The game with numbers is a shameless trick! In the Second World War, in the municipality of Grubišno Polje, on Bilogora, there were 3,108 victims of war. 2,214 of them were men and 894 were women.
By: Dr Milan Bastašić
The ethnicity of the victims was as follows: 2,694 Serbs, 165 Croats, 78 Romany, 47 Jews and 124 others. 1,115 people were murdered in the Jasenovac group of camps, 549 in the Gospić group, followed by 104 in Sisak, and then the others; 2,007 in total. Other victims, making the total number of 3,108 with those previously mentioned, were of direct terror and from other execution sites. There were 318 victims who were children. 60.3% of them were in the pre-school age!
This is a pure evidence of genocide, which clearly shows that the Croatian genocide over Serbs is one of the most terrible in the twentieth century. Here is another sad piece of data from Bilogora. Eighty six boys, age from ten to fourteen, were murdered in Jasenovac from 1941 to 1945 (data from the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade).
In early October 1942, on one Tuesday afternoon, in the camp in Grubišno Polje, 76 Serbian boys, born between 1926 and 1933, were separated from their mothers and placed into the line with men, as ordered by Ustasha Ricio, standing on a Sokolana balcony in the park. With that act they were all sentenced to death, a terrible death that children in Jasenovac suffered. This is a terrible proof of genocide, more terrible than the infamous Bethlehem slaughter of boys. As one of them, saved by fate and accident, I stayed alive. After two months of usual and well-known daily tortures, I was released from Jasenovac. Two days later I fell ill to typhoid.
So, I am telling this to you sixty-eight years later!
The book “Jasenovac 1941-1945 Death and Labour Camp”, speaks about several horrific facts that give the real picture of the life and death in the camp and they, without a doubt, define what kind of camp Jasenovac was. I am going to quote some of those facts:
“Transports from all over the NDH arrive to the camp. Most of them are Serbs, often whole families… The barracks are filling in, but the fields of Jasenovac also. Undertakers are very busy. Murders are committed with mallets, axes and knives. Bloody clothes are filling the warehouse… Prisoners arrived in mass transports without any official decisions… Almost non-existing diet and poor health made inmates clinging for life… lack of hygiene was suitable for infectious diseases, which caused many to die, just as the cold did… if they had been unable to work they were simply killed.” (quotes end).
There are numerous examples like these. To look for some other, allegedly more believable evidence, after the events had happened, in order to “prove the real situation” and based on that give “a suitable” name to the Jasenovac system of camps, regardless how that evidence is obtained and how strong it is, is immoral and deceitful.
Each objective, responsible and moral person is shocked, and especially insulted with the second part of the Jasenovac camp’s name, after these conclusions on the events in that complex of camps that were written long ago and now, after some “time distance”, copied into that book.
I wonder, what in those copied truths says that Jasenovac was a labour camp? Why are arbitrary conclusions forced onto the public in various publications in Croatia, carelessly, deliberately and with no consideration, let alone piety, towards the victims, continuously, systematically and without any criticism? They are lying shamelessly, to put it mildly.
Even today, indoctrinated and orchestrated, all publications of Croatian historiography in the area twist the truth about the Croatian genocide over Serbs, Romany and Jews in Jasenovac. And not only in Jasenovac; in their sights they also have the truth about a large number of execution sites of innocent and peaceful citizens of the Independent State of Croatia at the time.
You are not able to find such inappropriate interpretation of the Jasenovac tragedy anywhere outside of Croatia. Not even, or of course, in the works by German and Italian authors (fascists occupying forces at the time), to whom Croats are pinning their own bloody crimes whenever they can, and not only in the case of Jasenovac.
Most of the monuments for innocent Serbian victims of the bloody Ustasha genocide all over former NDH read: “To victims of fascist occupying forces or fascist terror”. There are also reactions from abroad to this historical and intellectual shame of Croatian historiography, intended to be used locally and abroad. Italian journalist and author Cruzio Malaparte, respecting views of some historians that the Ustasha movement should not be qualified as fascist, says that this would be a compliment for Pavelić and his followers, adding that: “They were and remain political and intellectual pygmies, they were ‘too primitive for real fascists’”. Very honestly said, coming from a comrade.
It is unbelievable, even after skimming through these portrayed “truths” about the life and suffering of Jasenovac inmates, that the author of this incriminating book does not realise, see or respect the fact that “the work in the camp” was at the same level, had the same intention and value as the knife, mallet, hammer, iron rod, hunger, thirst, cold, disease and a series of other recorded torture techniques before the kill. Let us remember the “meadow”, “levy”, “farm group” and “seasonal liquidations” of Camp IIIC, the “Gipsy Camp”.
