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Jasenovac concentration camp
Concentration and extermination camp
Stone Flower, a monument to the victims of Jasenovac
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Location of Jasenovac concentration camp within Croatia
Coordinates 45°16′54″N 16°56′6″E / 45.28167°N 16.935°E / 45.28167; 16.935Coordinates: 45°16′54″N 16°56′6″E / 45.28167°N 16.935°E / 45.28167; 16.935
Location Jasenovac, Independent State of Croatia
Operated by Ustaše Supervisory Service (UNS)
First built August 1941
Operational August 1941 – 21 April 1945
Inmates primarily Serbs, Jews, Roma, Communists/Antifascists (including Croats and Bosnian Muslims)
Killed est. around 100,000[1][2] consisting of:
Serbs 45–52,000
Roma 15–20,000
Jews 12–20,000
Croats and Bosnian Muslims 5–12,000
Liberated by Yugoslav Partisans
Notable inmates See List of notable prisoners section
Website Official website

Jasenovac concentration camp (Serbo-Croatian language: Logor Jasenovac and Cyrillic: Логор Јасеновац; Yiddish language: יאסענאוואץ; Hebrew: יסנובץ‎, sometimes spelled "Yasenovatz") was an extermination camp established in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. It was the only extermination camp that was not operated by the Germans,[3] and was among the largest camps in Europe.[4] The camp was established by the governing Ustaše regime in August 1941 in marshland at the confluence of the Sava and Una rivers near the village of Jasenovac, and was dismantled in April 1945. It was "notorious for its barbaric practices and the large number of victims".[5] In Jasenovac, the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs, whom the Ustaše wanted to remove from the NDH, along with the Jews and Roma peoples.[6]

Jasenovac was a complex of five subcamps[7] spread over 210 km2 (81 sq mi) on both banks of the Sava and Una rivers. The largest camp was the "Brickworks" camp at Jasenovac, about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Zagreb. The overall complex included the Stara Gradiška sub-camp, the killing grounds across the Sava river at Donja Gradina, five work farms, and the Uštica Roma camp.[1]

During and since World War II, there has been much debate and controversy regarding the number of victims killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp complex in its more than 3½ years of operation.[8] Gradually, in the 15 years after the war ended, a figure of 700,000 began to reflect conventional wisdom, although estimates ranged between 350,000 and 800,000.[8] The authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia conducted a population survey in 1964 that showed a far lower figure, but kept it a secret; when Vladimir Žerjavić published such lower figures in the 1980s, he was criticized by Antun Miletić among others,[8] but his research has since been considered trustworthy by authorities on World War II Yugoslav history such as Jozo Tomasevich.[8][9] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. presently estimates that the Ustaša regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people in Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945.[2] The Jasenovac Memorial Site quotes a similar figure of between 80,000 and 100,000 victims.[1]


The Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. The NDH consisted of most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with some parts of modern-day Serbia. It was essentially an Italo–German quasi-protectorate, as it owed its existence to the Axis powers, who maintained occupation forces within the puppet state throughout its existence.[10]

NDH legislation

Some of the first decrees issued by the leader of the NDH Ante Pavelić reflected the Ustaše adoption of the racist ideology of Nazi Germany. The regime rapidly issued a decree restricting the activities of Jews and seizing their property.[11] These laws were followed by a decree for 'the Protection of the Nation and the State' of 17 April 1941, which mandated the death penalty for the offence of high treason if a person did or had done "harm to the honour and vital interests of the Croatian nation or endangered the existence of the Independent State of Croatia".[12] This was a retrospective criminal law, and arrests and trials started immediately. It was soon followed by a decree prohibiting the use of the Cyrillic alphabet, which was an integral part of the rites of the Serbian Orthodox Church.[13] Another decree concerning nationality determined that only citizens of Aryan origin could be nationals of the NDH, and only nationals of the NDH were under the protection of the NDH.[14] These decrees were enforced not only through the regular court system, but also through new special courts and mobile courts-martial with extended jurisdiction.[15] In July 1941, when existing jails could no longer contain the growing number of new inmates, the Ustaše government began clearing ground for what would become the Jasenovac concentration camp.

The influence of Nazi Germany

On 10 April 1941, the Independent State of Croatia was established, supported by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, and adopting similar racial and political doctrines. Jasenovac contributed to the Nazi "final solution" to the "Jewish problem", the killing of Roma people and the elimination of political opponents, but its most significant purpose for the Ustaše was as a means to achieve the destruction of the Serbian population of the NDH.[16]

Jasenovac was located in the German occupation zone of the Independent State of Croatia. The Nazis encouraged Ustaše anti-Jewish and anti-Roma actions and showed support for the intended extermination of the Serb people. Soon, the Nazis began to make clear their genocidal goals, as shown by the speech Hitler gave to Slavko Kvaternik, at their meeting on 21 July 1941:

The Jews are the bane of mankind. If the Jews will be allowed to do as they will, like they are permitted in their Soviet heaven, then they will fulfill their most insane plans. And thus Russia became the center to the world's illness... if for any reason, one nation would endure the existence of a single Jewish family, that family would eventually become the center of a new plot. If there are no more Jews in Europe, nothing will hold the unification of the European nations... this sort of people cannot be integrated in the social order or into an organized nation. They are parasites on the body of a healthy society, that live off of expulsion of decent people. One cannot expect them to fit into a state that requires order and discipline. There is only one thing to be done with them: To exterminate them. The state holds this right since, while precious men die on the battlefront, it would be nothing less than criminal to spare these bastards. They must be expelled, or – if they pose no threat to the public – to be imprisoned inside concentration camps and never be released."[17]

In the Wannsee Conference, Germany offered the Croatian government transportation of its Jews southwards, but questioned the importance of the offer, saying that: "the enactment of the final solution of the Jewish question is not crucial, since the key aspects of this problem were already solved by radical actions these governments took".[18]

In addition to specifying the means of extermination, the Nazis often arranged the imprisonment or transfer of inmates to Jasenovac.[19][20] Kasche's emissary, Major Knehe, visited the camp in 6 February 1942. Kasche thereafter reported to his superiors:

Capitan Luburic, the commander-in-action of the camp, explained the construction plans of the camp. It turns out that he made these plans while in exile. These plans he modified after visiting concentration-camps installments in Germany.[21]

It thus appears that the Nazis inspected Jasenovac, possibly due to doubts they had about the Ustaše devotion to the extermination of the Jews. Kasche wrote the following: "The Poglavnik asks General Bader to realize that the Jasenovac camp cannot receive the refugees from Kozara. I agreed since the camp is also required to solve the problem in deporting the Jews to the east. Minister Turina can deport the Jews to Jasenovac".[22]

It is unclear whether Jasenovac was to be used primarily as a death camp in its own right, like Sajmište, or more as a collection depot from which Jews would be transported to Auschwitz. Stara-Gradiška was the primary site from which Jews were transported to Auschwitz, but Kashe's letter refers specifically to the subcamp Ciglana in this regard. In all documentation, the term "Jasenovac" relates to either the complex at large or, when referring to a specific camp, to camp nr. III, which was the main camp since November 1941.

