“My name is Nada Feureissen, born in Zagreb, maiden name Cernik-Čavle, married, mother of two, now living in Bari, Via Dante Aligieri 270/III k.
On July 9, 1941 in Zagreb I was arrested by the Ustasha security service. At the same time my husband and my four-and-a-half-year-old child were also arrested. Police officers who came for us left my old mother at home because I gave them some money. We were held in Zagreb Assembly for 4 days. The head of the camp in the Assembly was Ustasha official Baraković, the head of the Jewish section. There were also several Ustashas in the camp who molested us, but I do not know their names. We left Zagreb in the night between July 12 and 13. I think there were around 650 of us. We were all in sealed train cars. We arrived to Gospić on July 13 in the afternoon. Here we were placed onto an open space. Ustasha official Pudić held a speech for us informing us that any person that tries to escape would be shot along with a few other prisoners. After the speech men were separated from women and children. They told us that the women and children would go to Karlobag in trucks, while the men would walk to Karlobag over Velebit. I do not know the names of Ustasha who escorted us. When we came to Karlobag they boarded us on sail ships and motor boats.
When we arrived to Pag Island we disembarked at the coast near village Metajna and we went to the village on foot. In Metajna, 275 of us, women and children were accommodated in two villas. One part of Ustashas was next to the villas, and the other was located at so-called Merkat. Here we found women from the first and second transport. From the first transport only 4 women were there, while the others were drowned during the trip, 44 of them. These 4 stayed alive because they were sowing shirts for Ustashas. Here we first met the head of SLANA camp Ustasha Lieutenant Devčić (now a colonel) called Pivac. Food was minimal. We got beans for lunch, beans for dinner, no seasoning and 12 decagrams of bread. Ustashas sold us cheese, fruit and other items at extremely high prices. After our arrival groups of Serbian women started to arrive. Among them I recognised Mrs. Milinov and the wife of judge Banjanin with her daughter and mother-in-law. In a group of Serbian women was a young post clerk by the name of Sonja (don’t remember her surname). One night Ustashas took Sonja outside and raped her. After all had their turn they killed her and threw into the sea. Another night Ustashas came to take little Banjanin girl, but she told them she was having her period so she could not be of use to them. Since they did not believe her they checked it and after realising she was telling the truth they let her go to her mother, but told her she must fulfil her duty on Saturday night. I do not know what happened with the little Banjanin girl, because before Saturday came we were separated from the Serbs and transferred to Slana. We left Metajna and went to Slana in trabaccolo cargo ships. Then we moved in a sail ship and after half an hour reached a bay for which we later found out was Slana and disembarked there. When we were getting out Ustashas were beating, kicking and cursing us. One tall Bosnian was the worst of them all. In Slana we were accommodated in a wooden barracks. At the time a stone house was being built where later Ustashas were accommodated. In Slana camp the real torture begun. We got more bread, and our other food was only one meal every 24 hours, which were beans with no seasoning. There was not enough water. One small spring was supposed to meet the needs of the whole camp. Since it was at sea level, the water always mixed with seawater when there were waves. Under these conditions there was an outbreak of dysentery. Since we were not allowed to go to toilet during night, we had to do it in the barracks. During the day there was a spot chosen for toilet, where men going to work in the quarry were passing. Since a couple of us had thermometers and some medications, Ustashas took all of it from us claiming that we couldn’t be sick if we didn’t have thermometers. Camp head Devčić allowed us to bathe, but he personally took us to the other side of the island towards Karlobag. Of course we had to be naked. After we would return from bathing, Devčić and other Ustashas would keep some women and force them to intercourse. There is a case of Mrs. Brajković. She refused to give herself to Devčić, and for revenge he refused to let her out of the camp, although the Ministry send an order for her to be released. This woman probably died in Pag since she refused to please Devčić. There were 600 women and 78 children in Slana camp. I do not know how many men were there. The women did not work at all in the camp, while men worked in the quarry. Since the diet was poor, men feinted from weakness, but we were not allowed to give them not even a glass of water. Since there was hunger this was particularly difficult for children. Ustasha called Debo (Fatso) would entertain himself by bringing a piece of bread and throwing small bits all over the floor and watch children fight over it.
