Jasenovac concentration camp
Jasenovac concentration camp (Serbo-Croatian: Logor
Jasenovac/Логор Јасеновац, pronounced [lôːgor
jasěnoʋat͡s]; Yiddish: יאסענאוואץ) was an
extermination camp established in
Slavonia by the authorities of the
Independent State of
Croatia (NDH) during World War II. The camp was
established and operated solely by the governing
Ustaše regime rather
Nazi Germany as in the rest of occupied Europe. It was one
of the largest concentration camps in Europe and the camp has been
referred to as "the Auschwitz of the Balkans" and "the Yugoslav
It was established in August 1941 in marshland at the confluence of
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".
In Jasenovac the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs, others were
Jews, Roma, and some political dissidents. Jasenovac was a complex of
five subcamps 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.
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 during its more than three-and-a-half years
of operation. After the war, a figure of 700,000 reflected the
"conventional wisdom", although estimates have gone as high as 1.4
The authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
conducted a population survey in 1964 that reportedly showed a figure
of 59,188 killed, but the findings were not published until 1989.
Vladimir Žerjavić published books in 1989 and 1992
in which he "meticulously analysed the available data" and concluded
that some 83,000 people had been killed at Jasenovac. His findings
were criticized by the director of the Museum of Victims of Genocide
in Belgrade, Milan Bulajić, who defended his figure of 1.1 million,
although his rebuttal was later dismissed as having "no scholarly
value". Since Bulajić's retirement from his post in 2002, the Museum
has no longer defended the figure of 700,000 to 1 million victims of
the camp. In 2005, Dragan Cvetković, a researcher from the Museum,
and a Croatian co-author published a book on wartime losses in the NDH
which gave a figure of approximately 100,000 victims of Jasenovac.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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,
comprising; "between 45,000 and 52,000 Serbs; between 12,000 and
20,000 Jews; between 15,000 and 20,000 Roma (Gypsies); and between
5,000 and 12,000 ethnic
Croats and Muslims, political and religious
opponents of the regime." The Jasenovac Memorial Site quotes a
similar figure of between 80,000 and 100,000 victims.
1.1 NDH legislation
1.2 The influence of Nazi Germany
2 Creation and operation
2.1 Inmate population
2.2 Living conditions
2.3 Mass murder and cruelty
2.4 Systematic extermination of prisoners
2.5 Inmate help
3 End of the camp
4 Victim numbers
4.1 Contemporary sources
4.2 Yugoslav and Croatian official estimates
4.3 1960s forensic investigations
4.4 Victim lists
4.5 Estimates by
4.6 Statistical estimates
5 Testimony of Jasenovac survivors and other eyewitnesses
5.1 Cijordana Friedlender, Stara Gradiška
5.2 Egon Berger, Jasenovac
5.3 Milko Riffer, Jasenovac
5.4 General von Horstenau, Jasenovac
6 Camp officials and their respective fates
7 List of notable prisoners
8 Memorial site
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
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.
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
Jews and seizing their property. 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". This was a retroactive 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.
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. These decrees were
enforced not only through the regular court system, but also through
new special courts and mobile courts-martial with extended
jurisdiction. In July 1941, when existing jails could no longer
contain the growing number of new inmates, the
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,
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
Serbs inside the Independent State of
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:
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."
At 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".
In addition to specifying the means of extermination, the Nazis often
arranged the imprisonment or transfer of inmates to Jasenovac.
Kasche's emissary, Major Knehe, visited the camp on 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.
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
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
Serbs than Jews,
and that Italian and Catholic pressure was dissuading the
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. 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.
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'
Ustaše camps", mentioning only Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška,
"will not be deported". The Nazis found interest in the
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
Hans Helm was in charge of deporting
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, along with August
Meyszner, Wilhelm Fuchs, Josef Hahn, Ludwig Teichmann, Josef Eckert,
Ernst Weimann, Richard Kaserer and Friedrich Polte.
Creation and operation
Location of main camp Ciglana and additional camps.
Plan of Jasenovac main camp
Jadovno concentration camp
Jadovno concentration camp was the first camp used for extermination
by the Ustaše. Jadovno was operational from May 1941 but was closed
in August of the same year coinciding with the formation of the camp
at Jasenovac in the same month. The Jasenovac complex was built
between August 1941 and February 1942. The first two camps, Krapje and
Bročica, were closed in November 1941.
Three newer camps continued to function until the end of the war:
Ciglana (Jasenovac III)
Kožara (Jasenovac IV)
Stara Gradiška (Jasenovac V)
Ustaše militia executing people over a mass grave near Jasenovac
The camp was constructed, managed and supervised by Department III of
Ustaše Supervisory Service" (Ustaška nadzorna služba, UNS), a
special police force of the NDH. Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić was head of
the UNS. Individuals managing the camp at different times included
Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović and Dinko Šakić. The camp
administration in times used other
Ustaše battalions, police units,
Domobrani units, auxiliary units made up of Bosnian Muslims, as well
as Germans and Hungarians. The
Ustaše interned, tortured and executed
men, women and children in Jasenovac. The largest number of victims
were Serbs, but victims also included Jews, Roma (or "gypsies"), as
well as some dissident
Bosnian Muslims (i.e. Partisans or
their sympathizers, all categorized by the
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. 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
The bodies of prisoners executed by the
Ustaše in Jasenovac
Serbs constituted the majority of inmates in Jasenovac. The
Jasenovac Memorial Area list of victims is more than 56% Serbs, 45,923
out of 80,914, see victim lists. In some cases, inmates were
immediately killed upon acknowledging Serbian ethnicity, and most
considered it to be the sole reason for their imprisonment. The
Serbs were predominantly brought from the
Kozara region, where the
Ustaše captured areas that were held by Partisan guerrillas.