The extermination of Serbs at Jasenovac was precipitated by General Paul Bader, who ordered that refugees be taken to Jasenovac. Although Jasenovac was expanded, officials were told that "Jasenovac concentration and labor camp cannot hold an infinite number of prisoners". Soon thereafter, German suspicions were renewed that the Ustaše were more concerned with the extermination of the Serb people than Jews, and that Italian and Catholic pressure was dissuading the Ustaše from killing Jews.[23]

The Nazis revisited the possibility of transporting Jews to Auschwitz, not only because extermination was easier there, but also because the profits produced from the victims could be kept in German hands, rather than being left for the Croats or Italians.[24] Instead Jasenovac remained a place where Jews who could not be deported would be interned and killed: In this way, while Jews were deported from Tenje, two deportations were also made to Jasenovac.[25] It is also illustrated by the report sent by Hans Helm to Adolf Eichmann, in which it is stated that the Jews will first be collected in Stara-Gradiška, and that "Jews would be employed in 'forced labor' in Ustaše camps", mentioning only Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška," will not be deported".[26] The Nazis also found interest in the Jews that remained inside the camp, even in June 1944, after the visit of a Red Cross delegation. Kasche wrote: "Schmidllin showed a special interest in the Jews... Luburic told me that Schmidllin told him that the Jews must be treated in the finest manner, and that they must survive, no matter what happens... Luburic suspected Schmidllin is an English agent and therefore prevented all contact between him and the Jews"[27] Hans Helm was in charge of deportation of Jews to concentration camps. He was tried in Belgrade in December 1946 along with other SS and Gestapo officials, and was sentenced to death by hanging together with August Meissner, Wilhelm Fuchs, Josef Hahn, Ludwig Teichmann, Josef Eckert, Ernst Weimann, Richard Kaserer and Friedrich Polte.

Creation and operation

The Jasenovac complex was built between August 1941 and February 1942. The first two camps, Krapje and Bročica, were closed in November 1941.[28]

The three newer camps continued to function until the end of the war:

  • Ciglana (Jasenovac III)
  • Kozara (Jasenovac IV)
  • Stara Gradiška (Jasenovac V)

Ustaše militia executing people over a mass grave near Jasenovac concentration camp

The camp was constructed, managed and supervised by Department III of the Ustashka Nadzorna Služba or UNS (lit. "Ustaše Supervisory Service"), a special police force of the NDH. Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić was head of the UNS. Individuals managing the camp at different times included Miroslav Majstorović and Dinko Šakić. The camp administration in times used other Ustaše battalions, police units, Domobrani units, auxiliary units made up of Bosnian Muslims, and even the aid of German and Hungarian Nazis.

The Ustaše interned, tortured and executed men, women and children in Jasenovac. The largest number of victims were Serbs, but victims also included Jews,[29] and Romani people, as well as Croatian and Bosnian Muslim resistance members opposed to the regime (i.e., Partisans or their sympathizers, categorized by the Ustaše as "communists"). Upon arrival at the camp, the prisoners were marked with colors, similar to the use of Nazi concentration camp badges: blue for Serbs, and red for communists (non-Serbian resistance members), while Roma had no marks. (This practice was later abandoned.)[30] Most victims were killed at execution sites near the camp: Granik, Gradina, and other places. Those kept alive were mostly skilled at needed professions and trades (doctors, pharmacists, electricians, shoemakers, goldsmiths, and so on) and were employed in services and workshops at Jasenovac.[31]

Population of inmates

The bodies of prisoners executed by the Ustaše in Jasenovac

Serbs constituted the majority of inmates in Jasenovac.[6][32][33] The Jasenovac Memorial Area list of victims of Jasenovac includes over 56% Serbs.[34] In several instances, inmates were immediately killed for confessing their Serbian ethnicity and most considered it to be the only reason for their imprisonment.[35] The Serbs were predominantly brought from the Kozara region, where the Ustaše captured areas that were held by Partisan guerrillas.[36] These were brought to the camp without sentence, almost destined for immediate execution, accelerated via the use of machine-guns. The exact number of Serbian casualties in Jasenovac is uncertain, but the lowest common estimates range around 60,000 people, and it is estimated to be the most significant part of the overall Serbian casualties of World War II.[37]

A report on the deportation of Travnik area Jews to Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška camps, March 1942

Jews, being the primary target of Nazi-oriented Genocide, were the second-largest category of victims of Jasenovac. The number of Jewish casualties is uncertain, but ranges from about 8,000[38] to almost two thirds of the Croatian Jewish population of 37,000 (meaning around 25,000).[39] Most of the executions of Jews at Jasenovac occurred prior to August 1942. Thereafter, the NDH started to deport them to Auschwitz. In general, Jews were initially sent to Jasenovac from all parts of Croatia after being gathered in Zagreb, and from Bosnia and Herzegovina after being gathered in Sarajevo. Some, however, were transported directly to Jasenovac from other cities and smaller towns.

Roma in Jasenovac consisted of both Roma and Sinti, who were captured in various areas in Bosnia, especially in the Kozara region. They were brought to Jasenovac and taken to area III-C, under the open sky, in terms of nutrition, hydration, shelter and sanitary that were below the camp's standards.[40] The figures of murdered Roma are the most controversial, with the number being between 20,000 and 50,000.[40]

Anti-fascists consisted of various sorts of political and ideological antagonists of the Ustaše regime. In general, their treatment was similar to other inmates, although known communists were executed right away, and convicted Ustaše or law-enforcement officials,[41] or others close to the Ustaše in opinion, such as Croatian peasants, were held on beneficial terms and granted amnesty after serving a duration of time. The leader of the banned Croatian Peasant Party, Vladko Maček was held in Jasenovac from October 1941 to March 1942, after which he was kept under strict house arrest.[42] Jasenovac camp also consisted of a unique camp for children in Sisak. Around 20,000 children of Serbian, Jewish and Roma ethnicities perished in Jasenovac.[43]

The Ustaše in Jasenovac also imprisoned numerous people of other ethnicities, including Ukrainians, Romanians and Slovenes.[44]

Living conditions

The living conditions in the camp evidenced the severity typical of Nazi death camps: a meager diet, deplorable accommodations, and the cruel treatment by the Ustaše guards. Also, as in many camps, conditions would be improved temporarily during visits by delegations – such as the press delegation that visited in February 1942 and a Red Cross delegation in June 1944 – and reverted after the delegation left.[45]