In late August or early September we left Pag Island and went to Gospić via Karlobag. In Gospić they boarded us on train cars. As soon as one car was full it would be closed and sealed. I left in the first transport. The women who were to go on the second transport stayed in Gospić for several days. These women were raped in front of their husbands. At the same time Ustashas took their rings and other valuables, even if it meant causing them serious injuries. After we left Gospić we went to Draganić. Here we were accommodated under the open sky and then boarded on train cars again and taken to Zagreb. In Zagreb we stayed at the train station for several days. From Zagreb we moved on and reached Slavonski Brod. In Slavonski Brod we boarded trucks and went across Sava River to Bosanski Brod. After we came to Bosanski Brod we boarded some cars of the narrow gauge railway and went to Fes. All this time we had no food. From Fes we went on foot for some time, and then took forest railway to Kruščica camp. In Kruščica camp there were around 1300 of us and Serbs.”
My statement is true.
Nada Feuereisen (signature)
Interview conducted by Captain Katalinić
This copy is identical to its original, verified by
President of the County Commission
Addendum and few words about it
Jerolim Katalinić, born 1906, who interviewed Nara Feureissen in Bari takes the credit for saving her precious statement. In 1985 he presented her further statement which explains the difficult road this deportee had to take and bear more than Slana on her back.
“From Pag we went to Karlobag, Gospić, Draganić, Zagreb and Slavonski Bord and then reached Fes and Kruščica camp. There were around 1300 of us and Serbs. The treatment by Ustashas in Kruščica camp was terrible. The camp head was Mandekić, an Ustasha lieutenant from Poglavnik’s Guards Battalion. In Kruščica camp, Ustashas would often show up drunk and rape women, especially Serbian women. There were 64 Ustashas here and they were all young men from 15 to 20 years of age. There was a real hunger here in the real sense of the word. I would faint several times during the day, both me and my child. It was the same with the rest of the women in the camp.
We stayed in Kruščica camp until late October. After Kruščica we went to Zagreb via Brod where Ustashas handed us over to the German minority organisation in Yugoslavia – “Kulturbund”. After two days at the Zagreb station we went to the camp in Lobor Grad via Zlatar. Here we were divided in rooms. The camp commander was Karel Hegel from “Kulturbund”, an ancient drunk. The food was really bad. People died of starvation, but also because the well was infected by the cess pit. Poor diet and contaminated water resulted in 365 deaths. This is when I lost my child. After loosing the child I devoted myself to being a nurse. During our stay in the camp in Lobor Grad were helped by local men Ivan and some Zuber. Through them we managed to receive news, money and other necessities. We stayed in this camp until August 9, 1942.
From Lobor Grad, 265 of us and 1300 from other locations went to Poland, escorted by Germans, and arrived to Auschwitz near Katovice. We were all lined up and asked if anyone was Hungarian or Italian citizen. I was in fact born in Cernik, near Čavle, which was at the time an annexed area of the Kingdom of Italy. I used this fact not to be put into the camp. I came back to Zagreb, and then, using the Italian consulate, got some IDs and went to Sušak where I was sentenced to three months in prison for illegal crossing of border.”
Jerolim Katalinić, to whom we return again, was working in 1941 as a clerk in the Harbour Master’s Office in Crikvenica. As such, he visited Slana area three times during the war. On Pag he met lighthouse keeper Ivan Bilić – Duje, who was later on the commander of the famous Partisan ship “PČ 4 – Junak” (Hero). They together visited Slana. “The first time it was in October or November 1941. The excavations of mass graves performed by Italians were still fresh. We found some remains. We could see the traces of pyres and burned human bones. The second time I was at Slana in March or April 1942, again with Ivan Bilić – Duje. Traces of the camp and graves were still visible. The pits from which the Italians excavated the corpses were still deep. I visited Slana for the third time on March 15, 1943. In the pit where children were buried we found some skulls. All of them had one to three holes in them made by a pointy object, probably the mason hammer, so-called “martelin”. We also found four mummified, dried out brains. The scene was horrifying. I felt sick and vomited.”
In 1944, Katalinić was in the Supreme Headquarters on Vis Island. The same year he took all materials he collected about Slana to Bari to deliver it to the International War Crimes Commission at the Allied Command in Rome. “… with records on witness’ statement, there were also some drawings of the camp and graves… In Bari we were contacted by Nada Feuereissen wanting to testify about crimes in the Ustasha camps she went through, especially about Slana and Metajana camps on Pag. I was given the task of interviewing her, which I did. Nada Feureissen was born in Cernik, Čavle, near Rijeka… The original record with the statement of Nada Feureissen was sent to the Allied Command in Rome and I kept a copy.”
We are grateful to Jerolim Katalinić.
 “Paralysus” – now a captain – former employee of a grocery store “Omčikus and Katušić” at Nikolić Street in Zagreb.