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 is one of the
most significant parts of overall Serbian casualties of World War
A report on the deportation of
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 to almost two
thirds of the Croatian Jewish population of 37,000 (meaning around
25,000). Most of the executions of
Jews at Jasenovac occurred
prior to August 1942. Thereafter, the NDH deported them to Auschwitz.
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
Circular made by general Ivan Prpić, following orders of marshall
Kvaternik, which informed General Staff of Army (Glavni Stožer
Domobranstva), Ustasha militia headquarters (Glavni stožer Ustaške
Vojnice), Ministry of Interior (Ministarstvo unutarnjih dela) and
Chief Command of Gandarmery (Vrhovno zapovjedništvo oružništva) as
follows: "The command of ustasha surveillance service - the chief
adjutant, with top secret No 139/42, has informed us that the assembly
and labor camp in Jasenovac can accept an unlimited number of inmates.
Therefore, please issue orders to your all subortinate (sic) command
posts to send to Jasenovac all Communists who are caught during the
clearing of areas in which military operations are conducted."
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, where nutrition,
hydration, shelter and sanitary conditions were all below the rest of
the camp's own abysmally low standards. The figures of murdered
Roma are estimated between 20,000 and 50,000.
Anti-fascists consisted of various sorts of political and ideological
opponents or 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, 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
Vladko Maček was held in Jasenovac from October 1941
to March 1942, after which he was kept under strict house arrest.
Jasenovac consisted of a unique camp for children in Sisak. Around
20,000 Serb, Jewish and Roma children perished at Jasenovac.
The living conditions in the camp evidenced the severity typical of
Nazi death camps: a meager diet, deplorable accommodation, and the
cruel treatment by the
Ustaše guards. 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
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). 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. Food changed repeatedly
Water: Jasenovac was even more severe than most death camps in one
respect: a general lack of potable water. Prisoners were forced to
drink water from the
Accommodation: 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. 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.
Forced labor: As in all concentration camps, Jasenovac inmates were
forced daily to perform some 11 hours of hard labor, under the eye of
Ustaše captors, who would execute any inmate for the most
trivial reasons. The labor section was overseen by Ustaša's
Dominik "Hinko" Picilli and Tihomir Kordić. Picilli would personally
lash inmates to force them to work harder.
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. Blacksmith work was also done, as the inmates forged
knives and other weapons for the Ustaše. Dike construction work was
the most feared.
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 stench of the often
overflowing latrine bucket. 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)
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. The inmate's rags and blankets were too
thin to prevent exposure to frost, as was the shelter of the
barracks. 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 save during winter time, when the lake froze. Then, a
sanitation device was erected in a warehouse, where a few clothes were
Lack of personal possessions: 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 0.4 liters
(0.088 imp gal; 0.11 U.S. gal) of "soup" they were
fed with. Inmates whose bowl was missing (stolen by another inmate to
defecate in) would receive no food. During delegation visits,
inmates were given bowls twice as large with spoons. 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
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.
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. 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
Passive inmates would react by attempting to survive, to get 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. All inmates
suffered psychological trauma 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
survivors Ilija Ivanović, Dr Nikola Nikolić and Đuro Schwartz, all
of whom 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.
Mass murder and cruelty
Bodies of Jasenovac prisoners in the
According to Jaša Almuli, the former president of the Serbian Jewish
community, Jasenovac was a much more terrifying concentration camp in
terms of brutality than many of its German counterparts, even
Auschwitz. In the late summer of 1942, tens of thousands of ethnic
Serb villagers were deported to Jasenovac from the
Kozara region in
Bosnia, where NDH forces were fighting the Partisans. Most of the
men were executed in Jasenovac, and the women were sent to forced
labor camps in Germany. Children were either killed or dispersed to
On the night of 29 August 1942, prison guards made bets among
themselves as to who could slaughter the largest number of inmates.
One of the guards, Petar Brzica, boasted that he had cut the
throats of about 1,360 new arrivals.
Other participants who confessed to participating in the bet included
Ante Zrinušić-Sipka, who killed some 600 inmates, and Mile
Friganović, who gave a detailed and consistent report of the
incident. 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 Nikolić.
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
Ustaše slaughtered inmates with a knife that became known as the
The construction was originally a type of wheat sheaf knife,
manufactured prior to and during
World War II
World War II by the German factory
Gebrüder Gräfrath from Solingen-Widdert, under the trademark
"Gräwiso". 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-centimetre-long (4.7 in) 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. Its agricultural purpose was to enable field workers to
cut wheat sheaves open before threshing them. The knife was fixed on
the glove plate to prevent injuries and to increase work speed.
