STA, 28 August 2019 - Work has started on another mass-grave site in the woods of Kočevski Rog in south-eastern Slovenia to prepare it for exhumation of the remains of victims executed in reprisal killings after the Second World War. The victims are presumably mostly Slovenians.
Currently the main project of the government commission for mass graves, the Macesnova Gorica site is being cleared out with the exhumation scheduled to begin next year.
According to the commission, the remains of more than 1,500 Slovenians lie in the underland of the Kočevski Rog woods, where numerous summary execution sites and mass graves have been discovered in the past years.
Following the government's backing of the commission's programme for this year, the Economy Ministry selected the Kočevje public utility as the project's contractor.
The company started preparation works in August and has already completed site deforestation. Last week, it started to clear the site of rocks which were piled up after the Second World War to conceal the grave.
"We will remove about 800 cubic metres of rocks, protect embankments and prepare an access for archaeologists this year. We will also create a work site for them out of removed rocks," the commission's president Jože Dežman told the STA.
Selected experts will then exhume the remains and analyse them - a process that will presumably start next year.
Objects, such as prayer cards, crosses and Home Guard paraphernalia found near the pit indicate that the bodies of Slovenian victims lie inside the mass grave. The burial site for them is yet to be determined.
Dežman told the STA that a burial site location for the victims of reprisal executions committed by the Communists just after the Second World War could be set at the Ljubljana Žale cemetery this year pending an agreement on the cooperation between the government and the Ljubljana city.
Historians have determined that there are around 750 mass graves and execution sites across the country, with some 150 possible new locations of concealed graves being considered.