Czech journalist and photographer David Sladek yesterday paid a visit to the Banjaluka Association of WWII Concentration Camp Inmates and presented the management with the book titled “The Untold Genocide,” which speaks about genocide and sufferings of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia /NDH/.
Sladek, who is the author of the book, has told that the book was written on the basis of 21 interviews with surviving WWII concentration camps inmates, stressing that his goal was to make the English speaking part of the world learn the truth about what was happening in the NDH.”
“I believe that that which happened in WWII is the consequence of dividing people into ‘us’ and ‘them,’ and the same thing, unfortunately, is happening even today in the world,” Sladek has said.
He has said that he learned while doing these interviews that people either could not speak or were not allowed to speak about the events from the time of the NDH out of personal or political reasons in the former SFRY, which is why the book is titled “The Untold Genocide.”
“In my book I focused on the hands of the surviving inmates as they symbolize their feelings and they, in a way, call on people to learn about their experiences and what they were through,” Sladek said.
He says that it is the opinion of surviving inmates that the past war in the former Yugoslavia would not have happened had it been spoken about genocide in the NDH in the former SFRY.
Sladek, who lives in London, says that he knew nothing about the events in the NDH until three years ago, but that thanks to Serbs with whom he worked in London, he learned about horrible things that happened and about genocide against Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia.
“It was a big shock for me and I felt the need to use all my talent to tell the whole world about it,” Sladek said.
He plans to exhibit photographs from the book all over Europe, noting that exhibitions have already been held in London and the Czech Republic, and that they will be held in Banjaluka and Belgrade next year.
The president of the Banjaluka Association of WWII Concentration Camps Inmates, Dobrila Kukolj, has told SRNA that the book is of great importance in proving the truth about crimes committed in WWII in the Jasenovac concentration camp and the Jastrebarsko and Sisak children’s concentration camps, and in writing a history which can be told only by live witnesses – concentration camp inmates who suffered horrors and Golgotha.
“Using complex sentences and artistic photographs of surviving inmates of the Jasenovac, Jastrebarsko and Sisak concentration camps, the author portrayed the truth about all the horrors and evils they suffered at the hands of the Ustashe and their helpers in WWII,” Kukolj said.
She has added that the Association started its cooperation with Sladek thanks to the president of the International Commission for the Truth on Jasenovac, academic Srboljub Zivanovic, who lives in London.
Milutin Vuckovac, a surviving concentration camp inmate of the Jastrebarsko children’s concentration camp, expressed his gratitude to Sladek for the book which will help that the Ustashe crimes in the NDH are never forgotten.
He testifies that he, as a seven-year-old boy, was held in the Jastrebarsko children’s concentration camp and that he saw when Ustashe were taking people from Kozara to concentration camps, while children were immediately taken to Jastrebarsko.
“My mother was killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp, and my two grandfathers were killed in Stara Gradiska. I survived the concentration camp by accident as my aunt appeared and took me with her,” Vuckovac has said.