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 physical fitness.
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:
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 Dominik "Hinko" Picilli perfected this method by converting
seven of the kiln's furnace chambers into more sophisticated
crematories. Crematoria were also placed in Gradina, across
Sava River. According to the State Commission, however, "there is
no information that it ever went into operation." Later testimony,
however, say the Gradina crematory had become operational. Some
bodies were buried rather than cremated, as shown by exhumation of
bodies late in the war.[why?]
Gassing and poisoning: The
Ustaše tried to employ poisonous gas to
kill inmates arriving in Stara Gradiška. They first tried to gas the
women and children who arrived from Djakovo with gas vans that Simo
Klaić called "green Thomas". The method was later replaced with
stationary gas-chambers with
Zyklon B and sulfur
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,
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.
Ustaše utilized empty areas in the vicinity of the
villages of 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.
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.[citation
Velika Kustarica: According to the state-commission, as far as 50,000
people were killed here in the winter amid 1941 and 1942. There is
evidence suggesting that killings took place there at that time and
In July 1942, Diana Budisavljević, with the help of a German officer,
Albert von Kotzian, obtained written permission to take the children
from the Stara Gradiška concentration camp. With the help of the
Ministry of Social Affairs, including Kamilo Bresler, she was able to
relocate child inmates from the camp to Zagreb, and other places.
Red Cross has been accused of insufficiently aiding the persecuted
people of Nazi Europe. 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. Inmate resistance groups were aided by contacts
among the Ustaše. One of these groups, operating in the tannery, was
assisted by an Ustaše, Dr Marin Jurcev (and his wife), who were later
hanged for this on orders of Dinko Šakić, as was any Ustasha found
guilty of consorting or collaborating with inmates were executed.
End of the camp
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In April 1945, as Partisan units approached the camp, the camp's
supervisors attempted to erase traces of the atrocities by working the
death camp at full capacity. On 22 April, 600 prisoners[citation
needed] revolted; 516 were killed and 84 escaped. Before abandoning
the camp shortly after the prisoner revolt, the
Ustaše killed the
remaining prisoners and torched the buildings, guardhouses, torture
rooms, the "Picilli 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 Domobran soldiers of the army of the Independent State of
Croatia. Laborers completed the destruction of the camp, leveling the
site and dismantling the two-kilometre-long (1.2 mi),
four-metre-high (13 ft) wall that surrounded it.
Memorial signs with claims of victim counts, situated on the Bosnian
side of the
Sava river at Gradina.
Since World War II, scholars and
Holocaust institutions have advanced
diverse estimates of the number of victims killed at Jasenovac,
ranging from 1.1 million to 30,000. Most modern sources place it
at around 100,000.
Jewish Virtual Library
Jewish Virtual Library states that "the most reliable figures"
estimate the number of
Serbs killed by the
Ustaše overall 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 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.
Train that carried prisoners to Jasenovac.
The documentation from the time of Jasenovac originates from 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 on the
number of victims as the war progressed. German military commanders
gave different figures for the number of Serbs,
Jews and others killed
Ustaše in 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); and 700,000
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.
Italian generals reported similar figures to their commanders.
The Vatican's sources also speak of similar figures, for example
Serbs slaughtered by the end of 1942 (Eugene
Ustaše themselves gave more exaggerated estimates 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 on 9 October 1942.
During a banquet that followed, he reported:
"We have slaughtered here at Jasenovac more people than the Ottoman
Empire was able to do during its occupation of Europe."
A circular from the
Ustaše general headquarters reads: "the
concentration and labor camp in Jasenovac can receive an unlimited
number of internees." In the same spirit, Filipović-Majstorović,
once captured by Yugoslav forces, admitted that during his three
months of administration, 20,000 to 30,000 people died. As it
became clear that his confession was an attempt to somewhat minimize
the rate of crimes committed in Jasenovac, his claim to have
personally killed 100 people being extremely understated,
Filipović-Majstorović's figures are reevaluated so that in some
sources they appear as 30,000–40,000.
Yugoslav and Croatian official estimates
A 15 November 1945 report of the National Committee of
Croatia for the
investigation of the crimes of the occupation forces and their
collaborators, which was commissioned by the new government of
Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito, indicated that between
500,000–600,000 people were murdered at Jasenovac. These figures
were cited by researchers Israel Gutman and Menachem Shelach in the
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust from 1990. Shelach wrote that some
300,000 bodies were found and exhumed. The Simon Wiesenthal
Center's Museum of Tolerance adopted the same number at some
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. The proponents of these numbers were subsequently
accused of artificially inflating them for the purpose of obtaining
war reparations. 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
cited 400,000 victims. Vladeta Vučković[who?] 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 for the foreign minister Edvard
Kardelj. She [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 lower. Nevertheless, Kardelj subsequently
presented this as Yugoslavia's real loss at the Paris Peace
Treaties. These estimates were rejected by
war reparations talks. The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust's casualty
figure for the whole of Yugoslavia was a more conservative
1,500,000.[when?] The conventional estimate[by whom?] 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
World War II victims with 597,323 names and deficiency estimated at
20–30%, giving between 750,000 and 780,000 victims. Together with
the estimate of 200,000 "collaborators and quislings" [clarification
needed] killed, the total number would reach about one million. The
bureau's list was declared a state secret in 1964 and published only
in 1989. The survey results showed a far lower figure of 59,188
killed at Jasenovac, of whom 33,944 were recorded as Serbs.
