In a reprisal for Nazi resistance activities against German troops, approximately 2800 innocent civilians in the Serbian towns of Kraljevo and Kragujevac are murdered by troops from the German 704th Infantry Division. Four villages were also burned down by the 717th Infantry Division after hostage roundups.
The partisan resistance had resulted in the deaths of 10 and the wounding of 26 German soldiers. The number of hostages to be murdered was calculated from a policy previously issued by Hitler as 100 hostages killed for every German soldier killed and 50 hostages killed for every German soldier wounded, however the number of hostages killed usually exceeded this formula. This policy was issued by Hitler and the top leadership of the Nazi Party and Wehrmacht with the dual intention of suppressing anti-Nazi resistance and involving the German generals in war crimes to make them less likely to surrender or reveal information about the Holocaust. Several senior German military officials were tried and convicted for their involvement in these reprisal murders at the Nuremberg trials.
From “The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi JewishPolicy, September 1939-March 1942” by Christopher R. Browning
“The 717th division of Major General Hoffmann was responsible for this region, and the reprisal order of October 10th was to him a veritable hunting license. When units of his division suffered casualties in an attack on Kraljevo on October 15 and 16, they went on a house-to-house search through the city, and by the evening of the 17th had shot 1,736 men and 19 “communist” women.”’
The Kraljevo massacre was shortly followed by an even larger one in Kragujevac, When a German punitive expedition returning to the town suffered casualties and Hoffmann ordered immediate retaliation. The number of communist suspects, prison inmates, Jews, and even men rounded up from the surrounding villages considered “communist infested” left the Germans far short of their quota of 2,300. The German commander, Major Konig, an ardent critic of “soft” measures, had his troops seize 3,200 inhabitants from the city itself, including the students of the local high school, and they fired away on October 21 until the quota had been met.'”