As Germany and its Axis allies invaded and dismembered Yugoslavia in April 1941, the Germans and the Italians endorsed the proclamation of the so-called Independent State of Croatia by the fanatically nationalist, fascist, separatist, and terrorist Ustasha organization on April 10, 1941. After seizing power, the Ustasha authorities erected numerous concentration camps in Croatia between 1941 and 1945. These camps were used to isolate and murder Jews, Serbs, Roma (also known as Gypsies), and other non-Catholic (excluding Muslims who were regarded as Croats of Islamic faith) minorities, as well as Croatian political and religious opponents of the regime. The largest of these centers was the Jasenovac complex, a string of five camps on the bank of the Sava River, about 60 miles south of Zagreb.
The camp was established and operated solely by the governing Ustasha regime rather than by Nazi Germany as in the rest of occupied Europe. It was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe, and it has been referred to as “the Auschwitz of the Balkans” and “the Yugoslav Auschwitz.”It was notorious for its barbaric practices and a large number of victims.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. presently estimates that the Ustasha 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.
Jasenovac Memorial Site
Jasenovac Memorial Site is near the former Jasenovac concentration camp, Camp III (Brickworks). In the Memorial Site, the original sites of buildings and execution sites within the camp itself are marked by earth mounds and hollows. The path to the Flower Memorial is paved with railway sleepers. They denote symbolically part of the preserved railway track used to transport prisoners to the camp. Along with the memorial area, Jasenovac Memorial Site is responsible for the original, kept camp building known as The Tower, the Stara Gradiška Camp cemetery, the Roma cemetery in Uštica and the mass graves in Krapje, Mlaka, and Jablanac.
The activities of the Jasenovac Memorial Site have developed in different directions and include compiling, researching, scientifically processing, preserving, and exhibiting the museum buildings and documents on how the Jasenovac Ustasha camp system operated.
Place: Jasenovac, The Memorial Site, Croatia
Researchers: Marina Gržinić, Sefik Tatlić
Filming: Valerija Zabret
Editing: Marina Gržinić, Valerija Zabret