The second edition of Vojna enciklopedija (1972) reproduced the figure
of the State Commission of Crimes, 600,000 victims in Jasenovac up to
1943. In August 1983, Partisan general Velimir Terzić asserted
that according to the newest data, at least one million
killed at Jasenovac. Novelist Milan D. Miletić (1923–2003)
speculated the number at one million or more. Based on
documentary material and information from inmates and camp officials,
and from official war crimes commissions, archivist Antun Miletić
quoted from the sources the estimation at 600–700,000 victims, most
In his 1982 book,
Franjo Tuđman (the later President of Croatia),
deliberately misinterpreted the 1964 survey and claimed 60,000 deaths
in all camps in the NDH. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the
Croatian side began publicly suggesting substantially smaller numbers
of victims. 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
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, has posted claims that current research
estimates the number of victims at between 80,000 and 100,000.
The State Commission of
Croatia for the Investigation of the Crimes of
the Occupation Forces and their Collaborators from 1946 concludes:
"Such a manner of preconceived and inhumane torture and slaughter of a
peoplehas never been recorded in history. The Ustase criminals
followed precisely the model of their German masters, most consciously
executed all their orders, and did so in pursuit of a single goal: to
exterminate as many of our people as possible, and to create a living
space as large as possible for them. The total dependence by the
Ustase on their German masters, the foundation of the camp itself, the
dispatch of the "disloyal", the brutal implementation of Hitler's
racist Nazi theories and the deportation to the camps and
extermination of the racially and nationally "impure", the same
methods of torture and atrocities with minor varieties of Ustase
cruelty, the building of furnaces and incineration of victims in
furnaces (the Picilli furnace) — all of the evidence points to the
conclusion that both Jasenovac and the crimes committed in it were
fashioned from a German recipe, owing to a German Hitlerite order as
implemented by their servants, the Ustase. Subsequently,
responsibility for the crimes of Jasenovac falls equally on their
German masters and the Ustase executioners."
1960s forensic investigations
On 16 November 1961, the municipal committee of former partisans from
Bosanska Dubica organized an unofficial investigation at the grounds
of Donja Gradina, led by locals who were not forensic experts. This
investigation uncovered three mass graves and identified 17 human
skulls in one of them. Based on this, along with the fact that 120
other untouched graves were identified, they extrapolated the number
of victims to 350,800. In response, 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 victims' 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, Antun Miletić, mentioned
the 1961 excavation, but misquoted the number of victims it identified
as 550,800. They also noted the 1964 excavation, and estimated that
Gradina held the remains of 366,000 victims, without further
In 1989, prior to the breakup of Yugoslavia, 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."
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 were 800 skeletons. Vida Brodar then commented
on that statement and said the research never resulted in any victim
counts, and that these numbers were Živanović's manipulations,
providing a copy of the research log as corroboration. A Croatian
historian, Željko Krušelj, publicly criticized Živanović and
labeled him a fraud over this.
The Jasenovac Memorial Area maintains a list of the names (collected
until March 2013) of 83,145 Jasenovac victims, including 47,627 Serbs,
16,173 Romani, 13,116 Jews, 4,255 Croats, 1,128 Bosnian Muslims, and
266 Slovenes, among others. Of the 83,145 named victims, 20,101 are
children under the age of 14, and 23,474 are women. The memorial
estimates total deaths at 80,000 to 100,000. The list is subject
to update – in 2007, it had 69,842 entries.
Antun Miletić, a researcher at the Military Archives in Belgrade, has
collected data on Jasenovac since 1979. His list contains the
names of 77,200 victims, of which 41,936 are Serbs.
In 1997, the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade identified 10,521
Jewish victims at Jasenovac, with full names.
In 1998, the
Bosniak Institute published SFR Yugoslavia's final List
of war victims from the Jasenovac camp (created in 1992). 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
In 1998, the
Croatian State Archives
Croatian State Archives issued an announcement that a
notebook had been found containing 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 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[according to whom?] as all the other
numbers of victims mentioned in the book were consistent with those
from the other documents released by the State
Commission.[better source needed]
Yad Vashem Center has stated that "more than 500,000
murdered [in all of the Independent State of Croatia] in horribly
sadistic ways, 250,000 were expelled, and another 200,000 were forced
to convert to Catholicism."
