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JASENOVAC - THE SIXTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH


AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII
Banja Luka, 19th and 20th May 2014

PUBLISHER:
Association "Jasenovac-Donja Gradina
Banja Luka
FOR THE PUBLISHER:
PhD Vladimir Luki,
President of The Executive Board of "Jasenovac-Donja Gradina
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR:
PhD Smilja Avramov
EDITORIAL MANAGER:
Janko Velimirovi
EDITORIAL BOARD:
Vladimir Luki,
Saa Ai
LEKTOR:
Ranko Pavlovi
ENGLISH TRANSLATION:
Dejan Milinovi, Duko Popovi,
Slobodan Keleman and Svetlana Miti
LOYAUT & DESIGN:
Janko Velimirovi
PRINTED BY:
Printing House "GrafoMark", Laktai
FOR THE PRINTING HOUSE:
Svetozar erketa
NUMBER OF COPIES:
500
www. jasenovac-donjagradina.org.ba

Association "JASENOVAC-DONJA GRADINA"


BANJA LUKA

JASENOVAC
THE SIXTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Banja Luka, 19th and 20th May 2014

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF

NEZAVISNA DRAVA HRVATSKA


(INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA)

AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA

IN WWII
The Proceedings

Banja Luka, 2014

CONTENTS

PREFACE
eljko Vujadinovi
ON THE OCCASION OF THE SIXTH INTERNATIONAL
CONFERENCE ON JASENOVAC ................................................................................. 13

PROCEEDINGS

Srboljub ivanovi
CROATIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC AND MUSLIM CRIMES AGAINST
SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN THE INDEPENDENT
STATE OF CROATIA ........................................................................................................ 19

Vladimir Umelji
THE SENSITIVE ISSUE OF ESTIMATION OF THE NUMBER OF
GENOCIDE VICTIMS........................................................................................................ 27

Svetozar Livada
THE VICTIM IS ALWAYS RIGHT............................................................................... 57

Bogdan Petkovi
WHY DID PARTISAN UNITS NOT LIBERATE
THE JASENOVAC CAMP? ............................................................................................. 65

Ivan Fumi
CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN THE TERRITORY OF
THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA (NDH) .............................................. 77

Bilana ivkovi
JASENOVAC - THE WORST PLACE OF EXECUTION OF SERBS ................. 97

JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Danilo Trbojevi
THE POLICY OF SELECTIVE MEMORY IN THE AGE OF
TRANSITION: THE RELATION BETWEEN THE IDENTITY OF
THE VICTIM AND PERPETRATOR TODAY ........................................................ 111

Dragana Mijatovi -Tomaevi


THE REASON FOR MASSACRE OF SERBS AND OTHER
NON-CATHOLIC POPULATION BY CROATS AND MUSLIMS IN
THE SECOND WORLD WAR ...................................................................................... 131

Pavel Tihomirov
LESSONS FROM WIKIPEDIA ..................................................................................... 137

Ekatarina Samoylova
A PROGRAMME OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH OF THE MASS GRAVES OF
THE JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP RELATIVE TO
THE CHANGES IN THE GLOBAL PARADIGMS IN
THE LAST TWO YEARS ............................................................................................... 151

Marina Chernosvitova
RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION IN ARCHIVES OF
THE FORMER USSR, THE USA, FRANCE, ITALY, AUSTRIA,
TURKEY, ISRAEL, HUNGARY AND BULGARIA IN REGARD TO
CHANGES OF GLOBAL PARADIGM IN THE LAST TWO YEARS................ 161

Paul Isaac Hagouel, Ph.D


JASENOVAC IN CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVE: LESSONS FOR
THE 21ST CENTURY ..................................................................................................... 173

Jean Toschi Marazzani Visconti


IN DEFENSE OF THE MEMORY OF AN OBSCURED TRAGEDY. ................ 185

Ana Krini Lozica


BETWEEN MEMORY AND OBLIVION: JASENOVAC AS A DOUBLY
MEDIATED TRAUMA .................................................................................................... 191

Prof. Dr. Marko p. Atlagi mr Dalibor m. Elezovi


FRANJO TUDJMAN AS THE FIRST FORGER OF OVERALL
NUMBER OF TOTAL SERBIAN VICTIMS IN THE JASENOVAC
CONCETRATION CAMP (1941-1945) IN FUNCTION OF
HISTORICAL GENOCIDAL CROATIAN VERTICAL .......................................... 215

Vladislav Jovanovi
WE MUST FORGIVE BUT NOT FORGET .......................................................... 231

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

eljko Vujadinovi
RACIAL POLICY AND RACIAL LEGISLATION IN............................................. 237

Eli Tauber
DEPORTATION OF JEWS OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA TO
COLLECTION AND CONCENTRATION CAMPS, WITH THE
CHRONOLOGY OF DEPORTATION TO THE JASENOVAC
CONCENTRATION CAMP ........................................................................................... 247

Dr uro Zatezalo
FATHOMLESS PITS - PLACES OF MASS EXECUTION IN
THE COMPLEX OF JADOVNO USTASHA CAMPS ........................................... 261

Jovan Pejin
AN INSIGHT INTO THE GENOCIDE COMMITTED AGAINST
THE SERBS IN THE REGION OF SREM DURING 1941-1945 ......................... 273

Michael Pravica
WHY JASENOVAC STILL MATTERS ..................................................................... 285

Mila Mihajlovi
ARCHIVES RECORDS ON THE MASSACRES OF SERBS IN LIKA
AND DALMATIA ACCORDING TO ITALIAN SOURCES FROM 1941 ......... 301

Vasilije Karan
SORROW FOR A LIFETIME ........................................................................................ 317

Milan Bastai
CROATS BETWEEN JAZOVKA AND JADOVNO ................................................ 323

PhD Mladenka Ivankovi


ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, CHILDREN IN DEATH CAMPS ... 329

Radovan Jovi
SUFFERING OF CHILDREN IN JASENOVAC AND OTHER
CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN NDH ........................................................................ 341

Dejan Motl
ECONOMIES .................................................................................................................. 375

JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Nenad Antonijevi
THE PLACE AND ROLE OF THE MUSEUM OF GENOCIDE VICTIMS
IN EDUCATING YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCHOOLS IN THE REPUBLIC
OF SERBIA ON THE SUBJECT OF GENOCIDE AND HOLOCAUST ............ 383

Sanja Savi
LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY IN SERVICE OF THE GENOCIDAL
POLICY OF THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA (NDH).................... 395

Tanja Tulekovi
NEW RESEARCH FINDINGS ON THE PERSECUTION IN
THE KOZARA REGION UNDER THE RULE OF INDEPENDENT
STATE OF CROATIA ...................................................................................................... 405

Draga Mastilovi
MASSACRES OF THE SERBS IN SREBRENICA IN
THE SECOND WORLD WAR ..................................................................................... 411

Milenko Jahura
WHAT IS THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE SUFFERING IN
THE CZECH LIDICE AND HERZEGOVINA PREBILOVCI, AND
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN CHERISHING THE MEMORY OF
THE VICTIMS ................................................................................................................... 435

Nikola Oegovi
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IN THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF
CROATIA ............................................................................................................................ 451

Radovan Piljak
ANOTHER NEW CITY IN THE REPUBLIC OF SRPSKA
THE CITY OF WHITE ANGELS.............................................................................. 461

MEMORIES
Bogdan Petkovi
THE CHARACTER OF WORLD WAR II PRISONER CAMPS IN
GERMANY AND THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA ........................ 467

Milinko eki
NURTURING THE MEMORY OF FALLEN COMRADES ................................. 483

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Dobrila Kukolj
WAR YEAR 1943, RETURN FROM THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF
CROATIA to the Village of MEEA (Bosanska Dubica) ................................... 505

Zorka Skiba, ne Deli


CRIMES OF GENOCIDE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC NUNS IN
CHILDRENS CAMPS IN SISAK AND JASTREBARSKO .................................. 513

Milinko Skrobi
THE ENDLESS SUFFERING........................................................................................ 519

Vasilije Karan
WOUNDS OF KOZARANS HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN BY
THE WORLD ..................................................................................................................... 531

Lazar Milinovi
THE GREATEST SIN IS TO FORGET ....................................................................... 535

Veljko Mari
HORROR, CRIES, SUFFERINGS... ............................................................................. 545

CASES
Savo trbac
CAMP JASENOVAC BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL
COURT OF JUSTICE ...................................................................................................... 553

INTRODUCTION

eljko Vujadinovi

ON THE OCCASION OF THE SIXTH


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON
JASENOVAC

The Sixth International Conference on Jasenovac will be held in Banja Luka


on 19th and 20th May 2014. Like the Fourth and the Fifth Conference, the
Sixth International Conference is being organised by the Jasenovac Donja
Gradina Association. In my foreword to the Proceedings of the Fifth Conference, held in Banja Luka in 2011, I point out that the Association has proved
its relevance with its efforts to organise and hold these international conferences on the subject of Jasenovac, along with its support to the work of the
International Commission on Jasenovac and initiatives to design and build
the Donja Gradina Memorial Site and propose and adopt the required
applicable legislation. In addition, the Association or its members have
actively participated in a series of round tables, either as authors of papers or
as co-organisers, dedicated to other killing fields in the Independent State of
Croatia (NDH): unjar 1941 (three round tables have been held thus far),
Garavice 1941 (one round table have been held), Crimes of Genocide of the
NDH on Mount Kozara and in Potkozarje in World War II (the first round
table has been held), and Crimes of the NDH against the Serbs, Jews and
Roma in Herzegovina (the first round table has been held). The proceedings
of the round tables are miscellanies of research papers, publicistic writing
and accounts of the few living eyewitnesses, camp survivors and people
persecuted in the NDH. Owing to the great efforts of the organisers, the
proceedings of these conferences have been published in Serbian and
English.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

The Sixth Conference on Jasenovac, like the previous ones, is international,


in the true sense of the word. The Proceedings contain the works of
researchers from several countries (Russia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina). It is not dedicated only to the Jasenovac
camp, but also to other killing fields in the NDH, recognisable primarily for
the fact those who perished were mainly Orthodox Christian Serbs, followed
by Jews and Gypsies, their deaths attributable to religious and racial intolerance that is, a plan to create an ethnically and religiously pure Croatian
state. The victims were of both sexes and all ages. The NDH was the only
country that had a systematically organised childrens concentration camp in
World War II. Among the detainees, there were also Roman Catholic Croats
and Muslims, as well as people who disapproved of the policies of the NDH.
The papers submitted for presentation in the Conference address a variety of
topics. The authors do not only attempt to reconstruct the events in the camp
and at other places of execution, but also focus on the genesis of the racial
policy and racial legislation in the NDH, the history of remembrance of those
events, the treatment of the Jasenovac camp before the International Court
of Justice in the current dispute between Serbia and Croatia, accusing one
another of the crime of genocide, lessons for the future, historical
revisionism, and in general the historical paradigm that has undergone
change in the past two decades. Such a wide array of topics reflects the
importance and need to have this Conference in the first place, its relevance
for accumulating and organising what has been learnt thus far and for raising
new issues in regard to the essence and character of the NDH. The texts are
heuristically varied and demonstrate different levels of research meticulousness involved, thus resulting in works of unequal scientific usability. The
Editorial Board has not made or suggested any corrections content-wise; the
attitudes presented should are attributable to the authors alone.
Survivor accounts are an integral part of the Proceedings. There were very
few Jasenovac inmates and survivors of other atrocities in other places of
execution in the NDH immediately after World War II, let alone today, which
makes their testimonies invaluable. Those authentic accounts present all free
and independent minds with an opportunity to interpret the events and
processes described in their own way, to have their own understanding of
the character and horrors of Jasenovac and other places of execution, and to
try to understand the nature of the NDH in their own way.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Like on the previous occasions, this Book of Proceedings was published in


Serbian and English before the Conference. An additional book will be
published after the Conference, also in Serbian and English, to include the
opening speeches and addresses, participant presentations, discussions and
subsequently submitted papers. The two books will represent an organic
whole.
The NDH did not happen as a historical coincidence that can allow us to forget
the atrocities and the persecution and deaths immediately caused by them.
The past cannot be made normal with conservative historicism, by neglecting
a history that only burdens the future. The genocide committed in the NDH
has to serve as a warning against the emergence of any kind of racial and/or
religious intolerance. It is not subject to comparison, nor can it be made
relative by comparison with other crimes. The past can only be normalised if
real efforts are made to disclose and learn the complete truth and all parties
concerned are invited to confront it. Because memories of the persecution
and suffering, including the atrocities committed in Jasenovac and other
places of execution in the NDH, are deeply ingrained in the Serbian people.
Also in the Jewish people. And the Roma people. On the other hand, in the
Bosniaks too. And the Croats.
In the commemoration ceremony held in Jasenovac on 4 May 2014, Ivo Josipovi, President of the Republic of Croatia, pointed out that an atrocity
happened in Jasenovac, a crime of genocide which will continue to hurt,
which we will never forget. Does this anticipate present-day Croatian society might begin to seriously ponder the true character of the NDH?

In Banja Luka, 5nd May 2014

15

PROCEEDINGS

17

PhD Srboljub ivanovi1

CROATIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC AND


MUSLIM CRIMES AGAINST SERBS,
JEWS AND ROMA IN THE
INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA

The widely known desire of the Roman Catholic Church to expand its
influence and forces throughout the Balkan Peninsula has taught the Roman
Catholic Croatian people for centuries to feel hate and exterminate all nonCatholics, primarily Orthodox Serbs, Jews and Roma. In doing so, they do
not need choose the ways of implementing the policy of the Vatican and
Roman Catholic Church. It is all visible if we read statements and articles
published in the Roman Catholic newspapers and various publications before,
during and after World War II. Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops
have openly called upon Croats and Bosniaks - Muslims to commit crimes
against innocent Orthodox Serbs and the Jews.
Throughout the then Austro-Hungarian state, there were crimes against
Serbs and Jews committed at the same time while spreading anger and hatred
primarily incited by Roman Catholic priests and numerous activists of the
Roman Catholic Church. Widespread hatred against the Orthodox Serbs
was particularly performed by Catholic monks of the monastery, the Jesuits
and Franciscans and various Catholic activists, nuns, Catholic youth organisations such as the Eagles and Crusaders, etc. It is difficult to list those following the policy of Pope Benedict XV and the Vatican urging Roman Catholic
1

President of The International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Croats and Bosniaks Muslims to murder, torture, rob, rape and put the
blame on the Orthodox Serbs their former neighbours, for all the evils of
this world. Yet, valid data on all crimes and hatred shown toward the
Orthodox Serbs and Jews could be encountered in the Roman Catholic papers
and their books published at the time of these atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina and all over the former Austro-Hungarian state. The Serbian
Orthodox Church was steadily depreciated together with its bishops and
priests. Any possible negative events of the Orthodox Serbian people were
highlighted. Unlike Roman Catholics and Bosnian-Muslims, Orthodox Serbian people never felt animosity or hatred toward any Roman Catholic Croats
and Bosniaks - Muslims. For Serbs, they were brothers of the other law. On
the contrary, the Roman Catholic and Muslim priests encouraged Croats and
Muslims to commit crimes against Serbs. Austro-Hungarian authorities
encouraged and helped carrying out the crimes against Serbs.
At the beginning of the World War II following the occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by Germans, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Italians, Albanians,
a real rampage of Roman Catholic Croats and Bosniaks - Muslims against
Serbs, Jews and Roma spread out. The Independent State of Croatia, the
Roman Catholic Church headed by a war criminal, later cardinal, blessed
Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was
annexed to the country of Croats, the head of the Catholic Church was
another war criminal, Archbishop of Sarajevo, Archbishop of Vrhbosna,
Jesuit Ivan ari. Roman Pope Pius XII personally welcomed the fragmentation and occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the establishment of
the Independent State of Croatia as a Catholic Civitas Dei. Pius XII appointed a proven Ustasha to the position of bishop of Mostar in Herzegovina, Dr.
Petar ule, who became the leader of the Roman Catholics and Ustashas in
Herzegovina. The leader of Croatia, Ante Paveli decorated Dr. Peter ule
for Ustashas work on the extermination of Serbs, Jews and Roma and
awarded him an Order of Merit Order of the Star. Independent Croatian
State authorities recruited Bosniaks the Muslim population to execute
slaughter, torture, rape, and robbery and to mistreat Orthodox Serbs, Jews
and Roma. Recently disclosed archives show that many Muslim Bosniaks
were the organisers and perpetrators of these crimes. In that way Sulja
Baagi and Sucurija Pekusic were known for their atrocities in Nevesinje.
The Ustasha camp commander in Gacko was Hasan utovi, who was the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

administrator of the local post office, followed by Mahmut ampara,


administrative clerk, Serif Zvizdi, etc., and in Avtovac, Fahim Pai, Meho
Salin, Hamid Gado and Uzeir Delali, a priest who organised massacres of
Serbs. The Ustasha camp commander and organiser of the massacre in
Trebinje was Muhamed air, a local dentist. An Ustasha leader in Mostar
was the salesman Ahmet Badak. The one in Konjic was Ragib Mufti. A large
number of Bosnian-Muslims, in Stolac, committing crimes against Serbs
were led by Umar Rizvanbegovi, Mayor, as well as Hamid Hrle and others.
In apljina, Ahmet Kaptanovi was exceptional in executing crimes. The
robberies, torture and killings of Serbs and Jews in Hrasno were all executed
by Marko Ragu and Meho Galii. The slaughter of Serbs and Jews in Biha
was organised by Enver Kapetanovi and incredibly cruel Hasan Bajramovi,
Dervi Salihodi, Ibrahim Bai and others. In particular, they were prominent for raping girls and especially very young girls. Ale Omerovi and
Hamzo Hadi, as well as other Bosniaks from Cazin stood out for the massacre, torture and robbery of Serbs and Jews. Beir Bori personally
slaughtered more than a hundred women and children with his hands on 2
August 1941. The act of slaughtering was going on until 3 a.m. of the next
day. Muslim Bosniaks were extremely bloodthirsty towards women. For
example one of them raped 13 Serbian girls, and then slaughtered all of them.
Mustafa Terzi was one of the main cutthroats in Bosanski Petrovac. In the
village of Bravsko, Halija Ferizovi was the main criminal as well as Mujo
Malko, Faik Huji and many others. Meho Mueta, Mehmed Alti and Husa
Zeli were the leading criminals in Kulen Vakuf.
We could continue listing the names of Bosniak - Muslim criminals from all
over the former Independent State of Croatia forever, but what we have
presented here is sufficient to understand the essence of these crimes.
When you look at archival documents now available to the public, it is
obvious that the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, pressured by Croat and Muslim
ministers (Cvetkovi Maek agreement) established some kind of Independent State of Croatia in the form of an extended and independent Croatian
banovina [province]. This Banovina of Croatia was an autonomous state of
Croatia, which was only formally located within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The head of that Banovina of Croatia was Ivan Subai, who after World War
II, formed a new government together with Josip Broz Tito. The government

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

led by two Croats, Broz and Subai, banned the return of the young King
Peter II to the country, and abolished the monarchy.
The rampage and crimes of Roman Catholic Croats and Bosniaks - Muslims
in the Independent State of Croatia began immediately after the outbreak of
war on 6 April 1941. The very beginning of the war was marked by
slaughtering, killing, torture, robbery, rape of young girls, adolescent girls
and women, killing the elderly and disabled, throwing live people in karst
caves and sinkholes, burning the Serbs, Jews and Roma dead or alive. Roman
Catholic Croats were taking away the infants from the arms of mothers and
smashing their heads in the trees or rocks. Italian officers and soldiers were
eye witnessing all these acts by being disgusted with such barbarism.
Recently, some documents have been released from the archives of the Italian
military where the senior officers reported these events to the Italian Army
commands. The Italian army officers were horrified by seeing the Croatian
Roman Catholic priests personally killing and torturing Serbs, regardless of
age and sex of the victims. They demanded that that the Italian soldiers stop
those frenzied minds of Croats and Bosniaks - Muslims and their priests and
religious leaders. Afterwards, the Italian army occupied some coastal areas
forcing the Croats to close the camps in Jadovno and Pag and expelled them
from Velebit where Croats were throwing away half-dead humans or still
alive Serbian and Jewish prisoners into sinkholes and caves. Following the
closure of Jadovno camp, Croats opened Jasenovac system of concentration
camps for the extermination of Serbs, Jews and Roma. The Roman Catholic
Church, the Pope and the Vatican state have never condemned these
crimes.
It is impossible to list all the atrocities and crimes of Roman Catholic Croats
and Bosniaks - Muslims in all the places and provinces of the former
Independent State of Croatia. In most places, such as Biha, Livno, Duvno,
Kupres, Sanski Most, unjar etc., there are no more Serbs at all. It is
sufficient to note that a representative of the United States at a meeting of the
International Commission for the truth about Jasenovac held in New York
under the Presidency of American professor Bernard Klein said that
according to the data of the United States of America more than 1,400 Roman
Catholic priests in Croatia were personally killing Serbs, Jews and Roma. Out
of three Roman Catholic priests in Croatia, two were killers and murderers.

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By the end of World War II communist authorities in the former Yugoslavia


continued the policy of extermination of Serbs from Croatia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina and other regions by a forced displacement from the western
parts of the country to Vojvodina. At the same time the return of refugees to
their homes from which they were expelled by Croats, Albanians and
Macedonians, was forbidden.
The traces of the crimes committed by Croats, Muslims, Macedonians and
Albanians were systematically destroyed. Every attempt at writing or making
a testimony about these crimes was suppressed. Thus, the communist
government in Yugoslavia was systematically removing traces of the Jasenovac system of Croatian concentration camps for extermination of Serbs, Jews
and Roma. In 1946 and 1947, the entire wall around the camp of Jasenovac
was removed, although it is well known that over 80 percent of the wall was
preserved until then. Observation towers, the so-called watchtowers were
partially damaged but they were removed too. Remains of the Picilli
Furnace or crematoria for the incineration of alive and dead prisoners were
removed as late as 1950. The remains of the walls of sawmill, chain factory,
carpentry and electric power plant were also removed. The famous Granik
on the banks of the Sava River was removed in the year of 1948. Sokolski
Dom in Jasenovac, where the part of Koara camp was placed, was also
burned in the year of 1945. Then the bunkers were destroyed and barbed
wires placed around the camp. Frenzied minds of Croatia and in communist
Yugoslavia thought that removing the traces of Croatian concentration
camps would erase the crimes committed by Roman Catholic priests, Muslim
priests, Croats and Muslim Bosniaks from the memory.
Newly released documents show that there was a close link and cooperation
between the Communist Party of Croatia and Yugoslavia and communist
leader of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito with the Vatican, Croatian Ustasha movement and Croatian leader Ante Paveli in the extermination of the
Orthodox Serbian population in Croatia and in other western parts of the
country. The documents showing Tito visiting the Vatican several times
during World War II have been published. Academician Smilja Avramov, in
her book Genocid u Jugoslaviji u svetlosti meunarodnog prava (Beograd,
1992, p. 261-262) writes about Tito going to visit the Vatican on 9 August,
1944, where he held meetings with Pope Pius XII. The agenda of these
discussions and negotiations have never been published anywhere.
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

According to the words of a Yugoslav diplomat Vladimir Velebit from the


time of World War II and post-war Yugoslavia, Tito was [part of the text
missing, t/n]. We now know to what extent these connections of communists
and Croatian Ustashas were devastating for Serbs, Jews and Roma. Josip
Broz Tito, the Yugoslav communist president for life, never wanted to visit
the Jasenovac system of Croatian concentration camps for extermination of
Serbs, Jews and Roma. In the states that emerged after the disintegration of
Yugoslavia it is still hidden that in the Jasenovac concentration camps, in
addition to the so-called Chetniks, Serbs, soldiers of the Royal Yugoslav
Army released by the Germans from their concentration camps, were killed,
too. Nobody was talking about members of the Communist Party of Croatia
in Ustasha uniforms slaughtering, killing and stealing. There was no spoken
or written word about the Jasenovac system of Croatian camps nor did
anything similar appear in television shows. Children are not taught about
these crimes in schools nor do schools ever organise excursions to Jasenovac
and Donja Gradina, where children would be able to see the suffering of
Serbs, Jews and Roma in the Independent State of Croatia. The Republic of
Srpska is the only exception. There are huge documentation materials and
original films about the sufferings of Serbs, Jews and Roma in depots of
Radio Television of Serbia, but none of these documents is available to the
public. It turns out that censorship is implemented in Serbia, disabling the
publication of those materials to the public. If there is no formal state
censorship, there seems to be some sort of self-censorship among the staff of
Radio Television of Serbia, who are still afraid of being punished if they
present this documentation material. The media in Serbia is still silent about
the findings of the International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac.
They never released information that in the Jasenovac system of Croatian
camps for extermination of Serbs, Jews and Roma, having been severely
tortured, over 700,000 Serbs, 23,000 Jews and 80,000 Roma were killed,
including 110,000 children under 14 years of age. Likewise, there is the
opportunity to interview some associates of the neo-Ustasha movement in
Croatia and President Franjo Tuman presented various untruths about the
Jasenovac killing fields.
A number of about 70,000 victims was manipulated on the basis of the data of
a superficial and amateur survey during the communist Yugoslavia. The
Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade, which is still a branch office of the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

appropriate museum in Kragujevac, is trying to fill out this information by


turning it into a kind of analysis. The media in Serbia takes the number of
respondents as the number of victims killed in the Jasenovac system of
camps. The repeatedly truth emphasised about the number of victims of
Jasenovac will never be known, since nobody knows how to count the unborn
children removed from the wombs of pregnant women, how to call the
victims burnt alive and thrown into the crater of the Picilli furnaces, how
to call the miserable unfortunates buried in the banks along the Sava, how to
call the victims thrown into the Sava River, how to call the prisoners cooked
in the pots used for making soap, etc. The register books of Serbian churches
were burnt but the remaining ones were confiscated and destroyed after the
end of World War II. No one now has an idea who was alive and killed or who
was living where, etc.
Lists of victims made so far are quite unreliable and incomplete, and among
the surviving people there are very few who could personally witness
something. The findings of the International Commission for the Truth on
Jasenovac are very precious since they are based on scientifically validated
facts. It is up to us to accept those facts and use them in our works and
performances. The International Conference on Jasenovac has recently
adopted the Declaration on the genocide against Serbs, Jews and Roma in the
Independent State of Croatia, which was published in eight world languages
and sent to all the countries of the world as a testimony to the extermination
of Serbs, Jews and Roma in Croatia during World War II.

References:
Kazimirovi, V.: NDH u svjetlu njemakih dokumenata i dnevnika Gleza fon Horstenau
1941-1944, Nova knjiga - Narodna knjiga, Beograd, 1987.
Komarica, S. i Odi, S.: Zato Jasenovac nije osloboen, Institut za suvremenu povijest,
Beograd, 2005.
Lazi, M.: Kriarski rat Nezavisne Drave Hrvatske, Riznica duhovnog blaga, Banja Luka,
2011.
Lui, D.: Varvarstvo u ime Kristovo, Ekopres, Zrenjanin, 2000.
Rochlitz, I.: Accident of Fate, Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo, Ontario 2005.
Runov, M .: Zato Jasenovac , IKP Nikola Pai, Beograd, 2001.
Opai, P. i dr. .: Genocid nad Srbima, Grafopublik, Beograd, 1992.
etvernikova, O .: Zavjera papizma protiv kranstva, Sveta Rusija, Beograd, 2012.
Zlatar, B.: Zatiranje Srba u Hrvatskoj , IKP Nikola Pai , Beograd, 2008.
ivanovi, S.: Jasenovac (drugo izdanje), Pei i sinovi, Beograd, 2012.

25

PhD Vladimir Umelji

THE SENSITIVE ISSUE OF


ESTIMATION OF THE NUMBER OF
GENOCIDE VICTIMS

HISTORICAL SCIENCE, MATHEMATICAL


STOCHASTICS AND
PHILOSOPHIA MORALIS
Twentieth-century Europe witnessed three major genocides (Armenian genocide by Turks in 1915-1919 falls into a completely different historical, social
and ethical category, due not only to geopolitical factors but, as I believe, its
cultural and socio-psychological characteristics. I believe that the research of
this first major twentieth-century genocide is borderline European, i.e. it
falls into the field of Turkology):
The Jewish genocide (The Holocaust/Shoah) by Nazis and all their German
and non-German supporters remains the most elaborately and comprehensively researched genocide in history. The number of victims, as agreed by
the majority in the field of history and other humanistic sciences, is estimated
at 6,000.000.
The genocide of Sinti and Roma, unfortunately, has not been researched
enough. However, we do know that the Nazis and their supporters systematically killed more than 500,000 people belonging to this ethnic group.
During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini created the so-called
Independent State of Croatia in the Balkans. It was responsible for the third
major genocide in the twentieth-century Europe, the genocide of Sinti and
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Roma (around 40,000 victims), Jews (around 30,000 victims) and, most of all,
Serbs (Serbocide1), who were persecuted following a publicly proclaimed
rule deport one-third of the Serbs, convert one-third to Catholicism, or the
Croatian Catholicism, and kill the remaining third.2 The results were as follows:
Over 100,000 Serbs were exiled;
Over 240,000 Serbs were forcibly converted to Catholicism; and
According to the still incomplete and inconclusive data predominantly
sourced from informed Nazi and fascist witnesses (and defenders of the Croatian state), we can safely assume that at least 750,000 Serbs were killed.3 This

1 The term Serbocide was introduced to the scientific genocide research in 2006, as a
new terminus technicus to denote the genocide of the Serbs by Croats and Bosnian Muslims in the Independent State of Croatia in 1941-1945. I already used this terminus technicus in late 1990s (e.g., at the lecture Serbocide and the Balkan version of the Auschwitz-lie Srbocid i balkanska verzija Lai o Auvicu at The First International Conference about the Jasenovac Concentration Camp, New York, 1997). It was, however, definitely established in an interview with a well known and reputable German sociologist and
genocide researcher, Mr. Richard Albrecht, in 2006. He rightly characterised the term Holocaust or Shoah as a quick identifier of the German genocide of Jews, so we went from
there, thinking that a specific name of the Serb genocide in the Croatian state in 1941-1945
should naturally follow Lemkins term genocide. Richard Albrecht, whose research was
focused on the Armenian genocide by Turks, pointed out his own efforts in the scientific
acknowledgment of the term Armenocide. My final and conclusive introduction of the
terminus technicus Serbocide in the research of genocide occurred in the essay Ethik
und Definitionsmacht, published in the scientific magazine Kultursoziologie 2006/I. in
Leipzig, 2006. Richard Albrecht acted a bit later that same year, in his contribution
Serbozid 1941-1945, ber den Dritten Europischen Vlkermord im 20. Jahrhundert,
GRIN-Online, 2006.
2 Compare German historical sources in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte: Bundeszentrale
fr Heimatdienst (Germany). Bundeszentrale fr Politische Bildung (Germany), 1993.
Further reading: Jure Kristo, Katolicka crkva i Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska, Vol. 1, Zagreb 1998, p. 187.
3 Find more in: Vladimir Umeljic, Die Besatzungszeit und das Genozid in Jugoslawien
1941-1945, Graphics High Publishing, Los Angeles, 1994. The number of victims has not
been definitely determined and it is hardly ever going to be final, unless one day secret archives become available, like those in Vatican.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

number was derived from valuable primary historical sources. It remains an


estimate, because it has not been finally verified in terms of mass exhumations, identifications, etc.
The above-mentioned numbers relating to the three major genocides in
twentieth-century Europe are therefore based on the existing research and
widely acknowledged results of the positive historical science and other humanistic sciences.
This issue is still open.
Since liberal sciences do not accept dogmas and only rarely (social sciences)
axioms, final number of victims of the major genocides in twentieth-century
Europe depends on argumentative and, appropriate to this sensitive issue,
humanistic or ethically and morally based discussion.4
Why, however, the number of victims of the major twentieth-century Europe genocides has not been precisely determined even now, 70 years later?
Why are we still using somewhat cautious and restrained expressions such
as about..., as agreed by majority consensus in historical and other humanistic sciences..., possibly even..., can safely assume that...?
To establish the historical truth in terms of the most faithful representation
of reality is not only an axiom of the humanistic ratio (liberal social sciences)
or just a basic assumption of the necessary sanctioning of crime (legal determinant in civilised societies), but also an imperative reflection of morally
conditioned piety towards the innocent genocide victims (philosophia
moralis).
The truth is, conclusively, a conditio sine qua non of the prophylactic principle Never again!
A particularly controversial debate is the one about the number of the Serbian victims of the genocide in the NDH from 1941 to 1945. The number

Note: Balkan version of this Auschwitz-Lge relativisation and denial of the 1941-1945
genocide in the Croatian intellectual, political and clerical elite, is, unfortunately, a rule rather than an exception.
4 This restriction does not intend to inhibit the freedom of scientific research, but clearly
distance itself from all apologetic, political and ideological attempts to relativise and deny
the genocide.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

mentioned above is a probable marginal number (inconclusive in both directions, because it has not yet been finally verified) of 750,000 victims of the
1941 to 1945 Serbocide, as a result of the comparison and evaluation of multiple credible primary historical sources.
Using only the statistical method, the number of Serbian victims in the entire
Yugoslavian territory should have amounted to 487,000 (Bogoljub Koovi,
1985), that is 530,000 (Vladimir erjavi, 1989). Out of that number, 370,000
(Koovi), or 335,000 (erjavi) should have been the number of Serbs killed
in the Croatian territory.5
The striking difference in the estimates of around 50 fewer (again, only statistically determined), i.e. more victims (the totality of the historical sources
and subsequent use of the mathematical probability theory) clearly illustrates
the complexity of this, by nature, very sensitive issue, with an immense and
more than understandable emotional charge.
I would like to quote a short excerpt from the above mentioned valuable
primary historical sources relating to the number of Serbocide victims coming from the Nazi witnesses of that genocide and defenders of the former
Croatian state, which means from qualified witnesses to the history of their
time.
Those witnesses were also Croatian allies, who considered the Serbs their
enemies:
Head of the Nazi military administration of the Territory of the Military
Commander in Serbia, privy councillor and SS-gruppenfuhrer, Dr. Turner,
reported on 3September1941:
According to the available reports, around 200,000 Serbs have been
killed in Croatia alone. These killings are common knowledge here and,
given the fact that Croatian territories have been given independence
under the auspices of the German Reich, and that our troops in Croatia

Bogoljub Koovi: rtve Drugog svetskog rata u Jugoslaviji, Sarajevo, Svjetlost, 1990.
(First edition: London, Veritas, 1985). Vladimir erjavi: Opsesije i megalomanije oko
Jasenovca i Bleiburga, Demografski gubici stanovnitva Jugoslavije u Drugom svjetskom
ratu, Globus, Zagreb, 1992.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

have not prevented those horrible atrocities, the accountability for


them falls onto the Germans...6

In a report to SS-Reichsfuhrer Himmler of 17 February 1942, Chief of Security and SD explains: The number of Orthodox Christians (authors note:
mostly Serbs, to a lesser extent Roma) massacred and tortured to death by
Croats who use the most sadistic methods, has to be estimated at 300,000 victims.7
The German ambassador Benzler reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
in Berlin on 16 September 1942:
Since the foundation of this state to this day, the persecution of Serbs
has not stopped and the death toll and a very cautious estimate at that
is several thousand Serbs. In doing so, those who were never held
accountable committed such terrible crimes, which could only be expected of perverse Bolsheviks...8

An Italian officer and witness, Enzo Cataldi, estimates the number of victims:
The slaughter of Serbs committed by Croats in 1941 and 1942 alone seems
to have resulted in 356,000 Serbian and several thousands of Jewish victims...9
A member of the Roman Curia, Cardinal Tisserant said, among other things,
on 6 March 1942: Germans acknowledged the Croatian Orthodox Church
only in our presence ... killed all Orthodox priests and after more than
350,000 Serbs have vanished...10
The commander-in-chief of the South Command, Colonel General Lhr,
wrote on 27 September 1943:
The most important element of the political situation in Croatia is the
fact that at this point Croats are unable to govern themselves (...) the
police (...) are only observers of the terrorist acts by the Ustashas
6

Abschrift in Akten des Pers. Stabes des Reichsfhrers SS, Mikrofilm Inst. f. Zeitgeschichte MA 328, p. 65 1866 FF.
7 Abschrift in PA/AA, Bro RAM, Kroatien 1941/42, pp. 442-449.
8 PA/AA, Bro StS, Jugoslawien, Vol. 4.
9 Enzo Cataldi, La Jugoslavia alle Porte, Tra Cronaca e Documento una Storia che Nessuno
Racconta, Club die Autori, 1968.
10 Delegation of the Independent State of Croatia, V.T. No.-V.-1942, Rome, 06/03/1942.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

against the Orthodox population, of whom according to Ustasha


sources around 400,000 have been killed...11

The German Lieutenant General Lothar Renduliv was also a witness to the
events that took place in the NDH:
While German troops were stationed in a small number of places in
Croatia, the first savage Croatian persecutions of the Orthodox Christians began (...) in doing so they have killed, as everyone claims, at least
500,000 people12

At the end of the war, on 16 March 1944, Brigade Commander SS Major General Ernst Fick wrote to Heinrich Himmler, his superior: The Croatian Ustasha party are Catholic, undisciplined, poorly trained, to an extent unreliable
in terms of combat and known for having slaughtered, Balkan-style, between
600,000 and 700,000 of religious and political opponents (...) they call themselves the Croatian SS.13
Germanys special commissioner for South-East Europe Hermann Neubacher said:
The recipe of the Ustasha leader and Poglavnik of Croatia, Ante
Paveli, in relation to the Orthodox Christians reminds of the bloody
religious wars from the past: One-third must be converted to Roman
Catholicism, one-third has to be exiled, while the remaining third has
to die. This last item has been accomplished. When the Ustasha leaders
claim that around 1,000,000 Orthodox Serbs (including babies, children, women and the elderly) have been slaughtered, it is my opinion
that it is but a boastful exaggeration. Based on the reports I have received, my estimate is that the number of the helpless and slaughtered
people is around 750,000...14

11

Nrnberger Dokumente, NOKW, 376.


Lothar Rendulic, Gekmpft, gesiegt, geschlagen, Heidelberg, 1951, pp. 160, 222.
13 Abschrift im Archiv VII, NA, Mikrothek, Belgrad, NAV-T-175, R. 70, pp. 888-890.
14 H. Neubacher, Sonderauftrag Sdosten 1941-1945. Bericht eines fliegenden Diplomaten,
Gttingen, 1956 p. 31.
12

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Nazi Commander-in-Chief for Serbia, General Bader, said on 5th February


1942: No doubt, Croats have the intention of destroying the entire Serbian
population...15
According to these primary historical sources (German, Italian, Vatican), the
Croatian state already killed as many Serbs in 1941-1942 as Koovi and erjavi say were killed in total by the end of the war in 1945.
Is it logical or likely that the Serbocide was truly completed in 1942 and the
Nazi and fascist witnesses in the period from 1942 to 1945 just fabricated and
arbitrarily exaggerated the number of victims, all up to the enormous number of 750,000 victims? It is difficult to find even a remotely reasonable reason or motive for it (of then Croatian allies and Serbian enemies), but either
that is how it really happened or the statistical exactness of those authors has
some significant weaknesses.
The fact remains, however, that the final number of Serbocide victims has
not yet been determined (statistically) and it will hardly ever be determined,
unless secret archives become publicly available one day, like it was the case
with Vatican archives (or those classified as the communist Yugoslavia legacy).
Let us discuss the example of the current controversy surrounding the issue
of the number of victims in the biggest concentration camp in this part of
Europe and at the same time the biggest concentration camp from World War
II, which was not established and managed by Nazis, the camp in Jasenovac.
In this case, the estimates vary to an even greater extent.

THE NUMBER OF VICTIMS IN THE JASENOVAC


SYSTEM OF CONCENTRATION CAMPS
The Jasenovac camp was built in summer 1941 on the banks of the
Sava River and later developed into an infamous place, well known for
the horrors that happened there and the mass killings of Serbs and

15

L. Kosti, Hrvatska zverstva u II svetskom ratu, prema izjavama njihovih saveznika, Beograd, 1991, p. 56.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Jews. The more resistance Pavelis deportation idea met with the German military command, the more people were interned in Jasenovac
and other camps. The worst hygienic and other living conditions that
caused the enormous rate of mortality, and various activities aimed at
killing the prisoners, made Jasenovac known as a death camp...16

The estimated number of victims in literature dealing with this death camp
ranges from between 2,000 and 3,000 (Croatian side) to even 1 million (Serbian side), where these extreme numbers are definitely scientifically unsubstantiated and counterproductive.
The statements given by the witnesses who participated in those events,
mostly surviving prisoners, witnesses and a few perpetrators (among them
was a former Croatian commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp system, who revealed after the war ended that 500,000 people had died there
see below), often mention several hundred thousand victims of this proverbial death manufacture.
Let us take a closer look at some of those data, the statements of the survivors
and estimates given by the relevant institutions and agencies of the possible
number of victims, which yet again impressively show the complexity of this
issue:
Jasenovac was a system of several concentration camps, which spread across
an area of around 210 square kilometres, where by the end of April 1945
countless victims had found death (still unaccounted for). On 11th May 1945,
the Croatian State Commission confirmed the number of victims in writing
to the Nuremberg tribunal, and estimated it at between 500,000 and
600,000.17
On 15th November 1961, the NOR Veteran Association Committee in Bosanska Dubica began excavations in the area of Donja Gradina (the biggest execution place in Jasenovac system) and discovered 120 mass graves of similar
size. They exhumed the first three mass graves and counted the victims.

16

L. Horry and M. Broszat: Der kroatische Ustascha-Staat 1941-1945, Schriftenreihe der


Vierteljahreshefte fr Zeitgeschichte, No. 8, Stuttgart, p. 102.
17 A. Mileti, Koncentracioni logor Jasenovac 1941-1945, Vol. 2, Beograd, pp. 1090-1091,
1100.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The activity was, however, politically unwanted in the new Yugoslavia lead
by the Croatian communist and autocrat Tito, and it was suspended. Based on
the number of victims exhumed from the three mass graves, the Committee
estimated the total number of victims at 550,800.
A group of anthropologists and forensic experts explored the area around
Donja Gradina and Ciglane in June 1964 until they were forbidden to continue their work as well and estimated the number of victims at about
336,000. Between 1964 and 1973, around one hundred mass graves were discovered, but unfortunately they were never examined.
The area around Stara Gradika has not been examined either yet, and authentic historical sources speak of the violent death of between 40,000 and
60,000 prisoners; Krapje and Broice areas just like Mlaka with five large
mass graves remain inaccessible for examination.18
A former prisoner from Jasenovac and the long-time president of the Association of Former Jasenovac Inmates, the Croatian attorney K. Huber, confirms:
Every prisoner from Jasenovac knows that between 1,000 and 1,500
people were killed a night in Gradina, maybe even more when the Ustashas had reinforcements (...) Mass graves discovered in Gradina revealed between 300,000 and 400,000 bodies. What about the bodies of
those tossed into the Sava River? Or those killed in surrounding fields
and remote areas?19

One of his co-sufferers, Dr N. Nikoli, estimated the number of the killed at


700,000.20
The problem of determining the number of victims (no records, killing the
victims on the spot, as soon as they were imprisoned and thorough destruction of documentation at the end of the war) is cited in Encyclopaedia of the
Holocaust, due to which reason it estimates the number of Jasenovac victims
at between 300,000 and 700,000.21

18

Compare: M. Bulaji, Ustaki zloini genocida II, Vol. 2, Beograd, 1988.


Intervju, Vol. 235, Beograd, pp. 23-25.
20 N. Nikoli, Jasenovaki logor smrti, Beograd, pp. 190-192.
21 Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust, edited by Yisrael Gutman, Vol. 1, 1995, pp. 739-740.
19

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

The Yad Vashem Center estimate that about 500,000 Serbs were killed in the
entire NDH, Wiesenthal Centre estimate 600,000 victims. Finnish author Ari
Rusila has recently drawn the attention of the scientific community to the
fact that, by the number of victims, Jasenovac was the third biggest death
camp from the World War II era (following Auschwitz with 1,400,000 and
Treblinka with 870,000 victims).22
Let me quote the opinion of the highest representative of Nazi Germany in
Croatia at that time, Plenipotentiary General Edmund Glaise von Horstenau,
following a visit to one of the Croatian concentration camps, which made him
mention Jasenovac:
We later went on to a concentration camp, which was built in a factory. Horrible image. Few men, many women and children poorly
dressed, whose beds were cold stones. Bare skeletons... The camp commander punk! I ignored him. I told the Ustashas in my escort:
After seeing something like this, one can only spit... nothing but spit,
gentlemen!
And the worst part: along a wall in one room lied about fifty naked children on scattered straw, surely due to my inspection, some already
dead, some dying! Let us not forget that concentration camps were discovered by the British during Boer War.
But those places of horror in Croatia, under Poglavnik who we had appointed ourselves, were worse than horror.
Jasenovac, however, must have been the worst, where ordinary man
would not dare to step into... (underlined by the author).23

ARI RUSILA, JASENOVAC HOLOCAUST PROMOTED BY VATICAN


(WWW.EUROPESWORLD.ORG/NEWENGLISH/HOME_OLD/COMMUNITYPOSTS/T
ABID/809/POSTID/1087/JASENOVACHOLOCAUSTPROMOTEDBYVATICAN.ASPX)
23 General von Horstenau sent a number of reports on the treatment of Serbian prisoners in
concentration camps throughout the Croatian State in 1941-1945. For example, in 1942 he
reported the following: There is a concentration camp near Slavonska Poega, called
Ustasha camp for emigrants. The warden of that camp is a former catholic priest, now famous Ustasha, Klajic (...) During one usual session of torture, a prisoner tried to take a rifle
from one of his torturers. When Klajic found out about that, he gave order to kill all prisoners with machine guns loaded with expanding bullets. The firing at the entrance into the
barracks took an hour. The appearance of the barracks after this incident is impossible to
22

36

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

In 1993, the Austrian historian Hans Safrian published another report by


General von Horstenau written in 1944 (having established that the exact
number of Jasenovac victims cannot be determined due to the lack of written
records so only estimates are possible), according to which between
300,000 and 400,000 people were killed in Jasenovac by the end of 1943.24
If, however, all the above-mentioned primary historical sources (and many
others) had been ignored and science had been satisfied with individual victims identified exclusively and only by name, than it would have arrived to
the statistically verified number, which would probably have ranged between
122,300 and 130,100.25
Let us take a look here at how Professor Srboljub ivanovi, a researcher of
Serbocide, medic and anthropologist, arrived at his conclusion that around
700,000 people or even more lost their lives in Jasenovac concentration camp
system alone.

***
The large number of possible victims who perished in the Croatian state at
that time as estimated by ivanovi, in one concentration camp alone (albeit
the largest in this part of Europe), is hardly ever going to be statistically verified and proved final, beyond the shadow of doubt.
Furthermore, that claim seems rash and illogical at first, even very questionable, since the authors estimated number of victims in Jasenovac practically
reaches the number of victims in the entire territory of the NDH in 1941-

describe. The walls were painted in blood and there were pieces of flash and brains hanging about, while floors were covered with mutilated bodies. The barracks were left looking
like that for two entire days, until the arrival of the new group of prisoners, who then
cleaned it all. Quoted from: Peter Broucek (ed.), Ein General im Zwielicht. Die Erinnerungen Edmund Glaises von Horstenau, 3 volumes, Wien: Bhlau 1980-88. See als the
relevant historical documents in: sterreichisches Staatsarchiv, Mitteilungen des sterreichischen Staatsarchivs, Vol. 47, 1999.
24 Hans Safrian in einer Funote des Buches Die Eichmann-Mnner, Europa Verlag,
Hamburg, 1993.
25 Dragan Cvetkovi, Stradanje civila Nezavisne drzave Hrvatske u logoru Jasenovac,
Tokovi istorije, Institute of Recent History of Serbia Journal, Issue 04/2007, Beograd.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

1945, confirmed by the above mentioned sources (German and Italian), and
exceeds by 100 the corresponding figures offered by the above named statisticians, Koovi and erjavi, for the entire researched territory, and by
600 the figure offered by Cvetkovi, which is the number of thus far statistically verified Jasenovac victim count.
If ivanovis position was meant to be primarily a conscious and provocative
counterweight to the claims of the Croatian science to a couple of tens of
thousands at most Serbian victims of Jasenovac, and as an intent not to leave
the debate/conclusions on this issue to the other concerned party (with the
ultimate consequence: Serbs have, in fact, committed a genocide against
Croats!, as was claimed merely ten years after World War II and the Serbocide by the senior Croatian intellectual and clerical official Ivo Omranin),
then from that particular point of view it is understandable.
In that case, it is no longer primarily the historical science, of course, but a
deliberate attempt to maintain the tension, or the popularity of the issue
(and nolens volens partly politically conditioned controversy).
Therefore, it would be worthwhile to ponder over the following dilemma
(which definitely is questionable): is ivanovis position scientific at all, in
other words, to what extent is it legitimate?
It is a known fact what parameters, criteria and consequently arguments statistics uses, so how did ivanovi arrive at this number of victims at Jasenovac? It is worth mentioning that he relied on three scientific fields and their
methods (historical science, partial exhumations with medical/anthropological analysis and mathematical science):
The entirety of available valid primary historical sources (written testimonies by Nazi and fascist aggressor who had no logical reason to side with the
Serbian enemy and lie to hurt their Croatian friends, and the testimonies of
the surviving camp prisoners and a few of the perpetrators. In other words,
testimonies of witnesses and a few written records from the Independent
State of Croatia, etc.).
Personal professional involvement in the post-war excavations of the mass
graves at Jasenovac in 1964 and the scientific validation of the discovered
human remains and their everyday possessions. Due to circumstances, that

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

research was seen as politically inappropriate by Titos regime, so it remained initial and incomplete.
Therefore the author multiplied the quantitative findings from a relatively
small number of mass graves (31) with the probable number of bodies remaining in other mass graves at the camp grounds (which was supported by,
for example, areal images of the terrain) and arrived at the above mentioned
number. Thus, he relied on the mathematical twin of statistics, the theory
of probability. The probability theory and statistics make the field of mathematical stochastics.
The mathematical theory of probability is by definition based on existing axiomatic assumptions, while the starting point is usually an event, whose correspondent probability in accordance with the mandatory minimum criteria is mathematically determined and always represents a real number. An
axiomatic explanation of the probability theory was given in the thirties of
the twentieth century by a Russian mathematician Andrey Kolmogorov.26
As already mentioned, all of the available primary and valid historical sources
(presence of German Nazis and Italian fascists, testimonies of the surviving
camp prisoners and a few perpetrators, witnesses) spoke about hundreds of
thousands of victims. Then in 1964 the research team (Vida Brodar, Anton
Pogacnik and Srboljub ivanovi) went to the crime scene.
The exhumations at the Jasenovac camp grounds showed that the burial
area of 2m2 revealed on average 27 skeletons (authors note: the camp used to
spread over the area of 210km2); the areal images showed huge number of
mass graves; the fact that there were no human remains found in some of the
opened graves, but only personal items for everyday use (combs, buttons,
etc.) was explained for example by a testimony of a long-time witness of those
events and a forensic expert, Professor Ante Premer, who survived Jasenovac and confirmed that he was forced in 1943 to organise exhumations and
burn the remains of the victims. It was done with the aim of destroying all

26

Compare: Hans-Otto Georgi, Stochastik, 4th edition, de Gruyter, 2009. Also: Ulrich
Krengel, Einfhrung in die Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie und Statistik. Vieweg, Braunschweig, 1988.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

traces of the crime (capitulation of fascist Italy was a very bad sign for the
clerical and fascist Croatia, etc.).27
So, what does the use of mathematical probability theory look like here, when
applied to a case study in the field of social sciences (with the help of natural
sciences, medicine and anthropology)?
The basis (existing axiomatic assumption) in this case was the proven genocidal policy of the Croatian state from 1941 to 1945, the starting point (event)
was the proven large-scale implementation of that policy in the system of
concentration camps of Jasenovac. The scientifically and historically assumed number of victims based on the number of exhumed graves and
(quantitative and qualitative) analysis of their contents and the number of the
graves in the Jasenovac camp area is then, based on the mandatory minimum criteria, mathematically allocated its corresponding probability value,
which is always a real number.
ivanovis position thus turns out to be scientifically and theoretically substantiated and legitimate, although also under the law of probability it is
statistically difficult to prove or even presumably impossible to prove in
terms of the identification of individual victims by names.
One weakness of his position has to do with the small number of exhumed
graves (31), although the findings of the first and the largest grave must be
seen as indicative; it was 6 x 2.5m and contained 197 skeletons (of which 51
children younger than 14), which can certainly not be ignored. Evidence that
this number corresponds to the average number of all or most part of mass
graves, however, due to specific circumstances is not there.28
The second big weakness to his conclusion lies in its obvious (and even impossible by every law of probability) incompatibility with the population census in the territory of the former NDH before and after World War II and
the Serbocide, and, of course, with all the statistical efforts that have been
made so far to identify the victims from this camp. It is not 10, 20 or even 40 ,

27

Srboljub ivanovi, Jasenovac, Srpska knjiga, Beograd, International Slovenian Academy


of Science, Education and Art, Department of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 2008.
28 Ibid.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

but almost 600 difference in the estimate of the number of Jasenovac victims.
Those censuses and the post-war method of determining the number of victims of the war and genocide, show, however, significant weaknesses on their
part, uncertainties and imprecision that have to be seriously debated, regardless of ivanovis hypothesis (see below), but it may be considered out of the
question that the magnitude of their assumed difference from the realistic
numbers to such an enormous extent occurred.
This means that, even if the mentioned weaknesses have been found and
eliminated by the correction of statistical results (which is probably appropriate and even expected) and possible determination of a larger number of
victims, it is difficult to assume that the end result of ivanovis hypothesis
could ever really be verified and even the following facts clearly show that:
If we even for a moment disregard the current statistical assumptions and
presume that the estimate of the qualified historical witnesses (= primary historical sources, stripped of any recognisable and subjective interpretations)
of about 750,000 Serbian victims in the entire NDH from 1941 to 1945 is realistic, and then correlate ivanovis assumption of the number of Jasenovac
victims with that number, we will find that his conclusion is not compatible
with this estimate either, because:
The first consequence is that according to him, 700,000 Serbs were killed in
the concentration camp Jasenovac alone, or even more, which means that in
the rest of the NDH there were only a couple of tens of thousands. It definitely
was not the case. Numerous historical sources speak of many more, several
hundreds of thousands of victims across the NDH in 1941-1945.
If we however incorporate the fact that all historical sources assume several
hundred thousands of victims across the NDH in 1941-1945 (which was even
statistically confirmed) in this stream of thought, in that case, the Serbocide
death toll from 1941 to 1945 would have to be along with 700,000 victims
or more in Jasenovac alone according to ivanovi much bigger than
1,000,000 victims in the NDH from 1941 to 1945 (originally between
1,800,000 and 2,000,000 across its territory). It would, however, mean that
the number of Serbs in that territory (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

41

JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Srem) after the war consequently amounted to about 800,000. This was definitely not the case either, there were more in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone.
Despite the reasonably assumed unsustainability of his final position or conclusion in quantitative terms, and the large discrepancy in the scientific research results on the one hand exclusively mathematical statistics, on the
other its twin, the probability theory, but also medical and anthropological
research and primary historical sources (original documents, witness testimonies, etc.) at the very least implies that current singular use of statistics
could hardly put an end to this Serbocide death toll research.
In other words, ivanovis approach to this problem was indeed scientific
and multidisciplinary, but his conclusion, on the other hand, was not only
impossible to prove, but also too big a venture into the field of minimal probability or practically untenable assumptions.
The concluding implications of this Chapter will show that his initial position
(basically hundreds of thousands of Jasenovac victims), however, is not
merely a controlled speculation in the field of the so-called virtual or counterfactual history.29
Therefore, Srboljub ivanovi not only i) remains a rare and extremely important witness of his time, but also ii) for decades has been giving a strong
impulse to further research the Serbocide and the undeniable contribution to
the fact that the debate around the number of victims (justifiably so) is not
subsiding.

THIS CONTRIBUTION ALONE IS PRICELESS.


Authors position, once more, is that this issue remains unresolved and that
further research will lead to the correction of currently valid statistical assumptions and direct it not only in a direction of, but possibly, bring it close
to the valid assumptions of historical science, the qualified witnesses to that
time.

29

Compare: Niall Ferguson (ed.): Virtuelle Geschichte. Historische Alternativen im 20.


Jahrhundert. Darmstadt, 1999.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The concluding quantity of genocide victims is by all means one of the imperatives in the research of this phenomenon, but again not a diachronically valid dogma or a taboo. This issue can, should and has to be constructively and argumentatively discussed (based on ethics). The quantity of victims does not determine the quality of the crime (genocide), while the opposite is always so, as a rule.
Let us conclude this discussion about ivanovis position with the statement
that scientific scepticism is very appropriate in relation to the end result of
his hypothesis (in other words, it is considered unsustainable with a high degree of probability), but the same scepticism is quite appropriately legitimate
in relation to current statistical claims and assumptions.

***
In fact, there are specific empirical elements, important specific reasons why
it would be highly advisable that the research of this segment (total number
of genocide victims in the Croatian state in 1941-1945) should not be reduced
to merely a statistical method, that it should be further verified by other relevant scientific sources.
This is problematic to a certain extent, because these statisticians, Koovi
and erjavi, are basically dealing with estimates. The number of citizens in
the former Croatian state and its national structure can only be estimated
statistically, since the Yugoslavia population census was not done in 1941, so
the calculations were based on the results from 1921 and 1931 censuses,
which lead to different results with different authors. More so because the
mentioned censuses were done using different methods:
Bogoljub Koovi, for example, estimated there were 718,000 Serbs living in
the Croatian territory in 194130, while Vladimir erjavi assumed there were
703,000. Compared to the number of Serbian victims in the entire territory
of Yugoslavia, the difference between their initial assumptions becomes even

30

Bogoljub Koovi, rtve drugoga svetskog rata u Jugoslaviji, London, 1985, p. 143.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

bigger (around 43,000) and the number should have been either 487,000 (Bogoljub Koovi, 1985) or 530,000 (Vladimir erjavi, 1989).31
It means they partly relied on the mathematical probability theory as well.
It must be further taken into account that the population censuses before and
after the war and the registries of births and deaths from the period just before World War II in the Balkans by no means can be measured by contemporary criteria, therefore those data have been much less reliable than it is
the case today.
Births and deaths were often registered in church registries only, particularly in rural areas, which were a majority, or not registered at all, and the
church registries were systematically destroyed and burned ever since the
first Ustasha clerical fascists came into power, much like the Orthodox
churches and even priests and followers.
Consistent with the open announcement by one of the deputy chiefs in the
Croatian state lead by Ante Paveli in that period, a man called Victor Guti
who sent a message to Serbs at a rally held on 28 May 1941: I want to serve
to the Gods and peoples will. These unwanted elements are going to be destroyed without a trace (underlined by the author) across our territory in the
shortest time and the only thing that is going to survive will be a bad memory
of them...32
The statistical method in this case has once again an essential weakness, because on the one hand it is based on the census results from 1921 and 1931
(instead on the unknown situation in 1941) and on the other on results from
the 1948 census, i.e. an incomplete and unfinished census from 1964, and the
victim registration method itself just after World War II, when the survivors
were simply called in to register the dead with the authorities. The big
question is whether all the survivors have responded to this appeal, if at all,
and in what numbers, amidst the chaotic aftermath, regime liquidations,

31
32

Gubici stanovnitva Jugoslavije u Drugome svjetskom ratu, Zagreb, 1989, p. 39.


V. Novak, Magnum Crimen, Zagreb, 1948, p. 609; excerpt from the memorandum sent to

the Nazi Commander in Chief in Serbia by the Beograd Archbishop, July 1941.

44

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

searches for disappeared relatives, ordered and voluntary interstate and international migrations and attempts to reorganise normal life?33
Besides, who could have registered and reported entire Serbian villages completely destroyed and burned to the ground, with no survivors? Which
church registries of births and deaths together with their priests disappeared
without a trace as Guti had requested?
Or all those Serbian children who were brought to Jasenovac (never registered) and obviously often thrown in the depths of the Sava River, as confirmed by Diana Budisavljevi in her diary many times over:
We did not find a single child. I later found out that most of those children
died in Jasenovac, they apparently used to put them in boats and sink them
in the middle of the river (...)34
This great, extremely noble and brave woman saved around 12,000 Serbian
children from the death camps in Croatia in 1941-1945 (authors note: another paragraph from her diary about the intentions of the Croatian regime
in that period: ... terrible accusation against the Ustashas, who want to destroy the children of an entire nation ... she says all children and that expression can only mean all children of a nationally determined human community without exception, because every exception by the nature of things,
would have to explicitly imply not identifying with the concerned nation)
how many did not she manage to save or even register and save from oblivion?
What were the numbers of the above-mentioned (in)voluntary migrants
forced to resettle between the end of the war and the first census (1945-1948),
or between the two censuses (1948-1964)? By whom, how often, to what end
and how thorough, systematic or reliable was the statistical recording?
It means that the number of possible genocide victims in Croatia between
1941 and 1945 who were never registered anywhere either in registries of
births and population censuses before the war or dungeons and concentration
camps, i.e. numerous and completely destroyed villages in 1941-1945, or the

33
34

Compare: www. http://forum.b92.net/topic/50758-ukupan-broj-ustaskih-zrtava/


Note of 23 August 1943.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

census immediately after the war is unknown, that is, it is at least an insufficiently exact and unreliable constant.
This further means that statistics or the total exact number of individually
named Serbian citizens before and after the war and Serbocide in the territory of the NDH can only conditionally be accepted as such a (unquestionable,
because it is based on mathematics) starting and ending point.
That the mentioned population censuses in this area can quickly become absurd is shown in a popular article on the Croatian Wikipedia (October 2013),
which claims that in the Croatian territory in that period there were no casualties at all amongst Serbs, on the contrary, their population increased in
that period for about 120,000 people:
The number of killed Serbs in the territory of the Independent State of Croatia during World War II can be estimated by comparing the results of the
population census results before and after the war, in 1931 and 1948. The
NDH covered the territory of todays Croatia, except for the area of Baranja,
the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina and Srem. The population census for this
area in 1931 showed 1,790,000 Serbs, while in 1948 there were 1,829,000
Serbs. In order to compare this number with the results from before the war,
we need to subtract the number of Muslims who registered as Yugoslavs and
add those who migrated to Vojvodina or abroad; it comes to 1,907,000 of
true Serbs.35
There is no need to emphasise how the criteria of positive historical science
and moral parameters of philosophy value this mathematical and statistical
absurd, which noticeably serves the purpose of the ideological apologetics
concerning the Serbocide in Croatia in 1941-1945.
Such public statements serve only the permanent apologetic campaign of a
large part of the Croatian scientific, political and clerical elite, characterised
in a Croatian scientific publication by a prominent German historian, Holm
Sundhaussen, as follows:
What is described as the Auschwitz lie by right-oriented radicals and NeoNazi circles in Germany and other countries is the Jasenovac lie for nationalist circles in Croatia, or the so-called Jasenovac fairy tale. In both cases it
35

hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srbi_u_NDH:_Broj_rtava.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

is about the devaluation of numerically inexact and poorly documented


crimes to a dimension beyond recognition or even full denial. Both cases are
about the cleansing of their respective national past, where mass killings are
described as empty slender and historical fabrications.36
Let us remember the fact that all historical sources related to the genocide of
Jews (Holocaust, Shoah) very convincingly assume 6,000,000 Jewish victims,
and at the same time even the Memorial Centre Yad Vashem has a list of
names or statistically verified victims, of about just over 4,000,000.37
Therefore, one third is missing here as well, almost 2,000,000 victims identified by name.
One of the examples belonging to that entirety of historical sources regarding
the Holocaust is the statement of a German witness and SS intelligence officer, lieutenant colonel Wilhelm Httl who testified before the Nuremberg
tribunal that Adolf Eichmann personally told him that around 4,000,000
Jews were killed in Nazi concentration camps and around 2,000,000 in other
execution sites.38
In fact, there are no plausible reasons why Httl or Eichmann would lie and
the same is true for the Jasenovac commander at the time, former Franciscan, Miroslav Filipovi (another direct eyewitness here mentioned with respect to Serbocide39), who in relation to Jasenovac, on 25 June 1946, said before the post-war investigation authorities: Vjekoslav Maks Luburic who

36 Holm Sundhaussen, A review of the German edition of Jurevis book Origin of the
Jasenovac myth, Radovi Croatian History Institute, 41, Zagreb, 2009, p. 483.
37

Yad Vashem, 21 December 2010: 4 Million Victims of Holocaust Identified; de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust.


38 IMT: Der Nrnberger Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher. Nachdruck Mnchen
1989, Vol. XXXI, p. 85 (Document 2738-PS). Testimony of this witness (published under
the pseudonym Walter Hagen) has already been cited regarding the Serbocide in Croatia in
1941-1945, where he served for a while.
39 Also: Eugen Drewermann, Jesus von Nazareth: Befreiung zum Frieden, Walter, 1996,
p. 694; Also: Verein Romano Centro, Roma: das unbekannte Volk, Schicksal und Kultur,
Bhlau, 1994, p. 101.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

was the camp Commander-in-Chief for the longest period of time and probably kept records, told me that around 500,000 people had been killed
there.40 He had nothing to gain or lose either.
Their testimonies surely have to be compared and checked against the entire
historical sources where they primarily belong.
The mentioned Vjekoslav Maks Luburic organised a celebration on 9October 1942 in the concentration camp Jasenovac and formally awarded gold
and silver medals to the deserving camp guards. On that occasion, he said:
We have killed more people here in Jasenovac in a year than the Ottoman
Empire did during its entire presence in Europe.41
Let us not forget other similar (but differently conditioned) difficulties in
determination of the exact number of victims in the genocide of Roma
(Porajmos), which in turn derive from partly nomadic lifestyle, absence from
population censuses, etc.
The Central Council of Sinti and Roma in Germany, for example, assume the
count of around 500,000 victims. Gratton Puxton uses similar numbers
(1979).42 Michael Zimmermann, however, talks about probably 94,000 victims (2003)43, while Donald Kenrick (and Gratton Puxton in later studies,

40

Private archive of Vladimira Dedijer, published in: V. Dedijer, Vatikan i Jasenovac, Beograd, 1987, p. 389. Compare the official minutes cited below by the State Commission to Investigate the Crimes of the Nazis and Their Allies from 1945, which confirm the statement
given by Filipovi.
41 Wolf Oschlies, Das Kroatische KZ Jasenovac, Das balkanische Auschwitz. Zukunft
braucht Erinnerung Shoa.de. Also compare: Sofsky, Wolfgang: Die Ordnung des Terrors Das Konzentrationslager, Frankfurt a.M. 1993. Also: Gutman, Israel / Eberhard Jckel /
Peter Longerich (ed.): Enzyklopdie des Holocaust. Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der
europischen Juden. Mnchen, 1998 .
42 Gratton Puxon, Verschleppte Wiedergutmachung, in: Tilman Zlch (ed.), In Auschwitz
vergast, bis heute verfolgt, Reinbek, 1979, pp. 149-161, here: p. 159.
43 Michael Zimmermann: Die nationalsozialistische Verfolgung der Zigeuner. Ein berblick. In: Yaron Matras, Hans Winterberg, Michael Zimmermann (Hrsg.): Sinti, Roma,
Gypsies. Sprache Geschichte Gegenwart. Berlin 2003, pp. 115153, here: p. 138; See also:
Der Vlkermord an Sinti und Roma. In: LeMO (Deutsches Historisches Museum).

48

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

2009) estimates around 200,000 Roma were deliberately killed or died


through starvation or lack of medical attention.44

***
Another reason for questioning the singular use of statistical method (identification of victims by name) is, for example, the fact that numerous primary
historical sources, as mentioned, undoubtedly testify of the frequently used
method in Jasenovac, when newcomers would be killed immediately upon
their arrival at the camp grounds, due to capacity overfilling. They would be
mass killed and thrown into the Sava or burnt in blast furnaces.45
They were killed before any kind of registration.
It is significant that even Pavelis Primary living in a circular letter sent
to all commanding offices in 1941, also confirms that camp Jasenovac is of
unlimited (underlined by the author) capacities...46
Since, naturally, there is no such a physical space that can claim to be having
unlimited admission capacity, that document emphasized with great proba-

44

Donald Kenrick/Gratton Puxon, Gypsies under the Swastika, Hatfield (UK) 2009, p.
153, quoted after: Fings/Opfermann, ibid, p. 344.
45 Those furnaces were designed and adapted to the purpose of burning alive and dead people by Ustasha colonel Dominik Hinko Piccili. Memorial site Jasenovac (http://www.juspjasenovac.hr/Default.aspx?sid=6248) writes: He enlisted with Ustasha forces in 1942 and
soon was appointed commander of labour division at camp III Ciglana Jasenovac. He held
that position until the end of 1944, when he was appointed commander-in-chief of the
camp. According to the prisoners testimonies, he personally designed and built a primitive
crematorium out of blast furnaces, where both alive and killed prisoners were burnt in the
period from February to May 1942. Since the beginning of 1945 he organised, together
with former commanders of the camp III Ciglana, Ljubo Milos, Dinko Sakic and Miroslav
Filipovi-Majstorovi, the cremation of killed and deceased prisoners in order to cover the
tracks and hide the committed crimes. He participated in the liquidations of the remaining
prisoners in April 1945.
46 Facsimile published in: V. Umeljic, Die Besatzungszeit und das Genozid in Yugoslawien
1941-1945, Graphics High Publishing, Los Angeles, 1994 and again here, in Mala fototeka
Srbocida u hrvatskoj drzavi 1941-1945.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

bility the rapid fluctuation of prisoners and relentless discharge of prisoners by the Ustashas, i.e. they would diligently free up some space in the
concentration camp Jasenovac to maintain unlimited capacity.
In practice, it means mass killings, because Jasenovac was in principle the
last stop for the prisoners and their release was extremely rare.
Let us mention (conclusively) with regard to the issue of determining the
number of victims in this concentration camp system, the introduction to the
report by the National committee for the investigation of crimes committed
by the occupiers and their supporters from 1945, which is elaborated (with
regard to the criminal nature of prisoner treatment) and at the same time
insufficient (with regard to the quantity of the committed crimes, i.e. number
of victims).
The first paragraph already briefly outlines the entire issue:
The National committee could not find any written documents about the
crimes in the Jasenovac camp. The Ustasha criminals had destroyed all documentation in order to erase all traces of this unprecedented torture chamber, which was, without doubt, one of the bloodiest of all the Nazi camps in
Europe by the severity and cruelty of crimes. However, even if those records
kept by the camp management had been saved, they could not have served
as reliable sources of data regarding the number of victims. As found from
the testimonies given by witnesses, the victims who were killed there had not
always been registered and recorded.47

47

Croatian State Archives, HR-HDA-306, Croatian national committee for the investigation
of the crimes of the occupiers and their supporters, (fund), Zagreb. See also: Z. Kantolic,
Djelovanje anketne komisije 1945 u Zagrebu: Utvrdjivanje zlocina kulturne suradnje s
neprijateljom.
Also: arhinet.arhiv.hr/_.../ArhivskeJedinice.PublicDetails.a...

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CONCLUDING IMPLICATIONS OF THE ISSUE OF


DETERMINING THE NUMBER OF GENOCIDE
VICTIMS (USING 1941-1945 SERBOCIDE AS AN
EXAMPLE)
The room for scientific uncertainty and irresponsible speculation regarding
this very complex issue (here relating to Serbocide) firstly depends on the
following factors:
Croatian authorities, being part of the defeated Hitlers alliance in World War
II, were consistently and systematically destroying documentation and other
material evidence of their crimes at the end of the war, and to a large extent
succeeded.
The leader of Croatian state in that period, Ante Paveli submitted the official
archives before he fled the country to the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Zagreb and president of the Croatian Bishop Conference, Aloysius Stepinac,
who then forwarded most of it to the Vatican. The Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, however, have kept refusing to make that precious historical material available to science ever since.48
The post-war regime of the Croatian communist Tito also consistently and
consequently interfered and even forbade exhumations and identifications at
well known execution sites (e.g. Jasenovac), large number of underground
caves in Herzegovina used by genocidal killers in the service of the NDH as
mass graves for Serbs were even cemented, etc.
During the entire Titos reign of about half a century, it was politically incorrect for scientists to deal with this subject, which could have had serious

48

Archives of the Croatian Republic Secretariat of Internal Affairs, Zagreb. There were
findings kept under number 001050-31 in those archives, discovered inside a basement
wall at Stepinacs residence: a small part of the official documentation of the Independent
State of Croatia, Stepinacs diaries, vinyl records with recorded speeches Pavelic had held
and part of the gold from the state treasury, primarily gold dentures, taken from victims
across numerous concentration camps. See also: Ulrich Schiller: Deutschland und seine
Kroaten Vom Ustasa-Faschismus zu Tudjmans Nationalismus, Preface Hans Koschnick /
Donat-Verlag Bremen, 2010.

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consequences in the communist regime, imprisonment and even worse. Social sciences, unfortunately, complied to the dictate almost without exception.
Even the most exact science, mathematics, or in this case statistics, was forced
to partly rely on (its theoretical twin sister in the field of stochastics) probability theory, therefore to deal with estimates, since the population census
from 1941 had not been found, so the calculations were based on results from
the censuses made in 1921 and 1931. Once again, according to numerous primary German, Italian, Vatican historical sources, Croatian state had already killed as many Serbs in 1941-1942 as Koovi and erjavi assumed
should have been killed in total by the end of the war in 1945. How logical is
it or how likely that the Serbocide had already been completed in 1942 and
Nazi and fascist witnesses giving testimonies from then until 1945 fabricated
and arbitrarily exaggerated the number of the killed, all up to the enormous
figure of 750,000 victims? Finally, was the Jewish survivor and qualified witness of his time (later prominent researcher of genocide), Zeev Milo also fabricating when he described the attitude of the Croatian state towards Serbs
in 1941-1945 with a single sentence: Mass destruction of the Serbian population during the entire four years of Ustasha terror knew no breaks (underlined by the author)?
The review of this material has revealed another concluding and very interesting quantitative (and consequently qualitative) constellation between the
testimonies of the witnesses on the one and statistics on the other hand, both
regarding the total number of Serbocide victims and the number of victims
from the concentration camp system Jasenovac:
There is an obvious difference between according to direct and qualified
historical witnesses after the war about 750,000 Serbian victims in total, as
opposed to statistical assumptions of 370,000 (Koovi) or 335,000 (erjavi).
The difference, roughly speaking, is about 370,000 people.
There is also an obvious difference between according to direct and qualified historical witnesses hundreds of thousands (among them the smallest
number after the war and Serbocide was given by the former Franciscan Filipovi, about 500,000, while a report by General von Horstenau from 1944
claimed that between 300,000 and 400,000 people were killed in Jasenovac
by the end of 1943) and so far about 130,000 statistically verified victims

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

from Jasenovac. The difference in this case, roughly speaking, is about


370,000 people.
Could this coincidence be only a coincidence?
Because the claim that it is yet another consequential evidence of the exactness or justification for its own methodology alone, which both these particular sciences could indicate, would have had a one-sided and thus insufficient
reach, it would serve primarily as an alibi to its own and singular infallibility, as an attempt to explain the unwillingness to recognise what definitely
is a common problem.
In both cases the entire NDH and Jasenovac once again, it is in fact the
same (disputed) number of Serbocide victims, credibly given by the historical sources, while statistics due to various, largely objective reasons so far
has not been able to verify it by its own methodology.
Thus appear glimpses of a ligature in the enormous divergence between the
results of these two sciences, if for a moment we stop insisting on any of the
currently valid absolute and singularly postulated numbers. At the same time,
there is another evidence to the need for multidisciplinary collaboration instead of confrontation:
If we start from the logical assumption that Nazi and fascist witnesses and
genocidal perpetrators (for example former commander in chief at Jasenovac, Filipovi) and Serbocide victims (for example valid testimonies of the
Jasenovac survivors) have not succumbed to a collective brainwashing by
a higher power or a mysterious mass psychosis that has hit Germans, Italians,
Croats and Serbs and even for example the (French) Roman Curia Cardinal
Tisserant in the Vatican, who confirmed on 6 March 1942 his discovery of
over 350,000 Serbocide victims until then, therefore sworn enemies and allies at the same time, killers and their tutors, i.e. victims, which is why they
all eagerly fabricated and arbitrarily exaggerated the number of killed Serbs,
then the following question can legitimately be opened for discussion:
Since we are talking about approximately the same number of the presumed
existing victims, postulated by direct and qualified historical sources both in
the NDH and Jasenovac, who are statistically postulated as the presumably
non-existing number because they could not be found due to various rea-

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sons, is it then sufficiently logical to presume with sufficient probability (scientific scepticism) that statistics due to mentioned weaknesses and deficiencies at this point is not giving the true reflection of (definite, constant) reality?

