to get across is that a person needs to be selective on where they get their information, yes?
6 posted on 06/04/2011 12:07:05 PM PDT by mckenzie7 (Democrats = Trough Sloppers!)
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To: mckenzie7
If one restricts oneself to, say, David Irving, the whole issue of the holocaust becomes moot.

Similarly, if one selects the appropriate sources of misinformation and denial, Serbian actions during the wars of the 1990's also become moot.

I'll spot you one, though - I won't rely upon Austrian propaganda aimed at deterring their troops from surrendering (a fairly widespread practice) during WW1 to inform my opinion of events that transpired in the Balkans 8 decades later.

7 posted on 06/04/2011 12:31:52 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Hoplite
>>>>>>>I'll spot you one, though - I won't rely upon Austrian propaganda aimed at deterring their troops from surrendering (a fairly widespread practice) during WW1 to inform my opinion of events that transpired in the Balkans 8 decades later.<<<<<

Better stick to pots and pans, leave CNN do the thinking for you.

It is beyond your capacity to comprehend that the theme of Austrian WWI propaganda was the main theme of the propaganda in the 1990s that shaped opinion about Balkan civil wars - that Serbs are subhumans who must be killed.

Treatment of Serbs in WWI opened the doors for the Holocaust. The first concentration camp on European soil was not in Germany in the 1930s. The first concentration camps were Austrian concentration camps for Serbs, Doboj (Bosnia) and others.

There was no public outrage because of Austrian treatment of Serb civilians, and Hitler took note.

The evil racist propaganda you subscribe to was taken from Austrian propaganda books.

The treatment of Jews as subhumans by Hitler was modelled upon Austro-Hungarian treatment of Serbs.

Not surprisingly, because Hilter fought against Serbs in WWI. And Austro-Hungary led the war of extermination against the Serbs as a people, both on their own territory and in Serbia.

The racist mindset that exists today among Serb haters can be traced back to this mindset.

That's why your posts are relevant - as a textbook example of racist who hides hehind the mask of humanitarianism.

8 posted on 06/04/2011 2:54:28 PM PDT by DTA (U.S. Centcom vs. U.S. AFRICOM)
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"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians Serbs?"
Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939. (As interpreted by DTA)

It would help if you actually knew a little history prior to attempting to rewrite it.

No. Probably not.

Your best bet is to concentrate on the perpetual victimhood thing - it's the only thing you appear to have any aptitude for.

9 posted on 06/04/2011 3:26:58 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Hoplite

Nothing but hyperbole to add as usual, eh Rooster?

10 posted on 06/04/2011 3:45:17 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: Hoplite
"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians Serbs?" Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939. (As interpreted by DTA)

As interpreted by DTA? HAH!

You mean as misrepresented by the morally-deficient, mentally-addled Jihadist Rooster Hoopeylite!

11 posted on 06/04/2011 3:47:44 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: FormerLib

Hoplite like a moth to a flame....burn you lying fool!

12 posted on 06/04/2011 5:28:05 PM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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13 posted on 06/05/2011 10:57:58 AM PDT by bayouranger (The 1st victim of islam is the person who practices the lie.)
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To: DTA; Ravnagora; Hoplite

Here is the story of the first concentration camp of the twentieth century, an Austro-Hungarian camp known as Talerhof:

The people who were the targets of the camp were Orthodox Carpatho-Rusyns or Carpatho-Russians. Many of them were descendants of people who had been forced into the Unia, and were later returned to Orthodoxy by associates of the American Orthodox Saint Alexis of Wilkes-Barre.

Many Orthodox Church in America parishes were founded by Rusyn-Americans who had returned to Orthodoxy from the Unia, via the work of St. Alexis.

Here is the story of the martyrdom of St. Maxim Sandovich, the protomartyr of the Rusyn people.

The early 20th century Austrian Roman Catholic authorities had it in for Orthodox Slavs—whether Serbs, Rusyns, or others. They resembled the Roman Catholic Croats of WWII, and of our own day.

“Bosnian” and Albanian muslims, like most muslims, are if anything even worse!!! I myself know Bosnian Serbs from Sarajevo who were imprisoned in horrific concentration camps by the “moderate” “Bosnian” muslim jihadists.

14 posted on 06/05/2011 2:16:03 PM PDT by Honorary Serb (Kosovo is Serbia! Free Srpska! Abolish ICTY!)
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To: Honorary Serb

Thanks very much for this information, Honorary Serb! Much appreciated.

The “first” concentration camps of the 20th century can also be considered the British camps in the Boer War at the very beginning of the 1900s.

Either way, Hitler and the Nazis weren’t the first. They just raised the concept of the concentration camp to a whole new level.


15 posted on 06/05/2011 7:56:50 PM PDT by Ravnagora
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