In the 1990 Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Menachem Shelach and Israel
"Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac, mostly
Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents of the
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
— Israel Gutman (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
As of 2009, the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that
Ustaše murdered between 66,000 and 99,000 people (mostly Serbs)
at Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945, and that during the period of
Ustaše rule, a total of between 330,000 and 390,000 ethnic
more than 30,000 Croatian
Jews were killed, either in
Croatia or at
In the 1980s, calculations were done by Serbian statistician Bogoljub
Kočović, and by Croatian 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. Kočović estimated that, of that
number, between 370,000 and 410,000 ethnic
Serbs died in the
Independent State of Croatia. Žerjavić, claiming 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, first calculated 53,000, but later
brought his estimate up to 70,000 and eventually to 80,000.[citation
In the 1980s, Žerjavić published two books in which he concluded
that approximately 83,000 people had perished at Jasenovac, 50,000 of
them Serbs. 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. Another critic of Žerjavić, Dr
Milan Bulajić, former director of the Museum of the Victims of
Genocide in Belgrade, maintained that the numbers were in the range of
700,000–1,000,000. Since Bulajić's retirement from his post, a
researcher from the Museum and a Croatian co-author have published a
book on wartime losses giving a figure of approximately 100,000
victims of Jasenovac.
Testimony of Jasenovac survivors and other eyewitnesses
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A number of former camp prisoners and others testified about the
horrors they witnessed in Jasenovac, including:
Cijordana Friedlender, Stara Gradiška
A former prisoner, Cijordana Friedlender, testified at the trial of
Ante Vrban, Ustasha commandant of the concentration camp at Stara
Gradiška. 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."
Egon Berger, Jasenovac
In his book 44 Months in Jasenovac, former inmate Egon Berger
described the following atrocity, by the camp commander, a Franciscan
friar, Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović:
"The priestly face of Fra Majstorovic, all made-up and powdered,
dressed in an elegant suit and a green hunter's hat, watched with
delight the victims. He approached the children, even stroked their
heads. The company was joined by Ljubo Milos and Ivica Matkovic. Fra
Majstorovic told the mothers there will now 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 Fra 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
be the first to stick a dagger in a child."
Milko Riffer, Jasenovac
In his memoir, Jasenovac survivor Milko Riffer described many
horrendous crimes, including the wholesale extermination of
"At one time in the camp there was a large number of Gypsies, who,
though innocent, were captured throughout the Independent State of
Croatia and driven to Jasenovac. There where perhaps ten-, perhaps
twenty-thousand, and of those only two remained. As seedstock."
From one rather large group of Gypsies they formed the so-called
grave-diggers’ group, which was transferred to Gradina [an area
adjacent to Jasenovac]. They had the duty to undress slain victims and
sort the resulting clothes ... It was an enormous, hard job,
accompanied by desperate screams and cries of the victims, who in
continuous columns arrived at the slaughterhouse. They plied [the
Gypsies] with large quantities of brandy, because only in an almost
completely drunk state could they be made to carry out that infernal
work in the pits, in which there lay thousands of battered and
slaughtered human bodies. Many of them lost their mind, and were taken
to perform "lighter work" elsewhere. They, of course, never returned.
The campaign of slaughter lasted long, almost continuously for two
General von Horstenau, Jasenovac
The Nazi general, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, Hitler's
plenipotentiary in the Independent Croatian State, described in his
book, Ein General im Zwielicht, 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.
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 (the quote below was translated by
At Crkveni Bok, an unhappy place where, under the leadership of an
Ustasha lieutenant-colonel, some 500 yokels (Lumpen) of from fifteen
to twenty years old met their end, all murdered, the women raped and
then tortured to death, the children killed. I saw in the
Sava river a
woman's corpse with the eyes gouged out and a stick shoved into the
sexual parts. This woman was at most twenty years old when she fell
into the hands of these monsters. Anywhere in a corner, the pigs are
gorging themselves on an unburied human being. All the houses were
looted. The 'lucky' inhabitants were consigned to one of the fearsome
goods trains; many of these involuntary 'passengers' cut their veins
on the journey.
Camp officials and their respective fates
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 via Ireland, where
Catholic Church authorities assured the government he was a refugee
from the Communists [Evidence required for claims]. Attempts at
extradition failed in United States courts until new legislation
enabled his extradition to Yugoslavia in 1986. He was sentenced to
death for war crimes but the sentence was not carried out due to his
age and health. He died in 1988.
Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović, an
Ustaše infamous for his command
periods in Jasenovac and Stara-Gradiška, and a Franciscan friar,
known by the epithet Fra Satana (Brother Satan) was captured by the
Yugoslav communist forces, tried and executed in 1946; he was wearing
his priestly garb when he was hanged.
Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić was the commandant of the Ustaška Odbrana,
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, fled to Spain, where he was
assassinated by a former confederate in 1969.
Dinko Šakić fled to Argentina, but was eventually extradited, tried
and sentenced in 1999 by Croatian authorities to 20 years in prison;
he died in 2008 in prison. His wife, Nada, who was also a camp guard,
was the sister of Maks Luburić. She evaded capture and Argentina
refused to extradite her. She faced no trial and served no sentence.
Petar Brzica was an Ustaša officer who, on the night of 29 August
1942, allegedly slaughtered over 1,360 people. Brzica's fellow Ustaše
took part in the 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. Brzica's post-war
fate and year of death are unknown.