Note: All attempts to answer the consequential question of whether the mentioned statistical deficiencies may include the entire difference in current estimates (about 370,000 victims) in both Jasenovac and the entire NDH territory, would at this point be only speculative.
Koovi himself, however, revealed that in his calculation of 1,014,000 people killed during World War II in Yugoslavia, while demographic losses were
1,925,000, the possibility of calculation error is +/ 250,000 victims (underlined by the author).49
In theory, this conclusion alone could resolve to a great extent the seemingly
impossible to overcome difference between statistics and the primary sources
of historical science of several hundred percent in estimation of the total
number of Serbian victims (which, yet again, does not change anything in
the reasonably presumed unverifiability of ivanovis final assumption of
about 700,000 dead at Jasenovac alone, and also reasonably assumed number
of about 750,000 victims in the entire territory of the NDH, but supports his
initial position on possibly hundreds of thousands).
In the meantime, erjavi has been compromised as a scientist (see below).
The issue of the number of victims in any given genocide is extremely important because (among other important reasons such as legal and moral
sanction of the crime, cherishing of the prophylactic principle Never
again!, etc.) with all due respect to the loyalty of certain sciences to their
own methodologies, the added issue here (and in humanistic terms even primary) is one of respect for the ethical and moral imperative which surpasses
all sciences, or the respect for the only remaining right of the innocent people
who were killed, the right not to be forgotten, not to lose posthumously the
status of human beings and victims of other, extremely deviant human beings.

49

See also: [http://www.knjigainfo.com/index.php?gde=@http 3A//www.knjigainfo.com

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Only animals sink into oblivion after death and by doing so no one has the
right to confirm, justify or give an alibi to ideologists and those who gave
orders, but most of all to direct perpetrators of genocide, typically normal
people (Hanna Arendt, The Banality of Evil), to confirm that those before
them were merely anthropomorphic creatures, worthless and alien, because
they were radically dehumanised by the usurpers of the ownership of definitions, nothing but lower biological species or a species of animals.
The final question that remains open is whether the concentration camp system Jasenovac could have counted for additional tens or even hundreds or
thousands of victims nowhere registered (long-time commander at Jasenovac, Vjekoslav Maks Luburic said in 1942: We managed to kill here in
Jasenovac alone more people in a year than the Ottoman Empire did during
its entire presence in Europe!) and without the usual graves, because they
were:
Burnt (dead or alive),
Thrown into the River Sava, like for example Serbian children who were
never counted or registered anywhere (testimony by Diana Budisavljevi),
Killed in the surrounding or remote fields (as testified by witness Karl Huber) and impossible to find after the war, i.e. impossible to identify or forensically determine the place of their deaths,
Lying in unopened and unexplored mass graves in about 210km2 of the former concentration camp system Jasenovac, which ivanovi has been rightly
warning about for decades, and not accepted by todays statistics not even in
theory (=mathematical probability theory) because it simply cannot bring
them in line with its (reasonably presumed) exact, but still only a singular
methodology.
The authors position on this matter is that it is definitely possible due to the
existence of many reliable historical sources, and axiomatic assumptions of
the mathematical probability theory, therefore deserves and requires further
research. The question of the number of genocide victims in Croatia in 19411945 remains open, at the very least.
The credit for that goes to Srboljub ivanovi, among others.

55

PhD Svetozar Livada

THE VICTIM IS ALWAYS RIGHT

The European Union Commissioner for Refugees asked me in a lengthy letter: Why did all this happen to the Serbs in the Republic of Croatia? What
about their individual or collective guilt?
I replied briefly:
Serbs are victims of a historical unpunished crime. Historical guilt of
collectivity does not exist. Historical crime of a nation does not require
faults of the nation itself the collectivity. Historical crime is the crime
affecting the people and their institutions, goods, homes and heritage
including cemeteries, etc. Mr. Commissioner, crimes are always
concrete and actionable. My concern is finding at least the facts that go
in favour of shedding the light on the essence of guilt, responsibility
and scope of the crime.

Studying the racial laws and genocide policy of the NDH, execution sites (for
example: in my wider homeland, the polygon of death, there were 170 execution sites with more than 30,000 citizens murdered), the fate of 82 concentration camps, persecution, ethnic cleansing, I have come to the fundamental
guilt of statehood doctrines and ideology networked partly with clerical fascism. Within this, I found one of the most important subjects of these ideological grounds, the so-called historic entrepreneur clerical fascism of the
Catholic Church. Clerical fascism is the worst form of fascism. For example,
the local church has not, even after seventy years, condemned fascism or the
fascists from its ranks. Clerical fascism has lived here in these areas as a constant cause of almost all historical troubles of Serbs in Croatia. The Serbs as
Orthodox Christians only ritually differ from the Catholic Croats. However,
the attitude of Cardinal Stepinac against the Serbs during the Second World
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

War was morbid. Just listen to this statement: If a Serb and a Croat were
cooked, the soup would separate in two. Elsewhere in his diary, he states:
As far as Orthodoxy is concerned, there are no humans, honesty, morality,
truth,... Therefore, the people were completely negated as human beings. It
is widely known that the Serbs came to this region (Croatia) during the great
migration of peoples, especially after the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
Although the Serbs together with Croats built their national consciousness,
defended the integrity of these areas, hence, fighting the expansion of the
Turkish Empire, there has always been contradictory attitudes of the Catholic Church towards Orthodoxy. Serbs were living on the borders, bulwarks
of Christianity and swallowed the bitter fates of horses and heroes for the
defence of that bulwark where heads would burst like pumpkins, and bones
like cordwood, as a poet said, it never meant anything to some Catholics.
Some resourceful connoisseur summed up these sufferings in these verses:
Krajina is a blood-stained dress, lunch with blood, dinner with blood, everyones chewing on some bloody bites. Whole generations of Serbs died defending this bulwark border of Christianity.
Moreover, Serbs fought in the areas where the Austrian Empire was fighting,
and in some Napoleonic wars too. The position of Serbs is best realised when
dossiers of 180 Krajina generals are studied. Each of them, regardless of ability, merit, experience or military heroism had to be converted to Catholicism
if they were not Catholics. There was a man who did not want to do so and
got hold of the bitter fate, Mihailo Mikainovi. As a researcher I noticed a
document from the 17th century near Velika close to Slavonska Poega,
where more than 400 Orthodox Christians who did not want to become Catholics were executed. Some would say its the most brutal echo of religious
wars in Europe of the time on this soil. When you read the most profound
texts of the father of the homeland Starevi, the diary of Holly Stepinac,
then you can see the views and standpoints toward Orthodox religion and
Orthodox people, which leads to absurdity, to the negation of Serbs as human
beings. It is sufficient to mention, according to Bogdan Koovi, that more
than 400,000 Serbs were executed in the NDH. In addition to those killed,
240,000 Serbs were converted to Catholicism, which, through his Nunciate,
Pope Pius XII assessed as the victory of Catholicism, and we all know how
Baptism was going on especially in three churches: Glina, Kolari and
Sadilovac by massacre and mallets.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

All these processes that happened to the Serbs forced me to determine the
number of Serbs by a mathematical method of extrapolation regardless of
any natural and mechanical movements within their corpus if there had not
been genocide and ethnic cleansing. Following this mathematical logic there
would have to be 1,600,000 Serbs in Croatia today but unfortunately there
are only 186,000 people according to the last census of 2011. It is much more
than a demographic collapse. It is a complete biological disaster within the
Serbian corpus with no possibility of a biological renewal because families
impaired by national return policies are reduced solely to the dying elderly
population. We have to remember that the average age of the overall Serbian
population at the last 2011 census was 53.1 years, and for peasants it was 58.5
years.
This logic speaks for itself meaning it is a balance resulting from the
historical crimes. The interest of the state that destroys its own society was
raised above life and death by the state-forming movement, without limiting
it to the Serbs only, but also to Croats to a great extent, Catholics, especially
by following Tumans concept (The Norval Programme of the Lustration
of Serbs to reduce them to three percent, and war-scorched earth).
It was horrible; I was troubled with being able to hear Tuman's speech a few
months before the elections in 1990. He came to my atelier probably thinking
of making me become his Augustini and enthusiastically began talking
about it.
Croatian people must get their own state with blood, that we (he with
the HDZ) will do what Paveli failed to do in 1941, that 50 percent of
Serbs will pack their suitcases and move away and the remaining 50
percent will have to become Croats or disappear! I replied and told him
he was crazy and that he should seek treatment and from then on, I
stopped any contact with him. Reasoning for working on the Viva la
muerte as a response to Tumans terrible cynicism and callousness,
was found in one of his speeches to the mothers and widows of the Croatian defenders in 1993, which were posthumously awarded medals by
the words that they needed to be happy and delighted since their sons
and husbands died for Croatia!'1

Identitet, no. 61, 2003, p. 8-11, conversation between Mira Babi uvar and Edo Murti

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

It should always be borne in mind that the existential necessity of Serbs for
becoming antifascists was threatened by racial laws. Tuman ordered that all
antifascist monuments be brought down to delete the history by counterrevolution realising what Paveli, due to antifascism itself, could not realise.
Operation Storm alone destroyed over 24,000 village houses and over 13,000
commercial buildings, 182 cooperative houses, 56 clinics, 78 churches, 29
museums, 181 cemeteries, 325 shops, 113 water supply systems, 96 substations, 167 industrial facilities, 920 monuments, 211 taverns, 410 craft shops,
118 warehouses. There is a complete elimination of Serbian toponyms. Unpunished to this day! More than 200,000 Croats moved in the best building
through the colonisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia has lost more
through conversion, to be more precise the robbery of the century than
through its war-time evil deeds.
By stealing past labour and imposing capitation on current labour, the most
productive generations die three and a half years earlier, which is the toll of
counter-revolution, the transfer of social to private ownership.
By living in this area for centuries Serbs have become to resemble Croats
more than themselves due to the fact they have lived in their environment
according to their customs, laws and obligations. Therefore, until recently in
relation to the number of Croats, every fourth person was Serbian which is
now reduced to every twenty-third person. They were subject to destruction
in 82 concentration camps, hundreds of mass graves, tens of thousands of
individual executions on their own doorsteps, fields, roads, at public meetings
and so on. A brutal killing of 213 priests and destruction of 240 Orthodox
church buildings, aiming to eradication of Orthodox religion. By Norval Programme in the 1990s, the Serbs were intimidated, robbed, persecuted, killed
based on the leopard skin model and finally deprived of any rights in an organised and government-programmed way. By following the programme of
complete displacement from rural areas, nearly 230,000 farmers were deported together with 124,000 city Serbs. For example, just in the city of Split
more than 10,000 Serbs were expelled, and almost 12,000 Serbs were thrown
out of Karlovac in three days. The ethnicities were not hated so much as their
stolen goods were loved.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

So after not punishing the acts of robbery, it was like: Come on, looters!
Serbs lost their elites after tenancy rights in cities were seized. Approximately 60,000 dwelling units were taken away with all their contents, without
any punishment. This programme of attacks on Serbs attacked toponymy,
onomastics, cadastre, history, conducted culture-cide and rural-cide and
even the Serbian cemeteries were given to colonised Croats. For example, by
destroying books more than four million books were destroyed under the
guise of the destruction of the Cyrillic script although the Cyrillic belongs to
Slavic groups together with the Croatian alphabet, too. Nowadays, there are
irrational fights in Vukovar against the Cyrillic script, and people regret that
the logic of Operation Storm had not been applied in Eastern Slavonia too.
Nothing was spared in the war. People, institutions, sanctuaries; the Museum
of Orthodoxy in Zagreb was mined together with Home and Museum of the
builders of the civilisation of Nikola Tesla; neither the Tesla Monument in
Gospi was spared. Integral nationalism of the nation-state, nominally titled
the Republic, statehood contingents obscured the mind to the extent that they
are now threatened by the remaining Serbs in Croatia through the Cyrillic
script. They go back to the 1990s. They have allowed only the elderly to return to die in their homes.
Here is what Tuman, the blacksmith of war said: Croatia has addressed the
Serbian issue in Croatia. We have accepted the return of some of the Serbs in
Croatia in order to prevent any attacks on Croatia and any remarks that Croatia is a continuation of the NDH and that it does want to have a single Serb.
We have resolved the Serbian issue and there will no longer be 12 percent of
Serbs or 6 percent of Yugoslavs like before. And the remaining 3 percent will
not endanger the Croatian state. (No more 12 percent of Serbs! - Franjo
Tuman, President of the Republic of Croatia at the opening of the war school
of Ban Josip Jelai in Zagreb, 15 December 1998). This is what I call the
logic of nation-building euthanasia. In these areas, no single pilot project for
the reconstruction of Serbian villages has been achieved or any nursing home
or palliative institutions constructed, no industrial zone, let alone destroyed
infrastructure (electricity, road networks, plumbing, phones, etc.). For example, over 52,000 pensioners live today in Serbia, displaced Serbs from Croatia whose pensions have been denied, their home-ground devastated, primary groups families destroyed, meaning that they are existence in exile is
under threat. That dishonour to the Serbs as a nation goes into the core of the
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Serbian corpus, in which they are not guilty at all, except for those for whom
a specific crime can be established due to the armed conflict, and doubtless
there was a considerable number of such cases among the Serbs in the entire
area affected by the war. No one can pardon them for that, I in the least!
Crime is punishable.
I could continuously cite plenty of details about what the consequences of
mechanical, social and spatial breaking of the families as the primary group
means. However, since neither the country of exile nor the country of acceptance adheres to the laws and conventions, victims will suffer without anyone being punished. However, the government of Croatia practically took
position on collective guilt and passed the Law on National Minorities, which
is a classic Kelsenism because all national identities of ethnic minorities were
reduced to one third, and the Serbian corpus massacred to the level of inability of biological renewal. They do not implement the laws, yet advertise it to
Europe.
Therefore, Serbian guilt exists only in specific forms of war crimes of individuals, while Serbian collective guilt does not exist, nor can it exist, but it is
treated in the process of practical application to the collectivity. Serbs are
even considered to be foreigners, guests, through its representative in the
European Parliament.
If I, dear Sir, I replied the Commissioner for Refugees of the European Union were to describe to you the torture in Kuline, Lora near Split, Gospi,
Sisak, Zagreb, Kerestinec, Pakraka Poljana, Osijek and other places you
could not believe such kind of atrocity, unpunished.
Finally, to conclude, the Serbs have not only lost their constitutionality, but
also citizenship and all their properties, no matter when they came here and
when the living ones were born. I repeat, more than 52,000 pensioners were
denied pensions while living as refugees in Serbia. All the past labour of their
generations has been taken away from them. It sounds grotesque with devastating consequences. Croatia paid about 32 million Euros for the defence of
Gotovina and Marka alone before the ICTY. If I showed you court rulings of
some innocent Serbs and their rationales you would not believe that a Turkish custom has returned to this land: Qadi sues you, Qadi tries you! [Its a
kangaroo court! t/n]

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Therefore, my dear wise and noble Sir, the Serbian issue in Croatia practically does not exist, but rather the issue of the Croatian state and its attitude
towards the Serbs. This attitude of historical crimes against Serbs is the result
achieved by Croats with an enormous assistance of the international community without punishment. They introduced themselves to themselves and the
world as a victim with huge historical crimes, but without any Croatian guilt.
If they could decide to accept Croatia into the European Union, they should
not have accepted it with the burden of such crimes, a large number of unpunished murders, plunder and expulsion of a huge number of Serbs.
My dear Sir, this is a brief answer to your question Why and how did all this
happen to the Serbs.

63

Bogdan Petkovi

WHY DID PARTISAN UNITS NOT


LIBERATE THE JASENOVAC CAMP?

Some time in 1988 or 1989, the Belgrade weekly Svet published an article
about why the Partisans did not attack the camp Jasenovac and liberate the
prisoners from that monstrous camp. It stated that we had divisions and
corps, but that there was no political will to do it. It also claimed, as far as I
remember, that there had been a plan, but that it was cancelled at the last
moment by Dr Vladimir Bakari. I joined that debate because I was a former
prisoner of the Jasenovac camp and I had spent 135 days in it. I was deported
to Jasenovac on 5th October 1944 as a captured Partisan soldier and arrived
at the camp in German uniform. On 18th February 1945, I was deported from
the camp, along with 300-400 other prisoners, to work in Germany, so I
incidentally managed to leave Jasenovac alive.
I explained the position of the camp and described the barbed wire, the camp
wall which was 3-3.5 m high and which encircled the entire camp and on it
were 7 (seven) watchtowers with heavy machine guns. Then, there was a
powerful Ustasha garrison and most prisoners were placed in only 6 (six)
living quarters. I stated that it would be pointless even to think that anyone
could have been rescued from the hands of those bloodthirsty Ustashas,
because, in a critical moment, they would have killed all the prisoners. I
cannot remember all the details of that dispute, but I do remember that one
strategist replied with a condescending tone: Hey, I'm so scared of those
towers of yours, because they were a piece of cake for him. Some people
thought that such a military action was possible and surely feasible, but,
unfortunately, it was cancelled by Dr Vladimir Bakari. Let's put aside the
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

fact that in this kind of military action Dr Bakari would have the final
decision, because Croatian and Bosnian Partisan units would have to be
coordinated.
The subject of not liberating the camp Jasenovac was discussed in the Second,
Fourth and Fifth Jasenovac conference, which were all held in Banja Luka
between 2000 and 2011 and which I participated in.
It should be noted that this issue was not raised by our military leaders from
the 6th and 10th Corps, Partisans of that region or senior party officials from
the area. This issue was raised by writers, various literati, that is people who
are not competent in this area and also people who are not from these parts.
None of those experts stated in what type of geographical location the camp
Jasenovac was positioned, i.e. that it was located between the railway line,
and at that time also road, Zagreb - Beograd and the River Sava. Anyone who
has not fought in a war in this terrain has no idea what the railway line
Vienna - Zidani Most - Zagreb - Beograd - Salonika meant for the enemy,
that is it was the lifeline for supplying German army group C in Greece.
Constantly patrolling that railway line were armoured trains, dislocated
strong garrisons while all bridges, crossings or overpasses were protected
with concrete bunkers with permanent crews. Enemy units deployed in
garrisons on the railway line surpassed the total number troops in 6th and 10th
Corps.
As a Partisan of the Moslavina Partisan detachments, a member of the 2nd
Moslavina Brigade and the Matija Gubec Brigade, I crossed that railway line
and took part in its demolition, but not a single unit has ever been on the
railway line during the day. Never has any unit, to the best of my knowledge,
attacked any garrison on the railway line with the goal of taking control of it.
It is true that the 10th Corps had the 3rd Sabotage detachment made up of two
battalions, of which the stronger one was deployed for sabotages on the
railway between Dugo Selo and Banova Jaruga, while the other was deployed
on the railway Zagreb - Krievci - Koprivnica. During the entire war period,
19 armoured trains were blown up, of which only one was completely
destroyed, while the others were merely damaged and after repairs were put
back on patrol again.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

I would like to say that my brigade, 2nd Moslavina Brigade, on 29 t h March


1944, was in the village Oborova, that is between the River Sava and the
railway line Zagreb - Beograd. The brigade was surrounded and, in that
battle, two battalions were decimated. The outcome was 156 killed Partisans
and 11 lost machine guns. Anyone who hasn't fought in this area cannot have
an idea what the railway line Zagreb - Beograd meant and why the enemy
used such force to control and defend it.
None of those criticisers from the weekly Svet, nor anyone of the people
who raised the issued in Jasenovac Conferences mention how great of a risk
it would have been to engage in this military action. Wasn't it necessary to
consider what the Ustashas would have done to the prisoners if it had become
apparent that the action would be successful? Personally, I believe that they
would have executed all the prisoners. In that case, what would be the point
of the action, of the sacrifice? In case of failure, which was more than likely,
how could such an attempt, whose success was questionable, be justified?
Today, we witness situations where even the world's superpowers, when they
are in a position to rescue their citizens taken hostage, despite all the
technology that is at their disposal cannot save hostages. An obvious example
would be the capturing of the entire American embassy in Tehran. Their
agony lasted for a full year, because there was no possible way to have a
rescue mission and keep the hostages alive.
The frequently asked question of why was that slaughter house, that is the
camp Jasenovac, allowed to operate all until 22 n d April 1945 could be
answered with a counter-question: why wasn't a second front created in
France in 1941, 1942 or 1943, but only in 1944? During these first three
years, did actual conditions exist for a successful landing and were they
promising? It is known that Russians greatly pressured the western Allies to
create a second front. However, even the Russians wouldn't have benefited
from Allies creating that front and failing, and instead of being successful the
Allies would have been defeated. How long would it have taken them to repeat
that kind of military action and be surely successful?
We have to keep in mind that, during the entire war, the enemy was
technically superior (that was unquestionable), it was greater in numbers
about 3-4 times, when considering all garrisons, and the enemy always had
an endless supply of ammunition and other lethal ordnances, because they
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

had factories working for them, while we would get possession of


ammunition and explosive ordnances mostly when we managed to capture
them. Only in mid 1944, our sabotage units started using plastic explosives,
remote detonators and John Bull grenade launchers for destroying
bunkers. Up until then, for large-scale operations, our sabotage units had to
use dismantled unexploded plane bombs, which were found on the ground.

STATEMENTS OF THE RESPONSIBLE PARTISAN


COMMANDERS ABOUT JASENOVAC
Our historian, one of those who published the greatest number of detailed
documents and arguments on the camp Jasenovac, Antun Mileti, along with
his fifth book about the camp Jasenovac Killed in the concentration camp
Jasenovac 1941-1945 published a brochure NDH - concentration camp
Jasenovac 1941-1945 and in that brochure he listed statements of the
responsible Partisan commanders about the topic of Jasenovac. Here, some
of them will be quoted in the following order:

Obrad Stiovi, Commander of the Kozara Partisan detachment:


We, from Kozara, were quite familiar with the atrocities fascists did
in Jasenovac and we made various plans to liberate the prisoners. We
gathered information about Jasenovac and about enemy forces; we took
military actions toward Jasenovac and, in one of them, in Prosara, we
managed to liberate 30 prisoners, who Ustashas brought to chop wood
in the forest. We have devised ever new ways how to get boats and use
them to get to the other bank of the River Sava. In order to get close to
Jasenovac, on 22 n d April 1942, we attacked Bosanska Dubica, but all
our plans failed. Soldiers of the Kozara detachment fought to the last
not to allow the enemy to enter their villages and take new prisoners to
Jasenovac. This went on until June 1942 when a massive enemy
offensive started towards the Mountain Kozara. Then, Kozara
Partisans engaged in battle with a 15 times stronger enemy. The battle
lasted for 25 days and nights and it made them into legends.
Simply said, in the first years of the war, we could not successfully
perform such a large and complex operation. That would have been a
battle lost beforehand and we would have lost soldiers and weapons, but
we would not be able to liberate the prisoners. It would have been our

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

great defeat, a blow from which we would hardly recover. We


desperately wanted to attack that Paveli's place of execution, it would
have been a matter of great pride for us, but we could not achieve the
impossible.

Veljko Kovaevi, one of the commanders of the 6th Slavonia Corps:


An attack on Jasenovac was absolutely unfeasible. Those who attack
us now, because we didn't destroy that Ustasha death factory, could
also, by the same reasoning, criticise us for not attacking Zagreb and
Sisak or for not liberating prisoners in Banjica and Sajmite in
Belgrade. The camp Jasenovac was not an ordinary field fanced with
wire and defended with a few machine guns. It was an impenetrable
ring. The camp had such a position, it was fortified and defended in
such a way that it represented an insurmountable obstacle for our
forces. Even if the conditions had been favourable for an attack - what
would it have meant for the thousands of tortured people, how would
they have fared in the camp? They would perish. They would be killed
not only by Ustasha machine guns, but also by deadly fire. The
prisoners had no cover from bullets, since they lived in the open or in
wooden barracks, surrounded by a high wall, barbed wire, bunkers and
trenches. If the Partisan troops had had heavy weapons, it would have
been very risky to use heavy artillery in an attack on the camp.

Kovaevi emphasised that was not familiar with any examples in the Second
World War where a fascist camp was attacked. Even the Red Army did not
do that, nor did the western Allies. He continues:
In our hearts, every one of us wanted to attack Jasenovac, every
officer and every soldier. Despite the best of intentions and the moral
commitment, we could not do that. That was not an option. Not only for
the prisoners, but our units as well - an attack on Jasenovac would have
been fatal. It would have been suicide. What commissar and
commander could make that kind of decision? A reckless attack on
Jasenovac and our defeat would reflect hard on both the morale of the
units, but also on the morale of prisoners and people. Only the enemy
would benefit from that.

Josip Maar oa and Boko Siljegovi, commanderand commissar of the


Fifth Krajina strike brigade:

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

In a saved latter of the Headquarters of the 5th Krajina strike brigade


of 19th October 1942, addressed to the Headquarters of the 3rd
Operations zone of the National Liberation Army of Croatia, it can be
seen that Krajiniks suggest to Slvonians to jointly attack Dubica,
Jasenovac and Stara Gradika. The following is stated in the letter: The
most useful thing in the political sense would be to destroy Jasenovac
and in the military sense Dubica.
The reply of the Headquarters of the 3rd Operations zone of the National
Liberation Army of Croatia was sent on 26th October 1942 and it read:
Concerning your suggestion for the joint attack on Jasenovac, Dubica
and Gradika, we hold the view that these actions are not possible at this
moment and not only on our part, but on yours as well. They are
incredibly demanding actions and considering the military and
political state in our region, and in yours, they need to be forgotten (for
now)... What worries us is a large number of wounded in last actions
we undertook and we have to consider that it influences the morale of
Partisans, as well as the fact that we do not have safe hospitals, doctors
nor enough medical supplies for the effective treatment of the
woundedWe must destroy large strongholds by cutting communications to them, disabling their connections with other enemy forces,
which means fighting on roads and railway lines are the best means of
destroying enemy strongholds, especially when we do not have heavy
automatic weapons or a sufficient number of automatic weapons at our
disposal. The above mentioned places will be considered later, when we
put out of commission the main road Zagreb- Beograd, as well as the
railway line.

In its reply, the Headquarters of the 3rd Operations zone gave a cautious
evaluation of the potential attack on Jasenovac, because it best understands
the situation in that area and has insight into the uncertainty of the outcome
of that kind of operation.

Jefto ai1, at the time the commissar of the 12th Slavonia Division:

Jefto ai was born in Novska, that is near Jasenovac

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

We, Slavonia Partisans, wanted to destroy that bloody Paveli's


slaughter house more than anything else. But, wishes are one thing and
possibilities something completely else. I can now say that it is a good
thing that we didn't succumb to emotions back then and attempted that
operation, which did not stand a chance for success. We wouldn't have
accomplished anything. We would have gotten ouselves and the
prisoners killed. The result would have been dead bodies upon dead
bodies. The High Command asked us to examine, together with the
Krajiniks, the possibilities of an attack on Jasenovac. The order was
clear: a possible attack needs to be successfully executed, that is to
destroy the camp and take the prisoners to free territory. In no way can
we allow Ustashas to kill the prisoners during the attack, and the reality
of the situation was that not only wouldn't we be able to liberate the
thousands of tormented and hungry people, but we would lose our
troops as well. It was necessary to incapacitate the enemy in a very
short time period, so that it could not kill the prisoners. It would be a
massacre with incredibly severe consequences. A large number of the
prisoners were not able to move, due to illness or starvation, let alone
manage a march to Psunj.
A prominent leader of the uprising in Slavonia, Pero Car, whose
mother was killed in Jasenovac, could not make this kind of decision,
nor could Vlado Popovi, a delegate of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia in the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Croatia, whose wife Zlata egvi was behind the
barbed wire of Jasenovac, and not even Franjo Knebl, whose parents
died in Jasenovac. I, too, lost my father Jovo in Jasenovac. We didn't
have the right to take thousands of the finest sons of our country into
certain death.

Radojica Nenezi2, the Commander of the 28th Division, which entered the
camp Stara Gradika:
The interior of the camp was gruesome. Blood and brains ran down
the staircases and the carts, which were used to transport corpses to the
river, as well as the plateau over the river on which people were

The units of the 25th Strike Brigade of the Slavonia Division of the 2nd Yugoslav Army
took the concentration camp Stara Gradika on 23rd April 1945.

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executed, made out of Slavonian oak planks, were black from human
blood mixed with tannin. A heavy stench of human blood within the
camp walls was unbearable. A few soldiers, brave and strong young
men fell unconscious there. We found three infants, not more than
three weeks old, with shattered skulls and traces of butchers' knives
which were visible on their feeble bodies. In a corner of a cell, a young
woman sat with a small child (judging by her clothes, she was a Muslim
girl from Bosnia and Herzegovina). The villains set them on fire and
their bodies were still burning when we entered the cell. In short, it
was a horrible sight. I realised and will remember for as long as I shell
live that it was a reflection, or more precisely put, a result of racial,
religious, national and class differences in our region and it would have
been even worse if it hadn't been for the victory of the political and
military strategy and tactics, and the ideological and political unity of
the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.
In the camp, we also found 14 living corpses - people of whom the
largest one did not weight even 50 kg. I left the camp and remembered,
among other things, a multitude of crosses and crucifixes that hung on
the inner walls of the concentration camp.

In the fighting for the liberation of the camp Stara Gradika, an Ustasha
major, the commander of the camp, was captured and also captured were
around 100 Ustasha butchers from the camps Jasenovac, Mlaka, Krapje and
Puska; all that made the Jasenovac camp system.
From the statement of general Nenezi, it is understood that 14 people were
found alive in the camp Stara Gradika, most likely, because Ustashas did not
have enough time to execute them. There were no survivors in Jasenovac,
because even the prisoners who did not take part in the breakout were killed.
They stayed in the building of the female camp, most likely because of
exhaustion, but every last one was executed.
Red Army units liberated the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland on
27th February 1945. Journalists and cameramen entered the camp with the
units and filmed the state it was in. I think they found about 3500 live
prisoners. Truth be told, they looked like living corpses, but alive nevertheless. The crematorium was functional and the barracks were intact. The
Soviets delivered all of the footage to the western Allies to publish. However,
the western Allies did not publish it becuase they thought it was exaggerated

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and that it was part of Soviet propaganda. When the American forced entered
the camp Buchenwald, they realised that the footage filmed in Auschwitz was
authentic, only after they saw the state of things in Buchenwald. It is known
that, after the liberation of Buchenwald, an American commander ordered
that the German population in the Buchenwald area go through the camp and
witness the atrocities, about which they probably have known nothing.
Based on the above quotes of the most responsible military leaders of the 6th
Slavonia corps on all possible factors of the Jasenovac operation, it can be
seen that it was a great risk and that there was little or no chance that the
operation would be successful, that is to liberate prisoners and bring them to
safety.
Once again, the focus shifts on the significance of the railway Zagreb Belgrade, the forces allocated along it and the determination of occupiers and
their quislings to defend this link at all cost.
We should keep in mind that in the possible Jasenovac operation there could
not be any surprises, because it was necessary to cross the Zagreb - Begrade
road, as well as the railway and get control of the bunkers in Mali Strug and
Veliki Strug, after that overcome all water obstacles and only then come to
the 3-3 . 5 m high camp wall which had seven towers with machine guns and
permanent crews. The possibly created corridor would need to be defended
from the west, the direction Kutina - Sunja, from the north, direction Lipik Okuani and from the east side, the direction Stara Gradika - Pakrac. Where
could we get so many troops to hold these positions? We must not forget that
the enemy would try to cut off that corridor, because it had enough troops in
the surrounding garrisons to do that.
Also, we need to mention that the successful liberation of the prisoners from
the Lepoglava penitentiary on 13thJuly 1943 was done thanks to the fact that
Lepoglava was not located in a strategic communication point unlike the
camp Jasenovac. Due to circumstances, shortly before the attack on Lepoglava, a Home Guard artillery division from the Jalkovec garrison surrendered near Varadin, so the Partisans had at their disposal five 105 mm
howitzers, of which they only used one and disabled the others. It has to be
said that Lepoglava was a penitentiary and not a camp. There were no
executions there, only people serving their prison sentences. The fact that
some liberated communist political prisoners asked for the penitentiary
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warden to be released tells us about the conditions in the prison. The


Partisans left the criminals incarcerated.
After this operation, the penitentiary Lepoglava was rebuilt and turned into
a camp and major Ljubo Milo, a butcher from Jasenovac, was appointed its
warden.
We know that political internees from Kerestinac managed to break out
themselves in July 1941, but the action of taking them in failed, so they
were on their own. There was no one to meet them and take them to safety.
Some of them headed to Zagreb and some to umberk, but without a clear
destination. The enemy organised chase parties of gendarmes, Ustashas and
the police and most of them were killed in pursuit or later, in prisons. Very
few managed to get away. This was a significant loss, because all of them were
communists and intellectuals, such as: Prica, Adija, Cesarec, Rihtman and so
on.
After the war, there was great debate about who failed in that operation and
it was concluded that the operation was not prepared well enough and that it
was hastily organised which led to failure.
What needs to be taken into consideration is the type of Ustasha units which
secured the camp Jasenovac and also the type of units in the surrounding
garrisons. The Jasenovac garrison always had 1 - 2 battalions stationed
there, that is about 1500 - 2000 Ustashas. According to Ljubo Milo's statement, at the hearing after the war, the Ustasha defence brigade had 13 000
soldiers near the end of the war. Ustasha officers in the defence brigade were
mostly Ustasha repatriates who were hardened cutthroats. This Ustasha
defence brigade was distributed in the surrounding garrisons and their main
task was to protect the camp Jasenovac.
Finally, on 21 t h April 1945, the camp was reduced to 1073 prisoners, who
were locked up in one workshop building in the female camp. On that day,
the female camp was definitely shut down, because all 600 - 700 women
were killed.
On 22 n d April 1945, the camp was supposed to definitely be destroyed,
since, during the night between 21 s t /22 n d April, all the building in it were
mined.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The breakout was organised by members of the Communist Party of


Yugoslavia led by prisoner Ante Bakoti, a Partisan from Dalmatia. On 22nd
April 1945, around 500-600 prisoners decided to attempt a breakout, while
the others stayed behind because of exhaustion. Ustashas killed every single
person left in the building. A fortunate circumstance was that the Ustashas
did not lock the east gate and that Mile Risti, a Partisan from Kozara,
strangled an Ustasha machine gunner, grabbed his machine gun and
discharged burst fire on Ustasha towers on the camp wall. This briefly caused
confusion among Ustashas, so some prisoners managed to open the gate and
around 110 -120 prisoners managed to save their lives by escaping from the
camp. Even today, their exact number is unknown, because after the Second
World War there was no will to determine it and to decorate and show
appropriate respect and gratitude to those heroes for their feat.
We should not forget that on that day, 22 n d April 1945, the camp Jasenovac
was still not under threat by the Yugoslav Army units, because, at the time,
the front was about 30 km to the east, near Stara Gradika. If only there had
been some humaneness, humanity and kindness, the Ustashas could have
retreated peacefully and leave the camp, as the Germans had done. But, they
didn't. They had the task to kill all the prisoners, because they thought that
by doing so the truth about Jasenovac will not be found out.
I have not read anywhere that the Germans destroyed camp facilities during
their retreat, they left the prisoners there to their fate. Even in Auschwitz,
3500 prisoners were found alive.
However, when Ustashas retreated, the only things they left behind were
corpses and burned ruins. That was their signature and not only in Jasenovac.
I read that Rafael Boban, an Ustasha Colonel and Commander of the Ustasha
5 t h Active Service Brigade, during the retreat in May 1945 , ordered the
execution of all prisoners who were in prisons in that garrison.
I will give an example from my neighbouring municipality, Ivani-Grad. In
that town, for the entire war, an Ustasha garrison brigade was located. Before
their retreat to Slovenia in May 1945, they took all the prisoners out of the
prison, led them to the forest Ovrine, some 5 km away, and killed them
there. I remember the names from the memorial plaque which was erected
after World War II, but it was destroyed in the last war. On it were names:
Vaclav Kurka, Pajo Dra, Marko Krnjaji and my uncle Rade Puhovi. I don't
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remember the other names. Marko Krnjaji's family identified him only by
his wallet, which was found in his possession, because he was massacred. His
grandson, Milo Jelaa, told me this. Unfortunately, this was not an
isolated case, because that was typical Ustasha behaviour.
According to everything I presented here, it can be concluded that there was
no possibility to save anyone from the camp Jasenovac. All the sacrifices
would have been in vain, because the chances for success were minimal.
I think that after quoting the responsible leaders from the 6th Slavonia corps
it should be left to the conscience of possible strategists not to deal with this
topic any more, because the most competent people said everything there is
about this camp.
I hope we will not deal with this topic in the future in the lines of "what could
have happened", because that would just be a waste of time and paper.

76

Ivan Fumi

CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN THE


TERRITORY OF THE INDEPENDENT
STATE OF CROATIA (NDH) 1

THE PERSECUTION OF THE SERBS, JEWS, ROMA


AND ANTI-FASCISTS2
After issuing the Ustasha principles,3 the Ustasha proclaimed the Serbs the
archenemies of the Croats, hence they ought to be eradicated coercively. By
obliterating the Serbs, they planned to create a clean environment for the
needs of the Croats and Muslims. Therefore, they formed concentration
camps. The legal provision of 25 April 1941 prohibited the Cyrillic alphabet
in the NDH, and the legal provision about the conversion from one religion
to another was introduced.4 In early June 1941, an Order on the Elimination
of all Serbian folk denominational schools and kindergartens was issued,
and a mid-July Order was released abolishing the Serbian Orthodox
religion, on the grounds that it was not in line with the new political system.
Shortly after that, orders were carried out about the changes of the names of
certain places having some Serbian marks In early May, an Order prohibiting

Ivan Fumi and Mio Deveri, Hrvatska u logorima 1941.1945", SABA, Zagreb
With the exception of the Kruica camp near the town of Travnik, this paper does not
discuss any of the camps on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina that were part of the
NDH during World War II.

3
4

Documents on the Ustasha, Zagrebaka stvarnost, Zagreb, 1995, p. 57.


Ibid., p. 170.

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the movement of the Serbs during the night and on their emigration from
northern part of the city was adopted in Zagreb. Afterwards, the same orders
appeared in other cities and towns.
Bearing in mind the fact that the Ustasha adhered totally to the racial policy
of their fascist rulers, the Jews and the Roma were included in their later
plans to exterminate the undesirable people. Persecution of the Serbs and
Jews were preceded by strong propaganda activities of the Ustasha officials
and the adoption of appropriate legal regulations. During 1941, a plethora of
regulations in regard to the Jews were issued. The Ustasha propaganda
against the Jews was conducted under the following slogan: There is no
place for the Jews in the Independent State of Croatia. Paveli announced
publicly that the question of the Jews would be solved radically. That threat
was published in the Official Gazette The Croatian People, Vol. 83, in Zagreb
on 6 May 1941. From mid-1941 until early 1942, the terror against the Jews
culminated. They were taken to concentration camps and murdered there. In
the Independent State of Croatia (the NDH) in 1941, there were 36,000 Jews,
and in 1943 only about 5.000. In May 1943, 1,700 Jews were arrested in
Zagreb and 2,500 were arrested in other areas of the NDH. They were all
handed over to the Germans who took them to the German concentration
camps and killed them in gas chambers. Only a small number of the Jews
managed to cross to the Italian occupation zone in the territory of Croatia
where living conditions were more favorable for them. Upon assuming the
power in April 1941, the Ustasha carried out racial policy against the Roma,
which was identical to the one conducted in Germany. This particularly
related to the Roma called ergari. According to estimates by Vladimir
erjavi, 14,000 Roma were killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp.5
After being brought to the Jasenovac concentration camp, the Roma were
located in the village of Utica with the promise that they would be resettled
there. Instead of that, they were all killed.

Vladimir erjavi, Demografski gubici stanovnitva na teritoriju bive Jugoslavije u II.


Svjetskom ratu 1941.1945, Tisak, Dom i svijet, 1977.

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A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE CAMPS IN THE


TERRITORY OF THE NDH
Transit camps were established for the needs of the coercive resettlement of
the population. Some authors use different names for the camps. However,
an important feature was that inmates of the camps were seen as numbers,
and not as individual beings. In this paper, we divided the camps in the
following categories: transit camps, collection camps, concentration camps
the group of the Jasenovac cams, camps for children and women, GermanUstasha camps, Italian camps, and Chetnick camps, all in the territory of the
NDH.
TRANSIT CAMPS
A demand to evict the Serbs from Croatia and a plan to resettle them in
Serbia was approved by Heinrich Himmler, Head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) of
the Nazi Germany, on behalf of the Third Reich on 18 April 1941.6
At a conference held on 4 June 1941, an agreement to exile the Serbs and the
Slovenes was reached. The agreement was made between representatives of
the Nazi Germany and the Ustasha regime. An exact schedule of the
resettlements of the Serbs in Serbia was determined, with the Slovenes from
the city of Maribor and the region of Slovenian Styria settling in their places.
It was decided to form camps in the locality of Caprag, Bjelovar and Slavonska
Poega.
All Serbs living in the areas of the NDH, such as counties and municipalities,
were enumerated, and the collection centers and modes of transport to the
camps were determined.
According to the saved documents, from the Caprag camp near the town of
Sisak, around 5,076 Serbs from the regions of Banovina, Kordun and Lika
were transported to Serbia, out of whom 2,370 were men, 2,380 women and
326 children younger than 4 years. About 1,000 camp inmates from mixed

Heinrich Himmler was one of Hitlers closest and head of all police forces in the German
Reich.

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marriages were released. According to the documents of the State Directorate, a total of 4,693 people, of whom 2,139 were men, 2,252 women and
302 children younger than 4 years, were sent to Serbia from the Bjelovar
camp.
The Poega camp had 9,028 Slovenes, who were supposed to settle in the
empty houses of the Serbs. Occasionally, some Serbs were sent to Serbia from
that camp, and similar transit camps were established in all counties of the
NDH. In that way, more than 5,000 persons were transported to Serbia from
this camp. Smaller groups of inmates were taken to the Jasenovac camp. A
mass execution of the inmates took place on 26 August 1941, when around
400 people were killed in the camp. In the reports, the executions were
justified by an alleged mutiny of the inmates. It is estimated that in 194,
within just three months, between 140,000 and 180,000 Serbs were deported
from Croatia to Serbia.7
COLLECTION CAMPS
By the Decision of the authorities of the Banovina of Croatia, the Samobor
camp designed for the accommodation of the Jewish immigrants who were
fleeing before German Nazi was built in the town of Samobor in 1939. Until
the attack on Yugoslavia, the camp contained 200 Jews. Only some Jews
survived World War II in German camps, but no Jew survived in the Ustasha
camps. The camp was closed on 27 May 1941.
The collection camp in the town of Samobor was opened again by the Ustasha
on 13 September, while undertaking the cleansing action of the free region
of Zumberak. During those operations, the Ustasha burnt a couple of villages
and killed 80 peasants, mostly Croats, and threw them in the Jazovka pit.
Ninety-nine men and women suspected of having collabourated with the
Partisans were brought to the Samobor camp. After an investigation, 24 of
them were shot, and the rest were deported to other Ustasha camps.
Apart from that, from this region, the Ustasha captured 312 Serbian children
from the localities of Kozara, Banija, and Lika, who were situated in the
villages of Zumberak. In August 1942, from the Jastrebarsko camp they were

Duan Bilandi, Hrvatska moderna povijest, Golden Marketing, Zagreb, 1999.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

rescued by the NOV (the National Liberation Army) units from Croatia. The
children from Samobor were transported to Zagreb and made available to
the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Camps of the Zagreb camp group were situated in different locations. For
instance, the Zagreb Assembly (located on Savska Street, todays location
of the Student Centre) was the biggest collection camp in the city of Zagreb.
It was established shortly after the Ustasha came to power. The arrested
Serbs, mostly from the locality of Zagreb and surrounding areas, were
brought to the camp. The Serbs were brought here before they were evicted
to Serbia, and the Jews before they were killed or dispatched to other camps.
Only the Jews of Zagreb were placed on Zavrtnica Street, as they were
evicted from their homes upon the first day of the establishment of the NDH.
For their redemption, the Ustashas asked for the so-called contribution,
following the example of the Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, the mass arrests
of the Jews started after the introduction of the Decree on Racial
Identification and Protection of Aryan Blood and the Honor of the Croatian
People, of 30 April 1941. In the area of Zagreb, there existed three collection
Ustasha camps for children and women. There were about 13,000 camp
inmates, mostly children, of whom 700 died due to abuse or illness. Some
groups of children were deported to other camps, and the majority of them
were rescued with the help of the Red Cross personnel, the activists of the
National Liberation Movement (the NOP) and the citizens of Zagreb, who
later adopted some children.
The camp located in the building of the Institute for the education of deafmutes on 113 Ilica Street was the largest collection camp for women and
children. A total of 5,612 children passed through this camp. 157 children
died there and 215 children died in hospitals in Zagreb, where they were sent
for treatment. Only a dozen of them were transported to the Medical Centre
in the area of Perjavica. Croatian civilians took care of the rest of the children.
After the war, the children, if alive, were returned to their parents or sent to
dormitories for educational purposes. A total of 800 children, mostly Serbian,
were brought to the Home for mothers and infants in the suburban area of
Josipovac (I. G. Kovaia Street), and according to estimates, around 530 of
them died. The Reception for state children colonies housed children from
new-borns to 3-year-old infants, brought from the Stara Gradika camp, and
children aged 2 to 8, brought in from the Mlaka and Sisak camps.
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The Jeronimska Hall at 21 Tomislav Square was also a camp for women and
children. They were brought from the Stara Gradika camp and later from
the Sisak camp. There are no accounts about how many children and women
went through this camp, nor about how many of them died.
The CPC (the Communist Party of Croatia) established an illegal hospital in
Zagreb for sick children. The Hospital was located in the outskirts of Zagreb,
in Perjavica, in a private residence. Forty sickest children were housed there.
Volunteer doctors and nurses came there, giving their best to save these
children from death.
At the same time, the activists of NOP assisted by the Red Cross staff would
find some civilians who would take care of the children, adopting them and
saving them from the tortures of the Ustasha. Thus, out of 7,000 Serbian
children who went through collection camps in Zagreb, around 6.000 were
rescued.
The Jastrebarsko camp was the only camp where there were not greater
terror and torture, but there were some killings. Two hundred Serbs and
Jews were killed. Almost every day, the Ustasha would transport the inmates
to the Danica camp near the locality of Koprivnica, the village of Kruica
near the town of Travnik, then to the Stara Gradika and Jasenovac camps.
Serbian and Jewish women together with their children were sent to the
Lobor camp. The inmates headed for the Jasenovac camp were killed there.
The Tenje collection camp was formed after the establishment of the Ustasha
reign, and it was designed for the Jews coming from the city of Osijek and
surrounding regions, where 2,500 of them lived there. A settlement only for
the Jews was built at one location. The captured Jews took care of their
maintenance and food. It was a kind of racial ghetto, the one similar to that
in Warsaw.
In mid-August 1942, the Ustasha began to send the Jews to Germany. A
thousand Jews, among whom 700 were children, were directly deported to
the Auschwitz concentration camp. At the same time, some of the Jews were
sent to the Jasenovac camp. The first inmates of the akovo camp were some
Jewish women from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They instantly formed
committees for food, hygiene, health care, treasury and kitchen. All this was
done at the expense of the Jewish community. Together with the Jewish
women, there were 800 Serbian women.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Terror, torture and murders were common phenomena. Poor diet prompted
the spread of various diseases. Around 900 inmates were seriously ill. Aside
from diseases, cases of murders and rapes increased. A total of 2,400 inmates
were killed.
The Kerestinec camp was formed on 19 April 1941 and remained active until
14 July 1941. The inmates of this camp were political prisoners. The conflict
with the communists started in July 1941. On that day, the announcement
of the Ministry of internal affairs of the NDH was issued about the execution
of ten communists for retaliation for a murdered Ustasha agent.8 They
picked ten communists and fascists from the Kerestinec camp whom they
accused as spiritual initiators of this crime, although they had no connection
with the murder of Tiljak. Two Croats, two Serbs and six Jews, among whom
were Dr. Boidar Adija and Prof. Ognjen Prica and journalist Otokar
Kerovani, were killed.9
It is worth nothing that the Ustasha zealously persecuted the intelligentsia.
The Slaveti camp was a camp for the Jews, mostly for immigrants, but other
Jews were there too. They were supervised by the Ustasha police, and looked
after by the Jewish religious community from Zagreb. The camp was closed
in late November when men were deported to the Jasenovac camp, and
women to the Lobor camp.
CONCENTRATION CAMPS
In the second half of April 1941, the Ustashas formed the Danica
concentration camp in the locality of Koprivnica. 5,600 persons went through
this camp. The first inmates were the arrested Serbs from the towns of
Grubino Polje, Krievci, Pakrac and other places, together with some
inmates of other camps. Although, there were not mass executions in the
camps, around 200 people were killed, which says something about the
regime of the camps. People died because of exhaustion, famine, diseases and
torture. Since there were no possibilities of mass executions in the vicinity

An Announcement of the Ministry of the Interior of the NDH about the shooting of the
communists is kept in the State Archives of Croatia.
9 The list of executed camp detainees can be found on the memorial in the village of
Kerestinec.

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of Koprivnica County, for it was densely populated place, the camp was closed
in April 1942. The inmates were transported to the Jasenovac camp or the
Stara Gradika camp, where they were mostly killed. The Gospi camp was
formed in May 1941 and operated until 21 August 1941. A total of 40,123 Jews
and Serbs and dozens of Communist Croats were killed in the Gospi and
Jadovno camps. The Gospi camp served as a transit base on the way to the
camps in the localities of Jadovno and Pag.
The Serbs and Jews arrested throughout the territory of the NDH were
brought to the Gospi camp. In August 1941, the Italians took the control of
the 2nd occupation zone,10 which included the town of Gospi, so they forced
the Ustashas to urgently vacate the camp complexes in the town of Gospi
and the village of Jadovno. Considering the fact that they could not
exterminate all inmates in such a short period of time, they deported 1.500
inmates to the Jastrebarsko camp and later to the Jasenovac and Stara
Gradika camp on 20 August 1941.
The Jadovno camp was located in the forested area of Velebit Mountain, at
an altitude of 1,200. The place was uninhabited with many sinkholes and karst
caves. From the first days, the Ustashas would throw the killed Serbs, Jews
and communists in those caves and sinkholes. The Jadovno camp was not
exactly a camp but a station on the way to the execution place. After the
Jasenovac camp, the Jadovno camp with surrounding places of execution
represented the biggest execution site of the Ustasha regime in the territory
of the NDH.
The names of those killed in that camp could be found at the monument in
the village of Kerestinec. The Slano and Metajna camp were formed at the
same time as the Jadovno camp. They were connected with the Gospi camp
since their purpose was the same. The Italian medical Lieutenant Sante
Strazz, an Italian military doctor, head of the First Disinfectant Section,
Director of the Medical Department of the Italian Army Command of the 5th

10

Documents on the Ustasha, pp. 177 and 178. The Italian occupation zone in Croatia was
divided into two parts. In the first part, they had complete military and civil authority, and
in the second, it was only military authority. The town of Gospi was part of the 2nd zone.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Corpus, provided an extremely dreadful and shocking report about the Slano
and Metajna camps.11
A larger number of prisoners were transported to the Kruica camp in late
August 1941. The prisoners were brought from the Gospi and Jastrebarsko
camps. They were Jews. There were also 200 Serbian women and children
from Bosnia. In September, the camp had more than 3.000 persons. After six
days spent in the Kruica camp, around 1,200 Jewish women and children
and 300 Serbian women were transported to the Lobor camp.
THE JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMPS
The group of the Jasenovac concentration camps consisted of the following
camps: Krapje, Broice, Ciglana, Kozara and Stara Gradika.
The first inmates of the Jasenovac camps arrived in late August 1941, and a
legal provision on sending people to labour camps was adopted in November
1941. This implied that the Ustashas sent people they deemed undesirable and
thus prone to be murdered into the collection and labour camps three month
months before the adoption of the legal provision.
The Krapje I camp and the Broice II camp were formed at the same time.
The first camp inmates were transported from the Gospi and Jastrebarsko
camps in late August 1941. Due to the autumn rains, both camps were flooded,
hence they were closed. Some healthier inmates were sent to the Ciglana
camp in the village of Jasenovac, and 1,200 inmates were killed. The Ciglana
III camp was ironically named labour camp and represented the biggest and
the most terrifying execution place of the Ustasha regime. Most Serbs, Jews,
Roma, Croats and Slovenes were killed in that camp. According to the
number of victims and the instruments and means for killing, it is ranked
only after some German concentration camps. From the very formation,
smaller or bigger groups of detainees from Zagreb, Sarajevo, the towns of
Banja Luka and Lepoglava and the Danica camp were brought to Camp III.
By 21 April 1945, in the camp III, only 1,073 inmates remained. They knew
they were about to be killed, so they decided to organise a breakthrough. The
time for the breakthrough was arranged on 22 April at 10:30 a.m. Upon a

11

The report of Lieutenant Dr. Sante Strazz is kept in the State Archives of Croatia.

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signal, an assault of disarmed inmates on the Ustasha guard and bunkers


began. All inmates participated in this breakthrough. In this unfair fight, the
majority of the inmates died, but around 70 of them managed to escape. The
Kozara IV camp usually kept the same number of inmates. There were 150
of them, mostly experts of Jewish origin. Some individual murders occurred
there too. However, the conditions of work and life were a bit milder in that
camp. The Stara Gradika V camp was a bit specific in regard to other
camps.12 The camp contained the biggest number of communists and fascists
throughout the NDH who were mostly Croats. A relatively big number of
women and children of the Serbian nationality from the localities of Kozara
and Potkozarije were also in that camp. The camp served for the investigation
of the arrested Partisans and sympathisers of the NOP, in order to obtain
come information about the NOV, authorities of peoples government and
associates of the NOP.
Though tortures and murders were very common, apart from rare
exceptions, there were no mass executions in the camp V. In late 1944, the
Ustashas closed the camp, sending a group of 700 inmates, mostly Croats and
some Jews, to Jasenovac. Around 500 inmates were deported to the
Lepoglava camp.
THE LEPOGLAVA CAMP
In April 1941, the Ustashas took the control over the camp with 1,000
convicts, mostly criminals and more than 70 non-grata communists. From
that time, new prisoners began to arrive. By July, 71 persons, of whom 40
were from the town of Kerestinec, were deported. Fearing the flight of the
inmates, the Ustashas commenced killing the undesirable persons. Soon, they
started to send again political convicts or the non-grata elements to the
Lepoglava camp. On 12 and 13 July, this penitentiary was occupied by
common units of the NOV from Slavonija, and the Partisans detachment from
Kalnic who released the political detainees. A total of 733 prisoners were
released, of whom a hundred of them were detained due to some political
reasons. All political convicts joined the units of the National Liberation

12

Marijana-Buca Amuli and edomil Huber: Otpor u logoru Stara Gradika, Spomenpodruje Jasenovca, 1980.

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Army, and the criminals were sent back to the penitentiary. The Velika
Gorica camp served for detaining hostages and suspects whom the Ustashas
planned to arrest during their operation of cleansing of the part of the
region of Pokuplje. In early September 1942, 720 hostages were brought to
the camp. Those were the family members of veterans and followers of the
National Liberation War (the NLW), Serbs and Croats and war deserters. The
main objective was to destroy the NOP in the region of Pokuplje by intimidating people. According to some estimates, around 2,000 hostages, women
and men went through the camp. The primary function of the Sisak camp
was to accommodate residents from the territory of Kozara and Potkozarje
after the German-Ustasha attack. In addition, the Ustashas brought prisoners
from other camps there, mostly from the Stara Gradika and Jasenovac
camps, or the arrested people from the region of Moslavina, Banija, Slavonija ,
Kordun and Gorski Kotar, where the Ustashas carried out cleansing
operation, i.e., where they tried to destroy the NOP by frightening people
who aided the movement. A camp for children also existed in the town of
Sisak. Around 1,800 children died or were killed there.
CAMPS FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN
On 6 October, 1,370 Serbian and Jewish women and children were imprisoned in the Lombor camp. Due to overcrowding, the Ustashas formed
another camp under the rule of the Lobor camp in the locality of Gornja
Rijeka. Seventy elderly Jewish women and children and 250 Serbian women
with children were brought to this camp. One hundred and forty Serbian
women were sent to the Zemun camp, via Lombor and Zagreb. This camp
imprisoned 400 children. Given the fact that the wells providing children
with water were contaminated, epidemic of typhus emerged among the
children. Under fever, on their own, without medicines, accommodation,
food and water, these children were bound to die. Around 150 children were
sent to the Jastrebarsko camp, where the majority of them survived for they
were given medical treatments. Unfortunately, 140 of them forever
remained in the locality of Gornja Rijeka.

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THE JASTREBARSKO AND RIJEKA CAMPS


Serbian children from 6 months to 14 years old were imprisoned in the camp
for children in the town of Jastrebarsko. A total of 3,220 children were
deported here, of whom 54 died during the transport. Part of the children
was rescued by the Kordun Brigade IV on 26 August 1942. Out of 727
children, 587 of them, having been examined by a physician, went with the
Brigade towards the village of Zumberak, where they were provided with
accommodation. Unfortunately, during the Ustasha offensive on the village
of Zumberak, 312 children were entrapped, and sent back to the collection
camp, this time in the town of Samobor, and then to Zagreb, where they were
taken over by the Ministry Corporate Affairs. More than 2,000 children from
the Jastrebarsko camp, where 1,566 children remained, were sent and
relocated to the Rijeka camp. The situation in this camp was ever harsher.
There were no electricity, no water or sanitation, and the food was very
scarce. Due to malnutrition and diseases, the mortality in both camps was
very high. Up to 200 children would die in a month. This was confirmed by
the documents of the National Commission for the Investigation of the crimes
of occupiers and associates. Both camps were closed in the mid of November
1942. A total of 3,166 Serbian children went through these camps, of whom
1,637 were rescued and adopted by Croatian families from Zagreb, and
around 300 remained in a castle a hospital, until the liberation on 9 May
1945. Were it not for the Croatian families, who, putting their lives at risk,
tried to save Serbian children, the children would not have survived. It was
even harder to imagine that those children would survive under the
conditions in the camps.
THE GERMAN-USTASHA CAMPS IN THE NDH
The Zemun camp was located in the area of the Belgrade fairgrounds. Until
July 1942, it served solely for the accommodation of the Jewish women and
children. The Jewish men were immediately transported to Germany in the
camps and were killed. The Vinkovici camp was founded by the Germans,
and was operated by the Gestapo. The Germans planned to eradicate soldiers
of the Yugoslavia NOV and its followers from the region between the village
of Bosuta and the Sava River. Presently, 1,400 persons were imprisoned in
the camp. The inmates were divided into three groups. The first group
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consisted of communists and captured soldiers of the NOV of Yugoslavia, the


second one of the NOP associates, and the third one of the suspected sympathisers of the NOP. More than 4,000 inmates went through the Vinkovici
camp. The majority of them ended up at the execution sites of the Jasenovac
camp, and part of them as labour force in Germany. It is worth noting that
the detailed accounts about the Vinkovici and Zemun camps cannot be
obtained without an insight into German archives and hopefully, that will be
done by those who will further study the Nazi and Ustasha camps.
The German camp Jankomir was designed to house the arrested soldiers of
NOV of Croatia and its supporters together with young men from the villages
for labour force in Germany. The first group of people was brought on
November 1943. Those were the people from the region of Vukovar and
Srijem. During the next days, 300 women were deported to Germany, whose
children were taken away from them by force. Older and weaker women who
were unable to work were handed over to the Ustashas. Their lives ended in
the Ustasha camps. Children were handed over to the Ministry of Corporate
Affairs and the Red Cross. A group of 200 captured soldiers of the NOV of
Croatia and a group of NOP activists were transferred to the camp on 2 April
1944 after the battle in the village of Oborovo in the vicinity of Zagreb. This
group was traded for German officer on 6 June 1946. A particular case was
that of 105 mental patients who were brought to the camp from the Vrapce
Psychiatric Hospital by the Germans. On 1 October 1944, those patients were
transported to Germany, from which no one returned alive. According to the
Ustasha estimates, more than 10,000 people passed through this camp, and
hundreds of them were killed.
ITALIAN CAMPS ON THE TERRITORY OF THE NDH,
1941-1943
Italians established many concentration camps in Croatia. Those were the
camps in the localities of Bakar, Kraljevica, Opatija, Kampor and Molat, Gru,
Kupari, Prevlaka, Zlarin, Dubrovnik, Lovrijenac, Lopud and Mamula.
The Bakar camp was founded in March 1942 for detention of the Jews.
Croatian antifascist from the Novi Vinodolski and Gorski kotar were arrested
and imprisoned there. Women and children were mostly in the Bakar camp.

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As soon as the number of inmates went over 2,000, they would be transported
to the camps in Italy or to the Kampor camp.
The first detainees of the Kraljevica camp were the families of Croatia NOV
soldiers from the localities of Gorski Kotar, Delnice, Vrbovsko and Ogulin.
There were mostly Croats. Up to 1,200 persons were detained in the camp.
The biggest troubles were with food supply. About 10,000 persons, mostly
Croats from the coastal region of Dalmatia, went through the Molat camp.
Around 1,000 persons lost their lives in this camp. The living conditions in
the camp were such that people often died of starvation. A total of 1,000
persons died in this camp. Until mid-1943, the Italians occasionally took
groups of inmates and executed them for redemption. The formation of the
Kampor camp on the island of Rab was closely related to the military
operations which occurred in Slovenia and Risnjak Mountain and in the
Gorski kotar.13 The first camp inmates from Slovenia were delivered on 28
June 1942. Until October 1942, a total of 7,541 persons were imprisoned.
Some were liberated after they accepted to join the anticommunist volunteer
militia. In the operations of territory cleansing, more than 300 persons
were shot, and more than 7,000 taken to concentration camps. Within 22
months of the existence of the camps in the coastal area, around 23,000 people
were detained there. They were Slovenes, Croats, Serbs and Jews. Out of the
total number of detainees, 3,000 were children up to 16 years old. More than
5,000 persons lost their lives in the Italian camps, of which the Kampor camp
was the biggest.
In early 1943, the Supreme Command of the Italian army decided to deport
the Jews from all concentration camps in the Adriatic area which were
within its occupation zone to the common Kampor camp at the island of Rab.
Camps in the area of Dubrovnik were built for the Jews. The camps were
built in the localities of Lopud, Kupari, Gru and Lovrijenac. The organization and structure of the camps were also special. The camp was internally
managed by the inmates themselves. They would prepare food, maintain
order and discipline, do medical treatment and provide foreign language
courses. The external management was under the control of smaller units of

13

Spartaco Carlo Capogreco, Mussolinijevi logori, Golden marketing, Tehnika knjiga,


Zagreb, 2006. pp. 157-164.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

the Italian army. In all three camps in Dubrovnik, a total of 1,700 Jews were
detained. The Mamula camp, though in the territory of Montenegro, was
included in the group of the Italian camps in the territory of Croatia, since
this camp had some Croatian civilians. This camp represented the most
notorious Italian fascist camp, and was located on the small island of Mamula.
The inmates were kept in dark and totally damp rooms in the basement. The
inmates who were punished in some other Italian camps and prisons would
be brought here, and they were sentenced to death from starvation. After the
capitulation of Italy, the Germans took over the camp until the National
Liberation Army of Yugoslavia expelled them. The Zarin camp was located
at the Cape of Marin. The famine in that camp was so bad that the inmates
started to eat the roots of the plants around. However, the biggest problem
was thirst. The remaining inmates, a total of 1,200, were deported to Italy.
Killings without reasons, accusations or verdicts, then torture, thirst and
starvation of women and children and various kinds of humiliations were
common occurrences in these camps.
THE CHETNICK CAMPS
During World War II, all concentration camps in the territory of the NDH
were built by the Chetnicks, who imprisoned their true and alleged enemies
there, i.e., both the Croats and the Serbs. They closely cooperated with the
Italian occupation authorities, whom they would deliver the inmates and get
some reward for, or killed them themselves. In the second half of 1942, the
Chetnicks signed an agreement with the Italians, according to which they
became an integral part of the Italian Army. They signed a written agreement
with the NDH authorities about their cooperation in the fight against the
Partisans.
In August 1942, a concentration camp for the region of Borjansko-militaryChetnick unit in the school of the village of Kara was formed. At the same
time, a concentration camp in the village of Joevica was formed. The camp
included the control of the Bosnian Chetnick units. Having spent a short
period of time in these camps, the majority of inmates were executed, and
smaller groups were handed over to the Germans. In early 1943, a central
camp in the region of Kosovo near the town of Knin was established. Activists
of the NOP and civilians the Serbs from the territory of Grahovo, Drvar,

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Bosanski Petrovac, and numerous Croats were detained there. Due to harsh
conditions in this camp, people named it another Jasenovac camp. It is hard
to determine the exact number of the killed persons in the Chetnick camps
for they did not have the records of the number of the victims. Nonetheless,
the Chetnicks killed a much greater number of the Serbs, Croats and Muslims
in the villages. According to the estimates of Vladimir erjavi, the Chetnicks
killed 18,000 Croats during World War II.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
According to historical documents and other facts about the camps on the
territory of the NDH in the period of 1941 to 1945, it can be concluded that:
1. During World War II, in accordance with the Ustasha movement and
acceptance of the Nazi doctrine, the Ustashas, immediately after taking
power, launched mass persecutions and executions of the Serbs, Jews, Roma,
communists and other people whom they deemed opponents or alleged
opponents of the Nazi-fascism. The formation of camps in the NDH was of
large extent. According to agreements with the Germans, some camps were
used for detaining the Serbs and transporting them to Serbia, since the
Germans resettled Slovenes on their land, and in turn, the Germans were
allowed to settle on the property of Slovenes. The majority of the camps were
designed for the execution of the Serbs, Jews, Roma, Croats, communists and
antifascist of different nationalities. In regard to that, the camps intended for
such purposes were located in Gospi, Jadovno, the Slano camp on the island
of Pag, Lepoglava and Jasenovac. The classification of the camps according
to type is quite a feat since some camps were closed and reopened, or their
use was changed. Nevertheless, in each of them people relentlessly died from
thirst, famine or diseases. The fact that the Ustashas, Germans and Italians
built more than 50 camps on the territory of the NDH says a lot about the
extent of the Ustasha operations. The image of the NDH is illustrated by the
fact it was also the aggressors, apart from the Ustashas, that built
concentration camps throughout the NDH, at their discretion, where they
imprisoned the Croats, torturing and killing them without any accountability. This paper states the numbers of the people who died or were killed,
as based on the available documents. We believe that future researchers will
succeed in obtaining the data about the camps which never revealed the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

number of their victims. Perhaps, these data can be found in Germany, Italy
or some other countries.
2. Although it has been documented that most of the camps were used to
execute the Serbs, Jews and Roma, there are still people who deny it or
diminish the veracity and importance of these facts. Apart from those who
reject those facts or those who keep quiet about the Ustasha camps and their
horrifying crimes, there are those who justify them. They have to face not
only the undeniable facts of the crimes, but also the truth that the Ustasha
and aggressors crimes were condemned by the citizens of the world. Both
Serb and Croat radicals have manipulated and speculated the number of the
Serbs and Croats killed in the camps, outside the camps, or in general during
World War II. Acting that way, they prompt further racial conflicts, which
have thus far caused terrible tragedies, since hatred is continuously
propagated. These conflicts are in the service of manipulators and those who
spread national and religious hatred among the generations, who, unfortunately, do not learn enough about historical facts from World War II.
3. The defeat and severe losses of the aggressor armies and their allies the
Ustashas, Chetnicks and others In May 1945 have nothing to do with
nationality, but with the fact that all of them committed terrible crimes and
put up resistance in order to escape. Unfortunately, innocent people were
killed. The aggressor forces and their allies were tried in and outside court
in all European countries whose citizens served the German or Italian
aggressor. War criminals and their partners were mostly penalised. In this
regard, no country was an exception.
4. This book was written as a contribution of the Union of Antifascist
Veterans and Antifascists of the Republic of Croatia and the Union of the
Josip Broz Tito Societies to disclose the truth by revealing the actual
circumstances during the period under consideration, but also to prompt
further research on those hard times. This book offers answers to historians,
preachers and those favouring the Ustashas and Chetnicks, who have denied
the existence of Ustasha and Chetnick camps and atrocities, because this
denial of the truth was something that led to a repetition of evil. Therefore, it
is the duty of all democratic powers to confront with the initiators of evil by
showing them the arguments of truth, because otherwise, we will be doomed

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to perpetual hatred towards others and those different from us, which must
result in the repetition of crimes.

REFERENCES
Amuli, Marijana-Buca, Humber, edomil, Otpor u logoru Stara Gradika, Ognjen Prica,
Daruvar, 1980.
Bilandi, Duan, Historija SFRJ Glavni procesi, kolska knjiga, Zagreb, 1978.
Bilandi, Duan, Hrvatska moderna povijest, Golden marketing, Zagreb, 1999.
Capogreco, Spartaco Carlo, Mussolinijevi logori, Golden marketing Tehnika knjiga, Zagreb, 2006.
Dizdar, Zdravko, etniki zloini u BiH 19411945, HIP Zagreb, 2002.
Dizdar, Zdravko, Logor Kerestinec, HIP, PP-8.
Dokumenti Ustaa, Zagrebaka stvarnost, Zagreb, 1995.
Grguri, Mladen, Talijanski koncentracijski logori, Rijeka, 2005.
Horvati, Franjo, Sjevernozapadna Hrvatska u NOB-i i socijalistikoj revoluciji, Varadin,
1976.
Hrvatski dravni arhiv za povijest, Zemaljska komisija za utvrivanje zloina okupatora i
njihovih pomagaa Hrvatske, Glavni urudbeni zapisnik. Boxes: 6, item 1727/45; 10, items
223/7 bc-45, 2235/4 b1-45, 2235/7c-45; 11, item 28-42, 2235/7b-45; 12, item 1872/47; 13,
item 2335/45; 45, items 2235/8a-45, 2235/21 a 4464/45; 116, item 5449/46; 227, item 60366047
Institut za povijest (HIP), prije Institut za suvremenu povijest, Institut za historiju
radnikog pokreta (Zbornik. NDH); 278; 280; 281; 284; 289; 291; 285, item
3153; 288, item 3746, 3811; 292, item 5731; 3711, 5649.
Jakovljevi, Ilija, Konclogor na Savi, Konzor, Zagreb, 1999.
Jezernik, Talijanski koncentracioni logori, Ljubljana, 1997.
Jurevi, Josip, Nastanak jasenovakog mita, Zagreb, 1998.
Klai, imo, Sjeanja Krvavi badnjak, Jasenovac, br. 230/86.
Koovi, Bogoljub, rtve II svjetskog rata u Jugoslaviji, London, 1985.
Kovai, Ivan, Kampor 19421943, Adami, Rijeka, 1998.

Tisak spomen-podruja Jasenovca 2006, Memorijalni muzej Jasenovac.


Miller, Ervin, Izabran za umiranje, Durieux, Zagreb, 2004.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII
Miljkovi, Ante, Noem i maljem, in Dokumenti ustakog terora, Vjesnik, 1944.

95

Bilana ivkovi

JASENOVAC - THE WORST PLACE OF


EXECUTION OF SERBS

Abstract: This paper deals with the horrifying genocide committed


against the Serbs children, women, and the elderly the innocent
people in Jasenova concentration camp (1941-1945) in the clericalfascistic Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Jasenovac is the place
where the largest number of Serbs were ever killed.
Key words: Jasenovac, genocide, Vatican, Jastrebarsko, Piccili's
crematoria, Pope Pius XII, Stara Gradika, death camps, Paveli, the
Ustasha NDH, Donja Gradina, Artur Hefner, holocaust, Artukovi,
Franciscan friars, crimes against Serbs.

Jasenovac, a death camp in the NDH, is the place more monstrous than any
other in destruction of the youth and the future of Serbs, together with all
other concentration camps in the NDH. Atrocities committed in these camps
are no less horrible than those the Jewish people suffered in Nazi Germany
and across Europe during the Second World War.
We, the Serbs, have always known that. Throughout our painful and tragic
history, we have learnt what genocide is. In the modern, globalist history, we
have personally felt what it is like when our people, who have martyred for
centuries and who are being killed, expelled and converted into Catholicism..
The attitude some scholars dealing with Jasenovac take - that the genocide
against the Serbs has never ended - is totally correct!

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Will we ever find out how many Serbs and their children were killed in
Ustasha camps in the period 1941-1945?
In the Glina hospital, in mid-May of 1941, the Ustasha minister of justice, Dr
Marko Puk, held a secret meeting with the main Ustasha leaders. They made
the decision to immediately start a planned liquidation of Serbs, Jews and
other undesirable elements. The Ustasha minister and Ante Paveli's
assignee for internal affairs in Nova Gradika, Dr Milovan arko, was talking
in threatening language about the NDH policy on 1st June 1941: This country
must be the country of Croats and nobody else. We, the Ustashas, will use

every possible method to make this country Croatian and cleanse it of the
Serbs. In Zagreb, the inscriptions were placed in public places: No Serbs,
Jews and Gypsies allowed. The Serbs were forced to wear a blue ribbon with
the letter P (t/n: pravoslavac, Orthodox in Serbian) or a red one with the
inscription Serben (Serb in German).
Paveli's commissioner, Dr Viktor Guti, a lawyer from Banja Luka, said in
Sanski Most in the same period: Roads will miss Serbs, but there will be no
Serbs to walk them! (t/n: a paraphrase of a line from a Serbian epic poem) It
should be known that Viktor Guti (the Ustasha God, as he would call
himself) abolished the Serbs as ethnic group and the term Serb, renaming
all Serbs into Greek-Easterners.

DEPORTATION AND MURDERING OF SERBIAN


CHILDREN
The data on number of children deported to Jasenovac are uncertain;
according to the press from Tito's time and historical readers, it ranges from
23,858 to 40,000 or 68,000. According to historical experts, an estimated
120,000 Serbian children perished in Jasenovac hell. Tito did not want to
satanize his Croatian people and Ustashas, so it was very noticeable that,
during his rule, the mentioning of Serbs as victims was forbidden. Historical
documents from that period claimed that the victims were innocent citizens
of Croatia and anti-fascists. The 1946 State Commission report, Crimes in
Jasenovac Camp, even hardly mentions the Serbs as victims; to remind, more
than 730,000 Serbs, 32,000 Jews and 80,000 Roma were killed in Jasenovac.
Out of them, 120,000 were children. There were no Serbs even among the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

members of the State Commission for War Crimes. The testimonies to the
State Commission by the surviving inmates were almost never given by the
Serb inmates. The testimonies were usually given by Croats, Slovenes or
Jews. As if the genocide against the Serbs in the NDH had never been
committed. Hushing up the atrocities committed by Croats, Tito consciously
supported the genocide against the Serbs. Therefore, it is no wonder that the
world did not know of the Serbian Auschwitz.
In the summer of 1942, endless files of Serbs, leaving clouds of dust behind,
were moving towards concentration camps in Jasenovac, Mlaka, Jablanac,
Cerovljani near Dubica, Novska, Paklenica, Stara Gradika...
Mubera Karabegovi-Osmi well remembers the Ustasha atrocities against
Serb mothers and their children:

- Screaming and moaning were so loud that we couldnt endure it. Beating
their mothers, mad Ustashas ripped small children out of their arms and
threw them aside like logs. Some mothers did not want to separate from their
children. They held their babies firmly in their arms and fought fiercely.
Shots were fired. Dead mothers would fall down, dropping their children
from their arms.
The Ustashas separated grown and healthy male children trying to make
them little Ustashas and forcing them to put on the uniform of those who had
massacred their mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters. They
took their parents to Mlaka to slaughter them. Drunk and naked to the waist,
they would turn back from the place of massacre, their hands and uniforms
smeared in blood. Apart from Vrban, the most notorious Ustashas in Stara
Gradika camp were: Maks Luburi, Ljubo Milo, Drago Pudi, the female
Ustasha Maja Budon etc.
In Mlaka assembly centre, in September 1942, 3,645 women, 392 men and
5,531 children were recorded. In only two days, from 3rd to 5th August, more
than 2,000 children were taken to Jastrebarsko and Sisak camps. In June
1942, 8,000 women with their children were taken to Utica camp. They were
transferred from there to the assembly centre in Lipik. Labour camps, as
called by Ustashas, were places of gore and death. It is known that in
Jasenovac corpses of inmates were built into embankments. Jasenovac camp
(1941-1945) is the most monstrous concentration camp in this region, the

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place of worst atrocities and methods of torture in the whole of occupied


Europe at the time. According to research, the Croatian death camp existed
for 1,337 days. Men, woman, children and the elderly were killed in an
unbelievable speed. It is known that the monstrous butcher Ljubo Milo
confessed that over a thousand Serbs had been slaughtered in Jasenovac in
just one night.
Simo Kotur recalls the bringing of around 1,000 people from Mount Kozara
in front of the camp III c (the worst part of Jasenovac inferno) on 1st
September 1942:
There were a lot of boys between 12 and 15 years of age. I saw my father and

my uncle, Spasoje radakovi, with his sons and Jovo Gavran. The same day,
in the dusk, the Ustashas herded all deported Serbs, together with some
inmates from the Gypsy section, towards Sava River. The following day we
saw their clothes in the Gypsy camp.
Mihailo Draga was 14 when he was deported to Jasenovac from village
Selfije together with his parents and his brothers:
We were in the dreadful camp III c. We lived and slept among the
dead. We starved terribly. One day I found a bone on the dump, I don't
know of which animal, and gnawed it for a long time. On 21st September
1942, around a hundred of Ustashas encamped near us. Then the Gypsy
inmates brought cauldrons with hot broth, pouring it into tin plates.
Several Serbs started to eat immediately; shortly after, they writhed in
pain and died in agony. Our father whispered to us not to eat the broth
as it had been poisoned. We threw the broth away secretly. When we
were ordered to stand up, most of the people had been dead. The
survivors were tied with wire and taken before the firing squad. My
father shouted me to run away... I could hear shots, screams and blows
behind... All members of my Draga family were killed.

