Mile Vukelja

He was born on 16 of November 1930 in the village of Donja Dragotinja, Prijedor County.

He narrates:

My parents' names were Jovo and Stoja. They were farmers. We had house, stable, warehouse, corn crib, place for smoking meat, pigsties, chicken coops, beehive, eight heads of cattle (cows, oxen, bulls), four pigs, fifteen sheep, hens.

Our family consisted of: father Jovo (1895), mother Stoja (1900), brothers: Dušan (1924), Dragan (1933), Nikola (1937), Slavko (1941) and sisters: Dušanka (1924), Jovanka (1926) and Smilja (1928).

The Independent State of Croatia wrote a proclamation concerning of the handing over of the weapons regardless the fact if they had the weapon licence or not.

Not a single local resident joined the Croatian service, because the village was populated by the Serbs. A Muslim Arif Nadarević was in power then.

They took over the real-estates records and record books. They had absolute power. The first arrests started at the end of 1941. The priest Kondić Todor (1908), his wife Nevenka (1906), sons: Vlado (1930) and Vojo (1933); and daughter Mila (1937) were the first ones who were arrested.

The representatives of the Independent State of Croatia came to our house on 2 August 1941. My father Jovo, brother Dušan and sister Jovanka were shot then.

They burnt the house and outbuildings. They driven away the cattle and took the grain.

They took away my mother Stoja, sisters: Dušanka and Smilja; brothers Dragan (1933) and Nikola (1937); and me to Jasenovac concentration camp.

At first, we were expelled to Dubica, then to Jasenovac. We came to the concentration camp on foot, being abused, physically and mentally. They took from us whatever they considered valuable: various jewelry, metal objects, watches,….

While we were spending our time in the concentration camps, we stayed on the fields in the premises similar to sheds, where the living conditions were very unsanitary. A great many of people was staying in one room. They used to put as much as possible. The food was very bad, unsanitary prepared and distributed in small amounts.

After few months, they transfered us to Pakrac concentration camp. After a while we were transfered from here to Daruvar, where we were kept until the end of the war.

None of my relatives died or was killed in the concentration camp. The peasants used to take us to their in order to work the physical works in their households. The name of the one who adopted me was Vrač Stevo. He was fifty. Stevo lived in the village of Batinjani.

He never spoke of my origin. He used to call me ''Bosanac''. Stevo had four children and a house (he was the owner of the house).

Both he and his wife were pretty honest with me. They neither took me to the church nor enrolled in the school, though I was enrolled in school one and was old enough to be a pupil.

I left the house of the people who adopted me as soon as the war was finished (like other prisoners).

The consequences I feel are mainly the psychological ones which were caused by the constant fear from death threatenings and the physical abuse. I was very thin because of mental suffering and starvation.

I was a railway station clerk. I was guarding the railroad tracks and grade crossing. I was a train dispatcher too. I am retired now.