Milan Bastašić

Datum objave: sreda, 9 februara, 2011
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The son of Luka and Evica, born on 30 January 1931 in Grubišno Polje, Savska Banovina. He was deported to Jasenovac concentration camp in the first days of October. H e was released from the concentration camp on 30 November 1942.

He says:

My parents were farmers. They posessed eight acres of land. They were cultivating the church land on Majda, nearby Poljani. We used to have stable, warehouse, pigsty, chicken coop and outside toilet. This outbuilding had a surface of 12×16 metres and was located next to the house and main road that led to Virovitica. It included the well entrance hall. Beside the the large yard there were two orchards, predominantly of plums, and then of apples, pears, mulberry tree and two great walnut trees. The vineyard was located at the end of the farmstead. It was consisted of the white ”noja” type of vine. Some of them were of pink or blue color. We had horses and three cows (Milova, Malenka and Goluba), a calf and a colt (Ceda mare gave a birth to this colt).There were 3 to 5 pigs and 10 to 15 hens, some geese and, sometimes, 5 to 6 ducks.

My family was consisted of father Luka, born in 1895, mother Evica, born in 1902, brother Stevo, born in 1923, sister Jovanka, born in 1926 and I, born in 1931. Before the occupation, there were few Ustashas in Grubišno Polje who were members of the association called ”Hrvatski junak (the Croatian hero)”. The director of this association was the parish priest. A part of the association called ”Seljačka zaštita (the peasant’s protection)” joined to the ”Hrvatski Junak” association. Then, the majority of HSS (Croatian Peasant’s Party) leadership did the same thing. It was possible to establish the authority of the Independent State of Crotia in a short period, because they had the support of almost unchanged power apparatus (a few of the Serbs were dismissed from the job) and the Catholic clergy. The concentration camp was established in Grubišno polje. The camps across the counties and the swarms across the villages were founded too (G. R. Genica, V. Peratovica, Lončarica, Topolovica, Zrinska, V. Grđevac, V. Barna, V. Zdenci, Đakovac and Turčević Polje). Small groups of policemen existed in almost all villages. There were two gendarmerie stations, S. S. Deutsche Mannschaft in Grubisno Polje which were consisted of the domestic Germans and some Czecks and German atillery division (April to May 1941). The Crotian authority was supported by 500-600 armed persons. There were enough of them to perform the arrests, deportations, on the spot liquidations and expelling to the concentration camps of the powerless and innocent Serbian people. They were asking for the weapons with the various instruments in the wells of the Serbin houses.

The policemen executed the massive arrestings of the men (Serbs) aged from 16 to 60. This action happened on 26/27 April 1941. This arresting was the inititive of the Catholic parish priest Pero Sivjanović from Zagreb. The rrestings were performed by the Zagreb police. They were assisted by the domestic policemen and the indictors of the Serbian houses. The leader of the rrestings was Eugen Kvaternik (Dido). This was happening nine days after the capitulation of the Yugoslavian Kingdom and sixteen days after the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia. 504 Serbs were arrested. A few youngmen, aged under 16, old men, a few of the Serbs whose wives were Catholics and a Serb, who died in tortures, were returned. So, there were 17 of them. The rest ones (487 of them) went through terrible tortures which were: thrist racking, starvation, beating, bayonet sticking; cutting of the ears, noses and genitals. All of this was happening on the way across Bjelovar, Zagreb, Koprivnica (the concentration camp Danica, the first in the Independent State of Croatia), Gospić to Jadovna and Slano on the Pag island. Afterwards, the golgoths were happening from Gospić to Jadovna on the mountain of Velebit. The people were slaughtered, killed with hammers and iron rods. Then, they were being thrown alive, tied one to another, into the bottomless Šaran and Grgina pitches. Some of the people died in horrible tortures in Slano. One part of them was brutally killed during the transportation to the Pag island. The only reason for the arresting was because the victim was a Serb.The Jews weren’t being arrested then. The arresting was helped by the domestic indicators who were indicating the Serbian houses. They were saying how many people, who were about to be arrested, were in the houses. On the way out of the house they were tied one to another in the middle of the chain that was a part of four-row column. That column stopped in a dead silence in front of every Serbian house, becoming bigger and bigger. At the end, they were closed in the second floor of the school. There, they were forced to go to the toilet to release themselves, where the rank of policemen were waiting to beat them. They were expelled the following day with malicious, threatening and mocking commentaries of their neighbours, people who knew them, associates, false Croat friends, who were obviously happy and pleased with that railway station scene. After the Catholic church mass, the mob of people and malicious folk gathered to expess (once more) their joy because of this Serbian misfortune. They were doing that before the eyes of the Serbian tearstrained mothers, women, grandmothers, brothers, sons and grandchildren. The school acquintances asked me: ”Is your father there too?”