Ljubo Miloš, ex-second in command of the Jasenovac concentration camp
and former commander of the Lepoglava prison, executed after the war
Ivica Matković, prominent Ustaša, executed by the Partisans.
List of notable prisoners
Bolded names in caps indicate those that survived the camp and the war
Josip Abramović (sh) (1882–1942), Croatian lawyer and Jewish
Ante Bakotić (1921–1945), communist, Croat.
Luka Baletić (sr) (1902–1945),
Chetnik commander, Serb.
Pavle Bastajić (sh) (1890–1941), Bosnian revolutionary and
Soviet agent, Serb.
Julia Batino, Bitola-born Jewish antifascist and women's rights
Jovo Bećir (sr) (1870–1942), Montenegrin brigadier and
Milo Bošković (sr) (1911–1944), Montenegrin doctor and
Slavko Brill (1900–1943), Croatian sculptor and ceramics artist,
Marijan Čavić (sr) (1915–1941), Croatian communist.
Smail-aga Ćemalović (sr) (1884–1945), Bosnian Islamist.
Ante Ciliga, Croatian politician, writer and publisher.—Ciliga,
a former Communist turned "ardent nationalist", was released within a
relatively period of time. Ciliga himself was quoted as saying: "I was
for the ustasha (sic) state, I was for the Croatian state. And I
defend that thesis. The ustasha (sic) state needed to be reformed, not
Dragutin Cvijak (sh) (1884–1941), Croatian lawyer, Jewish.
Natko Devčić, Croatian composer.
Nada Dimić (1923–1942), Croatian Partisan, Serb.
Zija Dizdarević, Bosnian writer and Partisan, Bosnian Muslim.
Jakov Dugandžić (sr) (1905–1941), Bosnian communist and
Chetnik commander, Serb.
Mavro Frankfurter (1875–1942), chief rabbi in
Grgo Gamulin (hr), Croatian art historian, university professor
Izidor Gross (1860–1942), Croatian chess master and hazzan of the
Karlovac Jewish community.
Boris Hanžeković, Croatian athlete; murdered by the guards during
the 22 April 1945 mass inmate breakout.
Slavko Hirsch, Croatian physician, founder and director of the
Epidemiological Institute in Osijek, Jewish.
Žiga Hirschler, Jewish composer, music critic and
Daniel Kabiljo, Bosnian artist, Jewish.
Grgur Karlovčan (sh) (1913–1942), Croatian author.
Marijan Krajačić (sr) (1905–1942), Croatian Spanish veteran
Walter Kraus (sh) (1917–1945), painter, Austrian emigrant to
Mirko Lalatović (sr) (1904–1945), Yugoslav major and pilot and
Chetnik commander, Serb.
Vladko Maček, Croatian politician; president of the Croatian Peasant
Mihovil Pavlek Miškina, Croatian poet, short story writer and
Vukašin Mandrapa (d. 1943), proclaimed Serbian Orthodox saint-martyr.
Edmund Moster, Jewish entrepreneur, industrialist and co-founder of
the "Penkala-Moster Company" (now TOZ).
Leo Müller, Croatian industrialist and entrepreneur,
Daniel Ozmo, Bosnian–Serbian painter and printmaker, Jewish.
Salamon Papo (sh) (1901–?), Bosnian painter, Jewish.
Kiprijan Relić (sr) (1904–1941), Serbian Orthodox hieromonk.
Rod Riffler (1909–1941), Croatian dancer and choreographer,
Ivan Sabljak (sr) (1919–1944), Partisan.
Armin Schreiner, Croatian industrialist, banker and Jewish
Vlado Singer, Croatian politician and member of the
(a convert to Catholicism from Judaism).
Mitar Trifunović Učo (sr) (1880–1941), Bosnian socialist
activist and Partisan, Serb.
Oton Vinski, Croatian banker, Jewish.
Chetnik commander, Serb.
Slavonski Brod rabbi.
Nikola Zagorac (sr) (1910–1941), Serbian Orthodox priest,
Many notable people had their relatives perished at Jasenovac, such
Dragoslav Bokan, Serbian film director and writer; maternal
grandfather and great-grandfather.
Zdravko Dimić (1926–1993), Serbian JNA general; aunt and three
Bakir Izetbegović, Bosnian politician; maternal uncle.
Mak Dizdar, Bosnian poet; mother and sister Refika.
Asim Ferhatović, Yugoslav footballer; brother Mehmed.
Jasenovac monument by Bogdan Bogdanović.
The Socialist Republic of
Croatia adopted a new law on the Jasenovac
Memorial Site in 1990, shortly before the first democratic elections
in the country.
Franjo Tuđman was elected for Croatia's president that year,
revisionist views on the concentration camp's history came into
prominence. The memorial's status was demoted to that of a nature
park, and its funding was cut. After
Croatia declared its independence
and exited the Yugoslav Federation in June 1991, the memorial site
found itself in two separate countries. Its grounds at Donja Gradina
belonged to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was then still part of
Simo Brdar, assistant director of the Jasenovac Memorial Site, doubted
that the Croatian authorities, dominated by nationalists, were
committed to preserve the artifacts and documentation of the
concentration camp. In August 1991, he transported some of the
materials to Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the
Yugoslav wars unfolded,
Croatian forces vandalized, devastated and looted the memorial site
and its museum during September 1991. They were driven out from
Jasenovac after a month by the Yugoslav People's Army. Brdar returned
to the site and collected what was left of the museum's exhibits and
documentation. He kept the collections until 1999, when they were
housed in the Archives of Republika Srpska.
