Jasenovac Board of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Jerusalem
MEMOIRS, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND BIOGRAPHIES OF MEMBERS OF ALLIED MISSIONS IN OCCUPIED YUGOSLAVIA AS SOURCES OF RESEARCH OF 1941 AND JADOVNO
The rich literature of diaries or autobiographical texts of members of Allied missions in the occupied Yugoslavia, as well as their biographies, has almost been unused in terms of research of sufferings in the Second World War in Yugoslavia.
Allied missions were present in Yugoslavia already in late 1941 and had the opportunity, whether personally or through testimonies and documents, to witness the terrible suffering of some structures of the Yugoslav population during the war. Because of that their testimonies are invaluable.
This paper does not research the reports of Allied missions, but rather diaries and autobiographical records of their members, as well as their biographies written by other authors. When we take all the three aspects together, these records present an enormous amount of material which needs to be classified based on various criteria so that it could be understood and used in a right way, especially so that we could understand what they were paying attention to and why.
An especially important group of sources is the one whose authors or protagonists are Jews from Palestine who participated in various British missions, usually those organised by MI9, the intelligence department specialised in rescuing downed pilots. Considering the fact that their mission was also saving Jews found in their area of operation, they paid attention to execution sites and camps.
Although only a small part of Allied missions was present in Yugoslavia in the first two years of the war, their testimonies on 1941 and the Gospić group of camps are invaluable. They are also covered in records on mission members who arrived to Yugoslavia later, but who heard about the sufferings and events from the beginning of the war.
Based on the review of several dozen of published books and articles, we can conclude that these records are important materials which do not provide fundamental knowledge, but serve excellently as additional material which gives a significant contribution to our knowledge about the sufferings in 1941, although there is less information on Jadovno and its auxiliary camps.