I can only see the author as a supporter of the Ustasha propaganda on the “labour” camp, which gave us the “levy”, which gave results in the Lonjsko Field, i.e. gave some benefit to Croatian economy. The Ustasha “publicity” at the time did not mention that the “labour”, along with other factors aimed at the same goal, resulted in over 700,000 deaths. However, the author of this book, looking from the distance of sixty years, without any reserves joins in the minimisation of the effects and consequences of these liquidations, and even the “labour”. It is true that discussions should continue, but this view from the “distance” is a repeated crime over the victims. As we can see there is no shame in it, no ethics, let alone repentance.
The only thing left unscathed in the continuing attacks on the truth about the Croatian genocide in the Jasenovac Camps System is the book “Magnissimum Crimen”. Surely, some “author” is going to write:
“Inmates in Jasenovac camp were not only stimulated, but also motivated to conduct the work they were doing.”
I am horrified over the possibility, but I had to mention it. No doubt that the indoctrinated, well-paid, shameless, already established Croatian authors and so-called historians, lacking intellectual integrity, are ready for that.
I hope that I will not live to see it, but according to everything I know and saw only my age could help me realise my hopes.
In terms of its basic characteristics, the Jasenovac Camp System, according to those intellectual pygmies looking from the “distance” as that Italian calls them, was a fenced location with its size large enough to accommodate (does not matter how) around three thousand people.
When there was a “surplus” of people, sometimes even several thousand a day (full transports of G cattle train cars) then the “surplus” would be liquidated with effective and short procedures. I guess it is inappropriate to say slaughter, so that the readers would not be horrified!
Looking from a “distance”, it is not important whether all the newly arrived had been killed or a part of them replaced some of the three thousands who until then had been working and had to be killed instead. It is important that three thousands of them worked, and therefore it was a labour camp. There was no room for the daily surplus, so that issue had to be dealt effectively every day. And so, it turns out to be a death camp also. This correlation and the importance of the “surplus” in determining the name of the camp was never published by Ustasha’s “publicity services”, but everybody knew (including the author of the book) about the instruction given to all suitable bureaus in the NDH that the Jasenovac Collection Camp can received unlimited number of unsuitable persons. Looking from a “distance”, these authors accepted the claims, findings, documents and research of the communist regime that mass killings of men, women, children and elderly, sometimes even whole families at the same time, were committed in Jasenovac. However, they also accepted and confirm the Ustasha “publicity” from the time the camp existed that Jasenovac was a labour camp. Regardless of the “distance”, all of this seems to be a unified frame of mind, which borderlines with that very crime.
It turns out that “some people”, instead of writing about the life and death of inmates, which had been described by witnesses, alive, mentally aware and often educated people, felt to be entitled to write in the “atmosphere” of today, from a “distance” and show the public their own imagined and fabricated image of Jasenovac executioners – Croatian Ustashas (Croatian military, as they are now called in Blajburg) and their innocent victims – Serbs, Romany, Jews and anti-fascists.
What audacity! Those “some people” I call “some”, because they are unworthy of being mentioned amongst the worthy ones that they are now neglecting and denying.
Listen you “Some” ladies and gentlemen, are you allowing yourself to deny the memories of surviving Jews, the group leader of the “D” undertaker group – Danon who each day was watching the horror of slaughter over mass graves!?
Are you “Some” denying the testimonies of the survivors who say that over one hundred and twenty undertakers every day could barely manage to bury or throw into the Sava River all those who had been slaughtered that day?
Are you denying the testimony of a surviving inmate, I quote: “constant psychological and physical torture, inhumane molestation of the sick and weak, killing for pure fun, hanging and group liquidations, were the everyday life in the camp”?
Are you denying that the Limani field near Košutarica and Donja Gradina from February 1942 started to become sites of mass liquidations in the cruellest ways, by cutting throats and bludgeoning, that the killings were committed without any trials, and that whole trains of cattle cars filled with inmates came without any official papers?
Are you denying the surviving eyewitness who says: “I saw rivers of Gypsies, their women and children pouring every day in Jasenovac. They came to be slaughtered”!?
Are you denying Dr Nikola Nikolić, a middle age doctor and inmate at the time, who testified about the horrors in the camp, especially about the killing of children on several occasions, but always in the same way:
“Teachers were peeking out to see what would happen to the children next. Shortly after a company of Ustashas surrounded them and started tying their hands behind their backs. One of the most shocking events in the camp followed. The children started screaming, crying, calling their teachers, God, devil, father. Through that terrible cries and yelling you could also hear the yelling and cursing of Ustashas and slapping of terrified children. At 5pm sharp, at the dusk of October 15, 1942, the company took the children, now already half dead of fear, towards the Sava, to the Gradina ferry. The line of children tied with wire went through the camp gate with terrible cries, screams and curses, leaving six child corpses in front of the command building, which were quickly collected by the camp undertakers”.
A Jewish man, Žiga or Geza, took me out of such a line of children of my age from Bilogora, before I was tied up, and took me to work in the soap factory.
So this is the way you talk from a “distance” in your own way about the dead, innocent victims and deceased witnesses.