Some moments are so deeply etched into a human soul, remaining there as
permanent scars. These are the words of Duanka Bati, born in village
Sivolinca, talking about the suffering of Serbian children:
One day, the Ustashas ordered us to line up. They announced the
baptism of Serbian children. They took two mothers and two
children of each one. Among the Ustashas preparing this blood feast
was also a Catholic priest called Brekalo, dressed in a cassock, and the
Ustasha called Mujica, one of the worst butchers. They seized the

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children from their mothers. The priest took one child, Ustasha Mujica
took another and then they impaled the children onto their bayonets.
The mothers screamed and fell on the ground. Later on, they were
burnt together with their children.

The Jasenovac camp, formed in August 1941, was destroyed by Ustashas in


April 1945. Its area was around 210 hectares. It was a complex of camps
where, according to information to date, over 730,000 Serbs were massacred.
In Gradina alone, which was the largest place of execution in Jasenovac
complex, more than 400,000 men, women, children and the elderly and were
killed.
During the ethnic cleansing of Mount Kozara and Mount Prosara, Ustashas
killed a lot of children together with their parents immediately after bringing
them to the camps, most often in Gradina and Utice. Helath and young
women were separated and sent to forced labour in Germany. The weak, the
ill, the pregnant, the nursing mothers and the orphans were sent in three
directions - to Stara Gradika and Jasenovac, while children were separately
transported to Jastrebarsko, the only concentration camp for children in the
whole world! The camp III - Ciglana in Jasenovac was 1.5 sq kilometre in area
and was of triangular shape. It was the largest camp, which also had a
crematorium. The main entrance was on the west side of the camp, by the
road stretching along Sava River and leading from Jaasenovac to village
Koutarica and further on, towards Gradika.
In the summer of 1942, thousands of children were taken from Stara
Gradika camp, the fifth subcamp (t/n: subcamps were outlying detention
centres under the command of a main concentration camp) of Jasenovac
camp and executed on the right bank of Sava River. The butchers killed the
children with hammers as they wanted to save ammunition. Such kind of
execution they humorously called hammering. Small children would die
on the spot, whereas grown children were killed above a mass grave with
small hammers. That rendered them stunned, not dead. The children were
dying in excruciating agony. In the NDH, all these horrifying atrocities were
done on purpose. From the very beginning and in each camp, the order by
Poglavnik (t/n: the title used by Ante Paveli, the Ustasha leader) was
followed, according to which a victim had to suffer as much as possible before
they died. At the hearing, the Ustashas Ljubo Milo and Vjekoslav
Majstorovi said that, due to still alive children, these mass graves were
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breathing for several days after the massacre. Serbian children were dying
buried alive.
The Ustasha butcher Ljubo Milo said the following on the trial in Zagreb in
1947:
People were brought by train or on foot. Present were also minister
Turina, Catholic priest Krunoslav Draganovi and Ivica Matkovi, one
of Jasenovac commanders. That was the board established to receive
the inmates from Kozara region. A small part of them was sent to labour
camps in Germany; most of them were sent to Jasenovac and Stara
Gradika camps, where they were liquidated. I was there at the time
with minister Turina and priest Draganovi. The captured were taken
off the trucks and forced to run towards the camp. They were all tied.
They were ordered to sit in front of the entrance until the dusk, when
Fra Majstorovi-Filipovi liquidated them in Gradina. They were
women and children, several tens of thousands. The liquidation
procedure was the following: upon arrival in Jasenovac, the transports
would be removed to the other railway track, located in the camp alone.
They would remain there until execution. The great majority of mass
murders were committed at night. I remember that groups of over 300
inmates were killed several times during the day. The number of
inmates executed at night sometimes amounted to over 1,500. In late
spring of 1942, the inflow of inmates became far more frequent several times a week, sometimes even several times in a row. The total
number of inmates executed in Ciglana (brickwork) camp with its
surroundings, during my time there or during the whole time
Jasenovac existed, I, or anybody else, cannot determine as no record
was kept of the transports sent for liquidation. The number of people
executed was meant to remain a secret. That number is vast, actually
staggering .

In the process of purification of Croatian nation, Serbian children were the


first to be killed, together with adults. Ustashas killed even the children who
were still nursed. The youngest children were still in cradles, while the oldest
were about 14 years of age. During the Second World War, Croatia was the
only place in whole Europe to have special camps for children.

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THE VATICANS DIRTY GAME


The slaughterers, but only some of them, were brought to justice after the
war. Owing to Tito's support, many of them managed to escape to the USA,
Argentinaetc. Some of them boastfully claimed to have received help from
Tito personally to flee from justice, like Slavko Dasovi, who returned after
several decades to Croatia to spend his last days there. Vjekoslav Maks
Luburi (t/n: the commander-in-chief of all the NDH concentration camps)
was a German agent and Ustasha criminal. He liked his nickname Scourge
of God. His life was ended on 20th April 1969 in the town of Carcaixent, near
Spanish port of Valencia. He was personally responsible for the death of about
220,000 Serbian children. Vjekoslav Majstorovi, a Catholic friar and
administrator of the camp or, as he would sometimes introduce himself,
Filipovi, was brought to justice in 1945. In the name of the State
Commission, Fra Majstorovi i.e. Fra Satan was interrogated by a Croat,
Vojdrag Beri. The lawyers, the doctors, the secretary - they were all Croats
except for one Jew. An incomparable number of victims were Serbs, whereas
almost no Serbs took place in Majstorovi's trial. This was not by accident, of
course! Filipovi i.e. Majstorovi admitted to his crimes. He defended himself
before the court claiming to have slaughtered Serbian children to prevent
them from becoming criminals when they grew up. He was sentenced to
death by firing squad in June 1945. Vatican i.e. the Roman Catholic Church
had never distanced itself from Majstorovi and his crimes.
The US Commission for War Crimes Investigation mentions 1,400 catholic
priests who took an active part in slaughtering and murdering, while Milan
Bulaji (an international expert on genocide), based on detailed research,
found out that 1,171 catholic priest took part in killing Serbian children,
cooperated with Ustashas or supported them strongly. Out of this number,
27 friars were teachers and even 108 were PhDs. Ante Paveli decorated all
of these heroes for exceptional merits in the NDH.
Massacres of Serbs were organised by over 130 Catholic priests, while 27 of
them personally proved themselves in mass slaughtering. The book
Jasenovac Concentration Camp by Dr Nikola Nikoli, a Croatian doctor
who survived the Jasenovac inferno, says that Fra Sreko Peri ordered the
congregation in front of the altar in a Catholic church: Croats, go and kill all

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Serbs but first kill my sister who is married to a Serb. When you are done,
get back to the church and all your sins will be forgiven! On that 20th August
1941, more than 5,000 Serbs and Serbian children were slaughtered. Friar
Dr Alojzije osi received a Croatian medal for atrocities committed against
Serbs, Jews and Roma. Military officer Nikola Bilogrivi was one of
organisers of extermination of Serbs, Jews and Roma in Banja Luka.
Croatian Catholic clerics overtly helped Paveli and Archbishop Stepinac to
make Croatia a horrible place of genocide. The Catholic Church had
understanding for all these atrocities and even for the words of bestial,
pathological hatred spoken by the Franciscan friar and governor imi, who
appealed: To kill all the Serbs as soon as possible. This is our programme.
In his confidential report, the military commander in Serbia, general Paul
Bader says: The Croats undoubtedly strive to destroy the entire Serbian
population.
Karlheinz Deschner, a philosopher and historian, points out the following in
one of his books titled The Politics of the Papacy in the 20th Century: Pope
Pius XII blessed Paveli at the beginning of his gruesome career, during it
and on his sickbed (book 2, p. 154).
According to Hermann Neubacher, Vatican, led by the Pope Pius XII, saw
nothing wrong in the monstrous killing of 750,000 Serbs (according to SS
major-general Ernst Fick, the number is 700,000) under pious and devoted
Catholic Ante Paveli. In that way, the Pope approved the usurping of the
entire property of the Serbian Orthodox Church by the NDH. The fate of the
Serbian Orthodox Church priests in the Ustasha Croatia is obvious from the
ordeal of 599 Orthodox priests and Serbian Orthodox archbishops.
The NDH consistently joined the new Nazi order, a main goal of which was
the planned genocide against the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina. It is unlikely that the exact number will ever be determined of
the innocent Serbian children, women, the elderly and men killed in the
monstrous NDH, although M. M. Scheinmann, in his book titled Vatican and
Second World War, says that the number of Serbs killed is about 800,000.

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ANDRIJA ARTUKOVI AND HIS CRIMES


Besides the unpunished criminal Ante Paveli, Andrija Artukovi played one
of the most significant roles as an organiser and the orderer of mass atrocities
against the Serbian population. When Artukovi, a lawyer and the NDH
minister of death, was tried in Zagreb in April and May 1986, many details
on the genocide against the Serbs came up.
The argumentation to support the indictment said the following:
As early as May 1941, Artukovi ordered his subordinates to arrest
and kill thousands of Serbian citizens including Orthodox priests,
children, women and the elderly, as well as to burn and destroy whole
settlements. In May 1942, he initiated systematic sending of people to
concentration camps. From April 1941 to October 1942 he ordered and
instigated the forced sending to and murdering of Serbs, Jews and
Roma in concentration camps Jasenovac, Stara Gradika, akovo,
Lobor, Jastrebarsko, Utice, etc.

The indictment charged him with the death of more than 200,000 innocent
people killed in that short period.
Out of that number, over 2,000 children were killed with the
poisonous gas Zyklon B in Stara Gradika, while over 15,600 children
were slain by starvation, putting caustic soda into food and in other
cruel ways.

In 1942, transports of around 5,000 women and children would arrive in


Stara Gradika camp every day. The duty of taking over the slaves was
assigned to the Ustasha lieutenant, war criminal Ante Vrban, born in
Croatian province of Lika. One of the testimonies from Stara Gradika was
retold by Ivanka Pinter-Gajer, the district attorney at Andrija Artukovi's
trial in Zagreb on 14th April 1986. Jordana Fritlander described an event in
this camp. Everything she said was included into the indictment against
Andrija Artukovi.
In the summer of 1942, transports with over 5,000 women and children from
Kozara region were coming to Stara Gradika camp. The Ustasha officer in
charge of taking them over was war criminal Ante Vrban. The children were
imprisoned with their mothers in the death tower. Afterwards, they were
forcefully separated from their mothers. By Vrban's order, the infants were
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removed to the rooms for killing. They were the children between six months
and two years of age.
Jordana F. was a witness to the barbaric killing of the Serbian children:
Vrban appeared one day and ordered us to remove the small children
into a room of 16 sq metres in area. Poor mothers could hear their
children screaming . A dozen of Croatian female inmates were ordered
to bring the children in blankets, so that we had to carry 10 to 15 babies
at a time. Children were thrown over one another. The room was piled
up with children up to two metres in height so the inmates were forced
to tread on them. A child's leg protruded through an opening... Vrban
threw the door open smashing the baby's leg; he grabbed the poor baby
by the other leg and hit it against the wall several times, killing it
instantly. The inmates were bringing children until very late at night
literally treading on them, often on dead ones whose intestines had
come out. All the children were afterwards gassed to death with Zyklon
B.

The female inmate Maja Vejnovi remembers that thousands women and
children were dying in Stara Gradika camp every day during the summer
heat in 1942. They had been brought from Kozara, Kordun, Banija, Slavonija
etc.
They would first brought them to the notorious tower liquidating
many of them. Children were spearated from their mothers. A few
nuns came in with tin buckets and paintbrushes in their hands, giving
the children's mouth a stroke with the paintbrush. They told the
children that would quench their thirst. In fact, the nuns were
poisoning the children. Two hours later, the children started to scream
in agony and die. After two days, the bodies began to decompose. The
Ustashas drove them away and threw into pits. There was also a room
where children were gassed. One day they piled 500 children in the
room. An Ustasha came, who was in charge of gassing.

Twenty-six witnesses gave their testimony against Artukovi at the trial


along with 19 written statements given by other inmates.

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PICCILI'S CREMATORIA
Nobody knows how many Serbian children were slain. Many were burnt
alive in Jasenovac. Engineer Hinko Dominik Piccili, one of the camp
commanders, took care of that. He was the head of labour service in
Jasenovac camp complex. He would beat inmates to death. Moaning of his
victims would make him frenzied and ecstatic. The Jasenovac camp
command assigned Piccili the construction of two crematoria - one in an old
brickworks and another in Gradina. In a short time, he reconstructed one
furnace from the brickworks into several smaller ones. All furnaces had a
single chimney. The design of furnaces allowed the burning of 50 adults and
about 100 children at a time. The crematorium would swallow more than 600
people in a single night. The door was opened outwards, towards the tunnel,
a wide gateway to the raging inferno. The first ones to be burnt in the
crematorium were the inmates - bricklayers who had built the furnaces
according to Piccili's plans. They were burnt to ashes in a few minutes, which
made Piccili delighted with his monstrous design. The temperature in the
crematorium was over 2,000 C. Hinko Piccili and Maks Luburi, the camp
commander, wanted to maintain the crematorium in secrecy. The
executioners were afraid that the inmates could hear the screams of those
being burnt alive, which could cause a mutiny. The ventilation in
crematorium did not work. Piccili was drawing a plan for crematorium with
pre- chambers, which he called a modern crematorium, where victims were
supposed to be gassed and then burnt like in the Nazi crematoria. Luckily, he
did not have enough time for that. Terrible stench spread across the wide
surroundings, so that it was widespread rumoured in this part on the NDH
about a concentration camp where Ustashas burnt people. Paveli tried to
hush that up, while Luburi organised a big gathering in the place of
Jasenovac where he tried to deny that Ustashas burn, as he said, their
enemies alive . According to the testimonies by numerous witnesses:
Vojislav Kovaevi, Brank Balija, Josip Herak, Marijan Hebner etc, between
15,000 and 20,000 dead or alive men, women and children were burnt in
Piccili's crematorium.
The organiser of the genocide against the Serbs in 1941-1945 was in Vatican,
while the executors were Romanised Croats with the help from Muslims -

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the flower of Croatianism. Numerous data confirm the fanatical character


of Paveli and Stepinac.
In the preface to the book Jasenovac and the Srebrenica Myth, Predrag
Dragi Kijuk says that even Nazi generals were appalled by the horrors of
Jasenovac. For example, general von Horstenau, Hitler's envoy in Zagreb,
recorded in his personal log for 1942 that the Ustasha camps in the NDH were
the essence of horror, while Artur Hefner, the officer in charge of the
transport of slave labour force to the Reich, wrote the following about
Jasenovac on 11th November 1942: The concept of Jasenovac camp should
actually be realised as a complex of several camps, a few kilometres away
from one another and grouped around Jasenovac alone. Regardless of the
public propaganda, it is one of the most horrible camps, comparable only with
Dante's Inferno
From only several sentences written by K. Deschner in his book The
Politics of the Papacy in the 20th Century can the scope and dynamics be
realised of the Ustasha crime against the innocent Serbian population - says
Kijuk. Therefore we quote those parts of Deschner's book: Book 2, Section
Pope Pius XII) As early as July 1941, the Croatian embodied devils the
Ustashas, slayed over 100,000 Serbian men, women and children in churches,
streets and fields.
K. Deschner: In first eight months of the clerical-fascistic regime alone, the
number of Ustasha victims reached 350,000 people massacred in a way
having been absolutely strange to the human mind before. According to a
report by the special emissary of the German Ministry of Exterior, Hermann
Neubacher, Dechner says: Based on reports available to me, I estimate that
the number of those slaughtered barehanded in the NDH amounts to three
quarters of a million.

SUMMARY
Jasenovac camp (1941-1945) is the most monstrous concentration camp in
this region, the place of worst atrocities and methods of torture in the whole
of occupied Europe at the time. According to research, the Croatian death
camp existed for 1,337 days. Men, woman, children and the elderly were
killed in an unbelievable speed. It is known that the monstrous butcher Ljubo
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Milo confessed that he himself had slaughtered over a thousand Serbs in


Jasenovac in just one night. The organiser of the genocide against the Serbs
in 1941-1945 was in Vatican, while the executors were Romanised Croats.
Numerous data confirm the fanatical character of Paveli and Stepinac. In
the process of purification of Croatian nation, Serbian children were the
first to be killed, together with adults. Ustashas killed even the children who
were still nursed. The youngest children were still in cradles, while the oldest
were about 14 years of age. During the Second World War, Croatia was the
only place in whole Europe to have special camps for children. Vatican, led
by the Pope Pius XII, saw nothing wrong in the monstrous killing of 750,000
Serbs under pious and devoted Catholic Ante Paveli. In that way, the Pope
permitted that the Catholic Church usurp the entire property of the Serbian
Orthodox Church, murdering hundreds of Orthodox priests.

REFERENCES
Dr Nikola Nikoli, Jasenovaki logor;
K. Deschner, Politika rimskih papa; Zloini u logoru Jasenovac (1946);
Deca u logorima smrti (1986);
Izvetaj Zemalske komisije (1946);
Koncentracioni logor Jasenovac; R. Bulatovi,
Dokumenti o protunarodnom radu i zloinima jednog dijela katolikog klera (1946);
Jasenovac i srebreniki mit (2012).

109

Danilo Trbojevi

THE POLICY OF SELECTIVE


MEMORY IN THE AGE OF
TRANSITION: THE RELATION
BETWEEN THE IDENTITY OF THE
VICTIM AND PERPETRATOR TODAY

INTRODUCTION
The topic of the Holocaust is as stratified as it is current. I believe that the
area of the Balkans is particularly interesting when it comes to the analysis
of the collective memory of a society, as well as the politics of organising
collective and national identity. In that sense, the example of the memory of
the holocaust in Croatia is exceptionally interesting because it is so complex,
and very current. This paper will analyse the process of reconstruction of the
Croatian identity in light of European integrations. We are aware that the
imperative of cooperation and compliance to the European Union standards
especially noticeable in the countries of ex-Yugoslavia. For years now there
has been a conflict between Serbia and Croatia about the portrayal of memories of the NDH camps and victims of the Ustasha regime in Croatia. Theoretical and empirical material will be presented in the paper, which indicates
how Croatia today remembers the holocaust and the crimes committed in the
name of the NDH.1 If we understand the reasons for a certain way of presenting and shaping memories and subsequently identities, we will see not only
1

NDH = the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Drava Hrvatska)

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the reasons of the reconstruction but also the change in inter-social relations
that follow these processes. The goal of this paper is to analyse the use of
selective memory in the process of identity reconstruction as well as overviewing its consequences, especially in the attitude towards otherness in Croatia.

HOLOCAUST, POLITICS, MEMORY, IDENTITY


In the past I have written papers on the topic of the culture of memory2, selective memory and the politics of commemoration which influence the identity of a society, in my masters thesis and some other published papers.3 To
illustrate the influence that selective social or political organisation of
memory can have on the identity of social groups, nation, state and even the
global discourse, I will present several best-known traumas of the presentation of memories of the victim and perpetrator.
The first example I would like to present would be Germany. It is a good example because it shows how two different political influences, that of the East
and that of the West, have made Germany develop several different and contradicting identities in the decades following the war. Before the reunification, East and West Germany had different views of their common history,
at least when it comes to the events of the Second World War. After 1990, i.e.
the reunification of Germany, the process of the reconstruction of memory
was launched by changing the politics of the new state and with it changing
the institutions that control identity formation.4 When Germany reunited, it

For more information see: Todor Kulji, Kultura seanja: teorijska objanjenja upotrebe

prolosti, igoja, Beograd, 2006.


3

For more information see: Danilo Trbojevi, Seanje na zlo: memorijalni centri, filmovi i
politika komemoracije rtava nemakih i NDH logora, masters thesis defended at the Department of ethnology and anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, 2010;
Danilo Trbojevi, Antropologija amerikanizacije Holokausta, Biblioteka INITIUM, Zadubina Andrejevi, Beograd, 2013, , , 5.
, , 2011.
4 Sarah Farmer, Symbols that Face Two Ways: Commemorating the Victims of Nazism
and Stalinism at
Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, University of California Press, 1995, p. 97.

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was noticed not only that the identities of Germans in the west and those in
the East were very different, because one side was branded to be the perpetrators and the other to be victims, but also that the latter (in East Germany)
have developed a culture of memory that made them see themselves as victims of Hitlers, Stalins, and ultimately the western capitalistic (fascist) regime.5
The example of political commemoration at the Buchenwald Memorial
clearly illustrates how dominant political currents and regimes can disrupt
or distort some historical facts with the aim to reconstruct group history and
identity. In different periods of the Memorial one side of Germany was celebrated and the other neglected. After the war, heavily influenced by the Soviet Union, East Germans shared the identity of the fighters of socialism who
had defeated fascism, so they saw themselves as anti-fascist victims. This was
the consequence of Soviet Union's strong influence on East German politics.
This situation went on for decades and all the while East Germans commemorated victims of Hitler's repression. After the Berlin Wall was torn down the
two Germanies united, but their identities remained opposing. The new collective memory of Germany changed to a degree the identity of East Germans
since West Germans were appointed to head positions of institutions in
charge of the politics of memory. Although East Germany was forced to accept the identity of the perpetrator in the Second World War, it created a
new identity of victim. From then on East Germans considered themselves
victims not only of Hitlers regime, but also of the multi-decennial oppression
by the Soviet Union and Stalin. Today, when Germans are aware of the double history of Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen they have a different view of
their history and past, political present and future.6 And yet, the identities of
the two Germanies still have not been unified, for the reason that after the
reunification and West Germany assuming government, East Germans began
seeing themselves as victims in a third form. Namely, because of the investigations that the western regime had carried out on East Germans who had
worked or cooperated with the infamous Stasi secret police after the war,
the East Germans who believed that cooperation to have been imposed on

5
6

Farmer, ibid.., p. 104.


Ibid.

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them viewed the western investigations as a new wave of oppression. Consequently, East Germans developed a third victim identity where the perpetrator is seen to be the political (capitalist / fascist) government of West Germany.7
The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland most directly indicates who the victims
were, and who the perpetrators. On the other hand, the Auschwitz Memorial
does not accentuate the role of the bystander nation, in this case Poland,
which is also a form of the culture of forgetting. The Auschwitz Museum is
listed as an example of a museum in the country of a nation that still has not
fully resolved its role in the holocaust, i.e. the role of the passive bystander.
There are two examples of the way Polish society views this Memorial, which
indicate that even a globally important area of memory can sometimes be not
so desirable in case the society has a divided identity in the context of the
holocaust. In the first example the nature of the Memorial and its significance
to the local community changes in relation to other social (in this case economic) factors, while the second example indicates the possibility that such a
space can develop completely different social relations on the local and the
global level (as a tourist and economic centre for the citizens of Oswiecim,
and as sacred grounds of commemoration and memory of the descendants of
the holocaust victims on the global level).
Namely, in the devastated Poland after the war a part of the camp disappeared
since the timber was stolen to be used for rebuilding homes or as firewood.
The area of what used to be the camp had been going to ruins for years, since
for the Poles this area was of little importance in the following decades when
the standard of living was miserable. There was also a level of animosity that
the citizens of Oswiecim manifested towards the area of the camp. Namely,
the whole area of the camp had been protected in the first decades after the
war and there was a ban on making any drastic changes or using the facilities
for anything other than as a museum. This meant the closing of one of the
factories that had been built by the inmates of the first camp of Auschwitz

Farmer op. cit., p. 107.

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and where the inmates had worked, i.e. toiled and died, throughout the existence of the camp.8 In poverty-stricken post-war Poland work was scarce and
operating industrial facilities even scarcer. The citizens of Oswiecim demanded that the factory that was located in one section of the ex-camp be reactivated, which would have been very significant for the citizens of this and
nearby places in terms of new job openings, profit and ultimately food on the
table. 9
Soon the situation changed drastically. Although the factory was not re-activated, something else happened which changed the attitude of the populace
towards the Auschwitz Memorial. A railway to the Memorial was built in
1967. Very soon this area had proven an excellent tourist destination with
huge potential. Soon there were lots of ex-inmates coming to visit, descendants of inmates, school and student excursions etc., and Oswiecim bloomed
economically.10 In the years to come the town of Oswiecim became one of
Polands obligatory tourist destinations, but the attitude of the citizens towards the space was still mixed. In the second case, the problem was the symbolic detachment of the camp from the town. It turned out that if the
Oswiecim youth would like to launch a project for a parking lot, supermarket
or disco club. These initiatives were discarded because such projects would
disturb the concept of the Memorial, which no longer belonged to Oswiecim
or Poland, but to the whole world. 11 In that sense, it can be seen how an area
which is very important for the victim identity waived potential profit for
the sake of the memories it represents. There is an ongoing debate about the
relation of the town of Oswiecim and the area of Auschwitz as contrasting

Michal Y. Bodemann, Eclipse of Memory: German Representations of Auschwitz in the


Early Postwar Period, New German Critique, No. 75, 2008, p. 63.
9 Alison Stenning, Andrew Charlesworthb, Robert Guzikc, Micha Paszkowskic, A tale of
two institutions:
Shaping Owicim-Auschwitz, Geoforum, Environmental Economic Geography,Volume
39, Issue 1, pp. 402 405.
10 Ibid.
11 Alexandra Rahr, Are Holocaust Memorials Ethical?, The Elie Wesel Foundation for
Humanity, New York, 2003, pp. 11-12.

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the space of the living with the space of the dead, the relation of the national
and global identity.
Next to The Auschwitz Memorial and the Yad Vashem Memorial in Israel,
the third most famous memorial to the holocaust is in the United States of
America. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington is
one of several most important centres for the global discourse on victims and
perpetrators in the context of the holocaust. Examining the concepts of the
installations of this museum one notices the American cultural context which
is very present. America, although geographically remote from the events of
the holocaust, depicts in this museum its role in these events, of course as the
winners and liberators, and not as perpetrators or bystanders. This message
would be quite justified in America itself did not deserve a place among at
least those who were characterised as passive bystanders in the suffering,
since there are several examples where the Museum management failed to
mention USAs involvement in the suffering of innocent civilians. This refers
to the time when groups of Jews asked for help (asylum) from America in
1938, which they were denied and deported back to Germany, where they
were later persecuted and murdered.12 This event was imbedded in the installation in such a way that it reveals very little information about the dark
side of American memory. The part of the installation that speaks of the dark
part of American memory, titled No help, no refuge 1938 was portrayed
negligibly in relation to for example the first image that the visitors of the
Museum see at the entrance, which is the image of the American liberators
who freed these camps.13
The United States of America, regardless of its history of cooperation with
Hitlers pre-war regime, its history of racism, slavery and genocide against
the Indians, its history of imprisoning Japanese people who used to live in
America and placing them into camps, has every reason to feel as a perpetrator. It is enough to read a bit about anti-Semitism and Hitlers ideas which
were widely accepted by the American elites and citizens in the period right

12

Jennifer Faber, Holocaust memory and museums in the United States: problems of representation, Miami University, History, 2005, op. cit., p. 24.
13 Faber, op. cit, p. 28.

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before the war and14 it becomes clear why America today wants to establish
its role as the nation which holds monopoly over the memories of the holocaust and as a flagship of freedom and tolerance. I would call this a classic
case of whitewashing. 15

THE TRAUMA OF THE PORTRAYAL OF


MEMORIES OF NDH CRIMES IN CROATIA
I have written papers earlier about Holocaust Memory in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where the politics of collective memory was directed at maintaining a singular Yugoslav identity which was based on the
idea that the Yugoslav peoples are brothers united in the fight against fascism.
In that sense, after the war the dominant communist regime portrayed the
Partisan movement as a central highlight of the war, while the Chetniks and
Ustashas were vilified as anti-communist and fascist in character. In order to
avoid the conflicts of identities of nations in Yugoslavia, which considered
each other as the perpetrators, the commemorations of the victims of fascism
and death camps (such as Jasenovac) were organised in a similar manner as
in East Germany, which meant that everybody was celebrated as having assisted in the victory against the Nazis, with victims celebrated from each nation, if their deaths helped the victory.16
After the secession of Germany, the breakup of Yugoslavia and the bloody
wars that ensued in this part of the Balkans, the elements and institutions of
collective memory changed their places, which, as this paper will show, effected a change of identity. In Croatia, in a time frame of only two decades,
through spatially institutionalised and ritual form and the influence of the
educational system, those who had been recognised for decades as the perpetrators have completely changed their places.

14

Faber, ibid.., p. 34.


Young. E. James, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meanings, New
Heaven, Yale University, p. 336.
16 Wolfram A. Mark, Representations of the Holocaust at Dachau and Buchenwald in Comparison with Auschwitz, Yad Vashem and Washington, German Studies Association, pp.
688-689.
15

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In the example of Croatian memory through the institutionalised space we


see that the dividing line between the perpetrator and the victim is now
hazy.17 A special form of revisionism plays a major role in Croatia in the
memory of events which should not be brought into question. Namely, the
narrative of the installation of the Jasenovac Museum has been showing a
significantly lower number of victims for years, a confusing log of the ethnicity of the victims, the motives and ideological and ethical specificities of
the perpetrators. Diminishing the number of victims and obscuring the definitions of the victims and perpetrators and the specificities of the crimes expunges the crime itself (from social memory). In that sense, as I have already
written in my earlier papers, over time the Jasenovac Museum has become a
place of experiments in organising selective memory with powerful political
influences on the identity of Croatia both on the internal and the external
level.
Obscuring memory in Croatia is a practice not only limited to the installation
of the Jasenovac Memorial, but also manifested through the example of the
annual commemoration to the victims of Jasenovac and (Croatian) victims
and heroes in Bleiburg.18 While the Jasenovac Museum today portrays a
pale and ineffective image of events which insufficiently tell the tale of genocide, camps, atrocities and specificities of the bloodthirsty Ustasha regime
and the vast numbers of Serb, Roma and Jewish victims, Bleiburg, a place in
Austria where a number of captured Ustasha soldiers were executed at the
end of the war, is slowly becoming the main place of national commemoration of suffering for the Croats. The example of the Bleiburg commemoration
is an excellent example for educational, anthropological, sociological, psychological and especially historical analysis of how a change in the social, historical and political context effects the change of identity.
The memory of Bleiburg changed from commemorations to executed fascists
being completely prohibited by the communist regime of the time, to the fact
that today more attention is paid in Croatia to the memory of the Ustashas

17

For more information on revisionism in Croatia, see: Salamon Jazbec, Magnissimum


crimen, Margelov institut, Zagreb, 2008.
18 David Bruce MacDonald, Balkan holocausts?: Serbian and Croatian victim-centered propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia, Manchester University Press, 2003.

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executed in Bleiburg than to the innocent Serb, Jewish and Roma victims
exterminated in Jasenovac. Basic knowledge of history and elementary logic
dictate that the victims of Jasenovac were in no way involved in the deaths
of the men executed in Bleiburg, while it is certain that many of the executed
Ustashas were directly involved in the deaths of not only the victims of
Jasenovac, but also the victims of other camps and places of execution across
the NDH. In any case, it is a fact that in the past several years Croatia decreased the budget for the commemorations in Jasenovac, and increased that
of organised group trips to Austria on the day of commemoration to the victims at Bleiburg. This idea is fully supported by the Catholic Church which
greatly encourages this commemoration.19
Although in recent years Croatian political leaders or representatives of the
government have started to make appearances and hols speeches at the
Jasenovac commemoration, the narratives of their speeches are mainly of the
artificial politically correct kind with what is now a traditional controversy
over the number of victims. On the day of the commemoration, the Croatian
side commemorates several tens of thousands of victims of the Ustasha regime, while on the other side of the river, in the Republic of Srpska, the commemoration is dedicated to over half a million victims.20 Truth be told, the
speeches of the Croatian politicians are governed by European integrations.
In that sense, one should not be surprised that the commemoration in the
Croatian part of Jasenovac does not seem very sincere nor particularly desirable.21 Understandably, for the Croatian state these commemorations are
just as unpleasant and necessary a factor as the cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is simply an element of the process of the change in Croatias identity from a Balkan state
into a European state.

19

Jazbec, ibid., p. 491.


MacDonald, ibid.
21 Salamon Jazbec states that such commemorations should be taken away from politicians
as central figures, and even from religious figures who use these occasions to make political speeches, accentuate conflicts with other political or religious communities and to promote themselves.
20

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Today the two opposing commemorative practices (Jasenovac / Bleiburg) indicate the two identities of Croatia, and are logically opposed to each other,
which creates the paradox of the same country regards itself as the victim,
bystander and perpetrator of the same historical and political period. It is
clear that today Bleiburg is the space that the Croatian state/nation needs to
reconstruct the identity of the perpetrator or bystander into the identity of
the victim and hero martyrs.

THE OUTCOME OF USING SELECTIVE MEMORY


IN THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CROATIAN
IDENTITY AND THE RELATION TOWARDS
OTHERNESS IN CROATIA TODAY
When the commemorations to the victims of Jasenovac were reinstated after
the 1990s, they jeopardised the then current Croatian narrative of a justified
defence against the aggressor and of innocent victims, Home Guardsmen.
The demons of the past marked Croatia as a nation of perpetrators, which
was problematic, because during secession from Yugoslavia and the following civil war the image placed in the media was that of an oppressed nation
of righteous defenders (Home Guard) and innocent victims of the aggression
of Great Serbia or Yugoslavia. In the early aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia, and more importantly, of the Yugoslavian identity, the Croatian nation quite easily stifled the idea of the Ustasha regime being genocidal, and
replaced it with the premise of brave and righteous Ustasha defenders of the
Croatian state. Hence the abundance of sympathisers of the Ustasha movement among the generations who were born decades after the Second World
War, and even the wars of the 1990s. And of course, as the neo-Ustasha trend
strengthens, the issue of revisionism comes forth. It is clear what would happen in Germany if, for example, a band was to emerge, whose fans wore the
insignia of the infamous Nazi SS troops, or saluted their musicians with Heil
Hitler! And it is choreographies and salutes such as these can be noticed in
concerts of pro-Ustasha or radical-right wing bands in Croatia. Salomon
Jazbec very keenly observed and listed the entire narrative complex surrounding Croatias most popular national ethno/rock musician, Marko
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Perkovi aka Thompson, which was indicative that although this musician no
longer flaunts the directly nationalistic narrative from his early career, he
still has strong ties to the motives of the Ustasha movement be it through
choreography or audience communication, through the names and lyrics of
his songs, which, conveniently, have common motives or even words with
Ustasha songs.22 And yet the charges of revisionism are rare in Croatia or
come from minority groups that have no actual political power to change the
attitude of the Croatian government towards the crimes of the Ustasha regime. On the other side, Croatia skilfully avoids accusations of revisionism
by using the Jasenovac commemorations as signs of good will to remember
the crimes or victims. If it is possible to commemorate two spaces at the same
time which have contradicting memories and if one of them is more dominant than the other, as it is the case in Croatia today with Bleiburg and
Jasenovac, then there is no need for direct historical revisionism, i.e. calling
Jasenovac into question. There is no need for direct revisionism and calling
the nature of Jasenovac into question for the simple reason that remembrance and social memory of the suffering in Bleiburg are slowly but surely
supressing and marginalising the memory of the victims and perpetrators of
Jasenovac.23 This way Croatia can avoid global accusations of revisionist politics and the condemnation of the international community, since today it
does commemorate the victims of Jasenovac (the way it does) while at the
same time it commemorates innocent Croatian victims the executed Ustashas in Bleiburg. 24
What makes this phenomenon of identity reconstruction even more interesting is that if such a switch of the space of memory continues over time the
memory of Bleiburg will become more and more dominant at the spatial,
symbolic and social level, thus denigrating Jasenovac and the trauma of portraying Croatia as a symbolic successor to the criminal NDH. In that case the

22

For more information on revisionism in Croatia see: Salamon Jazbec, Magnissimum


crimen, argelov institut, Zagreb, 2008.
23 Trbojevi, Seanje na zlo: memorijalni centri, filmovi i politika komemoracije rtava
nemakih i NDH logora, p. 181.
24 Ibid.

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Croatian identity will rely solely on the idea of Croats as fighters against injustice, as liberators, who have committed no atrocities or crimes, but were
victims both in the wars of the 1990s and the Second World War.
The heralds of the change in identity in Croatia can be seen today, and they
represent only a part of the identity which is being organised. Today we can
see the consequences of forgetting traumatic historical events which used to
link Croatia to the identity of the perpetrator, such as the example of the
aforementioned singer Thompson, as well as other cases which are mostly
popularised by the Balkan media. Lately, the Croatian media, and subsequently Serbian media as well, have been overwhelmed with reports of ethnic-based incidents, to put it mildly, involving more or less known and famous members of the post-war generation of Croatian youth. Of course, in
most cases a special role belongs to the older generation, i.e. the Home
Guardsmen, who are seen by a part of the Croatian society as brave righteous
men who have liberated and practically created independent Croatia as it is
today.
The most recent such case was the alleged disappearance of a Kristina
urkovi, from what the Serbian public later found out, one of the radical
right wing activists, who was often involved in protests in Croatia as well as
performances which emphasise the anti-EU protests and the glorification of
the Croatian fighter.25 Soon young Kristina became the face of new-generation Croatian nationalism. This girl is irrelevant, but what is relevant is that
her range of activities, apart from criticising Croatian EU integration politics,
includes anti-Serb concepts with a special focus on the ban of Cyrillic writing
in Vukovar. To be honest, it is clear that Kristina is using a tension-packed
social climate to build some kind of a career and a name for herself in the
Croatian political milieu. Other personas from the Croatian cultural life find
their inspiration in continuously tense relations between Croatia and Serbia.
Aside from Thompson, who adapted the extreme nationalism from the beginning of his career to the social climate where he is now presenting his
patriotic approach to ethno rock and making a decent living, we have the

25

http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/913622-nestala-najpoznatija-ustaskinja-mrziteljka-srba-icirilice

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controversial writer called Vedrana Rudan,26 who touches on the traumatic


aspects of the Croatian cultural life and relations with Serbia in her blog or
TV appearances, or the director Oliver Frlji, who uses his plays to delve into
the trauma of portrayal of memory and identity in Croatia as well as in the
Balkans, which makes him controversial even outside his own country.27 In
an interview for a Serbian magazine called Kurir, for several times this author touched on the nationalistic rampage and destruction of signs and name
plates in Cyrillic script in Vukovar.28 This incident, or this series of incidents
in Vukovar is merely one of many events caused by the reconstruction of
identity in Croatia. The mere existence of the idea to put up signs in the Cyrillic alphabet, the Serb writing caused an outburst of retaliation of the Right
in Croatia. The largest problem was that using this script was a symbol for
Croatian nationalists for the return of Serbs to Croatia. Although Vukovar
had always been predominantly populated by Serbs, even after the war, these
signs being put up and then demolished was represented as a struggle against
some sort of a new colonisation or Serb aggression towards the Croatian state
and culture.29
In other cases, when the motive has a symbolic weight to it, important not
only in the Balkans but also globally, there is a desire to make it part of the
Croatian identity even if it comes from the opposite, Serb culture. Such a case
is the question of the identity of Nikola Tesla. Tesla, a world-famous and
acknowledged scientist, was born to a Serb family in the village of Smiljan in
Lika. Up to the 1990s, there were many Serbs in the village, as well as most
of Lika. Lately there is more and more debate over whether Tesla was a Serb

26

http://www.rudan.info/
http://www.kurir-info.rs/kontroverzni-hrvatski-reditelj-pozoriste-ne-moze-nistauciniti-ni-za-hrvatsku-ni-za-srbiju-clanak-1107823
28 This author commented on the future of the relationship between the Croats and the
Serbs: It is hard to believe that these societies will heal any time soon. Their nationalist atavisms break out every now and then. Perhaps the original question is what created the
wound, and not whether we should poke at it. http://www.kurir-info.rs/kontroverznihrvatski-reditelj-pozoriste-ne-moze-nista-uciniti-ni-za-hrvatsku-ni-za-srbiju-clanak1107823
29 http://ww.novosti.co.rs/vesti/planeta.300.html:464127-Hrvatski-ministar-MaticBranitelji-slusaju-Cecu-a-smeta-im-cirilica
27

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or a Croat. In several Croatian forums and websites I found texts that are
supposed to show that the famed scientist was nothing other than a Croat.30
For example, the Croatian version of the Wikipedia page on Nikola Tesla31
describes Teslas ethnic background with: Nikola Tesla was born on 9th/10th
July 1856 in the village of Smiljan near Gospi. Tesla was of Serb or Croatian
origin (Teslas diary). His father Milutin is said to have been an Orthodox
Christian priest, and his mother Georgina Mandi (nicknamed uka) was an
uneducated, but highly intelligent woman.32
This is an example of selective appropriation, which clearly illustrates how
the Croatian society of today absorbs elements which are favourable to the
positive nature of its European identity, which it is developing alongside the
process of forgetting the other part of its history. If there werent for the
parallel influence of the culture of memory and the culture of forgetting, the
new identity would simply not be feasible because the conflicting elements
would simply cancel each other out. As we have seen in the examples of Germany, America or Poland, this process is not particular only to Croatia, but
is equally arbitrary, and we can recognize the elements if we know the social
and historical context. Similar ideas on selective memory and constructing
new mythology and identity, not only on defining a nation, were presented
much earlier in papers by Benedict Anderson or Paul Connerton,33 who indicate exactly that possibility of construction and reconstruction of elements
of social or national identity and the pertinent role of memory.
And yet, perhaps the best illustration of the degree of revisionism or extent
of forgetting historical facts is pertinent not to politicians or people from Croatias cultural life, but to a sportsman and several dozen thousand common

30

http://www.dnevno.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/97744-hrvatski-znanstvenik-tvrdi-tesla-je-hrvata-to-znaju-vrhuske-katolicke-i-pravoslavne-crkve.html
http://www.hrhb.info/showthread.php?t=4065
31 http://www.wikipedia.org/
32 http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla
33 For more information see: Anderson Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on
the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (rev. ed. ed.). London: Verso. 1991 [1983]. Or Konerton Pol, Kako drutva pamte, Fabrika knjiga, Beograd, 2002.

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people, who sent a joint message to both the Croatian society and their Balkan neighbours.
In November 2013, the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb was full and the football fans and players were celebrating their victory over Iceland in the international match which brought them a place in the World Championship. The
incident that occurred was when Josip imuni, a Croatian footballer, ran
onto the pitch holding a microphone and greeted the already ecstatic fans.
The issue isnt that imuni ran out and addressed the fans. The shocking
part was the salute he chose, much more than what the fans responded with.
Namely, the player came onto the field and greeted the fans with the (wartime) salute most notable for its use among members of the Ustasha movement in the NDH: For the Homeland... ... ready! When imuni uttered the
first part of the salute: For the home...!, it was met with a frenetic response
from the already ecstatic fans: ... READY!!! 34 Of course, it was immediately
clear that the player would get into trouble for this.
When asked by the press why he had done it, imuni said: I had always
wanted to do it. Some people should brush up on their history, and I am not
afraid. I have done nothing wrong, I support my country and my homeland,
and if someone has an issue with that, it is their problem, not mine.35 The
arguments imuni used was much unfounded, since this salute infamous
because it was not only widespread among the Ustashas, but as official and
characteristic as the Heil Hitler among the Nazi Germans. The player may
had wanted to correct his mistake by pointing out to the historical origin of
the salute, dating from before the Second World War or the Ustasha movement. But then the same argument could be used by the German Right or any
other groups that today use the infamous Heil! justifying it because it relates to the ancient Roman salute by raising the hand or using the same salute
in the 18th or late 19th century. Of course, the situation would be just as unfa-

34

http://sport.blic.rs/Fudbal/Svetski-fudbal/243360/Ustaski-pir-na-Maksimiru-Hrvatskifudbaler-skandirao-za-dom-spremni-sa-navijacima
35 Ibid.

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vourable because anybody who is familiar with the social, historical and political context can immediately relate the salute to the Nazi and fascist salute,
and not the Roman one, or the one from the time of Paulo Ritter Vitezovi.36
Officials of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA)
seemed to share similar viewpoints as the player. Josip imuni was punished
because of his pro-Nazi salute with a ban from ten official matches for his
national team, which meant that the player would not play for his team at the
world championship.37 Although the Croatian public, headed by the national
team coach and chairman of the Croatian Football Association, and all the
fans, was shocked by the Draconian punishment that the FIFA imposed on
the player,38 the other, Serbian side considered the punishment too lenient.
Chairman of Serbias Football Association Tomislav Karadi said that not
only he felt the punishment was too lenient, but that imuni is a man of a
deranged mind.39
Although imuni was in the end punished for his rash and seemingly illconsidered gesture, the second party that took place in the performance at
the stadium was not punished, but was warned. It was not the whole Croatian
society at the stadium that day, nor were all the people who were there aware
of the historical background of the salute and its gravity. It is a fact, however,
that the majority of the fans, without any second thoughts or consideration,
accepted the Ustasha salute as their national or personal salute. Had there
been more determined presentations of the memory of the holocaust and the
NDH crimes which are transferred through education, perhaps at least a part
of those who chanted at the stadium or vandalised signs in Vukovar would
have reconsidered. This way the Croatian identity is divided into two parts,
the first being under pressure from the other one, which has government
support and threatens to become the dominant one. The other one is actually

36

For more information see: http://books.google.hr/books?id=oNIpAAAAYAAJ


http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/dec/16/croatia-josip-simunic-ban-world-cuppro-nazi-chant
38 http://sportski.net.hr/nogomet/reprezentacija/niko-kovac-o-kazni-simunicu-neugodnosam-iznenadjen-sokiran-i-razocaran
39 http://www.b92.net/sport/fudbal/vesti.php?yyyy=2013&mm=12&dd=18&nav_id=790593
37

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a different Croatia, a Croatia which was heard loudly and clearly in the response to imunis call, for the Homeland! ... Ready!
We should keep in mind that Croatia today is not a homogenous unit of identity in thought or behaviour, and that the cases presented here are not the
rule, but they are present in Croatia today. The problem this paper is trying
to indicate is the escalation or spreading of such examples as a consequence
to the trauma of portrayal or forgetting dark parts of own history.

CLOSING REMARKS
As we have seen in the examples of Germany, Poland and America, national
memory can often be divided by and consequential to influences of culture,
economy and identity. Regardless of which approach to organising social
memory is chosen, the consequences are visible at all levels of social and inter-social communication. The holocaust represents one of those examples
from human history which is by definition a precedent and a warning not
only to the generations that experienced it, but for all future ones as well,
because the gravity of the holocaust is not only reflected in the number of
victims but in the memory of one of the darkest periods of human history,
which shows what one is capable of if one allows oneself to be led by hatred.
Jasenovac and the other NDH camps speak the same story of the dark side of
Croatian history, or to be more precise, of the criminal regime that sent to
their deaths not only Serbs, Roma people and Jews, but also members of the
same ethnicity who were seen as unfavourable. Unfortunately, instead of accepting, condemning and overcoming the crimes of the Ustasha regime and
thus move forward, we are witnessing the process of identity reconstruction,
which ignores the memory of other groups in Croatia, and not only memory
but also historical facts that will continue to be a threat, and anybody referencing to these facts considered an enemy.
The problem that arises is the repressed anger and animosity being built up
with the youth in Croatia on the one side because of poor living conditions,
standard of life and a growing number of unemployed people and on the
other side because of the Serb aggressors, Serb Cyrillic script, globalist
Europe or some other enemy. The fact remains that a society which builds
its identity on the idea of heroism, struggle and number of victims, and at the
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same time ignores the dark side of its history, consequently suffers from
identity confusion. The problem arises when the memories of other ethnic
groups within and without of the country are opposed to what is in this case
the official corpus. This kind of opposition represents a threat because it can
sway the foundations of identity in the process of reconstruction, as well as
the social and political potential of the new identity compared to the discarded
old one.
In that sense, the culture of forgetting or diminishing the number of victims
of Ustasha terror and the direct replacement of ideas by using the motive of
Bleiburg as a place of remembrance where the men who were shot are portrayed not as members of the evil Ustasha movement but innocent and brave
Home Guardsmen, cause the problem of an expectedly large animosity towards outsiders, which endangers the elements of selective memory.
It is clear that with these switches of identity Croatia today is trying to get
rid of undesirable images of its past with the aim to achieve as much integration into the European Union as possible, where it would be free of the blemishes in its identity related to WWII genocide or crimes committed in the
wars of the 1990s. This self-definement still has clear consequences which
are reflected in its relation to outsiders. It is the motive of omnipresence of
hostile outsiders that indicates the consequences of a uniform construction
of identity which neglects bad events from own history. A consequence of
the state of forgettance which engulfs the Croatian society today can be identified in the additional drop of tolerance towards minorities of any kind.
It is the phenomenon of social forgettance or selective memory that warrants
the existence of memorials such as Auschwitz, Yad Vashem or the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Unfortunately, these museums
themselves are not immune to social or political influences, but the facts presented there, even the traumatic ones, are inherently undeniable. Any time
some fact related to the holocaust as a civilizational warning is changed, falsified or challenged without scientific proof, we can call it revisionism, which
in itself entails serious consequences.
In the case of Croatia, state politics towards organising national memory is
such that revisionism, although very present, is actually well concealed. A
consequence of this kind of approach is the examples of internal animosity
between the two identities of Croatia, as well as the increasing level of fear
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and aggressive attitude towards the cultural, ethnic, religious or other outsiders. The only way to overcome this situation is for the Croatian state to
assume measures that include the condemnation of any kind of revision of
the holocaust and the crimes of the NDH. For as long as this does not happen,
the relations between Serbia and Croatia, meaning between Serbs and Croats,
will be not only bad, but the tradition of animosity will be continued in the
generations to come.

REFERENCES
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of
Nationalism (rev. ed. ed.). London: Verso. 1991 [1983]
Jennifer Faber, Holocaust memory and museums in the United States: problems of
representation, Miami University, History, 2005.
Todor Kulji, Kultura seanja: teorijska objanjenja upotrebe prolosti, igoja, Beograd,
2006.
David Bruce MacDonald, Balkan holocausts?: Serbian and Croatian victim-centered
propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia, Manchester University Press, 2003.
Pol Konerton, Kako drutva pamte, Fabrika knjiga, Beograd, 2002.
Alexandra Rahr, Are Holocaust Memorials Ethical?, The Elie Wesel Foundation for
Humanity, New York, 2003.
Alison Stenning, Andrew Charlesworthy, Robert Guzikc, Micha Paszkowskic, A tale of
two institutions: Shaping Owicim-Auschwitz, Geoforum, Environmental Economic
Geography, Volume 39, Issue 1.
Danilo Trbojevi, Seanje na zlo: memorijalni centri, filmovi i politika komemoracije rtava
nemakih i NDH logora, masters thesis defended at the Department of ethnology and
anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, 2010.
, , 5. , , 2011.
Danilo Trbojevi, Antropologija amerikanizacije Holokausta, Biblioteka INITIUM,
Zadubina Andrejevi, Beograd, 2013.
Sarah Farmer, Symbols that Face Two Ways: Commemorating the Victims of Nazism and
Stalinism at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, University of California Press, 1995.
Mark A. Wolfram, Representations of the Holocaust at Dachau and Buchenwald in
Comparsion with Auschwitz, Yad Vashem and Washington, German Studies Association.

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Michal Y. Bodemann, Eclipse of Memory: German Representations of Auschwitz in the
Early Postwar Period, New German Critique, No. 75, 2008.
James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meanings, New
Heaven, Yale University.
http://www.telegraf.rs
http://www.rudan.info
http://www.kurir-info.rs
http://ww.novosti.co.rs
http://www.dnevno.hr
http://www.wikipedia.org/
http://sport.blic.rs
http://www.theguardian.com
http://www.b92.net

130

Dragana Mijatovi -Tomaevi

THE REASON FOR MASSACRE OF


SERBS AND OTHER NON-CATHOLIC
POPULATION BY CROATS AND
MUSLIMS IN THE SECOND WORLD
WAR

In the previous conferences on the Jasenovac concentration camp, we heard


a lot about horrible persecutions, torturing and killing of the Serb, Jewish
and Roma populations and other non-Catholics in the NDH in the Second
World War, committed against ordinary people like peasants and town
people on one hand and high-positioned ones like doctors, priests etc. on the
second.
A sane person must ask themselves how it is possible that a whole nation
(such as Croats in the Second World War) turns into a genocidal nation who
kills, slaughters and exterminates all non-Catholics.
The answer to this painful question can be found in an extraordinary theory
by our contemporary Vladimir Umelji. His theory of definitionism provides
a very simple pattern which explains that, by virtue of psychagogic methods,
the elite political leadership of a country, through public media, advocates the
dehumanisation of another ethnic group as a lower race. This means
redefining the target people as a lower race, whose physical elimination is
not a sin but an allowed action, not only much needed but also necessary
for survival. This psychological logic is further advocated throughout the
perpetration of genocide in order to vindicate this illegal and unjustified

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crime. Finally, as the last act, comes negation or minimisation of crimes by


the perpetrators.
I do not think that the definitionism theory should be applied to the NDH in
the Second World War but to the Roman Catholic Church. Namely, as is
known, the Roman Catholic Church has always strived to subject the
Orthodox Church. In its expansion to the East, it first needed to build a
stronghold and secure its position in the Balkans. This stronghold, or Civitas
Dei, was built in the NDH.
For better comprehension of how the Catholic Church managed to mobilise
a mass of normal perpetrators i.e. almost the whole country to commit the
genocide against everybody who were not Catholics, let us look at the
example of little known but very interesting person Ivan Hans Merz.
Ivan Merz was born in Banja Luka in 1894. He was the illegitimate child; his
father was an Austro-Hungarian and his mother was a Hungarian Jew. He
received a decent, secular, liberal education, but the milestone in his love for
the Roman Catholic Church was his literature teacher in the Zagreb
Gymnasium (t/n: grammar school), the layman Ljubomir Marakovi.
Reading and drawing inspiration from literary works chosen by professor
Marakovi, young Merz was unconsciously taught to view the world through
the eyes of Catholic truths and the church morals. The Catholic Church
gradually embraced this intelligent and knowledge-thirsty young man
coming from spiritually ignorant and weak family. Owing to the commitment
of Jesuit Miroslav Vanin, Merz won a scholarship to the Catholic University
of Paris.
Enchanted and imbued by fanatical love for the Catholic Church and Pope,
he went to Zagreb to win a doctorate in 1923. However, having come to
Zagreb he found the situation he did not like.
Namely, after the end of the First World War, the people in Croatia began to
gradually liberalise as the wounds of war were healing. The influence of
international organisations as well as Karl Marx's liberalism had a great
influence on the development of culture, banking, economy and society in
Croatia.
Always being active in public life and imbued with love for Catholicism and
the church, passionately devoted to the Pope, he translated the texts on
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

important events in Catholic life from newspapers from France, Austria,


Belgium, Italy and the local press.
His fanatical love and devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope
did not go unnoticed even in Rome. Feeling that it was losing its position
again, due to the rise of liberalism in Europe, the Catholic Church took a
measure to regain people's favour. In 1923, the notorious Catholic Action
was officially founded in Italy. Upon invitation by the Pope Pius XI, Merz
was assigned the establishment of Catholic Action in Croatia, which he gladly
accepted.
Although Croatian political elite at the time considered Merz's ideas as
extreme, which caused many conflicts and turbulences, Merz prevailed in
this struggle and founded the youth movement called The Union of Croatian
Eagles (hereinafter referred to as The Eagles). In the organisation's
handbook, written by Merz himself as the ideologist and pioneer of the
Catholic Action, the strong ideological foundation was built for the Catholic
Action in Croatia. The Catholic Action, whose foundation was set by the Pope
Pius XI in his encyclical titled Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio [English: 'On the
Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ'] to promote the movement. In fact,
the idea was to mobilise all Catholics against free thought, liberalism,
international societies etc.
In this region, the mobilisation was conducted through The Eagles, led by
its ideologist Ivan Merz and the president Dr Ivo Protulipac. Among other
things, they were the main counterbalance to the Serbian liberal youth
society called The Sokol Movement (hereinafter referred to as The Sokol,
the Slavic word for falcon). The two societies had the same goal: to assemble
the youth throughout the country into a single organisation. While The
Sokol, especially its Serbian branch, organised parties, social events and
sport competitions, The Eagles raised Croatian Catholic youth in a strictly
religious spirit, forming their personality through moral instructions and
church truths. Just to mention that the preface Merz wrote to The Eagles'
handbook, The Golden Book, was so extreme that the Board of The Eagles
withdrew the preface at the moment when The Golden Book had already
been in printing!
This enthusiastic youth organisation founded by Merz, the pioneer of
Catholic Action, was actually a school for future butchers and slayers who
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committed the genocide against the Serbs, Jews, Roma and other nonCatholics in the NDH. To prove this statement, we will quote the handbook,
The Golden Book: The purpose of the organisation is to assemble all
Catholic youth in a single battalion and make them a battalion of apostles,
educating them religiously, morally, socially and physically; those youth is to
awake, solidify and make people eager to follow the ideals of Catholic thought
and life... The Eagle will learn them how to point out, spread, use and defend
the Catholic principles in the life of an individual, family and the human
society as a whole... The Eagle cannot be friendly to an enemy of the Catholic
faith and to those who neglect religion... However, if it can, may the
organisation try to direct, undeceive and bring them back under the wing of
the Holy Church...
In other words, the youth of The Eagles were trained either to kill nonCatholics or to convert them into Catholicism.
The most honourable place in the organisation belonged to the clergy, whose
role was to keep the religious life of members and branches of the
organisation, and encourage them to perform their duties within the
organisation.
The Dictatorship of 6th January 1929 (t/n: a royal dictatorship established in
the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by King Alexander) abolished all
associations founded on tribal or religious basis, thus abolishing the
clerical-fascist political organisation The Union of Croatian Eagles.
However, Dr Ivo Protulipac, the president of The Eagles, found a quick
solution and founded the organisation called The Crusaders as entirely
religious institution of Catholic Action with, of course, the same membership. The Eagles, now under the different name - The Crusaders,
performed their activity in an identical way based on Ivan Merz's ideology
presented in The Golden Book and under the old motto of The Eagles Sacrifice, Eucharist, Apostolate, coined by Merz himself. The Ustasha press
clearly shows that Ustashas' spiritual ideas were in complete concordance
with spiritual ideas of the Crusaders and the Eagles. They certainly were, as
most of Ustashas were Crusaders. The harvest of Merz's ideology was reaped
by Paveli together with his Ustashas in 1941.
The Catholic clergy took pastoral care of the religious life of members of
Merz's school, which raised future slaughterers and encouraged them during
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performing their duties in WWII. Merz did not live long to enjoy the fruits
of his ideology as he had died long before the WWII broke out, in 1928, but
his students went down in history as the only nation to have built a
concentration camp for children.
Let us remember the complex of Croatian concentration camps for extermination of Serbs, Jews and Roma - Jasenovac. Let us also remember the
genocide in Mount Velebit, Foa, Split, Dubrovnik etc. Merz's school
educated many names to be eternally remembered in the history of Serbs;
one of them is the war criminal Alojzije Stepinac.
Although he was the ideologist of The Eagles, he also drafted a statute of a
similar women's organisation. His vision of this organisation was realised 10
years after, by his close associate Marica Stankovi, who founded the woman
Catholic organisation called The Associates of the Lord Christ. The Serb
history will also long remember this organisation, as it used to help the
members of the Eagles Crusaders Ustashas; she killed and converted the
Serb children into Catholicism as well as other organisations of Marija's
congregations which closely cooperated with the Ustasha movement.
Ivan Merz's permanent religious devotion and his devotion to the establishment of the Catholic school for slayers, the Catholic Action in Croatia,
which was ethnically cleansed of non-Catholic population, was awarded in
2003 by his beatification in Petrievac Monastery in Banja Luka, Bosnia and
Herzegovina. This monastery was the starting point for Fra Satan (t/n: real

name Miroslav Filipovi. During World War II he participated in mass


murder of Serbs and other non-Croats particularly in the Jasenovac concentration camp. His actions in the camp earned him the nickname The Devil of
Jasenovac). The pioneer of the Catholic Action, Ivan Merz, is today one of
18 most significant saints of the Catholic Church, who the Pope Benedict
XVI personally prayed for every day.
In the end, it is interesting to mention that the Roman Catholic Church is still
active in terms of this topic. During WWII, Ustashas named a street after Ivan
Merz in Banja Luka; when the war ended, the street was renamed to its old,
pre-war name. However, if we take a closer look at our beautiful Banja Luka,
we must notice something. Namely, in Banja Luka in 2005, a Catholic
gymnasium named after Ivan Merz was started. The reason for starting this
school was most probably the inability of the Banja Luka Gramar School to
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

accept all talented and intelligent Serb students, so the children who are not
admitted to the Grammar School, which Merz himself attended, apply for the
Catholic Gymnasium named after him. I hereby appeal to the Serbian
Orthodox Church to start an Orthodox gymnasium so as to prevent our
children from going to Merz's school!

REFERENCES
Vladimir Umeli, The Theory of Definitionism and Phenomenon of Genocide; Magna Plus;
2nd edition, Belgrade, 2010.
Viktor Novak, Magnum Crimen, Nova knjiga, Belgrade, 1986.
Dr ZoranMiloevi: Who is Hans Ivan Merz?, Beli Aneo, abac, 2003.

Postulatura for Canonisation of Blessed Ivan Merz: Ivan Merz, Collected Works, Book 1, 2
and 3, The Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus, Glas Koncila, Zagreb, 2011 and
2012.

136

Pavel Tihomirov

LESSONS FROM WIKIPEDIA

Three years ago, having returned from the conference in Banja Luka, we
tried to organise the distribution of the materials from that 5th International
Conference on Jasenovac. However, almost nobody answered the call for papers. What had happened? Did the emails go to the spam folder? Or was it
a lack of readiness to have a discussion on Jasenovac? One of the possible
answers comes from Wikipedia.
Wikipedias article on the camp in Russian says the following about Jasenovac: There is a disaccord of opinions on the number of victims in Jasenovac.
[...] The issue of the number of victims became a subject of political speculation in the 1990s. Even today different sources offer significantly different
numbers of victims of the camp: from 50,000 to over a million people. With
that in mind, the question is raised: how can we even begin to comment such
variations in numbers? The focus of research for this paper were articles
from Wikipedia. We all know very well that research data from Wikipedia
are more or less unsuitable as sources. However, since we are interested
precisely in the phenomenon of how Jasenovac is perceived in the common
knowledge of people, there can be no better source than a popular encyclopaedia.
However, before we discuss this mini-study, I would like to say a few words
on a book I have recently read. It is a bestseller, the novel Red Light by Maxim
Kantor, a descendant of Jewish internationalists who came to Russia from
Argentina. One of the goals of the novel was to negate the practice of identifying Stalins regime with Hitlers. In the course of the story Kantor draws
parallels between Nazism and liberalism, illustrating the exploitative and
anti-human essence of the latter. A lot was said about various death camps,
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even mentioning Goli Otok, but I was truly surprised that there was no mention whatsoever of Jasenovac.
And immediately prior to that, in one of our Internet forums, father Nikolai
Savchenko, not unknown to our polemicists, casually mentioned Jasenovac,
and having mentioned this sad place, he stated some information that completely discouraged me. The number of victims our opponent stated were
greatly disproportionate to the numbers acknowledged in the Serb and Russian milieux. It was a kind of a promotion for Tumans rhetoric. When father Nikolai was asked to comment on his numbers, as his source he pointed
to a fragment of the Jasenovac page on Serbian Wikipedia. Having looked
this page up, I was confused to notice that the official standpoint of the
Jasenovac Memorial Centre is indeed in accordance to what is already
known to us as the historiography by the late president of the Independent
Republic of Croatia. This discovery made us start researching: what can people really read about Jasenovac on Wikipedia? They can read lots of thing.
But the conclusion we can draw is still predictable.
In summary, the Russian Wikipedia page on Jasenovac speaks of estimates
of victim numbers, limited to two sentences: While the official Yugoslavian
government, when the country still existed, favoured the version of 840 thousand victims, while according to estimates by a Croatian historiographer
named Vladimir erjavi, the number was 83,000, and a Serbian historiographer named Bogoljub Koovi puts the number at 70,000. The Jasenovac
Memorial contains information about 75,159 victims, while the Holocaust
Memorial Museum speaks of 56 to 97 thousand victims. The link to the data
on Jasenovac from the Memorial Centre will be repeated over and over again,
so it is a mystery where the authors of the Russian Wikipedia found the version of 75,159 victims. All other sources relating to the information from the
Memorial Centre give the number of 80,914. Further, let us see how this information for Jasenovac was presented in other language versions of this free
encyclopaedia. The articles on the Jasenovac concentration camp complex
are significantly different, in their size as well as details, which undoubtedly
has an intermediate effect on the formation of viewpoints towards this subject in speakers of this or that language.

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Let us begin with the Serbian version.


http://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logor _Jasenovac
The German generals from the Second World War were giving very
differing and thus unreliable data on the number of Serbs killed in the
NDH. Alexander Lhr quoted 400,000 Serbs in 1943, Lothar Rendulic
quoted 500,000 Orthodox Christians (August 1943), Hermann Neubacher quoted over 750,000 in 1943, and Ernst Fick gave the number
of 600,000 to 700,000 by March 1944. The number of victims at the
Jasenovac camp is still a subject scientific and political debate.
The Yugoslavian State Commission from 1946 estimated the number of
victims to 500,000 to 600,000.
The Yad Vashem centre in Israel quotes 700,000 victims of genocide in
the Jasenovac camp.
According to findings from the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust at the
US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, in the period between
1942 and 1943 the Ustasha regime killed over 250,000 Serbs, several
tens of thousands of which were killed in Jasenovac alone.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles estimates that around
600,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma people and Croatian anti-fascists were
killed in Jasenovac.
The Last Chance project for Croatia, organised by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, states that the minimum number of victims is 85,000.
In his book Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy1, former Croatian president Franjo Tuman claimed that 30,000 to 40,000
Serbs, 30,000 Jews and 10,000 Croatian anti-fascists were killed in
Jasenovac.
Vladimir Debijer, Yugoslavian historian and Titos biographer, estimated the number of Jasenovac victims to 700,000 to 1.2 million.
Slavko Goldstein, president of the Jewish Community of Croatia, believes that the number of victims was 60,000 to 90,000.

Croatian: Bespua povijesne zbiljnosti; literal translation The Wastelands of Historical Re-

ality, t/n.

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The number stated by the Croatian authorities is 50,002, based on written evidence.
The Belgrade Holocaust Museum has a list of 80,022 names of people
who were killed, mostly in Jasenovac. Of those, 52,000 were Serbs,
16,000 were Jews, 12,000 were Croats and nearly 10,000 were Roma
people.
During the 1980s, analyses by Vladimir erjavi, a Croatian researcher,
and Bogoljub Koovi, a Serbian researcher, reached similar numbers
using demographic statistical methods. According to them, around
80,000 people were killed in Jasenovac (with a 30 margin of error),
while the total number of people who were killed in the NDH was between 300,000 and 350,000 people. According to some people, these
numbers are understated, because for the Serb population they took
into consideration a natality of 1.1 (the same for all of Yugoslavia),
whereas for Serbs it was 2.4 in the period of 1921-1931 and 3.5 in the
period of 1949-1953.
In December 2007 the Jasenovac Memorial Centre announced a list of
72,193 names of victims of Jasenovac. According to this data 59.376
people were killed in camp III (Brickworks) and 12,790 in Stara
Gradika. 19,006 of those were children up to 14 years of age. By ethnicity, the victims were: 40,251 Serbs, 14,750 Roma people, 11,723
Jews, 3,583 Croats, 1,063 Muslims etc. The catalogues include biographic information on the victims, information on the manner and
place of execution and sources where each of them is mentioned. However, this list is not final, but is constantly increasing with new names
of victims, which means it does not represent the final number of people killed, but only those who were recorded up to then. This was confirmed by the management of the Centre after receiving harsh criticism from Serbian representatives at the 2008 commemoration.
The International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac ascertained
that over 700,000 Serbs, 23,000 Jews and 80,000 Roma people were
killed, including 110,000 children.

It is therefore clear that the Serbian page of this free encyclopaedia equally
states all the different variations, but the impression is made that the most
reliable data comes from the Jasenovac Memorial Centre, which states that
40,521 Serbs were killed in the Jasenovac camp system. This should be kept

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

in mind. The so-called Serbo-Croatian version states not only information from the research by Bogoljub Koovi (70,000), Anton Mileti
(77,200), Vladimir erjavi (83,000) but also from the following organisations: The Jasenovac Memorial (80,914), the Simon Wiesenthal Center
(85,000), the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (77,000-99,000) and the absolutely repulsive data from the Croatian Parliaments Commission for investigating the victims of the Second World War and the post-war period from
1999, which state that only 2,238 people were killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp system.
However, it must be pointed out that this article also mentions our estimate
(800,000). In comment to these numbers, the anonymous authors of the article indicate that Serbian researchers have a tendency to overstate the number
of victims and that Croatian researchers tend to understate them.
http://sh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logor_Jasenovac
Now we come to the fully Croatian version. It reiterates everything that is
stated in the so-called Serbo-Croatian version, adding data already familiar
from the Serbian version, by Slavko Goldstein (60,000-90,000) and Franjo
Tuman (60,000-70,000). The allure of the Croatian version comes from
the entry for the New York-based Jasenovac Research Institute, with emphasis on the fact that the director of the institute, Darko Trifunovi, is under
FBI investigation, charged with causing racial hatred. According to latest
information, the Jasenovac Research Institute is now run by Darko Trifunovi, a young Serb who is under FBI investigation for endangering democracy and spreading racial hatred!
http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabirni_logor_Jasenovac
The Slovenian version states already very familiar words, names and numbers (with the addition of information listed in a book called Velikomueniki
Jasenovac by Bishop Atanasije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina), however, with
some nuances. Where the Serbo-Croatian version states that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum acknowledges 77,000 to 99,000 victims of the
Jasenovac camp, the Slovenian version points to other numbers as well. Special prominence was given to the information that out of 250,000 Serbs who
were killed in the NDH, around 10,000 were killed in Jasenovac. (According

to data from the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust in Washington, in the period

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of 1941-1945 the Ustasha regime killed over 250,000 Croatian and Bosnian
Serbs, of which tens of thousands just in Jasenovac).
The estimates given by the Yad Vashem centre, which are stated in the Slovenian version, are different than the ones in the Serbian version (700,000)
and are quoted to be 500,000. However, Slovenians do emphasise that most
victims were Serbs.
http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koncentracijsko_taborie_Jasenovac
The Macedonian version is quite condensed. The Macedonians note that
the archives had been destroyed on two occasions in 1943 and in 1945. The
article especially emphasises the fact that the government of ex-Yugoslavia
hindered research, because if the numbers that were heard at the Nurnberg
trials (500,000-600,000) were confirmed, it would disprove one of the main
claims by Titoism ideologists the identification of the Ustashas with the
Chetniks.
http://mk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Having seen the Wikipedia articles written by users from ex-Yugoslavian it
should be noted that, despite the fact that the most extensive articles are in
Serbian and Croatian, these articles give the impression that the issue of victim numbers is highly political, with the number of around 80,000 victims is
imposed as the objective one. And while it is easy to understand the Croats
who do that on psychological bases, it is clear that the authors of the Serbian
text are clearly trying to root out the so-called hate speech stereotypes. I
would especially emphasise the good-natured relation towards the Serbs and
other victims of Jasenovac in the Slovenian article, and the undoubtedly true
remarks of the Macedonian version of the Wikipedia page. We now turn to
texts from countries that used to belong to Hitlers Axis.
The Bulgarian version. The Bulgarians indicate that Jasenovac, one of the
largest concentration camps, became the tomb for one out of ten residents of
Yugoslavia to have died during the Second World War. The numbers are according to the data from the Jasenovac Memorial (80,914 victims, 45,923 of
which were Serbs).

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http://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/_()
The Romanian version is almost identical to the Bulgarian one.
http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrul_de_concentrare_Jasenovac
The Italian version emphasises that the text requires revision. Estimates
of the Ustasha victims in the Jasenovac camp greatly differ and are the subject of bitter ethnic and political dispute between Serbs and Croats, ranging
from 50 thousand to over 500 thousand.
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_di_concentramento_di_Jasenovac
The Spanish version goes straight to explicitly stating that the number of
victims is subject to contradiction because the Croats are trying to understate
the number of victims, and the Serbs are trying the opposite. But still, apart
from the already traditional citation of the Jasenovac Memorial, the Holocaust Museum in Belgrade, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, data from
the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Antun Mileti and Franjo Tuman. The Spanish authors also list some other numbers and sources.
They also mention Milan Bulajis data, as well as that of John Cornwell
(478,000 Orthodox Christians, 27,000 Roma and between 20,000 and 25,000
Jews) and French historian Edmond Paris (up to a million victims in total).
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_de_concentracin_de_Jasenovac
The Germans also mention the already familiar names and numbers, adding
only the estimate by Adil Zulfikarpai (59,188), and the statement of an Austrian historian named Hans Safrian: The exact number of victims in Jasenovac is impossible to determine, because the written archives were destroyed.
There can only be approximate estimates. A report sent by Glaise Horstenau
in early 1944 stated that by the end of 1943 the Ustashas had killed between
300,000 and 400,000 people in Jasenovac. However, despite the fact that
the German version provides data that supports our own Commission, the closing remarks state the disreputable number of 80,914
(data from the Jasenovac Memorial Centre).