The group of like-minded persons, agitators and associates of the parish priest, Pero Sivjanovic, was consisted of: lawyers: Lujo Stahuljak, dr Ivo Vedriš, druggist Josip Kezele, agronomistJosip Fridman, tradesman Joško Kolar, tailor Luka Pejašinović, teacher Marijan Klepić, tradesman Stjepan Hosi, clerk Đuro Golubić, teacher Ivo Đurković, municipal chief Mile Smolčić, Franjo Lekčević, Drago Čvorak, Franjo Horvat, Jozo Mioković, Slavek Seliš; brothers: Gabler, Menis i Musil.

In the night between 26/27 April 1941, they almost broke our house doors. After few minutes, they broke into the house and the bedroom with aimed bayonet rifles. Swearing, they were rushing my father and brother to get dress. They expelled them into the dark, which they never came from. In that action of arresting no Serb was killed. In the lower part of Grubišno Polje, one mentally disturbed person, who was in the hospital for many times, noticed some happenings and decided to get out of the house, in his own way calling out something. Since he did not obey to the Ustasha’s threatenings, they killed him. His name was Nikola Kopčinović, a Croat. The tombstone was erected in his honor. That has been done because he was the first victim of the Ustasha’s terror. The tombstone was four times larger than the one which is on the railway station building in Grubišno Polje, which is dedicated to 487 Serbs arrested and killed at night in Jadovna.

At the beginning of August 1941, the Croats undertook second massive exile over the Serbs in the district of Grubišno Polje. Then, they moved them out to Serbia. It happened on 4 August 1941. The expelling from the houses was carried out by the Herzegovina company, which was helped by the domestic policemen. 600 Serbian families were moved out, mainly those who were well-offs. All of them were mainly driven off by their own animal-driven vehicles. Then, in Grubišno Polje, they were placed in the railroad cars. They were beating us beside the train. The blood was pouring from the wounds they made while they were beating us. When the train set off, it stopped outside the station to pick up the unconscious Đuro from Pavlovac and two Serbs, who migrated from Dalmatia. The train stopped again nearby Česma railway station, where they were thrown out. It was never found out what had happened to them. The individual arrestngs were performed that day. Đuro Kljajić was the first Serb who managed to escape before the Ustashas in Mali Grđevac. The persons who were individually arrested in the night of 4/5 August 1941 were masacred, cut open and thrown from the Sokolana balcony onto the horrows. The names of these persons: Mladen Muškinja, Filip Domitrović, Marko Jović, Nikola Malabaša and a man from Grabovica who was a guest at Malbaša family. Soon, the Croats from Herzegovina, east Dalmatia and Zagorje were settled in the Serbian house. The individual arrestings were being performed constantly. In the April of 1942, the teacher from Veliki Peratovci was expelled to Jasenovac in that way.

In the July of 1942, a lot of women and children were driven from the mountain of Kozara. They were placed in the Serbian houses. The ones who could be useful manpower were assiugned to Czecks and other Catholics. Massive converting of Serbs to Catholics was being performed by at that time. The Jews were the first who had been converted to Catholics. The Jews were deported to Jasenovac in August. Two of them escaped during the very act of arresting.One of them was arrested and killed during the Bilogora ofensive in October 1942.