At the end of 2000, the collections were transferred to the United
Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), after an agreement with the
government of Republika Srpska. A year later, the USHMM transported
the collections to
Croatia and gave them to the Jasenovac Memorial
Site. Israeli President
Moshe Katsav visited Jasenovac in 2003,
and was the first Israeli head of state to officially visit the
In 2004, at the yearly Jasenovac commemoration, the Croatian
authorities presented new plans for the 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".
New York City
New York City Parks Department, the
Holocaust Park Committee and
the Jasenovac Research Institute, with the help of former U.S.
Anthony Weiner (D-NY), 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
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
The Jasenovac Memorial Museum reopened in November 2006 with a new
exhibition designed by 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. Njirić won the
first prize of the 2006
Zagreb Architectural Salon for her work on the
However, the new exhibition was described as "postmodernist trash" by
Efraim Zuroff, and criticized for the removal of all
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
Shimon Peres visited Jasenovac on 25 July 2010
dubbing it a "demonstration of sheer sadism".
On 17 April 2011, in a commemoration ceremony, former-Croatian
Ivo Josipović warned that there were "attempts to
drastically reduce or decrease the number of Jasenovac victims ...
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 ... 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
Jadovno concentration camp
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics
List of Nazi-German concentration camps
Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive
Sisak children's concentration camp
Stara Gradiška concentration camp
World War II
World War II casualties
Nazi Germany portal
World War II
World War II portal
^ a b c Official website of the Jasenovac Memorial Site
^ a b United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum
^ a b c d e f g Kolstø 2011, pp. 226–41.
^ Ljiljana Radonić (2009), Heinz Fassmann; Wolfgang Müller-Funk;
Heidemarie Uhl, eds., "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
^ a b c d e Pavlowitch 2008, p. 34.
^ Dedijer 1992.
^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 399.
^ Brietman (2005), p. 204
^ a b Federal Bureau of Statistics in 1964; published in Danas, 21
^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 233–41.
^ Lemkin (2008), pp 259, 625–26.
^ Lemkin (2008), pp. 259, 613.
^ Lemkin (2008), pp. 260, 626.
^ Lemkin (2008), pp. 259, 626–27.
^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 383–84.
^ Aristotle Kallis. Genocide and Fascism: The Eliminationist Drive in
Fascist Europe, Routledge, New York, NY 2009, pp. 236–44.
^ Hilgruber, Staatsmanner und Diplomaten bei Hitler, p. 611.
^ Wansee, Nuremberg trail documents, NG-2568-G
^ Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 166–71, 185–89, 192, 194–96, 208,
^ Schwartz, p. 301
^ Shelach et al., 1990, p. 195.
^ A.A. Nachlass Kasche, p. 105
^ Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 207–339.
^ Shelach et al., 1990, p. 153, n. 20
^ Shelach et al., 1990
^ Adolf Eichmann's Crimes in Yugoslavia: Facts and Views, pp. 8–9.
^ M. Persen, Ustaski Logori, p. 97[full citation needed]
^ a b Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, pp. 739–40.
Bosnian Muslims in Jasenovac Concentration Camp[permanent dead
link]—Congress of Bosnian Intellectuals (October 2006, Holocaust
Studies), Sarajevo; ISBN 978-9958-47-102-5.
^ Schwartz, p. 329
^ Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, "Jasenovac"
^ The bodies of prisoners executed by the Ustasa in Jasenovac
^ a b United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Jasenovac". Jewish
Virtual Library. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 30, 40–41.
^ Sindik (ed.), pp. 40–41, 98, 131, 171.
^ See victim numbers.
^ a b "Jasenovac". Ushmm.org. Archived from the original on 16
September 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
^ a b "Croatia" (PDF). Yad Vashem.
^ a b State Commission, 1946, pp. 43-44.
^ State Commission, 1946, p. 32
^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 359.
^ "List of individual victims of Jasenovac concentration camp".
Jasenovac Memorial Site. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
^ Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, p. 739
^ Schwartz, p. 299-300
^ Lazar Lukajc: "Fratri i Ustase Kolju", interview with Borislav Seva,
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 19-20, 40.
^ Schwartz, pp. 299, 302–03, 306, 313, 315, 319–22.
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 20, 39 (testimonies: Hinko Steiner,
Marijan Setinc, Sabetaj Kamhi, Kuhada Nikola)
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 20–22
^ various examples in: Schwartz, pp. 299–301, 303, 307, and many
more examples therein
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 30-31
^ Schwartz, p. 308.
^ Compare with Elizabeta Jevric, "Blank pages of the holocaust:
Gypsies in Yugoslavia during World-war II", pp. 111–12, 120
^ Compare with Schwartz, pp. 299–303, 332
^ Schwartz, p. 313
^ a b Schwartz, p. 311
^ Schwartz, pp. 311-13
^ State Commission, 1946, p. 20.