  • Food: Again, typical of death camps, the diet of inmates at Jasenovac was insufficient to sustain life: The sorts of food they consumed changed during the camp's existence. In camp Bročice, inmates were given a "soup" made of hot water with starch for breakfast, and beans for lunch and dinner (served at 6:00, 12:00 and 21:00).[46] Food in Camp No. III was initially better, consisting of potatoes instead of beans; however, in January[when?] the diet was changed to a single daily serving of thin "turnip soup". By the end of the year, the diet had been changed again, this time to three daily portions of thin gruel made of water and starch.[47] Food changed repeatedly thereafter.
  • Water: Jasenovac was even more severe than most death camps in one respect: a general lack of potable drinking-water. Prisoners were forced to drink water from the Sava river.
  • Accommodations: In the first camps, Bročice and Krapje, inmates slept in standard concentration-camp barracks, with three tiers of bunks. In Camp No. III, which housed some 3,000 people, inmates initially slept in the attics of the workshops, in an open depot designated as a railway "tunnel", or simply in the open. A short time later, eight barracks were erected.[48][49] Inmates slept in six of these barracks, while the other two were used as a "clinic" and a "hospital", where ill inmates were sent to die or be executed.[50]
  • Forced labor: As in all concentration camps, Jasenovac inmates were forced daily to perform some 11 hours of hard labor, under the eye of their Ustaše captors, who would execute any inmate for the most trivial reasons.[51][52] The labor section was overseen by Ustaša's Hinko Dominik Picilli and Tihomir Kordić. Picillii would personally lash inmates in order to force them to work harder.[53] He divided the "Jasenovac labor force" into 16 groups, including groups of construction, brickworks, metal-works, agriculture, etc. The inmates would perish from the hard work. Work in the brickworks was hard.[54][55] Blacksmith work was also done, as the inmates forged knives and other weapons for the Ustaše. Dike construction work was the most feared.[56]
  • Sanitation: Inside the camp, squalor and lack of sanitation reigned: clutter, blood, vomit and decomposing-bodies filled the barracks, which were also full of pests and of the foul scent of the often overflowing latrine bucket.[57] Due to exposure to the elements, inmates suffered from impaired health leading to epidemics of typhus, typhoid, malaria, pleuritis, influenza, dysentery and diphtheria. During pauses in labor (5:00-6:00; 12:00-13:00, 17:00-20:00)[58] inmates had to relieve themselves at open latrines, which consisted of big pits dug in open fields, covered in planks. Inmates would tend to fall inside, and often died. The Ustaše encouraged this by either having internees separate the planks, or by physically drowning inmates inside. The pit would overflow during floods and rains, and was also deliberately drained into the lake, from which inmate drinking water was taken.[59] The inmate's rags and blankets were too thin to prevent exposure to frost, as was the shelter of the barracks.[60] The clothes and blankets were rarely and poorly cleansed, as inmates were only allowed to wash them briefly in the lake's waters once a month[61] save during winter time, when the lake froze. Then, a sanitation device was erected in a warehouse, where a few clothes were insufficiently boiled.[58]
  • Lack of personal possessions: The inmates were stripped of their belongings and personal attire. As inmates, only ragged prison-issue clothing was given to them. In winter, inmates were given thin "rain-coats" and they were allowed to make light sandals. Inmates were given a personal food bowl, designed to contain 0.4ltrs of "soup" they were fed with. Inmates whose bowl was missing (stolen by another inmate to defecate in) would receive no food.[62] During delegation visits, inmates were given bowls twice as large with spoons. Additionally, at such times, inmates were given colored tags.
  • Anxiety: The fear of death, and the paradox of a situation in which the living dwell next to the dead, had great impact on the internees. Basically, an inmate's life in a concentration camp can be viewed in the optimal way when looking at it in three stages: arrival to camp, living inside it, and the release. The first stage consisted of the shock caused by the hardships in transit to camp. The Ustaše would fuel this shock by murdering a number of inmates upon arrival and by temporarily housing new-arrivals in warehouses, attics, in the train tunnel and outdoors.[63] After the inmates grew familiar with the life in camp, they would enter the second and most critical phase: living through the anguish of death, and the sorrow, hardships and abuse. The peril of death was most prominent in "public performances for public punishment" or selections, when inmates would be lined in groups and individuals would be randomly pointed out to receive punishment of death before the rest. The Ustaše would intensify this by prolonging the process, patrolling about and asking questions, gazing at inmates, choosing them and then refrain and point out another.[64][65] As inmates, people could react to the Ustaše crimes in an active or passive manner. The activists would form resistance movements and groups, steal food, plot escapes and revolts, contacts with the outside world.[66] The passive inmates, the majority, would react by attempting to survive, to go through the day unharmed. This is not "going in line to slaughter", but rather another approach to survival, which deprived the Ustaše of the possibility of completely dehumanizing the inmates. However, some of these inmates became in this way utterly primitive, as their whole life revolved around following orders and eating a bowl of soup. Thus they became "muselmann": physically appearing as living skeletons, but mentally stripped of their humanity beyond hope of salvation. All inmates suffered from psychological phenomena to some extent: obsessive thoughts of food, paranoia, delusions, day-dreams, lack of self-control. Some inmates reacted with attempts at documenting the atrocities, such as Nikola Nikolić, Djuro Schawrtz and Ilija Ivanović, who all tried to memorize and even write of events, dates and details. Such deeds were perilous, since writing was punishable by death and tracking dates was extremely difficult.[67]

Mass murder and cruelty

This May 1945 picture shows bodies disposed of without burial, thrown into the river Sava near Sisak.

According to Jaša Almuli, the former president of the Serbian Jewish community, Jasenovac was a much more terrifying concentration camp, in terms of cruelty, compared with, for example, Auschwitz. In the late summer of 1942, tens of thousands of Serbian villagers were deported to Jasenovac from the Kozara region in Bosnia, where NDH forces were fighting against the Yugoslav Partisans.[68] Most of the men were executed in Jasenovac and women were sent to forced labor camps in Germany. Children were taken from their mothers and either killed or dispersed to Catholic orphanages.[69]

On the night of 29 August 1942, the prison guards made bets among themselves as to who could slaughter the largest number of inmates. One of the guards, Petar Brzica, boasted[70] that he had cut the throats of about 1,360 new arrivals.[71] Other participants who confessed to participating in the bet included Ante Zrinušić, who killed some 600 inmates, and Mile Friganović, who gave a detailed and consistent report of the incident.[72] Friganović admitted to having killed some 1,100 inmates. He specifically recounted his torture of an old man named Vukasin; he attempted to compel the man to bless Ante Pavelić, which the old man refused to do, even after Friganović had cut off his ears, nose and tongue after each refusal. Ultimately, he cut out the old man's eyes, tore out his heart, and slashed his throat. This incident was witnessed by Dr. Nikola Nikolić.[73]


An agricultural knife nicknamed "Srbosjek" or "Serbcutter", strapped to the hand. It was used by the Ustaše militia for the speedy killing of inmates at Jasenovac