The partisans were attacking Grubišno Polje at night on 27/28 September 1942. They withdrew at dawn. A group of Ustashas set off for the upper part of Grubisno polje at some time before the noon. It was established soon that the village was surrounded. The Ustashas were persuing women, children and old men in groups to next to the village, killing them with machine guns and bombs. A considerable number of women and children was killed here. The ofensive on Bilogora started. The group shootings were performed in all the villages. 500 women, children, old men and some mature men were killed and slaughtered. 69 persoms were killed in Grubišno Polje. 3000 members of the households were expelled to Jasenovac and Sisak concentration camps.There was a great number of them was driven from the mountain of Kozara. A few of them returned. As far as the mature men were concerned none of them returned. 9000 Serbs were driven to the district of Grubišno Polje in July 1942. These Serbs were old men, women and children (”prisoners”) from the mountain of Kozara. 7000 Serbs were driven to the districtr of Garešnica, and around 5000 to the area of Daruvar.

In the first days of October, the Grubišno Polje Park was full of Serbian people driven from the Bilogora villages and the place of Grubišno Polje. It was Tuesday when the Croatians ordered that all the men older that ten years had to line up, threatening that those (both he and his mother) who were about to keep themselves two days older than ten years were about to be killed. I belonged there too.

My mother gave me some rug, a bundle with some pot that contained chicken meat and bread. She was crying while she was returning to my sister, where other women and children were placed too. We were lined up in four rows. We set off for the railway station. We were warned not to run away because everything was surrounded with the military. They were beating us with rifle butts and forcing to get in the freighted cars. I was dragged in one of the cars too. The freighted cars were livestock ones. Their doors were closed, while the roof lattice were open. The beginning of October was hot and full of dust. The people were taking off the shirts and waving hands over their heads in order to get some fresh air. They became thirsty very quick. The old men Janjic went crazy, asking the water and then the matches. The insolent persons were banging on the railroad cars walls, asking us to be quiet, while threatening. Someone was screaming in the next door railroad car.