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/KZ_Jasenovac
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This means that the texts prepared by descendants of the Nazis and their allies, for obvious reasons of elementary tact, were written in the spirit of reserved respect in regard to the memory of the victims. They state the variation and data presented by our commission. But still, in Wikipedias pages for
the languages of the countries that used to form Hitlers coalition, the number
of 80,914 victims is presented as the objective estimate.
Let us see what is written by the descendants of the allies from the anti-Hitler
coalition.
The text in Hebrew is a large article describing many atrocities. In the section on victim numbers, we can read the following: There are different estimates on the number of victims, which are objectively caused by a lack of
documentation on registering prisoners. Aside from that, the estimates are
varied because of the diametrically opposed interests of the parties invested
in the subject-matter. The number of victims ranges from a minimum of
30,000 to a maximum of 1,400,000. Estimates for the numbers were either
made by the Serbs, who want to indicate the size of the responsibility of the
Croats, Muslims and the Vatican in this tragedy, or made by the Croats, who,
quite logically, want to decrease the number of victims as much as possible.
The result ranges mostly between tens of thousands (the estimate of the number of victims that has recently been adopted by European researchers), to
hundreds of thousands, which was the general opinion up to the 1990s. European research draws from Croatian sources, which is why Jewish sources
usually quote larger numbers than those accepted in contemporary Europe.
As we can see, the number of victims ranges from 85,000 to half a million.
http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The Czechs and Poles write very little on Jasenovac. But the emphases are
not the same. The Czechs list around 700,000 Serbs who have died at the
camp.
However, the Poles list the number of victims in passing, drawing from the
data of the Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. But in defence of the eminence of the Roman Catholic Church, the
Polish authors point out that Fra Filipovi was excommunicated.
http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasenovac_(obz_koncentracyjny)

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http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koncentran_tbor_Jasenovac
The English version
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasenovac_concentration_camp
Historians have had difficulty calculating and agreeing on the number
of victims at Jasenovac. Most modern sources place it at around
100,000.
The Jewish Virtual Library states that the most reliable figures estimate the number of Serbs killed by the Stashes to be between 330,000
and 390,000, with 45,000 to 52,000 Serbs murdered in Jasenovac
sourced to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Historian Tomislav Duli disputes the often quoted 700,000 figure in
Jasenovac, but states that an estimated 100,000 victims still makes it one
of the largest camps in Europe during World War II.
The estimates vary due to lack of accurate records, the methods used
for making estimates, and sometimes the political biases of the estimators. In some cases, entire families were exterminated, leaving no one
to submit their names to the lists. On the other hand, it has been found
that the lists include the names of people who died elsewhere, whose
survival was not reported to the authorities, or who are counted more
than once on the lists. [...]
German generals issued reports of the number of victims as the war
progressed. German military commanders gave different figures for
the number of Serbs, Jews and others killed by the Ustae on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia. They circulated figures of
400,000 Serbs (Alexander Lhr); 350,000 Serbs (Lothar Rendulic);
around 300,000 (Edmund Glaise von Horstenau); in 1943; 600-700,000
until March 1944 (Ernst Fick); 700,000 (Massenbach).
Hermann Neubacher calculates: The recipe, received by the Ustae
leader and Poglavnik, the president of the Independent State of Croatia,
Ante Paveli, resembled genocidal intentions from some of the bloodiest religious wars: A third must become Catholic, a third must leave
the country, and a third must die! This last point of the Ustae program
was accomplished. When prominent Ustae leaders claimed that they
slaughtered a million Serbs (including babies, children, women and old
men), that is, in my opinion, a boastful exaggeration. On the basis of the

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reports submitted to me, I believe that the number of defenseless victims slaughtered to be three quarters of a million.
Italian generals, who were more overwhelmed by the atrocious
slaughter, also reported similar figures to their commanders. The Vatican's sources also speak of similar figures, that is, for an example, of
350,000 ethnic-Serbs slaughtered by the end of 1942. (Eugen Tisserant)
The Ustae themselves gave more exaggerated assumptions of the
number of people they killed. Vjekoslav Maks Luburi, the commander-in-chief of all the Croatian camps, announced the great efficiency of the Jasenovac camp at a ceremony as early as 9 October 1942.
During the banquet which followed, he reported with pride, intoxicated: We have slaughtered here at Jasenovac more people than the
Ottoman Empire was able to do during its occupation of Europe. Other
Stash sources give more canon estimations: a circular of the Ustae
general headquarters that reads: the concentration and labour camp in
Jasenovac can receive an unlimited number of internees. In the same
spirit, Miroslav Filipovi-Majstorovi, once captured by Yugoslav
forces, admitted that during his three months of administration, 20,000
to 30,000 people died. Since it became clear that his confession was an
attempt to somewhat minimize the rate of crimes committed in Jasenovac, having, for an example, claimed to have personally killed 100 people, extremely understated, Miroslav's figures are evaluated so that in
some sources they appear as 30,000-40,000.
Yugoslav and Croatian official estimates. A report of the National
Committee of Croatia for the investigation of the crimes of the occupation forces and their collaborators, dated 15 November 1945, which was
commissioned by the new government of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz
Tito, stated that 500,000-600,000 people were killed at the Jasenovac
complex.
These figures were cited by researchers Israel Gutman and Menachem
Shelach in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust from 1990. Menachem
Shelach will in his book speak that number, of some 300,000 bodies being found and exhumed is reliable. The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance also used the same number at some point.
Various Yugoslav officials used the total number of around 1,700,000
victims in all of Yugoslavia in the war reparations meetings between
1945 and 1947. Thus the proponents of these numbers were subsequently accused of artificially inflating them for purpose of obtaining

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war reparations. All in all, The State Commission's report has been the
only public and official document about number of victims during 45
years of second Yugoslavia. Tomasevich states that these numbers are
indeed exaggerated, but that the original copy of the State Commission
report circulated 400,000 victims. One Vladeta Vukovi wrote in Bogoljub Koovi's 1985 book that, back in 1947, while he was a math student at the Federal Bureau of Statistics, he was tasked with producing
the state's total war casualties estimate by the foreign minister Edvard
Kardelj. Vukovi says he calculated a statistical estimate of 1,700,000
demographic population loss, (i.e., also factoring in the estimated population increase), while actual losses would have been significantly less.
Nevertheless, Kardelj subsequently presented this as Yugoslavia's real
loss at the Paris Peace Treaties. This number of victims has been refused by Germany during war reparations talks.
The conventional estimate of the number of victims of Jasenovac in
SFR Yugoslavia was 700,000. In 1964, the Yugoslav Federal Bureau of
Statistics created a list of World War II victims with 597,323 names and
deficiency estimated at 20-30 which is giving between 750,000 and
780,000 victims. Together with estimated 200,000 killed collaborators
and quislings, the total number would reach about one million. This
Yugoslav Federal Bureau of Statistics list was declared a state secret in
1964 and it was published only in 1989. [...] Beginning in the 1990s, the
Croatian side began publicly suggesting substantially smaller numbers.
The exact numbers were a subject of great controversy and hot political
dispute during the breakup of Yugoslavia. President Franjo Tuman's
1989 book Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy had questioned the official numbers of victims killed during World War II in
Yugoslavia, which later brought him in conflict with Simon Wiesenthal
and others. The Jasenovac Memorial Site, the museum institution sponsored by the Croatian government since the end of the Croatian War of
Independence, says that the current research allows them to estimate
the number of victims at between 80,000 and 100,000.
1960s forensic investigations. On November 16, 1961, the municipal
committee of former partisans from Bosanska Dubica organized an unofficial investigation at the grounds of Donja Gradina, led by the locals
who were not forensic experts, which uncovered three mass graves and
identified 17 human skulls in one of them. Based on this, and the fact
they enumerated 120 other untouched graves, they extrapolated the
number of victims to 350,800. In response to this, scientists were called

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in to verify the site - Dr. Alojz ercelj started preliminary drilling to


identify the most likely grave locations, and then between 22 and 27
June 1964, exhumations of bodies and the use of sampling methods was
conducted at Jasenovac by Vida Brodar and Anton Poganik from
Ljubljana University and Srboljub ivanovi from Novi Sad University. They examined a total of seven mass graves which held a total of
284 victim remains, and concluded that the entire Jasenovac complex
could have around 200 similar sites. In October 1985, a group of investigators from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, led by Vladimir Dedijer, visited Jasenovac and made a record of it, in which the
record taker one colonel Antun Mileti mentioned the 1961 excavation,
but misquoted that number of victims to 550,800.
Prior to the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1989 Serbian anthropologist
Srboljub ivanovi published what he claimed were the full results of
the 1964 studies, which in his words has been suppressed by Tito's government in the name of brotherhood and unity, in order to put less emphasis on the crimes of the Croatian Stashes. In November 1989, ivanovi claimed on television that their research resulted in victim counts
of more than 500,000, with estimates of 700,000-800,000 being realistic,
stating that in every mass grave there are 800 skeletons. [...] Croatian
historian eljko Kruelj publicly criticized ivanovi as an extremist
and a fraud because of this.
Summary. Todays Croatian officials have not only remained along
the lines of Tumans historiography, but have even gone a step further
they have filed a lawsuit against Serbia for genocide! What can be
concluded from everything that has been said? We can conclude that
the Bulgarians, Macedonians, Jews, Czechs and Italians, if nothing else,
exhibit sympathy for the victims, although they do mention disputes.
The English version gives a detailed overview of the estimate of 700
thousand victims and plainly discusses WHO IT WAS THAT DISPUTED that number (Serbian historiographers).
This is why we are constantly faced with a distorted image because the
common knowledge in Russia is formed based on the SERBIAN version
of the Wikipedia article and the Russian page is at the very least
SERBOPHOBIC because it is simply an ECHO OF THE SERBIAN VERSION.

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The Holy Bishop Nikolai of Serbia, in several places in his book A


Necklace of Coral2, speaks of 700,000 murdered Serbs, which is approximate to the viewpoint of our Commission, and he placed a full emphasis on the Roman Catholic clero-Nazism. Late in his life, the Holy
Bishop minded every word he wrote and it is the duty of any self-confident Serb man who has not lost his religious and national pride to
struggle to point out these two most important aspects of the truth on
Jasenovac the struggle for the truth on the number of victims and the
struggle for the truth that the NDH was a clero-Nazi regime supported
by the Vatican, which was a key factor in the horrifying slaughter.

That struggle should include efforts to correct the text of the Serbian Wikipedia page on Jasenovac.

Serbian: erdan od Merdana, t/n.

149

Ekatarina Samoylova 1

A PROGRAMME OF SCIENTIFIC
RESEARCH OF THE MASS GRAVES
OF THE JASENOVAC
CONCENTRATION CAMP RELATIVE
TO THE CHANGES IN THE GLOBAL
PARADIGMS IN THE LAST TWO
YEARS

Please allow me not to repeat what has been already published in the
proceedings of our Commission, rather than that, allow me to present the
essence of the theme. I would like to emphasize that the theme of my paper
(done in collaboration with Prof. Eugeny Vasilyevich Chernosvitov, who
holds PhD in Philosophy and Medicine) is logically derived and dwells on the
book Jasenovac by scholar Prof. Srboljub ivanovi, whose content was
highly informative. I believe you all know that I translated this remarkable
book into Russian. I hope that everyone here will correctly perceive the
emotionally trying things I will be talking about. I agree with the conclusion
drawn by the historian Marina Alfredovna Chernosvitova, concerning the
change of the socio-historical paradigm, which became apparent during the
last two years; the change was not only evident in the values and assessment
of specific socio-historical realities but in the attitude towards the past as

Moscow, Russia

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such. However, what seemed unalterable started to rapidly lose its importance, threatening to sink into oblivion. This was successfully proven by Marina
Alfredovna.
My task is to try to explain once more what we need to do immediately in the
field of specific sciences, in the first place medicine and criminology.
Therefore, I am pleased to share with you what we have recently managed to
do in our, mostly virtual laboratory.
Hence, 1) I will set off with a conclusion reached in 1964 by a group of young
scientists including Prof. Srboljub ivanovi. The conclusion was the
following: 20 of the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp were
buried alive! However, using the techniques of functional asymmetry (by
Professor Eugenij V. Chernosvitov, see E. V. Chernosvitov. The Formula of
death, M. 2002) and relying on the content of the book by scholar Srboljub
ivanovi, we come to a much larger number of those buried alive. Nonetheless, we do not want to shock you with that number.
The technique of functional asymmetry encompasses the following aspects:
1) anthropological, 2) psychosomatic (soma - body), 3) forensic, 4) anatomical
and pathological, 5) criminological, 6) paleopsychological, and others.
I repeat that the abovementioned theory and its methods were developed by
Professor E.V. Chernosvitov during 1974-1975 the Mikhail Vasilyevich
Lomonosov Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, Moscow State University,
with the help of the Rector of the University, Academician Rem Viktorovich
Kholkhov. From 1975 until 1985, the technique was constantly tested in the
laboratory for psychopathology at the Nikolay Nilovich Burdenko Institute
of Neurosurgery with the help of head of the laboratory, Professor Tamara
Ampliyevna Dobrohotov.
In 1980 in the USSR, thanks to the Institute for Sociological Research of the
USSR, the Academy of Sciences, and a number of other academic institutions
and institutes of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, the aforementioned technique became the foundation of the largest socio-psychological
research in the twentieth century. The research was conducted by Professor
Anatoliy Alekseyevich Zvorikin and Professor E.V. Chernosvitov who later
presented the processed material at the International Congress of
sociologists. The report by Professor E.V. Chernosvitov was one of the key

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presentations at the International Congress of sociologists in Mexico. This


technique has become the basis for the reproduction of anthropological and
psychological images, especially for the clarification of the cause, nature and
time of death. For instance, this technique was used with Vitus Bering,
Sndor Petfi, Sergei Yesenin, the last Empress of Austria, Elisabeth (Sissi),
her son, heir to the throne Rudolf, the Russian Emperor Alexander I,
Princess Anastasia Romanov, with the conclusion about Leonardo da Vinci's
Mona Lisa and so on. You can find more details about this on our website2,
and in the books by E.V. Chernosvitov, A. A. Zvorikin, T. A. Dobrohotov and
in my book Penitential Psychology.
2. We suggest a psychosomatic reproduction of the images of the victims of
the Jasenovac concentration camp (with complete solutions for forensic,
criminological, anthropological and paleopsychological issues). Using the
technique of functional asymmetry, the aforesaid reproduction enables the
revival of the appearance of persons exactly as they were at the moment of
their death, based on their skeletal remains. All this could be shown in 3D
projection. I hope there is no need for me to explain why all this is necessary
on our way to reach the truth on the Jasenovac concentration camp.
3. Surely, this theory (method) did not originate from scratch. It includes
scientifically adapted ideas of the Russian scholar, Academician Alexei
Alexandrovich Uhtomsky, a born uncle of Professor E.V. Chernosvitov,
particularly his teachings about double genes then the ideas of Serbian
scholar Nikola Tesla about induction (the laws of the rotating magnetic field,
asynchronous oscillations), and the teachings of Kabbalah (Zohar, or the
Book of Light).
4. I repeat (in regard to the introductory address given at our previous forum)
that we are ready to start to work productively with the material excavated
in 1964, primarily with the skeletal remains. Also, we will start to cooperate
with the descendants of the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp,
starting from the analysis of the photographs in order to determine victims
archetype (I believe that the same kind of research is essential to determine
the archetype and psychosomatic characteristics of the executioners in the
Jasenovac concentration camp, which were inherited throughout the
2

http://chernosvitov.narod.ru

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generations). However, we are not even the pioneers in such research. In


England, the similar research was carried out by Arthur Conan Doyle at the
St Bartholomews Medical Centre, where Professor Srboljub ivanovi
worked, and by Francis Galton, who studied the genealogy of English and
Scottish aristocrats; in France, Honore de Balzac studied Samsons clan of
executioners and mile Zola (read about his work regarding the image of Les
Rougon-Macquart; in Austria and Germany, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, a
highly remarkable psychiatric and the last Hapsburg royal physician, who,
having studied the genealogy of German and Austrian aristocracy and the
Hapsburgs, gave incredible predictions regarding the descendants of the last
Austrian emperor (the suicide of the heir to the throne, fascist inclinations of
the daughter of Francis Joseph). An interesting fact was that he never
published his genealogical research. Nevertheless, his masterpiece
Psychopathia Sexualis soon appeared, having 50 editions, 36 of which were
published during his life. In Russia, Peter Vladimirovich Dolgorukov studied
the surnames of Russian aristocracy and wrote Genealogy, a Russian
genealogical book in four volumes. By the way, in his book, Professor
Srboljub ivanovi indicates the need to study social pathology and
psychopathology, and regrets that such research is conducted in Israel, but
not in Serbia. The aspects of social pathology (sociopathy) and psychopathology are included in the methodology that we apply (read articles by
Prof. Chernosvitov, and my article in the Russian Journal Modern Law,
Journal of the Philosophical Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
etc, which could be easily found on the Internet). We have been long prepared
to start working on the records about forensic expert evaluations of the
bodies which the Sava River washed ashore. Professor Srboljub ivanovi
spoke about the need for such research and work.
5. We have already proposed to establish a psychological and forensic
laboratory where we could solve the above-stated tasks at the contemporary
level. Due to the new paradigm, such Russian-Serbian laboratory would be
totally in the spirit of the times.
Now, allow me to summarize what I have said:

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WHAT COULD AND SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE


PROCEDING WITH THE EXCAVATION OF THE
MASS GRAVES?
1) Forensic examination of the records of court-appointed medical experts
from the Institutes of Forensic Medicine in Belgrade and Zagreb:
A) Autopsy records and results of the corpses found at the banks of the
Sava River and the Danube during 1941-1945 (we had that kind of
experience with examination of the records of the forensic expert
evaluations composed in Leningrad during 1925-1926);
B) Records of the expert evaluations of brains taken from the skulls of
the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp, and, if the marbles
were saved, we could turn towards the histological examination of lobes
by using the contemporary methods (not microscope, as it was used at
the time);
C) Records of the expert evaluations of the mechanical skull injuries,
including the repeated forensic expert evaluations of the mechanical
skull injuries;
D) In case the ashes of the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp
were saved, then, by applying the contemporary methods, we could
determine whether a victim was buried alive or dead (that requires a
special laboratory and instruments, which is entirely feasible within
our domain). Even the ashes of Pompeii could be used in order to
determine whether there existed human remains. Moreover, had the
ashes of inquisition bonfires been saved, one could have determined
whether people were burnt alive or dead.
2) Modern psychological and criminal examination of artifacts found
together with the skeletal remains of the victims of the Jasenovac
concentration camp (with a view to obtaining data of socio-psychological and
criminal nature);
3) Psychological and graphological examination of the statements by twelve
released Serbs submitted to the Commissariat for Refugees in Belgrade on 15
April 1942, including the testimony of Mr Prnjatovi; I will explain why this

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is necessary at all since we already have the speech by the Patriarch of the
Serbian Orthodox Church and the unanimous vote of the committee
members. The point is that we, Orthodox people, do not believe in Pope's
infallibility; the speech by the Orthodox Patriarch signifies nothing for
Catholics, and scientifically speaking, by voting one cannot obtain the truth.
I will allow myself to paraphrase great Nikola Tesla: We have to think in the
way that every assault against us equals suicide. We, too, have the regrettable
experience with psycho-graphological examination of fifty self-accusations
and indictment that brothers issued against each other in the time of Stalinist
repression, which were done by the Chernosvitovs, the blood relatives of
Eugeny Vasilyevich. The same experience was with the psycho-graphological examination of the last poem by the great Russian poet, Sergei Yesenin, who apparently wrote it with his blood and dedicated it to his friend:
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye! before he hanged himself in the room of
the Angleterre Hotel. How many great singers sang this song without
knowing it was fake.
4) Determining the archetypes of the Jasenovac concentration camp victims
and its executioners: the work on this can start the very next day, for, as far
as I know, many descendants of the victims are alive and their addresses are
familiar, and probably family albums are saved. We carried out thorough
research during the reconstruction of the real images of Vitus Bering and
Sndor Petfi. We are currently working on the genealogy of 120 Japanese
Emperors and Japanese shogun, Hong Minamoto. This research is necessary
in order to determine social pathology of the Ustasha movement, psychopathology of the members of the Ustasha in the Jasenovac concentration
camp which is clearly manifested in the brutal torture of victims, and also
psychopathology of inmates (similar studies were conducted under the
supervision of Professor Chernosvitov E .V. at the Forest correctional
institutions (FCI) of the USSR, including persons who were on death row,
and the results were presented at the International Congress of Sociologists
in the USSR and in Mexico (of which I have been previously talking). The
studies can be found in the collected papers and the books by E. V
Chernosvitov and A.A. Zvorikin: Typology of Personality and Features of
Human Character: Concrete Sociological Research. M. Nauka. 1982. E. V.
Chernosvitov. J. A. Alferov, Psychopathology and patho-characterology in
FCI, 1984. (DSP).
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Social pathology and psychopathology of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust


have been studied extensively on the many institutes in Israel and the United
States.
5) There is an urgent need to establish the archives of our committee and to
take: 1) all records about forensic expert evaluations relating to the Jasenovac
concentration camp, no matter where they might be, and also possible
records of criminal expert evaluations. If we do not do that, someone else will.
It is highly common that archives were the first to issue the documents from
special collections: for instance, the KGB and KPSS archives issued the
documents to the Institute for World Literature; Department of Special
Collections of the Lenin Library gave the records about Schneerson, the same
thing was done by the Library of Congress, USA. Marina Alfredovna had
many experiences with collections that are specially guarded, so she could
assume that task;
2) All documents concerning the Jasenovac concentration camp (or their ecopies) taken from: the Wehrmacht archive, military archives, etc, just the
way the Institutes for Holocaust heritage did.
6) Creating a periodical of TheInternational Commissionfor theTruth on
Jasenovac, which would be a monthly magazine containing the work of the
Commission, laboratory, etc.

We deem that the following should be done before starting with the
excavation of the mass graves: make contemporary aerial photos of
the common mass graves using probes: I will say nothing new if I
say that the same thing was done by the Hassid in the late 1980s in
search for their graves in the USSR, which was aired and reported
on the two channels of the Leningrad TV Channel 5 and 600 Second.
Reports about it were also made by the famous Soviet scholar
Professor Viktor Derjagin in Times. It was reported also from the
Head of the U.S. Library of Congress archives. Prince Alexei
Pavlovich Shcherbatov did it in 1991.
We also consider it necessary to exhume the remains of the people buried
along the banks of the Sava River and the Danube.
Dear colleagues, I hope you realize, based on my speech, that what you are
being offered is a scientific and research PROGRAMME to help you along
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

your way to the truth on Jasenovac. Moreover, I would like to draw your
attention to the fact that we are ready to gather supporters (experts and likeminded people) of the Programme in a short period of time (the preliminary
talks with them have already been done).

I would like to say a few words about the things that still disturb me:
1) A question to the President of our Commission: Distinguished Professor
ivanovi, in your book, you frequently mention that in the common
graves containing thousands of bodies, only a few bodies had bullet wounds.
You did not explain why the executioners shot them, instead of hitting them
with a sledgehammer on the temple and slitting their throats. Do You happen
to know why the executioners shot, albeit not often, but still did it? At one
point, You explain that the executioners were sorry to waste the ammunition on their victims!
If you do not have an answer to this question, I do: the Ustashas fired at the
workers digging the pits and burying the bodies, because the workers had
shovels, and it was dangerous to approach them with a mallet or knife! It was
for the same reason some skeletons lay with their faces up or sideways. They
were workers, not camp inmates. Do you remember paying attention to
fragments of the work boots lying beside the bones?
2) Honorable Professor ivanovi, in your book, I did not find an explanation
why thousands of people, standing along the edge of a pit and knowing well
what will become of them never confronted or offered resistance to the
executioners! Namely, the Ustasha gangs were not as numerous as the
inmates. Studying murders and attempts of murders in the past years, I have
come to understand the victims non-resistance to the executioner. I do not
intend to go ahead of the event, since I am finishing a book on that subject,
and I hope it will be a new discovery in the highly controversial science of
victimology!
3) Dear Professor SRBOLJUB ivanovi, You write that the Ustashas,

sensing the end of the war, began to excavate and burn the bodies, in
order to minimise their crimes ... Well, it may have been so. However,
another motive you quote regarding the activities of the modern
Ustashas was even more striking for me. The ancient motto of the

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

executioner: KILL THE DEAD TWICE! resurrected (which is a


little harder than control shots).
A modern commonsensical person cannot even imagine that bodies exhumed
from their graves can be tortured and executed again! In fact, almost all
Roman emperors did it with the corpses of their predecessors! So, the first
thing Emperor Tiberius, Emperor Augustus stepson, did was to dig up
Augustus corpse, fasten it to his carriage, chase for couple of hours through
Rome, and then throw the remains to the dogs. In his book Diary of the
Inhabitant of Edinburgh, Robert Darnton, a famous American historian and
Professor at Princeton University, describes the torture, execution and
punishment of human bodies exhumed from mass graves. All this was
practiced in 16th and 17th century in the country you now live in. The
Ustashas probably inherited the archetype of corpse mania delusion of
corpses I would not be talking about it, had the delusion of corpses not
become one of the mechanisms of modern criminal groups and a mental
disease interwoven into the new socio-historical paradigm, very common in
our times!
For any questions or suggestions, please contact me in writing, stating your
name, address and contact information. Should you have any questions after
our conference, write me an email at: e_samoylova@yahoo.com.

159

Marina Chernosvitova, Moscow, Russia

RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION IN
ARCHIVES OF THE FORMER USSR,
THE USA, FRANCE, ITALY, AUSTRIA,
TURKEY, ISRAEL, HUNGARY AND
BULGARIA IN REGARD TO CHANGES
OF GLOBAL PARADIGM IN THE LAST
TWO YEARS

MATERIALS ON JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION


CAMP)
In this paper I will present the information based on which I have reached
the conclusion about qualitative changes in social and political paradigm
having taken place not only in the countries from the title but worldwide as
well. I see the paradigm as a system of prevailing attitudes of social and
historical events, which means that I take into account that revaluation of
values have taken place.
We worked without a break for two years. Let me introduce the results of the
work. First, I would like to say that, like before, I was interested in new and
unexpected information in regard to the change of global paradigm, which
would be useful in the quest for the truth about Jasenovac! Throughout the
two years, this path had become much shorter, according to the interest in
Jasenovac, which had suddenly disappear in different countries. Choosing
the information to be presented to you, I followed one principle: on one hand,
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not to repeat what I presented last time but, at the same time, to always have
in mind the extraordinary book by Srboljub ivkovi. I know this book
almost by heart. Let me remind you that I am one of the authors of the preface
to the edition of the book in Russian. First I will say that we did not manage
to publish this book in Russia, even for good money! In addition: Forgive me
for unscientific creating of the material (my paper does not contain the
sources, funds or even archives from which I took what I am going to speak
about). Although I had had the reasonable cause for that - I got the
information from the people I had to work with in the future - the reason is
different now: most of the materials which I possessed have simply vanished!
My friends and colleagues gave me the explanation (as if they had conspired
together) that, due to the preparation for the Forum in memory of the 65th
anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, all materials
on the Second World War had simply been Crepacked.
The archives which were not repacked did not contain anything new on
Jasenovac. On the other hand, the number of documents on the role of
Yugoslavia in WWII has significantly increased. In communication with my
colleagues from different countries, I came to the conclusion that the
estimation of the role of Yugoslavia had changed, which is now ranked much
higher, as well as the view of Yugoslavia which, if I may say, has now become
more positive. According to my colleagues, the demand for archive
documents on Yugoslavia has dramatically increased. I think that Jasenovac
must be viewed now not only as a death camp for hundreds of thousands of
people but also as the old battlefield of new fierce battles in terms of the
recent events in Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Ukraine and other countries! I would also put in the same group the incident
by fascistic supporters of FC Hajduk, who threatened to kill off the Serbs
and Jews from Croatia. If you know he details of this, I will skip this
information. If not, I would like to tell you that:
Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia reported that letters threatening the
Serbs and Jews in Croatia with extermination were sent to its address, as
reported by European Jewish Press.
One of these letters was signed by FC Hajduk fans, one of the most
successful and famous Croatian football clubs from Split.

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Threatening letters sent to the Serbs and Jews came to the address of our
church in Split - says a press release of Serbian Orthodox Church.
You should be worried about the fact that these are your last days. We will
exterminate you all - says the letter, which also contained the slogans from
WWII: Jews out and Hang the Serbs.
The letter was signed by Hajduk Jugend, as the fans of the club call
themselves with a direct reference to the German Hitler Jugend. The first
time the Nazi football fans declared themselves Hajduk Jugend was in
autumn of 2007, when they staged protests in Split, dressed in black shirts
with the inscription Hajduk Jugend and an eagle very much resembling the
Nazi eagle (22/01/2008). The neo-Nazi incident by Croatian footballer Josip
imuni belongs to the same circle of predictable events I spoke about
quoting the Soviet encyclopaedic vocabulary!
I don't like to give rousing speeches but... we are on the verge of a battle of
global scale! This battle is not related only to the Serbs! Now this is our Battle
of Kulikovo as well! You, the Serbs, say: God in heaven, Russia on earth!
You also say: We and Russians make 300 million! This is as correct as ever!
In the period 2011-2013, we worked on investigating the archive material on
death camps in Jasenovac, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Riga, Tart, Kiev,
Kharkov, Dnjepropetrovsk, Odessa, Transbaikal region (Chita) and Russian
Far East (Khabarovsk) . Moreover, I managed to visit Lviv, Talin, Uzhhorod,
Bucharest and archives of Library of Congress in the USA, the archive of the
Institute I. S. Gagarin in Paris, archives of Oxford University and Salzburg
University... At my request, a colleague of mine searched the archive of
Harvard University.
We worked in archives of periodicals, mass media and sources available on
the Internet.
The randomness of the archives we had selected to examine was really
specific! To clarify: the one who often has to examine an archive, especially
with special collections, knows that the information they need are most often
not where they should really be. For instance, in the USSR, the data classified
OPO (official purpose only), as well as those classified TS (top secret)
were kept in the archive of the city of Chita (in Transbaikal region) and
Khabarovsk (Russian Far East). Both archives were created during the
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

mandate of the Governor General of Eastern Siberia Nikolay Nikolayevich


Muravyov-Amursky. The Chita archive then became the archive of Eser
party (Party of Socialists Revolutionaries) and the Khabarovsk archive
became the archive of the Far Eastern Republic. As from 1923, both archives
were separate archive collection of CK CPSU (Central Committee of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union), which had military sections. In the
Soviet period, the city archive of Riga had the foreign department, which has
survived until today. The documents kept there are military materials from
foreign sources which refer to the Great Patriotic War. As for the archive of
the Library of Congress and the archive of the Institute I. S. Gagarin, I
believe that you are familiar with them.
Other archives we visited in regard to some belong to the most famous
institutions in Europe, where systematic scientific research are done
(Salzburg, Tarta, Kharkov and Odessa). Of course, those archives had been
selected since we have had a very effective cooperation for a long time. This
is why we were also allowed to use the service of inter-archival information
exchange.
I must repeat here: in my opinion, the information taken from a-one volume
edition of the Soviet Encyclopaedic Dictionary (SER) is very intriguing in the
context of the new paradigm as well (Publisher: The Soviet Encyclopaedia,
Moscow, 1980. A-two volume edition was published in the USSR, which
contains a reprint of the foregoing edition.
Namely, this dictionary does not contain Jasenovac concentration camp. The
definition of the term Ustashas is as follows: a fascistic organisation of
Croatian nationalists in the period 1929-1945. It was founded outside Croatia
(with its centres in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Belgium etc.) by Ante Paveli...
In 1934, they assassinated the Yugoslav king, Alexander I Karaorevi in
Marseilles. The king pursued the Greater Serbia, military-monarchist policy
oriented towards France and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou. In
1941, the Ustashas established the fascist NDH (Independent State of
Croatia)... In the period 1941-1945, Ustashas killed hundreds of thousands of
people in Yugoslavia. Presently, they are active in several countries. You
well know that this is also true today, in the new social conditions!
What I found in SER was purified information - present in all foregoing
military archives of the former USSR. As I have already said, only the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

documents found in the Riga archive contained a different definition of the


term Ustashas; instead of fascists, the definition was rebels against
Serbian dictatorship in Yugoslavia.
In order to accomplish my main task, I singled out the following references:
1) not a word on Jasenovac, including the search in the concentration camp
category; 2) in the beginning, Ustashas were organised as an anti-Serb
terrorist organisation, whose first action was the assassination of the king,
who was a Serb and who pursued the Greater Serbia policy; and 3) Ustashas
killed hundreds of thousands of citizens of Yugoslavia i.e. Serbs. In the USSR,
the number of the victims of Ustasha regime, calculated in 1964 by three
young Yugoslav scientists based on mass graves in Jasenovac, was widely
confirmed, even in SER!; 4) Ustashas are still active in many western
countries. Which means: active against the Serbs!
Later in the text I will tell you a few words about our search and its results. I
will continue now. Although in the last few years in the USA Library of
Congress archive (forgive me for using the names of archives in the form
common with those who spend most of their time there) there has been a real
boom regarding Jasenovac, what we have right now is a real standstill! A
number of publications in different forms - articles, collections, informative
materials etc. - all vanished without a trace! There were a lot of works
regarding the book by the distinguished professor Srboljub ivanovi. In two
colours, of course: black and white. However, it is interesting that the very
book was not in the library. Last year in March I sent them the book titled
Jasenovac but I could not find it there this year in February! There was a
lot of fiction about Nikola Tesla. In the archive of University of Salzburg
there are preserved materials on Jasenovac. However, they are nothing new
in relation to my previous visit! Unless we take into account snitching on
Ustashas to Wehrmacht generals including Heinrich Himmler (by German
agents in Jasenovac) regarding the fact that Ustashas do not kill those

they should..., it is necessary to send a special Wehrmacht


committee to Jasenovac as Ustashas explain their executions to the
Red Cross as 'pressure by Wehrmacht'; (note underlined): Ustashas
scoff at German generals: The Germans are afraid of coming to us;
they fear that our guilt could be ascribed to them!

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

The Italian sources have been kept... in the Cavaletti archives. I will repeat
the information from the follwing sources: 1) Il Giornale (luglio, 15. 1942)
(Novine of 15th July 1942): Italian fascists are hiding in their homes the
Serbs who escaped the Ustasha terror: 2) dizionario tascabile... (poket
handbook...): The Ustashas are a militant organisation of the Catholic
Church against Franco's masons. From another source: The Ustashas

should not be mistaken for fascists; the personal friendship between


Paveli, Mussolini and Franco is supported by the hostility they share
towards Hitler.
In the archive of the library Ivan Sergeyevich Gagarin, there is no material
on Jasenovac. Moreover, I had to explain to my new colleagues what
Jasenovac is at all! There were a lot of things on the Ustashas, and teh
friendship between the Yugoslav king Alexander I Karaorevi and the
former French Prime Minister Louis Barthou. However, this is a separate
topic. Far from the truth about Jasenovac...
Last time I informed you that I had applied to the BBC archive in London. In
the period 1941-1942, the head of the BBC Slavic department was my
husband's uncle, a lord, professor Leo Vladimirovich Chernosvitov. We were
interested in his programmes about the NDH. We have not received the reply
yet. My husband's cousin, Alexandra Lvoyvna Chernosvitova - El Kuri, also
tried to help us. She finally informed us that the department where the
archive had been kept was abolished. The materials were sent off to the
countries for which Leo Chernosvitov had made his programmes.
Practically, the materials are impossible to find, even upon request by close
relatives.
We tried to have Srobljub ivanovi's book Jasenovac translated into
Hebrew languages (Yiddish and Ivrit) and Roma language and therefore we
sent requests to:
European for Roma Rights Centre in Budapest and
Political bureau of Israel Our Home party in Jerusalem.
(we also enclosed accompanying letters by the Jasenovac Committee)

The letters were sent on 6th October 2010. And again in November 2012.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

We did not get a reply from the European Roma Rights Centre.
We did not get a reply from Israel Our Home either.

Therefore, the only reply we got on 11th January 2011 was via email, from
the head of the Russian department of the Yad Vashem Memorial Centre in
Israel, Mrs Anna Schinder, expressing her gratitude for Srobljub ivanovi's
book Jasenovac in Serbian, which we, as they said, had sent to them.
We informed Mrs Schinder that accompanying documentation (which was
also sent by us) had also been enclosed with the book and asked her to help
us as much as she could. Our letter with the request and documents was
forwarded to Mrs Lea Teithel in the department for receiving requests to Yad
Vashem.
Mrs Lea Teithel did not send a reply.
Results of the search in the archives in Moscow and Saint Petersburg
(you may be familiar with these materials)
Nevertheless, I will list some of them:
In the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI), a 1945
photograph was found of victims of the Ustasha terror in Jasenovac
concentration camp. (RGASPI) (F) 588 Op. 11. D. 396. L. 5, file No. 7.
In the Saint Petersburg archive no materials were found.
Results of search in archives of periodicals, media and Internet
sources
Articles in periodicals, media and Internet sources regarding dates and
events in connection to Jasenovac or Nazi crimes in general, as well as
individual crimes committed by Nazi command staff
The most detailed information are those from Wikipedia, for which the
material was taken and translated from the website of the Jasenovac
Committee of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In Russia, regarding the period covering the last 14 years, we have found
over 500 sources describing the atrocities in Jasenovac. A vast majority of
published articles and notes refers to newspapers and websites of the
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Orthodox topics, as well as Russian directories of Serbian websites or


websites on Serbia and Croatia (news mostly).
For example:
The newspaper Izvestia, article from 2009; Ustashas invented a special
knife for slaughtering their victims, nicknamed 'srbokolj' (t/n: Serbcutter;

this knife was originally a type of agricultural knife manufactured for wheat
sheaf cutting. It was a curved, 12cm long knife with the edge on its concave
side).
Website Russian line, article Jasenovac: beyond reason, from 2005, in
memory of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Jasenovac concentration
camp inmates.
The magazine Nova politika, article from 2008: Croatian war criminal
Dinko aki dies: at least 60,000 people were killed in his concentration
camps.
On the Internet portal Srpska.ru, there is a number of articles about
exhibitions in memory of Jasenovac.
A reference to Jasenovac was also found in periodicals and materials from
exhibitions and conferences on genocide against individual ethnic groups Serbs, Jews and Roma.

For example:
Materials from the seminar Extermination of the Roma in Central and
Eastern Europe, TumBalalaika No. 15-16, April-August 2000.
2) Regarding the literature, the book most frequently used as a source on
events in Jasenovac is Branimir Stanojevi's The Ustasha Minister of Death:
an Anatomy of Andrija Artukovi's Crime Moscow, Progres, 1989, ISBN
5-01-001639-7, review and preface by V. K. Volkhov (in Serbian: Branimir
Stanojevi. Ustaki ministar smrti: anatomija zloina Andrije Artukovia,
Nova knjiga, Beograd, 1986).
As seen from my paper, the Russian archives do not contain materials on
Jasenovac concentration camp, apart from the photograph in RGASPI, while
there are very few of them in media archives and websites in comparison
with the material presented in Srboljub ivanovi's Jasenovac.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

And now I am going to deal with, for me the most incomprehensible and,
frankly, most unpleasant statement. I hope I will be able to find an explanation
of that sad fact, which could at least soothe me. Namely, in the new sociohistorical paradigm, forgive my words, there is no room for Jasenovac as well
as other places soaked in blood. It is enough to mention the way our Russian
film director Fedor Bondarchuk depicted the Battle of Stalingrad! And this is
not my personal opinion. You are probably familiar with the fact that, in
Russia (and not only there), people are petitioning for the prohibition of this
film. However, I repeat, a different paradigm is in place, different values
(everything is for sale), different evaluation scale. The memory of Auschwitz
may be preserved. But, in which form? I have seen the BBC film Auschwitz.
After the scene in which the Slovakian government pays the Germans to
exterminate all Jews and their families, I couldn't go on watching the film!
Nevertheless, the facts on Auschwitz became widely known. Not only owing
to forums and books but also a multitude of films. Then I got the idea of
making a film on Jasenovac! I am not just a scientist and historian but also a
writer. So I thought that, with such a material as Srboljub ivkovi's book, I
could write a screenplay for the film. Besides, there is a man, a genius, an
Orthodox Serb - Emor Kusturica, the director who could make a film about
Jasenovac in such a way that it would certainly become a masterpiece to
enrich our culture. The masterpiece to remain in history for good! I shared
my idea with my husband, professor Eugene Vasilievich Chernosvitov. He
had luck to be a friend of our two great artists - Andrei Tarkovsky and Vasily
Shukshin. My husband met Andrei Tarkovsky during reviewing the working
version of the film The Mirror. Since then, during the making of all
subsequent films and settings of theatre plays (The Mirror, Stalker,
Nostalgia, Hamlet etc.), Tarkovsky had always consulted my husband as an
expert in philosophy and psychology. Eugene helped Shukshin prepare the
film Stepan Razin, the main film in Shukshin's artistic career... We asked
the Serbian management of the Jasenovac Committee to find Emir
Kusturica's address, and we got it from professor Vladimir Luki. My
husband wrote a letter to Emir Kusturica and sent it to two addresses. Here
is the letter: Dear academician Emir Kusturica! I am a very close friend of
Andrey Tarkovsky and Vasily Shukshin, a member of the International
Committee Truth about Jasenovac, Professor Eugene Chernosvitov from
Moscow. For a few years, my group of scientists and I have been actively
involved in the work of the International Committee. On the eve of the
following session of the Committee (in may this year), I appeal to you with a
great hope that you will understand me! My colleague Ekaterina
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Alexandrovna Samoilova, a psychology doctor and member of the International Committee, upon proposal of the academician Srboljub ivkovi, the
President of the Committee, translated his book Jasenovac (Srpska knjiga.
Beograd - London, 2008.) into Russian. Please find enclosed an electronical
version of the book, as well as its cover pages, illustrated by the Russian artist
Oksana Yablokova. Unfortunately, we did not manage to publish the book in
Russia. The translation of the book Jasenovac, as well as the illustrations by
O. Yablokova, was presented to the Committee and the President of Republic
of Srpska in 2012... In my opinion, the book represents a unique historical
document written in an incisive, colourful style. I believe this is the right time
for millions of ordinary people from different countries to find out about
Jasenovac concentration camp. I am convinced that, provided you agree to
make a feature film Jasenovac based upon Srboljub ivanovi's book, the
historical task would be fulfilled! My wife (the scientific reviewer of the
Russian version of the book), Marina Alfredovna Chernosvitova, a history
doctor and well-known Russian writer, could write a screenplay upon the
book or be a scientific advisor if the screenplay would be written by someone
else. I could also advise writers in terms of issues in connection to the topics
within the scope of my expertise.
I await your reply with impatience. Eugene Vasilyevich Chernosvitov,
philosophy and medicine PhD. P. S. I am sending an electronic version of the
book by post. E. Ch.
Alas, we haven't got a reply! Nevertheless, I do not give up my idea of the film
adaptation of Jasenovac and propose that we address maestro Kusturica on
behalf of the Committee and this conference! I kindly ask you for your
support!
In conclusion, my dear colleagues, I would like to share with you a discovery
I made working on materials on Jasenovac.
I, as well as others in the USSR and also now, in the post-Soviet Russia,

believed in a myth that was greatly exaggerated in the Soviet Union; that
was the myth on mutual hostility between the two fathers of the
nation, Stalin and Tito. However, Jasenovac has put everything in place!
In the USSR, song were composed about the inmates of German
concentration camps. For example, Buchenwald Alarm Bell (56,000 victims
of Buchenwald). My generation hated fascists, perhaps due to the fear of them
or, more precisely, their concentration camps! So many good and terrifying
books were written about Nazi concentration camps! So many good feature
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

films were made about atrocities in Nazi concentration camps. Such films are
still made! However, not a single song, book or film exists about Jasenovac!
Or about the only concentration camp for children in the history of
humankind, which was located in the Independent State of Croatia! No, our
leader and the leader of Yugoslav communists lived in harmony and,
obviously, were secret friends.
In conclusion, I would like to say: I believe that, judging by the reactions of
my colleagues who searched for materials on Jasenovac for me across the
world, Ustashas must be feared! Take notice: Since 1946, Ante Paveli was
a right-hand man of Juan Domingo Peron, the president of Argentina; the
Ustasha leader lived a long life under the auspices of his friend Franco in
Madrid! I have the feeling that Ustashas are all around nowadays! However,
instead of srbokolj, they carry in their pockets governments, policies

and intellectual elites of certain countries!


Let me finish by paraphrasing the great Russian poet Fyodor Sologub:
Jasenovac is our last watchtower! (in Russian - the fortress that must be
protected at all costs, in which nobody will help us!) And we, like always,

are on our own!

171

Paul Isaac Hagouel, Ph.D.

JASENOVAC IN CONTEXT AND


PERSPECTIVE: LESSONS FOR
THE 21ST CENTURY

Paul Isaac Hagouel, Ph.D.


Member, Academic Working Group
Hellenic Delegation International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Abstract: The memory and remembrance of Jasenovac is instrumental
in building a lasting peace and friendship amongst the nations and
states of the Balkans. Lessons learned come at the steepest price of all,
the loss, in abundance, of innocent human life. Any sort of prejudice
and/or belief of religious superiority is, unfortunately, an ingredient
that may lead to genocide. Education and upbringing, with the values
of humanity and tolerance, are a must to shield future generations.
Remembrance of Jasenovac is an obligation and stands as a shining
beacon for all humanity. We still have a long way to go but progress is
evident.
Keywords: Jasenovac, Independent State of Croatia, Ustasha, World
War II, Holocaust, Roman Catholic Church, Vatican, Pope, Greece,
German Reich, Croats, Serbs, Jews, Roma, 19th-century and 20thcentury European history.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I take this opportunity to thank publicly His Excellency Mr Milorad Dodik,
President of Republika Srpska, and the Office of the President, in particular
Mr Bora Radievi, for their kind invitation to this Conference.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

This is the 6th Jasenovac Conference and I know that the previous ones have
covered extensively details of what transpired in the notorious Jasenovac
Concentration and Extermination Camp in the Independent State of Croatia.1
Thus, with my contribution today, I will attempt to reach conclusions for the
lessons one must draw, pertinent for a lasting peace, tolerance and understanding in our region. I will base my interpretative synthesis on a somber
analytic approach to the past Balkan legacies particular to pre- WWII
Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia NDH (Nezavisna Drava
Hrvatska) and its constitutive element and alter ego, the Ustashas.
The starting point is the Treaty of Berlin signed in July 13, 1878.2 With
Article XXV Bosnia and Herzegovina was to be occupied and administered
by Austria-Hungary. The Orthodox Serbs of the region became a religious
and ethnic minority in the overwhelmingly Catholic Austria-Hungary. In the
same Treaty, Article V stipulated the religious and other liberties to be
incorporated into public law in the newly created Principality of Bulgaria,
Article XXXV stipulated the similar ones for Serbia, and Article XLIV the
same for Romania. However, the dictates of the Powers to others did not
apply to themselves. Keep in mind that, while not mentioning by name the
Jewish inhabitants of those states, the inclusion of such hazily worded treaty
articles, ostensibly for the protection of minorities, was achieved mainly with

Video: Jasenovac The Cruelest Death Camp of all times


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6BkCOtp8O0
Documentary Movie Channel-Documentary Flick, www.documentaryflick.com , 2012
Srdja Trifkovi, USTAA Croatian Fascism and European Politics, 1929-1945, Second
Edition, The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, 2011, Chicago-Ottowa-London
Jozo Tomaevi [ ], War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945 _
Occupation and Collaboration, Stanford University Press, 2001, Stanford
2

Dispatch from the Marquis of Salisbury inclosing a copy of the treaty signed at Berlin,
July 13, 1878, Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of Commons,

[C.2081] Turkey. No. 38 (1878), 33 pages, London

Correspondence relating to the Congress of Berlin, with the Protocols of the Congress,
Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of Commons, [C.2083] Turkey. No. 39 (1878), 284 pages, London

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

the intervention and lobbying of the Jewish Communities from various


nations.3
Simultaneously, it is important to remember the record of the Roman
Catholic Church as it has been expressed over the Centuries by its Clericals
having the Pope at its Head. After all, large numbers of Sephardic Jews
arrived at and populated the Balkans subsequent to their forced expulsion
from the Iberian Peninsula in 14924 by the Catholic Kings Ferdinand &
Isabella whom the Church has wanted to beatify in our days. Moreover, in
1858, in the wane days of the Papal States and only 20 years prior to 1878
Berlin, the papal police intruded into the house of the Mortara family in
Bologna and forcibly took away their son Edgardo whom, supposedly, a
Christian servant had secretly baptized secretly.5 This episode reaffirmed
once more, in a poignant manner, not only the exclusionary attitude of the
Catholic Church but also its persistent and obsessive belief in its supremacy
3

Max J. Kohler & Simon Wolf, Jewish Disabilities in the Balkan States, American Contributions toward Their Removal, with Particular Reference to the Congress of Berlin , American Jewish Historical Society, Publications, 24 (1916), 153 pages (Note: This is a representative article of many)
N. M. Gelber, The Intervention of German Jews at the Berlin Congress 1878, Leo Baeck
Institute Yearbook (1960) 5 (1): 221-248, 1960
4 Paul Isaac Hagouel, The History of the Jews of Thessaloniki & the Holocaust, 2006, West
Chester, Pennsylvania & Thessaloniki (2008)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ozmj8h58j8v8io5/Hagouel_Thessaloniki_Holocaust_n_n-picture.pdf (in English)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yttkjrxyq642k9f/Hagouel_Holocaust_WCUPA_2006_show.pps?m (in English)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/i58leisp25s0ras/Hagouel-Hol_USConsulate_2008_color_show.pps?m (in Greek)
Paul Isaac Hagouel, The History of the Jews of Salonika & the Holocaust
an Expos, Sephardic Horizons (Editor: Judith Roumani) Volume 3, Issue 3, Fall 2013,
http://www.sephardichorizons.org/Volume3/Issue3/hagouel.html
https://www.dropbox.com/s/474zcjhv6z9gzqg/ 282013 29_in_Sephardic_Horizons__TheHistory-of-the-Jews-of-Salonika-and-the-Holocaust-An-Expos C3 A9_f.pdf
5 Cecil Roth, Forced Baptisms: Notorious Case of Abduction of Edgardo Mortara, When a
Child in Bologna, And other instances are Recalled, The American Israelite, January 25,
1929, pg.1
DAVID I. KERTZER, The Popes Against the Jews _ The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, Vintage Books [Random House, Inc], 2002, New York

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

and its divine right to the absolute truth. The Inquisition was alive and well.
These kinds of events perplexed its believers as regards to what was right or
wrong since its (of the Church) actions diverged from the innate human trait
to distinguish, correctly, amongst the two.
In the wake of the end of the First World War, the final disintegration of
Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire took place. With the Treaty of
Peace signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye on September 10, 1919,6 the
independence of the Serb-Croat-Slovene state ass recognized (Article 46).
The same day, and at the same location, another Treaty was signed: Treaty
between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and the Serb-CroatSlovene State.7 In the preamble it stated that the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

of the former Austro-Hungary had decided, of their own will, to unite with
Serbia and form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and that Article
35 of the Treaty of Berlin was effectively abrogated. Suddenly, with Article
4, a new national was created: the Serb-Croat-Slovene. As with all treaties
following the First World War,8 group rights were imposed and artificial
majorities and minorities created with no well-defined criteria but, in the
norm, with the use of the ethnicity as the distinguishing characteristic and
constitutive factor. Then, again, ethnicity was not defined precisely (it could
not be, since it is an abstract notion!). This led to Article 8, which stated that

Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals who belong to racial, religious or linguistic


minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as
the other Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals. Note that neither the Article nor the
Treaty define who the other Serb-Croat-Nationals are juxtaposed as the
majority. And, out of the blue, the term race crept onto the scene, long before
the Deutsches Reich used and defined it ad hoc in order to disenfranchise its

6 Treaty of peace between the allied and associated powers and Austria together with the
protocol and declarations annexed thereto signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, September 10,
1919.[With map] , Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of Commons, [Cmd. 400] Treaty Series No. 11 (1919), 126 pages, London
7 Treaty between the principal allied and associated powers and the Serb-Croat-Slovene
state, signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, September 10, 1919, Presented to Parliament by
Command of His Majesty, House of Commons, [Cmd. 46] Treaty Series (1919) No. 17, 10
pages, London
8 Margaret MacMillan, Six Months That Changed the World: The Paris Peace Conference
of 1919, Random House, 2003, New York

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

citizens of Jewish origin.9 With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that


these seemingly innocuous terms appearing in the Treaties and their true
meaning left to interpretation or, worse, to imagination, had devastating
effects a few decades later. And, in a separate Treaty between the Principal
Allied and Associated Powers and Roumania, signed in Paris on December 9,
1919,10 Romania, under Article 7, undertook to recognize as Roumanian

nationals, ipso facto and without the requirements of any formality, Jews
inhabiting any Roumanian territory who do not possess any other
nationality.
This was not the first time that Romania was reminded of its obligations as a
modern state, albeit a nation state, towards all of its inhabitants,
irrespective of any distinguishing characteristics vis vis its majorities. Its
sorry record towards her subjects of Jewish religious heritage over the past
decades, and previously, as the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, is
well known and documented.11 Next to Romania, the record of Serbia on
what concerned its Jewish population was not stellar either and is also
documented.12
Simultaneously, Croats felt chocked, rightly or wrongly, belonging in a
state where the Christian Orthodox Serb element was the dominant and
majority one.13 A latent dual irredentism, based on the notions of Croatian

The Nuremberg Laws


http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2010/winter/nuremberg.html
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1f7007pm1mp4ctf/Nuremberg 20Laws.pdf
10

Treaty between the principal allied and associated powers and Roumania, signed at Paris,
December 9, 1919, Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of

Commons, [Cmd. 588] Treaty Series (1920) No. 6., 10 pages, London
11

Correspondence respecting the condition and treatment of the Jews in Servia and
Roumania: 1867-76, Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of
Commons, [C.1742] Principalities. No. 1 (1877), 372 pages, London

Moldavia. Further correspondence respecting the persecution of Jews in Moldavia.


Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, House of Commons
Cmds [3890] [3897] [3917], 1867, 33 pages, London
12 Correspondence respecting the condition and treatment of the Jews in Servia, Presented
to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of Commons, [Cmd 3829] Servia 1867,
31pages, London
13

JUGO-SLAVIA? IT'S A "MELTING POT" THAT WON'T MELT: Nation Born of World
War Is a Modern Babylon, Chicago Daily Tribune, March 22, 1941, page 8

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ethnic identity and Catholicism, shaped the mentality of some in a reverse


way, i.e. they were not lamenting lost territories but wanted to extricate
themselves from the fold of the new artificially created state. Thus, they came
to perceive the Serb Serb-Croat-Slovenian national as an impediment to their
national aspirations, always coupled with a good dose of the presumed
superiority of their Catholicism.14
In parallel, the Jew, at least up to World War II, was always the universal
scapegoat and culprit for all ills, real or imaginary. Furthermore, there was
never an ethnic Jewish European nation-state to claim him and/or offer
protection. He was always a numeric minority and never fully incorporated
into the inner fabric of the national corpus.15 Few states had a fully de jure
emancipation: one notable example is Greece, which extended full emancipation to all its citizens irrespective of religious affiliation with the 3d
Protocol of the Treaties of London of 1830.16 But then, Greece, early on, was
founded on the notion of the Hellene as the constitutive element and not on
groups, majorities or minorities, which no Constitution ever recognized or
created. What was always lacking in the Balkans was the notion of civil rights
as opposed to group rights. The endeavors of all nations should have been and
should be to strengthen the concept of the civilian, the individual and not that
of the subject person and of groups.
Finally, it is both interesting and important to point out that two Anti-Semitic
Laws were published in the official Government Gazette of Yugoslavia on

Europe: The Croats Play a Star Role in the Balkan Drama, By ANNE O'HARE
McCORMICK, The New York Times, April 5, 1941, pg. 16
14

Yugoslavian Unity Threatened by Pro-German Croat Millions: Macek, Member of New


Cabinet who Speaks for Millions of Countrymen, Fights Resistance to the Nazis, Los
Angeles Times, March 30, 1941, page 1
15 Carole Fink, Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and
International Minority Protection, 1878-1938, Cambridge University Press, 2006, New
York
16 A _ Papers relative to the Affairs of Greece, Protocols of Conferences Held in London,
Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty, House of Commons,
May 1830, 340 pages, London, pg. 316
The London Conferences 1830 No. 25
PROTOCOL, No. 3, of the Conference held at the Foreign Office on the 3rd of February,
1830

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

October 5th, 1940, a full 7 months before the German Reich invaded Yugoslavia.17 So much for either Constitutional and/or Treaty Article guarantees of
equality and freedom of religion!
The above underlying and simmering marginalization of the Jewish
inhabitants was the catalyst for the atrocities at Jasenovac. At the time, few
understood the significance of keeping segments of the population apart and
even persecuting and/or relegating them to second class or, still worse, to
internal enemy status. If we couple to that the presence of prejudicial antiSemitism which, if not outright sanctioned by the various states, was nonetheless tolerated and even encouraged, then it is easy to expect that this
conditioned and accustomed the general populace that it was grata to both
have feelings and act against their Jewish neighbors and, worst of all, believe
that they are internal enemies and treat them as such. Again, with the benefit
of hindsight, in as much as Jasenovac is concerned, the substitution or the
addition of another long perceived enemy, albeit of a different sort, was
facilitated. Thus, the Orthodox Christian Serb shared the same fate, or worse,
as the Jew and the Roma during WWII in the NDH. A Sephardic adage in
Ladino is ironically bitterly true: Malor de Otros, Bonor de Tontos or,
freely translated, Misfortune of Others, Happiness of Fools (Stupid People).
Thus, Jasenovac and the crimes perpetrated during its existence should not
come as a surprise, given the circumstances and the climate and surrounding
carnage occurring all over Europe and the Balkans.18 Respecting the

17

Private electronic communication of facsimiles of the two Anti-Semitic Laws from the
Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, October 5, 1940, from the Jewish Historical
Museum, 2012, Beograd, http://www.jimbeograd.org/eng/
YUGOSLAVIA CURBS JEWS: Forbids Those Not Citizens in 1918 to Trade in Food,
TheNew York Times, September 21, 1940, pg. 4

YUGOSLAVS RESTRICT JEWS: Decree Reduces Number Who May Attend Schools,
TheNew York Times, October 6, 1940, pg. 24
18

Nazis Act to Remove Restraints on Brutality in Serbia, By Ray Brock, The Washington

Post, May 11, 1941, pg. 12

Nazis Held Ready to Crush Serb Guerrillas and Jews: NAZI PLAN TO CRUSH SERBS IS
REPORTED, By RAY BROCKBy, Telephone to The New York Times, May 11, 1941, pg. 1
Pavelic Visits Hitler, Turns Heat on Jews, By the United Press, The Washington Post, June
7, 1941, pg. 4

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Holocaust, that is, the annihilation of Jews just because they were Jews,
Auschwitz was the final peak, the culmination of the crescendo of the everincreasing-in-ferocity persecution fervor.19 Accordingly, Jasenovac is the
epitome, the climax, of the Ustashas ethnic cleansing endeavor. The
underlying psychological foundation for justifying and perpetrating it was
laid long ago, as we have demonstrated. The spark that was needed to ignite
the inferno was none other than the assembly of the factors reaching critical
mass.
The main catalysts were:
A. Already, the German Reich, which had created the Independent
State of Croatia, had made it perfectly clear that one of its goals was the

THE GROWING UNION OF HATE: As Hitler extends his conquests the Continent is
reduced more and more to primitive Cruelty, By C.L. SULZBERGER, The New York
Times, July 6, 1941, pg. SM3

MASSACRES LAID TO CROAT USTASHI: More Than 300,000 Serbs and pro-Yugoslav
Croats reported slain by Revolutionaries, Special Broadcast to The New York Times,
October 11, 1941, pg. 3

Serbian Prelate Charges Killing Of 180,000 in Nazi-Invaded Croatia: Archbishop accuses


"Quisling" of Wholesale Massacre and Torture -- Post-War Court is Suggested to Punish
the Criminals, By JAMES MacDONALD Special Cable to The New York Times, January 3,
1942, pg. 8

Nazis' Torture Orgies Pictured: Serbian Archbishop Reports Massacre of 180,000 in


Croatia, Los Angeles Times, January 3, 1942, pg. 3
180,000 Croats Die in Torture, By the Associated Press, The Washington Post, January 3,
1942, pg. 4

Berlin Plot to Exterminate 2,000,000 Serbs Charged: Widespread Slaughter Reported by


Yugoslavs; Wave of Atrocities and Suffering sweeps Europe, Los Angeles Times, January
4, 1942, pg. 5

YUGOSLAVS CHARGE AXIS SLEW 465,000: Government in London Reports Wholesale


Executions by the Occupying Forces, Tells of Wide Atrocities, Hungarians Accused of
Killin 100,000 in Northern Areas -- Serbs Homes Burned, The New York Times, May 8,
1942, pg.8
19

Central File: Decimal File 860H.00, Internal Affairs Of States, Yugoslavia, Political
Affairs, April 3, 1946 - October 10, 1946.. Records of the Department of State relating to
Internal Affairs: Yugoslavia 1945-49, 1946, 1149 pages, Collection: Socialism and National
Unity in Yugoslavia, 1945-63: Records of the U.S. State Department Classified Files,
Category: European Studies, Global Studies, Political Science, Library U.S. National
Archives NARA - - http://www.archives.gov/ , Washington, DC

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

annihilation of the Jewish people. Furthermore, it was already murdering or was in the process of perpetrating the physical annihilation of
the Polish Intelligentsia.20 And, with the onset of Operation Barbarossa
in June 1941, the Einsatzgruppen started their genocidal spree on Jews
and other enemy elements of the Soviet society.21
B. Neighboring Romania, another Axis ally, also engaged in th
genocidal binge against its perennial enemy, the Jew, whom it did not
consider Romanian. The numbers of those killed were in the six
figures, thus making large numbers of victims palatable at least to the
local perpetrators and willing potential ones.22
C. The regrettable record of the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church
before and during the War was of paramount importance with regard
to those events.23 Its deafening silence was not only construed by some
(wrongly, as I hope and am sure of) as a tacit neutrality but, even worse,

20

Alexander Brian Rossino, September 1939: The German army and the invasion of
Poland, Doctoral Dissertation, Syracuse University, 1999
21 Hilary Camille Earl, Accidental justice: The trial of Otto Ohlendorf and the
Einsatzgruppen leaders in the American zone of occupation, Germany, 1945--1958,
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada), 2002
Hilary Earl, Masters of Death: The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust,
by Richard Rhodes, Shofar 22.4 (Summer 2004): 141
22 Radu Ioanid, THE HOLOCAUST IN ROMANIA _ The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies
Under the Antonescu Regime, 19401944, Ivan R Dee Inc. & USHMM, 2000, Chicago
300 JEWS REPORTED SLAIN: In One Block Alone 89 Were Said to Have Been Killed, By
Telephone to The New York Times, January 25, 1941, pg. 5

FORCED LABOR FOR JEWS: Rumania Requires Service From Young Folk of Both Sexes,
By Telephone to The New York Times, July 11, 1941, pg. 3
Rumanian Curb on Jews Urged, By Telephone to The New York Times, August 4, 1941,
pg.3
178,000 Rumanian Jews Disappear, The Washington Post, October 18, 1942, pg. 2

RUMANIANS SLAUGHTERED: Swedish Paper Says 120,000 Jews Have Been Executed or
Slain, The New York Times, March 16, 1943, pg. 2
23Confidential Correspondence From Other Offices 1946, Source :U.S. Relations with the
Vatican and the Holocaust, 1940-1950 Collection, 1946, 187 pages, Library, National
Archives and Records Administration (USA) NARA II- http://www.archives.gov/ ,
Category: Italian Studies, Holocaust Studies, Global Studies, Washington, DC

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as a silent consent and/or approval.24 To that we add the initial support


of the Croatian Catholic Church Hierarchy for Ante Paveli,25 which
added a component of divine destiny to the decisions and actions of the
Poglavnik! Proof of the above is offered, at no cost, by the Vatican itself,
which is planning to canonize Blessed (sic) Archbishop Stepinac26 by
the end of the year!27 How true is the ancient Greek adage

[According to the last event or action, all previous ones are judged].28
D. The complete failure of the multiethnic nation-state, which is an
oxymoron in itself, since the terms multiethnic and nation-state are

24

Menachem Shelah, The Catholic Church in Croatia, the Vatican and the Murder of the
Croatian Jews, Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Jan 1, 1989; 4, 3; pgs. 323-339
Pl Kolst, THE CROATIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE LONG ROAD TO
JASENOVAC, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society (2011), 24 (1): 3756
Ibid. 5 [Kertzer]
25

Statement by Embassy on Trial of Archbishop, Our London Correspondent, The Irish

Times, October 17, 1946, pg. 1


26

Pope Beatifies Croat Prelate Fanning Ire Among Serbs, By ALESSANDRA STANLEY,
TheNew York Times, October 4, 1998
27 War hero is 'closer to sainthood' [Edition 3], Irish Independent, 13 February 2014: 26,
Dublin:
A WORLD War II-era Croatian cardinal considered a hero by many Catholics but a traitor
by some Jews and Serbs has moved a step closer to possible sainthood.
The head of the Vatican's saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Amato, said experts had
approved a miracle attributed to Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac's intervention.
Stepinac has been praised by popes and ordinary Catholics for his resistance to
communism and refusal to separate the Croatian church from the Vatican during the war.
But many Serbs and Jews accuse him of sympathizing with the Ustasha Nazi puppet
regime that ruled Croatia at the time.
According to Tuesday's Vatican newspaper, Amato said he told Pope Francis about the
miracle and that he "was pleased by this important step."
Francis must approve any canonisation.
http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2014/02/roman-catholic-church-to-canonizearchbishop-stepinac-the-mass-murder-of-orthodox-christians/
28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demosthenes
http://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/ D0 94 D0 B5 D0 BC D0 BE D1 81 D1 82 D0 B5 D0 BD
[]

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

incompatible. It is ironic that if the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia in a vain attempt to create and forge a
new ethnic-national identity29 had never been created, then there
wouldnt have been, at least, the Orthodox Christian Serb genocide.
However, the Jew, as well as the Roma, wouldnt have benefited either
way.

The lessons for the 21st century boil down to the avoidance of the repetition
of the failures of the various post-World War I peace treaties. All of those
were based and influenced by (USofA President) Wilsons insistence on
national self-determination, having as a consequence the subsequent
foundation of a multitude of European nation-states which, in turn, contributed seminally to the creation of many artificial majorities and minorities.
Keep in mind that the Constitution of the USofA was (and still is!) based solely
on Individual Civil Rights and Liberties and the terms group or minority
were and still are alien to it. The fact should not pass unnoticed that President
Wilson strongly believed that national self-determination would end the root
causes which were most central in leading Europe to war in the first place.
How little did he know . . .
What is most interesting is the influence of Articles pertaining to individual
civil rights for all citizens, albeit as concomitant to minority rights and not as
bona fide stand-alone ones.30 One such is the aforementioned Article 8 of the
Saint-Germain-en-Laye Treaty. Another example is found in the Treaty of
Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Bulgaria, and protocol
signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, November 27, 1919,31 where, once more, we find
civil rights under the general heading of SECTION IV PROTECTION OF
MINORITIES (of Part III Political Clauses of the Treaty). Again, note how the
term minority is ill-defined, if at all.
Ethnicity, nation, majority, minority are hard to define to everybodys
satisfaction. One does not need to define the individual, the term is self29

Christian Axboe Nielsen, One state, one nation, one king: The dictatorship of King
Aleksandar and his Yugoslav project, 1929--1935, Columbia University Doctoral

Dissertation, 2002, New York


30 Ibid. 15
31

Treaty of peace between the allied and associated powers and Bulgaria, and Protocol,
Signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, November 27th, 1919 [With Map], Presented to Parliament by

Command of His Majesty, House of Commons, [Cmd. 522] Treaty Series (1920), No.5,
95pages, London

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explanatory. Citizenship should be based on social contract and not on


ethnicity. The state and society at large have to strive for the de facto
incorporation of all kinds of minorities into the national fabric and corpus.
Simultaneously, the minorities should strive to feel like the majority and
embrace psychologically each other. A litmus test for all our current societies
is how well they have achieved that goal respecting their Jewish citizens, a
transnational and supra-state religious minority with no ethnic basis.
Here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Republika Srpska, an effort is taking
place in order to overcome the obstacles of the past and forge ahead.32 Our
presence here shows that progress, however fast or slow, is a fact. The
foundations for the future should be based on mutual respect for everyones
customs and traditions and on the acceptance of ones past, however painful.33
It is our duty to remember and keep memory alive. It is also the duty for
whoever is the inheritor of the responsibilities emanating from past actions
to accept and acknowledge the guilt.34 This will only strengthen the mutual
understanding amongst our nations and will also have the beneficial effect of
self-catharsis.
I thank you very much.
Paul Isaac Hagouel
hagouel@eecs.berkeley.edu

32

United Nations, Dayton Accords


http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/peace/BoH 2019951121.pdf

General framework agreement for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina signed at Paris on 14
December 1995 and annexes with related agreements and conclusions of the Peace
Implementation Conference held in London on 8-9 December 1995, Presented to
Parliament February 1996, [Cm 3154] Miscellaneous No. 6, House of Commons, 101 pages,
London
33 Heike Karge, Sajmiste, Jasenovac, and the Social Frames of Remembering and
Forgetting, [Chair for the history of Southeastern and Eastern Europe Regensburg
University], FILOZOFIJA I DRUSTVO XXIII (4), 2012
34The Jewish Question, The Times (London, England), Saturday, May 08, 1993; pg. 14[S1]

184

Jean Toschi Marazzani Visconti

IN DEFENSE OF THE MEMORY OF


AN OBSCURED TRAGEDY.

The theme of this meeting is the monstrous uniqueness of camp number six,
where only children were jailed, a peculiarity of the death camp of Jacenovac
in the Free State of Croatia in 1941, which sets this place apart from all German extermination sites.
I do not want to dissertate on this horror, I think it is up to those who lived
and witnessed directly the suffering and fear of thousands of poor creatures
at the mercy of cruel jailers, to do it. I want to talk about the importance of
Memory.
There is a photo of a mass grave in camp number six, where naked bodies of
children were lined up, they looked skeletal, they were no longer children,
but ectoplasms. The last one in this long line had his eyes wide open and a
look of astonishment was petrified on his face. This child seemed to ask: why?
It is exactly to answer his question that I want to speak about the need of
defending the Memory and the knowledge of what happened in those death
camps.
Only a few years ago I became aware of the existence of an extermination
camp in Croatia, operating from 1941 to 1945. Jacenovac extermination camp
produced approximately one million victims. It is amazing; the existence of
this place was totally unknown to the majority of the international public and
still is.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

At that time I gathered some information; to my surprise I learnt this camp


was as large as Auschwitz and was formed by eight sub installations. One of
them, camp number six, was reserved to children up to fourteen years of age.
How could this tragic reality be hidden? Political reasons: Tito, the unifier of
Yugoslavia, wanted to mitigate the tragedy to avoid grudges and revenge preventing the unification of the populations that harshly contrasted under the
German and Italian occupation. He had also tried to minimize the responsibility of the Catholic clergy in Croatia, responsible for the persecution of the
Serbian people.
We must not forget that the command of Jacenovac camp had been entrusted
to a Franciscan monk, Miroslav Filipovi Majstorovi, during his trial he admitted he had sentenced to death forty thousand people.
A shaded madness that allowed Pope John Paul II to beatify Alojs Stepinac,
the Croatian Primate at that time, who had blessed the Ustasha regime of
Ante Paveli and ignored the un-Christian violence of his subordinates.
Time and silence have contributed to the oblivion of the Ustasha death camp.
In 2011, I visited the main Jacenovac number three camp in Croatia, I was
astonished and outraged by the beauty of the place; it looked like a golf
course.
All traces of the prisoners life have been cleared. Peaceful ponds were filled
with reeds and wild flowers, close to them some round and circular grass
shapes marked the site where the brick factory, Ciglana, used to be; hundreds
of bodies became ashes in its furnaces.
No sign of the huts where the prisoners lived, nothing recalls the hard life,
the suffering of the victims of the fascist regime of Ante Pavelic and his Ustasha.
Wide fields of waving grass, a little train on its tracks sinking in the grass, a
huge meaningless monument, those were the only elements faintly recalling
the tragic destiny of a million prisoners. Nothing else!
At that point I had to admire the consistency of the Germans at Dachau extermination camp, although embellishing with geraniums and flower beds
the area, they have kept many signs of the tragedy in order to remember the

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

madness of the torturers and to imagine, and to share the suffering of the
victims.
The courage of a country shows in the acceptance of its errors. It is impossible to reach a catharsis without this force of renewal. It is hard to make peace
with the past and with the heirs of the victims without assuming its own responsibility.
In Berlin, under the immense and poignant memorial to the Jewish victims
of the extermination camps, not far from the Brandenburg Gate, there is a
Jewish documentation center. Inside, on a wall there is a map of Europe
where some lights mark the sites of all the imprisonment and extermination
camps of the Nazi period. Jacenovac does not appear. Only searching on the
computers on hand, Jacenovac finally appears: as a Memorial.
They succeeded in erasing the Memory of the Serbian, Jewish and Roma victims, who suffered and lost their lives in Jacenovac. The Memory of their
sufferance can only survive as long as the survivors will be able to testify and
to tell the truth on the facts that many people want to forget. Whats after?
We live a strange period, some nations are trying to rewrite embarrassing
parts of their past distorting the truth. This is going on in different regions
of Europe. There is a general tendency to revise history and to accuse the
victims of their own crimes. The Serbs particularly, after 1995, are referred
to as the new criminals of the late twentieth century, raising the Germans
from this role.
The Croats tend to minimize the horrors of their death camp, admitting the
killing of Jews and Roma in the number of a few thousands. But their attempt
to complete the ethnic cleansing of the Serb population in the period from
1941 onwards and in 1995 in the Krajnas is justified as a form of liberation of
the Croatian territories. This is total denial of the historical events.
The term genocide is used and misused in these days, giving also an official
recognition to situations that have nothing to do with this meaning. This is
exactly what happened at the European Parliament, where the obscure facts
of Srebrenica have been declared genocide, the Parliament also proclaimed
the 11th of July the Memorial day for the Srebrenica genocide. This term
comes from the Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin verb caedere (to
kill) and indicates the extermination of an entire population, men, women,
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

and children for different reasons: a territory cleansing, destruction of members belonging to a different faith, elimination of a race.
Someone may wonder why a war event that involved only men of military
age, therefore soldiers, was considered genocide. No account was taken of
women, children and elderly people that were escorted to the safe in Muslim
territory, according to their own choice.
While admitting that the Serbs did not attack the city of Srebrenica to kill the
Muslim inhabitants, the ICTY Tribunal in The Hague with an absurd sentence sanctioned that the selective destruction would have a long-term im-

pact throughout the entire ethnic group and the disappearance of two, three
generations of men would compromise the survival of a traditional patriarchal society in a catastrophic way, when the Serbs decided to get rid of all
Muslim men. Their death would prevent any effective attempt to regain territory. The combination of these massacres and forcible transfer of women,
children and old people would inevitably result in the physical disappearance
of the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica. (Michael Mandel, The
Hague Tribunal and the concept of genocide - The case of the hidden genocide in Srebrenica , Verit et Justice , Paris 2005- La citt del sole , Naples
2007)
This judgment justifies the political games between the Bill Clintons administration and President Aljia Izetbegovics government and covers also the
activities of the U.S and European secret services and the massacres committed by the Croats in the Serb-majority Krajnas in May and August 1995.
With this sentence the heirs of the Jacenovac victims have been turned into
criminals.
The latest revelations of Ibran Mustafi in his book Controlled Chaos and of
former commander of the Special Unit of the Ministry of the Bosnian Muslim
Interior, Zoran Cegar, explain how the central government had ordered the
death of many of Srebrenica citizens, because politically unreliable, during
their escape through the woods towards Tuzla.
In May 2011, I walked along the paths of Donja Gradina camp number eight,
where prisoners were ferried beyond the river Sava from Jacenovac to be
killed and buried. I watched the green waves under the trees, each one corresponding to a mass grave, and felt the sadness of the fate condemning those
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

poor people to oblivion for political contortions and I had the impression that
they were also asking: why?
I think all these innocent victims are entitled to an official recognition, their
sufferings should never be forgotten. As the alleged genocide in Srebrenica
has been sanctioned in the European Parliament, the genocide perpetrated by
the Free State of Croatia from 1941 to 1945 must be recognized by the Court
of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It must be done to stop historical manipulation and prevent the inhabitants of the green waves of Donja Gradina and
all the others, killed in the ravines of Jadovno or in Danica, in Kerestinac, in
Gospic, to be deprived of the dignity they deserve.
I know a deep distrust in the institutions of the International justice reigns in
Bosnia. But the Court of Justice in Chicago has accepted the complaint of
some organizations in the USA, Serbian victims of the genocide in Krajina
and Serbs from Krajina, against the U.S. State mercenary agency, Military
Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) for their intervention. The State of Illinois will be in charge of the process. (Daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija ).
This agency trained the Croatian army officers and provided technical support for the Flash and Storm Operations in May and August 1995, becoming
responsible for the ethnic cleansing and killings of the Serbian people in the
former Republic of Serbian Krajina. The two organizations are asking for a
strong compensation for every Serb killed. They might fail, but at least someone will talk about the problem of Serbs ethnic cleansing in their region.
These actions are internationally considered a justified act to free a Croatian
territory.
It is time to react against these lies appealing to international justice. It is time
to do it now, when some of the Jacenovac survivors are still able to testimony
the truth and to ask for a fair judgement against the 1941 Free State of Croatia. It is imperative to fight for the Memory of the Jacenovac victims.

189

Ana Krini Lozica

BETWEEN MEMORY AND OBLIVION:


JASENOVAC AS A DOUBLY
MEDIATED TRAUMA

ABSTRACT
The new permanent exhibition at the Memorial Museum of Jasenovac
is divided into two thematic units, which partly overlap and reveal the
basic problem of relationship between representation and trauma. One
unit concerns the musealisation and commemoration of a site of Holocaust or genocide, while the other deals with the attitude of museological and memorial practice towards a socialist past. Thus, the first thematic unit which commemorates the site of a traumatic event and
shapes the museum collection on the basis of a crime faces various
problems. The issue of (im)possibility of testimony and the consequences of institutionalising memory are intertwined with the interaction between historiography and fiction in transmitting a traumatic
event, the role of various segments of the exhibition (historiographic,
architectural, design-related), artworks, and memorials in mediating
the trauma(s), as well as the attitude of musealisation and commemoration towards (re/forming) the collective identity and collective
memory. Another subgroup of problems is not readily visible at first
glance, but it is nevertheless present in the new permanent exhibition
at the Jasenovac Museum. It refers to the shift in the paradigms of representation and the influence of cultural policies on commemorating
the socialist past. It is a meta-museological and meta-historiographic
issue, which includes a change in museological practices and the reinvention of history, which is characteristic for post-socialist countries.
A diachronic survey of this shift in the paradigms of representation and

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comparison between the rhetoric of permanent exhibitions and monuments in various social/political/economic systems would reveal
whether these paradigms belong to broader cultural paradigms, such
as modernism and postmodernism, and to which extent the change in
permanent exhibitions can be explained through these broader cultural
paradigms. An analysis of the ways in which collective identity, mechanisms of remembrance, and attitude towards the past influence the
representations of trauma in museums and monuments is bound to offer new insights as to the alterations of the permanent exhibition at the
Jasenovac Museum.
Keywords: collective memory, lieux de memoire, lacunae, trauma, representation, Jasenovac, permanent exhibition

Writings about exhibitions mainly focus on what is exhibited, whereas the


theme of the exhibition is in most cases left to highly specialised museological
texts or art criticism.1 Only when the media become interested in a museum
exhibition, because of the sensitivity of its topic, as is the case with the new
exhibit of the Memorial Museum of Jasenovac, laden with ideological and
political connotations, the debate about it spreads beyond the narrow framework of the profession and reaches the general public. But despite so much
media interest and numerous reactions provoked by the new permanent exhibition of the Museum authored by Nataa Mataui (preliminary design and
scenario), Leonida Kova (art design) and Helena Paver-Njiri (architectural
design), experts have written very little about it. Idis Turato wrote about the
architectural aspect of the exhibition in Oris, Silva Kali2 had a review of
the exhibition in Zarez, and it was elimir Laslo,3Vesna Deli Gozze4 and Lucia Benyovsky5 who raised the quality of polemical writing to the next, professional level, in Vijesti muzealaca i konzervatora, along with Natasa Jovii6 in Review of Croatian History and Julija Ko7 in a paper she presented at
the Fourth International Conference on Jasenovac. The approach to the topic
of the listed authors is an indication the topic goes beyond the scope of the
museological profession.
The topic of the new museum exhibition in Jasenovac concerns two partially
overlapping groups of problems, which boil down to the basic problem of the
relationship between representation and trauma. One group of problems con-

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cerns the musealisation and commemoration of a site of the Holocaust or genocide, and the treatment of a socialist past in museological and architectural
practice. The relationship between representation and trauma is twofold: on
the one hand, the different methods of representation of trauma (including
such diverse fields as architecture, sculpture, design, historiography, pedagogy, and museology) are used in an attempt to mediate the traumatic experience being commemorated. On the other hand, the latent working of a
trauma or traumas affects the representation and symbolisation strategies,
inscribing itself in the trauma discourse (becoming present not only in the
exhibition, but also in the debate between experts and the general public).
The first group of problems commemorating the place where the traumatic
event occurred and grounding the museum collections on the crime - concerns a variety of issues. The question of the (im)possibility of testimony and
the consequences of the institutionalization of remembrance are intertwined
with the interaction between historiography and fiction in the transmission
of the traumatic event, the roles of different segments of the exhibition (historiographic, architectural, design), works of art and memorials in mediating
trauma(s), as well as the relation between musealisation and commemoration
and the (re/formation) of the collective identity and collective remembrance.
As for the second group of problems, at first sight they are not as noticeable,
but they are still present in the new exhibition of the Museum of Jasenovac
and concern a representational paradigm shift and the impact of cultural policies on qualifying a socialist past. This is a meta-museological and meta-historiographic topic that includes changing museum practices and re-examining history, so typical of post-communist countries. The diachronic consideration of the shift in representational paradigms and a comparison of the
rhetoric of exhibitions and sculptures/monuments in various social/political/
economic systems are needed to see if those representational paradigms belong to broader cultural paradigms, modernism and postmodernism, and to
what extent the successive exhibitions are interpretable by means of such
broader cultural paradigms. By analysing the way in which collective identities, mechanisms of remembrance and attitudes toward the past affect museological and architectural representations of a trauma, I will try to examine
the changes in the exhibitions at the Museum of Jasenovac.

