The military cemetery of Soviet soldiers on Bôrik is the resting place of 1786 soldiers who fell during the liberation of northern Slovakia in Liptov and Orava, and districts such as Bytča, Považská Bystrica and Žilina. In April 1945, there was a tough battle against retreating German troops near Žilina. After 10th April the front moved west from Terchová. The 138th Soviet Division moved on towards Horná Tižina and Lutiše. Solid fighting continued until 18th April when the village of Belá was liberated. A total of 96 Soviet soldiers and 51 villagers died. The villages of Lutiše, Lysica, Dolná Tižina, Stráňavy, Krasňany and Nezbudská Lúčka had already been liberated between 22 and 25 April. In the Váh valley the Soviet soldiers came into direct contact with the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. On 26th April the enemy came under intense pressure from the forces of the 18th army and they had to strengthen their defences in Žilina by the addition of three battalions from the 253th infantry division and then occupy the main zone of defence. On 28th April final preparations were made to break through the defences by the River Kysuca and River Váh. The Germans blew up the barracks in the town and the railway bridge near the pulp mill and a road bridge in Budatín. On the evening of 29th April the German troops began to retreat towards Hričov. The 18th army commanded their units to break through the defences and continue pursuing the enemy towards the Slovak-Moravia border.
On the night of 29th to 30th April, the reconnaissance units of the liberators reached the outskirts of Žilina, where they discovered that the German position was relatively weak. Therefore, on the morning of 30th April at 7 o'clock, the Liberation Army troops entered into attack along the whole of the front line and pursued the retreating enemy. This manoeuvre resulted in the liberation of Žilina. Soviet forces came from Budatín and beyond Kysuca as they pursued the enemy towards Divina, Nesluša and Turzovka. On the first day in May Soviet troops liberated Divina, Dlhé Pole and Veľké Rovné. The soldiers of the 1st Czechoslovak army corps deserved great credit for their actions in liberating Žilina. They fought a gruelling battle at Liptovský Mikuláš, which they liberated on 4 April, then they continued towards Vrútky and Martin, which were liberated on 11th April. Three weeks of an exhausting battle to liberate Žilina came to an end on the morning of 30th April.
The German defences in the Malá Fatra mountain range were based on a series of strategic points. The centre consisted of the peaks of Grúň, Minčol, Polom above 924m. The Germans were located on the reverse slopes of the mountains so they could easily manoeuvre their advances and food and ammunition supplies. The well-built defences were supported by artillery and mortar units based at Strečno, Stráňavy and in Turie. These defences were not overcome until Berlin had already been conquered. The German units steadfastly resisted the advancing armies and were hard to oust from their well-established defensive positions.
The central monument at the cemetery of the Soviet soldiers located on Bôrik is built according to plans by Soviet architects. The cemetery was opened in 1946 on the anniversary of the liberation of Žilina on 30 April 1945. During World War II a total of 118 members of the German army died in Žilina between 26 August 1944 and 29 April 1945 and were also buried here. Near the military cemetery there are old graves and memorials of the people of Žilina. However, burials are no longer carried out here because the conditions are unsuitable. The remains of some Soviet Army officers were transferred here, which had been temporarily buried in a small park behind the statue of the Immaculate on Mariánske Square.
Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík
It can be visited
Position of the monument on the map: D6