We were travelling long time and stopping too. The older said that it was Friday, in one moment concluding that that were not going to Gospić but to Serbia which meant life. Those beside the lattices were asking for water wherever we stopped. But, there were no water. They gave us a small dish of water which we more spilt than drank. For a moment we were all silent, because some of the well-informed, whom everybody usually pretented to listen to, said: ”If we are about to go straight, it will mean that we are about to go to Serbia. If we are to turn right (I think he said that), we are about to be going to Jasenovac concentration camp then.” Since the train moved quickly, they concluded that we were going to Jasenovac. Some silent screaming, whispering and a terrible feeling started to appear. They even didn’t mention the water. The day was sunny. The Ustashas, who were around the freighted cars, were singing: ”We will be throwing all the Serbs in the river of Sava if they do not recognize the Croatian State!” They were shouting: ”Do you want some water?” Almost all of us answered: ”Yes, we do!” ”Here you are!” The poor ones who were near lattices showed themselves first, because they were the only who saw the outside from the railroad car. Then, the Ustashas were throwing the stones and the hard and dry soil in their faces and eyes. Some of the prisoners said that the water of the river Sava might be seen. Woe, if they wanted to throw us into the water, so that we could swim and drink it! The screaming and moaning could be heard for a long time from the neighboring railroad car. They were beating few times someone who went mad there. The doors of our freighted car opened, somebody was shouting: ”Get out!” They were carring the poor man from the neighbouring railroad car. Two of them were dragging and beating him, because he did not stop screaming and moaning as they were asking him to do. Someone said that it was Joco from V. Grđevci. I looked at him, seeing a big bruise on his forehead . The guardian, who hit him, was walking beside him with the two ones, who were carrying the peace of worked out wood that was used as a part of the loom for fabric where the thread was placed. This kind of shouts and and screamings were heard more often: ”Come on, quicker! Come on, there in the grave!” We were striding on the freshly cultivated soil that was witout the grass. We were going downhill of some lowlands. I guessed that it was the grave they mentioned. They got us into the line, separating the old men and children on the other side. They separated the boy who was the same age as I was. We were close friends. The reason for his separation was because he showed them his deformed palms which had scars that were consequence of the scald from the childhood. I stepped on his side, but the guardian turned me back. I tried again, but he said some awful swear words and threatenings. Then, being at the half part among two lines, I turned backwards. Now, the closest person that remained was Milan Adamović, a boy who was aged 13 or 14. He was driven from the Kozara mountain in the summer. Jero, a Check amd my neighbour, took him as a servant. Jero did not surrended him to the policemen, but his daughter-in-law Milana did on the occasion when he was out of home. She was the wife of Jero’s son who was a member of Gestapo. The separated ones were brought back to the railroad cars, while we were taken some meadow. The ground was dry, cracked and uneven as the plowing that was still wet, muddy and stamped down, which dried uneven. The was a little of dried grass and insignificantly green. Here, some people started bringing water in some cans from the river of Sava. The water in the Sava river was so wide for me that I was thinking they were about to throw us in it and shoot at the same time. While they would be doing that, I would be swimming and dring the water. Some people were talking and wondering why the men who were carring the cans of water were so skinny and weak. I did not notice that. When I drank the water, I untied the bundle mother gave me. The meat was smelling like the horses trash, because the bundle was all the time on the car floor. I was eating the bread which was crumbling, but it wasn’t stinking as the meat. One man, one of those who were carring the water, asked me to give him some food. I was convincing him that the food stinks, but he took it, leaving me the bread. A rumour that the lunch was about to be distributed was beng spreading around. I left for there. They gave me soup in some metal plate. I did not have the spoon, so I had to sip from the plate. The soup was awful, insipid and unsalted with some potatoes pods and blocks of potatoes. I was holding the plate, but I did not know what to do with the content. Some waterboy dropped by again, took the plate from my hands, sipped the content and left. Then, they undressed us completely, ordering to go to have a haircut. I was watching the way that they cut the adults hair which was down and up, and under the arm. They said that barber Milan Bosanac was there, the one who worked as a barber in Grubišno Polje. He was expelled with those 504 Serbs (who were aged from 16 to 60) to ”Danica” concentration camp in the town of Koprivnica on 26/27 April 1941. All of them were killed in Jadovna nearby Gostović. He was taken from Grubišno Polje in the summer 1941 in oreder to build Jasenovac concentration camp. They took him there together with the other craftsmen. We were surprised hearing that he was in our camp, because we knew that all the people from our village were killed off in Jadovno in the summer of 1941. It started raining. They were taking us to some eaves. I was walking beside Pero Amidžić and his step-father, mister Toša. I didn’t see Milan. Those people were our closest neighbours. They were adults too. Mister Tosa some bread, giving it to Pero. I asked him to give it to me too. He said: ”Here you are, but I don’t have much. You see, the peace is smaller than my hand. Put the bread in your pocket!” That moment I realized the situation I was in. I had nothing. The soup was the only meal for that day. We weren’t about to get the dinner. ”Đuric, how are you? Here I am,” said Pero to the guardian Đuro Đurić Kramarić, who was from the village of Borovica from the town of Peratovica. Đuro, who was a child that was born in the poor family, was sleeping in the same house with Pero. God knew how many times he had been eating and warming himself next to the stove. Đuro turned to them, saying in a high tone: ”Have you come, you Serbian mother fucker!” Tošo told him: ”Be silenced, Pero!” All the night, we were standing under some wooden hollow roof. Each wanted to move from the place which was leaking. But, there was no place to move to.