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The new exhibition of the Memorial Museum of Jasenovac set up in 2006,


similar to many other new museums commemorating the Holocaust or genocide, twists the modernist concept of the white cube, in order to approximate the postmodern museum as a time capsule. The theme of fascism and
genocide testifying to the collapse of the Enlightenment reason (i.e., to its
dark irrational side) is also presented by means of an architectural design
denying the comprehensibility of the Euclidean geometry: like the Jewish
Museum in Berlin and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, according to
the new architectural design of the Museum of Jasenovac by architect Helena
Paver-Njiri, the walls are slanted, with crevices and sharp edges, and dysfunctional and unpredictable architectural solutions that create a sense of discomfort, irrationality and interruption (Fig. 1). Abandoning the concept of
the previous permanent exhibitions staged in 1968 and 1988, which featured
a neutral exhibition room showing the inmates personal belongings, documents and photos, the new exhibition transforms the two exhibition rooms
into a black maze. Its architecture stages the theme of the exhibition: low,
rather stuffy metal boxes with rough sharp edges, exuding a strong and unpleasant smell of rubber and rusty metal, are an imitation of the wood shacks
in which the camp prisoners were detained, thus creating an evocative atmosphere. The neutrality of the modernist mode of representation in which
the exhibition is subordinated to perception of the eye has been taken very
low, to the level of physical reception,
where hearing, smell and tactility govern the perception of the exhibited. Intellectual and physical experience are
intertwined in a way characteristic of
the postmodern mode of representation, while the exhibited is no longer
considered in the context of isolation,
but as a relation, and the visitor, who
was only a spectator in the previous
exhibitions, is now a participant.

1 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum,


2006. Interior of the Museum.

Creating an overlap between the present and the past in the minds of the
visitors is attempted at through some
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

procedures replacing representation with the performative: in one of the


dark corners the visitor finds himself or herself between the projector and
the screen, with his shadow inscribed in the photos of the camp being projected onto the screen, while at another place in the maze Barthes illusion of
communication with the dead is established as the visitors eye meets the frozen look of individual victims posing in family photos before they were
brought to the camp (Fig. 2).
The exhibition as a time machine that takes visitors to a symbolic reconstruction of the events in order to arouse in them certain emotions is characteristic
of the theatrical approach to setting up exhibitions, which began in the early
1990s and culminated after the Expo 2000 in Hannover.8 Since the remains
of the Jasenovac camp were completely destroyed, the Jasenovac Memorial
is in a special position when compared to other memorials of the similar type,
in so far as the material remains of the events being commemorated have
been reduced to a minimum. After presenting his solution for the memorial
complex in 1960, Bogdan Bogdanovi dismissed the idea that the camp should
be
reconstructed,
thinking it would be
unauthentic;9 the authors of the new exhibition have opted for a
solution that creates
images and reconstructs the climate in
the camp. Although an
aspect of the theatrical
structure or framework is inherent in all
types of exhibition,
2 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum, 2006. Victim
scenery and museographotographs projected onto a screen, with a plasma screen in the
background, displaying the names of the victims.
phy are nevertheless in
conflict with one another, as observed by Gottfried Korff.10 While scenery
presents a particular topic without the original object, museography outlines
the subject using real objects (musealia), which are separated from their true
reality through a meaningful selection process and thus become documents
of that particular reality.11 The exhibition of the Memorial Museum of
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Jasenovac is halfway between the two extremes: the authentic objects


(musealia) found at the site of the Jasenovac camp have been exhibited as part
of a show close to the theatrical approaches to setting up exhibitions (Schmidl
proposes the term semi-scenographic exhibitions for such hybrid types of
shows) (Fig. 3).12
The new museum exhibition clearly breaks with the representation paradigms that were used in the previous two exhibitions. The Memorial Museum
opened in 1968 and had an exhibition hall and a cinema theatre.13 The memorial building designed by Petar Vovk, which still houses the museum, once
had in its exhibition hall the sculpture called For the Victims of Fascism in
Jasenovac by Petar Damonja, which is now located opposite the entrance to
the museum, and the sculpture A Dead Inmate by Stanko Jani, previously
placed alongside the museum building. The first museum exhibition, staged
by the former Museum of the Revolution of the People of Croatia, whose idea
came from and was conceptually and
contextually developed by curator
Ksenija Dekovi, with uka Kavuri as
the author of the interior design of the
exhibition hall, placed too much focus
on the general circumstances in Yugoslavia prior to 1941, and too little on the
Jasenovac camp itself, says Lucija
Benyovsky.14 The glass cabinets
showed the personal belongings of prisoners, original letters of the illegal
camp management of the Communist
Party of Croatia, original documents
written by the Ustashas, and reproductions of drawings made in the camp by
Daniel Ozma. It also exhibited the tools with which the Ustashas killed the
prisoners, and documents and photographs from the time of the NDH and
immediately after the liberation of the camp, arranged into a row along the
lateral walls of the exhibition hall. In addition to the exhibits and thematic
texts and legends accompanying the items, the visitors learnt about Nazism

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and fascism in Europe and in our region, the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia and the work and happenings in the Jasenovac concentration camp, as well as the organised resistance of the prisoners.
The second permanent museum exhibition was staged in 1988, with Dragoje
Luki and Antun Mileti as authors of the preliminary concept and contents,
and Joa Rebernak as author of the art design. It showed more of the museums paper documentary collection, giving a more credible depiction of the
events in the camp and the fates of the prisoners. The exhibits were arranged
into three layers: the upper level showed a series of large-sized photographs
of the crimes of the Nazis, fascists and Ustashas in the period from 1941 to
1945 in the NDH. The second level exhibited successively copies of laminated
documents and photographs made by the Ustashas, with themed legends, and
glass cases with items retrieved from the mass graves. Below the middle layer
stood glass cabinets, which exhibited the prisoners personal belongings, the
tools they were killed with, as well as part of the equipment of the camp offices.15 Based on the available information regarding the previous exhibitions, it is possible to conclude that they regarded the prisoners as masses
sacrificed in watershed events that were the cornerstones laid in the struggle
for the establishment of the new socialist state, and that they also addressed
the audiences as masses sharing the same collective anti-fascist identity built
on the feeling of empathy with the victims of fascism (the same rhetoric prevailed in the Jasenovac documentaries screened in the Museum cinema theatre).16 The discourse of the two previous exhibitions had a totalising effect,
one that was mythic in that it introduced the fundamental values of socialism,
accenting the revolutionary aspect of establishment of the new order, which
spoke to the masses in the language of a grand narrative that set up universal
values. The mode of representation used balanced or harmonised the individual in order to emphasise the general (which is particularly evident in the
1988 exhibition: the upper layer had a series of large-sized photos showing
the crimes of the Nazis, fascists and Ustashas in the period from 1941 to 1945
in the Independent State of Croatia) and relied on the symbols of sacrifice to
address the cosmic, universal and ideological. This focus on the universal is
evident in the sculptures that remain part of the Jasenovac Memorial Site
after the exhibition was changed. Both the 1968 relief dedicated to the victims
of fascism and the Flower by Bogdan Bogdanovi from the 1966, although
devoid of ideological content, suggest universal human values at a symbolic
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

level: the huge concrete flower raises the story about the suffering of the inmates and regeneration of life to the cosmic level of the cyclical quality of
nature, thereby evoking a strong emotional response in the visitor (rapture
and affection), while the relief, consisting of human bones in wood fettered
in iron chains, symbolically evokes the general human dimension of captivity
and death.
The innovation arriving with the new exhibition, in accordance with the scientific methods of modern museology, is the reduction of the universal discourse to a private story. The memorial sites and museums redesigned or set
up for the first time in the last 15 years, such as those of the late 1990s in
Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Neuengammeu and Dachau,17 as
well as Budapests House of Terror from 2002,18 have incorporated survivor
testimonies into their exhibitions for visual and emotional effects. This individualist approach to victims is at the base of the new exhibition in the Memorial Museum of Jasenovac: the first and last names of all of the known
victims stand printed on glass plates hanging vertically along the entire ceiling of the museum, victim information is displayed on plasma screens, showing each victims name, year of birth and death, and ethnicity, and there are
computers on each visitors can read information about individual victims and
how they died (Fig. 4). While the previous exhibitions presented the victims
as a nameless mass and large numbers (piles of personal items found in the
mass graves, the tools used for mass killings, the row of large-format photographs of massacred bodies from the 1988 exhibition), in the new exhibition
the emphasis is on individual destinies, some of which are presented in the
form of audiovisual survivor testimonies. Leonida Kova, the author of the
art design of the new exhibition, talking about the representational paradigm
changing from the totalising one to that which emphasises the individual, and
the shifting of stress from the general to the study of individual cases, says

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her intention was to treat the lists with the names of all the victims as a document, not as a monument.19
By shifting the focus of the exhibition from the meta-narrative to individual
stories, the authors also changed its rhetoric. The rhetoric of the previous
exhibitions was simple and easily understandable to everyone, while the neutrality of the exhibition rooms, with the exhibits and texts of the legends accompanying the items displayed traditionally created the illusion of a transparent discourse easily readable by all visitors. The new permanent exhibition resorts to complex symbolic procedures to represent the trauma. According to Nataa Jovii, the Museum Director, glass visually unites all segments of the exhibition (glass panels, cabinets) and is symbolic at two levels,
evocative of the fragility of human life and of potential danger (symbolised
by shards of glass) (Fig. 5).20 The artificiality of film fragments shown in the
exhibition is emphasised with an auditory trick: the films are silent, with the
sound of the film rolls rotated by the film projector subsequently added to it,

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meant to inform the visitor they are really media-mediated events, not documents showing life as it was in the camp.21
Speaking in Aristotles terms, the lower registers used in the previous exhibitions were abandoned for the sake of a loftier style, i.e., more complex
modes of mediation of traumatic events in the history of the camp. Using the
performative (the museum as a pageant of the happenings it commemorates,
whose purpose is to encourage the visitor to the imaginary participation in
the events of the past, whose shadow becomes inscribed in the photos) and
symbolic representations of the trauma (the role of glass in the exhibition) is
meant to convey, not just describe, the experience of being in the camp. Such
procedures belong to the field of construction of the imaginary and are thus
closer to artistic modes of representation of trauma, which introduces to the
museum practice the extremely important issue of the impact of artistic practice on exhibitions, i.e., of the relationship between facts and the imaginary,
historiography and fiction.

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A lot of controversy and attacks stemmed from this issue when it comes to
the new museum exhibition. Many have accused the new exhibition of aestheticising death and covering up brutal facts, in light of Jaspers argument
that poetry is an inappropriate means for understanding Nazi crimes, because
it overlooks the banality of evil, and Arendts argument about the mutual
contamination of facts and fiction.22 Thus, the historian Zorica Stipeti claims
that aesthetics must not underlie a museum exhibition commemorating a
place of execution.23 Interestingly, almost none of the participants in the great
media debate about the exhibition tries to justify the use of performative and
symbolic representations in the exhibition as an attempt to convey what cannot be conveyed in the form of clear constatives, i.e., to allow insight unattainable when mere facts are shown. The question is, how understandable
will these modes of representation be to the visitors and how they will be
interpreted. Because of the ambiguities of the rhetoric used (which derives
from the symbolic and performative approach to trauma representation), the
new museum exhibition opens up the possibility that a part of the potential
audience might misunderstand that which is on display. (This is probably one
of the reasons which prompted the then Croatian President Stjepan Mesi to
voice his fear that the new museum exhibition will not make it clear to the
young generations what really happened in Jasenovac.24)
What makes the new exhibition of the Memorial Museum of Jasenovac different from the contemporary museological and historiographic approaches
used by museums such as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or the Holocaust Museum in Washington, which provided models for the new Jasenovac exhibition in the first place, is the discord between the visual aspect of the Museum
design (interior design of the Museum and the visual aspect of the exhibition)
and the historiographic, or textual component (present in the legends, explanations of the exhibits, posters with a brief description of the structure of the
camp and the wider historical context, and a database covering historical topics related to the operations of the camp). In fact, these two aspects of the
exhibition relate to history in completely opposite ways. The visual part of
the exhibition denies the linearity of the progress of history and the historical
shift away from the subject it deals with in that it functions as a time capsule
in which the past and present overlap.25 At the physical level, there is an effort to create a link between the visitor and the actual experience of being in

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the camp, to provoke an emotional response and empathy with specific inmates and their destinies.
However, the historical discourse accompanying the exhibition is quite the
opposite the legends are terse, and the events in the camp are described in
a most concise fashion, at the level of historical facts. The approach of historiography is fully positivist,26 its documentarity based on the presentation of
evidence and primary source documents, and in an attempt to achieve absolute objectivity the author of the texts is completely invisible, creating a semblance of transparency of writing as an open window into history. In contrast
to the visual part of the exhibition, the textual part reveals no attempt to correlate the past with the present, or the subject writing the text with the object
the text is about. Such an approach to historiography, based on constatives
and referential statements about a discrete object of research, objectifies the
victim, reduces the possibility of empathy and neutralises the meaning of the
traumatic events. There is no narration linking the exhibits into a coherent
whole. Excerpts from Ustasha propaganda films, documentaries made in the
former Yugoslavia and screened as part of the previous exhibitions, laws and
decrees from the period of the Independent State of Croatia, items owned by
the inmates (clothing, artifacts produced in the camp, watches, recipes and
the diaries they wrote) are exhibited as if they were facts speaking for themselves, without any additional explanations that would put them in a context
(Figs. 6, 7, and 8). The original context of the museum objects has been replaced with an artificial museum context, which renders the original historical circumstances insufficiently clear.27 Understanding them requires an informed visitor, one capable of seeing that the Ustasha propaganda film shows
the camp in a false, better light (by presenting it as a work camp, not a death
camp) and that the photographs of the diplomatic meeting between Hitler and
Paveli and the arrival of the German army in the capital of the Independent

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State of Croatia, with


their strong rhetoric
and composition, convey messages whose
content is ideologically
distinct; also a visitor
that has to know (and is
able) to read the small
blurry print of the
scans of NDH legislation shown on the display in order to understand their meaning.
6 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum, 2006. An excerpt from the
The different narradocumentary Kula smrti [The Tower of Death] by Vladimir Tadej
tives merely suggested
by the exhibits (from which they were drawn and represent fragments) are
completely ignored by the exhibition, as a result of the authors aspiration to
make it devoid of any ideological background (according to them, that was
motivated by the need to depart from
the earlier exhibitions, which, among
other things, served to promote an
ideology).28 Reading the ideological
background of the documentary films
made by different regimes requires a
visitor who is aware of the fact neither
those documentary films nor the photos provide objective evidence. Rather
than just terse legends, additional explanations are needed to clarify the
heterogeneity of the presented standpoints, as imposed by the juxtaposition
of the victims perspective, in the form
of filmed survivor accounts and childrens drawings, and the execution7 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum,
ers perspective, represented by some
2006. A photograph taken in 1942.
of the exhibited photographs (among

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

other things, propaganda photographs taken by professional reporters of the


NDH photo service have been put on display, such as those taken by the photographer Stoger for the exhibition Concentration camps one year later, held
in Zagreb in 1942).29
The ambivalence between the visual and
textual is what distinguishes the new exhibition at Jasenovac from
many other contemporary exhibitions of museums or memorial sites
commemorating crimes
of genocide, and warns
of a problem that is present not only in the exhibition itself, but also
8 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum, 2006. Prisoners watches in the media controversy surrounding the exhibition, which is not publicly clearly articulated. It
has to do with the trauma of the Croatian War of Independence inscribed in
the discourse of the trauma of the Jasenovac camp, which is latent in the exhibition as well as the texts written by professionals, interviews and media
appearances on the subject.
Avoiding representations and interpretations of the events of World War II
(by referring to the facts that speak for themselves), as well as evading the
construction of narrative frames of the exhibition out of fear they might repeat the grand ideological narratives of the previous ones, is symptomatic of
an unresolved relationship with history, the bipolarity in the public opinion
when the evaluation of the key events in Croatian history is concerned, political and ideological disputes over their interpretation, as well as changes to
the collective identity of the nation after the collapse of socialism. Namely,
there is a rift between the old and new exhibitions, caused by the key events
such as the collapse of socialism, i.e., the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the
outbreak of the Croatian War of Independence, which led to the re-examination of history and the reformation of collective identity. With the transition

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from the supranational collective history of socialist nations to writing a national history (characteristic of all post-communist countries, according to
Groys30), the Independent State of Croatia, along with the Ustasha movement,
gained a prominent place in the creation of the new national identity. The
Croatian public is divided when it comes to evaluating this aspect of national
history; the public discourse is ambivalent, while history textbooks approach
it in a selective and neutralising way. In this context, too much was expected
of the new museum exhibition:31 to represent a dual collective trauma and
create a unique narrative (clearly positioned in relation to the recent Croatian
history) currently non-existent in the public discourse, which will enjoy the
status of single, unambiguous and official history, resolving all disagreements and tensions related to issues in Croatian history and collective
memory in the political discourse.
Instead, the new exhibition manifests a missing dialogue about the role of the
past in the present, as well as the role of the present in the ways of how the
past is interpreted. Occupying a positivist position that aspires to utter objectivity, the authors disregard the fact historical facts, as seen by Pierre Nora,
are a transfer of actual historical events to cultural memory, which transforms historical events into their copies, which are then used to describe and
define the present.32 Such a position prevents consideration of the selected
method, problematisation of the impact of the social context and ideological
background on ones own position, the relationship between a collective identity, mechanisms of memory and relation to the past, which ultimately prevents the representation of trauma.
With the disappearance of what Groys calls the new, global, socialist humanity,33 as a protagonist of the then new history, the trauma of Jasenovac ceases
to be universal and becomes a trauma which only members of those ethnic
groups whose members were victimised identify with, that is, it becomes the
Others trauma. This is confirmed by the numerous discussions about
whether the new museum was or was not built as a museum of the Holocaust,
as in fact the Jews imprisoned there were in the minority, about whether it
sufficiently stresses the genocidal policy targeting the Serbs, or about how
the exhibition tries to compensate for the fact the Roma victims were previously disregarded, etc. The impossibility of creating a single narrative, as well
as the disappearance of the subjectivity that can tell it, which leads to its frag-

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mentation to a multitude of unrelated segments removed from their historical context, are not only characteristic of the writing of history in post-socialist countries, but one of the principal characteristics of post-modernity.
The display labyrinth of the new exhibition shows just that: since there is
glass everywhere, the exhibits are reflected in each other, and the voices of
witnesses addressing the visitors from the screen come from various directions, merging with one another. Looking at an inmates watch, somebodys
glasses or a piece of clothing, the glass of a display case reflects the face of a
surviving inmate projected from a display set in another corner, while the
screen showing moving images reflects the sequences from the films shown
on the screen across (Figs. 9, 10). The grand narrative of socialist modernism
has thus been shattered into a multitude of pieces of the post-transition postmodernism. Some critics of the new exhibition, like Julija Ko,34 have interpreted its positivist objectivity and neutrality as an attempt to mitigate and
normalise a crime. They interpret the fact that the photos showing piles of
dead bodies of tortured
and slaughtered prisoners,
which are part of the museum collection but have
not been exhibited in the
permanent exhibition, as
re-styling and harmonising the real, harsh face
of the camp, which borders the suppression and
denial of the traumatic
event. In her article about
the exhibition, Natasa Jo9 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum, 2006. A woman
survivors account, reflections.
vii, the Museum Director, explains that emphasising piles of bone and blood (as was the case in the
previous exhibition) emphasises the atrocity from the executioners perspective, while the intention of the new exhibition is to shift its focus to the victims and their individual stories, and to give the survivors the opportunity to

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speak, rather than


speak on their behalf.35 A parallel
can be drawn with
the Eichmann trial,
where witness testimonies were favoured instead of
legal documents, in
an attempt to reconstruct the facts
from the point of
view of the victims,
and recreate his10 Jasenovac Memorial Site, Memorial Museum, 2006. The interior, reflections
tory based on how it
is seen by the victims, rather than the victors. However, to tell the story of
totalitarian crimes against humanity, according to Arendt, it is necessary to
focus on the criminal, not on the victim.36 Shifting the focus from victim to
executioner means avoiding talking about the crimes, or the reasons that led
to them.
The hidden reason for removing the pictures depicting violence from the
permanent exhibition is the trauma of the Croatian War of Independence,
which significantly permeates the new exhibition, and the resulting debate.
In fact, the Museum Director considers the explicit display of violence in the
old exhibition the cause that generated the new violence. She quotes the example of a travelling exhibition organised by the Museum, which was shown
to soldiers at the Yugoslav Peoples Army barracks from 1986 and 1991,
which had a strong propaganda role: photographs of slaughtered bodies were
accompanied by texts describing in detail the suffering in the camp and the
ways in which the prisoners were killed. Jovii believes this kind of approach produces hatred and calls for revenge and aggression, causing the
repetition of crimes, which happened in the recent war.37 What is symptomatic about the attitude of the Museum Director is that the traumatic event
(specifically, images of horror) is not treated according to the Freudian principle, as something which should be recalled and reconstructed in order for

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the trauma to be resolved, but rather as something to be suppressed, censored, forgotten. The traumatic event (images of it) is considered dangerous,
since its showing causes the generation of new trauma. This approach seems
to claim the opposite of the usual that it should be remembered in order not
happen again in order that it is not repeated.
There are multiple ways in which oblivion has been inscribed in the Jasenovac Memorial Site. The physical aspect of this oblivion concerns the fact there
are no material remains of the camp complex, as the Ustashas mined and
burned the camp while withdrawing from Jasenovac in order to destroy any
physical evidence of its existence. Today, the Jasenovac Memorial is based on
the celebration of gaps (which began in the early 1960s): the places where the
camp buildings once stood were marked by deepening the ground in the
shape of shallow inverted pyramids; shallow cones of packed earth mark
some graves and sites of torture; some graves, completely overgrown with
trees and bushes, are marked withboards (or monuments). Commemoration
is based on emptiness, on marking that which is no more. The Memorial Museum was built on scorched ground; it does not show the camp, but rather
evokes what is not; it does not represent, but rather symbolises.
The purpose of destruction of the material remains of the camp was not always a pragmatic one, in the sense of evidence destruction; in some cases,
this purpose was symbolic. For example, the memorial plaque put up in 1989
by the Municipal Committee of the Federation of NOR Veteran Associations
Novska to mark the mass graves in the village of Jablanac, whose population
has since been displaced, was smashed and thrown into the grass during the
Croatian War of Independence. The broken memorial plaque has been retrieved and re-exhibited, in an attempt meant not only to reconstruct the past,
but also to reconstruct the commemoration of the atrocity (its re-commemoration), with a double cut inscribed in it (doubly attempted oblivion). The
physical break in the continuity of the museum exhibition, which is also
somehow related to oblivion in the sense of loss of the museum collection,
was caused by the Croatian War of Independence, when the museum collection was taken away,38 a part of which has been lost, and a part (about 70 of
it) returned to the museum in 2001. Beside the aspects of physical destruction
of evidence of the crime and the symbolic act of erasure of memory and the
loss of part of the museum collection and archives, oblivion is present in how
the new exhibition relates to the previous ones, as well as to their ideological
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background. Apart from adapting to the spirit of the epoch by changing the
representation paradigm, the new exhibition, according to curator Leonida
Kova,39 also negates the concept of the old exhibitions, thus breaking with a
part of history and declaring it irrelevant, suppressing the socialist interpretation of history, as well as the corresponding representation paradigm.
Each permanent exhibition is susceptible to obsolescence, and the development of museology, as well as changes in the cultural and social context, require constant revision. However, the media controversy that developed
around the alleged intention of the exhibition authors to remove Damonjas
relief due to its obsolescence raises the issue that inevitably comes up when
a museum changes its exhibition; this is the question of what should be kept
and what should be removed, and what elements of memory created after the
camp liberation are worth mentioning, and which are not.40
Although the main purpose of the Jasenovac Memorial Site and Memorial
Museum is the production and storage of memory, it is built on cuts and lacunae. Therefore, Jasenovac is not a place of memory as defined by Pierre
Nora (according to Nora, this will is the main constituent factor of a place of
remembrance41); apart from the will to remember, Jasenovac is marked by
the will to forget. Nora defines places of remembrance as places that are
simultaneously material, symbolic and functional, in which history is mixed
with memory, where time and oblivion stop, and things become fixed; they
are also places where old meanings are revived and new ones created,
through the creation of ever new and unpredictable connections. Although
this term implies oblivion in the sense of disappearance of living memories
(and the introduction of historical thinking), a disappearance after which
memory goes through a process of reconstruction, leading to changes in the
collective memory, oblivion and reincarnation of some moments in history,
what constitutes places of memory is the will to remember. When it comes to
Jasenovac as a place of commemoration (part of which is the work of the new
trauma inscribed in the old one, among other things), the will to forget coexists with the will to remember. In the case of Jasenovac, we are not dealing
with a mere case of the incidental falling into oblivion as a result of the flow
of time, as implied by Noras definition of the term (nor are we dealing with
the absence of the will to remember, as is the case with archaeological sites,
which Nora cites as places that do not belong to the category of places of remembrance), but the will to forget which suppresses and censors.
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The kinds of gaps Libeskind based his Jewish Museum in Berlin on, both in
the physical and symbolic sense, are also inscribed in the Jasenovac Memorial
Site, at various levels. They have not been materialised by the design of the
museum itself, but they have certainly been present in the history of the area
since the end of World War II to the present day, in the decisions and solutions on how to mark the graves / places of execution and the demolished
camp facilities, as well as in the relation between the visual and textual parts
of the new exhibition, pointing out the complexity of interweaving historiography, architecture, design, art objects, collective memory and the institutionalisation of memory. The gaps reveal a fundamental problem shared by
not only the new exhibition, but also the history of the Jasenovac Memorial
Site, as well as the discourse of the professionals and the general public about
the musealisation and commemoration of events in the recent Croatian history, which is the existence of oblivion and suppression as the reverse of remembrance and commemoration.

This text is an extended version of a previously unpublished paper read on 9th September
2010 in the High and Low Congress, organised by the EAM (European Network for AvantGarde and Modernism studies) at the Department of Art History of Adam Mickiewicz
University in Pozna, Poland.
2

Silva Kali, Memoriranje zloina, in: Zarez, 18 April 2007.

elimir Laslo, Jasenovac, in: Vijesti muzealaca i konzervatora, 4 (2005), pp. 34-38.

Vesna Deli Gozze, Stratite kao prirodna nepogoda, in: Vijesti muzealaca i

konzervatora, 4 (2005), pp. 39-40.


5

Lucija Benyovsky, Muzej u Jasenovcu, in: Vijesti muzealaca i konzervatora, 1-4 (2007),
pp. 52-57.
6

Nataa Jovii, Jasenovac Memorial Museums Permanent Exhibition: The Victim as an


Individual, in: Review of Croatian History, 1/2 (2006), pp. 295299.

Julija Ko, Concentration Camp Jasenovac Today: History Rewritten. Tudjman`s idea
ultimately realized? Fourth International Conference on Jasenovac, 3031 May 2007,
Banja Luka.

Martin Schmidl, Postwar Exhibition Design: Displaying Dachau, Koln, 2010, p. 14.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

9 Nataa Mataui, Jasenovac 1941.-1945.: Logor smrti i radni logor, Jasenovac, Zagreb,
2003, p. 151.
10

Schmidl, ibid., p. 33.

11

Ivo Maroevi offers a definition of the term musealia in Uvod u muzeologiju, Zagreb,
1993, p. 102.
12

Schmidl, ibid., p. 34.

13

The basic information about the previous two exhibitions is given by Mataui, ibid., p.
152.

14

Benyovsky, ibid. p. 52.

15

The descriptions of the 1968 and 1988 exhibitions were taken from the official web page
of the Jasenovac Memorial Site (http://www.jusp-jasenovac.hr).

As requested by the visitors, the museum screened Jasenovac by Bogdan ii, Krv i
pepeo Jasenovca by Lordan Zafranovi, Evanelje zla by Gojko Kastratovi, Jasenovac by
Fedor Hanekovi, and Jasenovac by Gustav Gavrin and Kosta Hlavaty, based on the film
and photographs taken on 18 May 1945, incorporating parts of authentic Ustasha
propaganda films. Mataui, ibid., p. 154.
16

17

For more on the recent shift in the representation paradigm of commemorating


memorial sites in Germany, see: Schmidl, ibid., p. 261.

18

The House of Terror in Budapest is an example showing that the incorporation of


survivor testimonies in an exhibition does not guarantee the avoidance of an ideological
meta-narrative integrating such individual testimonies to fit its own promotional purposes.
The extremely suggestive scenery of the exhibition, as well as the aggressive musical
background, combined with the emotionally elevated discourse of the narrator taking the
visitor through the exhibition through headphones, are meant to directly influence the
visitors emotions. The House of Terror is the only museum I have visited which controls
the movement of the visitor: the keepers of the exhibition prohibit the visitors to return to
the rooms they have already been in, thus forcing them to stick to a set itinerary, which
ends in the dungeon in the basement of the building, representing the emotional climax of
the exhibition, which every visitor who enters the building must pass through to reach the
exit.

19

The response of curator Leonida Kova published in Vjesnik on 20th December 2005 to
Damonjas accusations, also published in Vjesnik. Quoted by Kali, ibid.
20

Jovii, ibid., p. 298.

21

Silva Kali, op. cit., writes about the addition of the sound of a film projector to the
silent film. When visiting the museum, I was not able to hear that sound, perhaps because
of the other sounds present in the room. It seems to me that such a way of alerting to the
artificiality of the shown is too discreet, because it can easily go unnoticed. The permanent
exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Berlin solves the same issue, the issue of

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deconstruction of the illusoriness of the documentary films screened, in an explicit way:


editing was used to add extracts from the testimonies of the camp survivors, to the effect of
direct contradiction between the images and text.
22

Shoshana Felman, Pravno nesvjesno: Suenja i traume u dvadesetom stoljeu, Zagreb,


2007, pp. 168, 175.
23

Adrijana Pitea, Vlado Vurui, Jasenovac opet posvaao ive zbog mrtvih, in: Jutarnji

list, 14 January 2006.


24

Tomislav Klauki, Brutalnost i uas premalo prikazani, in: Slobodna Dalmacija, 28


November 2006.
25

The visual aspect of the exhibition has a lot in common with the radical constructivist
approach to historiography as described by LaCapra in Writing History, Writing Trauma:
the presence of the aesthetic in the historiographic and the use of the performative; the
structural similarity between fiction and historiography; historiography presented as a
closed window reflecting the historians (or visitors) distorted image Dominick LaCapra,
Writing History, Writing Trauma, Baltimore, London, 2001, p. 8.
26

According to LaCapra, the positivist approach used in historiography is an extreme form


of the documentary, that is, of a self-sufficient model of research rejecting the possibility of
entering into a discussion with the Other, who is denied a voice of its own or a perspective
that might question the position of the observer / researcher, as well as his or her
assumptions and values. The pronounced referential component of historical research is a
criterion used to separate history from fiction LaCapra, ibid., pp. 26.

27

Writing about the role of museality in protecting memory, Ivo Maroevi says that the
memory of heritage stored in objects or complexes, in addition to their material and form,
also relates to their context: As a rule, musealised objects typically lose its original context
or a part of their primary historical context. The actual circumstances of their life are
preserved only in the documentation and the conceptual approach of those people capable
of imagining such circumstances. As for those visitors who are not able to imagine such
circumstances, the need for additional explanations, not present in the exhibition (some
more information about the camp is available to the visitor if he or she decides to sit at the
computer and explore the database, undeterred by the smell of rubber and stuffy air hoped
to evoke the atmosphere of the camp). Communicating the messages of material cultural
heritage is a special kind of protection of its memory. Although this process implies a
selection of relevant information about the objects or complexes being presented, (...) it is
of fundamental importance in the dissemination and interpretation of preserved and
perceived values. Otherwise, these values would be available only to a narrow circle of
people who know how to read the materials and shapes of items without mediators.
Mediation in the identification and detection of memory in the physical world around us
(through publications and video) allows its tangible and intangible participation in the
knowledge, perception and life of many people. Memory of cultural heritage is thus
gradually incorporated into human consciousness and becomes collective memory. See
Ivo Maroevi, Uloga muzealnosti u zatiti memorije, in: Informatica museologica, 3/4

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

(1996), pp. 57-58. Lucija Benyovsky also warns of the lack of a narrative framework that
would encompass the exhibition: The visitor expects the museum exhibition to tell a
story on a given topic. Most visitors cannot accept a symbolic reading of history before
they get a sufficient amount of information and explanations. Lucija Benyovsky, ibid., p.
56.
28

Jovii, ibid., pp. 296-298.

29

Benyovsky, ibid., p. 56.

30

Boris Groys, Back from the Future, in: The Art of Eastern Europe: A Selection of
Works for the International and National Collections of Moderna galerija Ljubljana, Wien,
Bozen, 2001, p. 12.
31

In his text Toward a Theory of Cultural Trauma, Jeffrey C. Alexander explains how
reliving a trauma can be understood as a sociological process that determines a painful
injury caused to a collectivity, determines the victim, attributes accountability and
distributes the ideal and material consequences. Once a trauma has been lived in that way,
and also conceived and represented accordingly, a collective identity will be significantly
revised. After such a reconstruction of a collective identity, says Alexander, comes a period
of appeasement. Only after the calming of emotions and the disappearance of the exalted
and easily moved discourse of the trauma, the lessons of the trauma are objectified in the
monuments, museums and collections of historical artifacts. (Jeffrey C. Alexander,
Toward a Theory of Cultural Trauma, in: Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity,
Berkley, Los Angeles, London, 2004, pp. 22, 23.). Although the museum exhibition in
Jasenovac deals with a trauma from 70 years ago, because of which we are to assume the
period of appeasement began a long time ago, problems arise due to the latent effects of
the new, still unresolved trauma, inscribed in the old one. I believe that the commotion
about the new museum exhibition and the heated discussions held in relation to it are
largely due to this new trauma, whose latent action has not been identified and articulated
in this specific case.

32

Pierre Nora, Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire, in:

Representations, 26 (1989.), pp. 7-24, 23, 24.


33

Boris Groys, Beyond Diversity: Cultural Studies and Its Post-Communist Other, in: Art

Power, Cambridge, London, 2008, pp. 155-157.


34

Ko, ibid.

35

Jovii, ibid., pp. 295-297.

36

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann u Jeruzalemu, Zagreb, 2002, pp. 12, 14.

37

Jovii, ibid., pp. 295-297.

38

The website of the museum states the information that at the beginning of the war the
museum collection and archives were packed in cases, ready for evacuation, which was not
done in time. As a consequence, some of the materials were confiscated and transferred to

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

archives in BiH, and in 2000 also to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington,
eventually returned to Jasenovac in 2001.
39

Kali, ibid.

40

In his text about the new exhibition of the Jasenovac museum, elimir Laslo draws
attention to the problem of selection of the criteria defining what should be kept, upgraded
or eliminated when it comes to memorials and memorial complexes today. Asked if we
should preserve the type of marking or commemorating we had between World War II and
the establishment of Croatia in 1990, Laslo responds that that which is valuable in both the
artistic and symbolic sense should be preserved and the rest should be removed (although
he then asks an ironic question, who is the one to decide on this). Laslo, ibid., p. 36.

41

Nora, ibid., pp. 11, 18-21.

214

Prof. Dr. Marko p. Atlagi


mr Dalibor m. Elezovi 1

FRANJO TUDJMAN AS THE FIRST


FORGER OF OVERALL NUMBER OF
TOTAL SERBIAN VICTIMS IN THE
JASENOVAC CONCETRATION CAMP
(1941-1945) IN FUNCTION OF
HISTORICAL GENOCIDAL CROATIAN
VERTICAL

Croatian have, throughout their long standing history, committed many


crimes in various wars, and especially committed crimes of genocide against
the Serbian people. Crimes of the Croats towards the Serbian people were
such, viewed through the historical vertical, that they become an integral
element of the Croatian national identity. There is no nation on European
soil, whose historical vertical is filled with crimes of genocide, as the Croatian
people.
The continuity of Croatians crimes against the Serbian people can be traced
to the times of the uprising of Ljudevit Posavski 819-822. During that time,
Ljudevit Posavski, fleeing from the Franks, took refuge among the Serbs in

Faculty of the University of Pristina With a temporary headquarters in Kosovska


Mitrovica

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Dalmatia, in a village located in the vicinity of Imotski2.Ljudevi, instead of


thanking his Serbian host for his hospitality, beheaded him. This type of
Croatians crimes against the Serbs became a vertical of the Croatian
"history", since the 9th century to the present day.
Croats did not only committed crimes against the Serbs, but also against the
other European nations. It is enough to illustrate just a few examples of
Croatian crimes in the Thirty Years' War to understand all the cruelty and
inhumanity, which Croatians had towards the people of Europe. In their
rampage, they have committed crimes of mutilation like chopping fingers
and cutting throats. Group of Croats tried to break away a child from a
woman's arms, only because they wanted to burn the child alive (...), but since
she clung tightly, they chop off her fingers and cut the throat to her
husband.3 In the same Thirty-year war, the Croats had done atrocities as
such: Croatians had, after looting and other inhumane acts, ravaged
everything, enslaved some men and woman, to some people they torn off
noses and ears, and to one man they dug both eyes and skinned his
hands.4 "In particular, the Croatians had committed mindless acts in that war
on the streets of Magdenburg" When the Croats withdrew from Magdenburg
in May of 1631 one could hear just the pitiful cries and yelling of the
remaining children, who constantly shouted for their fathers and mothers,
and because of insanity were unable to say to whom they belong. Some were
sitting next to their slain parents, which were lying in the blood on the streets
and are always calling and shouting: O Mom, O Dad. Some of the children
sucked their dead breasts, and at the same time used to scream so sadly that
even the stones in the land would have mercy5. Croats were particularly
noted in the Thirty Years War for their crimes against weak children. It was
their specialty: "Two Croatians in Magdenburg have found a small child that
cries recumbent in the street, each of them grabbed him by the leg and
splintered it down the middle. " 6Also German writer Johann Christoph

22

, , 15. , .
-, 2002, 130-132.
3 , , , 1953, 8.
4 Ibidem.
5 Ibidem, p. 10.
6 Ibidem, p. 13.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Schiller described all of the misdeeds of Croats in the Thirty Years War,
seeing them particularly as bandits, savages and robbers. Schiller gives the
following description of Magdenburg tragedy: "When the horrible gangs of
Croats surged in the unfortunate city, now only occurs the scene of
destruction, for which history does not have the words or the art paint
brushes. Neither the innocent time of childhood, nor helpless passion,
neither youth, neither gender or class, or beauty, nothing can disarm the
anger of the victors. Women were abused in the arms of their husbands,
daughters under the feet of their fathers, and the gender which could not
defend itself had only the advantage to serve as a double rage victim (...)53
women were found decapitated in a church (severed heads)."7 History of
Europe does not recognize such a bestial oppression of innocent children, as
they were conducted by Croats in Magdeburg. Croats threw children alive
into the fire with great pleasure. The constant frenzy extends the atrocities
on, until finally the smoke and fire create boundaries of greed. Already at the
beginning, in numerous places in the city they sparked the fire. Horrifying
was the crowd through sobs and corpses that flashed through the ruins,
through the blood that flowed in streams."8
The first major Vatican-Croatian-German genocide against the Serbs
occurred between the 1914-1918. This has been committed against the Serbs
in several ways. Firstly, the mass anti-Serb demonstrations, followed by the
beatings and killings of Serbs and the destruction of everything that is
Serbian. Secondly, through the execution, slaughter and by taking
respectable Serbs as hostages among whom were Ivo Andric and Vladimir
orovi and others.9 Third, through the hanging of Serbs, especially in
Trebinje and Gacko. At the head of every Serb that was hanged, they were
putting torn painting of Serbian King Peter or King Nicholas of Montenegro.
The fourth form was sent Serbs to concentration camps. Thus, in a camp in
Doboj were closed around 50,000 Serbs, and the several thousand of them
died of starvation. Within the camp called Arad in Romania around 35,000
Serbs died there from starvation, disease and winter. Inside the camp called

Ibidem, p. 31
Ibidem.
9 , ,
1999, 379.
8

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Neider in Hungary, died because of torture about 7000 of Montenegro


women, children and the elderly. The fifth way, the destruction of the
Orthodox in the first genocide was staged arrests and trials with false
witnesses. Thus, just in the year of 1914 in Banja Luka and Zagreb they held
two "high treason processes in which they condemned to death and long
prison term several hundred Serbs.10 The sixth way of destroying Orthodox
was forcing Serbian civilians in front of the Austrian army against the Serbs.
Austrian and Croatian troops kill them from behind if they did not want to
go ahead. Croats, immediately after the creation of Yugoslavia in the 1918,
managed to create their Catholic religious organizations: "Eagles", "Catholic
Action", "Crusaders" and others, from which emerged the biggest criminals
of World War II, various congregations, and finally, the Ustashas as a
criminal organization with criminal leaders at the forefront as Ante Pavelic.
Other major Vatican genocide, of the Croatian Ustasha clerical fascist, by
Archbishop Stepinac and the Catholic clergy, had been committed against
Serbs during World War II between1941 to 1945. At that time they killed
about two million Serbs in the most brutal manner. Most Serbs were killed
in the Jasenovac concentration camp. It was the largest concentration camp
in the so-called Independent State of Croatia. Estimation of the number of
inmates killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp ranges over 700,000.11 In
the territory of the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 until 1945 most
of the victims were Serbs, followed by Jews and Gypsies. As early as
11/05/1945. the State Commission of Croatia informed the Nuremberg
Tribunal in writing, that the number of victims of Jasenovac concentration
camp was between 500,000 and 600,000.12 After that, the Association of
Veterans of Liberation called Bosanska Dubica, started in 15.11.1961. excavations in the area of Donja Gradina (the largest execution site within the
Jasenovac) and located a total of 120 mass graves of similar size. They
excavated the first three and determine the number of victims. However, it
was undesirable work, for Josip Broz Tito, and the work had to be suspended.

10

Ibidem, 378-379.
. , ,

, , , 20011, 15.
12 . , 1941-1945, , 1976, 1090-1100.
11

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The Commission has estimated, based on the number of victims in the three
excavated mass graves, that the number of buried victims was about
55o.8oo.13
And Dr. Nikola Nikolic, a Croat from Bosnia, he spent part of the war in
Jasenovac himself, estimates that the number of people killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp was about 700,000.14 Former member of the Franciscan Catholic Jesuit order and one of the commanders of the Jasenovac
concentration camp Miroslav Filipovic said 06/25/1946 at the hearing as
follows: "According to the allegations of Max Luburi, which is likely to lead
evidence that concerns the slain Serbs, in four years, there has killed around
500,000 Serbs."15 How horrible and bestial crimes were committed against
Serbs by Croats, which is unprecedented in the history of Europe is best
shown by the fact: "Soon Ustashas came in Dubrovnik, adorned with chains
around their necks made of strung Serbian tongues and with baskets full of
Serbian eyes."16
However, the German representative Benzler, who reported to the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, 16.09.1942. the following: "Since the
establishment of this state (the ISC), until today (...) they paid with their lives,
with a very precise estimate, hundreds of thousands of Serbs."17And
commander in chief in command of the south, Lieutenant General Ler, in
27/09/1943. says this:"The most important element of the political situation in
Croatia, that the Croats were at this moment unprepared to govern
themselves (...), the police are merely an observer in terrorist acts against the
Orthodox population by the Ustashe, of which-according to the Ustasha400,000 were killed. " 18However, even Josip Broz Tito was forced to admit a
large number of victims (Serbs) in the Jasenovac concentration camp even
during the war. That is why Tito in a telegram from 04/04/1942. writes to the
Comintern: "That the Ustashas admit themselves (....)that around 500,000

13

. , , . 2, 1988.
. , , 1986, 190.
15 . , , . 2, 1988.
16 R. Mitchael, The Serbs choose to fight, New York, 1943, 148.
17 . , 20. , , 1994, 115.
18 Nrnberg documente, Nokw 376, . , 20. , 115.
14

219

JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

people, mainly Serbs, were slaughtered."19 Also, the brigade commander,


Major General Ernst Fix gives his commander in chief Heinrich Himmler,
his brief assessment of Croatians: "Croatian Ustasha party group is Catholic,
undisciplined, poorly trained, in terms of combat unreliable, and known for
the fact, that between 600,000 and 700,000. of theirs religious and political
opponents were slaughtered in Balkan style, (....), they call themselves the
Croatian SS."20
Likewise, the German special commissioner for South Eastern Europe,
Herman Neubacher says: "Recipe of the Ustasha leader and leader of Croatia
Ante Pavelic, in relation to the Orthodox recalls the bloody religious wars of
the past: one-third of the Serbs must accept Catholicism, one-third must leave
the country and one third must die. This later point is met. When leading
Ustashas claim that around 1,000,000. Orthodox Serbs were slaughtered, I
think that this is an exaggeration. Based on the reports that I received, I
estimate that the number of defenseless and slaughtered is around 750,000."21
Likewise, the German Plenipotentiary General in Zagreb, Edmund
Horstenau speaks about the great wrongdoing of Croats: "Hose (Oster) was
telling me about the great courage by von Horstenau who because of
outrageous crimes against the 1.8 million of Serbs by the Croats, not only in
the most severe form called the Marshal Kvaternik responsible, but he
reports about everything he wrote, which is of even greater importance. He
said Kvaternik that during the last year, unfortunately, been through a lot,
but nothing that could compare to the wrongdoings of Croats ."22
Another German general, an eyewitness to the events in the ISC testifies,
"while German troops were stationed in a small number of places in Croatia
at the time, started the persecution of Orthodox Christians by the Croats
(......), wherein the killed as claimed at least 500,000 people (Serbs), I am
convinced that it would be even tens of thousands of of Orthodox killed, if I
had not intervened. "23Also SS commander of the Fifth Corps stationed in
19

, , 684.
Abskript in Archiv VII, NA, Mikrotek, Belgrad, NAV-T-175,R70, 888-890.
21 N. Neubacke, Sonderaustral Sdasten, 1941-1945, Bericht eines sligeenden Diplomaten,
Gtingen, 1958, 31.
22 . , , 56.
23 Lothar Rendulic, Gokampst Gesigt, Geschagen, Heidenburg, 1951, 160.
20

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Sarajevo, Arthur von Fleps recalls the destruction of Orthodox Christians by


the Croatian Ustasha, "The main thing for the Ustasha, from the very
beginning was to destroy the Orthodox, to slaughter hundreds of thousands
of men, women and children."24 Ernst Nolte says that half the population of
the the ISC were baptized into Catholicism or executed by the Ustasha, and
adds: "For centuries, Europe has not seen such a religious struggle (....),
almost half of the population must either convert to Catholicism or get killed
(....).Thus Croatia was during the war actually a huge church for baptism and
at the same time a giant slaughterhouse.25 About the figure of 700,000 victims
at Jasenovac also indicate Harlnicka Karl, who said: "The net result of
merciless struggle against undesirable Serbs committed by Ustashi is based
on very reliable sources, about 700,000".26And another eyewitness shared his
assessment of Croatian war crimes against Serbs, it was an Italian officer
Enzo Cataldo, who said: "The slaughter of Serbs by the Croatiansis apparently
just in 1942. resulted in 356,000 Serbian victims."27 In the words of this
eyewitness in just the first two years of the war they killed more than 356,000
Serbs, and since the war lasted more than two years, then a figure of 700,000
Serbs killed in Jasenovac is quite realistic. As shown from the here presented
relevant historical sources from the first-hand historical truth is that in the
Jasenovac concentration camp around 700,000 Serbs, 35,000 Jews and 25,000
Gypsies were killed.
Falsification of the number of victims at the Jasenovac concentration camp
occurs immediately after the war, and in two ways. The first way was to
destroy all possible traces (remains) of the Jasenovac concentration camp,
and second, to reduce (minimize) the number of Serbian victims in historical
and other literature. Immediately after the war, the remains of the Jasenovac
concentration camp were destroyed, as follows: camp wall, which was
preserved in 1946 and early in 1947. on 80 of its length, followed by the walls

24

, 15. , 1956.
. , 650.
26 Karl Hrlnizka, Das ende auf dem Balkan 1944/45 Die militarische Raumung Jugoslawiens
durch die deutsche Wermacht, Studiendokumente zur Geschichte des II. Weltkriegs, Bd. 13
Gttingen, 1970, 31.
27 Enzo Cataldi, La Jugoslavia alle Porte Tra Cromaca e documenta una Stona che Nessuno
Raceonta, Club die Autori, 1968.
25

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

and watchtowers who were just partially collapsed when the war ended,
Ringhof brick factory, converted for crematorium was available until the
1950s. , the walls of the power plant, carpentry, chain factory and sawmill
were able to be successfully conserved and preserved. A wooden platform
called Granik over the Sava river, for the killing and throwing the victims
into the Sava River collapsed in the year of 1948, wire fence and field wells
from the circle of former Jasenovac camp existed until 02/05/1945. What is a
notorious truth, is that someone ordered these preserved remains of a
concentration camp to be demolished, to plant a forest and forget about it.
Instructing party of this monstrous act were Andrija Hebrang, Stevo (Ivan)
Krajai and Josip Broz Tito. Stevo Krajai personally, immediately after
the war, said from Zagreb that there will be no marking of Jasenovac. Ivan
Gosnjak replied to him that he may protect the Ustashas, butt the Army and
the Federation will take matters into their own hands and mark the
concentration camp of Jasenovac.
The report of the Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of the
Crimes of the Occupiers and their supporters was submitted to the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, 12.26.1945. It states that: "Notary
Public of the municipality Jasenovac Duzembli Milan, said that the report
shows that by the end of 1943. at least 600,000 people were executed in this
place. Most of the victims were Serbs, followed by Jews and Gypsies.28 The
results are available from the list of victims of the war between 1941 and
1945. of the Federal Bureau of Statistics from 1966. which distanced itself
with clause for internal use. " The list is completed based on the decision of
the Federal Executive Council by 06.10.1964. and made in August of 1966.
Having applied the wrong method with the three variants of adding data, and
with the little financial assistance organizations, the organizer itself came to
the conclusion that the data were a failure, and therefore further work needs
to be stopped. However, these data are incomplete and totally unexplored
(because of research with a very small sample) still great counterfeiter Franjo
Tudjman used and manipulated them. Tudjman said: "The data we have,
shows that in all the camps in Croatia 50,000 prisoners were killed, and not
12 or 15 times more." This Tudjman's view was also supported by Bogoljub
Koevi in his book, "Victims of the Second World War in Yugoslavia",
28

. , 999.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

London, 1984. Even the Croatian professor of the University of Zagreb,


"famous" Rudi Supek will impose unscrupulous and unfounded conclusions,
although he is not an "historian" and would say: "The Jasenovac
concentration camp was the largest place of execution in the ISC. According
to the Statistical Office, there were 50,000 prisoners executed, mostly
Croatians left wing, and then the Serbs, Gypsies and Jews."29 These are the
monstrous constructions. Imagine, for the first time that someone states that
is in the Jasenovac concentration camp Croats were the most common
victims, although it is well known that they had suffered least, an
insignificant number, and often, when talking about the victims of Jasenovac,
not even mentioned.
However, the greatest and the first forger of Jasenovac victims was Dr.
Franjo Tudjman. Before we point out the fake number of Serbian victims in
the Jasenovac concentration camp by Tudjmanit is necessary to present some
information about it, in order to understand the essence of his forgeries
regarding the number Jasenovac victims. Franjo Tudjman general Josip
Broz, confidential person in the General Staff of JPA(JNA), who, according
to General Paul Jaksic, chased to Goli Otok approximately 7,000 Serbian and
Montenegrin officers. Tudjman was doctor of historical sciences, but he
plagiarized his doctorate, he stole from another author, as in 1974 proven by
Croatian historian Dr. Ljubo Boban. By the way, Tudjman was a Pavelic man,
and then partisan colonel and general, together with General Kadijevic and
Broz Colonel Dusan Bilandzic. Following the example of Pavelic, Tudjman,
found the right support for his anti-Serbian ideology and genocidal practices
of the Catholic Church. Tudjman claimed that genocide is "the right thing if
it is done in favor of what true faith, such as Catholic, and in the name of the
selected nations, such as the Croatian That is why Tudjman will be the first
"historian" and the first Croatian politician and statesman, who will falsify
the number of Serbian victims in the Jasenovac concentration camp. He will
do it in his book "Wastelands of historical reality" published in 1987. in
Zagreb. Tudjman writes, "that in Jasenovac died about 30 to 40,000 people, in
particular due to disease and malnutrition."30 Tudjman, not only intentionally
minimize the number of victims in the Jasenovac concentration camp, but
29
30

, 651.
, , , 1989, 316.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

said for victims just "persons" and not mainly Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, and
even said that they died from disease and malnutrition. The word (Serbs)
Tudjman rarely used in a positive sense. Therefore, he will never say that
they were killed, but died and not by knives, guns, less "Serbo Cutters" and
other subjects. These Tudjman's claims cannot be, without relevant historical
sources, presented by nobody who is normal, except one crazy schizophrenic
person, as he was himself.
After that, Tudjman will once again present a similar argument and
arbitrary claims in 1990.: "In the Jasenovac died between 30,000 and 40,000
people. Casualties of Croatian and Serbian people are approximately the same
(....).The myth of Jasenovac has developed into one outrageous madness. "31
Simply a man cannot believe that a doctor of historical sciences makes
unprecedented constructions and forgeries. So, for Tudjman in Jasenovac
Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were not killed, but only the people. Furthermore,
only for him the number of Croatian and Serbian victims were roughly the
same. That could claim just, which would Tudjman say "a fool" Tudjman, this
time argues not just the minimization of the number of Jasenovac victims,
but also the "mindless" claim that the number of Serbian and Croatian victims
were roughly the same. These Tudjman's claims not just that they do not have
any scientific foundation, based on relevant historical sources, but as such
they can not even seriously be considered, since they are the product of
imagination, hatred, wickedness and unprecedented arrogance unknown to
the civilized, scientific circles. Tudjman scientific lack of seriousness, and
unsubstantiated scientific foundation does not stop but still amounts to the
claim that the majority of the Croatian home guard and uistaa from Bleiburg
(and especially the Chetniks) abducted and killed in Jasenovac. That is why
Dr. Tudjman said: "... that the majority of the Croatian home guard and
Ustasha, that Englishmen in Bleiburg extradited Tito firing squad, took them
right in the Jasenovac, where they were executed and buried."32 According
to him, it turns out that the Serbs in Jasenovac are not killed, but the Croats
were killed. Tudjman often alluded to that. He often quotes Stevo Krajai
( his favorite character), just because he is known as a major Serb hater.
When a memorial park on the territory of the Jasenovac concentration camp
31
32

, 235, 8.6.1990, 65.


, . 66.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

was opened on 06/03/1966, Srevo Krajai then President of the Croatian


Parliament, at the celebration in that honor, welcomed the delegation of all
the former Yugoslav republics.33 When the Serbian delegation was announced, Krajai addressed them, saying: Herein you've been insufficiently
killed by us. He was punished with the withdrawal from the position of
President of the Croatian Parliament. However, it is important to notice that
the number of victims, especially Serbs in Jasenovac concentration camp is
constantly melting. They simply disappear without any valid arguments and
evidence. So will Mladen Ivezi continue after counterfeiters Dr. Tudjman,
and will say: "In the Jasenovac concentration camp (.....) life, of all causes, lost
1,000 or 2,000 people, perhaps 3,000 people, and it is impossible that it had
more than 5,000."34 After these statements, the brain simply has to stop. These
are outrageous insults of all victims at Jasenovac, their families, the victims
that history does not remember. An insult to all the anti-fascists, not only in
the former Yugoslavia, but all over Europe. These are the biggest insults of
the entire Serbian, Jewish and Gypsy people. This statement speaks of
frustration, not only of Mr. Ivezi, but the entire Croatian nation, as nobody
from that nation did not react about these heinous and planted by falsehood
statements, let alone distanced itself from them. But therefore on Ivezic
shameless "scientific" evidence followed up, believe it or not, none other than
a member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences Joseph Pecari. He
said: ".. In concentration and labor camps of Jasenovac therefore in all the
camp workshops and subcamps, on the work in the woods, and such, and in
Stara Gradiska,life of all the possible causes, most likely lost between 1,000
(one thousand ) and 2000 (two thousand) people, and it is impossible that it
has died more than 5,000."35
After these outrageous offenses, forgery and provocation of the dead
victims, I invite all Croat historians, if you have a little bit civilized culture
and scientific dignity to speak. If not in the name of that, then in the name of
the dead victims. These statements are a new killing of innocent victims. The
"chase" on Jasenovac victims, mainly Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, includes of
course, the Church in Croatia, through its media Voice of Council. The list at
33

. , , 668.
, , , 1993, 200.
35 , , , 2010, 192.
34

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

the time since 17.3. to 21.4. 2013 launched a series of articles entitled "Ignored
facts in the Jasenovac concentration camp", written by Igor Vukic. Please
note that the Zagreb Morning newspaper refused to publish this series of
articles, because it is not positively evaluated from Slavko Goltajna, personal
advisor to the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, because
the feuilleton minimizes the number of victims at Jasenovac. Vuki said: "In
the concentration camp of Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska lost their lives
82,129 people."36 So, Igor Vukic speaking from the mouth of Franjo Tudjman.
Another Zagreb historian, this time, Josip Jurcevic in his book "The Origin
of the Jasenovac myth" with an arbitrary and uncertain claims of citing
suggests to us "... that the Jasenovac has been just a labor camp, and not a
place of mass atrocity."37
And Dr. Stephen Reason, head of the Archdiocesan Archives in Zagreb,
included in the "hunt" to minimize the number of Serbian victims in the
Jasenovac concentration camp. He was interviewed for the Zadar Croatia
newspapers on 9.8.2012 and said: "... There is no evidence of mass crimes of
the Ustasha in Jasenovac, but there are those from partisan" and denies the
number of victims in the Jasenovac concentration camp reducing them to
"under 81,000".38 Furthermore, Razum said that the Jasenovac has been just
Greater Serbianmyth, not a camp where during World War II were killed
Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. I must mention that Razum, and many other
Croatian "historians", was educated in Jesuit benches, and in every way tried
to deny 40,000 Serbian victims in Jadovno and 700,000 in Jasenovac. Razum,
unreasonable, he would have known, and does not know, or pretends not to
know that deliberately reducing the number of Jasenovac victims is terrible
and inevitable stain on Croatia "history." His claim, although with no
evidence, is a continuation of anti-Serbian actions of the church in Croatia.
Foolish Razum does not know that Kozara area for 25 years has not given

36

, ,
, 11/2013, 17.3.2013, 21.
37 , , , 1998; ,
,
20. , , ,
. . , , 2007, 188.
38 , , 9.8.2012.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

soldiers for the army after World War II because crimes of genocide
committed against Serbs in the area. Razum pretends to does not know that
they carried out such killings, that in the area Kostajnica in World War II in
one day were killed 3,600 Serbs, and that one Croat testified, who was himself
a participant in the crime. Razum does not know that the evidence is
contained in archives, as well as in Croatian State Archives in Zagreb.
Jelena Lovric in 2003 writes: "Tudjman's nationalist government in Croatia
implements rehabilitation of the Ustasha movement. Fascist salute was
practiced even by the ministers, the symbols of NDH are used as patriotic
ones. Almost the entire decade the people were brainwashed, and young
people are brought up that way (....). With the change of government four
years ago even in this respect, nothing has been done. Monument to Franceti
has not been removed (....) textbooks have not changed "39 Croatian writer
Vedran Rudan said: "In Croatia, have lived people obsessed with hatred
towards others who are different. The Catholic Church, which gave their
blessing for the most disgusting Croatian crimes of NDH, continued their
filthy and bloody business even when democracy began. Priests were armed
and have been on the battlefield and sprinkled the holy water on soldiers,
tanks and guns to the horror of the civilized world. Croatian general shot his
wife in the head in the name of Croatian democracy and freedom. Most of the
citizens of my country do not blame him. He is a hero to them, not a criminal.
"And what on earth is that nation? And the Croatian peoplehavent criticized
not even Stepinac for his misdeeds, even fra Miroslav Filipovic for his
criminal acts in the Jasenovac concentration camp - and what kind of people
are they?40
Tudjman on 17/09/1990 has banned laying a wreath at the monument to
victims of the Ustasha terror at the camp of Jasenovac. Likewise, the
Tudjman government in 1992. made a decision to turn Jasenovac into a
central memorial park for all the victims of the Second World War in
Parliament of the Republic of Croatia in Croatia, which is absurd. So Tudjman
decided that this monument features also victims of communism (the
transfer of the remains discovered from caves, especially the victims' of the

39
40

, , , 2.12.2003.
, , 3.12.2013.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Homeland War from 1991 to 1995) so that for every fallen for freedom of
Croatia there is a memorial stone or a cross with the name. This was his vision
which was put forward and explained in the report on the state of the
Croatian state and the nation for 1995, at a joint session of both houses of the
Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, 15.01.1996. In fact, it is the mixing of
bones from fascists and anti-fascists, shared by a large cemetery, the ones of
partizan with the ones from ustashas, as well as those killed in the war, from
1991 until 1995. on the territory of Croatia. In Croatia, there was no
opposition to the idea of Tudjman. Only in America, the U.S. Congress,
Warren Christopher expressed his lack of understanding for the Tudjman
initiative. Then the director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Washington, Valter Rick said that Tudjman's plans must be stopped. Plans for
to stirred bones of victims of the Holocaust in Croatia, Tudjman seeks to
reclaim the history with the shovel, noted Rike.
The crime of genocide Croatians carried out against Serbs in Croatia during
the war from 1991-1995. The crime was committed by Tudjman's most
prominent intellectuals, primarily Tito's generals, and his loyal communist
staff from the National Liberation Struggle-e, holders of "partisan memorials
in 1941," national heroes, commanders of the military branches and the most
prominent figures of the JNA and Yugoslavia. Among the best known are:
Franjo Tudjman, General Janko Bobetko, communist general, Antun Tus,
member of the Headquarters of the General Staff of the so-called. Croatian
army in Zagreb, Martin pegelj, Lieutenant General, the Communists and the
Minister of Defence of Croatia Zvonimr Cervenko, taking command of the
Republic of Serbian Krajina offensive "Storm" in August of 1995, a former
general of the KOS and a JNA. Of course, the Croatian Communist generals
could not expel the Serbs from the Republic of Serbian Krajina and commit
crimes against them, that there have not been on their side, NATO, Germany,
USA, England and France. Even towards poorly armed Serbs in the RSK they
could do nothing, but they had to use other means: domestic betrayal, the
aviation force of NATO, which has for 15 days, in around 3,000 flights poured
the bombs some filled to receive nuclear material. In Yugoslavia, from 19411945. the Catholic Church was working in collusion with the ISC and
constituted itself as the main spiritual leader in the massive crimes committed
in the camps, especially in the Jasenovac concentration camp. The Vatican in
Croatia in the case of the Jasenovac concentration camp, in every way, and
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

to this day, tries through official authorities in Croatia, to hide and to destroy
all written documents that disclosed the Vatican's involvement in the murder
of hundreds of thousands of people. In an anthology of human freaks and
mass and moral misery, Croatian history, through the centuries, especially
through the last two centuries, ranks high. In this "stuff" Tudjman was the
most successful, and as a theorist and as a practitioner. It is true that historical
circumstances went up to him, but his personal contribution cannot be
ignored. Tudjman has proved that the plan of Ante Starcevic and Ante Pavelic
(the destruction of the Serbs) can be achieved. Tudjman was able to fit in
Croatian history of lies in the value system of globalization. With the help of
the Vatican, Tudjman has achieved in the role of continuity of Jasenovac
genocide and initiator of a large exodus of Serbian with the help of Americans
and Western Europeans. Wherein failed Franz Josef and Adolf Hitler, that

realized John Paul the Second and Franjo Tudjman. They created the NDH,
which is based on anti-Serb hate and intolerance against Serbian victims of
crime. Such State, which was built on the bones of another nation may be
short-lived, even if it was called Croatia.
Franjo Tudjman will remain, certainly in recorded history as the first to
minimize the number of Serbian victims in the Jasenovac concentration
camp, and not only that, but the first Croatian statesman who has the Serbs
in Croatia, using the crime of genocide, reduced to 2 , so as not to never be,
as Tudjman said, the political factor in Croatia.

229

Vladislav Jovanovi

WE MUST FORGIVE BUT NOT


FORGET *

My participation in todays 6th International Conference on Jasenovac differs


greatly from the participation of the majority of other participants. In fact, I
am neither a historian by profession nor somebody who has dealt with
historical studies as a layman. Neither do I come from the area of ex NDH to
be able to be the witness of the tragedy of the Serbian people in the NDH
factories of death or many other places of executions. I was neither able, as a
citizen of ex-Yugoslavia in all its forms, to get close to archives and other
documentary material about the fate of the Serbian people in the NDH.
My participation in this Conference may be explained by specific reasons. I
was not an eyewitness or first-hand witness, I was rather an indirect witness
from a distance of several hundred kilometres.
Already at the end of the 1941, with the arrival of the first refugees from the
NDH, we in Serbia received the first news about the suffering of the local
Serbs. Although refugees were taken care of, within the limits of its
capacities, by occupier government of Milan Nedi, it did not talk much about
their suffering in order not to harm German occupiers, who were war allies
of the NDH. More details about what happened to the Serbs in the NDH were
conveyed to us through the refugee Serbs in Smederevo county. One of them
was a colleague of my father D. M. whom he met during the pre-war teaching
period in a Croatian village. Her narratives were such that they gave me the
creeps. But neither she nor the government of Milan Nedi went beyond a

Words of Patriarch Pavle

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

whisper, it was that much that the atrocities of the NDH were not allowed in
the public.
Taboo on the treatment of Serbs in the NDH was dispersed a year later, when
my family moved to Smederevo in the summer of 1943. While we, the
children were swimming in the Danube, arrays of countless human cadavers
of both sexes were almost constantly floating from Belgrade. Tangled in the
branches or connected by wire, with puffed up bellies in an advanced state of
decomposition in the bright sun floating on the waves as the water flows were
taking them. We, the little swimmers were threatened by such images,
escaping quickly to the banks, expecting this image to disappear quickly. But
the horrible sight of hundreds of unidentified corpses floating was not
disappearing fast, it was rather repeating at short intervals, occasionally even
more terrible and painful. Even the German soldiers who supervised and
urged the prisoners and workers to load the pyrite more quickly, as it was
needed by the German war industry so much, were affected by the constant
images of the hell brought down by the Danube. When the bodies were
floating closer to barges threatening to anchor between them, they pushed
them away by long boat hooks to the water stream, not hiding the discomfort
or even outrage.
Judging by the clothes and shoes, those were obviously peasant man and
women massively and brutally murdered by executioners of the NDH and
thrown into the Sava that was taking them to the Danube and its rapid flows.
One should bear in mind that the bodies that passed by Smederevo were only
one part of those who fit the long bank of the Sava and Danube rivers or were
intercepted and stored in mass graves on the banks of Belgrade. Continuous
rows of corpses with almost no break were floating the Danube until the
middle of 1944. I do not know if they were floating the Danube before my
family moved to Smederevo, i.e. in 1942, and the first half of 1943, but it can
be logically assumed that the mass procession of dead Serb bodies were daily
images in these early years of the war.
Much later, I learned from Belgrade people, eyewitnesses of those war years
that many of the bodies of the Serbian martyrs based on the orders of the
German invaders, who feared of an outbreaks of infectious epidemics, were
taken out of water and buried in a wide pit near the Neboja Tower as well as
on the Belgrade side of the Ratno ostrvo island. I do not know whether a
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

memorial service for the unknown victims of the NDH was ever held, but our
national shame is the fact that holy places obviously have no sign of
recognition. The slogan brotherhood and unity taught us to forget mass
crimes of the NDH against Serbs not allowing that marking of such mass
graves allude to the Republic of Croatia as an important link in the chain of
building the brotherhood and unity.
Thanks to these slogans, after the Second World War Croatia did not face
seriously and honestly its Nazi past. As well as Austria, it has never been
really denazified and the Serbian people have not received any compensation
or reliable guarantee that genocide will never happen again. Therefore, for
the duration of socialism in Yugoslavia the apparition of Nazism and the
Croatian Ustasha movement lay low, but was never eradicated. That it was
not a coincidence was proven by a boastful statement of the former President
of the Presidency of Yugoslavia and later president of the Croatian Ustasha
emigration given in Australia and Switzerland in 1991, saying that only
Croatia won two victories in the Second World War: once on the side of the
Axis Powers, and the second time on the side of the Allies. He failed to add
that it was the only Nazi creation and most faithful ally of Hitler's Germany,
which after the victory of the Allies got expanded territorially.
The statement of S. Mesi, one of the leaders of Tumans HDZ was not the
only one confirmed by F. Tuman at the time, that the NDH was not only the
criminal creation but also an expression of historical aspirations of the
Croatian people for acquiring their own state. The way the Independent
Republic of Croatia was created has confirmed both of these statements were
neither a rhetoric whim nor a passing tactics to win over the Croatian
emigration in the West for the HDZ goals. The independent Republic of
Croatia, from the very beginning was created on the basis of antagonising
and discrimination of its Serbian population, the revival of Ustasha symbols
cancelling the previous provisions of the Constitution on the constitutionality
of the Serbian people and its reduction to a mere minority as well as physical
abuse and threats and abuses by police. Open revival of Ustasha ideology and
goals would not have been possible if immediately after World War II Croatia
had undertaken fundamental denazification, as it was done in Germany. That
way, the world would not have had to listen to such statements of S. Mesi
that Croatia had won two victories in the Second World War. Given that it
has successfully avoided denazification, S. Mesi could have subsequently
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

added that Croatia won a third victory, because it turned a blind eye to the
Independent State of Croatia being a faithful ally of Hitler until the very end
of the Second World War.
As a result of the policy of brotherhood and unity, the outside world has
remained almost unacquainted with horrible and mass killings of Serbs in the
NDH. Almost nothing in todays Croatia or in the international community is
said about the ethnocide of Serbs. It is a paradox that senior officials were
disgusted by the atrocities against Serbs in the NDH much more than the war
allies and winners. Nazi documents mention the execution of hundreds of
thousands of Serbs in the NDH only in the first two years of the war. The
final sum of the number of genocide victims reaches 700,000. Keeping silent
about what was done represents a great injustice to the truth, making the
victims of genocide killed twice in that way.
Conviction for the silence is deserved by all the Serbs who held leading positions in the party and the state in the socialist period of the joint state. None
of them questioned why Jasenovac and other factories of death in the NDH,
undisturbed, performed their genocide activity without partisan units
intervening. Also, none of them objected to the monument Stone Flower,
which was built in Jasenovac, an anthem to life after death, and not a worthy
tribute to the victims and saving them from oblivion. Stone Flower replaces
past for the future. How grotesque and offensive it is to the innocent victims
of genocide is proven by an example of a Jewish state. By building the
monumental memorial Yad Vashem, it took the victims of the Nazi genocide
out of the past and built them into the daily life of the new generation. In this
way, it protected their victims permanently from oblivion.
One of the main tasks of this generation and the best way of protecting the
Serbian victims of NDH Jasenovac genocide from being forgotten is to follow
Israels example and build some type of a Serbian Yad Vashem. A real
contribution in that direction is made by the recently established association
for the establishment of a memorial centre in Belgrade dedicated to the
sufferings of the Serbs in the 20th century, highlighting the genocide against
the Serbs in the NDH.
Another way to make international community more directly aware of the
genocidal annihilation of hundreds of thousands of Serbs in the Nazi NDH is
to follow the example of the Armenians, who, in Yerevan built their version
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

of Yad Vashem. In addition, they have managed to achieve through the


decades of action that more than twenty countries including some large and
significant ones officially condemn the genocide that the Ottoman Turkey in
1915 committed against a million and a half of its Armenian vassals.
The often stressed argument states that genocide has been standardised and
punishable only since 1948, when the International Convention on Genocide
was adopted, or since 1951 when it came into force. However it does not
provide forgiveness for similar genocides before 1948. The Nuremberg
Court in 1946 sentenced the national leadership of the Nazi Germany for
crimes that fall under the description of the crime of genocide particularly
the Holocaust.
Explanations of the judgments of the Tribunal were the inspiration and a call
for an accelerated harmonisation and adoption of the international
convention on genocide. Moreover, the fact that more than 20 states found it
morally and politically justified and appropriate to condemn the genocide
that was committed by Ottoman Turkey against their Armenian compatriots
in 1915, in special resolutions or declarations, means that the International
Convention on Genocide in 1948 does not exclude or relieve of responsibility
the states which committed such crimes in the twentieth century before that.
The fact that the Croatian state has slipped and avoided international
condemnation of genocide committed against Serbs in the NDH is not, cannot
and must not be a reason for staying passive. On the contrary, as long as
todays Croatia is not called for and morally condemned by the international
community for the NDH genocide against Serbs in Croatia, the apparition of
Ustasha intolerance toward Serbs will be around and will remain potentially
dangerous.
Croatias membership of the EU, where it enjoys special support from
Germany and Austria complicates the prospects that the parliaments of some
EU member states will follow the analogy of condemnation of genocide
against Armenians and adopt a similar resolution condemning the genocide
against Serbs in the former NDH. We will have to go a long and difficult path
to reach the goal. However, we must not give up this goal. We need to follow
the famous idea that: in order to reach our goal that is thousand miles away,
we have to make the first step.