Brzica and others used a knife that became known as the Srbosjek, meaning "Serb-cutter".[74][75][page needed][76][77][page needed][78]

This knife was originally a type of agricultural knife manufactured for wheat sheaf cutting.[79][80][81]

The upper part of the knife was made of leather, as a sort of a glove, designed to be worn with the thumb going through the hole, so that only the blade protruded from the hand. It was a curved, 12 cm long knife with the edge on its concave side. The knife was fastened to a bowed oval copper plate, while the plate was fastened to a thick leather bangle.[82] Its agricultural purpose was to make it easier for the field workers to cut wheat sheaves open before threshing them. The knife was fixed on the glove plate in order to prevent injuries and to prevent taking care of a separate knife in order to improve the work speed.[80]

Such a type of wheat sheaf knife was manufactured prior to and during World War II by German factory Gebrüder Gräfrath from Solingen-Widdert under the trademark "Gräwiso".[83][84] Gebrüder Gräfrath was taken over in 1961 by Hubertus, Solingen.[85]

Systematic extermination of prisoners

Besides sporadic killings and deaths due to the poor living conditions, many inmates arriving at Jasenovac were scheduled for systematic extermination. An important criterion for selection was the duration of a prisoner's anticipated detention. Strong men capable of labor and sentenced to less than three years of incarceration were allowed to live. All inmates with indeterminate sentences or sentences of three years or more were immediately scheduled for execution, regardless of their fitness.[86]

Systematic extermination varied both as to place and form. Some of the executions were mechanical, following Nazi methodology, while others were manual. The mechanical means of extermination included:

  • Cremation: The Ustaše cremated living inmates, who were sometimes drugged and sometimes fully awake, as well as corpses. The first cremations took place in the brick factory ovens in January, 1942. Engineer Hinko Dominik Picilli perfected this method by converting seven of the kiln's furnace chambers into more sophisticated crematories.[87][88] Crematories were also placed in Gradina, across the Sava River. According to the State Commission, however, "there is no information that it ever went into operation."[89] Later testimony, however, say the Gradina crematory had become operational.[90] Some bodies were buried rather than cremated, as shown by exhumation of bodies late in the war.
  • Gassing and poisoning: The Ustaše, in following the Nazi example, as set in Auschwitz and Sajmište, tried to employ poisonous gas to kill inmates that arrived in Stara-Gradiška. They first tried to gas the women and children that arrived from camp Djakovo with gas vans that Simo Klaić called "green Thomas".[91] The method was later replaced with stationary gas-chambers with Zyklon B and sulfur dioxide.[92][93][94][95]

Manual methods were executions that took part in utilizing sharp or blunt craftsmen tools: knives, saws, hammers, et cetera. These executions took place in various locations:

  • Granik: Granik was a ramp used to unload goods of Sava boats. In winter 1943-44, season agriculture laborers became unemployed, while large transports of new internees arrived and the need for liquidation, in light of the expected Axis defeat, were large. Therefore, "Maks" Luburić devised a plan to utilize the crane as a gallows on which slaughter would be committed, so that the bodies could be dumped into the stream of the flowing river. In the autumn, the Ustaše NCO's came in every night for some 20 days, with lists of names of people who were incarcerated in the warehouse, stripped, chained, beaten and then taken to the "Granik", where weights were tied to the wire that was bent on their arms, and their intestines and neck were slashed, and they were thrown into the river with a blow of a blunt tool in the head. The method was later enhanced, so that inmates were tied in pairs, back to back, their bellies were cut before they were tossed into the river alive.[96]
  • Gradina: The Ustaše utilized empty areas in the vicinity of the villages Donja Gradina and Ustice, where they encircled an area marked for slaughter and mass graves in wire. The Ustaše slew victims with knives or smashed their skulls with mallets. When Roma arrived in the camp, they did not undergo selection, but were rather concentrated under the open skies at a section of camp known as "III-C". From there the Roma were taken to liquidation in Gradina, working on the dike (men) or in the corn fields in Ustice (women) in between liquidations. Thus Gradina and Ustica became Roma mass grave sites. Furthermore, small groups of Roma were utilized as gravediggers that actually participated in the slaughter at Gradina. Thus the extermination at the site grew until it became the main killing-ground in Jasenovac. Grave sites were also located in Ustica and in Draksenic.[97]
  • Mlaka and Jablanac: Two sites used as collection and labor camps for the women and children in camps III and V, but also as places where many of these women and children, as well as other groups, were executed at the Sava bank in between the two locations.
  • Velika Kustarica: According to the state-commission, as far as 50,000 people were killed here in the winter amid 1941 and 1942.[98] There is more evidence suggesting that killings took place there at that time and afterwards.

Inmate help

In July 1942, Diana Budisavljević, with help from the German officer Albert von Kotzian, obtained written permission to take the children from the Stara Gradiška concentration camp.[99] With the help of the Ministry of Social Affairs, especially prof. Kamilo Bresler, she was able to relocate child inmates from the camp to Zagreb, and other places.[99] The Red-Cross is sometimes accused of insufficient aiding the persecuted Jews in Nazi Europe. In the NDH, however, the operation of the Red-Cross was ambivalent, and although the assistance was perhaps late or insufficient, it was the most help the victims ever got. The local representative, Julius Schmidllin, was contacted by the Jewish community, which sought financial aid. The organisation helped to release Jews from camps, and even debated with the Croatian government in relation to visiting the Jasenovac camp. The wish was eventually granted in July 1944. The camp was prepared for the arrival of the delegation, so that it found nothing incriminating.[100] The inmates also received help from Croat citizens and even from some Ustaše. Borislav Seva was rescued by an Ustaše Vladimir Cupić.[101] Inmate resistance groups were aided by contacts amongst the Ustaše: one of these groups, operating in the tannery, was assisted by Ustaše Dr. Marin Jurcev and his wife, and by an Ustaše that defected to the Partisan side with information of the atrocities of Jasenovac. Ustaše found guilty of tender handling of inmates were killed. Civilians were mostly kind towards inmates that did exterior labor.[102]

End of the camp

In April 1945, as Partisan units approached the camp, the camp's Croatian Fascist supervisors attempted to erase traces of the atrocities by working the death camp at full capacity. On 22 April, 600 prisoners revolted; 520 were killed and 80 escaped.[103] Before abandoning the camp shortly after the prisoner revolt, the Ustaše killed the remaining prisoners and torched the buildings, guardhouses, torture rooms, the "Picili Furnace", and all the other structures in the camp. Upon entering the camp in May, the Partisans came across only ruins, soot, smoke, and the skeletal remains of hundreds of victims.

During the following months of 1945, the grounds of Jasenovac were thoroughly destroyed by prisoners of war. The Allied forces captured 200 to 600 Home Guard members. The Laborers completed the destruction of the camp, levelling the site and dismantling the two-kilometer long, four-meter high wall that surrounded it.