After few days, in the early evening, some old people were passing behind the barracks where I was sleeping. Some our people were telling us the following day that among those old ones there were people who were from Grubišno Polje.The old prisoners of war were saying: ”They are going across the river of Sava!” This sentence meant for me ”into the river of Sava,” because people were saying that they were killing and throwing the prisoners into the river. I did not know for the killings in Gradina, except the stories about the field work. None of the older ones did not return their homes. None of those separated for ”the work” in Jasenovac did return except me.

We (children) were placed in the part of the barrack which was located near the kitchen. There were adults in the barrack. Milan made two equal handbags from his towel. We were carryng our food portions in them. He was carryng the can, while I was carryng the bowl. We were sleeping next to each other. One night he brought a lettuce of fresh green vegetables. He was cutting it with something. We were eating in darkness. He told me he brought it from ”the sergeant major’s garden,” which was behind some embarkment. The name of the person who brought the vegetables was Đoko. He wasn’t sure what was his surmane. It might be Crljenica. Đoko was killed in one of the following nights while he was returning from the embarkment, carryng the vegetables.

Milan used to work in some workshop where he was making some wooden boxes for fruit. He thought it was for the dry plums. I was forced to work at the embarkment.

One night Milan did not come to sleep. This repeated for few nights. I saw his handbag and a boy older than me. I asked him how he got the handbag, where Milan was and which handbag was, the one he was carrying? I showed him mine. It was as equal as it was Milan’s. He told me then: ”Some guardian, who knew Milan, found him and slaughtered before our very eyes. I told him to give me the can, because it was mine. He did that. The bowl was Milan’s. (I don’t know why, but I had a better opinion about the can than about the bowl. I sold the can for ten kunas at the Jasenovac railway station, when I was released from the concentration camp). I told that to some people, whom I used to work with on the embarkment. They suggested me to sleep between them, telling me that they had some basket weaver made of bushes, which was underneath them. (I was thinking that it resembled on the support made of weaved seat, which could be found on the peasant’s animal-driven vehicle). They wanted us to cover with my rug. They had so-called ”celta”. We used to call the tent in such name. My legs were swollen. That was the reason why I couldn’t go to work for two to three days. I was visited by certain ”uco (teacher)”, who was giving lectures with the teacher Stevo Rebrović. He came to tell me that I needed to go to work the following day, because all the children were about to be going across the river of Sava.

I went to work. When I returned to the barrack in the evening, I did not find the boys who stayed lying in the barrack that morning. The only person whom we found was Stojan Dardić from V. Peratovica and one more boy. Stojan said that he had fallen asleep and heard nothing. Another said that he covered himself in the blanket and stayed that way. I didn’t know how many boys were there, but, since I was two to three days with them, I could say that there were 10 to 15 of them. All the boys who returned from the embarkment work or other works were turning over the beds of those wretchs. I found with some of them three to four peaces of polenta under a head of a bed. They took it all. I could’ve done the same, but I hadn’t. Something did not allow me to take taht peace of polenta, wich belonged to someone who was gone. Where he got it, who gave him that, how much he got, how long he was keeping that, those things weren’t about to be find out ever. The only known thing was that he hadn’t finished eating it. The destiny desided differently. The fate wanted others to be served with polenta and to be joyful and strong because of that. He had eaten his part. I was thinking all the time about that peace of that corn polenta. And, it did really represented an incomparable joy and the greatest cosolation to every instinct and mind that was disturbed because of hunger in Jasenovac concentration camp of death in November 1942. The dinner was followed by the ”coming forth.” After we had had the dinner, we returned to the barrack. We did not go the following day to the embarkment. That detail challenged my deepest superstition and belief. I belived that I stayed alive because I did not take that polenta. Some soldiers, who were in the advanced guard, came soon, telling that children were not going to work that day. We had a breakfast in the usual line. Then, we came back to the barrack, trying to eat some sugar beet (the refuse food), that were in some trash baskets in front of the kitchen. The taste of that food was disgusting. Hungry as we were, we tried it few times, but it did not work. I guess that there is no more disgusting food than beet. God knew how long we were hanging around the kitchen, returning to the barrack from that disgusting and deep mud, which our pantaloons could not dry for few weeks from. Trouser legs used to glue together during the night that we could hardly separate them in the morning, being afraid that they would split on the seams. However, we slept dressed and wet in the same clothes we went to work. In the morning, ”Celta” (the way we called tent) was white and coarse from the frost. The tent was sharp that you could cut yourself.