235

eljko Vujadinovi

RACIAL POLICY AND RACIAL


LEGISLATION IN

THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA

Abstract: Racial policy is one of the main characteristics of the


Independent State of Croatia. It is founded on the ideology of inequality
of races (the existence of upper and lower races), which was
developed in the 19th century as part of the European culture.
Philosophy of racial inequality was inspired by some ideas of social
Catholicism. In the Independent State of Croatia, racial policy achieved
its manifestation in the racial legislation according to which the Serbs,
Jews and Roma as lower races were denied basic rights and general
legal protection. Racial legislation, on the other hand pursued the
ethnic, linguistic and religious purity of the Independent State of
Croatia. The racial policy of the Independent State of Croatia resulted
in massive suffering of Serbs, Jews and Roma, who can be fully
subsumed under the principles of the Convention on the Prevention
and Punishment of Genocide, which was adopted by the UN General
Assembly in the form of a resolution in 1948.
Keywords: racial policy, racial legislation, social Catholicism, Catholic
action, Pure Catholic Action, Crusaders, genocide, Independent State
of Croatia

Origin of the ideology of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) is complex


and reaches way back into the past. In an essay Nejednakost ljudskih rasa
(Inequality of human races) (1853), the writer, sociologist and diplomat
Arthur Gobino (1816-1882) elaborated the theory that a nation is not a
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community of languages, but a mixture (wedding) of unequal races. The


races are polygenetic (of different origin), and all other social hierarchies
result from their inequalities. Modern racism was introduced as a political
ideology. Since 1860, with the return of political life in Croatia and Slavonia
(post-Bach absolutism), the party of eternal Croat separatism and anti-Serb
action evolved and developed, The Party of Historic Croatian Rights of
Ante Starevi (1823-1896) and Eugen Kvaternik (1825-1871). The strongest
support was found in the intelligence, primitive peasantry and the Catholic
Church. This ideology was not the original one. It was explained by Ante
Starevi in the book Ime Serb (1868) by taking some ideas of a Hungarian
politician Jzsef Etvsh (1813-1871). Starevi believed that Croats were
not native Slavs but the ruling race of Scandinavian origin. Unlike some of
his successors he did not mention the Gothic origin of the Croats, the theory
that has not disappeared yet. According to Starevis learning, Bosnian
Muslim beys were the only real, authentic heirs of the Croatian ruling race.
He did not know that Islam has no hereditary nobility and the Bosnian
Muslim bey area of his time, mostly, had nothing to do with bey families from
the early history of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). For Serbs, he was
saying that they were a slave race, prisoners of Croatia. The origin of the
Serbs (Slavoserbs) comes from the former Roman slaves (both sclavus and
servus mean slave). Their slavery is dual, both physical and religious.
Except in the period of socialist Yugoslavia, Starevi was and still is
considered the father of the nation in Croatia.
Ideology of the NDH (which is not restricted only to the period from 19411945), as seen in the Second World War, was based on the theories of Ante
Starevi. Later, party-of-rights ideologist and the father of Croatian
geopolitics, Ivo Pilar (1874-1933) upgraded these ideas. Trying to prove the
character of BiH as a Croatian country, he argued that Serbian presence in
BiH was not proven scientifically. Serbs, according to Pilar, are an offshoot
of non-Slavic Vlachs that were raised in the Orthodox spirit by the
Orthodox Church. Elaborating on this theory, Dominik Mandi (1889-1973),
a Franciscan and a historian, found the origin of Vlachs in North Africa.
They were brought as slaves from Nubia by Roman legions to Pannonia. Pilar
and Mandi concluded that due to the non-Slavic and non-European racial
origin Vlachs had dark complexion. This story would not be worth any
serious attention if it was not included into appropriate political projects.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Ottoman and Austrian sources are the best confirmation of the social rather
than the ethnic character of vlachs (therefore, this word should be written
in small letters) of the central and western Balkan region. Eugen Kvaternik
moved the eastern border of ethnic Croats up to the Neretva River, and later
to Bulgaria and Albania; On the other hand, the western border would be in
Soa, so the Slovenian areas would be encompassed in the Croatian territory
too. He too denied the existence of the Serbs as a nation. At this time the
theory of the superior Western and inferior Eastern civilizations emerged,
whose borders matched Theodosiuss division of the Roman Empire in the
year 395.
The ideology of social Catholicism became dominant on the Croatian
political stage in the year 1867. Social Catholicism as a programme and a
movement that appeared in the German Catholic environment in the second
half of the 19th century. It was a response to liberal social tendencies and N
intent of Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898; Premier of Prussian Kingdom 18621871; Chancellor of the German Empire, 1871-1890) to place the Catholic
Church in Prussia and later in the reunified Germany under the control of
the state. As a social movement, social Catholicism spread to AustroHungary. It evolved in Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina as the Croatian Catholic movement. The society was developed
on religious intolerance by which the national movements in the Yugoslav
space transformed from a linguistic into religious type. After making Popes
encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), in which the Catholic Church expresses
its anti-secular views on the organisation of the entire society, gradually,
political parties were created on religious catholic basis. Participation of
Catholic laymen (laics) in the hierarchical apostolate, which aims to defend,
disseminate and apply Catholic principles to life is known as Catholic Action.
A strong momentum to persistence of these theories is given by the first
Catholic Eucharistic Congress in Zagreb (1900), which was the first
affirmation of political Catholicism in Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia and BiH.
Resolutions of the Congress strengthened the clerical movement, the SerboCroatian agreement disabled and created a deep gap between the Catholic and
Orthodox people. Catholicism in the southern Slavic area was equalised with
Croatianhood. After the introduction of the 6th January Dictatorship in 1929,
the Catholic Action, led by a prominent Catholic ideologist and thinker Ivan
Merc (1896-1928, he was proclaimed blessed in 2003), was a leading
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institution of the Croatian people. Zagreb Archbishop Stepinac (1898-1960)


created a totally Catholic Action in the 1936, in which secular influences of
Catholic creators were disabled. It discontinued cooperation with the
Croatian Peasants' Party of the Radi brothers, and established it with a
political emigration in Italy gathered around Ante Paveli and thereby
accepted fascism as a political tool of its operations. Unlike the leader of the
Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), especially Stjepan Radi (1871-1928),
Archbishop Stepinac was thinking outside-Yugoslavian terms. Certain
assumptions of the events in World War II were created even during the
Austro-Hungarian rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878-1918). Habsburg
authorities, by creating Catholic agrarian colonies on the fertile soil of
northern BiH, among other things sought to deny demographic prevail of
Orthodox Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This population of different
ethnic origins was partly Croatised by the year 1918. Crusaders whose
creator was Ivan Merc, a Croatised son of a Sudeten German, later merged
with the Ustasha movement. In the Annexation crisis (1908-1909) the idea of
organising a volunteer Black Legion was created for the purpose of
disabling any Serbian actions. The idea of establishing a Schutzkorps unit
composed of Muslim and Catholic volunteers, that was known in the First
World War for its evil acts, was older than 1910. And the attempt of Benjamin
Kalaj (1839-1903) to create a Bosnian nation in BiH (1883-1903) was part
of the efforts to put an end to the Serbian ethnic majority in BiH. The most
intensive attempts of a radical demographic decomposition of Bosnia and
Herzegovina were made in the First World War. In addition to the opening
of the camps, there were mass executions conducted, high treason
proceedings were opened and a number of other actions that Vladimir
orovi (1885-1941) summed up as the suffering of the Serbs of Bosnia and
Herzegovina during the World War.
So the roots of genocide against Serbs, Roma and the holocaust against the
Jews in the NDH in 1941-1945 were rooted deep in history. In World War II
among others the intent of the Catholic Church was to establish a border of
their civilisation on the Drina River. Basically, it can be said that with the
support of the Axis Powers, the Catholic Church created the Independent
State of Croatia.
Although it is known, it should be reiterated: on 10 April 1941, via Radio
Zagreb, former Austro-Hungarian army Colonel Slavko Kvaternik (1878240

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

1947) in the name of Ante Paveli (1889-1959) announced the formation of


the Independent State of Croatia. Vladko Maek (1879-1964), after the death
of Stjepan Radi (1928), a HSS president, called on the people of Croatia to
respect the new government that had also received support from the Catholic
Church. In the famous pastoral letter (April 28) Archbishop Stepinac prayed
the Lord to inspire our leader of NDH and to make him aware of the fact
that he can use his prudence that will enable him to carry out the mission in
honour of God and the salvation of the people full of justice and truth. Paveli
was received by Pope Pius XII (1876-1958, pope since 1939) on 17 May, and
Switzerland Guards at the Vatican extended the same honours to him as the
ones normally extended to heads of states. Sometime later, on 15 June,
Paveli signed a protocol on the accession of the NDH to the military alliance
of Rome-Berlin-Tokyo, and on 16 June, in Berchtesgaden he met with Hitler.
Like in any authoritarian state, the freedom of the press was immediately
abolished.
The NDH included historical Croatia, Slavonia, Western Srem, Dalmatia and
BiH. The invisible line of demarcation separated it into two zones the zones
of Italian and German control. It was recognised as a member of the Tripartite
Pact, as well as Manchukuo-puppet state that was created by Japan in
Manchuria in 1934. Except for the Croatian aspirations for independence and
calling upon the ideological and religious integral Catholicism, Ustasha
movement did not develop any precise political agenda. This emptiness was
filled by the so-called Programme of Intents, which was enacted by the
head A. Paveli acting as the Prime Minister. The programme included:
Croatia as the homeland of the people pure in body and religion without racemixing and without those who do not belong to the Catholic religion
(Gravity Centre of moral strength of the Croatian nation is in a good
religious and political life ... religion and family are foundations of an orderly,
healthy and happy life). The NDH had approximately 6.5 million inhabitants
in 1941, out of which more than two million were Orthodox Serbs
(schismatic), and a little less than 90,000 the Jews. Partly due to this fact
and - a relatively small number - the issue of Jews in the NDH Ustashas
government was not a major racial problem. It can be said that antiSemitism of the NDH was part of pleasing their powerful Nazi patron. The
essential problem for the self-realisation of the NDH was the Serbian issue.
Because of their location, status, abundance, Serbs were the only ethnic
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

group that was able to make the clean Croatian race dirty; Those Orthodox
schismatics were the old opponents of unity that had been previously
carried out by the Roman Church for centuries. Even at that time (and after
1945) they were accused that as hegemonist they were undisputed oppressors
of other people in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
On 30 April 1941, a decree with the force of law called The Croatian nationality came into effect, according to which the right to citizenship of the NDH
belonged only to those who are of Aryan origin ... Jews and Serbs are not
citizens of the NDH, they are rather members of the State. Only Aryans enjoy
political rights. Serbs, Jews and nomads (which mainly considered Roma),
are prohibited from visiting public places, shops and restaurants, and signs
on public transportation would certainly represent the culmination of it: No
Serbs, Jews, Roma and dogs. According to the decree to defend the people
and the state adopted by the Government on 17 April, everyone who in any
way harms the honour or vital interests of the Croatian people, or in any way
endangers the existence of the NDH ... even when the act is only an attempt,
it means that a crime of treason has been committed, for which there was
only one penalty, the death penalty. So the establishment of extraordinary
courts to judge by the law were just a formality. Viktor Guti (1901-1946),
Commissioner of the NDH for the former Vrbaka Banovina, announced in
Banja Luka on 26 May 1941 that all undesirable elements will be quickly
exterminated.
This scenario was realised on the next day, in Bosanski Brod: I made a drastic
decision that Serbs must be destroyed, first economically and then in every
other sense. There is no mercy for them ... Gods blessing and my approval
will be with you. In Donji Miholjac, on 27 July 1941, later Minister of
Foreign and Internal Affairs, Mladen Lorkovi (1909-1945) stated: The
Ustasha movement insists on energetic solutions for the Serbian issue in
Croatia... It is the duty of the Government to make sure that Croatia belongs
to Croats. Our duty is to silence the elements that contributed most to
Croatias fall under the Serbian rule in 1918. In short, we must exterminate
the Serbs from Croatia... Croatian government also took solving the Jewish
problem into its own hands... They have always been and remain friends and
servants of the enemies of the Croatian people. Jews, who are most
responsible for this war, because they conspired against Germany and its
major ally Italy, cannot expect anything other than that they are treated in
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

accordance with what they deserve. Croatia has to be cleared of all these
elements that constitute disaster for our nation...
Already on 18 April, 1941, the first decrees of racial kind were made: the
appointment of civil commissioners in state enterprises owned by Serbs and
Jews was anticipated. Commissioners will have the right to dispose their
assets. Ministerial order of 18 April declared all sales contracts, concluded
between Jews, non-Jews and others null and void. Also, on 18 April, a
decision was made by the General Ustasha Office (the future MoI) which
envisaged the arrest of all Serbs and all the Jews, who are known as
Communists, even on the basis of suspicion. Decree of 25 April 1941 prohibits the use of the Cyrillic script, both in private and public life. A Commission for racial politics was established by the decree on the defence of the
Aryan race and the honour of the Croatian people on 30April, which was
authorised to confirm or deny any decision in cases of suspicious race. The
decree required a public racial and religious identification - Serb population
had to wear blue button with the letter P (Orthodox) and Jewish - Star of
David on their arms, and later on their back. Racial provisions had to be
related to the marital rights, too. In that way Minister Andrija Artukovi
banned marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans, by the Decree reserved
for Jews on 4 June. The illegitimate sexual relation between non Aryan men
and Aryan women... In addition, it forbids Jews and Serbs from showing a
Croatian flag... Jewish surnames are outlawed... the Jews are forbidden from
engaging in literature, press, art, music, architecture, cinema and theatre...
presence in cultural, sport associations... etc.
The NDH was carrying out exclusive religious policy, as well: the religion of
the Catholic Church was declared the official state religion. Command of
the Italian Second Army concluded (31 October 1941) that the Croatian
government resolutely oriented towards the next religious policy, which has
full approval of the Holy See: convert the largest possible number of
Orthodox Christians to Catholicism, as well as the Jews. It remains an open
question - whether the Pope was a collaborator or an observer of the NDH
politics. It did not stop there. This was the basis for deleting Serbian name
from the name of the Orthodox Church the Croatian Orthodox Church was
established by the decision of the Croatian Parliament on 7 April 1942, and
Paveli appointed a Russian emigrant Germogen (1861-1945) to be the head

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of the church, while in four dioceses (Zagreb, id, Sarajevo and Zenica)
bishops were appointed again out of the Russian White Guardists.
Thus, these first laws and decrees were a terrible premise of ethnic-religious
crusade war with the epicentre, as per Paveli's visions, of the Serbian problem. As there were over two million people, or one third of the population
of the NDH, it would be neither appropriate nor possible to exterminate them
all: to save the other part of the race, it was supposed to deport one part, and
the other part to convert to Catholicism (just to note again: with 3.5 million
Catholics and about 2 million Orthodox Christians, there were about 700,000
Muslims, about 90,000 Jews, and about 70,000 Protestants that would not be
prosecuted, because they were protected by the occupying German units, in
the NDH in 1941). In line with the slogan: Either in the Drina river or over
the Drina river, the only option for Orthodox Serbs to avoid persecution was
to accept Catholicism, which again did not necessarily mean safety in line
with the slogan: You saved your soul, but your body belongs to us
(according to a journalist Alfije Rousseau). Serbs are accused of historical
atrocities and crimes against the Croatian people. Thousands of them were
sentenced to death by the courts established for this purpose. But it was just
a cover - the main method of extermination was non-judicial, hideous,
physical extermination, complete destruction of their villages, and of course
mass deportations to concentration camps with quite certain destiny. Mass
destruction of the Serbian Orthodox people was accompanied by a heavy
destruction of SOC - the priests and churches. By the end of the war, six
bishops and 222 monks of SOC were killed in a hell of terrible death, and 299
churches destroyed. On the road of performing ethnic-religious purity of
the NDH, there was semi-nomadic Roma population. It is estimated that out
of about 30,000 Roma people, 28,000 were killed during the war, which is
about 12 percent of the total Romani victims in Europe during World War II.
These people did not carry biblical guilt, did not have their churches or
synagogues, and had no social importance or influence. For the Ustasha
government, their guilt was reflected in the fact that as such they were the
social trouble-maker, but also because they were semi-pagans and in this
respect the followers of religious syncretism, inappropriate for Catholicism.
Between the years 1941 and 1945, around 50,000 Jews were executed in the
NDH (even more according to some estimates). This violence based on
religious intolerance was known to German and Italian occupying forces.
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Their occasional condemnation of these crimes, which in real terms did not
generally exceed the declarative level was the result of the knowledge that
these crimes encouraged a Serbian rebellion movement. The NDH plan
(Jesuss Association of Croatian nationalism, as described by an Italian
journalist), to complete the execution of the Serbian Orthodox population by
6 September 1941, and their properties to be given to Muslim or Croatian
families, was known to Italian military authorities.
Specifically, eradication except in direct actions was restricted to the concentration camps. Concentration camps are the invention of the 20th century.
They were firstly introduced by the British in the war against the Boer in
South Africa (1899-1903). Shortly thereafter, Austria-Hungary at the
beginning of World War I opened concentration camps for suspicious
Serbs - in Doboj, Arad, Neider, Sopron. In World War II, the following
concentration camps stayed in the shadow of incomprehensible horror of
Jasenovac in NDH: Jadovno, Jastrebarsko, Pag, Rab, akovo, Tenja, Sisak,
Caprag, Lobograd, Lepoglava, Gornja Rijeka, Kerestinec, Kruica... their
shared feature is that they primarily killed Serbs, Jews and Roma, and again
primarily because of their religious and national identity and for the sake of
creating an ethnically and religiously pure NDH. The area of todays Bosnia
and Herzegovina was part of the NDH, where the greatest sufferings
happened. Here, in Ustashas attacks, entire villages disappeared, and victims
were not even recorded after the Second World War. In addition to Donja
Gradina, the execution site of epic proportions, there are numerous other
grounds, as well as pits (especially in Herzegovina) with their terrible stories.
By opening some pits, two decades ago, those stories were also opened.
Jasenovac (1941-1945) was the largest concentration camp in the Nazioccupied Yugoslavia, which was established by the government of the
Independent State of Croatia in the summer of 1941, modelled on the Nazi
concentration camps for the mass murder of people. The scales of suffering
of primarily Serbs, Jews and Roma in the Jasenovac concentration camps are
so big that this paper must highlight them, too. The first detainees of
Jasenovac were brought to camps of Krapje (Jasenovac1) and Broice
(Jasenovac 2); then they were moved to a camp in Ciglana (Jasenovac 3). The
camp of Koara (Jasenovac 4) was established in the village of Jasenovac in
January 1942, and penitentiaries in Stara Gradika (Jasenovac 5) acted as part
of a complex of the Jasenovac concentration camp since February 1942. The
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camp was active throughout the war, until the beginning of May 1945 when
an already abandoned place was entered into by the predecessor of the 21st
Serbian Division. The inmates (men, women and children) were humiliated,
terrorised and murdered by different weapons and arms, starved to death
(Zvonara), hanged and burnt in the Picilli furnaces; there were mass
killings on Granik where the tortured victims were thrown into the river.
The largest scaffolding with the known poplar of horror was located on the
right side of the Sava River Donja Gradina (now the memorial area located
in the Republic of Srpska). Dragoje Luki in ascetic efforts registered 19,432
children (under the age of 14) martyrs, victims in the Jasenovac
concentration camp. The official commissions of the Government of the
Peoples Republic of Croatia (Venceslav Celigoj - President; Ante toki Secretary) in late 1945 concluded that the exact number of victims of
Jasenovac had never been established because the records were destroyed
and a substantial number of those who were killed was not buried in mass
graves but thrown in the river. The Commission at the time estimated that
about 600,000 victims were murdered in the Jasenovac camp. This task was
not completed in the socialist Yugoslavia either, which recently opened the
way for an unprecedented historical and graphical revisionism, not only in
relation to the victims of Jasenovac.
The phenomenon of genocide requires comparative research, which includes
a study of the conditions under which the genocide as mass murder was
possible, while not punishable. The NDH and its crimes were not a historical
coincidence that would allow drawing the line and forgetting the crimes.
Normalisation of the past is not possible through conservative historicism the cessation of researching the history, which only burdens the future.
Genocide of the NDH cannot be made relative by comparing the crimes of
others (as it is the case with some theories of totalitarianism). This gathering
should be a warning about the normalisation of any patriotic genocide.

246

Eli Tauber

DEPORTATION OF JEWS OF BOSNIA


AND HERZEGOVINA TO
COLLECTION AND CONCENTRATION
CAMPS, WITH THE CHRONOLOGY
OF DEPORTATION TO THE
JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP

The first deportations of Jews in the NDH started on 29th April 1941. Around
5 p.m. on that afternoon, the first transport of around 300 people arrived at
the camp Danica. Some time later, Jews from Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Tuzla and
other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina were brought to this camp, but also
from Bjelovar, Karlovac, Oglulin and Varadin. Rotten fruit was usually
written across the train wagons.1 Already in July 1941, the camp was disbanded and its prisoners (1600) were transferred to another collection camp,
in Gospi, and later in concentration camps Jadovno, Pag, Jasenovac and
Stara Gradika. When the order came to send all unsuited elements from
all parts of NDH to Gospi, large groups of people started to arrive. In June
and July 1941, one 1000 of men, women and children arrived at Gospi every
day.
Most of them were Serbs, then Jews, but there was a certain number of progressive Croats.

Mirko Peren, Ustaki logori, Stvarnost, Zagreb, 1966.

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The first two groups of Jews who were taken from Sarajevo in September
1941 were sent to Kruica near Travnik.
The first group of women prisoners with children, from the concentration
camp Metajna, arrived at Kruica on 28th August 1941. That group consisted
of about 1,100 people. Already on 3rd September 1941, around 500 men,
women and children were sent from Sarajevo. They were taken out of their
houses and were allowed only to take the clothes which they had on them.
The next group of Jews from Sarajevo was sent on 9th September 1941 and
there were about 500 people in it, and about 300 Serbian women were
brought from Herzegovina.2
At the beginning of October 1941, Ustasha authorities ordered the disbandment of the camp in Kruica. The prisoners were loaded in two transport
trains and taken to concentration camps in Croatia. The first transport, which
took the men, started toward the camp in Jasenovac on 5th October 1941,
while the second one, which took women and children, on 6th October 1941,
was headed toward the camp in Loborgrad, from where they were later
transported to Auschwitz. First women prisoners in Loborgrad were brought
from the camp Kruica. Among them were about 1350 Jewish women and
children and also several dozen Serbian women.3 The first group of women
prisoners from Loborgrad was sent to Auschwitz between 13th August and
28th August 1941 and the last in October 1942. Serbian women were mostly
taken to Germany for forced labour and some older women were sent to Serbia.4

Peren, Ustasha camps, p. 43.


AJO Sarajevo, no. 147/41, A letter from the Jewish religious community Brod sent to the
Jewish religious community Sarajevo on 7th November: Concerning the telegram we sent
to you yesterday, we would like to inform you that all transports of Jewish internees
started from Kruice, across Slavonski Brod, toward Lobor. There were about 1600
people, 1350 of which were women and children and the rest were men. In the local train
station, the women and children were supplied with: milk, tea, bread and water.
4 Peren, Isto, p. 46.
3

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Jews in Sarajevo were picked up every month, but some transports were not
recorded or there was no accurate documentation about them. Still, there is
a document for the large transport of 27th and 28th October from Sarajevo.5
It is assumed that, in these transports, there were also 42 Jews from Travnik.6
In that way, thanks to the correspondence of the Jewish religious community
Brod na Savi and the Jewish community of Sarajevo, we find out that, on 1st
November, a transport of 40 internees passed through Brod and another one
on 2nd November. One more transport was recorded thanks to this
correspondence: Today, 6th November 1941, at 11 o'clock, your telegram was
delivered. At midnight tonight, a transport of 150 men who are being taken
to Jasenovac is coming. Prepare food and drink within your possibilities; as
that train could already arrive at 11:30, food for 150 people was quickly
prepared. However, nothing was known about that transport at the railway
station, nor the railway police station.7 That was, of course, a mistake, which
was confirmed by a letter from Sarajevo from which it can be seen that a
transport with 150 men left Sarajevo on 3rd November 1941 and another
group of 71 men, between the ages of 16 and 60, was taken on 7th November.8
However, from the letter of the Jewish religious community Brod, we find
out that, on 8th November, a transport with 120 mostly very young men from
Sarajevo went through Slavonski Brod to Jasenovac.9
Everyone who was rounded up on 17th November in Sarajevo was taken to
Jasenovac during the following night. They were loaded into the wagons, 40

AJO Sarajevo, no. 4/1941 of 28th October, A letter from the Jewish religious community
Brod na Savi sent to the Jewish religious community Sarajevo: We would like to inform
you that a transport of 400 Jewish internees passed through here yesterday, and after that
another, smaller, transport of 30 Jewish internees, all men. Today, another transport of 360
men passed through here. They came from Bosnia and we don't know their destination, but
it is probably Jasenovac. The transports were welcomed and supplied with good food by
our community.
6 AJO Sarajevo, no. 819/41, Pinto A. and Pinto D., Documents on the suffering of Jews in
NDH camps, A letter from the Jewish religious community Sarajevo sent to the Jewish
religious community Brod na Savi.
7 AJO Sarajevo, no. 36/1941.
8 AJO Sarajevo, no. 843/41.
9 AJO Sarajevo, no. 50/41.

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or 50 people in each (those wagons were closed from the outside), and the
only way for the prisoners, who were crammed tightly in those wagons, to
get some air was through small bars on two sides of the wagon. This was the
only transport with Jews in which wagons came by day to the collection site,
in this case the town hall, where they were loaded into the wagons and continued their journey toward Brod.10 A group of 20 Jews from Olovo was
added to this transport.11
For the entire length of the journey, the prisoners did not get any food or
water and they even had to go to the toiler in the wagons, because the wagons
were not opened at all before arriving to Brod. Considering that there wasn't
enough space in the wagons for everyone to stand properly, it can be
concluded how much the prisoners suffered before they reached Brod, and,
then, it is understandable that many did not even make it alive to Brod. The
transport escort, Ustashas and police agents, were in the passenger cars and
they entertained themselves during the entire journey by playing cards and
drinking, while the Jews were crammed in one cattle wagon, freezing,
without any food or water. Later on, one of the police agents who escorted
that transport, which carried a total of about 3000 people, told Bujas that the
prisoners reached Jasenovac. When Bujas asked how large Jasenovac was
when it could take in so many people, the agent replied that he did not know,
but in the case that too many prisoners arrived, they would simply kill the
excessive ones. We find out the details of these transports from the
correspondence of Jewish communities. In that way, we find out that a large
transport of men passed through Brod on 18th November and a large
transport of women on 19th November, all headed for camps.12 The trasports
continue. Around 8 o'clock in the morning of 22nd November, a large

10AJO

Sarajevo, Pinto, The suffering of Sarajevo Jews under the Ustasha regime - Excerpt
from a report of Sreko Bujas, commissioner of the Sephardi Jew community in Sarajevo.
11 AJO Sarajevo, no. 169/41, A letter from the Jewish religious community Brod sent to the
Jewish community of Sarajevo on 17th December 1941: one male transport from Olovo
which had 20 men and older male children, and the prisoners travelled in closed wagons...
In the male transport there was a certain David Majerovi, a 78-year-old man...
12 AJO Sarajevo, no. 96/41 According to the information we received today at the railway
station in Slavonski Brod, the transport from 18th of this month had 700 men, most of them
over 60 year of age, and the transport from 19th of this month 800 women. Today, around 2
o'clock in the afternoon, a transport with 25 men from akovo passed through here.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

transport of Jewish women from Sarajevo passed through Brod. According


to information we got, the transport had about 600 women and children. We
meet them and supplied them with food.13
The set plan for systematic execution, along with overpopulated imprisonment facilities, speeded up the deportation of the prisoners. Internees transports were formed which were then sent to camps being formed, newly
formed and other camps around NDH. Euphoria for mass destruction of everything in contrast with the idea and legal concept of the Ustasha state, in the
context of the current racist policy, in individuals who defended those ideas,
was consciously accompanied by weak organisational preparations during
operations of deporting internees. Some of those transports were returned to
their point of departure because of overpopulation of prisoners or the incapablity of camps, to which they were sent, to take them in.
Thus, the Committee of the Jewish community of Sarajevo informed the Zagreb Jewish community, on 26th November 1941, that the transport of the
600 women, which returned to Sarajevo, spent full 7 days in wagons without
movement, without washing and mostly without food. The state they were in
needn't be described.14 The poor physical and mental state of internees, who
were returned to collection centres with minimum hygienic conditions, resulted in individual cases of infections.15 Because of the tendency of rapid
spread of disease and a potential epidemic, Ustashas were forced, as a preventive step, to temporarily send prisoners home, until adequate collection
centres were formed. Therefore, it was concluded (in order to avoid the
spread of infectious diseases that could endanger the entire population) that
all prisoners, who are seriously ill and contagious, needed to be immediately
dispatched to hospitals and others should return to their homes in Sarajevo,

13

AJO Sarajevo, no. 106/41, A letter from the Jewish religious community Brod sent to the
Jewish religious communityof Sarajevo on 24th November 1941.
14 AJIM, k. 65, folder 11, documents 140.
15 AJIM, k. 65, folder 11, documents 146. There is already one case of Erysipeloid of
Rosenbach, several cases of scabies, one case of insanity and the general opinion is that,
very soon, an all-round epidemic of infectious diseases will break out.

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until competent state authorities made suitable camps for their imprisonment.16 This decision was dispositionally different in an array of features
which determined the character of future camps.
It was very clearly emphasised that all internee women and children immediately had to be deported to Osijek. It was clear that Ustashas intended to
turn a camp in the founding into a collection centre for women and children
of different religions and nationalities. In support of that conclusion was the
fact that, in the first transport, there was a small number of Serbian women
and children along with Jewish ones. The added amendment of the exemption of the infirm, elderly and sick was hypocritically formulated and falsely
compassionate, and it was supposed to cover up the cruelty and true goals of
the Ustasha actions. That came from the necessity to urgently deport the elderly and infirm from Sarajevo for fear of a possible epidemic.
In a letter from the Jewish community of Sarajevo sent to the Jewish community in Osijek, we find out that, on 21st December, two transports were
sent from Sarajevo to akovo.17 Only one day later, on 22nd December, as it
was suspected, another transport was sent to akovo.18 In the letter sent to
the Jewish community of Osijek, on 27th December, we find out that the Jewish community of Sarajevo still had no news about the new transport of
women and children who were sent from Sarajevo to akovo during the
night between 23rd and 24th December. Send us the list of all women prisoners
in akovo.19
As early as spring 1942, the Germans expressed their dissatisfaction with the
fact that in the NDH, in their opinion, despite Ustashas drastic measures,
there was still a large number of Jews alive. The Reich Security Main Office

16

AJIM, k. 65, folder 11, documents 1-63.


AJO Sarajevo, no. 1061/41 Two transports are going to leave Sarajevo tonight: women
and children headed for akovo and the other transport has men who are headed for
Jasenovac. There are about 500 women and there will be around 100 men. There is still a
tendency to round up internees in Sarajevo; the internees are mostly women and children
and for them the only option is akovo, because there are no other female camps.
18 AJO Sarajevo, no. 1070: Last night, a new transport of Sarajevo Jews was sent to akovo
and there were about 800 women and children in it. There are over 200 very old women
and severely ill people.
19 AJO Sarajevo, number 1101/41.
17

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

in Berlin, via the so-called Section IV B4, which was in charge of the Jewish
question, in the summer of 1942, expanded its field of action to NDH. That
was preceded by the report The position of Jews in NDH, which was made
in May 1942 in the Gestapo office in Zagreb. In a cold and rational way, the
report described the repression, deportations and mass executions of Jews
north of the Italian-German demarcation line in NDH. Ustasha authorities
are criticised for unjustified cruelty (it took weeks and months to round up
the prisoners). So many Jews have simply disappeared... it remains unclear
why so many human lives have been wasted, and still are, when there is a
need for cheap labour. This objection of the Germans about mass killings
being committed without a rational cause cannot be understood in any other
way but as cynicism.20 The general estimate was that the Jewish question
was, for the most part, dealt with in the German sphere of interest, but the
Nazi offices conclude that Ustasha authorities were not thorough enough.
The report, rightly, stated that a certain number of Jews was spared from
arrests and deportations, thanks to personal and family connections,
corruption and advocation of the Catholic church in Zagreb for
intermarriages and their children and also for some individuials.21
Taking part in the preparation were Ustasha authorities, which, this time,
received direct instructions from the Germans. The term relocation itself,
which the Ustasha authorities began using at that time, was an obvious use of
German terminology: in German, the term used was Aussiedlung or
Evakuierung.22 Relocation became a euphemism for deportations: up to
then, Ustasha terms were quite clear sending Jews to camps and so on.23
As an expert for those kinds of jobs, an officer of the Reich Security Main
Office (RSHA), Haupsturmfhrer Franz Abromeit, from the Eichmann's
Section IV B4 came from Berlin to Zagreb: then, the Ustasha administration
was under direct pressure to improve its organisation in capturing and
deporting Jews. Support was given by the administration in the Zagreb

20

HDA, fund of the National Committee of Croatia for the investigation of the crimes of the
occupation forces and their collaborators (ZKRZ), no. 306, box 10 62-79.
21 Goldstein, Holocaust in Zagreb, Deportation in August 1942, p. 424.
22 HDA, fund of Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, 013.065
part 3 223.
23 HDA, fund 252, Directorate of Ustasha Gendarmerie (RUR) - Jewish Department, 29836.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

surroundings - so, from Pisarovina in the Kotarska area, at the end of July,
they asked for the Jews to be relocated, because some were fleeing into
Slovenia and others were a burden to the local population.24
On 3rd August, the Croatian government sent a circular letter and in it for
the concentration and placing people who are to be relocated in temporary
collection centres named Ivan Tolj, who was Head of the County Police
District, and for the organisation of railway transports it named Vilko
Khnel, who was the Director of the Jewish Section of the Directorate of
Public Order and Safety. Khnel was appointed the head of the operation
of relocating Jews from the territory of NDH.25
Extensive preparations for arrests were made. It was necessary, among other
things, to create a mongering atmosphere in which the public would accept
these events easier. In that period, at the beginning of August 1942, a certain
Ivanevi from the Press section of the Directorate of Ustasha gendarmerie
sent a circular letter to all newspaper editors. In it was stated that it is
necessary to again start writing about Jews these days. Writing about them
needs to be associated with rebellious activities on Kozara and so on, and also
emphasise that all actions of the rebels were initiated almost exclusively by
Jews. To that end, newspaper editors will be provided material with exact
information, names and so on, at the beginning of the following week. Until
that material is delivered, one or two general articles can be written, which
will portray the activities of Jews as Partisan squad leaders and political
commissars in Soviet Russia.26
On 7th August, Eichmann's deputy, Sturmbannfhrer Rolf Gnther from
Berlin, informed Abromeit in Zagreb that the NDH authorities have provided
seven freight trains which, from 13th August, can be used for transporting
Jews from Croatia across Maribor to Auschwitz, taking two days for each
transport.27

24

HDA, fund 252, Directorate of Ustasha Gendarmerie (RUR) - Jewish Department, 28322.
fund 252, Directorate of Ustasha Gendarmerie (RUR) - Jewish Department, 29059,
About Khnel, 29833 On the approaching operation - fund of ZKRZ.
26 HDA, fund of the National Committee of Croatia for the investigation of the crimes of the
occupation forces and their collaborators (ZKRZ), no. 306, box 10, 283.
27 Hilberg, Destruction, 714-715.
25HDA,

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Close cooperation between Ustasha authorities and German representatives


was proven from 13th August all up to the end of the month. Even though the
trains were provided by the State railway company, the police escort and
everything else concerning transportation was organised by the German
police force. In that way, the Nazis took from Zagreb to Auschwitz the
arrested Zagreb Jews and also the Jewish women prisoners from camps in
Lobor and Gornja Rijeka: they were joined by camp prisoner from Tenja, as
well as all other Jews arrested in other places in NDH. Most Jews came from
Sarajevo, after which this city was cleansed from Jews. The Jewish
Department informed the State railway company that the cost of
transporting from the loading place to the unloading place will be paid by the
State Treasury of NDH.28 Upon the request of German representatives, that
cost, in accordance with a previous agreement, was to be paid by Ustasha
authorities.
Chief Statistician of the SS, Dr Richard Korherr, submitted to the office of
the SS Reichsfhrer, Himmler, on 23rd March 1943, a supplement report (7
pages) on the final solution of the Jewish question, in which he numerically
summarised everything that had been done about that by the end of 1942.
According to that report, in four large transports during August, a total of
4972 Jews were deported from NDH to camps in Poland.29
Dominik Mandi claimed that, during August 1942, almost all Jews were
relocated from Zagreb and other areas to Germany and Poland; everyone,
even small children.30 Approximately one month later, in September,
Paveli met with Hitler in Ukraine and very clearly said that the Jewish
question was practically dealt with in most of Croatia.31 Paveli was
completely right, because the part of the territory of NDH which was
controlled by Ustashas and Germans, except the city of Zagreb and partly
Sarajevo, was truly cleansed from Jews.

28

HDA, fund 252, RUR - Jewish Department 29769, 29817, 2985, 29861.
Hilberg, Destruction, 717, 1204.
30 Mileti, Jasenovac, book I 489.
31 Sobolevski, Jews, 112.
29

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

DEPORTATIONS TO JASENOVAC CHRONOLOGY


19th August
The camp Krapje (Jasenovac I) was formed - bringing the first group
of Sarajevo Jews

20th/21st August
The first camp prisoners started to arrive at the Jasenovac groups of
camps.
August
Bosanska Gradika - deportation of Jews
Sanski Most - deportation of Jews

10th September
-Camp near the village Broice (Jasenovac II) was formed
20th September
Zenica - deportation of the first group of Jews
September

Graanica - deportation of Jews


-Prijedor - deportation of Jews
-Teanj - deportation of Jews
- Mostar - Passing the Resolution of the Muslims of Mostar
Autumn
Sarajevo - The old community (Sephardic) yearbook Pinkas was
seized.

2nd October
-Kiseljak - deportation of Jews
-Camp near the village Jasenovac (Jasenovac II) was formed
16th/17th October
Sarajevo - mass interning of Jews

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

26th/27th October
Sarajevo - deportation (400+30+360 in two transports) of Jews to
Jasenovac

13th November
The Directorate of Ustasha Gendarmerie of NDH in Zagreb informs
the Great County of Dubrava in Dubrovnik: All Jew refugees, men
between the ages of 16 and 60, who are temporarily settled in apljina
must be sent to the camp Jasenovac.

16th November
Sarajevo - arresting 2200 Jews and taking them to the concentration
camp Jasenovac and akovo (700 men and 800 women)
Sarajevo - arresting 35 Jews, members of the Communist Party of
Yugoslavia, the Youth Communist Party of Yugoslavia and their
sympathisers and taking them to the concentration camp Jasenovac

25th November
The legal provision on sending undesirable and dangerous persons to
forced detention in concentration and labour camps, which formally
legalised the camp system.
16th/17th December
Olovo - a transport of 20 men and older male children sent to Jasenovac
27th December
Zavidovii - the second group of Jews sent to Jasenovac
1942
January 1942
Around 1200 women and children (from the group which was returned
from the camp in Loborgrad) were sent to the camp in Stara Gradika
Tuzla - arrests and deportation of Jews to the concentration camp
Jasenovac
Bosanski Brod - arrests and deportation of the remaining Jews (women
to akovo and men to Jasenovac and Stara Gradika)
1st February

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Bosanski amac - the second and last group of Jews was taken
17th February
The camp Stara Gradika (Jasenovac V) was formally established
24th February
Travnik - 17 men were sent to Jasenovac and 89 women and children
from Zenica and Travnik were sent to the collection camp Stara
Gradika
11th March
epe - deportation of Jews
Visoko - deportation of Jews
Begov Han - deportation of Jews
25th March
Modria - deportation of Jews
27th March
Zenica, Kiseljak, Fojnica - taking 23 Jews to camp for forced labour
April
Zenica - taking the third group of Jews (16) from Zenica to the camp
Stara Gradika
9th May
Jewish refugees (58) from Slatina near Banja Luka were taken to
Jasenovac
13th May
Jajce - deportation of 13 Jewish women to Stara Gradika
19th May
Sarajevo - deportation of 22 Jews to Jasenovac, that is Stara Gradika
29th June
Derventa - all Jews have been arrested
27th/28th July

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Banja Luka - deportation of the remaining Jews (170)


1st August
Bijeljina - deportation of Jews (the last transport)
2nd August
A special circular letter of the Government of NDH which announced
the action of relocating Jews to the eastern parts of the Reich.
8th August
Derventa - deportation of Jews (men to Jasenovac and Gradika and
women to akovo and Loborgrad)
10th August
Banja Luka - deportation of the remaining 13 Jews from Banja Luka
and surrounding towns

13th August
Travnik - deportation of 20 Jews to Jasenovac and Stara Gradika
18th/19th August
Sanski Most - all Jews (27) were taken to Jasenovac and Gradika
19th August
Banja Luka - deportation of 20 Jews to Jasenovac and Stara Gradika
23rd August
Banja Luka - a group of 23 Jews was sent to forced labour to Jasenovac,
that is Stara Gradika
Autumn
Tesli - deportation of Jews
1943
12th May

- Bosanski Novi - deportation of Jews


- Bosanska Gradika - deportation of Jews to the camp Stara
Gradika
1945
22nd April

A breakout from the camp Jasenovac took place.


259

PhD uro Zatezalo

FATHOMLESS PITS - PLACES OF


MASS EXECUTION IN THE
COMPLEX OF JADOVNO USTASHA
CAMPS

Jadovno camp and multiple fathomless pits are the places witnessing the
biggest crime against humanity and international law, the law against
newborn babies, grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, whose
screams of horror resounded helplessly from fathomless pits of Velebit (t/n:
the largest though not the highest mountain range in Croatia) and in places
of mass execution on Pag (t/n: a Croatian island in the northern Adriatic Sea).
The Ustasha camp in Velebit Jadovno is a symbolic place, a place of death,
horror, fright, screams and painful memories.
This was one of the first beastliest and most brutal concentration camps places of mass murder in Europe.
The Croatian Ustasha camp of Jadovno was a forerunner of the Jasenovac
camp, an Ustasha factory of death, the largest complex of camps for
extermination of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croats and other
peoples in Yugoslavia in the period 1941-1945.
However, Jadovno is a place about which no complete literary or scientific
work has been published for more than 68 years. The truth about this
complex of Croatian Ustasha death camps was carried away into fathomless
pits and abysses by its inmates, whose voices of horror helplessly resounded

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

for days across rugged Velebit, places of execution on Pag and in the waves
of the Adriatic Sea.
The majority of people know something about Jasenovac death camp, which
existed for four years; they also know of Auschwitz and Treblinka, whose gas
chambers were put into operation on 4th July, where the Nazi industry of
murdering was started on 23rd July 1942. However, very little is known
about the complex of Croatian Ustasha death camps of Jadovno, which
existed for less than four months, from 11th April to 25th August 1941.
The camps in Velebit and on Pag were started earlier than the majority of
death camps in Germany. The Ustasha regime in the Independent State of
Croatia (NDH), led by Ante Paveli, was more effective at racial persecution
than Nazi Germany.
As soon as he came to power, with the help from Germans and Italians,
Paveli did everything to create the pure Catholic state of Croatia through
the extermination of the Serb and Jewish population. Unlike his Nazi
masters, in order to commit mass murders in Velebit, the Ustashas did not
spend money or build death factories with gas chambers for poisoning their
victims; they simply used the natural pits. They would bring tied men,
women and children over the pits, hit them with mallets or stab them with
knives - mostly several of those helpless who were the first in line so as to
pull down the others who, according to the slaughterers themselves, would
precipitate into the darkness of the pit. Others were killed over pits they had
had to dig themselves or were pushed into the sea, a stone tied to their neck.
Ustashas found a great joy in the sadistic torturing of their victims - the
raping of women and little girls in front of their grandmothers, grandfathers
and husbands, afterwards throwing their victims still alive and covered in
blood into the fathomless pits. If Auschwitz is said to have been a death
factory, in the Jadovno complex of mass killing fields death was dealt
manually, as if on a production line.
In the places of mass murder in Jadovno and on Pag, Maks Luburi set the
foundations of the Jasenovac hell, becoming the head of all Paveli's camps
in the NDH.
There are no words to describe the agony of victims in the Jadovno complex
of Croatian Ustasha-Home Guard camps. It surpasses the human fantasy. In
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

1941, Jadovno complex consisted of the following collection camps: The


building of District Court Prison, its corridors and courtyards in Gospi,
Ovara camp1 near Gospi, Stupanievo near Bake Otarije, camps near
Risova Glava in Velebit, the extermination camps Slana and Metajna on the
island of Pag, the collection camps in Gospi railway station, the
extermination camp in ai Dolac, Jadovno in Velebit and 32 fathomless pits
which I discovered by searching through original documents and walking
across Velebit crags and its surroundings for years to describe them in
detail.2
The camps in Gospi were collection and transit camps, which started as early
as April 1941, much before 2nd June, when Ante Paveli issued an official
order for the establishment of the camps.
Jadovno camp was situated 22 kilometres north-west from Gospi, deep in a
dense forest of the Velebit mountain range, at 1200 metres above sea level,
with very cold nights and hot and dry days. The inmates were kept outdoors,
unsheltered. Far away from civilisation, deep in the unsettled remote area of
Velebit.
Guarded by Ustashas and Home Guard, the inmates had to put up a fourmetre high, 50 x 25-metre barbed wire fence around the camp in May 1941.
The camp expanded over time until 24th July, when it got its final shape of
188 x 90 metres in area, so that day was taken as the official date of the
establishment of one of first places of mass execution in the Independent
State of Croatia in 1941.3

Ovara: The barns of a Serb merchant named Matija Maksimovi, who, apart from a
printing house, library and reading room in Gospi near Novica River, owned three big
barns where he kept sheep, cows and several horses used to provide services for other
merchants. As early as May 1941, Ustashas plundered his estate, murdering him and
several members of his family in a cruel way. The Ustashas turned the barns into a
collection camp for Jews and Serbs, named "Ovara" by the inmates themselves.
2 For more information see: Dr uro Zatezalo Jadovno Kompleks ustakih logora 1941,
knjiga I, Muzej rtava genocida, Beograd, 2007, pp. 169.189.
3 Ibid, pp. 112 - 125

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

The first fathomless pit, 1,880 metres away from a small Croatia village
Jadovno, which the camp in Velebit was named after, was aranova pit.4
The aforesaid Ustasha camps were formed by the NDH state bodies with the
aid of a part of the Catholic clergy. They were established by the NDH
Ministry of Interior, led by Andrija Artukovi, Eugen Kvaternik, Chief of the
Ustasha Internal Security Service, Juco Rukavina, an Ustasha colonel,
emigrant Jurica Frkovi, the Great District Prefect of Lika and Gacko,
Stjepan Rubini, Chief of the Ustasha police in Gospi, Rudo Rico and
Dragutin Pudi Paraliza. The camp chief was a notorious Ustasha, teacher
Rude Ric.5
The camp was secured by 200 Ustashas and 50 Croatian Home Guard soldiers,
some of which were in fezzes (t/n: The Croatian Home Guard, Domobrani,

was part of the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia which
existed during World War II).
Jadovno camp was under the direct command of the Ustasha Police Battalion
in Gospi, commanded by major Stjepan Rubini.6 The battalion included a
special unit, whose members' task was to take Serbs and Jews from the camp
to the nearby places of execution and pits and kill them there. They were
commanded by four Ustasha officers who were in charge of Ustashas and
Home Guards who kept guard around Jadovno camp. The Gospi prison
warden was the notorious Ustasha Milan Staraeh, who had absolute
authority in the whole prison.
Ante Paveli, accompanied by about 250 Ustasha emigrants, arrived in
Ogulin on 13th April 1941. They were escorted by a group of Italian officers
and sitting beside him in the car was an Italian general. Ustashas, led by
parish priest Ivan Mikan and lawyer Lovro Sui, gave Paveli ceremonial

Until 1939, the pit was called Vodena jama (Water pit). The pit changed its name into
aranova pit after a young man named Buba, whose parents were nicknamed aran, had
lost his life after an unsuccessful attempt to jump over it.
5 The Ustasha 40-year-old First Lieutenant, well knew the territory of Lika and Krbava,
which he used in arresting and murdering Serbs. He was a great supporter of the
Yugoslavian idea, thus skilfully hiding his hatred towards the Serbs; Historijski arhiv
Karlovac (HAK), Zbornik 20, 1989, pp. 148, 155, 189, 191, 202, 205, 798, 800, 806, 816.
6 Dr uro Zatezalo, pp. 112-113.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

welcome in Ogulin. In his impassioned speech, priest Ivan Mikan called for
cleansing all non-Croats, while Paveli, in his speech to a crowd of locals,
publicly announced terror and carnage as well as absolute obedience to their
fascist masters. He exclaimed the Ustasha slaughterers' slogan Bjee psine
preko Drine! (Serbian bastards are fleeing across Drina River!), which
only a month later the Ustasha government vice-president (doglavnik) Mile
Budak, in his speech in Karlovac, turned into the horrible slogan Srbe na
vrbe! (Hang Serbs from the willow trees!)
As early as 10th April 1941, five days before the arrival of poglavnik Ante
Paveli in Zagreb, Vlatko Maek (t/n: a Croatian politician active within the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the first half of the 20th century) issued a
proclamation in which he invited his numerous supporters and all Croats to
support the new Croatian government.
The same support to the new Ustasha government was given by the highranking Catholic clergy such as archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, Sarajevo
archbishop ari and many others, all with the blessing by the Holy See and
notorious fascist Pope Pius XII. As early as 11th April 1941, archbishop
Stepinac visited Dr Milovan ani, the Ministry of Interior, on his own behalf
and on behalf of the Catholic Church.7
On Holy Saturday, he made a return visit to the NDH military commander,
general Slavko Kvaternik, who, on behalf of poglavnik Ante Paveli,
proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia in 10th April 1941 and
congratulated Paveli on the establishment of the NDH, which also meant
establishing a close cooperation between the Ustasha regime and the highest
representative of the Catholic Church in the NDH.
In Ustasha press, the visit was given a special attention by Alojzije Stepinac,
which he paid to Ante Paveli on 16th April 1941, three days after his arrival
in Zagreb, as well as a ceremony he hosted in his palace for Ustasha emigrant
officers. Thus Stepinac showed the course of himself and the Catholic Church
during the period of Ustasha regime.8

Hrvatski narod, 14th April 1941.


See photo in: Dokumenti o protunarodnom radu, 156; Viktor Novak: Magnum Crimen, p.
544

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After that, cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, in his circular of 28th April 1941, saluted
the Independent State of Croatia as the son of Croats and representative of
the Holy Church and appealed to the Catholic clergy for sublime
devotedness to protection and improvement of the NDH.9 What ensued were
hate speech and calls for ethnic cleansing of Serbs and Jews by Ustasha
ministers, certain bishops, parish priests etc. instituted in genocidal laws,
orders and provisions.10
The first day of the establishment of the NDH they clearly showed that ethnic
Serbs and Jews would be treated in atrocious manner. They were considered
outlaws.
Regardless of their age, the Jews had to wear the Jewish mark (t/n:
stands for idovi, Croatian term for Jews). The Serbs had to wear a blue
ribbon around the arm with capitalised letter P, which, besides political,
also was the religious mark (t/n: P stands for pravoslavac, which means
Orthodox). They had to convert to Catholicism, the faith of forefathers
and become Croats or vanish from the NDH by expulsion to Serbia or
murdering.
On 3rd May 1941, the Religious Conversion Law was passed, which was
signed by the Minister of Education and Faith, Mile Budak, m.p.11
After that, the Instruction for Conversion was issued.12
Religious conversion of Serbs was the common goal of Croatian bishops and
the NDH authorities. It was conducted by the Council of Three, led by
cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and the Working Committee for Croatia and Bosnia
and Herzegovina in agreement with the Ministry of Education and Faith.13
Ustashas gathered Serbs in various ways by summoning them to certain
places to receive new documents or telling them that Catholic priests would

9 Dr uro Zatezalo, ibid. p. 44; Cvitkovi Ivan, Ko je bio Alojzije Stepinac, Sarajevo, 1966.
73 87; Viktor Novak, ibid. Jeli Buti Fikreta, Zagreb 1977, p. 59
10 Katoliki list 1941. No. 17, 197, 198.
11 Narodne novine, 27th May 1941.
12 Uputstvo o prelaenju iz jedne vjere u drugu, Ministarstvo bogotovlja i nastave, br. 178,
Zagreb, 27th May 1941.
13 Viktor Novak, ibid. p. 16.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

come to convert them to Catholicism, so that they could live and work in
peace as Croats. In many places, the Ustashas succeeded in assembling even
several hundreds of Serbs. However, instead of the priests, Ustashas would
come in trucks, surround the Serbs, tie them and take them to death. The
conversion campaign was an easy way for Ustashas to gather as many Serbs
as possible so that they could arrest and murder them instantly or take them
to Orthodox churches and slaughter them bestially.14
The genocide in NDH was committed in public places through sadistic
torturing: in Serbian Orthodox churches, schools, houses, gardens, fields,
forests, places of mass executions, fathomless pits etc. Since 11th April 1941,
Serbs, Jews and anti-fascists had been brought to Jadovno complex of
Ustasha camps, before any kind of resistance to the NDH even started. That
represented the beginning of meticulously planned and committed crime of
genocide against the Serbs and holocaust against the Jews.
From mid-May to 18th August 1941, trains would arrive to Gospi railway
station on a daily basis, consisting of stock cars carrying 250 - 370 Serbs and
Jews tortured by thirst, starvation and beating, whom Ustashas and Home
Guard captured across the NDH at home, in towns, villages, workplaces,
churches, fields etc. Wherever they would find them, day and night. They
sent them to collection camps in Gospi every day. When the camps were full
of inmates, the Ustasha criminals would herd them, tied in twos and all
together by a longitudinal chain, to Jadovno death camp in Velebit and the
camps on the island of Pag.
They would often transport the inmates in trucks or herd them on foot only
to the nearest pits by the road to execute them by blunt objects or to throw
the tortured prisoners into fathomless pits, without getting to the aforesaid
camps and many pits inside them. The inmates who were not killed in the pits
by the road would be further tortured starved, thirsty and cursed by the
Ustashas who beat them with stakes and gun stocks or stabbed with knives
all the way to the camps in Velebit or Pag, where they would be finished off
after brutal torturing to a great joy of the Ustasha butchers.15

14
15

Ibid.
Dr uro Zatezalo, ibid. p. 298.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Since the first day of its establishment on 10th April 1941, the Ustasha,
quisling and clerical-fascist creation of NDH carried out the previously
devised plan of genocide against the Serbian and Jewish people consistently
and comprehensively on a daily basis, with the aim of their complete
extermination in Croatia.
Jadovno camp in Velebit, with its subcamps and fathomless pits, was the first
mass execution camp in the NDH. The Ustasha regime systematically
tortured innocent people in indescribable ways.
Ustashas were notorious for incomprehensible and unimaginable cruelties,
unprecedented in the modern human history. It is easy to conclude that
Ustashas, in their sadism and cruelty, overdid Nazis in holocaust and the
Young Turks in the genocide against Armenians.16
German Nazis and Italian fascists were also appalled with the beastliness of
the Ustasha atrocities. They were disgusted at the Ustasha blood-thirstiness.
They had the reason to be, as there were no similar crimes in whole Europe
during the Second World War. The German head of defence in Zagreb,
general Artur Heffner, informed Berlin on 24th April 1942 of horrible
atrocities against the Serbs, who had lived there for centuries, and
plundering of their property. In his letter he said that he could not
understand that the carrier of the Ustasha crimes are also a large number of
Catholic clergy. He quotes the Sarajevo archbishop Sori, who wrote the
following in a Catholic newspaper on 11th May 1941: I visited our Ustashas
in North America. I sang our Ustasha hymns from the bottom of my heart
and with tears in my eyes. We have always been loyal and devoted to the
fatherland of Croats! More Catholics! God and Croats! - he exclaimed,
declaring himself as an Ustasha. Heffner mentions Franciscan Franceti,
who ordered a primary school teacher to separate Serbian children from the
others for Ustashas to kill them in front of their teacher and school mates.17

16

Addressing Ustashas, poglavnik Ante Paveli would often say: "A good Ustashas is the
one who can use a knife and take a Serbian child out of the mother's womb."
17 Saint Ante Herald, No. 7 - 8 pp. 88 ,81,1941.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The same general mentions some other Catholic priests with atrocious
intentions and instructions as to how to ethnically cleanse the Independent
State of Croatia from Serbs, Jews and Roma.
The German historian Walter Gerlock says: Unfortunately, one of the first
measures taken by the Catholic Ustasha regime was the horrifying military
campaign of extermination aimed against the Greek-Orthodox population.18
Colonel Giuseppe Angelini, commander of a regiment of the 13th Infantry
Division Re [English: King], says in his memoires: Thousands of Serbs
have been blinded and brutally tortured, and whole families have been
massacred regardless of the sex or age whatsoever. The organisers and
executors would often celebrate the carnage, eating and drinking cheerfully.
One example is the Ustasha celebration in August 1941, when they celebrated
the murdering of Gospi secondary school principal's son, who was their
thousandth victim.19
Similar accounts were recorded by many other Italian and German soldiers
and officers during or after the war. The Germans and Italians alone were
stupefied by the atrocities of Croatian soldiers under the command of the
NDH leader, Ante Paveli.
All members of the Axis alliance and their satellite states had death camps
where innocent people lost their lives. However, the camps founded and
organised by the NDH in the period 1941-1945, in their monstrousness and
inhuman drive for extermination of the Serbian, Jewish and Roma inmates,
surpass the animal cruelty of extermination in the Third Reich death camps.
Based on many years of field research and numerous original archive
material of different provenance, I came to the conclusion that, in this
Ustasha death camp complex, which did not exist for long (11th April - 21st
August 1941), Ustashas interned 42,246 Serbs, Jews and anti-fascist Croats
from the whole NDH, out of which they executed 40,123 in just 132 days of
the camp existence.
Due to the Italian re-occupation of the Croatian Littoral and Lika province,
which begun on 15th August caused by the uprising in the provinces of Lika,
18
19

Marco Aurelio Rivelli, The Archbishop of Genocide, Jasen, Niki, p. 121.


Ibid.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Kordun, Banija and Kninska Krajina, Ustashas, concerned about the reaction
of the Italians, instantly liquidated the camps Jadovno, Slana and Metajna. In
Jadovno camp alone, the Ustashas quickly executed 763 inmates, 256 of
which over the pit which was only 40 metres away from the camp fence.
Hurriedly, before the Italians came, the Ustashas packed the remaining 2,123
inmates from the camp on the island of Pag and other camps onto the same
railway stock cars on which they had been brought to the camps and
transported them to the Ustasha camp Jastrebarsko near Zagreb on 19th, 20th
and 21st August. In the last transport, on 21st August, there were 900 Serbs
who were transported the same day from Jastrebarsko camp to Jasenovac
camp. The remaining inmates brought from Gospi were transported in a few
following days to the camps in Kruica, Lepoglava, Jasenovac and some
other camps. The Ustashas executed 200 inmates in Jastrebarsko camp.
Out of 40,123 executed inmates in the complex of camps in Gospi, Jadovno
and Pag, there were 38,010 Serbs, 1,988 Jews, 88 Croats, 11 Slovenes, 9
Muslims, two Czechs, two Hungarians, one Russian, one Roma and one
Montenegrin.
The aforesaid data show that the Ustashas in Jadovno executed the average
of 304 inmates per day, almost the same number of inmates trasnported from
Gospi.20
For the last 68 years, the truth about the places of execution in Jadovno camp
in Velebit have remained undiscovered and without a written record. The
tendency was for the evidences to be destroyed of atrocities committed by
Croatian soldiers, Ustashas and Croatian Home Guard in a planned and
organised way against the Serbs and Jews. The crime was to be hushed up
and forgotten over time. All of that was being done under the slogan of
brotherhood and unity of the peoples of Yugoslavia. Ustashas were
destroying the traces of their crimes even during the war, as well as at the
time they were committed and afterwards. The truth about the cruelty of
Ustasha crimes was carried away into fathomless pits and abysses by the
victims, whose voices of horror helplessly resounded for days from the pits
of rugged Velebit, places of execution on Pag and in the waves of the Adriatic
Sea.

20

Dr uro Zatezalo, ibid. pp. 382 - 384

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

They have not been exhumed, counted or decently buried yet. It was said that
it should not be done for the benefit of brotherhood and unity, so may their
bones rest in peace where they are.21 It is not time for that yet, it takes 50
years to wait so that the feelings of the people Ustashas belonged to would not
be hurt. All that evil should be put aside until some better time. The horrible
Ustasha atrocities should not be investigated, recorded or published. Why
recording mass graves and places of execution or discover fathomless pits
and exhume the victims? This period will remain in memory forever for the
evil plan to exterminate a whole nation.
Many things were kept secret. Instead, all crimes committed in the Second
World War in the period 1941-1945 should be thoroughly investigated and
publicly presented by experts for our posterity to know about the human evil
so that such atrocities never happen to anybody again.
And thus, a new evil sprang from the old one, having been hushed up.
The year of 1991 came. The Serbs in Croatia were deprived of their status of
constitutive and nation-building ethnic group in their home land. The Serbs
were transformed into a national minority and, out of 12.16 of the total
population of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, according to the 1991 census,
the Serbs were reduced to the mere 4.54 of the total population of Republic
of Croatia according to the 2001 census.
Serbian places in Croatia have almost totally disappeared. Their inhabitants
have been expelled from their centuries-old hearths. Their houses and estates
have been plundered and mostly burnt or inhabited by Croats, not only by
refugees but also those from towns and places in Croatia unaffected by the
conflict. Humble monuments erected in memory of the victims of Ustasha
regime have been destroyed. Thus, their names disappeared - they hav ebeen
killed for the second time. The names of streets, places, schools and
institutions have been changed.

21

Of all fathomless pits and places of execution in Kordun, Banija, Lika and parts of Gorski
kotar, I have recorded 337. The majority of them have still remained unknown. Almost all
places of the legalised Ustasha crime are unmarked and inaccessible. Dr uro Zatezalo:
Radio sam svoj seljaki i kovaki posao Svjedoanstva genocida Srpsko kulturno
drutvo Prosvjeta, Zagreb, 2005. pp. 332 - 357.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

For example, the Memorial Centre, together with commemorative plaques


with the names of victims, was built in the place where the Serbian Orthodox
Church of the Nativity of the Holy Mother (built in 1826) was in Glina, where
Ustashas and Home Guard slaughtered 1,564 Serbs in late July and early
August of 1941. On 25th, 26th and 27th September 1995, the plaques were
shattered and removed, while the Memorial Centre was renamed into the
Croatian Centre.
Today's picture of the complex of Ustasha death camps in Jadovno, both in
Velebit and the island of Pag, is more than outrageous. Contemporary
negators of the truth falsify even their own biographies, while the effort to
reveal the truth and provide evidences has been made totally impossible.
Nevertheless, the indestructible and unchanged womb of the fathomless pits
and places of massacre has remained together with the mortal remains of
countless victims. They still have not been exhumed, counted or given a
decent burial.

Karlovac
6th March 2014

272

Jovan Pejin

AN INSIGHT INTO THE GENOCIDE


COMMITTED AGAINST THE SERBS
IN THE REGION OF SREM DURING
1941-1945

The occupation of the region of Srem by the Croats during 1941-1945 is a


historic event in the recent Serbian history. After living in the Kingdom of
the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia for 22 years, the Serbs of Srem,
united with Serbia in November 1918, found themselves facing the spectre
of genocide.
Due to its geostrategic position, the so-called Osijek Gate, located between the
Fruka Gora Mountain in the east and the Slavonian hills in the west and
bounded by the rivers Sava and Danube, Srem has always been the target of
invaders. The position of Srem made it possible to control the regions of
Slavonia, Semberia, Mava, Baka, Banat and the city of Belgrade. Therefore,
Srem became a point of interest of Croatias hegemonic plans. Such plans had
been threatened by the Serbs living in the region of Srem since the dawn of
their times, thus the Croats, or more precisely their ultra national elites,
included the region of Srem in the programme of ethnic cleansing. Their first
strategy was to rename the Orthodox Serbs into Croats and Catholics, and if
the Serbs rejected the offer, their second strategy was biological
obliteration. The Croats tried to carry out both strategies in the fragmentstate of the Kingdom of Croatia, and in the region of Slavonia in the 19th
century, as well as during 1941-1945 in the NDH (the Independent State of
Croatia).

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

After the occupation of Srem by the German Wehrmacht in 1941 and


Croatian paramilitary groups, and then the annexation of it to the
Independent State of Croatia, the decision of the Serbs from Srem made in
Ruma in November 1918 to join Serbia was repealed.
On 10 April 1941, the German units entered the region of Srem and were
enthusiastically greeted by the okci, that is, the new Croats, the Ustashas,
members of the Croatian Peasant Party (CPP) and the Volksdeutsche.1 The
okci and the Volksdeutsche disarmed Yugoslav soldiers in the towns of
Vukovar, id, Inija, Pazova, Ilok and Sremska Mitrovica. After the
proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia, Srem became the Great
Vuka Parish based in the town of Vukovar. The Ustashas and the local leaders
of the CPP took control over the parish, and the Ustasha and Croatian
identities became equivalent.2
The Great Vuka Parish consisted of 10 counties, and it was mostly part of the
previous Srem Parish.3
Deeply affected by the effective Croatian propaganda as being the new
Croats, the okci from Srem together with the Volksdeutche showed
disloyalty to Yugoslavia and the Serbs. The paramilitary units of the CPP
called the Protection assumed authority, and then persecuted and disarmed
the Yugoslav army.
After the establishment of the authorities, the Croatian military garrisons and
the Ustasha organizations were formed. The Ustasha Movement was the
most important Ustasha organization, and it became responsible for the mass
genocidal crimes against the Serbs and Jews.4
The authorities of the NDH sought to destroy any symbol of Yugoslavia,
which was supported by the new laws and regulations, and on 25 April, the
Cyrillic alphabet was prohibited.

Ethnic Germans, t/n.


Drago Njegovan (ed.), Zloini okupatora i njegovih pomagaa u Vojvodini 1941-1944, Vol.
II, Novi Sad, 2013, p. 11.
3 Ibid., p. 14.
4 Ibid., p.15.
2

274

GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The Serbs were immediately treated as enemy of the state, and as a result of
that, Orthodox Christian churches and Jewish synagogues were closed.
Orthodox Christian priests were persecuted and the robbery of churches and
monasteries began.
The basis for such activities of the NDH formed without the knowledge of the
Wehrmacht was the pure fiction of the Croatian state law, which
disregarded all political, ethnical and denominational facts, hence the claims
on the region of Srem, where the Croats, that is, the okci, in relation to the
Serbs, were a minority. There were more than 50 of the Serbs, 16 of the
descendants of the colonised Germans, about 5 of Hungarians, 3.5 of Slovaks
1.5 of Ruthenians, about 2,000 Jews and 23 of the Croats.5
From 21 June 1941, the Volksdeutche were treated as a legal entity and made
a special community; together with the Croatian language, the German
language became the official language in the authorities and courts.6
The strengthening of Croatian authority was followed by mass arrests of the
Serbs in June 1941, who were deported to the Jadovno camp near the village
of Gospi and later were killed there. Around 300 persons were murdered
then. The mass executions occurred also in the locality of Sremska Mitrovica,
Cerevic and Beoin. The executions were followed by the expulsion of the
Serb colonists, volunteers in the Serbian army, and combatants in the wars
during 1912-1918, who settled in the region of Srem after 1920.
After the ethnic cleansing, the Croats, and to a lesser extent the Volksdeutche,
were settled on their property, as implemented by the State Directorate for
Renewal in charge of abandoned property.7
Violence followed the pressure for the purpose of Catholicising the Serbs.
The pressure presented the position of the Croats as a national collective. Paul
Ritter, a German born in Sinj, or Croat Pavle Vitezovi, gave the definition
of the solution to the Serb question in Croatia, presently the NDH which
included countries and regions which Croatia had never before had within
its territories, in a pamphlet Croatia rediviva printed in Vienna early in the

Ibid., p. 16.
Ibid.
7 Ibid., p. 17.
6

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

18th century on the propagation of Croatia from Istria and the Alps to the
Black Sea! All subsequent Croatian political programs relied on his vision!
The aggression against the Serbs in the NDH was an extension of the policy
of the Croatian feudal and clerical elite of the 18th century defined in stand
taken by the estate trustee of the Zagreb Archdiocese Ambroz Kuzmi that
all Serbs, or the Vlachs, should be slaughtered instead of given abode.8
The stand of Ambroz Kuzmi became the alpha and omega of politics of all
parties in Croatia, the feudal fragment-state within Hungary, without any
impact on Hungarian politics, and implemented whenever the opportunities
were allowing to do so in the Monarchy, and after 1868 in the AustroHungarian Empire.
Backward, economically and culturally, the fragment-state of Croatia, to
which Slavonia was adjoined, with its Parliament in Zagreb, was constantly
in conflict with the Serbs in the Military Frontier until its abolition in 1881,
and then afterwards, as citizens who had national institutions within the
Karlovac Diocese Mitropolia based on the privileges granted in 1690. The
Serbs had a developed national awareness and were aware of their status in
the Monarchy. As such, the Serbs had been and remained an obstacle to the
Croatian national and political megalomania and fantasies about the size of
Croatia in the past, and the role of the Croats in the first feudal Hungary, and
in the construction of Austrian power in the southeast of Europe. This is
clearly visible from the leaflet that was circulated in Srem in the fall of 1941:
To all the honest people of Srem of the Greek-Eastern denomination.9
The leaflet written on a typewriter, in Cyrillic, in which the Sremian
addresses his Brothers Sremians, was a synthesis of the idea of Croatian
politics that lasted from the statements by Ambroz Kuzmi in the late 17th
century, through Ante Starevi, Stjepan Radi, Vladko Maek, up to Ante
Paveli in 1941.
The contents of the leaflet was the formulation of the Croatian political
thought as anticipated, determined and implemented by the Ustasha leaders:
Ante Paveli, Milovan Zani the legislator, Viktor Guti, Milan Budak

8
9

Vasilije . Kresti, Genocidom do Velike Hrvatske, Novi Sad, Beograd, 1998. p. 19.
Njegovan, ibid., p. 255.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Minister of Teaching and Religious Worship, Dionizije Jurkovi a priest,


and Mladen Lorkovi Minister of Foreign Affairs. The solution to the Serb
question in the NDH could only be achieved through the disappearance of the
Serbs!10
According to the contents of the leaflet, the Sremians had belonged to the
Triune Kingdom of Croatia through centuries, and faithfully served in the
Croatian Home Guard, though it had not really existed until the introduction
of the compulsory military service in the Monarchy, and constituted the
Croatian political nation and ... we ourselves considered us to be the Croats
of the Greco-Eastern denomination ...11
It further read: agents of Serbia interpreted to ... our children that they are
not Croats but Serbs. This idea, as further explained by the Sremian, was
adopted by our priests and thus caused discord. The Serb propaganda was
such that the Sremians believe that they were Serbs. And not only that, but,
when Yugoslavia was established, they realised that they were not Serbs, that
they were second-class citizens, that Belgrade gents used them for the
destruction of Croatia, and that they were paying double taxes ...
Now, with the declaration of the NDH, in order for them not to be the secondclass citizens they should return... in the lap of our mother Croatia ... Not
only this, but the Sremian further continued with the nonsense that during
the Ottoman rule there were no Catholic priests, and that their ancestors
converted to Orthodoxy, so, nowadays, the Sremians need to convert to
Catholicism and to ... live peacefully and honestly as true Croatian peasants
and artisans on their homeland of Croatia. This was already done by the
brothers in Slavonia, who, after visiting the Principal looked into the future
with clarity. The Sremian ended with a call threatening that the Sremians
should decide until it was not too late for it.12
It was already too late! The Ustashas, the storm-troopers of the Croatian
people, did not wait for someone to change their mind and accept Roman
Catholicism and Croatism. The executions and persecutions of the Serbs in
NDH were in full swing from May and June along with the destruction of
10

Biko Lalovi, Knjiga o Diani Budisavljevi, Svet knjige, Beograd, 2013, p. 24-25.
Njegovan, ibid., p. 255.
12 Ibid.
11

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

churches and monasteries, and the genocidal crimes were followed by the
deportation of Serbs from their property and the colonization of Croats onto
the stolen property.
In addition to being sent to Jasenovac, the execution by shooting in Dudik
near the town of Vukovar and in the town of Sremska Mitrovica, the peak of
the genocide against the Serbs was the action by Viktor Tomi in August and
September of 1942. Theses cases show that the truth about the genocide
cannot be killed or forgotten.
The initiative for the massacre in Srem was given by Ante Paveli himself on
August 15, 1942, as a part of a programme implemented simultaneously on
Mount Kozara. He stated in his statement that in areas where there was an
enemy, the enemy was to be destroyed ...13 and that they shall leave no trace
of them. He ended his speech with: There will be no stone left unturned,
and the Croatian state will be cleared and secured.14
In the action by Viktor Tomi, 1,212 people were murdered, while 422 went
missing. In other crimes, 2,548 people were hurt, while the damage amounted
to 236,076,714 of the pre-war value dinars.15 However, as the lists of victims
from the districts of Zemun, Stara Pazova, Sremska Mitrovica, Ruma, Irig
and Sremski Karlovci were missing, the total number of people killed and
missing was assumed to be about 6,000, and hurt in other crimes to about
10,000 people.16
The crime by the NDH, which was created as an expression of the historical
tendency of the Croatian people in Srem, and in other areas that were
occupied by the Croats behind the Wehrmacht and the Italian Royal Army,
in addition to being the state crime, was a crime of the people. This is an
eternal fact that stretches onwards from the 16th and 17th century, when the
crime was announced, to the modern day.

13

Drago Njegovan (ed.), Zloini okupatora i njihovih pomagaa u Vojvodini, Vol. V, Novi
Sad, 2009, p. 29.
14 Ibid., p. 30.
15 Ibid., p. 121.
16 Ibid.

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The slaughter of the Serbs executed in April 1941, and later in that year, and
then in the fall of 1942, committed by the Croats with the great help of the
Volkdeutsche, served the destruction of the biological substance of the
Serbian people in Srem, alongside with the destruction of their cultural
monuments and spirituality, as well as written traces on the existence of them
as people.
Victims have not been listed ever since, not even today, and the only thing
that reminds of them are tomb stones in cemeteries, a memorial plaque here
and there on the buildings in which the victims resided before destruction,
and monuments to Partisan fighters against fascism, which actually hide a
history of genocide against the Serbs in Srem, and it was similar in other
areas that came under the Croatian occupation.
These monuments are an attempt at creating ideological awareness of antifascism in the Yugoslav peoples and nationalities, including the Croats, and
they are somewhat vague and certainly do not indicate the passionate Greater
Croatianism and the movement of the knife towards the throats of the Serbs,
as well as the aim to create an ethnically pure Roman Catholic Croatia.
Hiding the genocide against the Serbs in Srem, which was completed under
the influence and ideological pressure of the Croatian-Communist leadership
of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia/ Communist Union of Yugoslavia, is a
subsequent murder of the victims.
Undeserved oblivion of the genocide against the Serbs in Srem during the
Croatian occupation and annexation of the Serb territory by the NDH served
the purpose of hiding the atrocities for national and political reasons, very
important for the Croats. We emphasise that Yugoslavia continued the war
against the Axis powers to which the NDH belonged, also after the
capitulation of its army on April 17, 1941. This means that Yugoslavia was at
war with the NDH and its legal army in the field fulfilled its responsibilities
in terms of occupation and the imposed civil war.
This raises the question of re-examining the role of the Partisan movement
led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia during the war against the Axis
powers, and the NDH along with them. What is the role of the Communist
Party of Yugoslavia in hiding crimes against the Serbs? What is the role of
the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in hiding crimes in Srem and how does

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this affect the identity of Srem and the Serbian people who have lived there
from the very beginnings, and who have enriched it with their civilization
characteristics? Does this hiding of the crimes of the Croats as a people, and
the Roman-Catholic church represent the permanent acceptance of the
results of genocide? The answer to these questions still has not been given!
According to the Act by the Ordinariate of the town of akovo of 8 June 1942
addressed to the State Commission of the Croatian National Museum, the
Serbian Churches were turned into the Roman Catholic Churches in Srem in
the following places: Tenja, Dalj, Markuica, Belo Brdo, Borovo Selo, Trpinja
and Paetin.17 This is not the final number. To the said number there should
be added the churches in the localities of Bobota, Brsadin, Budimci, Dopin,
Koprivna, epin, epinski Martinci and Markuica.18
The destiny of the Serbs in Srem is permanently bound with its spiritual
development in the area from Vukovar to Zemun and to the destiny of its
national and political unity. It is important to emphasise this when discussing
the genocide against the Serbs in Srem and the results of this Croatian crime,
since that nowadays the state union of Serbia is being interfered with, and
local history separatism is being encouraged which cuts the artery of its
national development and the entire cultural heritage.
We have listed the physical destruction of the Serbs, and then the
Catholicising and the abduction of the Serb shrines, churches and spiritual
heritage. That is why we say that we cannot be the Serbs if we continue to
reject the national stand, the same as during the time of the CroatianCommunist dictatorship, and talk about the genocide as the deed performed
by the fascist occupiers without the stating exactly the full name of the people
who committed the genocide against the Serbs, as a national collective, and
in the case of Srem, the deed performed by the Croats and Roman Catholic
Church!
The Jews, when they speak about the Holocaust, name the Germans and the
Croats, and also some other nations as the Nazis, with full respect of those
who more or less rescued individuals and groups of those who were
17 Veljko . uri, Prekrtavanje Srba u Nezavisnoj Dravi Hrvatskoj. Prilozi za istoriju
verskog genocida, Beograd, 1991, p. 110.
18 Ibid., p. 111.

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designated for extermination. The Jews clearly designate the Croats,


Hungarians, Uniats and Roman Catholic Ukrainians, who acted the same way
the Croats did against the Serbs. They are not timid or hesitant to point a
finger towards the criminal national collective.
The investigation of the tragic destiny of the Sremians, and also of the Serbs
from other areas who ended in the Jadovno camp, the island of Pag, the
Jasenovac camp, the Stara Gradika camp and other places of execution such
as wells in Slavonia and karst caves in the region of Lika and Herzegovina,
under the Croatian occupiers, present a challenge to civilisation. The answer
needs to be provided without disregarding the views of what has contributed
to waiting so long to establish the truth about the Croatian genocide against
the Serbs from 1941 to 1945. Of course, the research should be extended, and
it should give the answer why this genocide has not been systematically
studied after 1945, and who has been hiding it!
Truth be told, the genocide was not defined legally and ethically at the
international level until 1946, although the term appeared in the international
community during the time of the Serbian-Turkish wars in 1876-1877 as a
description of the conduct of the Turkish military against the Serbian population in the area where military operations took place. The lack of a
definition as it was determined in 1946 does not mean that a crime of
genocide cannot be talked about, before it is officially defined, in terms of
what constitutes it.
Genocide is followed by conviction and sentence, however, the conviction
and sentence never reached the Croatian national collective, much less the
Roman Catholic Church in Croatia, nor was the process of de-Ustashasation
of Croatia completed, that is, of denazification, as in the case of Germany.
The Serbs of Srem were victims to Roman Catholic proselyte policy and
Croats as a national collective. The congregation for the propagation of the
faith since 1622 determined the destiny of the victims!
But what happened after 1945? The Serbs, in the imposed CroatianCommunist regime, which was named for the social revolution, suffered a
denial of the legitimacy of their survival on the Serb territories in the most
catholic Monarchy, and the contribution to its destruction from 1914 to 1918
in which the Sremians participated! In order to elaborate more let us add the

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following here: The Communist Party of Yugoslavia, which was created


shortly after the liberation and the unification of the South Slavs in 1918,
imposed on Serbs the guilt for Greater State ideas on the grounds of the antiSerb propaganda by the Austrian and German Socialists until 1914, just
because they wanted to do so, and implemented the national unification so
that they would be equal with others, as a nation, the equals with equals.
The position of Austrian and German socialists was shown in October 1912
by Leo Trocky, as a correspondent of Vienna newspapers, in his reports
during the Balkan War, and depicting the Serb soldiers in Skopje as arsonists,
robbers and murderers. He repeated this view in his collected works
published before he was deported from the Soviet Union in 1929.
Leo Trocky, the key figure of the Russian Revolution, introduced the standpoint of the Austrian social-democracy on the Serbs in the Cominterna,
which fought against the imperialism, first the Russian one, and then the Serb
one! His attitude was fully embraced by the Frankists Croats who happened
to be in Russia during the revolution, and who, as noticed by writer Stanislav
Vinaver, all became Bolsheviks!
The Serb communists never questioned the unification of the Serbs as a
people; rather, they accepted the Great Croatian programme to the solution
of the Croatian and Slovenian national issues. By accepting the Communist
Party programme for solving the Croatian and Slovenian national issues, the
Serb communists extended the life of the Austrian-German propaganda on
the Greater Serbia, and adopted it as their Marxist, principal, class and
ideological stance.
This lack of interest in the solution to the Serb national question allowed for
Srem to be for a while in the jurisdiction of the General Headquarters of the
People's Liberation Army of Croatia, during the NDH and the movement for
the defense of life and property of the Serbs from the Croatian army and the
Ustasha of Srem. Thus, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, in addition to
the tacit recognition of the subjugation of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers, also
performed the cancellation of the decision on the unification of Srem with
Serbia in 1918.
The situation staged in the above manner made it easier for the Croats to
continue with ethnic cleansing after the cessation of the war operations, first

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by the Germans, who were designated by allies as collectively guilty for the
sufferings of the war in Europe, and then by the Czechs and Poles, whose
colonies existed in the region of Slavonia. The Croatian communists generously offered, and the Croatian-Communists leadership accepted that the
Czechs and the Poles return to their country of origin. These migrations
affected the Czechs and Poles living in Srem. After calming the war activities,
the Roman Catholic Church continued its Croatian-centered pressure on all
Roman Catholics in Srem, in Serbia, for their Croatisation. The crime of
genocide continued with the ideological pressure, and it can be concluded
that the tragedy of the Serbs in Srem from 1941 to 1945 has not been
overcome yet, and will be overcome only when the Serbs as a nation come
clean out of their affair with the Croatian-Communism, carry out an
analysis of the National Liberation War and all aspects of the civil war that
followed it, and finally reject Titoism.