Victim numbers

Memorial signs with claims of victim counts, situated on the Bosnian side of the Sava river at Gradina.

Historians have had difficulty calculating and agreeing on the number of victims at Jasenovac. Most modern sources place it at around 100,000.[32][104][105][106][107]

The Jewish Virtual Library states that "the most reliable figures" estimate the number of Serbs killed by the Ustaše 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.[33] Historian Tomislav Dulić 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.[32][106]

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.[citation needed]

Contemporary sources

Train which carried prisoners to Jasenovac.

The documentation from the time of Jasenovac revolves around the different sides in the battle for Yugoslavia: The Germans and Italians on the one hand, and the Partisans and the Allies on the other. There are also sources originating from the documentation of the Ustaše themselves and of the Vatican.

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 Ustaše on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia. They circulated figures of 400,000 Serbs (Alexander Löhr); 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 Ustaše leader and Poglavnik, the president of the Independent State of Croatia, Ante Pavelić, 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 Ustaše program was accomplished. When prominent Ustaše 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 reports submitted to me, I believe that the number of defenseless victims slaughtered to be three quarters of a million.[108]

Italian generals, who were more overwhelmed by the atrocious slaughter, also reported similar figures to their commanders.[109] 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)[110]

The Ustaše themselves gave more exaggerated assumptions of the number of people they killed. Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić, 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."[111] Other Ustaše sources give more canon estimations: a circular of the Ustaše general headquarters that reads: "the concentration and labor camp in Jasenovac can receive an unlimited number of internees". In the same spirit, Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović, once captured by Yugoslav forces, admitted that during his three months of administration, 20,000 to 30,000 people died.[112] 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.[113] Menachem Shelach will in his book speak that number, of some 300,000 bodies being found and exhumed is reliable[114][Clarification needed] The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance also used the same number at some point.[115]

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.[116] Thus the proponents of these numbers were subsequently accused of artificially inflating them for purpose of obtaining 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.[117]

One Vladeta Vučković wrote in Bogoljub Kočović'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.[116][118] Vučković 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.[116][118] Nevertheless, Kardelj subsequently presented this as Yugoslavia's real loss at the Paris Peace Treaties.[116][118] This number of victims has been refused by Germany during war reparations talks. The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust's casualty figure for the whole of Yugoslavia was a more conservative 1,500,000.[119]

The conventional estimate of the number of victims of Jasenovac in SFR Yugoslavia was 700,000.[8]

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.[120] The survey results showed a far lower figure of 59,188 killed at Jasenovac, of whom 33,944 were recorded as Serbs.[8]

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 Tuđman'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.[121]

The Jasenovac Memorial Site, the museum institution sponsored by the Croatian government since the end of the Croatian War of Independence,[122][123][124] says that the current research allows them to estimate the number of victims at between 80,000 and 100,000.[107]

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.[125] In response to this, scientists were called in to verify the site - Dr. Alojz Šercelj 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 Pogačnik from Ljubljana university and Srboljub Živanović 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.[125]

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 Miletić mentioned the 1961 excavation, but misquoted that number of victims to 550,800.[125] They also noted the 1964 excavation, and estimated that Gradina held the remains of 366,000 victims, without further explanation.[125]

Prior to the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1989 Serbian anthropologist Srboljub Živanović 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 Ustaše".[126][127]

In November 1989, Živanović 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.[125] Vida Brodar then commented on that statement and said that the research never resulted in any victim counts, and that these numbers were Živanović's manipulations, providing a copy of the research log to corroborate that. Croatian historian Željko Krušelj publicly criticized Živanović as an extremist and a fraud because of this.[125]

Victim lists

  • The Jasenovac Memorial Area maintains a list of the names of 83,145 Jasenovac victims, including 47,627 Serbs, 16,173 Romanies, 13,116 Jews, 4,255 Croats, 1,128 Bosnian Muslims, 266 Slovenes, etc. Of the 83,145 named victims, 20,101 are children under the age of 14, and 23,474 are women.[128] The memorial estimates total deaths at 80,000 to 100,000.[107] The list is subject to update - in 2007, it had 69,842 entries.[129]
  • Antun Miletić, a researcher at the Military Archives in Belgrade, has collected data on Jasenovac since 1979.[130] His list contains the names of 77,200 victims, of which 41,936 are Serbs.[130]
  • In 1998, the Bosniak Institute published SFR Yugoslavia's final List of war victims from the Jasenovac camp (created in 1992).[131] The list contained the names of 49,602 victims at Jasenovac, including 26,170 Serbs, 8,121 Jews, 5,900 Croats, 1,471 Romani, 787 Bosnian Muslims, 6,792 of unidentifiable ethnicity, and some listed simply as "others".[131]
  • In 1998, the Croatian State Archives announced they found a notebook that contains partial raw data of the State Commission for War Crimes, where the number of victims of Jasenovac from the territory of the People's Republic of Croatia was set to 15,792, with victims by year: 2,891 persons in 1941, 8,935 in 1942, 676 in 1943, 2,167 in 1944, and 1,123 in 1945. The notebook was generally described as incomplete, particularly the Jasenovac records, but the said numbers were deemed credible because all the other numbers of victims mentioned in the book were consistent with those from the other documents released by the State Commission.[132]

Estimates by Holocaust institutions

The Yad Vashem Center has in one place stated that "more than 500,000 Serbs were murdered in Croatia in horribly sadistic ways, 250,000 were expelled, and another 200,000 were forced to convert to Catholicism".[39] In the 1990 Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Menachem Shelach and Israel Gutman wrote:

"Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac, mostly Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and opponents of the Ustaše regime. The number of Jewish victims was between twenty thousand and twenty-five thousand, most of whom were murdered there up to August 1942, when deportation of the Croatian Jews to Auschwitz for extermination began."

— Israel Gutman (ed.) , Encyclopedia of the Holocaust[28]

On the other hand, however, as of 2009, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that the Ustaše regime murdered between 66,000 and 99,000 people of all ethnicities (but mostly Serbs) in Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945, and that during the period of Ustaše rule, a total of between 330,000 and 390,000 ethnic Serbs and more than 30,000 Croatian Jews were killed either in Croatia or at Auschwitz-Birkenau[38]

Statistical estimates

In the 1980s, calculations were done by Serb statistician Bogoljub Kočović, and by Croat economist Vladimir Žerjavić, who claimed that total number of victims in Yugoslavia was less than 1.7 million, an official estimate at the time, both concluding that the number of victims was around one million. Bogoljub Kočović estimated that of that number, there were between 370,000 and 410,000 ethnic Serbs who died in the Independent State of Croatia.[32][133]

Žerjavić calculated furthermore, claiming that the number of victims in the Independent State of Croatia was between 300,000 and 350,000, including 80,000 victims in Jasenovac, as well as thousands of deaths in other camps and prisons. Žerjavić actually first calculated 53,000, later brought up to 70,000 and eventually to 80,000.[citation needed]