Finally, the shouting started: ”Come forth! Come forth! Quicker!” They lined and counted us, saying: ”Retreat!” We dispersed again. There was no lunch. They were calling again: ”Coming forth!” I had already been cold. I did not have time to take my rug. I took some quilt that was placed beside the first entrance to the barrack. I guessed that someone, who had been sick the previous day, left it. They lined us up. I was at the end of the left wing. I rewrapped and outthrew the quilt over the shoulder. A few of Ustashas were passing and walking around us. One of them stopped, saying: ”Why do you need that for?”, pointing at the quilt. I answered: ”Well, that is mine!” ”You don’t need anything, because your throuts will be white in half an hour.” Ithrew the quilt into the mud. We were standing for some time, God knew how much. We were waiting for something. Somebody was informing the Ustashas that we should not leave yet. We were frightened, because we heard that the sick children had been killed off, slaughtered. Some were consoling themselves that we would be going to Gradina, Bosnia, in order to buy some fruit and stuff ourselves. Nobody was talking about the death result. It was present in everybody in its own way, cerainly present. In spite of all that, the uncertainty was making me dull. I was in some special state. I had inkling of the end. I was almost conscious of that. That was death. However, the fear was absent. I guessed that it did not exist because there was no other way out. The death was existing only. It should’ve come every minute in the form of the Ustasha’s call ”Calling forth!.” The first phase was finished with that. The part of the road to the Sava River or Gradina was following and the very death, the act of dying. That wasn’t clear to me. I didn’t have any idea about that. I knew what was the death, but how it was appearing there, with what. I did not know what was it. I had no clue about that act. That act was not present in the ominous thinking. There, the people were talking a lot about the death, killing, slaughtering. I saw that death by the firing squad. I saw that poor old men Joco, who (they said) was thrown to the river of Sava. On the embarkment, I saw the Ustasha, riding a horse, who killed the man with the club. I saw how an Ustasha forces poor Adam, as a joke, who was given the name of madman, to ”lie down.” Poor Adam was kneeling, crying abd begging: ”Woe, don’t, woe, please!” That was fun for some Ustashas in the concentration camp. They used to order to some prisoner to lie down, while some of the Ustashas fired a bullet in him, mostly in the head. I did not saw that, but it was being talked often. Poor Adam knew that too. They said that he hid somewhere and that Ustashas were lookin for him ”out of fun.” But, they did not find him untill he himself did’t appear. He pulled himself out of some wood, planks. Some man came, calling me by my name. I replied him, and he said: ”Come on with me!” I moved after him along the side of the embarkment. I cought up with him. He was silenced. I was going after him. We came to some premise, where there were two men. The premise was actually soap factory. These men were some engineers. Their names were Žiga and Geza. I came to know that they were the Jews, but I did not ask anybody anything. I realized that the old ”uco (teacher)” got me out again. There, in the around oven, the blood was being burnt and fried with the wire. That coal was used for diarrhea. I did not know anything. I was warm there. I was cleaning the dust in the ”section,” which was named ”lightning section.” I think it was named such. I saw the barber Milan Bosanac often there, which meant me a lot. According to my present conclusions, the group of the boys, which I left, consisted of fourty boys, aged from 12 to 15. The boys who disappeared there were: Stojan Dardic from V. Peratovica, Nikola Pelinković and Milan Mileković from Mali Grđevac… When I came back from ”soap factory,” I slept on the attic of some building. The Ustashas were coming there every night, hitting us with their legs in order to wake us up, and then naming or pointing at us, they defined who needed to get up and get down stairs, while warning us obligatory:” You don’t need to get dress. Get down undressed!” They ordered others: ”Continue on sleeping!”

