Mausoleum in Jindřichovice
Jindřichovice 244
358 01 Jindřichovice, Czech Republic

PoW camp Heinrichsgrün

Between 1915 and 1918 Jindřichovice (German: Heinrichsgrün, Bohemia) was the location of one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, where about 40,000 prisoners-of-war passed. The camp held Italians, Russians, but mostly Serbs – both soldiers and civilians – captured by the Austro-Hungarian army during the Serbia campaign and transported by rail to the camp. The prisoners were from all parts of Serbia, but mostly from the Šumadija and Kolubara districts of Western Serbia.

Testimonies regarding the circumstances in the camp can be found in Henri Habert’s book “Entre les fils barbelés: D’après les récits des évadés Serbes” (Amsterdam, 1919), for which he interviewed Serbs who were repatriated via Netherlands in 1919. 28-year-old private Gvozden Andrić from Duškovci (Užice district) who served in the X regiment infantry, IV company, IV battalion, was taken prisoner in October 1915: “I managed to escape into the mountains, but the Austrians discovered me, and captured me. They brought me to Heinrichsgrün, where I stayed for 4 months. The camp held 25-30,000 men, among which 5-600 of our officers”. Borisav Nastasović, soldier in the medical service of the VII regiment infantry, who was born in Braničevo near Požarevac adds: “Life was extremely difficult, the food as bad as one can imagine, a piece of bread, watery soup, we couldn’t move our feet or maltreatment would follow. The Hungarians were the worst, as far as beating is concerned.” Also Jerotije Župac, a 38-year-old sergeant in the XII regiment infantry, I company, IV battalion Šumadija-division, who originates from Novo Selo near Kruševac, and who was taken prisoner by the Austrians in November 1915 complains about the treatment: “the food that was issued was: in the morning one liter of ersatz coffee (black water, no sugar), in the afternoon: a portion of beetroot or cabbage, in the evening: a portion of flour soup (possibly made from acorns)”. 24-year-old soldier Sava Rajčić from Petrovac served in the IX regiment infantry, IV company, II battalion, Drina division when he was captured by the enemy near Glavica on 16 October 1915. He ended up in Heinrichsgrün, where he would stay 5-6 months: “The food was very bad, we would get ½ a loaf of bread for 2 days. We would not get clothes nor shoes, most of us were walking around in rags and barefooted. One barrack would hold 150-200 of us. The winter was very severe: in every barrack there were two stoves, which were almost never lit. One can imagine how terribly cold it was, if one thinks of large wooden barracks, where the wind would roar through the cracks, causing us to be cold all night and not even able to sleep. The guards were treating us inhumanely, they thought of us as beasts of burden, and would mercilessly beat us up for the slightest peccadillo. Many of our soldiers died from their wounds, or have become mutilated. The Hungarian guards beat me with their rifle butts on the head, the back and arms, because I had said that we were not conquered, and that our king was still leading his army. As a result of the caning I became permanently handicapped on my right arm”.

The PoWs were forced to work in harsh conditions: they built a water reservoir for the camp, worked in a quarry, constructed roads and bridges, and built a chemical plant in Falkenau (Sokolov), a town at about 20 km. to which they were marched and back every day.

Conditions in the camp were harsh, cold and disease ravaged, killing up to 40 people per day. Every day at 3 PM a sad procession of the dead went to a nearby common grave, where the remains of the victims of all ages were reposed.

Construction, exhumations and opening

Right after the war an inventory was made of the Serbian soldiers who lost their lives. On the territory of the Czech and Moravian lands, which had become the nuclei of the Czechoslovak Republic that emerged from WWI, alone there were some 33,500 graves of Serb who had died in Austrian concentration camps of malnutrition and maltreatment.

In 1921 the Serbian graves in what is now named Jindřichovice were localised, and from 1924 concrete plans were made to concentrate the remains of the Serbian victims into a mausoleum. To this end in spring 1926 the Kingdom of SHS purchased two plots of land (a total surface of 2,490 m²) from Karl Lößl, Heinrichsgrün Nr. 14, to construct a mausoleum where the victims would be reburied. The land was the location of the water reservoir that was constructed by the forced labourers – mainly from Serbia and Russia.

Between 1926 and 1932 the bodies of 7,100 Serbian and 189 Russian soldiers were exhumed from cemeteries at the former camp Heinrichsgrün in Jindřichovice, Cheb (Eger) and Planá u Mariánských Lázní (Plan), put in wooden ossuaries and brought to the mausoleum.

The Serbian military cemetery (mausoleum) at Jindřichovice was consecrated on 8 July 1932 under the auspices of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, President of Czechoslovakia, and King Alexander I of Yugoslavia.

By 1937 a total of 7,570 ossuaries had been reburied in the mausoleum, 7,381 Serbs and 189 Russians.