Still alive, as you can see, I can only express my disgust and not allow anyone to say that we, Serbian boys of Bilogora, were a profitable workforce of the NDH and that was the reason we were taken to a so-called labour camp in Jasenovac.
We were taken there with grown men, in cattle train cars so full that you could not even squat, let alone sit. We did not get any food or water from Tuesday to Friday, and the car doors were never opened. Because almost all of those children are dead, someone can be so bold as to shamelessly deny those facts.
Since I am a living witness, I must tell you: men from Bilogora and Grubišno Polje and those seventy-five boys, me being one of them, were taken to the camp in Jasenovac in October 1942 just because they were Serbs and so that they could be murdered there.
I would also like to stress another well-known truth: the victims were murdered en masse, constantly, not worthy even to write down their names. That is why even today we do not know the number of people killed, or their names. The same case is with the complex of Jadovno camps, a predecessor of Jasenovac, and other mass execution sites. And now audacity ensues, unprecedented and unheard of.
The descendants of the generation of Croats who did this to Serbs, Jews, Romany and even anti-fascists, ask the descendants of the victims to give them the exact number and list of victims, or else they will not admit to their actions, because there is no scientific basis or evidence! It is completely insane.
It is too much, even coming from the Croats!
However, we have to be appalled again since there is a side that defends the truth about the victims, and they accepted this terrible deceit and game with unknown numbers. The victims are silent, but the living have a moral obligation to immediately check which high-ranking people did this and allowed this affray to continue without feeling any shame.
Instead of this imposed discussion about numbers, why don’t we ask a simple question:
Why have you done this to us?
Regarding “scientific” evidence, I ask the question:
What evidence can deny countless corpses of the Jasenovac slaughterhouse washed on the banks of the Sava and Danube, all the way to the Black Sea, or the truth that lies under the soil over many kilometres of the former Jasenovac Camp System, a death camp, not a labour camp?
Let the descendants of the executioners give data on the number of victims and their names. How come they managed to slaughter them and take their lives in most monstrous ways without counting them or writing down their names?
If you are not capable of doing that, at least be decent and polite not to ask that from us!
1. – Milko Riffer, City of Dead, Jasenovac 1943. Nakladni zavod Hrvatske, Zagreb 1945.
2. – Dušan Babić, Ustasha’s Crimes, Polet pres, Novi Sad, 2003.
3. – Miloš Jevtić, Momčilo Krković’s River of Sense, Partenon, Beogradska knjiga 2010.
4. – Nataša Mataušić, Jasenovac 1941-1945 Death and Labour Camp, Jasenovac Memorial Area 2003.
5. – Srboljub Živanović, Jasenovac, Srpska knjiga 2008.
6. – Đuro Zatezalo, I Did My Peasant and Blacksmith Work, Serbian Cultural Socirty „Prosvjeta“, Zagreb 2005.
7. – Group of authors, 10 answer to Stjepan Mesić, Jagodina, Gambit, 2007.
8. – Milan Bastašić, Bilogora and Grubišno Polje 1941-1991, Association of Second World War Camp Inmates and Menadžer Company d.o.o.Banja Luka, 2009.
9. – Mile Dakić, Chest Pain, Beograd, Vedes 2010.
10. – Savo Štrbac, Chronicles of Exiled People of Krajina, Grafid d.o.o., Banja Luka, 2010.
11. – Salamon Jazbec, Magnissimum Crimen, Margel Institute, Zagreb 2008.
12. – Serbian Gates, year XII, issue 46 2/2010, Beograd.
13. – Bogdan Petković, One Hundred and Five Days in Jasenovac Camp, Association of Second World War Camp Inmates and Their Descendants, Banja Luka 2008.
14. – Milan Bulajić, Jasenovac – Ustasha Death Camp, “Serbian Myth”, Museum of Genocide Victims, Beograd 1999..
15. – Huber Čedomil, I Was a Jasenovac Camp Inmate, Jasenovac, 1977.
16. – Josip Jurčević, Origin of Jasenovac Myth, Zagreb 1998.
17. – Peršen Mirko, Ustasha Camps, “Stvarnost”, Zagreb 1966.
18. – Nikola Nikolić, Jasenovac Death Camp, NIŠP “Oslobođenje”, Sarajevo, 1975.
19. – Nikola Nikolić, Children of Kozara, Jasenovac Camp, “Stvarnost”, Zagreb, 1980.
20. – Miloš Bjelovitić, Ilija Jarić, Gudovac 1941 – Let It Not Be Forgotten, Serbian Cultural Society of Republika Srpska, 2002.
21. – Duško Tomić, On Death Roads of Kozara Childrene, Kozara National Park, 1990.
22. – Dragoje Lukić, War and Children of Kozara, Third amended and supplemented edition, Književne novine, Beograd, 1990.
23. – Đorđe Đurić, Through Europe between Wires
24. – Dušan Bursać, Angels in Hell
25. – Rade Milosavljević, Children Ustasha Concentration Camp Jastrebarsko, Gambit Jagodina 2009.