I was present when 16 prisoners were executed. Some of the Ustashas told that they stole potatoes. In that way they damaged all of us. So, they were being punished as an examples to the others. The prisoners had to lie down. Then, the Ustashas were shooting at their head with the pistols. The blood was pouring at both sides. I seemes that it was coming out of both ears. I wasn’t at the ”soap factory” then. When we were passing by that spot in the morning in order to pull out the yarn, we saw the remains of blood, though it could be seen that was the layer of the soil was being removed by the shovels, which they used for the scrubbing of the soil. Since it was in the time of the dinner’s ”coming forth,” after firing squad, the prisoners, being both hungry and miserable, ran toward the cauldrons, which contained hot polenta. It happened that those who were the closest to the culdrons got burnt awfully, because they were pressed by those who wanted to reash the cauldrons. It was being talked about next few days. While I was sleeping in the barrack, we saw a heap of dead people and those who were withot their nickers and still alive. They were giving some signs of life. They were moving. Some car used to come after them, picking them like the logs.

Pero Amidžic and mister Tošo ”went to Germany” as soon as they had come. They folded their blankets and tied them across their shoulders. They were lined up in 3C row, which was located on the way out, beside the water pump. I saw Pero at the beginning of the row. He was happy because of the leaving to Germany. He was smiling. The following day, some people were saying that they saw the clothes and the hat of some of the people they knew from the line. The prisoners were carrying their things to the warehouse!

One boy, aged around 15 or 16, was crying and mourning ”Woe, they killed my daddy! They killed my daddy! I saw that they killed my daddy and the others!” Some Ustasha,who was called ”sargeant major,” came when he heard this loud moaning. Some people called him ”101” too. He addressed to the boy: ”Why are you screaming?” ”They killed my daddy!” ”They did not kill him! Why are you shouting?” ”But, woe, they did! They killed him in front of everybody! Why did they kill my daddy?” ”They did not kill him! Damn he was!” Nother Ustasha approached. As the boy continued crying and mourning, the sargeant major ordered to the Ustasha to take him to see that his daddy wasn’t killed. Poor boy wleft, while the sargeant major followed the scene with a smile…

One day, the ”policemen”, Keco Dušan, came. They called me Žigili Geza. They said: ”Mišo, come here! Pick up your things!” The handbag and the hat were hanging on the wall. I was wearing the fur cap over my ears without the shield. I was walking along the embarkment behind the ”policeman,” where I met the god-father barber (that was how our families addressed each others). Who asked me: ”Where to, god-father?” ”I don’t know. It seems across the river of Sava!” He said: ”Well, what can you do!” He bowed his head and left. (Milan Bosanac, the barber, did not survive. He disappeared somewhere in 1944. There were no datae about the place where he was killed). Keco, ”the policeman” brought me to the razor, handing me to the civilian, who had the letter ”U” on his lapel. We were heading toward the concentration camp managament. ”Uco” was calling me from the window and giving vme some rug, remarking that I sould keep warfm at the trip, because I was about to go home. He asked me: ” Who was getting you out of the concentration camp?” I said: ”I don’t know!”

I got the ”notice of dismissal” and,” ”order” and the signature of Luburić. They took me to some warehouse, which was full of goods. They dressed me and return to the managament in order to show me. They set me off with the Ustashas to Jasenovac railway station. One of them told me to run after the railroad worker. I sold the rug there for a hundred kunas and the can for ten, but there was nothing to buy there. I gave the muddy and pasted pantaloons to the mother of a littlenut,who had the fez on his head, for a peace of corn bread.