In the 1980s, Vladimir Žerjavić published two books in which he concluded that approximately 83,000 people had perished at Jasenovac, 50,000 of them Serbs.[8] Žerjavić's research was criticised by Antun Miletić, director of Belgrade's military archives, who in 1997 claimed the figure for Jasenovac was 1.1 million.[8] Another critic of Žerjavić, Milan Bulajić, former director of the Museum of the Victims of Genocide in Belgrade, maintained that the numbers were in the range 700,000–1 million.[8] However, since he retired from his post, a researcher from the Museum has endorsed the figure of approximately 100,000 deaths.[8] Žerjavić's research has been considered trustworthy by authorities on World War II Yugoslav history such as Jozo Tomasevich[9] and Sabrina Ramet.[8]

Commentators in Serbia have criticized these estimates as far too low, since the demographic calculations assumed arbitrarily that the growth rate for Serbs in Bosnia (which was absorbed by the Independent State of Croatia during the Second World War) was equal to the total growth rate throughout the former Yugoslavia (1.1% at the time).[citation needed] According to Serbian sources,[which?] however, the actual growth rate in this region was 2.4% (in 1921-1931) and 3.5% (in 1949-1953). This method is considered very unreliable by critics because there is no reliable data on total births during this period, yet the results depend strongly on the birth rate - just a change of 0.1% in birth rate changes the victim count by 50,000.

Testimony of Jasenovac survivors and other eyewitnesses

A number of former camp prisoners and others testified about the horrors they witnessed in Jasenovac

Cijordana Friedlender,Stara Gradiska

A former prisoner, Cijordana Friedlender, testified at the trial of Ante Vrban, Ustasha commandant of the concentration camp at Stara Gradiska. During the trial, Ante Vrban confessed to this crime, admitting he killed children with zyklon gas.

"At that time fresh women and children arrived daily at the Camp in Stara Gradiška. About fourteen days later, Vrban [the Commandant of the Camp] ordered all children to be separated from their mothers and put into one room. Ten of us were told to carry them there in blankets. The children crawled about the room, and one child put an arm and leg through the doorway, so that the door could not be closed. Vrban shouted: 'Push it!' When I did not do that, he banged the door and crushed the child's leg. Then he took the child by its whole-leg, and banged it on the wall until it was dead. After that we continued carrying the children in. When the room was full, Vrban brought poison gas and killed them all."[134]

Egon Berger, Jasenovac

In his book,"44 Months in Jasenovac", the former inmate, Egon Berger, described the following atrocity, by the camp commander and former priest, Miroslav Filopovic-Majstorovic:

"The priestly face of Fra Majstorovic, all made-up and powdered, dressed in an elegant suit an green hunter's hat, watched with delight the victims. He approached the children, even stroked their heads. The company was joined Ljubo Milos and Ivica Matkovic. Fra Majstorovic told the mothers there will now will be a baptism for their children. They took the children from the mothers, the child whom Father Majstorovic was carrying, in his child's innocence caressed the painted face of his killer. The mothers, distraught, perceived the situation. They offered their lives for mercy for the children. Two children were placed on the ground, while the third was thrown like a ball into the air, and Fr Majstorovic , holding a dagger upwards, missed three times, while the fourth time with a joke and a laugh, a child was impaled on the dagger. Mothers began throwing themselves on the ground, pulling their hair, and began to shout terribly. Ustasha guards of the 14th Osijek Company took them away and killed them. When all three children were so brutally killed, these three two-legged beasts exchanged money, because they seem to have a bet on who would the first to stick a dagger in a child."[135]

General von Horstenau, Jasenovac

The Nazi general, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, Hitler’s plenipotentiary in the Independent Croatian State, described in his book his visit to Jasenovac, as follows:

"We now entered the concentration camp in a converted factory. Appalling conditions. A handful of men, many women and children, without enough clothing, sleeping on a stone tablet at night, screams all around, cries and sobbing. The camp commander - a scoundrel - I ignored him, but instead told my Ustasha guide: "This is enough to make a person vomit" And then worst of all: a room along whose walls, lay on straw which had just been brought for my inspection, something like fifty naked children, half of them dead, the other half dying. We should not forget that the inventors of concentrations camps were the British during the Boer War. However, these camps have reached the height of hideousness here in Croatia, under the Poglavnik [Ustasha leader] installed by us. The greatest of all evils must be Jasenovac, which no ordinary mortal can glimpse"[136]

Von Horstenau also described how Serb villagers were transported to Jasenovac, following a massacre perpetrated by Ustasha troops, in the nearby village of Crkveni Bok:

"We did not see any signs [of guerrillas], but it was full of horses and cattle without owners, not to mention countless geese. Crkveni Bok, unhappy place, where under the leadership of an Ustasha colonel about 500 villagers came to their end, all killed, women raped and then tortured to death, children killed. I saw in the Sava river the corpse of a woman, her eyes gouged out and a stake hammered into her sexual parts. This woman had no more than twenty years when she fell into the hands of these monsters. Everywhere around pigs devoured unburied human beings. "Lucky" residents were sent in gruesome freight cars, many of these accidental "travelers" cut their veins during transport to the camp [nearby Jasenovac]"

Camp officials and their fate

Some of the camp officials and their post-war fate are listed below:

  • Eugen Dido Kvaternik, chief of the NDH's internal security service, was head of all camps in the NDH territory until 1943. He emigrated to Argentina after the war, where he died in a traffic accident in 1962.
  • Andrija Artuković was the creator and signatory of most of the decrees pursuant to which genocide and acts of terror were carried out against the population of the Independent State of Croatia, on the grounds of racial, religious, national or ideological affiliation. From October 1942 to April 1943 he was Minister of Religion and Education. After the war he fled to the USA. He was extradited to Yugoslavia in 1986 and sentenced to death by firing squad, but the sentence was not carried out. He died in 1988.
  • Miroslav Majstorović, an Ustaše infamous for his command periods in Jasenovac and Stara-Gradiška,[137] named "Fra Satana" (Father Satan) for his cruelty and Christian upbringing, was captured by the Yugoslav communist forces, tried and executed in 1946.
  • Maks Luburić was the commandant of the Ustaška Odbrana, or Ustaše defense, thus being held responsible for all crimes committed under his supervision in Jasenovac, which he visited two-three times a month or so,[138] fled to Spain, but was assassinated by a Yugoslav agent in 1969.
  • Dinko Šakić fled to Argentina, but was eventually extradited, tried and sentenced, in 1999, by Croatian authorities to 20 years in prison, in 2008 he died in prison.
  • Petar Brzica was an Ustaša officer who, on the night of 29 August 1942, allegedly slaughtered over 1,360 people. Brzica's fellow Ustaše also took part in that crime, as part of a competition of throat cutting. Brzica is also known for having killed an inmate by beating him, on the departure of administrator Ivica Matković, in March 1943.[139] Brzica's post-war fate is unknown.
  • Hinko Dominik Picilli's fate is also unknown.
  • Ivica Brkljačić, commander, was executed.
  • Tomo Sabol, 1942 Ust. Poručnik (Obrana), commandant of the women’s prison at Stara Gradiška concentration camp
  • Nada Tanić Luburić (sv), was guard in the concentration camp Stara Gradiška, a subcamp of the Jasenovac concentration camp.
  • Ljubo Miloš (ex-second in command of the Jasenovac concentration camp and former commander of the Lepoglava prison, executed after the war, by Partisans.)
  • Ivica Matkovic was executed by the Partisans.