In May 1938 the remains of 88 Serbian soldiers who died in Netherlands were exhumed, laid in metal ossuaries and transported via Germany to the mausoleum in Jindřichovice, which would become their last resting place. This brought the total number of victims resting there by 1940 to 7,659.

From Habert’s book it can be concluded that Heinrichsgrün, together with Braunau (Broumov) was one of the two major Austrian camps through which the Serbian soldiers arrived in Germany. Ironically, some of the 88 soldiers have returned to the camp where they had survived the hardships during the war, only to die from the Spanish flu in the Netherlands after the war had ended. They have now been reunited with their brothers-in-arms with whom they spent the winter of 1915-1916 in Heinrichsgrün.

Victims who rest in Jindřichovice

box name first name age place
1 Gajić Mihailo 26
2 Dodolisko Velimir 26
3 Živanović Ivan 29
4 Jeremić Miloš 27 Resnik
5 Lazarević Arsen 28
6 Živković Luka 30
7 Kapović Serafim 30
8 Jezdimir N. 26
9 Marković Milisav 25
10 Lazarević Laza 31
11 Miljković Vukosav 25
12 Ilić Dejan 27/42
13 Nikolić Petar 32
14 Milojević Dejan 40
15 Marković Kosta 35
16 Stefanović Mihajlo 41
17 Ivanović Velisav 28/45
18 Milanović Dragutin 23
19 Ranković Dragojle 26
20 Talović Milutin 28
21 Donević Miloš 28
22 Damnjanović Živko 39 Šabac
23 Simonović Miloš 36/39 Brusjak
24 Avramović Mihajlo 39 Carevac
25 Đorđević Stojan 34 Veliki Izvor
26 Rajičić Sreten 29 [Gornji Milanovac]
27 Nikodijević Najdan 24 Loznica (Čačak)
28 Mitrović Đorđe 34
29 Biljović Milan 37 Dobrava
30 Jovanović Tihomir 24/44 Gornji-Milanovac
31 Nikolić Radovan 38 Todorin Do
32 Nikolajević Nikola 38 Dušanovac
33 Obradović Miloš 23 Sibnica (Žabari)
34 Marković Milenko 42 Mali Izvor
35 Radovanović Božidar 35 Belo Polje
36 Gavrović Miloš 29 Miločaj
37 Nikolić Dragoš 38 Ćuprija
38 Stojanović Dimitrije 30
39 Popović Desimir 29
40 Ristanović Milorad 26
41 Paunović Stevan 32 Požarevac
42 Milosavljević Stojan 32 Živica
43 Dobrosavljević Stanoje 26/27 Družetić
44 Đelekar Milan 27 Bresno Polje
46 Marković Stojan 30 Stupčevići
47 Vukadinović Milentije 25/45 [Male / Velike] Pčelice
48 Miladinović Živojin 30 Boževac
49 Stevanović Sretan 23 Ljupten
50 Paunović Jovan 31 Bratinac
51 Karadžić Milojko 30 [Donji/ Gornji Dubac
52 Jovanović Vladimir 28 Gornje Jarušice
53 Živanović Božidar 40
54 Aleksić Petar 23 [Donji/Gornji] Dušnik
55 Milutinović Dragutin 26 Brović
56 Božanić Svetozar 29 Varvarin
57 Jovičić Radosav 34 [Mali/Veliki] Borak
58 Radivojević Uroš 36 Rečica (Požarevac)
59 Krušeljević Todor 24 Bitolj
60 Brkić Milan 31 Burovac
* Antonijević Živan Mladenovac
* Bogosavljević Srećko 39 Miokus
* Bošković Vladimir Mala Vranjska
* Brčerević Nikola Rtkovo
* Damnjanović Milenko
* Lazarević Stanko Brdarica
* Lazić Bogdan Golubac
* Marinković Stanislav Tavnik
* Marjanović Marjan Kriva Reka
* Martinović Petar Vrešnica / Brešnica
* Matić Viden 50 Smederevo
* Matijević Milomir Gornja Dobrinja
* Mijatović Dragomir Vučak
* Miladinović Milivoje Sibnica (Žabari)
* Milojević Milovan Azanja
* Milosavljević Milosav Kovanica
* Milošević Aranđel (Svrljiška) Topla
* Mitrović Tihomir Bačine
* Mitrović Vladimir
* Nikolić Milosav Veliko Laole
* Perić Đorđe
* Radović Branko Lužnice
* Simonović Vasilije Varvarin
* Stanković Aleksandar Kovačevac
* Stefanović Živan Rakinac
* Stojadinović Đura Azanja
* Vasić Stevan Brdarice
* Vukosavljević Đorđe Kragujevac
* Vuković Velizar Golubac

* one of the lead boxes numbered 45, 61-65, or 67-89 that were exhumed in Garderen