Some 600 surviving inmates of the notorious Ustashe Jasenovac concentration camp in the Nazi Independent State of Croatia /NDH/ attempted on April 22, 1945, to reach freedom in a desperate assault on guards, and only 60 managed it.
From the summer, 1941, until April 30, 1945, Ustashe massacred hundreds of thousands of mostly Serbs, Jews and Roma in this the largest “death factory” in the Balkans in WWII.
The Jasenovac Concentration Camp was the largest death camp in the then NDH in occupied Yugoslavia during WWII.
It was formed in August 1941 and was designed by one of the greatest war criminals of that time, Maks Luburić, who was the first commander of the concentration camp.
The Ustashe destroyed the camp in April 1945 to hide traces of their crimes.
“The Jasenovac work camp,” as it was called by the Croatian state administration, was the killing ground of Serbs, Roma, and Jews of all ages, genders, of all social, educational and other profiles, it was also the killing ground of communists, partisans, helpers and sympathizers of Serbs, Roma and Jews.
The system of concentration camps Jasenovac was notorious for its barbaric killing methods and a huge number of victims.
Professor Gideon Greif, a historian specialized in Holocaust, the author of the monograph titled “Jasenovac – the Auschwitz of the Balkans – Ustashe Empire of Cruelty” says that “Jasenovac was far more brutal than Auschwitz.”
In the process of “purification of the Croatian nation” Serbian children were killed together with adults.
During the four years, between April 1941 and May 1945, 73,316 children were killed in the Ustashe NDH. During WWII, Croatia was the only place in the whole of Europe where there were special concentration camps for children.
From December 1941 until April 1942, Ustashe killed 19,544 Serbian boys and girls whose identities were determined later.
According to testimonies, they were killed in the most heinous ways and they were also dying more than adults from diseases, hunger, thirst and cold exposure.
Many children were butchered in Jasenovac in mid-September 1942. Children were brought in 15 carts to a brickyard and incinerated. A similar fate befell 300 children killed in Gradina in October 1942.
A huge number of children, around 12,000 of them, were saved from the Ustashe pogrom, for which Diana Budisavljević and dozens of good people helping her are the most deserving.
The exact number of victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp has never been determined.
The concentration camp’s archives were destroyed twice – at the beginning of 1943 and in April 1945.
The Croatian State Commission, established in 1945, said in a report to the International Court in Nurnberg that the number of victims ranges between 500,000 and 700,000.
German WWII Generals gave different data on the number of Serbs killed in the NDH, but they all mentioned hundreds of thousands of victims.
Back in 1943, Alexander Lohr was speaking about 400,000 killed Serbs, Lothar Rendulic, German Lt.-Gen said that around “500,000 Orthodox faithful were killed,” Gen. Hermann Neubacher mentioned more than 750,000 of those killed, Ernst Fick mentioned 600,000….
Wanting to equalize victims and merits for the liberation of the country, the communist authorities after WWII did everything in their power to mention Jasenovac as little as possible. Not a single movie or a series was made about the greatest killing ground in the NDH, and communist leader Josip Broz Tito has never visited Jasenovac.