The site (or set of sites), on the border of Slovakia
, of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII
, namely between the advancing Soviet
Red Army and the defending German
Wehrmacht. It lasted from 8 September to 28 October 1944. Given the total number of casualties of at least 70,000 (and possibly exceeding 130,000), the area also became known as the “Valley of Death”.
Just before the battle commenced, the Slovak National Uprising (see Muzeum SNP
) had been crushed by the Nazis
after the expected support from the Soviet Union
for the Uprising had not been forthcoming as swiftly as had been expected. This also meant that the Germans had time to fortify the region of the eastern Carpathians – including the decisive bottleneck of the Dukla Pass.
In the end, however, the Soviets did gain the upper hand, and through the Dukla Pass began their liberation of Slovakia
. And since this eventually also resulted in the incorporation of Slovakia into the Eastern Bloc
(as part of the CSSR
), the commemoration of the battles of the Dukla Pass became a high-profile case of Soviet-style glorification of the sacrifices made in the Great Patriotic War (WWII
There are several memorials on the Dukla Pass, some involving grand monuments and sculptures, others planes, bits of artillery and tanks on plinths (always a classic in the design of such monuments). In other places several tanks have been positioned not on plinths but in a field as if they were still in battle, frozen in action. In addition there are several war cemeteries and a hilltop observation tower providing a view of the entire battlefield as well as a dedicated museum in the nearby town of Svidnik.
I haven't had a chance to check out this part of the region in eastern Slovakia
myself yet, but once I have I will report back in more detail here.
on, and mostly south of the border between Poland
in the eastern Carpathian region.
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