The train that was going to Zagreb arrived finally. Ichecked that with a few passengers, who were getting ready toward the entrance in order to get on the train for Zagreb. It was crowded, but I managed to enter in one railroad car. There was a place for standing in the hall. The train set off. I watched the concentration camp from the window. It was disappearing. The train was crossing the road, which we used to go to work on the embarkment. I was remembering how the Ustashas were saying:”Hurry up, hurry up!” The mud was deep, and the shoes were falling. The one who stayed looking for the shoe was killed, beaten by the rifle butts. And, finally, I saw the chimney that I was looking at so many times. After few days, I found out that it was the chimney of the brickkiln in Novska. Ater some time, the conductor came, asking for the train tickets. I gave him my well-saved papers. He was looking at the papers and me, asking: ”Where are coming from?” ”It says there!”, I replied. ”Well, what did you do there?”, he continued. ”I was visiting my cousins”. Then, he left me alone.

We arrived to Zagreb. It was dark. I was cold. I bought a sausage and bread. I was walking between the people. It was crowded. I entered the great premise, where there were a lot of people, suitcases, bundles, boxes and sacks. Women and children were mostly sitting on their sacks. I found out that they were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that they were running from the Chetniks and partisans. The train for Bjelovar left after midnight. It was cold. We were shivering and trmbling. I got the diarrhea. I changed the train in Bjelovar. It was cold. We were waiting for a long for the train for Grubišno Polje. I was finally in the train. It was even colder in the train. Afterwards, it was warmer. I was tired. I cought cold. I had the chills, while I was going toward my home. The Gypsy Stevo told me in Bjelovar that my mother and Jovanka were at home. I was very joyful because of that. Since I was weak, I was encouraged by that information. Stevo left to pick up his wife, who was expelled to Jasenovac.He got the pass and certificate from the Ustashas from Grubišno Polje in order to let go his wife. When he looked at me and saw how I looked, and since I told him that there were no women there, he listen to me when I told him not to go there. I did not see him more at Bjelovar railway station. However, he get off the train and let know my mother and Jovanka about my arrival.

I got out of the concentration camp on 30 November 1943. My mother and Jovanka were released from Sisak concentration camp together with the other women from the district of Grubisno Polje. The Germans released us. The Germans were walking around the concentration camp, saying that only women were there (the cildren were taken away and sent to the Croatian families in order to be adopted). Some of the women said that their men ere expelled while lying in their beds and killed the year before that year. The women were released after a month they had spent in the concentration camp. The Germans asked that. The older women and old men were liquidated when they returned to Sisak from Jasenovac.

My mother knew that I was expelled to Jasenovac, because the women who were in the same railroad car saw that we stayed in Jasenovac. They were transefered to the freighted cars in Jasenovac and driven off with other old men and children to Sisak.

I was the only from the district of Grubišno Polje who lived the same destiny of those killed in Jasenovac with whom I was deported to that concentration camp. There were those who were deported to Jasenovac individually or in groups from 1941 to 1945. According to the datae from Belgrade genocide Museum, 1071 Serb from the district of Grubišno Polje was killed, 107 from the very Grubišno Polje. Mainly men and few women.

I was saved by Luka Pejašinović, the Ustasha’s camp inmate in Grubišno Polje, a friend of my mother’s brother. Luka gave her the pass for Jasenovac. She met a nice women in Zagreb, who got me out of the concentration camp.

Today, my health is suitable for the 76 years old man. Immediately after the going out from the concentration camp I got over from the stomack typhus and scurvy, in which my teeth were swimming. After that, I got the inflammation of ankles in 1943, and again in 1944. Afterwards, I felt sometimes that my anles were hurting me. But, my heart is still healthy. There were organic consequences on it because of the inflammation ankles.

That period of my life is present constantly, everydayly. These are the deep engrams. The happenings and the pictures are impressed deeply in the mind. They are still clear and present. There are a lot of them These things cannot be described.

I retired as a long-standing colonel, doctor, chief of staff, doctor of medical sciences, docent, specialist of epidemiology. I was the manager of the Bureau for preventive medical protection of the Zagtreb Army district until 1987, when I retired.

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