List of notable prisoners

  • Julia Batino, Macedonian Jewish antifascist and women's rights activist.[140]
  • Slavko Brill, Croatian Jewish sculptor and ceramics artist.[141]
  • Ante Ciliga, Croatian politician, writer and publisher.[142]
  • Mavro Frankfurter, Vinkovci chief rabbi.[143][144][145]
  • Grgo Gamulin, Croatian art historian, university professor and writer.[146]
  • Izidor Gross, Croatian chess master and hazzan of the Karlovac Jewish community.[147][148]
  • Slavko Hirsch, Croatian physician, founder and director of the Epidemiological Institute in Osijek.[149][150][151]
  • Žiga Hirschler, Croatian Jewish composer, music critic and publicist.[152][153]
  • Daniel Kabiljo, Sephardi artist.[141]
  • Vladko Maček, Croatian politician and president of the Croatian Peasant Party.[154]
  • Mihovil Pavlek Miškina, Croatian poet, short story writer and politician.[155]
  • Edmund Moster, Croatian entrepreneur, industrialist and co-founder of the "Penkala-Moster Company" (now TOZ).[156]
  • Leo Müller, known Croatian industrialist and entrepreneur.[157][158]
  • Daniel Ozmo, Bosnian Jewish painter and printmaker.[141]
  • Rod Riffler, Croatian Jewish modern dance teacher, choreographer and owner of a dance school in Zagreb.[158][159][160]
  • Armin Schreiner, influential Croatian industrialist, banker and Jewish activist.[161]
  • Vlado Singer, Croatian politician and member of the Ustaše movement.[162][163][164][165][166]
  • Simon Ungar rabbi of the Osijek Jewish Community.[149]
  • Oton Vinski, influential Croatian banker.[167][168]
  • Leib Weissberg, Slavonski Brod rabbi.[169]

Later events

Jasenovac monument by Bogdan Bogdanović.

The Socialist Republic of Croatia adopted a new law on the Jasenovac Memorial Area in 1990, shortly before the first democratic elections in the country.[170] The Jasenovac Memorial Museum was temporarily abandoned during the Yugoslav Wars when it was taken over by the rebel Republic of Serb Krajina.[171] In November 1991, Simo Brdar, a former associate director of the Memorial, stole the documentation from the museum and brought it to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Brdar kept the documents until 2001, when he transferred them to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with the help of SFOR and the government of Republika Srpska.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav visited Jasenovac in 2003, and was the first Israeli head of state to officially visit the country.[172]

In 2004, at the yearly Jasenovac commemoration, the Croatian authorities presented new plans for the Jasenovac memorial site, changing the concept of the museum as well as some of the content. The director of the Memorial Site Nataša Jovičić explained how the permanent museum exhibition would be changed to avoid provoking fear, and cease displaying the "technology of death" (mallets, daggers, etc.), rather it would concentrate on individualizing it with personal stories of former prisoners. The German ambassador to Croatia at the time, Gebhard Weiss, expressed skepticism towards "the avoidance of explicit photographs of the reign of terror".[173]

The New York City Parks Department, the Holocaust Park Committee and the Jasenovac Research Institute, with the help of US Congressman Anthony Weiner, established a public monument to the victims of Jasenovac in April 2005 (the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps.) The dedication ceremony was attended by ten Yugoslavian Holocaust survivors, as well as diplomats from Serbia, Bosnia and Israel. It remains the only public monument to Jasenovac victims outside of the Balkans. Annual commemorations are held there every April.[174]

The Jasenovac Memorial Museum reopened in November 2006 with a new exhibition designed by the Croatian architect, Helena Paver Njirić, and an Educational Center designed by the firm Produkcija. The Memorial Museum features an interior of rubber-clad steel modules, video and projection screens, and glass cases displaying artifacts from the camp. Above the exhibition space, which is quite dark, is a field of glass panels inscribed with the names of the victims. Helena Njirić won the first prize of the 2006 Zagreb Architectural Salon for her work on the museum.[129] However, the new exhibition was described as "postmodernist trash" by Efraim Zuroff, and criticized for the removal of all Ustaše killing instruments from the display and a lack of explanation of the ideology that led to the crimes committed there in the name of the Croatian people.[129]

Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Jasenovac on 25 July 2010 dubbing it a "demonstration of sheer sadism".[172][175][176]