283

PhD Michael Pravica

WHY JASENOVAC STILL MATTERS

I have been an activist for over 22 years seeking to tell the world the truth
of the genocide of Serbian Orthodox Christians, Jews and Gypsies that was
perpetrated within the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during WWII
commencing in 1941 when Yugoslavia was invaded and subsequently
occupied and dismantled by the Nazis. This real genocide was judged as such
as Nuremberg and was one of the most savage in human history [1-7]. The
Serbs were second to only the Jews in the proportional loss of their
population during 1941-1945. There are few Serbs alive today who did not
lose a family member during this genocide, and it is the memories of this
genocide that continue to haunt the Balkans as the single most unresolved
issue there. It is this unacknowledged and unresolved genocide, more than
anything else (including Western efforts to breakup Yugoslavia), that
resulted in the rapid collapse Yugoslavia: once a picturesque, peaceful and
multiethnic anchor of stability in the Balkans as the largest and most
populous nation in Southeast Europe.
As a Serbian-American whose grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated to North America from Yugoslavia, I too lost relatives in this genocide
of Serbians. My parents, however, chose not to discuss the genocide with me
perhaps because they perhaps didnt feel that I was mature enough to
understand the idea that human beings can kill other human beings for the
sake of their religious orientation and culture, turning into animals
overnight. [In fact, animals dont even do what the Croatian Ustashe and
Bosnian Muslims Handzars did]. Perhaps, too, as it is with many Serbians,
endeavoring to explain this horrible episode of human history was much too

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exhausting (as writing this piece was for me) especially for inquisitive
children.
It was when I first traveled to Yugoslavia in 1988 as a Paul Studenski
Memorial Scholarship recipient from Caltech that I really learned about the
genocide of Serbians. I visited Jasenovac, the third largest concentration
camp in Europe [2-7]. I visited Kraguejevac, where some 500 schoolchildren
and their teachers were massacred in cold blood by the Nazis. I saw a
memorial to over 68 members of my Mothers family in Lika, Croatia. I saw
a destroyed Serbian Orthodox Church near there which, I was told, was left
in ruins, untouched, as a reminder to the Croatian Serbs of what befell them
during WWII. I learned that the Serbians had endured untold suffering and
punishment for resisting the Nazis and realized that few outside of
Yugoslavia knew of this tragic reality. As an American, acclimated to the
notion of freedom of cultural expression and freedom of religious
orientation, witnessing these remnants of the effects of fascism impacted me
so deeply that I will never forget them for as long as I live.
When civil war engulfed Yugoslavia, catalyzed by the illegal and premature
recognition of Croatia and Slovenia by Germany and the Vatican, I quickly
realized that the entire story of the fratricidal bloodletting was just not being
accurately told by the Western corporate-controlled mainstream media.
Worse yet, whenever mention was made of the unacknowledged genocide of
Serbs in WWII, along with the fact that the Croatian government was
resurrecting the fascist and racist symbols, and rhetoric of this most
shameful period in Croatian history, pseudo-intellectuals would say: thats
ancient history! However, as one who grew up in a very Jewish
neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs, I knew enough that the WWII-era
genocide was not considered ancient history to them and no one would dare
to diminish their Holocaust with this insult especially as there are extant
survivors. Thus, observing that something was fundamentally wrong in the
reporting of the Yugoslav civil wars and that there was much ignorance
(whether willful or not) amidst policymakers, journalists, and members of
the Western public [8], I embarked on a journey to tell the story of the
suffering of Serbs both in WWII and in the recent wars to the Englishspeaking world as an activist.

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Based on the many people I have met on all sides of this story and based on
the stories associated with my confronting and seeking to expose this
genocide, I could write a book. However, for the sake of this short conference
paper, I will merely discuss a select few of my experiences in the hope of
provoking debate and public interest in this largely unknown Balkan
catastrophe. I also hope to share some of my strategies for defeating antiSerbian lies.
Many Western organizations and governments have sought to minimize and
play down this genocide starting with the Vatican. The Vaticans early
support of Ante Pavelic and his Ustashe are well documented [3-4, 9-11]. The
Vatican has yet to acknowledge its role in the mass slaughter of up to one
million Serbian Orthodox Christians let alone open up its archives. The
ratlines established after the war that helped dozens of Catholic clergy,
many of whom were Ustashe war criminals, and the Ustashe leadership (such
as Dr. Ante Pavelic, the Croatian Fuhrer) are slowly being exposed [9-11].
This historical fact is proof that the Vatican had and continues to have much
at stake in hiding its role in one of the worst religiously-inspired genocides
in human history. The fact that the Vatican illegally and prematurely
recognized Croatias independence before issues of minority rights in
Croatia and Slovenia could be satisfactorily addressed, as well as the fact that
the Vatican openly supported intervention against the Serbs [12] is definitive
proof of the Vaticans hatred and jealousy of Orthodox Christians just as Cain
was jealous of Abel. The fact that Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, the WWII leader
of the Croatian Catholic Church. has been beatified by Pope John Paul II [1314] speaks volumes about the Catholic Churchs desire not to heal past
wounds and not come to terms with the past. Beatifying Cardinal Stepinac,
who was tried as a war criminal in Yugoslavia and at the very least did
absolutely nothing to save Serbs let alone speak out against the atrocities, is a
direct slap in the face to Orthodox Christians and will forever prevent
reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Christian
Church. This insult is often used as a reason for true Christians to disdain
ecumenism. There is even a high school in New York and a Catholic Church
in Chicago shamefully named after this war criminal [15-16]! Imagine how
the Jews would feel if there were an Adolf Hitler or Heinrich Himmler
High School? When I brought up these issues on a national Catholic radio
program to a Catholic Bishop, he had no answer for me he literally told me
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that he didnt know how to respond to my question. This is the problem when
you try to debate this issue. No Western mainstream leader wants to talk
about it because the truth of this genocide is so sinister, so vile, and so
damning that it would shame even the most corrupt and hardened criminals
as even the Nazis were shocked by the sheer brutality of the mass slaughter
of Serbs in the NDH. Thus, it has been suppressed and whitewashed. It has
been relativized. It has been denied. It is in this spirit that I embarked on an
effort to expose the truth. It is the disdain for and unwillingness to confront
the truth in societies that has been a prime reason for their downfall in the
past and endless conflict.
I have publicly (via written letters [17-19]) asked the Vatican to acknowledge,
apologize for, and compensate the victims of this genocide but have not
received any response and of course dont expect one. It took the Catholic
Church some 500 years before apologizing for nearly burning Galileo at the
stake. I hope that Serbians will not have to wait this long for their apology.
With so much anti-Serbian propaganda and so much hatred instilled in the
Balkan people to divide and conquer them, we need to go to the root causes
of this fratricidal violence to resolve them. This must begin with the Vatican.
I thereby, yet again, publicly call upon the Vatican to open up its archives and
acknowledge the role that Pope Pius XII and others had in initiating and
fomenting this anti Orthodox Christian pogrom. I also wish to caution my
fellow Orthodox Christians who are being tricked by the false promises of
Ecumenism. We Orthodox Christians have nothing to compromise
nothing to change about our Faith, which was handed down to us by Jesus
Christ. It is the Catholic Church that has strayed from Orthodoxy not vice
versa. We also should be wary of false leaders who try to surreptitiously and
forcefully convert all humanity to believe in one all encompassing world
religion so that they can enslave the world via a globalist one world
government. Beyond this, how can Orthodox Christians serve with Catholic
leaders who a mere 70 years ago slaughtered up to one million Serbian
Orthodox Christians and forcibly converted some 200,000 of them to
Catholicism [2-7]? Forgiveness can be granted but only once it is honestly
sought. I do not condemn Catholics but am merely asking millions of good
Catholics to learn about this horrible genocide of Orthodox Christians, Jews
and Gypsies and call upon them to pressure the Vatican to admit the truth of

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its role in inciting this anti-Christian genocide, which was a classic case of
Cain slaying Abel [20].
Next, I will move onto the problem of the denial of this genocide amongst a
large fraction of Croatian society [21-23]. Recent news of a member of the
Croatian soccer team shouting WWII slogans Za Dom, Spremni! [24], and a
Croatian rock star named Thompson singing songs glorifying the
Croatian Ustashe slaughtering Serbs [25] at his lackluster concerts
demonstrates the sickening and amazing state of denial that many Croatians
are in their unwillingness to acknowledge the fascist past of Croatia. This is
of course not true with all Croatians but where are the voices of dissent in
Croatian society? Are they censored or persecuted and bullied into silence by
the ruling majority as dissenting voices are often treated here in the US?
With any other targeted ethnic group, the Western nations that purport
tolerance would have arrested these clowns but not with the persecuted
Serbs. In the Western press, racism against Serbians is accepted and even
encouraged. One letter I had published in the Washington Times some years
ago pertaining to the Holocaust of Serbians [26] and it created such a stir that
the Croatian Ambassador to the US responded to it with his own letter
entitled: Historical myth-making about Croatia serves the Serbs [22]. So
what exactly about this genocide was a myth? When the Croatian
Ambassador and other Croatian leaders such as Dr. Franjo Tudjman
desperately try to deny reality and try to change history, it should come as
no surprise that a large fraction of Croatian society will continue to deny that
500,000 1,000,000 Serbians perished in the NDH during WWII. So, my
story begins with a letter that I had published in the New York Times [27]. I
was unaware of the attempt at historical revision until a vicious response to
my letter was published by C. Michael McAdams [21] which claimed that I
tried to tar all Croatians with the shame of this genocide. The letter also
took issue with my claim (backed up by many historical references) of
750,000 Serbian victims (an average between 500,000 and 1,000,000). The
letter was published on Orthodox Good Friday. Many Serbians and nonSerbians who were aware of the Holocaust of Serbians were very upset at
this blatant attempt to revise history and a large campaign was waged to
refute this letter, which was successful [28]. It was during this effort that I
read much on the Holocaust and realized even more the need to speak out

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about it whenever possible. The key strategies employed by revisionists are


as follows:
1. Minimize and question the numbers of victims. Anything that dares
to criticize Croatia is called a myth.
2. Speak only of Jasenovac and not the other dozens of concentrations
camps throughout the NDH to give the impression that most of the
murders occurred there.
3. Call anyone who dares to challenge these revisionist claims a Serb
propagandist telling myths.
4. Try to claim that the Serbian Chetniks (Royalists) were fascists just
as the Ustashe and also committed genocide. Bring up the
executions at Bleiburg as an example of moral equivalence.
5. Whenever anything is published on the genocide, attack it and insult
the messenger. Use the fear of lawsuits claiming defamation of the
entire Croatian people such as the recent lawsuit against Bob Dylan.
6. Claim that the Croats fought as partisans as well and thus paint the
Ustashe as a fringe organization that did not embody the aspirations
and feelings of the vast majority of Croats.
7. Serbia had a Nazi-quisling government led by Milan Nedic and
Dimitrje Ljotic.
8. Always discuss the alleged genocide of Bosnian Muslims in
Srebrenica to distract attention away from the real genocide of WWII.
9. Anything that happened in WWII is ancient history.
10. Never let Serbs speak. Always find a non-Serb to posit the Serbian
point of view.
Under normal, fair, and properly intellectual circumstances of true debate,
these immature and wholly pseudo-intellectual arguments can be easily
demolished. However, tragically, the Serbian voice and for that matter, the
truth, have been largely censored and assassinated in the Western corporatecontrolled mainstream media. There is no debate about this issue in the West
only censorship of the Serbs, highly controlled release of information, and
historical revisionism. Thus anti-Serbian voices are quickly promoted in the
spirit that a lie told one thousand times over and over again becomes the
truth. To give but one example of this, the New York Times organized a
forum for Bosnia and various Croat activists would conduct multiple post

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hits barbarically insulting anyone who dared to speak the truth. They
would rapidly make five or so of the same attack posts which the New York
Times staff never removed. However, I once accidentally posted a comment
twice and, almost immediately my second repeat posting was removed!
Despite this massive unprecedented censorship of any points of view that the
US State Department didnt want Americans to hear, we were modestly
successful in getting an alternative point of view expressed in radio,
television, and print media all over the English-speaking world.
I will now defeat each of these strategic/propaganda points one-by-one:
To address the first point, I typically explain that even the bloodthirsty Nazis
estimated that at least 350,000 Serbians who perished at the hands of the
Croatian Ustashe [28]. They were fearful that these slaughters would drive
Serbs into the ranks of the Partisans which is exactly what happened and this
ultimately led to Hitlers demise. The key point is that many of the victims
did not perish in concentration camps. They were slaughtered in the villages
where they lived tricked by formerly friendly neighbors out of hiding or
into disarming. Many were thrown into pits deep caverns such as in
Medjugorje [29] which, magically, became a money-making fraud [29]. Many
victims were buried alive and crushed with tanks afterwards. Only God really
knows how many Serbians were massacred by the Croatian Ustashe and
Bosnian Muslim Handzars, but every Serbian I have ever met has a story to
tell about some close relative a grandfather, uncle, etc. who were
murdered. Im sorry to Croat leaders but thats not a myth and that will
someday provoke yet more tragic wars in the Balkans. At the very least,
hundreds of thousands of Serbians were slaughtered by the Croatian Ustashe
and their fanatical helpers.
The second point relates to the first. By focusing solely on Jasenovac, antiSerb revisionists have sought to remove discussion of the hundreds of
thousands of Serbs who were murdered throughout the entire NDH. Dozens
of concentration camps existed outside of Jasenovac in places such as Stara
Gradista, Donja Gradina, and Jadovno. Even Jasenovac was not just one camp
but a network of camps such as the Sisak concentration camp dedicated solely
for children where thousands of children perished. To have formerly
communist Dr. Franjo Tudjman claim that only 70,000 inmates perished in
Jasenovac [23] demonstrates the desperate state of denial that many Croat
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leaders are in. and their pathetic attempts at revisionism. How one could have
essentially a nation defined in its hatred of Serbs and dedicated to eradicating
all Serbs from its territory without so many ordinary Croat helpers is
completely illogical.
The third point needs very little introduction. This is a standard propaganda
trick to try to dehumanize and discount any legitimate arguments from your
enemy. I personally heard Croatian professor Ivo Banac from Yale University
call a friend of mine (who questioned some of his immature and pseudointellectual arguments about how many Croats were partisans) a Serb
propagandist at a Serb-bashing conference at Wellesley College. This
conference (organized by Thomas Cushman), was so anti-Serb that when we
made this point publicly, an American professor of anthropology there who
had been asked to give a Serbian point of view felt sorry for us and agreed
that the conference had no intellectual merit whatsoever. That sums up all of
my interactions with Croat extremists they just dont know how to debate
and try to give emotional, insulting, distracting, and threatening arguments
instead of properly deal with the truth.
For the fourth point, I will say the following: War is always hell and bad
things happen to good people. Whatever rogue units of Draza Mihailovics
armies committed out of revenge or whatever atrocities were falsely
attributed to the Chetniks, there cannot be any comparison between the
Chetniks and the Ustase as Serbia was forcefully and brutally Nazi-Occupied.
Few Serbs dared to open their shutters when Hitlers armies entered
Belgrade where as Croatia was a Nazi-puppet. There is footage on Youtube
showing Croats fanatically greeting the Nazis with flowers and oranges in
Zagreb. People such as Slavko Goldstein, shamefully, have made arguments
trying to equate the Chetniks with the Ustashe [30] and this is deeply insulting
and completely ridiculous. Serbia was under the Nazi jackboot, locked in a
horrible civil war. Croatia, on the other hand, fanatically served Adolf Hitler
and was highly absorbed with a fanatical principle set forth by Mile Budak:
forcibly convert one-third of the Serbs in the NDH to Catholicism, ethnicallycleanse one-third, and wipe out the remainder [2-9]. There is plenty of
evidence that Draza Mihajlovic fought the invading Nazis and was
posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit for saving over 600 Allied pilots
and support staff (gunners, etc), 500 of whom were Americans. Croatia, on
the other hand was at war with the Americans. Serbs never killed Americans
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even when they were being viciously and illegally bombed by them in 1999.
Croatians and Bosnian Muslims, on the other hand, have slaughtered
Americans [31-33]. In fact, as far as I know, Croatias declaration of war
against America from WWII was never rescinded. It was Draza Mihailovich
who was betrayed by America and the West when Churchill decided to
support half-Croat/half-Slovene communist dictator Josip Broz Tito [34]. The
victor has done a great job in wrongly portraying his enemy here and thereby
desecrating/rewriting history. The truth has merely been assassinated.
Whenever I would present these points of view, I would often hear of people
mentioning Bleiburg as again some sort of bizarre equivalence where
innocent Croats suffered at the hands of the Serbs (vis a vis the Partisans). Of
course, the vast majority of the refugees who were stopped at Bleiburg in the
wake of the advancing Partisans were Ustashe soldiers, many of whom had
slaughtered Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Im sorry that some innocent civilians
may have been executed but war, as I said, war is a horrible thing. But to
compare the alleged execution of some 10,000- 30,000 Ustashe troops and
their followers to the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and
Gypsies demonstrates the complete lack of reality that many revisionists live
in.
Related to point five, the recent frivolous lawsuit brought against Bob Dylan
for merely stating that: Serbs can sense Croatian blood [30] is a pictureperfect example of the sensitivity that many Croats have pertaining to the
genocide conducted in the NDH. Just as half-Croat Yugoslav dictator Tito
forbade discussion of this genocide in Yugoslavia, many Croat leaders simply
hope that by preventing discussion of this largely unknown genocide (outside
of Yugoslavia), it will be forgotten as Adolf Hitler once remarked: who
remembers the Armenian genocide. Thus, the effort to somehow
desperately claim that by discussing this real and documented genocide of
Serbs, you are defaming all Croats is ludicrous and immature. The only way
to heal these ever deepening wounds and chasm between Serbs and Croats is
to openly discuss this tragic issue, come to terms with what happened,
apologize and beg forgiveness of the families of the victims. Dylan is 100
percent correct: Serbs fear Croats [27]. Of course, not all Croats are bad just
as not all Serbs are good, but the fact remains. Croatia has yet to come to
terms with it s fascist past and until this tiny, internally tormented nation
does, Serbs will be fearful of Croats.
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A blessed friend of mine, Julia Gorin remarked to me that when she had an
op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun on the genocide in the NDH [35], and
my letter thanking Julia [36], the editor there had never had so much vicious
and vitriolic response from Croats ever in the history of that newspaper [37].
This is what denial is all about.
Revisionists try to cover up Ustashe crimes by claiming that there were antifascist Partisans (point six). Of course, this is true. However, two issues need
to be raised here The first is how many of these Partisans joined after 1943
during the Nazi defeat at Stalingrad where Hitlers demise was inevitable.
Second, there couldnt have been that many Croatian Partisans as the Ustashe
wouldnt have had so much success slaughtering nearly one million Serbians,
Jews and Gypsies. The Ustashe movement may have started out as a fringe
movement that was coddled and nurtured by Mussolini and the Vatican; but
it would never have been so successful if a majority of Croats didnt resent
Serbs. Thats a fact! Im sorry to be so brutally honest! On top of that, Serbs
(even after the genocide of them) constituted over 43 percent of Yugoslavias
population. Josip Broz Tito would never have succeeded to control
Yugoslavia without the majority of his forces comprising Serbs. Yes, there
certainly were Croats, Bosniaks, Jews and others who were Partisans and
who contributed to the anti-fascist struggle. But the majority of Partisans
were Serbs, my distant relatives included. The Ustashe were not a fringe
group but controlled the NDH period!
Related to this issue,, many revisionists repeatedly bring up the fact that
General Milan Nedic declared Serbia Judenfrei (point seven) [21-22].
Again, we have revisionism here as it was the Nazis who instituted the
genocidal pogroms against Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies. Nedic, though a
collaborationist on paper, was working under a highly distressed situation
where Serbia was occupied by the Nazis and trying to save his people from
annihilation considering the Nazi edict that 100 Serbs would be murdered
for every Nazi soldier killed and 50 Serbs would be murdered for ever Nazi
soldier wounded. There were no similar edicts in Croatia against the Croatian
people or against the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). The Serbs had absolutely
no power in Serbia and thus had no control over the deportation of Jews. In
fact, numerous Serbian families suffered heavily for protecting Jews. The
key here to the strategy of the revisionists is to somehow desperately try to

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equate Nazi-puppet Croatia, a willing waterboy for the Nazis with Nazioccupied Serbia which suffered greatly from resisting the Nazis.
Notice here that when convenient, revisionists use the Partisans as a cloak
to claim that they helped fight the Nazis but then they claim persecution from
those very Partisans at Bleiburg! So which is it going to be? As we commonly
witness with revisionists, the truth is distorted and twisted to conform to a
particular agenda. When the truth cannot be bent it is merely discarded,
ignored, and censored.
Points eight and nine are of deep significance because the West has been
trying to hide the shameful crimes (organized in the name of fascism)
committed against the Serbian people in WWII by calling it ancient history
and by distracting the greatest unresolved issue by focusing on the alleged
massacre of Bosnian Muslim men, teenage boys and imported Mujahadeen
fighters.. That these fighters massacred hundreds if not thousands of Bosnian
Serbian civilians in the many picturesque hamlets surrounding Srebrenica
and that they did not surrender to the Bosnian Serb troops has been severely
censored in the West. How the Bosnian Serb neutralization of the safe
haven of Srebrenica was judged as genocide by a kangaroo court
established to blame the Serbian people for everything bad that happened in
the breakup of Yugoslavia is honestly beyond me. Did the Serbs do terrible
things in the name of revenge? Probably. Does this constitute genocide? I
dont think so. On top of that, new revelations indicate that many of the
victims were murdered by their own fighters []. In the case of Srebrenica, at
least the women and real children were spared. In the NDH, children
(including unborn infants literally cut out from the womb), mothers,
grandmothers and Grandfathers were all mercilessly slaughtered by the
inhuman and anti-Christian Ustashe many were even skinned alive. This
was a true genocide and true savagery. Though the Srebrenica issue is still
very much unresolved with far less bodies discovered (even more than 10
years) than the incessantly figure of 8000 desperately parroted by the
corporate controlled media. And even if this figure is ultimately found to be
accurate some centuries from now, it will never compare to the roughly one
million Serbians, 70,000 Jews and some 26,000 Gypsies all murdered in cold
blood by the Croatian Ustashe and Bosnian Muslim Handzars. This
relativization of the Holocaust cheapens the true human suffering that
occurred a mere 70 years ago by seeking moral equivalence and
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comparison with one of the most bloodthirsty episodes in human history


(WWII) and a highly contained (even if nasty) civil war that broke up
Yugoslavia. Past crimes of course never justify current ones. However, if we
are to understand why Yugoslavia fell apart so easily and so violently, we
must start with the genocide of WWII, which lingers in the mind of every
Serb to this day.
The final point (ten) is one that I have been fighting against for over 22 years:
the censorship of the Serbian people, Serbian-Americans, and all those
human beings whose viewpoints differ from what the US State Department
wants you to hear [38]. In todays era, heavily influenced by Goebbels, the
story is spun, manufactured, and paid for. We do not live in an era of debate
and true intellectualism but rather, in an era of highly controlled
information. Similarly to controlled media in communist societies, the West
has been systematically filtering out information that shows the culpability
of Western institutions and nations (such as the Vatican and Germany) in one
of the most horrific genocides of human history. As a result, history is
repeating itself in Europe because of historical amnesia. The victim is called
the victimizer and vice versa. The Holocaust has been used for political and
emotional purposes and, as a result, its singular uniqueness has been
cheapened. Revisionists in Croatia and elsewhere in the world desperately
hope that we will forget the Holocaust of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies in the NDH
by using dirty and deceitful tricks. Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito
deliberately and severely suppressed any discussion of Jasenovac, and, as a
result, WWII is still unfinished in the Balkans which may lead to WWIII soon.
This unresolved business was the plan all of Western elites all along as it is
in their interest to divide and conquer the Balkans by pitting the ethnicallyrelated factions comprising Yugoslavia against one another and keeping them
at one anothers throats. In my opinion, a truth commission comprised of all
of the different warring factions in the former Yugoslavia should be formed
with its mission being to decipher and discern as much truth of this horrific
genocide as possible. I would personally be happy to debate anyone who
wants to resolve this issue in the spirit of encouraging reconciliation between
people but we will have to go the distance. The debate should be open, safe,
civil and should continue for as long as it takes. No insults, no savagery. No
yelling. Only the truth, please. The Balkans continues to be haunted by the

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ghosts of WWII and this will make the region unstable for decades if not
centuries to come if we cannot resolve this genocide.
The fact remains, in the words of my good friend, John Ranz, President of
the Buchenwald Holocaust survivors, Croatia was never de-Nazified. The
Vatican and other Western organizations made certain of that by spiriting
many of the upper echelons of the Ustashe leadership (including Ante
Pavelic) and Catholic priests who slaughtered innocents. These criminals
have returned from exile to the scene of their crimes only to repeat them.
This is what happens when a day of reckoning is delayed. Croatia stands as
Europes most ethnically and religiously pure nation (excepting the
pseudo-nation of Kosovo) to the shame of the West. Whitewashing and
sanitizing the history of the Independent State of Croatia was necessary by
those who seek to continue where they left off 70 years ago and finish off the
job that was started by Mile Budak and others to make Croatia (and Bosnia)
Serbien- and Juden-frei. This is unacceptable! As we are witnessing a
repetition of history with the resurrection of fascism in Europe, we would all
do well to remember and document what transpired in the NDH starting with
Jasenovac. Never before has the slogan never again been so relevant for the
entire world.

REFERENCES:
A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Fred Singleton, Cambrige University Press
(1985).

The Vaticans Holocaust, Avro Manhattan Ozark Books; First edition (1988).
Genocide In Satellite Croatia, 1941-1945: A Record Of Racial And Religious Persecutions
And Massacres, Edmond Paris and Lois Perkins, Literary Licensing, LLC (2011).
The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Vladimir Dedijer, Prometheus Books (1992).
Ustasa: Croatian Fascism and European Politics, 1929-1945, Srdja Trifkovic and Thomas
Fleming, The Lord Byron Foundation (2011).

Visions of Annihilation: The Ustasha Regime and the Cultural Politics of Fascism, 19411945 (Pitt Russian East European), University of Pittsburgh Press (2013).
Magnum Crimen (Magnum Crimen: half a century of clericalism in Croatia, Volume 1 & 2),
Viktor Novak, 1st Ed., Gambit publishers (2011).

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Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting. Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia, Peter Brock,
Graphics Management Press (2005).

Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and The Swiss Banks , Mark Aarons, John Loftus,
St. Martin's Griffin (1998).

Ratline: Soviet Spies, Nazi Priests, and the Disappearance of Adolf Hitler, Peter Levenda,
Ibis Press (2012).

Vatican Ratline: The Vatican, the Nazis and the New World Order, Mauri, BookSurge
Publishing (2006).
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-01-17/news/mn-2203_1_unjust-aggressor
http://www.juliagorin.com/wordpress/?p=2647
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/travels/documents/hf_jpii_hom_03101998_croazia-beatification_en.html
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blessed-Alojzije-Stepinac-Croatian-ChurchChicago/64426528729
http://www.stepinac.org/index.php
Letter: Vatican Gold, Michael Pravica, US News and World Report (4/98).
Letter: Popes Grave Mistake, Michael Pravica, Irish Examiner, 6/8/11.
Letter: Remembering Pius XII as a saint or a sinner, The Times of London, 10/24/08.
Will the Catholic Church apologize for the genocide of Serbian Orthodox Christians?
Ivan Simic, Pravda 1/18/13 (http://english.pravda.ru/history/18-01-2013/123513catholic_church_serbian_christians-0/
Letter: Serbia's Suffering in Holocaust Is Exaggerated, C. Michael McAdams, The New

York Times, 4/29/94.


Letter: Historical myth-making about Croatia serves the Serbs, Petar Sarcevic (Croatian
Ambassador to the US), The Washington Times, 9/26/94.
http://www.serbianholocaust.org/Denial 20Watch/denialwatch.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/16/sport/football/simunic-nazi-chant-ban-football/
Nazi salutes to Croatian rock star Thompson, The Telegraph (London), 9/28/07.
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1564506/Nazi-salutes-to-Croatian-rock-starThompson.html).
Letter: Serbs' concerns are the `missing link' in the Yugoslav conflict, Michael Pravica,
The Washington Times 9/3/94.
LETTER: HOLOCAUST MEMORIES MAKE THE SERBS FEAR THEIR NEIGHBORS,
Michael Pravica, The New York Times, 4/17/94.

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Letter: World War II Serb Holocaust No Fiction, Nils Horner, The New York Times,
5/12/94.
Vatican Crackdown on Medjugorje, Satanic Ustashi Cult, Deconstruct.net, 9/11/08
(http://de-construct.net/e-zine/?p=2612).
Bob Dylan's Croatian Error, Op-Ed, The New York Times, 12/16/13.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Greyhound_bus_attack
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvonko_Bu C5 A1i C4 87
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_Square_shooting

The Rape of Serbia: The British Role in Tito's Grab for Power 1943-1944, Michael Lees,
Harcourt publishers (1990).
Opinion Editorial: Croatia's ghosts stalk the Balkans still, Julia Gorin, The Baltimore Sun
1/16/07
Two Letters: Saturday Mailbox, Michael Pravica and Christopher Deliso, The Baltimore

Sun, 1/20/07.
Furor of the Undead, http://de-construct.net/?p=373 1/27/07.
Letter : Serbian genocide, Dr. Michael Pravica, The Independent (London), 1/30/01.

299

Mila Mihajlovi

ARCHIVES RECORDS ON THE


MASSACRES OF SERBS IN LIKA AND
DALMATIA ACCORDING TO ITALIAN
SOURCES FROM 1941

Italy entered World War I on 24th May 1915 having signed, on 26th April of
the same year, with France, England and Russia the so-called Treaty of
London on reciprocal guarantees of safety. The Treaty, among other things,
stated that, after the war, Italy would get Istria, central Dalmatia with the
cities Zadar and ibenik and the islands. However, things did not unfold as
predicted, so Italy, a victorious country, had a so-called mutilated victory.
The territories that had been promised to it by the Treaty of London were, in
1919, in a complex game of interest and upon the intervention of U.S.
President Wilson, assigned to the new State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Italy was only given the Zadar municipality - 50 square kilometres of
territory and the island Lastovo.
However, Italy had never renounced territorial and political claims to
territory which was part of the Venetian Republic uninterruptedly for four
centuries all until 1796. An opportunity arises in 1941, so in agreement with
Germany and in order to finally resolve the Adriatic issue in its favour, on
April 11th at 12.00 a.m., Italy started the invasion of the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia.
At the start, it could be noticed that something was wrong, because the
German invasion of Carinthia and Styria began 2 days earlier than the agreed
date. However, Italy was in for a far bigger surprise. On the same day, the
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Italians find out that the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) has been
declared, completely out of the blue for the Italian Government. The
establishment of the Croatian state was the result of a secret agreement
between Germany and some Croatian leaders led by Colonel Slavko
Kvaternik, who proclaimed the NDH on Radio Zagreb on 10th April, at 5:00
p.m. This event was a surprise even for Paveli, who was still in Rome at the
time, where he spent the last 12 years in exile. However, three days later, on
Catholic Easter which, that year, was on 13th April, Italy declared Dalmatia as
its territory in the entire military occupied territory. While Paveli rushed
to Zagreb to take over power from his rival Kvaternik, who was loyal to
Germans, negotiations between Berlin and Rome about the occupied territory
and its distribution were in progress. They reached a compromise in which
Italy, under certain conditions, agreed to the existence of the NDH. After
final consultations, on 15th April at noon, via radio stations, Germany and
Italy simultaneously declared their recognition of the new Croatian State.
Paveli hurriedly returned to Rome from Zagreb and, on 18th May, signed an
agreement on borders with Mussolini, the so-called Treaties of Rome, which,
however, was never ratified by Italy, so it never became binding. In the same
way, the demarcation line was never formed.
This is what the first territorial demarcation looked like. A part of Yugoslavia
was determined as the Italian occupation zone, west of the so-called
demarcation line with the German occupation territory, which, on the whole,
went along the line Breice, Jastrebarsko, Pazin, Rovinj, Topusko, Ravnice,
aine, Jajce, Donji Vakuf, Gorade, Viegrad. This zone included territories
Italy directly annexed, a part of territory of the NDH and the territory of
Montenegro. The territory under Italian control within the NDH, which is
outside the territories which Italy directly annexed, was divided into two
zones: from the coast to the co-called demilitarised zone and from the
demilitarised zone to the demarcation line. The first stretched from the
border between the Kingdom of Italy and the demilitarised zone and went
about 50 km inland east from the Italian border and it was under Italian
military control. NDH was not allowed to form nor to keep military units of
any type or form in that zone. In the other zone, which stretched between the
demilitarised zone and the demarcation line, NDH could form and have
military units at its discretion. However, in both zones, civilian and military

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authorities were that of NDH and Italian troops were to be considered as


foreign troops stationed in a friendly country.
This was the political distinction. In practice, it was a whole different story.
There was a power struggle and the situation was utterly confusing. Ustasha
persecution of Serbs began immediately and after the Treaties of Rome (18th
May) an uncontrolled and massive exodus of Serbs and Jews toward Italian
occupation territory began, as it was reported on 19th May by the
Headquarters of the Sassari Division in Knin. This was written in connection
to those Italian documents:1
a) On 21st May, the Commander of the Sassari Division in Knin was
approached by three people, one of which was father imi, a friar, and they
informed the commander that the government in Zagreb authorised them to
take over civil authorities in Knin. After being asked what kind of policy they
had, on behalf of all three, friar imi replied: To kill all Serbs as soon as
possible. After the severity of that kind of statement and idea was
emphasised to him, all the more so because it came from a clergyman, all
three individuals started to laugh cynically.
b) In the village Veljun, in the Slunj county, Ustashas arrested an Orthodox
priest, a Serb, father Branko Dobrosavljevi and ordered him to dig a grave
for his son, who still went to secondary school. When he finished digging the
grave, Ustashas brought to him his son, so tormented that the young man
expired in agony in front of his father and his tormentors. Seeing that,
Ustashas ordered the father to give his dead son a funeral service, since he
was a priest. While giving the funeral service, father Branko passed out three
times, but Ustashas would hit him with their gunstocks and made him finish
the service after which they killed him, there, next to his son.
c) In the village Nai, on 17th June, Ustashas killed the Orthodox priest
ore Boki. The execution was witnessed by a man called Pejanovi from
the village Breica and this was how he described the priests death. The
Ustashas tied priest Boki to a tree and started to torture him. They cut off

A document of the Italian government made in September 1945 for the Peace Conference
at Versailles. The content of the documentation was taken from official military sources.

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his ears, nose, tongue and chin, stabbed his eyes and, when they realised that
he was still alive, they cut open his chest and then shot him.
e) On 1st and 2nd July, the villages Srb and Suvaja were completely destroyed
and about 3000 Serbs, residents of that area, were killed. The Ustasha
massacre in Suvaja was described in detail by the Second lieutenant of the
bersaglieri Zara battalion, Salvatore Loi, in a report, which he, together
with photographs, published in the book Jugoslavija 1941 in 1946. Second
lieutenant Loi, together with rebels and Veljko Budimir, was one of the first
to enter the devastated village. Everything was literally levelled to the
ground. Where houses used to be, there were only piles of burnt stone and
ash through which, in the gaps that the wind made, the colourful beauty of
the flooring could be discerned. The only thing left upright were chimneys.
This slaughter was only survived by one old woman. Second lieutenant Loi
took her testimony: It was night, we heard the rumble of trucks from which
Ustashas got out. They surrounded the village, blocked all the roads and
started going from house to house taking out all the men over 15 years of age:
inspection of documents - they said. They seemed serious, so no one
suspected anything. Very soon, Ustashas gathered all of them there and
grouped them - she indicated to several places where the ground was freshly
dug - and lined them up. They were first ordered to take off their shoes and
clothes. One of the Ustashas shouted: 'Are there any Catholics among you?'
About a dozen people said that they became Catholic a long time ago. 'Alright'
- replied the Ustasha - 'you are our Catholics, so you will have the privilege
to be killed last!' All the Ustashas laughed at that. Our people realised what
was about to happen to them. Lit by a few torches, the slaughter began. Those
who reacted in any way were shot in the head. Most of them had their throats
cut. The Ustashas made them shout: 'Long live Paveli!', but nobody did that.
They died calling out the names of their loved ones, screaming to us, who
were in our houses, their last words. When the women realised that all the
men of the village were killed, they knew what was in store for them and
their children. They waited for the butchers calmly, clutching their children
in their arms. The Croats came quickly. They raped the women, young and
old, and tortured the children. For them, it was amusing to kill a mother and
child, held tightly on her chest, with only one bullet. They broke children's

Salvatore Loi, Jugoslavia 1941, editor Nastro Azzurro, Torino, 1946, p. 131.

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skulls with gunstocks and the smallest ones they would grab by their legs and
smash their heads hard against the ground. Then they doused everything
with petrol and set it on fire. As they were leaving and singing, the whole
village was in flames. In the yard of my house, there was, and still is, a large
haystack. When they reached our house, I crawled and hid inside it. I could
barely breathe. I heard shots, our people wailing and moaning and also the
Ustashas' shrieks and laughter. Then, I felt the smell of smoke and I started
to suffocate. I passed out. When I regained consciousness, I started to scream
and our people, Serbs, found me. They arrived a few hours after the
massacre. It was too late. I survived because the fire didn't reach the haystack
I hid in. It couldn't get over large puddles of water. In the yard there is a well
from which many families took their water. Now, I am alone and I had a
family with around one hundred members. Veljko Budimir took Second
lieutenant Loi to the house which the fire caught partly, so it remained whole.
This is the house of the priest Dr Spavo Lavrnja - he told me - Second
lieutenant Loi continued to write down. They entered the house. On one wall,
there was a clearly visible bloody child's handprint. Exactly in this spot, the
priest's three-year-old daughter was killed. They first hanged her and then
they stabbed her with bayonets. After that they killed the priest, they broke
his skull. In the end, they killed his wife. She was heavily pregnant. While
she was alive, they ripped open her stomach, took the child out of her stomach
and threw it into the ceiling. On the ceiling there was a stain of clotted blood
- Salvatore Loi continued to write in detail and documented the slaughter
with photographs.
h) In the evening of 6th July, Italian soldiers, who were patrolling the fields
near Graac, noticed the stench of decaying flesh. They discovered that there
was a pit nearby on whose bottom there were many corpses and one man who
was still alive. Quickly, they pulled him out of the pit and put him in the
Italian military field hospital. The man told them about how Ustashas arrested
him in the evening of 1st July on the railway station in Graac, together with
9 other Serbs. During the night Ustashas took them to the pit, tied two and
two, shot them and threw them in the pit.
j) In Gospi, in August, Ustashas arrested a man called Duki, a wealthy local
Orthodox man, together with his 16-year-old son. After a few days, the
Ustashas came to Duki's wife and asked her who she liked best: her husband
or her son. Having replied that she liked her son more, the Ustashas asked
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the woman whether she would be willing to give them everything she had
and in return they would return her son to her. The woman immediately
prepared a written statement about the cession of all property. Then,
Ustashas asked her to give them her 14-year-old daughter. When the woman
objected and started to shout, Ustashas showed to the woman her son's
gauged out eyes and asked her if she recognised them.
In such circumstances, only the Italian military headquarters, especially the
headquarters of the Sassari division in Knin, were able to monitor and
document the situation which was turning into a savage massacre of the
Serbian population.
At the beginning of June, the massacre started in Knin and the surrounding
area, after the arrival of a group of Ustashas in blue uniforms which called
themselves the Execution unit.2 At the beginning of July, in a regular
logbook of the Headquarters of the Sassari Division, the following was
written: Eight Serbian peasants were taken out (by Ustashas) from a train in
the station in Zrmanja. After that the Ustashas tied them and took them to the
railway station in Graac and then to the Mountain Velebit where they were
thrown alive into a deep pit called 'Tui'. Only one of them managed to save
himself.3 The event documented in the Italian military archives records
completely coincides with the testimony of the only survivor, Nikola Kostur
from the village Vrlike, and is mentioned again in another Italian military
document which a few days later documented the testimony of an Orthodox
priest:4 The priest described the Ustasha massacre in detail. The only person
who survived is the peasant Nikola Kostur, son of Spiridon from Vrlika. The
priest also claimed that out of 43 Orthodox priests from the Bosna-Lika
Diocese only 14 were alive, that is the ones who managed to cross to Italian
territory.

US-SME (Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito - Historical Archives of the
General Staff of Italy) - Envelope 580 - Headquarters of the 6thArmy Corps - Report 30 V.P.39 - 31st May 1941.

Ibid., Envelope 580 - Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - Report 30 - V.P.39 - 31st July

1941.

Ibid., Envelope 240 - Headquarters of the Sassari Division - Report of Captain Carlo
Perusino on a conversation with a priest - V.P.86 - 3rd June 1941.

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A few days later, in Knin, Ustashas took 34 Serbs from their houses. In order
to calm them down, Ustashas told their families that they were taking them
to labour in Germany. They were taken to a bauxite mine near Drni, all tied
up with a single rope, and killed with a bullet in the back of the head.
Miraculously, three men survived. They had deep and bloody wounds on
their wrists. One of them was shot in the back. It continues: The three
survivors are Todor Novakovi, son of ore, Tode Novakovi, son of Ilija,
and Ilija Mari, son of Marko. A few days later, the latter joined the Serbs
who fled to the mountains in the Golubi area. Among the killed are: Stevo
Radi, Duan Radi and Ratko Radi - three brothers, owners of a cafe near
the railway station ipad; Mihailo Popovi, a priest in the village Polaa; Mile
Medakovi, an innkeeper from Knin; Laza Vojnovi, a salesman in a shop;
uro esi, the bother of the meat supplier for the Italian army; Ivan kari,
a postman in Vrbnik (3 km from Knin); uro Mlinarovi, a Banovina
representative; Milan ulakovi, a tobacco merchant in Knin; Ilija Orlovi;
Lazar Jegina; Spase Mitrovi, a confectioner in Knin; Boko Babi; Duan
Mari; three peasants from Kninsko Polje: Tode Kosarad, Mirko Kosaras and
ime Kalat; Nikola Olstaski, an officer of the Serbian army of Russian
descent; Jovan Cvjetkovi, a lawyer in Knin; Milan Klikov, a peasant from
Strmica; Nikola upeljak, a railway inspector; Mirko etnik, a peasant from
etna (Vrlika); Branko Bjedov, an innkeeper in Knin.5
In another document, the following is stated6: On 9th June, the news arrived
about Ustashas arresting of thirty people and taking them to an unknown
location, besides arresting thirty people in Knin and taking them to the court
prison in Gospi. The ones who, while waiting for trial, were not so lucky to
be forgotten in the hell of that prison, were taken to Velebit and thrown into
pits.
Murders were committed everywhere. An officer of the Sassari Division,
through a train window, watched Ustashas kill a young man near Gospi.7 A
day later, the Italian army recorded one event in Drni: About fifteen

Ibid.
Ibid., Envelope 582 - Headquarters of the Sassari Division - Regular logbook n. 30 - V.P.

39, 11th June 1941.

Ibid., n. 41 - V.P. 39, 12th June 1941.

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arrested Serbs, among which there were three priests, were all beaten up and
during the night taken somewhere by truck and they were never heard of
again.8
In order to clarify to Rome the unimaginable chaos which arose in the NDH
and the slaughter of the Serbian population of unprecedented proportions,
the Commander of the 2nd Army, General Vittorio Ambrosio, sent a report to
the General Staff in Rome.9 In the letter, he stressed that in Lika, where there
was the largest number of Serbs, the political-religious battle is beginning
to take gruesome aspects, because Ustashas are taking revenge and retaliation
that only existed in the darkest periods of the Middle Ages. Following the
orders of the Government and the General Staff to the Italian troops on the
ground not to intervene, general Ambrosio asked for clear instructions to
specify the line of conduct when faced with ... crimes that are currently
occurring before the eyes of all the Headquarters and troops of our army.
In Graac, Knin and Drni, numerous families of the arrested people come
in large groups every day to Italian military Headquarters, stand in front of
them and beg for the protection of their loved ones.10
In this situation, it was inevitable that a strong animosity of the Italian army
towards Ustashas and the NDH authorities developed, and even a threat of
rebellion of Italian troops on the ground, severely frustrated by the role of a
silent observer. Such a widespread feeling of Italian troops was described and
conveyed by general Monticelli, Commander of the Sassari Division, in an
in-person-only report sent on 16th June to General Renzo Dalmazzo,
Commander of 6th Army Corps. General Monticelli first described the conditions in Knin, Ustasha arrests and also his certainty that none of the arrested
people survived. Then, he went on to say that the murders were ordered
by a pseudo tribunal in Gospi only based on information of local madmen

Ibid., Envelope 582 - Headquarters of the 6thArmy Corps - Report n. 42 - V.P. 39, 13th

June 1941.

Ibid., Envelope 724 - Headquarters of the 2nd Army, General Vittorio Ambrosio to for the

Chief of General Staff - Regular logbook n. 31 - V.P. 10, 11th June 1941.

Ibid., Envelope 583 - Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - Phonogram n. 6924 - from
the Headquarteers of the 2nd Army to the Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - time 12.11
- V.P. 39, 3th June 1941.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

and most of those were vengeances of a personal nature. The General


described the inevitable response of Italian soldiers which in all officers and
soldiers instilled contempt and disgust for this scum unfit even to control
neither themselves nor others, or know how to govern in a manner worthy
of the civilized world. Every feeling of sympathy for the Croatian people is
gone since we were forced to witness such acts. Being forced to be a mere
spectator, creates a feeling that you are an accomplice of this violence and
brutality which history will, most certainly, severely condemn - General
Monticelli went on. The situation which General Monticelli described was
absolutely true, as was his prediction, which was even more dangerous for a
commander: the risk of mutiny in the troops. Your Excellency, I wish to
clearly present to you my impressions, as a man and as a soldier, because I
feel that, despite the deep-seated sense of discipline in me and my officers
and soldiers, as well as our will to always honour the orders of our superior
officers, I am not able to guarantee that it will be so in the face of violence
that is committed in our presence, to guarantee that my soldiers will not
intervene vigorously to the massacres, which could hurt the Croatian
hypersensitivity and their sense of being local 'masters'.
Commander of the 6th Army Corps, General Renzo Dalmazzo, together with
his own approving comment, forwarded the report to the Headquarters of
the 2nd Army and the Governor of Dalmatia. In his letter to Governor
Bastianini, to what General Monticelli wrote, he added: Old and proven
battalion commanders, soldiers of proven abilities and character, are asking
to be, together with their units, sent to any other front line, to the most
difficult preparation and duties, the worst places, only not to stay there and
be forced to helplessly watch, as they do now, crimes of all kinds.
The Governor immediately forwarded General Monticelli's report and
General Dalmazzo's letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Along with that,
he also added several significant Carabinieri daily reports about Ustasha
exploits against Serbian civilians and warned that passiveness in regard to
the slaughter of innocent people will lead to questioning the prestige of
Italian authority and the reputation of the Italian Army.11

The report on the slaughter is in the report of the Carabinieri Headquarters in Zadar of
19th June 1941. The synthesis was sent with the letter to the Governor of Dalmatia protocol

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The Sassari Division Headquarters also reports in another synthesis: Many


children were slaughtered only because they were Serbs. Horrible news
spreads in our ranks: Ustashas ask children to make the sign of the cross and
then slay the ones who do it in the Orthodox way.12
Arrests are taking place in Graac where the Serbian employees at the
railway station were replaced by Croatian employees.13
In Drni, during the night of 21st June, 16 Serbs were loaded onto a truck
and, later, the truck returned empty, with large blood stains.14 Also in
Drni, a dead body, already put in a bag, which Ustashas failed to take out of
prison because of the unexpected intervention of Italian soldiers, was cut to
pieces and carried out hidden in several suitcases.15 During the afternoon, a
group of women from Podablje came begging for help and protection:16
during the night, all the men in the village were taken by trucks to the
Runovi zone and, with their hands tied, thrown into a pit. Since they said
that, in the pit, men were dying, but still alive, the Commander of the station
ordered to immediately send doctors and ambulances there (...). And indeed,
two men were taken out of the pit with severe wounds, but alive (...); Ustashas,
having thrown people in the pit, discharged heavy fire from their weapons
into it.
What form and level of revolt was reached in Italian soldiers for Ustasha
crimes was clearly summed up in the following military report: Deep
dissatisfaction can be seen on faces of our soldiers, partly because of the
discontent caused by the awareness that Croats here can barely stand them
and, on the other hand, the received orders which oblige them not to react
with military force against those who cause disorder, terror and bloodshed.

no. 454/confidential - to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome on 24th June 1941.

US-SME - Envelope 582 - Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - Historical logbook no.
51 - V.P. 39, 22th June 1941.

Ibid., no. 50 - V.P. 39, 21th June 1941.


Ibid., no. 41 - V.P. 39, 28th June 1941.

Ibid., no. 51 - paragraph Drni - V.P. 39, 26th June 1941.

Ibid., 28th June 1941.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The morale of our troops, which was high at the beginning of the war, is now
even higher, but out of revolt.17
However, the orders from Rome remained the same as received on 19th May:
keep to yourselves, mind your own business and do not intervene. However,
one Italian soldier, although in his own way, disobeyed the orders. Secretly
at first, but after seeing that they did not get any warning or prohibition from
their senior officers, that the officers did not only avoid punishing them for
such conduct, but they themselves joined the initiative, working to help and
protect the Serbian population has expanded. Ustasha protests poured into
Italian military Headquarters at all levels. The reply they got was that we do
not have the authority nor the will to stop these protection initiatives which
are approved by disciplinary rules of our army.18 However, the Croats did
not give up and, a few days later, the number of Ustashas in Bukovica
increased and Ustasha armed attacks against the Italians who were protecting
the Serbs were becoming more frequent. This was confirmed by the
following entry in an Italian military report: From the Ustashas'
indiscretions, it is clear that reinforcements are focused on armed response
against Italians for every possible intervention in favour of the
Serbs.19 Vjekoslav imi, a friar of the Franciscan order, a known instigator
and leader of the Ustashas in Knin and active participant of night-time
expeditions against Serbian civilians, obviously feeling strong and powerful
as an Ustasha and thinking that the priest's robe protects him, started to
publicly agitate against Italy after more massive the Italian interventions to
protect Serbian people. One night, he was beaten up by an unknown group of
soldiers.20
The situation was getting worse every day. Croatian protests to the Italian
Government did not cease. Ante Paveli himself wrote to Mussolini, on 23rd
June, complaining about misunderstandings between Croats and Italians.

Ibid., Envelope 523 - Headquarters of the Sassari Division - Regular logbook - V.P. 86,
16th June 1941.

Ibid., 18th June 1941.

Ibid., 22th June 1941.

Ibid., Envelope 582 - Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - Report no. 49 - paragraph 2 V.P. 39, 20th June 1941.

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He could not imagine that, already on the following day, another


misunderstanding would occur, a far more complex and specific one, when
the Commander of 6th Army Corps issued orders to all commanders and units
to form a field provisional control line, with the justification that it was
needed to maintain order and security of Italian Dalmatia. This initiative
caused dismay in Croatian ranks and soon the Army of General Dalmazzo
found itself in a storm of telegrams, phone calls, repeated orders from Rome
that checkpoints needed to be moved to their previous positions, that is back,
toward the coast. General Dalmazzo flatly refused to do it, replying: Obvious
misunderstanding, please inform me of the line to which to move the
checkpoints, considering that I only have information on future borders from
newspaper articles.21
However, at the beginning of July, the Italian troops based in friendly NDH
are ordered to retreat.22 Italian military field reports inform that Serbian
families in Graac are simply terrified and horror of the Orthodox
population and the fear that the Italian army will certainly soon retreat could
be seen in Knin. It was justified. Around 8000 Serbs from two villages near
Plitvice, who were forced to leave without anything, were taken to an
unknown location.23 Around Graac, several Serbian villages were burnt
down, and the Serbian population from the surrounding villages also fled, so
in the direction of Knin and in the direction of Gospi, villages were
completely empty.24 The same report noted that Ustashas killed a local bank
managed and two women in Graac. The report of the Headquarters of the
Fifth Army Corps from 2nd August said: More than 600 camp prisoners, Serbs
and Jews, went through Gospi on foot and were headed toward Karlobag
with most of them tied in pairs. Others were in prisons and were waiting to
continue their journey. A report of the Headquarters of the 2nd Army from
11th August stated: On 3rd of this month, 400 Serbs, brought from the Zagreb
area, arrived at prisons in Gospi. On the previous day, 500 were taken in the

Ibid., telegram without a protocol number from General Dalmazzo to the Headquarters of
the 2nd Army - time 10.40 - V.P. 39, 26th June 1941.

Ibid., Envelope 523 - Headquarters of the Sassari Division - Regular logbook V.P. 86, 15th

and 18th July 1941.

Ibid., 27th July 1943.

Ibid., 28th July1943.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

direction of Karlobag. It is expected that a group of 300 Jewish prisoners will


arrive from Zagreb to Gospi on 4th August. It was reported that two more
transports of prisoners are coming from Zagreb, one with 50 and the other
100 people, the latter has the elderly, women and children 1-8 years of age.
One prisoner was strangled by the guards during the trip and his body was
thrown out of the train car as soon as it had arrived in Gospi. On the 6th of
this month, in a house near Gospi, an officer of the 1st Infantry Regiment
found two dead women, aged 30 and 17, with gunshot wounds and a dead
child, about 6 months old, that was slain with a gunshot wound in its chest, as
well as and a few burnt corpses. On 4th of this month, 110 Serbs were taken
from prison to the neighbouring hills and killed there... In Otoac, on 4th of
this month, 39 Serbs, aged between 15 and 70, were arrested in the Klanac
zone and imprisoned. Ten of them were slain by Ustashas on the same night
and thrown in the manhole in the prison building.
The report of the Headquarters of the Fifth Army Corps from 15nd August
stated: Many Serbian houses in the village Studenci and its surroundings (7
km northwest from Perui) were torched by Ustashas and the people were
killed. In Otaac, in the evening of 7th of this month, Ustashas arrested and
locked up about 30 Serbs. During the night, around 10 p.m., 10 Orthodox
people were killed in the prison. Their corpses were taken away by truck to
an undisclosed location... On 7th of this month, 200 arrested Serbs were taken
from Gospi on foot toward Karlobag; it seems they never reached their
destination, but were killed along the way. During the night, on the same day,
taking out an unknown number of dead bodies from the same prison
buildings was noticed; the dead bodies were loaded onto a truck which went
down the road leading to Karlobag. On 10th of this month, 80 Serbian
prisoners, held in local prisons, were taken toward Perui on foot. On the
same day, 220 Serbs and 60 Jews arrived from the area around Zagreb. The
first were taken to Gospi prisons, while the latter were taken to the local
concentration camp. On the same day, 350 Serbian prisoners were taken, on
foot, from those prisons in the direction of Karlobag. On 11th of this month,
700 Serbs from the area around Zagreb were brought to Gospi and put in
prisons there. Another 600, among which there were 30 Jews, arrived at
Gospi from an unknown location. Also, on the same day, 650 Serbs,
including 30 women and 30 children under the age of 12, were taken out
from Gospi prisons and taken toward Karlobag; it is suspected that none of
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

them survived. The report of the Headquarters of the Re Infantry Division


from 17nd August stated: Long columns of Serbs and Jews are being taken,
for a whole month now, from Gospi towards Karlobag and there is no
evidence that they ever arrived at their destination. However, it has been
established that, about half way there, more precisely in the village Otarije,
there is a deep pit in which the people from those columns have been thrown,
previously killed with knives and bayonets... Similarly, in the report of the
military station Tribanj of 21st August, the pit Jamina was mentioned,
something the Italians researched and photographically documented, the
Ustasha massacre of the inhabitants of the village ibuljine.
The news that arrived from zones in which there were no Italian troops was
horrible. In Gospi, Kula, Srb, Smiljane and other villages, the Ustashas
killed all Orthodox Serbs that they found.25 The report further stated that in
the concentration camp Debela Glavica (5 km from Gospi) there were about
2000 people, of which 500 were killed with machine guns on 31st July and 1st
and 2nd August (...) the village Divoselo was completely destroyed, 12 elderly
people were locked in a house which Ustashas had mined and then blew up.
In Senj, about 800 Serbs were buried alive with around ten people put in each
hole. Again on their own, without waiting for anyone's permission, the 6th
Army Corps, on 3rd August, sent the bersaglieri Zara Battalion with units
of the 73rd Blackshirts Regiment to the centre of Graac. Two days later, the
military command in the city was taken over by Colonel Umberto Salvatores.
With the arrival of bersaglieri to Graac, Colonel Salvatores estimated that
at least 1500 Serbs were saved from execution. This is how Second
lieutenant Salvatore Loi, one of the bersaglieri, described the situation on 4th
August 1941 in Graac, which was full of Ustashas in a ring of Serbian rebels:
We walked through the city centre, headed to the southern edge of the city,
where, disturbingly near, an outpost of the rebels was located. Suddenly, on
the roof of a multi-storey building, we saw a dozen Ustashas throwing, from
the verandah and onto the square, bodies of several tortured but still alive
Serbs. Then, other Ustashas appeared on the balcony, dragging four children,
the oldest one could have been eight years old. The children were crying and
calling for their parents who were massacred before their eyes. One Ustasha
grabbed the oldest child by its hair and threw it off the balcony and onto the

Ibid., 16th August 1943.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

pavement. The Ustashas in front of the building were shooting at the child's
body as it flew through the air and dropped to the ground. Satisfied hoarse
roars welcomed the feat like howling of wild beasts, which in these Croats
had nothing in common with their human form. At that time, the Ustashas
on the balcony grabbed the second child. Everything after that happened with
great speed. The bersaglieri use their guns to attack the Croats in the square.
Corporal Gubelini and soldiers Citadini, Borgati and Paginati rushed up the
staircase to those on the verandah and started to beat them with their guns as
they would with sticks. Appalled by the unexpected intervention of their
allies, the Croats start to indicate that they would like to respond, but
immediately give up before bersaglieri guns pointed at them. The bersaglieri
leave with the crying children who were holding on tightly around their
necks. The Ustashas are left in the square, spitting blood, teeth and bile.
During the first days of August, the situation in Knin - even though difficult
- it was idyllic in comparison to what was happening in other nearby areas.
Serbs continued to seek refuge in Italian territory. In the village Biliani
(near Obrovac), 321 refugees gathered, nearly all women and children; in
egar (...) on 6th August, many women and children arrived with several
thousand head of cattle and their furniture.26
Recording and documenting all the events on the ground, the Italian
Headquarters recorded the uprising of the Serbs, a nationwide uprising of
the Serbian people against the Ustasha terror. As the date of the uprising 26th
July was recorded, when, during the night, an organised and simultaneous
attack on all logistically and tactically important checkpoints took place in the
area between Gospi and Bosanski Petrovac in the north and ibenik - Livno
in the south. The uprising of the Serbian people broke out almost
simultaneously in Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it was carefully
and thoroughly documented by Italian archives records. The uprising of the
Serbs was done parallelly in the military and diplomatic-political sphere,
primarily through diplomatic skills of Serbian leaders: Dr Niko Novakovi,
brother of the future Chetnik vojvoda Vlado Novakovi, and a former
Member of Parliament and Minister without portfolio in the government of

Ibid., Envelope 583 - Headquarters of the 6th Army Corps - Report no. 100 - V.P. 39, 11th

August 1941.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

Dr Milan Stojadinovi, then lawyer Boko Desnica from Obrovac and Stevo
Raenovi, also a former Member of Parliament in Belgrade. At the same
time, strong action of the military formations of Serbian rebels who
managed, to the amazement and admiration of Italian troops in the field, to
organise and perfectly execute actions which, in only a few months, led to a
complete collapse of the military armed forces of the NDH. Large and
successful operations of Serbian rebels in the siege of Graac and Knin and
also in battles near Donji Lapac and Kulen Vakuf, led to the formation of free
Serbian territories, a country within a country. This would lead to Italian
military and political moves which were coordinated and programmed with
the Serbs. The existence of a previously made diplomatic-political agreement
between Serbs rebels and Italy is proven by the fact that not a single shot was
fired on the Italian army by the rebels. The result was the Italian occupation
of Serbian liberated territory in the Independent State of Croatia, where the
Italian military authorities immediately banned entry to all military
formations of NDH, and guaranteed the safety of the Serbian people.
The situation would be definitively and officially resolved on August 13th,
when Mussolini gave General Ugo Cavallero, the Chief of the General Staff,
the following instructions: a) the Italian army will occupy the entire
demilitarised zone; b) to enlarge, as much as necessary, the number of Italian
troops currently deployed in that zone; c) to remove Croatian troops from
that zone; d) to give over all power, only in Croatian territory, to Italian
military authorities.27
By order of General Vittorio Ambrosio, the Commander of the 2nd Army, by
5th September, all Ustashas unquestionably had to leave the entire
demilitarised zone. That marked the end - until the capitulation of Italy, on
8th September 1943 - of the Ustasha massacre of Serbs in Lika and Dalmatia.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Archives - Yugoslavia 1941 - Envelope 108 - Folder 10


(Document protocol no. 21395 - confidential - 14th August 1941.

316

Vasilije Karan

SORROW FOR A LIFETIME

At Pete Kozarske Brigade Street number 11 in Banja Luka I was about to hear
the story of Mrs. Dobrila who is not unknown in the city where she lives. A
calm and composed Dobrila Kukolj remembered the horrors and unending
inhumanity she witnessed as a ten-year-old in the Second World War.
I recognised in Dobrila something more than kindness and forthrightness,
which are distinguishing traits of my Kozarans; it was something stronger,
deeper. Dobrila enchanted me with her careful choice of words, as though
she were a pedagogue, an expert storyteller. Quiet and moderate, her choice
of the spoken word strikes to the core, to the core of a most difficult time.
Whenever this quiet woman closes her eyes, before her she sees Jasenovac.
She managed to survive what most could not; they died of hunger, of beatings
and illnesses, of disorders and ill-treatment.
Sigh follows sigh, story succeeds story. The tangle of truth and history
unravels. Dobrila doesnt know where to begin, what to relate first. I listen
and memorise her words, note down particulars; before me is a blonde lady,
a lady of an expansive memory. Half her relations she lost in concentration
camps, in Jasenovac and in Sajmite in Zemun. As she talks and looks me in
the eyes, I see tears welling up. Dobrila, however, refuses to cry. She has cried
for at least half a century. I listen to her as words depart her lips strong,
expressive and truthful words. The truth unfolds, full of pain and madness. I
shudder, yet I continue to listen to Mrs. Dobrila Kukolj.
Dobrila was only ten years old when she was put in a concentration camp, in
a circle of death, of lawlessness and exceeding madness. She crossed from the
right bank of the Sava River to the left in Croatia. Hunger and nothing but

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hunger! As she plucked the grass under her feet for food, she gazed from the
camp at the villages of her Bosnia. Pounje [land adjoining the Una River]. She
fixed her gaze on Meea, on all those bluish Kozara slopes, and listened to
the echoes of heavy guns and machineguns firing. Kozara was defending
itself still, but could not prevail. She dreamed of peace, and expected a
benefactor to take her by the hand and lead her out of hell, but her hopes
were dashed. So many times did she evade the butchers in the camp, escaping
here and there, evading their grasp! The butchers in the camp would grab a
young woman or full-grown girl and take her to the camps brickworks, there
to rape her and afterward shove her yet alive into the ovens of the crematoria.
Death and nothing but death!
There is one moment, a startling sight that still ices Dobrilas blood. When on
one occasion she was running away from her would-be butchers, she, quite
accidentally, stepped on a newborn baby. That sight still haunts her, frightens
her, leads her into a difficult state! She remembered, and she sees it still, just
as though it has just occurred.
I listen to cascades of painful remembrances. Dobrila is adept at speaking;
every word of hers is truthful, convincing, forceful and painful. Every sight
from the camp she recollects; she would always gaze across the right bank of
the Sava, towards her Meea, towards home, towards her lost liberty. She
was a butterfly, a girl coloured gold. Yet she had to suffer hunger, and watch
as her peers crawled on the ground, crying and dying of hunger. She
laboured with pained effort to walk the hellish circuit of the camp, her every
step heavy and hard. Her Pounje was densely dotted with houses, appearing
to her childs imagination as though a starry tapestry. A spell. Now all of this
was snatched away from her. Day-in-day-out she watched the wagoner
driving his wagon, it filled with the bodies of dead inmates. He was taking
them somewhere to common graves. On the other side of the Sava, in
Gradina, Ustashas were making soap from the bodies.
Harsh reality became mixed with a childs imagination. What the young
flaxen-haired girl thought of in those wartime years, not even she can now
say. She wished for peace. In the girls mind, freedom was a jewel, something
invaluable. Who has not gone through war, cannot know the value of
freedom.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Sleep for the little girl in those painful days was the dearest mercy. In sleep,
she would forget herself, and so return to her pre-war years. She would see
her father, Rade, and her mother, Savka. Both her parents would cuddle her;
she was the apple of her fathers eye. So many times did she lie in her fathers
lap listening to beautiful and exciting stories, stories of far-off and unknown
lands. Her mother did not lag behind. She would play with the golden-haired
girl, laugh at this and that; happy days passed in succession, keeping boredom
at bay for Dobrila. Peace, games, parents, her bother Boko, sister Jagoda, her
cousins, all of them for Dobrila represented a big and immeasurable world
which she loved. But, then came the war, and with it the black Ustashas who
killed innocent civilians. The people of Kozara were the first to come under
attack because of their heroism. Pavelis Ustashas butchered people,
deported them to concentration camps, torched their homes and stamped out
every sign of life. Dobrila remembers all of this to this day. What she wouldnt
give not to have seen such a world, not to have suffered it. She would give
much, too much!
These killers cut down many innocent lives. Dobrilas father Rade went that
way too. He died in the Staro Sajmite [fairground] concentration camp in
Zemun. And her brother Boko she lost in the same camp. Her beloved
brother was only 14 at the time. The Germans stripped him and left him in
the sun. The boys skin blistered, and the hungry inmates stripped pieces off
and ate them. Man eating man. The agony was great, greater than reason! Her
sister Jagoda survived the camp, as did her mother Savka. Dobrila
remembers all the exhaustion in the camp. In walking around it, Dobrila
would hold her sisters hand. They helped each other walk. Dobrila also
remembers her grandfather Simo. Pavelis soldiers stabbed him to death, he
died in severe pain.
Word follows word as the former concentration camp inmate, tapping her
inner strength, relates her story in a quivering voice. Again I see tears
welling up in her eyes, but she will not cry. She cried herself dry in years
past, remembering her father, her brother and relatives great in number, too
great.
A mans life always accommodates the times he lives in. As to whether Dobrila
was able to adapt to those evil days, she certainly wasnt. She suffered all the
evils of evil men murderers, butchers, haters. Well she remembers her
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

good uncle Milorad, who also died in the Zemun concentration camp. He was
there, while his children died in Jasenovac the four of them, Rajko, Milja,
Slobodan and Simo! Death cut them down just as they hoped they would leave
the Jasenovac concentration camp. She also remembers her good uncle
Mirko. He too was deported to the Sajmite camp. He died of hunger and his
other tortures, while his family died in Jasenovac. Hunger, more hunger,
then death. Aunt Marija also died, together with her children Bosiljka, her
daughter, and Slavko and Gojko, her sons. They all went to eternity in the
greatest suffering, went to forgetfulness, yet they hoped to be liberated soon.
Memories. Sad memories can grind a man as though wheat between mill
stones. Dobrila fights through her work, resisting in every possible way. On
the other hand she wants to tell her sorrowful tale, for there is no greater sin
than to forget. However, every telling of it requires strength, patience and
composure. With every sigh she continues her story. She mentions uncle
Ilija. He too starved to death, together with his wife Nevenka and their five
children. Five little birds died Koviljka, Milan, Bosiljka, Radojka and Duan.
They were crying before they died, calling out to their mother, but all this
was in vain. The war in the hellish 1942 was in full swing. In full force and
woe, in charred homes and ruins, in madness. But those who hungered in
concentration camps knew little of the battles being fought between the
partisans on the one hand and the Germans, Ustashas, Croatian Home Guard
and others, on the other. Hunger had beat them down, making all stories of
possible victories seem unreal in their eyes. The inmates would turn their
gaze to the heights of Mount Kozara, wishing mightily for someone to
liberate them, to remove them from the camps. That they did not live to see.
But the end of the black year 1942 was approaching. By some happenstance
maybe it was the International Red Cross Dobrila and her sister and
mother left Jasenovac. Their journey ended in Toranj near Gaj. The landlord
the three of them were assigned to was not poisoned by hatred. Their good
landlord Stevo Peterli managed to protect these inmates. He took care of
their nutrition, of appropriate conversation, always finding words of
comfort. His wife, Elza, behaved towards the exhausted inmates as though
she were their mother. Dobrilas life, and those of her mother and sister, was
transformed. Hunger stopped sapping them.
But, the year 1943 brought Dobrila many joys. With her mother Savka and
sister Jagoda, she left Slavonia and returned to her home village. To Meea,
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to heroic Potkozarje. The battles in 1943 were fought the fiercest. She lived
in freedom, but without freedom. The war still raged on many fronts, but the
fact that she was no longer in a concentration camp was truly a great thing;
nothing could be greater or better. However, Ustashas kept coming from
Dubica, Jasenovac and Gradika; they raided villages and killed civilians.
Because of that Dobrila had to flee; once to Prosara and a second time to
Kozara. She would hide in the brush, and in animals lairs, and wait for the
killers to depart. The villages of Potkozarje looked like a most horrible dream
all craters and ruins and charred houses. Madness had overwhelmed sanity,
inter-human harmony and the respect due others. The armies fought each
other still, and the civilians lived in-between their battles. The road to
freedom was long, too long. Anti-fascism had to defeat the fascists; there was
no other choice. The Serbs then had as allies the Russians, English, French,
Americans, Greeks and many others. Croatian pro-fascism had to fall on its
knees. And Ustashas saw that day come. Killers, less than human with
bloodied knives!
Dobrila tried to remember this and that, word by word. Haunted by her
thoughts, she is forced to open up, to talk, to reveal in detail what her childish
eyes had seen. She remembers Joco Ruii, and his brother Savo. Joco lost
his life as a soldier in the First World War. Dobrila visited his grave when
she travelled to Greece. She lit a candle for him at the Zeytinlik Military
Cemetery, bowed before his grave and went away teary-eyed. Always the
tears, just always; but a man must live, create and be joyous.
History is occasionally a good teacher of life, but sometimes it becomes
forgetful. What do young people today know about the past, about the two
world wars, Dobrila wonders. Little if anything. I notice her face twitch, but
she will not give up. Even age demands patience, prudence and peace. She
was born into the great circle of the Bataji family, and when she grew up
and finished her education, she married a lawyer, one Milan Kukolj, and with
him had a very nice and comfortable life. After Milan died, she went to live
with her son, Ratko, daughter-in-law Radenka, and grandson Saa. They
abide in her heart as a great flower for which she lives and she remembers
the sad times. She is always active. She is presently as I write this president
of the Banja Luka branch of the Association of the Second World War
Concentration Camp Inmates. Her work gives her the strength to go on; she
meets onetime sufferers and unfortunates, and with them she exchanges
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memories and so passes the time. She preserves her memories of persons who
with no guilt were guilty; who lost their lives in Croatian concentration
camps, though few of them returned to freedom as living skeletons. Dobrila
preserves a time which for todays man ought to serve as a warning.
Gradina, near Jasenovac, is the biggest city of dead Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.
Is there justice? Is there a man in the world who by his actions could push
into oblivion such a world as existed in 1942? As long as she walks, thinks
and has the strength to meet people and talk with them, Dobrila Kukolj will
be the woman, the witness that has to and will testify about those hellish
years, of a time when madness overpowered reason.

322

Milan Bastai

CROATS BETWEEN JAZOVKA AND


JADOVNO

The Croatian political leadership marked the European Day of Remembrance


of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, in their Croatian
way. It was Jazovka first and then Jadovno.
Serbs were insulted and the diplomatic representatives and the international
public deluded. With great explanations of how it has civilization and
historical value (of which Europe reminded them), they said that after
seventy years they came to the pit Jazovka on umberak into which the
Partisans, upon their arrival in Zagreb in 1945, threw the wounded Croatian
Home Guard soldiers and Ustashas, after taking them from Zagreb hospitals.
This was supposed to evoke sympathy in the diplomatic corps when they
failed to mention that the Ustashas killed here were captured by Partisans in
the attack on Krai. For many years, that was the only interpretation of the
Partisan action. The story of the wounded soldiers is of a newer date.
First, everyone went to commemorate Jazovka, even though the mass
monstrous crime committed by Croatian Ustashas at Jadovno, which was two
hundred times greater, took place five years before Jazovka. The first
impression is important, it has its meaning even with diplomats - so they
thought, it might work. Two photographs were taken there and, most likely,
iconography was carefully chosen. When places of execution are mentioned,
and historiography is referred to, then certain principles should be adhered
to. The events on Jazovka and Jadovno are not the same and there are no
equalising parameters, especially when calling on reverence for the victims.