^ State Commission, 1946, p. 20
^ Schwartz, p. 324
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 16-18.
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 23–24.
^ Marijana Cvetko testimony, New York Times, 3 May 1998. "War crimes
revive as Croat faces possible trial"
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 53–55.
^ 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.
^ The bodies of Jasenovac prisoners floating in the
^ Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 432–34.
^ Shelach et al., 1990, pp. 192, 196.
^ Alan Greenhalgh. The Glass Half Full; ISBN 0-9775844-1-0, p. 68
^ Howard Blum. Wanted!: The Search for Nazis in America
(Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co. 1977).[page needed]
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Jasenovac-info.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
^ Avro Manhattan, The Vatican's Holocaust, p. 48.
^ Margaret E. Wagner; David M. Kennedy; Linda Barrett Osborne; Susan
Reyburn (2007). The Library of Congress
World War II
World War II Companion. Simon
& Schuster. pp. 640, 646–47, 683.
ISBN 978-0-7432-5219-5. 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.
^ Israeli 2013, p. 135: "Surviving inmates of Jasenovac remember
the Srbosek (the knife for killing Serbs) that was devised, besides
ordinary knives, for the manual and individual slaughter of the
^ Frucht Levy 2013, p. 71: "One, the srbosjek, or Serb-cutter,
was a long, curved knife attached to a partial glove and designed for
^ Michael Freund (30 May 2013). "Time to confront Croatia's hidden
Holocaust". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 16 March
2015. The Ustashe even employed a special knife they called a
"Srbosjek", or "Serb-cutter", to slaughter as many
^ Hunt, Dave (1994). "Das Abschlachten der Serben". Die Frau und das
Tier Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft der römischen Kirche. Eugene,
Oregon: Harvest House Publishers. pp. 289–301.
Vladimir Dedijer (1992). The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican: The
Croatian Massacre of the
Serbs During World War II. Prometheus Books.
^ Hanspeter Born (1987). Für die Richtigkeit: Kurt Waldheim.
Schneekluth. p. 65. ISBN 978-3-7951-1055-0. Beliebt war das
sogar wettbewerbsmäßig organisierte Kehledurchschneiden mit einem
speziellen Krumm-messer Marke Gräviso
^ Nikolić, Nikola (1969). Taborišče smrti – Jasenovac (in
Slovenian). Translated by Jože Zupančić. Ljubljana: Založba
"Borec". pp. 72–73. Na koncu noža, tik bakrene ploščice, je
bilo z vdolbnimi črkami napisano "Grafrath gebr. Solingen", na usnju
pa reliefno vtisnjena nemška tvrtka "Graeviso" ... Posebej izdelan
nož, ki so ga ustaši uporabljali pri množičnih klanjih. Pravili so
mu "kotač" - kolo - in ga je izdelovala nemška tvrtka
^ a b "Srbosjek in action! Warning: Shocking truth video". YouTube.
Retrieved 22 March 2015.
^ Nikola Nikolić (1969). Taborišče smrti--Jasenovac. Založba
"Borec". pp. 72–73. Na koncu noža, tik bakrene ploščice, je
bilo z vdolbnimi črkami napisano "Grafrath gebr. Solingen", na usnju
pa reliefno vtisnjena nemška tvrtka "Graeviso" [Picture with
description:] Posebej izdelan nož, ki so ga ustaši uporabljali pri
množičnih klanjih. Pravili so mu "kotač" – kolo – in ga je
izdelovala nemška tvrtka "Graeviso"
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 9–11, 46–47.
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 14, 27, 31, 42–43, 70.
^ a b Paris 1961, p. 132.
^ State Commission, 1946, p. 43
^ Schwartz, pp. 331-32.
^ Dragan Roller, statement to the press during the Dinko Sakić trial,
New York Times, 2 May 1998.
^ "Zlocini Okupatora Nijhovih Pomagaca Harvatskoj Protiv Jevrija", pp.
144–45[full citation needed]
^ Shorthand notes of the
Ljubo Miloš trial, pp. 292-93. Antun Vrban
admitted of his crimes: "Q. And what did you do with the children A.
The weaker ones we poisoned Q. How? A. We led them into a yard... and
into it we threw gas Q. What gas? A. Zyklon." (Qtd. Shelach et al.,
^ M. Persen, "Ustasi Logore", p. 105[full citation needed]
^ Sindik (ed.), p. 40-41, 58, 76, 151
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 13, 25, 27, 56–57, 58–60.
^ State Commission, 1946,[page needed]
^ State Commission, 1946, pp. 38-39
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with the child victims of World War II", Annual of Social Work, Vol.
13, No. 1, October 2006.
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^ Schwartz, pp. 304, 312, 332–33
^ Kolstø 2011, pp. 230, 242.
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^ "Balkan 'Auschwitz' haunts Croatia". BBC News. 25 April 2005.
Retrieved 29 September 2010. No one really knows how many died here.
Serbs talk of 700,000. Most estimates put the figure nearer
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in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1941–1942. Uppsala. p. 281.
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^ Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990
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