On 17 April 2011, in a commemoration ceremony, current-Croatian President Ivo Josipović warned that there were, "attempts to drastically reduce or decrease the number of Jasenovac victims." He added, "faced with the devastating truth here that certain members of the Croatian people were capable of committing the cruelest of crimes, I want to say that all of us are responsible for the things that we do." At the same ceremony, then Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said, “there is no excuse for the crimes and therefore the Croatian government decisively rejects and condemns every attempt at historical revisionism and rehabilitation of the fascist ideology, every form of totalitarianism, extremism and radicalism,” and added, “Pavelić’s regime was a regime of evil, hatred and intolerance, in which people were abused and killed because of their race, religion, nationality, their political beliefs and because they were the others and were different.”[177]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Official website of the Jasenovac Memorial Site
  2. 2.0 2.1 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  3. Ljiljana Radonić (2009), Heinz Fassmann, Wolfgang Müller-Funk, Heidemarie Uhl, ed., "Krieg um die Erinnerung an das KZ Jasenovac: Kroatische Vergangenheitspolitik zwischen Revisionismus und europäischen Standards" (in German), Kulturen der Differenz- Transformationsprozesse in Zentraleuropa nach 1989 (Göttingen: V&R unipress): pp. 179 
  4. Pavlowitch (2008), p. 34
  5. Tomasevich (2001), p. 399
  6. 6.0 6.1 H.E.A.R.T. website (2012)
  7. Brietman (2005), p. 204
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Kolstø, Pål. 'The Serbian-Croatian Controversy over Jasenovac' in Ramet (2011), pp. 226-241
  9. 9.0 9.1 Tomasevich (2001), p. 737
  10. Tomasevich (2001), pp. 233-241
  11. Lemkin (2008), p. 259 & pp. 625-626
  12. Lemkin (2008), p. 259 & p. 613
  13. Lemkin (2008), p. 260 & p. 626
  14. Lemkin (2008), p. 259 & pp. 626-627
  15. Tomasevich (2001), pp. 383-384
  16. Genocide and Fascism; The Eliminationist Drive in Fascist Europe by Aristotle Kallis, Routledge, New York, NY 2009 pages 236-244
  17. Hilgruber, Staatsmanner und Diplomaten bei Hitler, p. 611.
  18. Wansee, Nuremberg trail documents, NG-2568-G
  19. Shelach et al., 1990, p. 166-169, 171, 185-189, 192, 194-196, 208, 442-443
  20. Schwartz, p. 301
  21. Shelach et al., 1990, p. 195.
  22. A.A. Nachlass Kasche- 105
  23. Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 207-339
  24. Shelach et al., 1990, p. 153, n' 20
  25. Shelach et al., 1990
  26. Eichmann crimes in Yugoslavia: facts and views, p. 8-9
  27. M. Persen,"Ustaski Logori", p. 97
  28. 28.0 28.1 Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, pp. 739-740
  29. *Bosnian Muslims in Jasenovac Concentration Camp—Congress of Bos Intellectuals, Sarajevo. ISBN 978-9958-47-102-5. October 2006. (Holocaust Studies)
  30. Schwartz, p. 329
  31. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, "Jasenovac"
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Pavlowitch, 2008, p. 34, reference 6
  33. 33.0 33.1 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Jasenovac". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  34. 45,923 out of 80,914, see victim lists.
  35. Lo State Commission, 1946, pp. 30, 40-41
  36. Sindik (ed.), pp. 40-41, 98, 131, 171
  37. See victim numbers.
  38. 38.0 38.1 "Jasenovac". Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  39. 39.0 39.1 "Croatia". Yad Vashem. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 State Commission, 1946, p. 43-44
  41. State Commission, 1946, p. 32
  42. Tomasevich (2001), p. 359
  43. [1][dead link]
  44. See: US holocaust museum Jasenovac exhibition
  45. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, p. 739
  46. Schwartz, p. 299-300
  47. Lazar Lukajc:"Fratri i Ustase Kolju", interview with Borislav Seva on pages 625-639
  48. State Commission, 1946, P. 19-20, 40.
  49. Schwartz, p. 299, 302-303, 306, 313, 315, 319-320, 322
  50. State Commission, 1946, P. 20, 39 (testimonies: Hinko Steiner, Marijan Setinc, Sabetaj Kamhi, Kuhada Nikola)
  51. State Commission, 1946, pp. 20-22
  52. various examples in: Schwartz, pp. 299-301, 303, 307 and many more examples therein
  53. State Commission, 1946, p. 30-31
  54. Schwartz, p. 308.
  55. Compare with Elizabeta Jevric, "Blank pages of the holocaust: Gypsies in Yugoslavia during World-war II", p. 120, 111-112
  56. Compare with Schwartz, 299-301, 303, 332
  57. Schwartz, p. 313
  58. 58.0 58.1 Schwartz, p. 311
  59. Schwartz, p. 311, 313
  60. State Commission, 1946, p. 20.
  61. State Commission, 1946, p. 20
  62. Schwartz, p. 324
  63. State Commission, 1946, p. 16-18
  64. State Commission, 1946, pp. 23-24
  65. Marijana Cvetko testimony, New-York Times, 3 May 1998. "War crimes revive as Croat faces possible trial"
  66. State Commission, 1946, pp. 53-55
  67. See: Schwartz, who said that a father and his three sons were killed for writing. The witness wrote his memories on a piece of paper in tiny script and planted it in his shoe.
  68. Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 432-434
  69. Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 192, 196
  70. The Glass Half Full by Alan Greenhalgh ISBN 0-9775844-1-0 page 68
  71. Howard Blum, Wanted! : The Search for Nazis in America, (Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co. 1977).
  72. Dr. Milan Bulajić (1994). "The Role of the Vatican in the Breakup of the Yugoslav State". from a January, 1943, interview with Mile Friganović by psychiatrist Dr. Nedo Zec, who was also an inmate at Jasenovac. Belgrade: pp. 156–157. [dead link]
  73. Avro Manhattan, The Vatican's Holocaust, p. 48.
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    At Jasenovac, a series of camps in Croatia, the ultranationalist, right-wing Ustaše murdered Serbs, Jews, Romani, Bosnian Muslims, and political opponents not by gassing, but with hand tools or the infamous graviso or Srbosjek (, "Serb cutter") - a long, curved knife attached to a partial glove and designed for rapid, easy killing.

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    The knife described on page 72: 'Na koncu noža, tik bakrene ploščice, je bilo z vdolbnimi črkami napisano "Grafrath gebr. Solingen", na usnju pa reliefno vtisnjena nemška tvrtka "Graeviso" '
    Picture of the knife with description on page 73: 'Posebej izdelan nož, ki so ga ustaši uporabljali pri množičnih klanjih. Pravili so mu "kotač" - kolo - in ga je izdelovala nemška tvrtka "Graeviso" '
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Further reading

  1. The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Vladimir Dedijer (Editor), Harvey Kendall (Translator) Prometheus Books, 1992.
  2. Witness to Jasenovac's Hell Ilija Ivanovic, Wanda Schindley (Editor), Aleksandra Lazic (Translator) Dallas Publishing, 2002
  3. State Commission investigation of crimes of the occupiers and their collaborators in Croatia (1946). Crimes in the Jasenovac Camp. Zagreb. 
  4. Ustasha Camps by Mirko Percen, Globus, Zagreb, 1966. Second expanded printing 1990.
  5. Ustashi and the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945, by Fikreta Jelic-Butic, Liber, Zagreb, 1977.
  6. Romans, J. Jews of Yugoslavia, 1941- 1945: Victims of Genocide and Freedom Fighters, Belgrade, 1982
  7. Antisemitism in the anti-fascist Holocaust: a collection of works, The Jewish Center, Zagreb, 1996.
  8. The Jasenovac Concentration Camp, by Antun Miletic, Volumes One and Two, Belgrade, 1986. Volume Three, Belgrade, 1987. Second edition, 1993.
  9. Hell's Torture Chamber by Djordje Milica, Zagreb, 1945.
  10. Die Besatzungszeit das Genozid in Jugoslawien 1941-1945 by Vladimir Umeljic, Graphics High Publishing, Los Angeles, 1994.
  11. Srbi i genocidni XX vek (Serbs and 20th century, Ages of Genocide) by Vladimir Umeljić, (vol 1, vol 2), Magne, Belgrade, 2004. ISBN 86-903763-1-3
  12. Magnum Crimen, by Viktor Novak, Zagreb, 1948.
  13. Kaputt, by Curzio Malaparte, translated by Cesare Foligno, Northwestern University Press Evanston, Illinois, 1999.
  14. Der kroatische Ustascha-Staat 1941-1945, by Ladislaus Hory and Martin Broszat, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1964.

External links

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