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In history, causes and effects have their place and a timetable of events,
which the Croatian aggression against the truth and the revision of the truth
systematically ignore and take out of all contexts. In an article, it was stated
that the commemorative procession was also at Jadovno, but there was no
photograph. The mentioned order of visits to places of execution and the
attitude toward the site Jadovno is a great and reasonable insult to the living
descendants of the victims of the Ustasha camps Gospi, Jadovno, island of
Pag (Slana and Metajna). If someone was comfortable with the presence of
the military part of the commemoration (Minister of War Veterans and the
Commander of the Croatian Ground Army), for us, descendant Serbs, it was
an insult and a regrettable action on behalf of the victims. Because, at the
time, those victims were killed by official uniformed people and with
weapons and tools of Croatian state authorities. To make the cynicism even
greater, the present Minister of War Veterans and the Commander of the
Croatian Ground Army, who both got their positions in the civil war on
Croatian territory, by actions of soldiers they led, were no less militant than
those militants in Jadovno and Jazovka. We, the many descendants of victims
in Jadovno and World War II in Croatia, perceive that cynicism as a grave
and deliberate insult of the organisers of these commemorations. No less of
an insult was endured in various ways by witnesses and descendants of
several thousand of killed and hundreds of thousands of banished Serbs, who
were also thoroughly looted using brutal methods, in the civil war which took
place in this region between 1991 and 1995. Certainly, by a no less militant
Croatian army than the aforementioned army in 1941 - 1945.
Now, someone from the invited and uninvited Croatian institutions will say,
nonchalantly as President Josipovi did, that this is watering and a desire to,
from those place of execution, sprout. . . That is simply an audacious and
inappropriate refusal of the Croatian political leadership to take responsibility for the calamitous past of Croatia and Serbs in it in the 20th century.
Find the strength and responsibility to answer this question: WHY HAVE
YOU DONE THAT TO US? Only admit that you had done that and then
repeated it. Because that is the only way to reconciliation. Everything else,
like this inappropriate commemoration, are delays with attempts to conceal
and diminish the truth, which is, as you know and see, an ungrateful task.
The entire Croatian aggression against the truth about known events is quite
understandable. Genocide, atrocities and the number of execution sites and
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victims are so great that it is hard to acknowledge them, and your only
(temporary) hope is that the world cannot really comprehend and believe
such deeds. The following was posted on the Facebook profile of the
President of Croatia concerning the Day of Remembrance of victims: We
cannot change history, but we must learn from it. Nicely put, and it is a very
bold statement because its author knows very well what children learn in
official textbooks, especially history textbooks. In the context of learning
from history, I have to mention one of a number of historical truths of the
President of Croatia, such as the one stated when Croatia joined the European
Union. The largest, most powerful anti-fascist movement in enslaved Europe
was the resistance of Croatian people! The President of Croatia stated that
without flinching, let alone blushing, even though he knows the real truth. I
would be lying if I said that this was anything else but an outright lie. The
President knows very well that, starting in April 1941, after tens of thousands
of massacred Serbs across NDH, on 27th July, Serbs of Lika and Drvar stood
up to the further planned and organised slaughter of Serbs by the
Independent State of Croatia. That compelled resistance grew strongly and
remained monoethnic, Serbian, with very few and honourable exceptions
until the second half of 1943. The same was true in Herzegovina and Bosnia.
Well, President, here's to your and Croatian teaching of history!
Regardless of everything known in history, the Speaker of the Croatian
Parliament presented the following idea: Commemorations like the one today
at Jazovka should become a tradition for all victims of totalitarian regimes!
Then, the individual who came out as a hero after the civil war, the Head of
the Government Committee stated: Jazovka and Jadovno are two symbols
which have divided the Republic of Croatia for all these years. We would like
to commemorate them from a historical and humane aspect and everything
beyond that is a matter for the State Attorney and the police! All things
considered, everyone there agreed that executors, bloody Croatian
mercenaries and their victims, among which Serbs were by far greatest in
number, should be equalised. A well known formula of the totalitarian Franjo
Tuman! I must, rightly, say that this shameful and disrespectful idea of the
Croatian state officials deeply offends all victims of the totalitarian NDH and
its militant army - Ustashas.
Regarding Jadovna and Jazovka (I hereby officially apologise to the
standpoint of Croatian state leaders at commemorations for, unlike them,
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putting Jadovno before Jazovka!) as a symbol of a deep division in the


Republic of Croatia for "all these years", it is unclear which years, what deep
division and a division between who. It is simply horrible, unheard of in the
world in its cruelty, that the first mass place of execution of innocent Serbian
and Jewish civilians and Jewish families, actually, a entire system of Ustasha
camps called Jadovno, came out of anonymity for the population of Croatia,
Yugoslavia and the world only in 2010 when the two-volume book Jadovno
by Professor Dr uro Zatezalo was published. Immediately after that, a
Citizens Association - comprising of descendants and honourers of the
victims of the system of Ustasha camps Gospi, Jadovno and island Pag was
founded with its main office in Banjaluka. Upon the initiative of this
association and in cooperation with the Serb National Council in Zagreb and
the Diocese of Gornji Karlovac, the first commemoration and memorial
service for the victims of NDH camps was held, with great attendance of
descendants and honourers of Jadovno victims. In the following year, the
Association organised the First International Conference Jadovno '41 and
the second commemoration at the pit aranova Jama with international
participation and a memorial service. That year, 24th June was determined to
become the official Memorial Day of Jadovno, and on the island of Pag the
previously broken memorial plaque was restored, only to be broken the
following day. In 2012, after the memorial service and commemorative
program at the pit aranova Jama, around 200 honourers of the victims
carried a consecrated cross to the site of the camp Jadovno, 6-7 kilometres
from aranova Jama, where they placed it and an Orthodox priest
consecrated it. The commemoration was attended by around 2000 people,
about the same as previous years. The Croatian state heads were at all
commemorations and one year the President of the Republic attended it.
Already on 2012, some reactions from Croatian officials could be heard. They
were reflected in obstructing the efforts of the Association to organise a
memorial service and commemoration, as in previous years. There were
serious hindrances of descendants and honourers who were coming from
Serbia, Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina through border crossings in
the Republic of Srpska. A large number of descendants who wanted to visit
the location of the camp on the island of Pag were hampered to go there and
attend the placing of a memorial plaque, which was previously shattered. This
one was, for the third time, broken only after a few days. To date, a large
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

number of presentations of the Proceedings of the Round Table Jadovno


41 with the slogan Moje Jadovno were held, including the Holocaust
Memorial Park in New York.
It turns out that Jadovno 41 could not have been the cause of deep divides
in the Republic of Croatia for all these years since it had been anonymous for
seventy years and it is well known why. The best example of such a large
Croatian execution site of, firstly, innocent Serbian and also Jewish and
Roma civilians and entire families was Jasenovac. Despite all the efforts and
concrete actions of Croatian and even Yugoslav authorities until the end of
the sixties to neglect it, failed to hide Jasenovac. Even though it was a
forerunner of Jasenovac, it was easier with Jadovna. It is evident that, now,
the Croatian leadership, together with certain institutions, is alarmed because
of the disclosure to another homo sapiens about the incomprehensible mass
atrocities of the Croatian homo sapiens.
Upset gentlemen, you should refrain from interfering with victims'
descendants paying reverence to the victims. Much has been revealed to the
world about Jadovno in the last four years. Let's hope that truth will be
contributed by research announced at the commemorations which are the
subject of this article. In the presence of Croatian leadership it is unbefitting,
in such sad places, that some unknown man determines who of the
descendants of innocent victims can and who cannot come, here or there, to
inappropriate places of execution, these inappropriate graves, such as
karst pits around Jadovno.

327

PhD. Mladenka Ivankovi

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE


WORLD, CHILDREN IN DEATH
CAMPS

Abstract: This paper talks about children, victims of genocide and the
Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia. The paper also talks
about the Aryanisation of the superior Croatian national organism
and its consequences on the youngest non-Croatian population, i.e.
children.
A healthy nation could be built by destroying, primarily physically, the
enemies poisoning the Croatian nation. The first step in cleansing
the nation was to annihilate children as a hope for life of the enemies
of the Croatian nation the Serbs, Jews and Roma.
Keywords: Children, camps, genocide, Holocaust, Independent State of
Croatia.

Leaders of the Ustasha movement did injustice firstly to the people from
which they descended. To their ancestors, to their national tradition, to their
national identity.
The eagerness of the Independent State of Croatia for cooperation and
readiness to implement on its territories all the provisions of the racial law
had deeper roots that reached into the projected picture of a repeated
establishment of the real origin of the Croatian nation. The new political
elites were saying of the Croats that they were not of Slavic but of Gothic
origin.1 The population was supposed to be introduced, from the very basics,
1The

essence of such views was that the key role in the human society and history of
mankind was that of races, and the task of the XX century was to ensure the purity of

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to the new and modified national identity and was forced to act in accordance
with the model of the projected nation.
Aryanisation in the creation of the Croatian national identity2 as an angle at
which accomplishment of the idea of a healthy national collective was to be
viewed was a result of making connections with the ideology of fascism and
Nazism of the Third Reich.3 In their eagerness and readiness for achieving
success in realising such ideology, leaders of the Ustasha movement were
trying to create a strong and Aryan people, who should not submit to any
of the previous principles of civilization, which governed the Croatian
territories in the earlier times.
Apart from this, it was necessary to redesign the state religion to justify the
moral motives of behaviour of the projected nation and implementation of
the Independent State of Croatias policy.
Soldiers of the Independent State of Croatia, the Ustashas, were in charge of
protecting the states territories and borders, as well as of the process of
cleansing the nation.4 In reality, they were physical fighters for achieving
the new national identity. Since they were deprived of their own self and

mankind. The racist totalitarian revelation claimed that the universe was ruled by a
victory of better over worse. The Germanic race was the one that represented the highest
form of the best human race and that was why it was entitled to the leading place in the
world. They were supposed to establish their own empire. Contrary to this, the Slavs, Jews
and Roma were a lower race and they tainted the Germanic race. The great goal, racial
purity, was total, most valuable, the only one even. According to Ernst Nolte, Faizam u
svojoj epohi, Beorad 1990.
2Mladenka Ivankovi, Jevrejski intelektualci i studentska omladina meu prvim rtvama
masovnih egzekucija u NDH, Tokovi istorije 1, Beograd 2014, pp. 117-135.
3Intolerance towards differences and emphasis on monolithic unity were defined by the
term race or nation. Boko Telebakovi, Osobine nacizma, Godinjak I, 2007, Beograd
2007. p. 161.
Thomas Mann believed fascism was an omnipresent disease of time, while proudly
obedient Germans were slightly ill. Boko Telebakovi, Osobine nacizma, Godinjak I,
Beograd 2007, p. 170.
4Removing of the non-Croatian and non-Catholic population (the term expulsion or
persecution would better suit the process that was applied), was encouraged by measures
of state terrorism towards its non-Aryan citizens. In: Milan Ristovi, U potrazi za
utoitem, Beograd, 1998. p. 24.

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their own entity, their tradition, which explained to them who they were,
they had to find a new way to create a real Croatian soldier. As they assumed
a new identity, in their life experience they did not have any role models that
would explain how a real Croatian soldier behaved in enforcing the new
regime.
These people, stripped of their national identity and the notion of humanity
which they had in their peoples tradition, which they had to surrender by
force, were convinced it was best to express loyalty to their Aryan identity
by showing great dedication to the implementation of penal measures. The
penal measures were implemented by treating the prisoners with hatred and
cruelty. Showing hatred and cruelty was encouraged by the superiors. This
constant encouragement to a cruel treatment of prisoners and giving awards
for coming up with the cruellest ways to torture prisoners caused bestiality
in actions and inhumanity in treating the unable. These men and women, who
joined the Ustasha movement upon a call or voluntarily, who exceeded the
limit of humanity in punishing the prisoners, became assailants and
criminals, and their prisoners became their victims. Bestiality was most
prominent towards the least able victims, the children.
Children, those tender creatures, were left without any clothes on, they slept
on a bare floor, they were starved and tortured by thirst, they would get
scarlet fever, typhoid or dysentery. They were living skeletons from which
bowels hung due to bloody diarrhoea. They had strength neither to walk nor
cry and died in large groups or were gassed. Four hundred children, gassed
with Zyklon! One thousand and two hundred... were killed by hammers and
gas in the space of several days, if they had not already died of exhaustion.5
Ustashas celebrated Catholic religious holidays by having bloody feasts and
committing evil deeds against their feeble victims: Anyone who was in a
concentration camp in late 1942 surely remembers the Christmas execution
of some 500 Jewish women and their children. Ustashas squeezed them into
two or three cells in Kula and closed them down. For several days, they gave
them neither food nor water... A few days later, Ustashas brought them

5According

to the testimony of Ilija Jakovljevi in the book by Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo

deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd, 2000, p. 92.

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greasy food (and we suspected it was poisoned too). Several hours later, the
ones who had not already been dead, died suffering from cramps.6
The Independent State of Croatia was trying to be a legal state. In order to
create a legal basis for the cleansing of Croatian territories and create a
clean Aryan state, decrees were instituted soon after the state was established.7 Whatever was not Aryan Croatian or Catholic had to be eradicated
respecting the legal norms.
The decrees banned the use of Cyrillic8 and introduced a ban on attendance
of Orthodox Christian schools and the use of the Julian calendar.9 The
position of the Jews and Roma was defined by the Decree on Racial
Origins10 and the Decree on the Protection of Aryan Blood and Honour of
the Croatian People.11
The Decree on Citizenship,12 published 30 April 1941, specifically emphasised that a citizen: ... is a member of Aryan origin who has proved with his
behaviour that he has not worked against the liberation aspirations of the
Croatian people and who is willing to serve the Croatian people and the
Independent State of Croatia readily and loyally.
Those who were not of Aryan origin were not citizens and did not enjoy the
legal protection of the state and were treated as disgusting, i.e. as the
enemies of the government. The Decree on the Defence of the People and
State13 published on 17 April stipulating that any attempted violation or
6According

to the testimony of Marijana Amuli Buca in the book by Dragoje Luki, Bili su

samo deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd, 2000, p. 49.
7

See article by Jovan Mirkovi, Hronologija zloina (april-avgust 1941). Prilog dokazima
o genocidnom karakteru Nezavisne Drave Hrvatske, u Prilozi istraivanju zloina
genocida i ratnih zloina, Beograd 2009, pp.11-77.
8 Legal Decree Banning the Cyrillic Script, 25 April 1941, in Narodne novine, Zagreb, 25
April 1941.
9Legal Decree Abolishing the Julian Calendar, 4 December 1941, in Narodne novine,
Zagreb, 4 December 1941.
10 Zbornik zakona i naredaba Nezavisne Drave Hrvatske, edited by Josip Junaevi, PhD,
Miroslav antek, PhD, Zagreb 1941. Vols. I-XII, year I.
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid.
13 Ibid.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

attempt at violating ... the honour and life interests of the Croatian people or
[who] in any way jeopardises the survival of the Independent State of Croatia
or state authority, even if the act is only an attempted act, he shall be deemed
a perpetrator of the crime of high treason... (who is the perpetrator of the
crime from the previous item)... shall be sentenced to death.
The legal position of children was fully dependent on, i.e. the same as the legal
position of their parents. In reality, however, the position of children was far
worse.
Contemporary law strictly forbids any criminal sanctions against underage
persons under the age of 14, and the NDH made sure to be portrayed,
formally, as a legal state, because it was presumed that they were not mature
and that they were incapable of doing any evil.
Ustashas were nevertheless allowed to exert violence against children.
Ustashas instinctively perceived them as a real threat to their Aryan nation.
They perceived them as a hope for life of the disgusting brood (the term
that the Aryan Croats used to describe the Serbs, Jews and Roma) and aspired
to destroy such hopes, that is, to execute them or, as the culmination of their
disgrace, make them their janissaries.14
On the NDH territory ... according to the data established so far, 74,762
children lost their lives. In the genocide, according to the results obtained so
far, 60,234 children were killed, 32,054 boys and 28,012 girls. It was
impossible to determine sex in 168 murdered children. The biggest number
of murdered children were Serbs, 42,791.15
In the execution sites of the Jasenovac concentration camp, 11,888 Serbian
children and 7,544 Jewish and Romani children were murdered.16

14A

person without his identity, without his nationality, who has been taken away from
parents at a very early age and brought up to be a soldier who wages wars blindly and
obediently for the needs of those who took him away. Statements of eyewitnesses, camp
inmates, testify to this.
15According to the data of the Museum of Genocide Victims. Said number refers to children
aged 0-14, who were killed by Ustashas, Germans and all others.
16 Data from the book by Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432
devojice i deaka. Beograd, 2000.

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Just like their parents, the children in the Independent State of Croatia were
placed in camps. Children also had their childrens camps. Forming special
concentration camps for children was a unique example in the history of
humankind. Such camps were usually called Transit Camps (or Collection
Points) for Refugee Children.
The Ustasha-German camp in Sisak was founded on 3 August 1942 after the
completion of operations on Mount Kozara and amarica. The camp also
included a special camp that was officially called the Transit Camp for
Refugee Children. The transit camp was actually the first concentration
camp for children. The childrens camp in Sisak was the biggest of its kind in
the NDH and was under the auspices of the Female Line of the Ustasha
Movement and the Ustasha Supervisory Service. Direct management of
the children transit camp was in the hands of Ustasha Dr. Antun Najer.
Between 3 August 1942 and 8 February 1943, 6,693 boys and girls, Serbs
from Kozara, Banija, Kordun and Slavonia were detained in Sisak.17
Camp Jastrebarsko was a childrens camp outside Jastrebarsko, founded on
12 July 1942. It detained 3,336 children mainly from the area of Kozara and
Kordun. The childrens camp at Jastrebarsko was under the supervision of
the Congregation of Sisters of St. Vinko.
Childrens camps existed in Gornja Rijeka near Krievci and in Loborgrad.
They were managed by the Ustasha Supervisory Service.
A childrens camp was founded in a womens camp in Stara Gradika, which
belonged to the complex of Jasenovac camps.18 Ustasha Ante Vrban was in
charge of them. He treated the children with cruelty.

17According

to coroner Dr. David Egis data, there were 1,152 children buried in Sisak.
camp was founded in mid August 1941, and the first inmates arrived on 20 and 21
August to build shacks in camp Broice. The first inmates were mostly males, Jews and
Serbs, who were executed after the closure of the Ustasha camps of Jadovno, Gospi and
Pag. The camp complex was built between August 1941 and February 1942.
German captain Artur Hefner, transport officer at Jasenovac Camp, wrote: The term
Jasenovac Concentration Camp represents a complex of several camps kilometres away
from each other, grouped around Jasenovac. Regardless of the propaganda, it is a camp of
the worst kind, equal to Dantes Inferno.

18The

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According to the testimony of camp inmate Mirjana Almuli Buca from


Osijek: Children were lying helpless, starving; they were losing weight
visibly, they did not even have strength to cry. Only at night, delirious, they
would call out to their mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers. Around 20
women were taking care of them ... What the children had gone through was
sweeping them away like a most terrifying disease. They withered away and
died. One day, Ante Vrban ordered that all sick and feeble children be
brought away and taken to a nearby building, where he simply crammed
them into two rooms, with the help of Ustashas. They were gassed with
poisonous gas.19
Jasenovac and Stara Gradika, like numerous testimonies have proved, were
the biggest concentration camps for children in this part of the occupied
Europe, and they lasted as long as the camps in the Nazi Germany did.20
The Ustasha policy did all in its power to deprive the children of their ethnic
identity. They separated children from their mothers by force and by
performing acts of barbarism. They famished the children to such a degree
that as a result they were in a state of numbness. The children would forget
who they were, they would forget about everything and in the end, they
would only want a piece of food and some water.
Ustashas would take the healthiest children in camp and take care of them,
wishing to turn them into little Ustashas. ...When those kids are washed, fed
and given a change of clothes, when they gain a little weight, they will be just
like any other children. Admittedly, they are of the Vlach blood, but who in
their right mind could care about that? Thats just for papers and promotion.
The movement must have some kind of ideology.
... And who is going to prove that they are in fact Serbian children who can
even imagine that when they are being saved by the Ustashas and our
wonderful leader! All things aside, the Serbs indeed have hearts of borderguards, these little Serbs could be raised to become excellent janissaries. No

19

Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd,
2000, p. 51.
20 According to the data from the book by Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo deca, Jasenovac,
grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd, 2000, p. 37.
Childrens bodies were buried, thrown into the Sava River or cremated.

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one knows who either their fathers or their mothers are; the state will
embrace them and turn those little boys into excellent non-commissioned
officers and policemen. One should just get it through their heads that their
parents gave their lives for the leader and Zvonimirs crown, and youll see
how they defend Croatia like lions. Orthodox Christian girls will forget about
the priest and the priests wife, they will marry Croats and give birth to many
babies; no one procreates like Orthodox peasant women, and when they
conceive with the Goths, it will be an offspring for show.21
Yet, help arrived to the little ones in camps from humane people. Mrs Diana
Budisavljevi22 organised and led the operation. Through her personal
connections with high-ranking officials of the German military administration and her friends from Zagreb itself, together with the brave nurses
and doctors of the Red Cross, she invested an effort in rescuing as many
children as possible.
Action Diana Budisavljevi ... until 1943 relied on the Jewish Religious
Community in Zagreb, and from then onwards on the Zagreb Archdiocese

21

According to the testimony of Ilija Jakovljevi (born 1898, died 1948). He was a lawyer,
novelist, short story writer, poet and publicist. He was arrested in October of 1941 for
refusing to collaborate with the Ustasha regime. Having spent a short time in jail in the
Savska Cesta in Zagreb, he was sent to Jasenovac and then to Stara Gradika where he
stayed between late October 1941 and December 1942. Thanks to his specific status,
Jakovljevi could communicate with the camps senior officers and commanders. In an
effort to win him over, they allowed him to make notes on which his book Konclogor na
Savi would later be based.
22 Diana Budisavljevi, ne Obexer, was born in Innsbruck on 15 January 1891 and died in
Innsbruck on 20 August 1978. She was married to surgeon Julije Budisavljevi, chief of the
surgical clinic of the School of Medicine in Zagreb. He was one of few Zagreb Serbs who
were spared the penal measures of the Croatian state in the Second World War.
During the Second World War, Diana Budisavljevi rescued 12,000 children from the
Ustasha death camps. It was one of the most difficult operations by the number of the
rescued and the most comprehensive relief effort related to the Second World War
concentration camps. More than 3,200 children died after the rescue from the results of
staying in those camps. In order to save the identity of the rescued children, she kept a
card-file during the war. The card-file kept by Diana Budisavljevi could only be used for a
short period of time. At the request of the new government in Zagreb, the Department of
National Security (OZNA), the card-file of Kozara children and photo albums of Ustasharun camps were confiscated from Diana Budisavljevi.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

branch of the Caritas (in terms of buying foreign currency for the
procurement of milk from Switzerland, and in terms of the placement of
children into the care of families).23
She led the relief effort that rescued the little ones from the camps, i.e. saved
children from the certain death or becoming the Ustasha janissaries. There
are testimonies of the action24, and its admirable actors who were led by
Diana Budisavljevi and Dr Kamilo Bresler25, as well as of the constant efforts
of Ustashas to prevent the action.
A brief excerpt from Diana Budisavljevis diary:
10 July 1942, Stara Gradika: Some of the children had already been
identified to be transported to Gornja Rijeka, but then they had to stay
because of illness. Some of them died there, and some of them died
while in our care later, just like so many other little martyrs, as
unknown, nameless children. And each of them had a mother who cried
bitter tears over them, they had had their own home, their own clothes,
and now they were thrown naked into a mass grave. Their mothers
were pregnant with them for nine months, their parents welcomed
them with joy, cared for them and raised them lovingly, and then
Hitler needs warriors, bring the women, take their children away from
them, let them rot; what an immeasurable sadness, what pain (...)
Luburi arrived in the morning. He was angry that he had to give the
children away. He said there were enough Catholic children in Zagreb
growing up in poverty. That we should take care of them. Then he
warned us again that it was only up to his good will whether he would
set us free from the camp.26
The testimony of Jana Koh, the then secretary of the Croatian Red
Cross:

23

Jasmina Tutunovi-Trifunov, Akcija Diana Budisavljevi 1941 1945, Istraivanja i


memorijalizacija genocida i ratnih zloina, Beograd 2012, p. 57.
24 See in Jasmina Tutunovi-Trifunov, Akcija Diana Budisavljevi 1941 1945, Istraivanja
i memorijalizacija genocida i ratnih zlona, Beograd 2012, pp. 53-95.
25

Dr Kamilo Bresler was employed with the Ministry of Social Affairs.


Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd,
2000, p. 123.
26

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The shacks were connected with corridors where Ustashas stood


guard. A little farther away from the infirmary, you could hear
children crying from another shack. Four hundred children were
housed there on the bare floor: newborns, babies only several weeks or
months old, and children up to ten years of age. There was no way to
find out any longer how many children had arrived or where they were
deported to. Children in the childrens shack were crying inconsolably
and calling out to their mothers, who were only a few steps away...
Older children told us fighting tears that they could not calm the little
ones for they were hungry, there was no one to change their diapers,
they told us they were afraid they were all going to die. ... We sent off
a train with 550 children to Zagreb27 and the only thing we could tell
those mothers to console them were the addresses where they could
look for their children once they came back from the foreign country.
They were all deported to Germany that very night.28
Children nurslings were taken over by a shelter (Childrens Home
Josipovac) run by Dr. Bei and Dr. Olga Bonjakovi. As early as the
following day, many Zagreb women took the nurslings home to rescue
them. Unfortunately, neither the warmth nor the love of the new home
could keep many alive. Children over the age of one, two or three we
placed in the shelter of the Institute for Deaf and Dumb Children.29
Fortunately, dozens of women collaborators, volunteers from the city
responded to our call for help. We used a Red Cross ambulance for
transport and we loaded four or five children on each of the four
stretchers on the vehicle and quickly took them to the Institute for
Nurslings, escorted by two women. As there was not enough room or
beds, we were forced to put three or four children on one medium-size
child bed across. Some women ran right after the first vehicle, carrying
diapers, cloths, bottles and all imaginable kit for little babies. A circle of
unselfish and hard-working women (wife of Prof. Beci, a formally
trained painter, Baja Omikus, a salesman, D. Vidakovi, an architect,
etc.) formed around Diana Budisavljevi. They would fetch anything

27

Risking their own lives, over 100 Zagreb residents managed to rescue 10,536 little
hostages from the clutches of Ustashas and so write one of the brightest pages in the
Second World War history.
28 Dragoje Luki - roditelj pokoenog narataja, Beograd, p. 179.
29According to the testimony of Jana Koh, the then secretary of the Croatian Red Cross.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

we were unable to get hold of. They would sew little shirts, hem the
diapers, and help day and night to look after the children together with
the Red Cross nurses. Those who never had a chance to set up a
childrens home with over 250 nurslings within just a few hours can
never understand what kind of challenge lied ahead of us.30

According to the List of children affected by the war, 25 trains with 12,861
children, who were in the care of the Croatian Red Cross, i.e. the team of
Action Diana Budisavljevi activists, were taken to the Disinfection Station of
the Zagreb Railway Station between 27 March 1942 and 8 January 1943. The
convoys of children showed all the drama of the rescue of 10,536 boys and
girls.
Upon the completion of Action Diana Budisavljevi, the people who had
assisted Mrs. Diana Budisavljevi kept helping the children in camps, but
with the refusal of assistance from the Ustasha camp authorities and with a
high degree of personal risk.
The children who were not rescued, neither in the five trains organised by
the Action nor with the help of good people, continued to live in the camp
routine, under impossible conditions that were in no way acceptable in a
normal and civilised world. They were tortured by violators. They were
brutally killed. They served as toys in their murderers game of death.
In the Independent State of Croatia, all child prisoners indeed were on the
other side of the world. They were children in death camps.

30

According to the testimony of Kamilo Bresler, in the book by Dragoje Luki, Bili su samo

deca, Jasenovac, grobnica 19.432 devojice i deaka. Beograd, 2000, p. 125.

339

Radovan Jovi

SUFFERING OF CHILDREN IN
JASENOVAC AND OTHER
CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN NDH

If it has to be so and cannot be avoided, then a dead man is better than


a living beast. For before the living God no man is ever dead, and a beast
is dead even when he treads this earth. It has for centuries been a lesson
of our mothers, not of just one mother Jevrosima: do not, son, speak or
do any wrong I had better lose my head than do one wrong!
That same thing represents the commitment of the knights of Kosovo:
the earthly kingdom is here today, gone tomorrow, and the Kingdom
of Heaven is forever and ever.
Both commitments derive from the same Gospel: And fear not them
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him
which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

Introduction
This paper is a monument of sorts to all the innocent victims and an
everlasting memory of tens of thousands of children of the Serbian, Jewish
and Romani ethnicity, who were murdered most brutally by the Ustashas of
the genocidal state, the Independent State of Croatia, during the Second
World War.
Establishment of special death camps for children, from newborn babies to
children under 14, which were designed by the Ustasha regime of Ante
Paveli, represents a unique and never before recorded case in the history of
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humankind. This paper actually represents our modest contribution to


keeping alive the memory of more than 750,000 innocent victims of the
Serbian, Jewish and Romani population killed in the Ustasha death camps,
particularly the memory of the horrific and mass slaughters of little angels.
The first part of the paper contains the specific data collected from the rich
historical collections as well as from the literature published so far. The paper
recalls and teaches us about the criminal character of Slavko Kvaternik and
his Croatian Militia, whose formations never in the four years of the
Second World War engaged in direct battle with the enemy army but rather
raided the unprotected Serbian villages and towns where they arrested
civilians en masse and took them to concentration death camps, which were
formed exclusively for the extermination of the Serbs, Jewish and Roma on
the territory of the criminal Ustasha creation, the NDH. On the basis of mass
slaughters and executions in camps, it can be concluded that Ustashas marked
the children in diapers as their main enemies.
However, despite the multitude of historical collections, authentic war-time
documents, testimonies, books and other works, a very small number of
publications have been devoted to mass executions and slaughters of children
in the Ustasha monstrous creation, the NDH. Nevertheless, the biggest credit
for returning the names and surnames to a huge number of innocent child
victims goes to Belgrade publicist Dragoje Luki, who was a camp inmate
himself, who was zealously collecting the personal data on the number of
innocent murdered Kozara children in Ustasha [part of sentence missing, t/n]
for 30 solid years after the war.
The Banja Luka-based Krajike novine in its special April 2005 edition,
marking the 60th anniversary of the last Jasenovac camp inmate groups
breakthrough, published the names of over 20,000 murdered children.
This paper was made as a necessity too because, as time goes by and as we
move further away from the Second World War events, some new truths
constantly emerge interwoven with lies and most disgusting manipulation.
We can testify that even today, at the beginning of the second decade of the
21st century, there are attempts to label and declare the nation that made the
greatest sacrifices and gave the biggest contribution to the National
Liberation Struggle the main culprit of all the wars in the Balkans in the past
century.
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Nonetheless, we should recall that even the German Nazis were shocked by
the mass slaughters, barbarian acts and prisoner executions in death camps,
which were carried out by the Ustasha regime. Hitlers intelligence officer,
Artur Hefner, in his report dated 18 November 1942, described the Jasenovac
camp as follows: It is a camp of the worst kind, equal to Dantes Inferno.
When in late 1990 the third, expanded edition of the book Rat i djeca Kozare
by Dragoje Luki was published, the renowned Serbian poet Dobrica Eri,
learning about the slaughter of a huge number of Kozara children in
Jasenovac, Jastrebarsko, Sisak, Stara Gradika and other execution sites, in
an article for the Belgrade-based Politika wrote a few disturbing lines:
If they were ants, bees, butterflies, ears of grains in the fields or flowers in
the meadows, it would be too much, but they were neither ants, nor bees, nor
butterflies, nor ears of grains in the fields nor flowers in the meadows, but
children, almost all of them, and it can be said all of them Serbian children!
Forty thousand boys and girls that is an entire big childrens town. But now
they make an entire big cemetery.
If those children had lived to grow up, it would now have been a town of
nearly 100,000 inhabitants and it would have been resounding with life, with
childrens clamour and song. By every next 100 years, that town would have
been bigger by 100,000 new lives; but this way, this cemetery will be bigger
by 100,000 deaths after every 100 years.
This means that this unspeakable crime does not decrease with time, but
grows, the sin is becoming heavier and the debt ever longer, and a thousand
years later it will be multiplied by at least 1,000 times...
Many execution sites and death camps where small Serbian children were
killed still await a poet to erect in every place a monument that will overpower oblivion. People in Herzegovina too are waiting to see if a poet will
emerge to celebrate in verse mother Ljubica Bulut, whom Ustashas brought,
together with her three underage children, to a pit in urmanci. But, while
the slaughterers were sharpening curved knives and preparing a bloody
feast, the mother gave a strong hug to her three little ones: Milenko, aged 9,
Miladin, aged 7 and one-year-old Milena, and mustered the strength to say:
Come on, my angels, lets fly away.

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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

uro Zatezalo, a longtime director of the Historical Archives of Karlovac, in


his book Radio sam svoj seljaki i kovaki posao and publicist Dragoje Luki
in his book Bili su samo deca [They Were Only Children] wrote down all
names and surnames of 33,209 children killed in the most brutal ways by the
criminal Ustasha regime.
However, the former Federal Statistical Institute of the Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia published the names and surnames of 74,360 children
killed in the NDH. Unfortunately, neither this figure of innocent child
victims is final since, during a years-long research, Srboljub ivanovi, a
researcher from London, gathered the data on 110,000 boys and girls
murdered in death camps throughout the former NDH territory.
Apart from the due reverence towards the innocent children killed, the task
of this paper is to reveal, to the extent possible, and bring closer to the reader
the truth about the crime of genocide committed against the Serbs, Jews and
Roma on the territory of the former criminal creation, the Independent State
of Croatia.

JASENOVAC A FACTORY OF DEATH


Only four days after the German Nazi forces marched in and occupied the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia, meeting almost no resistance at all, Zagreb saw the
proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia on 10 April 1941. The duty
went to Slavko Kvaternik, who read out the declaration on the establishment
of the criminal Ustasha creation, together with a German envoy Edmund

Veesenmayer, on a Zagreb radio that afternoon. Even though the original


plan was that power in the NDH be taken over by Vladko Maek, leader of
the Croatian Peasants Party, it was no coincidence that Adolf Hitler, the
leader of the Third Reich, opted for Ante Paveli, who at the time was an
Ustasha emigrant in Italy.
In order to justify the trust in the position of the president of the genocidal
state NDH, Ante Paveli surpassed his ideological mentor Adolf Hitler by the

brutality of crimes and mass slaughters.


As soon as he came back from Italy, Paveli declared a big number of laws
and appointed an interim government. Immediately after its formation, the
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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

Ustasha regime started carrying out mass persecution and brutal executions
of the population of other ethnic, religious or racial background. In fact, the
Ustasha government in the NDH legalised the racist and fascist laws on the
basis of which the severest form of genocide against the Serbs, Jews and
Roma was committed. The first ones bearing the brunt of the crimes were
Orthodox Christian priests, distinguished heads of Serbian households,
intelligentsia and rich people. As early as the first half of May, an order was
published that all Serbs had to wear a white band on their right arm carrying
the symbol of their faith. By the same rule, the Jews had to wear a yellow
band with the Star of David, and, just like the Roma, they were subjected to
special racist laws, whereupon they were arrested en masse and taken to
concentration camps, where the most brutal executions were taking place
along with acts of severe torture.
On 17 April 1941, the Ustasha leader Ante Paveli published the Decree on
the Defence of the People and State introducing the state of emergency in the
NDH because of the Serbs. As early as 25 April, the use of the Cyrillic script
was banned. Eradication of all traces of the Serbian culture, tradition and
history ensued. Churches, reading rooms and buildings of Serbian
associations were burnt down. The Serbs, as well as the Jews and Roma, were
outlawed: they were removed from the civil service, their freedom of
movement was restricted, names of settlements were changed, Orthodox
Christian schools were abolished and Serbian books, even those in the Roman
script, were burnt down.
Apart from the two existing concentration camps in Lepoglava and Kruica
near Travnik, with the aforementioned decree Paveli ordered the expansion

of camps for as many prisoners as possible. In late April 1941, the so-called
labour camp Danica was opened in Koprivnica, which incarcerated
approximately 5,000 Serbs and Jews, and a few Croats, who were allegedly
members of the antifascist movement. Also, on 18 May 1941, the camp
Kerestinec, which existed also during the Banovina of Croatia within the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was reopened.
However, the first formula for the solution of the Serbian issue in the
Independent State of Croatia was first published by the Ustasha minister of
propaganda Mile Budak, who on 11 June 1941 at a rally in Lovinac near
Graac, made a frightening threat that was part of the criminal Ustasha
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

arsenal: Some of the Serbs we will kill, some we will move to Serbia, and
some we will convert to Catholicism and to Croats, and whatever remains of
them will only be a bad memory of them. During the same event, as one of
the Ustasha ideologists and a Croatian writer, Budak pronounced the
criminal slogan: Hang the Serbs from the willow trees! This threat,
recognisable for its malice and the display of pathological hatred, Mile Budak
bequeathed as his biggest literary achievement to the most extreme followers
of the Ustasha ideology.
But, before the rally in Lovinac, on St. Georges Day in 1941, Budak
announced a national programme in Krievci according to which the NDH
was the state of two religions Catholicism and Islam, whose territory
included the former Banovina of Croatia, Krajina, Slavonia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, as well as a part of Srem, all the way to Zemun.
By their ethnicity, the then Muslims in the genocidal state NDH were treated
as Croatian flowers. Accepting the Ustasha ideology, many Muslims took
part together with the Croats in the most brutal executions and mass
slaughters of Serbs, Jews and Roma.
Among some of the important functions in the NDH performed by the
representatives of the Muslim group we should mention that Osmanbeg and
Daferbeg Kulenovi from Banja Luka were deputy prime ministers of the
Ustasha government, and that Hilmija Belagi, Mehmed Alajbegovi and
Meho Mehii were loyal government officials. The position of the president
of the NDH Supreme Court was entrusted with Asim Ugljen, while others
who also held high-ranking positions in the Ustasha authorities were
Ademaga Mei and Alija uljak. Ismetbeg Gavrankapetanovi was the
deputy speaker of the Croatian Parliament and head of the Vrhbosna County
in Sarajevo, while Husein Ali was the head of the Great County of Sana and
Luka in Banja Luka.
The brutal implementation of Pavelis criminal plan, i.e. ethnic cleansing of
the Croatian territory turned into the biggest pogrom of the Serbian, Jewish
and Romani population in the Second World War. As regards the Serbs as
the biggest population, at a rally in Graac, as the best recipe for the
reinforcement of Pavelis state, Budak stated: As for the Serbs, it is not
enough to just cut the tree; its roots must be pulled out as well.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

The Ustasha minister thus announced mass slaughters over children, the goal
being to totally root out the traces of the existence of the Serbs, Jews and
Roma in the NDH. Only evil persons could cook up and carry out such a
genocidal plan in line with which great many Serbian, Jewish and Romani
children were incarcerated, tortured and killed in death camps. Not even
newborn babies were spared, they were taken out of their cradles and taken
away from their mothers arms, whereupon Ustasha torturers would take and
slaughter them in special camps for children. That is how the criminal NDH
remained recorded in the darkest pages of the history of human madness as
the only state in the world that formed special death camps for underage
children.
As early as mid April 1941, the Ustasha regime formed the first complex of
concentration camps Gospi Jadovno Pag, which was known as the Gospi
group of camps where the most severe form of physical destruction of Serbs
in the NDH was conducted. The complex included the camps Gospi,
Jadovno, Slana and Metajna on the island of Pag, Stupainovo, the
Maskimovi stables and the Gospi railway station. Apart from these, the
biggest execution sites used by Ustashas were numerous Velebit pits, into
which they would throw the bodies of half-slaughtered and half-dead victims,
having stabbed them violently or having dealt them a blow into the back of
the head with a mallet. Some of such bottomless pits where the biggest
number of innocent victims were killed were the pits aran, Badanj, Jamina,
Macolina jama and Jarja jama. At the same time on the island of Pag, since
mid June 1941 there was a concentration camp for men and a camp for
women and children in Metajna.
Apart from the first concentration camps for children in Sisak and
Jastrebarsko, through which 33,000 little ones went, of whom the Ustasha
beasts killed nearly 20,000 girls and boys in the most brutal way, there were
seven other childrens camps: Lobor, Jablanac near Jasenovac, Mlaka,
Broice, Utica, Stara Gradika and Gornja Rijeka.
One of the many and at the same the most distressing testimonies about the
methods of torture and physical destruction of children in Ustasha camps was
described by Avro Manhattan (America) as follows: At the time, new
inmates women and children were brought into the camp in Stara
Gradika every day. Only two weeks later, camp commander Ante Vrban
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JASENOVAC THE SIXTH INTERN. CONFERENCE BANJA LUKA, 19-20 MAY 2014

issued an order that all children be separated from their mothers and placed
in one room. Ten of us males were ordered to carry them over there wrapped
in blankets. When the room was filled up, Vrbas released poisonous gas that
killed all the children.
According to the data gathered and processed so far, between April 1941 and
May 1945, as many as 74,762 children under the age of 14 were murdered on
the territory of the Ustasha NDH, of whom 14,528 are recorded as victims of
war, while the most severe form of the crime of genocide was committed
against 60,234 children by Ustasha slaughterers.
It has also been established that 30,054 boys and 28,012 girls were killed by
slaughter or other cruel ways, and for 168 children it was impossible to
determine their sex. As for their ethnicity, the biggest number of murdered
children were Serbs 54,723, Roma 5,541 and Jews 3,414.
In fact, the number of murdered Romani children is higher since the Roma
were frequently listed as members of the Muslim people. Statistically, in the
four years of the genocidal state NDHs existence, on average, more than 49
children were killed every day, according to the book Deca na lomai rata u
Nezavisnoj Dravi Hrvatskoj 1941 1945, offprint Jasenovac, sistem
ustakih logora smrti.
Jasenovac youngest victims were brought to the execution sites from 1,074
settlements situated on the territory of the criminal NDH. The children were
collected from 155 municipalities mainly inhabited by the Serbs. The number
of children murdered in Jasenovac included 6,299 children from the wider
Banja Luka Krajina, 6,181 from Slavonia, 1,624 from Banija, 1,216 from
Kordun, 1,159 from Srem, 1,019 from eastern Bosnia, 922 from northwestern Croatia, 157 from Dalmatia, 101 from Herzegovina, 74 from Gorski
Kotar and the Croatian coastal region and 32 from Lika. The biggest mass
crime was committed against the children of Kozara. From this small area,
6,149 little ones were killed. Those were mostly the children from the area of
Gradika, 3,837, and Dubica, 1,825.
Mostly Serbian children were killed in Jasenovac, 12,113, followed by
Romani, 5,312, and Jewish, 1,927. Among the murdered children there were
127 little Croats, 55 Muslims and two Slovenians. Ethnicity of seven children
has never been determined.

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GENOCIDE AND CRIMES OF NDH AGAINST SERBS, JEWS AND ROMA IN WWII

In the Jasenovac execution site, which spread across approximately 200


square kilometres, over 11 children were killed every day. In Gradina,
Jasenovacs biggest grave-mound, and in the waves of the rivers Una and
Sana, the lives of 14,244 boys and girls were extinguished. In Stara Gradika,
4,950 children were killed, in Mlaka 138, in Jablanac 122, in the Dubica
limekilns 52, in Cerovljani 22, in the forests of Veliki Strug 14 and in
Koutarica 12.
Duan Bursa in his book Aneli u paklu states that, between April 1941 and
May 1945, several tens of thousands of Serbian, Jewish and Romani children
lost their lives throughout the Ustasha NDH. It was established that 74,360
children aged between 1 day and 14 years, listed by name and surname, were
killed on the territory covered by the then Croatian monster state.
In the vicinity of Glina, Ustashas captured 25 Serbian children, tied their
hands behind their backs and lined them in a circle round a hay-stack with
their feet facing inside the circle. They set the hay-stack on fire and
childrens legs burnt up to their knees, whereupon Ustashas threw them onto
the road where they died in great pain. In the written statements, witnesses
recounted what the Muslim Ustashas in Maglaj often sang: Hey Paveli,
when will you tell us/ to go roast the Serbian children? a quote from the
aforementioned book by Duan Bursa.
Besides the cruel crimes against children that a normal human mind cannot
grasp, the same author recalls that, researching the genocide in the NDH, he
stumbled upon a shocking story from Livno, when a Croatian Ustasha, a
butcher, hung in his shop-window a newborn cut in half and on the halves
wrote: A Serbian nursling!
As regards the Ustasha slaughters against Serbs in the area of the former
Livno county, numerous pieces of evidence were collected that the State
Commission to Investigate Crimes Committed by Nazis and their Allies got
hold of during an investigation. According to authentic documents and
witness statements, which authors Joa Horvat and Zdenko tambuk
collected in the book Dokumenti o protivnarodnom radu i zloinima jednog
dijela katolikog reda, and published in Zagreb in 1944, six Catholic friars,
namely: Borivoje Ma from Vido, Boo Simlea from Litane, Bono
Greberarovi from Podhum, Viktor Balti from Ljubuni, Sreko Peri
from Livno and Vlado uri from Bila, sent a letter on 10 May 1942 to Ante
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Paveli in Zagreb, asking for a more forceful intervention of the Italian army
to cleanse the surrounding mountains of communist gangs. Even though
the communist authorities after the liberation tried to ascribe all the blame
for war crimes on the occupying forces, it has to be said that in their
occupation zone, Italian soldiers did not commit a single crime against the
civilian population in the county of Livno. What is more, many witnesses
from the Dinara Mountain villages in the Lower Livno Field even today recall
the kindness of Italian soldiers who not only never persecuted or maltreated
the Serbs, but used all possible ways to help the civilians and often gave
chocolate and sweets to children.
Marija Bogunovi from Livno and Ljubo Crnogorac, an innkeeper from
elebi, in their statements dated 24 June 1942 testified to the Commissioner
for Refugees about the ghastly deeds of Ustasha slaughterers in the Livno
area, and commended the Italian occupying troops who protected the civilian
population as much as they could.
Ustashas spiritual leader in that part of the NDH was friar Sreko Peri in
the monastery of Gorica near Livno. Before the slaughter in the Livno area,
standing at the altar of the Gorica church, he ordered the gathered Croats to
start the slaughter of the Serbs, saying: My Croat brothers, go out and
slaughter all the Serbs. Slaughter first my sister, who married a Serb, and
then all other Serbs without exception. When you finish that work, come see
me in the church, where you will confess to me and then all your sins will be
forgiven.
By 20 August 1941, in the area of the former Livno county (Livno, Duvno,
Grahovo, Glamo and Kupres), according to the exact data collected, 5,600
Serbs, men, women and children were killed or slaughtered. In those crimes,
friar Sreko Peri took a prominent placed as an Ustasha. Prior to the
occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, he spent some time in Ni as a
Roman Catholic priest reads a witness statement, which was published in
the aforementioned book Dokumenti o protivnarodnom radu i zloinima
jednog dijela katolikog reda.
As for the territory of the Municipality of Livno, 1,533 Serbs were killed in
Ustasha slaughters. On the Day of Margaret the Virgin-Martyr (30 July
1941), at the beginning of August and on St. Elijahs Day in 1941, Ustashas
committed mass slaughters of Serbs in the villages of elebi, Donji Rujani,
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aprazlije, Golinjevo, Livno and Prolog. In those slaughters, 613 children


were killed, 374 of them under the age of 10, and 249 under the age of five.
The list of the children killed includes the victims personal data, such as
name, surname, fathers name, year and place of birth and execution sites
where they were murdered. It was thus established that 20 one-year olds, 13
newborn babies, one just a day old, were murdered.
Ustashas would cut off the little childrens heads and throw them into their
mothers laps. Dobrila Bajilo from Livno, wife of the murdered Ugljea, a
salesman, was pregnant. An Ustasha approached her, put her arms on her
chest and told her to hold them like that, because he was intending to nail
her arms to her chest. When the Ustasha was about to commit this brutal
crime, Dobrila started defending herself. The Ustasha called another Ustasha
to help him and they ripped Dobrilas stomach with a knife. The Ustashas
took out an unborn baby from the ripped pregnant woman. This crime was
described in the book Ognjena Marija Livanjska by Budo Simonovi.
The most severe crime that Ustashas committed was on the Day of Margaret
the Virgin-Martyr in 1941 in a classroom of an elementary school in the
village of elebi near Livno, where women and children were incarcerated
and from where men were taken away and thrown in the Bikua pit. In the
elebi slaughter, 403 victims from this and the neighbouring village of
Bojmunte were killed. In Livno itself, 137 Serbs were killed: the men were
killed in the Prolog pit and women and children were slaughtered in the
Koprivnica Forest outside Bugojno. In the village of Golinjevo near Livno,
where the great Serbian poet Jovan Sundei was born, in just one day
Ustashas seized all the Serbs who happened to be in the village and murdered
231 residents; men were thrown into the Prolog pit, and the women and
children into the Kamenica abyss alive. In Donji Rujani, 204 Serbs were
killed, most of whom were thrown in the Ravni Dolac pit on Mount Dinara,
and in the neighbouring Gornji Rujani 143 Serbs were killed and thrown
intwo the pits Razvala and Provalija on Mount Dinara.
All other victims were identified, most of whom came from Veliki Guber
(116), followed by Litani (55), aprazlije (28), Potok (26), Smrani (24),
Bojmunte (24), Potoani (22), Glavica (23), abljak (19), Zastinje (15), Priluka
(13), Radanovci (10), Sajkovii (10), Komoran (8), Rapovina (8), Odak (7),
Mali Guber (6), Bila (6) and Podgreda (4). During the NDH rule, in the area
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of the Municipality of Livno, Ustashas slaughtered 219 children in the village


of elebi, 183 in Donji Rujani and 118 in Golinjevo.
A dreadful destiny of teacher Angela Lali from Livno was described by
Muslim Ismet Duran, a post-war witness, who was a driver of a bus by which
Ustashas transported mothers and children to slaughter in the Koprivnica
Forest near Bugojno. Her two-and-a-half-year-old son Zdravko suddenly
started crying on the bus, which angered Ustasha Smajo akar so he cut the
childs head off and threw it in his mothers lap. In shock and great pain, the
mother mourned her child and would not let the head of her first-born out
of her hands until the same Ustasha slaughtered her too on the bus. Even
though the post-war authorities in Livno were aware of this most cruel crime
of slaughter of a and child and his mother, the first one to speak out about it
was Ismet Duran, an Ustasha driver who had been employed in the
Municipality of Livno for years also as a driver. A harrowing testimony of
Ismet Duran to this brutal crime was published by the Belgrade-based
Intervju weekly in 1990.
There is almost no place in the Ustasha genocidal state NDH inhabited by the
Serbs where there was no site of execution of a small or a great number of
people. Numerous witness statements and notes speak of the methods of
crimes and torturing of people. By monstrosity, manner and brutality, by the
number and scope, the crimes in camp Jasenovac surpass any human fantasy.
As a foreign correspondent Swiss writer Jacques Isar published in his book

Vieno u Jugoslaviji [Seen in Yugoslavia] harrowing testimonies and


evidence of Ustasha crimes during the Second World War.
What the surviving witnesses told us about the torture and murders in
camps, the human mind cannot understand, it cannot believe it. The Spanish
Inquisition, the German atrocities against the Jews in Poland, and even the
Chinese torture seem like childs play in comparison to what the Ustasha
bestiality did against the Serbian, Jewish and Romani population.
One of the countless crimes occurred in Glamo, where the women and
children were allegedly spared and received an approval to leave town.
Having gone one kilometer away, all those women and all the children who
believed they were free from horror, were shot dead.

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A new wave of savagery is splashing against Croatia. Serb refugees who


came to Split are giving horrifying testimonies. Isolated cases aside, for
instance, that of the Serbian physician Duan Mitrovi, who had practiced
medicine for 25 years in Livno and treated so many Croats. He was murdered
after being forced to help kill his two children and wife, on 25 May 1942.

USTASHA SLAUGHTER OF THE ENEMY IN


DIAPERS
The criminal regime of the Nazi-fascist state called the Independent State of
Croatia killed in Jasenovac 19,554 children of the Serbian, Jewish and
Romani ethnicity in most brutal ways between 23 August 1941 and 22 April
1945. No crime on Planet Earth can compare to the mass slaughters of
children committed in most brutal ways by Ustasha executioners, especially
those committed in the Jasenovac death camp. Ustasha beasts attacked and
plucked the children from their mothers wombs, shot small children dead,
prodded them with bayonets, slaughtered them with knives, broadaxes and
axes, killed them with mallets and iron levers. They incinerated underage
boys and girls in Jasenovac crematoria and in the Picilli Furnace in
Gradina, threw the victims into deep pits, gassed them with potassium
cyanide and slaked lime, poisoned them with contaminated injections and
caustic soda, tortured them with hunger, thirst and extreme cold.
The Jasenovac concentration camp is the lowest the humankind can sink to.
It is the most horrific torture site in the history of mankind and the greatest
hell on earth. It is a product of pathological hatred, a work of evil, a work of
the devil himself. Anything anyone could ever write about Jasenovac would
only be a pale copy of all the horrors that happened there.
This is what ore Mili, who is one of the rare survivors of Jasenovac
camps, wrote in his book Pakao Jasenovca.
Jasenovac, the third biggest concentration camp in the then occupied Europe,
falls among the worlds most monstrous factories of death, where more than
750,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma were murdered during four war years. What
is the most painful wound in the history of mankind is that every tenth victim
in Jasenovac was a child, from newborn babies to children under 14 years of
age. In only four years of its existence, the Independent State of Croatia wrote
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the darkest pages in the history of human dishonour, as this genocidal state
established special death camps for children too. Immediately upon its
establishment, many women and their children were brought into the
Jasenovac concentration camp. The neighbouring village of Mlaka was
turned into an alleged labour camp for women, who were forced to do the
most difficult farm work, and after the war they were killed en masse near
the villages of Mlaka and Jablanac. Children were killed together with their
parents, even the babies that were still breastfeeding. Ustashas murdered
more than 70,000 girls and boys by slaughter and in other most brutal ways,
mostly in Jasenovac and Stara Gradika.
Publicist Dragoje Luki, who by some accident managed to survive many
horrors in the Second World War, spent his whole working and private life
diligently gathering the data and photographs of the children murdered in
the Ustasha death camps. As a prominent writer and researcher, as well as
cultural and political worker, born in Miloevo Brdo in Podgradci near
Gradika, Luki managed to collect, until his death in his late seventies, the
personal data and numerous photographs and determined the identity of
more than 25,000 girls and boys murdered by the genocidal Ustasha regime.
- Researching and determining the truth about the murdered children, and
the biggest number of them were from the Kozara Mountain, from
Potkozarje beneath it, and many other of our areas, I obtained information
on such shocking events that it was impossible that those men-monsters
could do something like that to innocent little children. I managed to establish
the basic data on 25,104 children, give them back their identity, discover their
family origin, where they were from and so forth, and when the first such
list was published, many claimed that I had made it up.
Of course I hadnt because I discovered even the children who were
converted to Catholicism, whose names and surnames were replaced with
new ones; where they were from and what they did was kept secret. In this
effort I had the help of numerous associates, and one of the closest ones was
a writer and journalist, late publicist Marino Curl who at the time launched a
campaign in the Zagreb magazine Arena entitled Arena is searshing for
your loved ones and in that way discovered the identity of more than 300
murdered children and gave it back to them.

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Jovo Jovi from Grbavci, who went by the name of Nihad Gradii for years,
learnt about his origin and his real identity only at the time of this campaign,
which was then also conducted by the Banja Luka newspaper Glas, Dragoje
Luki said once.
Neither Luki nor anyone else managed until this day to find a least bit of
reason, let alone a sensible reason for such horrific and mass slaughters and
killings of innocent children. Apart from the self-imposing and the only
correct conclusion that it was part of the genocidal plan of the Ustasha
doctrine and the sick impulse of executioners for the total destruction of the
Serbian, Jewish, Romani and other populations.
- Such were their killing methods that it was totally unthinkable to a healthy
human mind. What possible harm could have children done to them? Nothing
else but their nationality was wrong, because the majority of the killed
children were Serbs, Jews, Roma, and so on. They would go to such lengths
that, by murdering pregnant mothers, they would take out unborn children
from their wombs to finish them off or kill them even while they were still
in the womb. Such mental derangement is simply inexplicable, even when it
comes to ideological blindness, belonging to another nation and faith, and
above all, to the Nazi-fascist movement. And so nowadays, whenever
someone mentions fascistoid quality, or fascism in general, it makes peoples
hair stand on end recounts the surviving camp inmate Milica Bradari, who
ended up in a camp at only six, and as a nine-year-old girl she left the hell
which she fortunately evaded and lived to testify to the horror and atrocities
in a childrens camp.
Stojanka Unanin from Utica near Jasenovac, also one of the rare former
camp inmates who managed to break from the Ustasha death factory and on
25 January 1944 testify before the Commission for Refugees and Emigrants
in Belgrade about the horror and suffering that numerous camp inmates
were subjected to daily:
Of the Ustashas that stood out for their persecution of Serbs in Jasenovac
and Utica during the existence of death camps, I can name the following:
Nikola Vidakovi, a farmer from Utica, Petar imii, a farmer from Utica,
Martin Jugovi, a farmer from Utica, Stipe Jugovi, a farmer from Utica,
ura imii, aka Fildan, a farmer from Utica, his brother, Nika imii, a

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farmer from Utica, Tunja imii, aka Began, a farmer from Utica, Ivan
Dragi, aka ljuka, a farmer from Jasenovac, Ivica Pajor, a barber from
Jasenovac, Rad Dragi, a farmer from Jasenovac, etc.
Unfortunately, these and many other Ustasha slaughterers have never been
brought to justice to answer for the most severe crime of genocide. Not even
Pavelis minister of interior affairs Andrija Artukovi, who was tried in
Zagreb, though not before 1986, or Jasenovac camp commander Dinko aki
were convicted of genocide but of usual murders of civilians.
That was how attempts were made to cover up enormous atrocities committed in death camps Jasenovac, Jastrebarsko, Jadovno and many other
execution sites, such as Donja Gradina, unjari, Garavice, Drakuli, Drakseni, Glina, Jadovno, Sisak, Gospi, Jastrebarsko, Stara Gradika, Kragujevac,
Sajmite, urmanovci, Prebilovci, Golinjevo, Donji Rujani, elebi, etc.
The Jasenovac concentration-camp system was designed by Vjekoslav Maks
Luburi, who was its first commander. What kind of a torture chamber it was
is best shown by the data that the role of the camp warden was taken over by
Catholic Friar Miroslav Filipovi-Majstorovi, a criminal who organised and
directly participated in the slaughter of 2,300 Serbs in Drakuli, Motike,
argovac and Rakovac Mine near Banja Luka, in early February 1942. Father
Devil was then replaced in the position of the Jasenovac camp warden by
Ustasha criminal Dinko aki, whose 20-year prison sentence was confirmed
by the Croatian Supreme Court.
Should a war criminal guilty of many innocent peoples deaths be given a
chance to publicly state his views, especially when, in this case, it is clear that
ideologically he has not changed since the time he ordered executions?
This dilemma was faced by a journalist of the Zagreb weekly Nacional, who
upon the instructions of the editorial board led an interview with Dinko aki
at Remetinec prison in early December 2000. He noted that the public should
become acquainted with such people and their views, because it was the best
form of fighting fascist ideas, negation of crimes and glofirication of Ante
Paveli.
Dinko aki is undoubtedly one of the biggest Croatian war criminals of the
past century, even though thanks to the present regimes influence on
judiciary, the former commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp stood
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trial for usual war crimes instead of genocide. After all, how much an
important prisoner is languishing and will languish for 20 solid years at
the Remetinec prison, is shown by the data that Dinko aki is the worlds
only living commander of a death camp, reads an introduction to the
interview. Here is akis answer to the question of what he though of the
Croatian authorities at the time, being in a prison cell.
Even though they are constantly trying to erase four years of the most
glorious recent Croatian history from the Croatian past, the re-establishment
of the NDH on 10 April 1941, after 839 years, they will not succeed. This is
not the place to dissect the historical events from the Second World War but
I believe that the present-day Republic of Croatia is a continuation of the
NDH. Even the Belgrade street politics is constantly proving that to us, aki
said.
aki died while serving his sentence in prison on 21 July 2008, and before
him, the Ustasha Minister of Interior Affairs Andrija Artukovi died in
prison on 16 January 1988.

SLAUGHTER OF PUPILS IN ARGOVAC


In just one day, on 7 February 1942, Ustasha slaughterers killed 2,300 Serbs
in the Banja Luka villages of Motike, Drakuli, argovac and Rakovac Mine.
The climax of the crime was when the Serbian children were taken out from
their school classrooms for a ritual slaughter. According to the data collected
by publicist and writer Jovan Babi from Banja Luka and on the basis of a
research of Dragoje Luki, a publicist from Belgrade, 551 children aged
between 1 day and 14 years were killed in this gruesome slaughter. 294 little
ones were killed in Drakuli, 207 in Motike, and 50 in argovac. The names
of the innocent children were published in the book Drakulii by Jovan Babi.
Babi also collected the personal data on 52 slaughtered Orthodox Christian
elementary school pupils on the basis of the school attendance register.
However, according to some Italian data, 56 children were killed that day,
while the German sources claim it was 53.
Average age of the little martyrs was only 6.7 years!

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Nevertheless, one must admit that the Ustasha government had never hidden
its inhuman intentions towards Orthodox Christian children. Like Father
Devil, Miroslav Filipovi-Majstorovi, who was one of the planners of the
slaughter of Serbs in the vicinity of Banja Luka, the infamous Friar Dionizije
Juriev and a high-ranking Ustasha officer in Zagreb publicly called to
slaughter of the Serbian children in the NDH. No other people can live in
this country but Croats. Those who do not want to convert, we know what to
do with them. It is not a pity nowadays to kill even a seven-year-old, who
disturbs our Ustasha order. Do not think that the fact that I am wearing
clerical clothing forbids me to take a machine gun in my hands when
necessary and kill everyone, all the way down to babies, everybody who are
against the Ustasha government and state, Friar Juriev said.
Viktor Guti, the main organiser of slaughters in the NDH, was somewhat
more generous towards the children, sending Ustashas instructions for
genocide: We will kill all Serbian scum aged 15 and older, and we will put
their children in monasteries and they will make good Catholics...
Thousands of Orthodox Christian boys, converted into Catholicism, dressed
in Ustasha uniforms, subjected to re-education and prepared for future
Ustasha-jannisaries were classified as such good Catholics.
The report of the BiH Commission to Investigate Crimes Committed by Nazis
and their Allies on the crimes at Rakovac Mine and in the village of Drakuli,
dated December 1944, states as follows, among other things:
The culmination of savagery represents the slaughter of 60 schoolchildren,
who they found at school and cut their heads off in front of a female teacher
who went insane seeing all the horror.
Lazar Milin, PhD, an Orthodox priest and a professor at the Faculty of
Orthodox Theology in Belgrade, quotes the following words of Doctor Nikola
Nikoli: Today (i.e. in 1943) I learnt about some details about this horrific
and unprecedented, savage slaughter of Orthodox schoolchildren in the
village of Krivaja outside Banja Luka. A teacher in the village was Mara
Mila, a sister of Stipe unji. I know her personally. Dressed in a monastic
habit, Filipovi, better known as Father Devil, entered the classroom,
wearing an Ustasha cap, followed by several Ustashas.

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He told the teacher to separate the Orthodox children from the Catholic and
Muslim. When she did so, not suspecting the crime, he slaughtered all the
Orthodox children in sight of and among screams of the children.
According to a preserved school attendance register for the school year
1942/1943 from the then Peoples School in argovac near Banja Luka, a
special note died was made next to the names of Orthodox pupils on 7
February 1942. In fact, on that tragic day Ustashas slaughtered 52 pupils from
the area:
Radojka Glamoanin (fathers name ura), born 1931, enrolled in school in
1938, Simeun Kuruzovi (fathers name Duan), born 1931, enrolled in 1938,
Jovan Kuruzovi (fathers name Jovo), born 1932, enrolled in 1938, Jelena
Kuruzovi (fathers name Petar), bonr 1931, enrolled in 1938, Duan
Stijakovi (fathers name ura), born 1930, enrolled in 1938, Duan
Stankovi (fathers name Milan), born 1930, enrolled in 1938, Jovanka
Stijakovi (fathers name Stole), born 1929, enrolled in 1938, Dragomir ui
(fathers name uro), born 1931, enrolled in 1938, Mara ei (fathers name
uro), born 1931, enrolled in 1938, Milan ei (fathers name Duan), born
1930, enrolled in 1938, Radmila Glamoanin (fathers name Jovan), born
1932, enrolled in 1939, Ostoja Glamoanin (fathers name Kosta), born 1932,
enrolled in 1939, Mileva Glamoanin (fathers name Milan), born 1931,
enrolled in 1939, uro Mitrovi (fathers name Trivun), born 1932, enrolled
in 1939, Milan Smiljani (fathers name Mlaan), born 1932, enrolled in 1939,
Duan Stankovi (fathers name Jovan), born 1930, enrolled in 1939,
Vidosava Stankovi (fathers name Luka), born 1931, enrolled in 1939,
Gospava ei (fathers name uro), born 1930, enrolled in 1939, Dragica
Koi (fathers name uro), born 1931, enrolled in 1939, Radmila Kuruzovi
(fathers name Milan), born 1930, enrolled in 1939, Milorad Mitrovi
(fathers name Ilija), born 1931, enrolled in 1939, Anka Stijakovi (fathers
name Stevo), born 1931, enrolled in 1939, Ostoja Stijakovi (fathers name
Stojan), born 1932, enrolled in 1939, Slavko Stijakovi (fathers name ura),
born 1932, enrolled in 1939, Duan Stoli (fathers name Risto), born 1932,
enrolled in 1939, Zorka Zebi (fathers name Mirko), born 1931, enrolled in
1940, Gojko Kamber (fathers name Cvijo), born 1933, enrolled in 1940,
Zdravko Piljagi (fathers name Milan), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Milan
Glamoanin (fathers name ura), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Ostoja
Stankovi (fathers name Rade), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Branko
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Smiljani (fathers name Nikola), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Dragica


Kuruzovi (fathers name Nikola), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Slavka
Amidi (fathers name Nikola), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Ljubica
Mihajlovi (fathers name Mitar), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Mileva
Stankovi (fathers name Luka), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Mara Kuruzovi
(fathers name Milan), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Mitar Koi (fathers
name uro), born 1933, enrolled in 1940, Darinka Todorinovi (fathers
name Mile), born 1932, enrolled in 1940, Nada Smiljani (fathers name
Ostoja), born 1932, enrolled in 1940, Svetozar Katalina (fathers name Simo),
born 1932, (moved from Varadin) 1940, Branko Smiljani (fathers name
Nikola), Jovan Brki (fathers name Trivun), Milo Glamoanin (fathers
name Petar), Zdravka Stoli (fathers name Pane), Stamena Katalina (fathers
name Duan), Anka Amidi (fathers name Nikola), Branko Stankovi
(fathers name Kosta), Mileva Savanovi (fathers name Jovan), Marija
Stankovi (fathers name Luka), Nada eva (fathers name ore), ivko
Stankovi (fathers name Lovo), Milivoje Todorinovi (fathers name Simo).
But still, one of the most severe and most morbid crimes was committed by
Luburi and Ustashas in Slobotina on 16 August 1942, when 1,368 women,
children and feeble old men were thrown into wells. The victims approached
the wells in lines and watched the unfortunate ones in front of them being
hit with a mallet in the head and thrown headlong down the darkest wells.
Only a few days after this brutal crime, Luburi together with his Ustashas
captured around 200 innoncent inhabitants of the villages of Guani and
Busnovi near Prijedor. Immediately upon their capture, 53 people were killed
in a savage manner, and the rest were taken to the Jasenovac death factory.
When it comes to Jasenovac, it has to be mentioned that on the basis of their
work and investigations, members of six national commissions, which were
formed at the 2nd Session of AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of National

Liberation of Yugoslavia) on 29 November 1943, gathered the data on 1.3


million victims of the Ustasha and German Nazis. At the end of the war, at an
event in Ljubljana, as the president of the new Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito
publicly revealed the data that 700,000 people had been killed in the Ustasha
Jasenovac camp. Four-and-a-half decades later, the then president of the
Republic of Croatia, Franjo Tuman published a scandalous piece of
information in his book Bespua povijesne zbiljnosti that only 30,000 people
were killed in Jasenovac. That actually prompted a frantic campaign in the
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Republic of Croatia in which many publicists basically competed in negating


the crime of genocide and minimising the number of victims in the NDH. As
a result of such campaign, in the early 1990s ensued the forced disintegration
of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by Slovenia seceding in 1991.
Soon after that an armed conflict broke out in Croatia and a year later in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the civil war, the traces of Ustasha crimes
were rooted out and destroyed in Croatia by design and many exhibits at the
Jasenovac Memorial Site were destroyed. Only in 2006 did the Croatian
authorities open a new and a completely changed museum exhibition
displaying the data and names of 75,159 Jasenovac victims, which was by as
many as 10 times less than the figure that has been in official use in almost
all historical documents for five solid decades.
Authors of the new museum exhibition also offered the data that 57,614
victims had been killed in Jasenovac, and 12,220 in the Stara Gradika camp,
while the place of death had not been established for eight victims!? It also
said that of the total number of Jasenovac victims, there had been 35,215 men,
20,469 women and 19,475 children under 14.
Even if we assume that the stated data is correct, the authors of the exhibition
are not even aware that they offered the public a completely new picture and
irrefutable evidence that the severe crime of genocide had been committed
in the Ustasha NDH during the Second World War. Namely, according to the
data published so far, of the total of 750,000 camp inmates killed in Jasenovac,
every tenth victim of the bloodthirsty Ustashas was a child under the age of
14. On the other hand, the latest information presented by the Croatian
authorities in the new museum exhibition at the Jasenovac Memorial Site
implies a shocking conclusion that every third victim of the Ustasha beasts
was an underage child. That is how the Croatian authorities, regardless of the
dramatic shrinking of the final number of Jasenovac victims, offered
irrefutable evidence to the domestic and foreign public that during the NDH
rule, the crime of genocide was committed against the Serbs, Jews and Roma
and that Ustashas main enemies were children in diapers.

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SMALL CHILDREN FROM KOZARA IN CAMP


JASTREBARSKO
The first and most notorious childrens death camp that the world had not
seen ever before was formed at the order of the NDH leader Ante Paveli on
12 July 1941 in Camp Jastrebarsko for Serbian children, throughout whose
existence the largest number of children came from Kozara.
The concentration camp was formed in the former Erdoedy Castle, i.e. an
abandoned Italian horse-stable in Donja Reka and a former brickyard. Only
two days before the camp formation, Ante Paveli had a conversation with
German General Edmund Glaise von Horstenau and German Ambassador in
Zagreb Siegfried Kasche, producing a document that among other things
stated that in relation to the future treatment of prisoners from Kozara all
facilities of the concentration camps in Jasenovac and Stara Gradika are to
be used in order to collect and gather as much labour force as possible for the
Reich. The same document envisaged that the children refugees from
Kozara be placed in a special camp in Jastrebarsko and subjected to planned
education.
The first trains carrying children are already on the move. This camp was
under the control of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Vinko Paulski. Barta
Pulherija, a 60-year-old nun, infamous for her severe treatment of children,
was the Jastrebarsko camp warden. As a sister-in-law of Mile Budak, an
Ustasha minister and war criminal, she managed to flee the country towards
the end of the war. With the help of the Sisters of Mercy, Ustashas
systemically and brutally carried out the plan of turning the Serbian children
into Ustasha youth and their janissaries, like the Turks took away underage
Serbian children during the centuries-long Ottoman tyranny in the Balkans,
converted them into Islam and taught them military skills.
Since the formation until late October 1942, 3,336 boys and girls went
through Camp Jastrebarsko. According to the available data, 768 children
were killed in the camp. However, an unusual battle to save the children was
fought in Jastrebarsko, which was run, at the order of the Party, by Tatjana
Marini (her real name was Josipa), a member of KPJ (Communist Party of
Yugoslavia) since 1919. She was a workaholic, she would run around and
manage to get everywhere; she had a circle of acquaintances in Zagreb, from
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proletarians to modest housewives to intellectuals, many of whom, I am


certain, helped in our struggle just because Tatjana asked them to. There
were not many women in our Party like Tatjana Marini, wrote Rodoljub
olakovi in his Kazivanje o jednom pokoljenju.
I often wonder who had those little captives done harm to? In Jastrebarsko
(Jaska), Gornja Rijeka near Krievci, the first childrens camp was opened, a
horror never seen before. In this Uniat area, the first childrens camp was
founded. The Congregation of Sisters of St. Vinko Paulski was in charge of
the children. The number of children who were brought there, died there or
were given for adoption is unknown, recounts Dr. Milan Bastai, who, as
one of the rare survivors, went through the hell of the Jasenovac
concentration camp, where he was brought from his hometown of Grubino
Polje in October 1942. The golgotha of concentration camps, the suffering
and rescue of children from Ustasha death camps, Dr. Bastai described in
his book Bilogora i Grubino Polje 1941-1991.
There is also a harrowing testimony of gravedigger Franjo Ilovar, who was
paid to bury children by piece as referred to in the confiscated Ustasha
documents. According to his diary published in the book Deji ustaki logor

Jastrebarsko (Gambit, Jagodina, Duko Tomi; "Putevima smrti Kozarske


djece", Nacionalni park Kozara), he buried 496 bodies of murdered children.
At the order of Berta Pulherija, burials were made outside the cemetery,
because the killed children were not Catholics, but Orthodox Christians.
One should express great gratitude and pay ones respects to all the kind
people who gave those children martyrs a piece of bread or a cup of tea. There
were Croats who even adopted Serbian orphans. Many were facing trouble
because of that, such as Diana Budisavljevi, Dr. Bresler and hard-working
activists of the Red Cross, stated Dr. Bastai.
But, the main question is: why were tens of thousands of Serbian children
brought to a position to be rescued in wagons and trains of horror or in
Zagreb itself? Does anyone think that those innocent human beings left their
parents willingly and voluntarily? We should say it loud and clear: tens of
thousands of Serbian children, at least 40,000, were brutally plucked from
their mothers bosom and forcefully taken away from the arms of their
frantic, powerless mothers! Then they piled them up hungry, thirsty, without
the basic order or hygiene, threw away their daily kill who knows where,
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stuffed them in cattle wagons and sent off those little sufferers on the trains
of death, misery, dread and horror to Zagreb and Jastrebarsko. That is the
real truth. Again, thank you to all the good people who helped us in any way
(Dnevnik Diane Budisavljevi).
Dragoje Luki was the first one, together with Jovan Kesar, to collect and
record the names and surnames of the killed children from Kozara. The
names were published in a special edition of the Borba daily. However, as
author Luki emphasised in his books himself, many people out of ignorance
used the geographical term Kozara children for the children killed in the
NDH, either intentionally or by accident. Those children were of Serbian
ethnicity from the Kozara Mountain, Potkozarje, Banija, Kordun, Lika,
Slavonia, and Srem. These are irrefutable facts because Ustasha did not harm
the Muslim villages in Potkozarje, and Muslim neighbours together with
Ustashas raided the Serbian villages and committed mass slaughters during
the Second World War.
According to the testimony of Dr. Milan Bastai, he was transferred from
Jasterbarsko to Jasenovac together with a group of children inmates in
October 1942, subjected to a brutal torture in cattle wagons.
We were travelling from Tuesday to Friday, with no water, no food. The
wagon doors did not open until Jasenovac. You cannot describe that evil a
normal human being cannot comprehend that. Women with small children
were transported in the same way to Camp Sisak. Hunger, cold weather, hard
physical labour, very poor conditions for sleeping in shacks without floors,
without doors, without firewood, daily physical abuse of prisoners, beating
with clubs on the way to a levee construction site, taking of prisoners to mass
executions day and night, brought fear, despair, hopelessness... Without any
strength, without any will, without any conditions for survival, we were an
apathetic crowd suitable for all kinds of execution, without any aim or
possibility of any kind of resistence. They would force us boys to do all sorts
of chores in the kitchen, to pull flax, to work on the levee. We would hide a
few potatoes in the kitchen, put them in our pockets, stitch up the pockets,
and when our clothes were taken for washing, potatoes would get boiled. This
procedure of getting hold of food one afternoon cost 16 people their lives.
They were shot dead in front of everyone before dinner. When we went out
in the morning to go pull flax, there was still blood and remains of brains.
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Executions were conducted constantly by taking out long columns of


prisoners outside the camp, while new prisoners were constantly being
brought in. Nearly every morning, someone familiar was no longer there,
recounts Dr. Bastai, who became a prisoner of an Ustasha death camp
before the age of 12.
Speaking before the National Commission in 1944 and 1945, the
aforementioned Tatjana Marini accused sisters Berta Pulherija and
Gaudencija, and even some other sisters, of their brutal actions against the
children in Camp Jastrebarsko. According to the minutes, Marini stated
before the commission: Professor Bresler and Dr. Dragii will give other
information regarding the killed children. Indeed, the National Commission
called Prof. Bresler and Dr. Dragii to testify twice in 1945, but failed to hear
sister Gaudencija who lived in Jastrebarsko until the end of the war, nor
sister Pulherija, who escaped to Slovenia in May 1945, and then secretly ran
away to Austria where she died on 20 March 1970. That the intentions of the
National Commission and other judicial bodies in Titos Yugoslavia were not
honest is best proved by the fact that the extradition of many war criminals
had never been requested and neither had the extradition of the sister who
committed crimes against the Serbian children in Camp Jastrebarsko.
Despite the fact that Marini accused the nuns at Camp Jastrebarsko of their
inhuman actions towards children, the partisan authorities took no specific
action to examine those allegations and bring the responsible for those crimes
to justice.
Nothing changed even after the accusations made by Dr. Branko Dragii,
who stated before the commission that the children in Camp Jastrebarsko
died en masse from everyday beatings and abuse.
Between 12 July 1941 and early November 1942, as the book Sjeanja reads,
there was brutal punishment, whipping of children, threatening them with
Krampus on the Catholic holiday of Saint Nicholas (6 November).
Furthermore, according to the book Knjiga kazni, it is not hard to realise how
the Serbian children received confirmation and were given the first
Communion, and also how the children were forced to convert from
Orthodox Christianity to Roman Catholicism, how some Croatian families
adopted them, how they were trained in Ustasha uniforms and how they were
taught to sing Ustasha songs, etc.
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Apart from Jastrebarsko, alongside the camp for adults in Sisak there was
also a childrens camp which Ustashas tried to portray as a Transit Camp for
Refugee Children to the German authorities. Immediately upon arrival in
Sisak, the children were separated from their parents. A big train carrying
1,400 children from the camps Mlaka and Stara Gradika arrived on 29 July
1942. Then, by the end of October 1942, several trains with more than 7,000
Serbian children from the area of Kozara, Banija, Lika, Kordun and Slavonia
arrived in Sisak.
The children were locked in the building of the former Yugoslav Falconry
Association, the so-called Sokolana. Over the next two months, the camp
extended to the building of the former Crusader tea house, the Saint Vinko
Monastery, Teslis Glassworks and bathing place, the Gua building, the
former Reis Salt Works and an elementary school in Novi Sisak.
Conditions inside the camp were terrible. Dirt, typhoid and contaminated
water took their toll. Of the total number of children that went through this
camp until its closure on 8 January 1943, around 1,600 died.
Ana Raki from Crkveni Bok remembers those horrifying moments when
after going hungry for several days, she ate the identification card she was
carrying around her neck. Her elder brother saved her from certain death
by not allowing her to drink the water from the well ordered by Ustashas. He
had seen for himself that the children who drank that water died.
As soon as the first train with 1,200 children arrived in Sisak in A