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Miloš Ćirić

He was born on 9 April 1937 in the village of Gornji Podgradci, Bosanska Gradiška.

He writes:

I remember the distant 1942, when the Germans bombed the mountain of Kozara and the villages under the mountain. The so-called “stuka“ planes were flying low and bombing our village. I remember when the sawmill was in flames. The local residents were ordered to hoist white flags on their houses. My mother told me to hoist the piece of the sheet on the roof of our house. My grandfather came after me, my mother and sister. We carried the things we could carry. We were walking fifteen kilometres. During the walk, the Croats tooke over us and expelled to Stara Gradiška. They left the grandfather here, but we were expelled to Jablanac.

We stayed there for a few days. I can’t remember how many days I stayed. People ate what they had on them. We ate ground corns. The older uncle, Boro, was with us. Whenever they collected male children, we were hiding in the pigsty attic. In that way, we neither went to Jastrebarsko nor Sisak.

Finally, they found out where we were. They pursued us. There were around 4000 of us (I read it). The expelled us to Jasenovac then. All the way, they were beating and killing us. We were thirsty and hungry. Such, we were taking the grass and the mud with the horned ponweed, putting them in the mouth. We were doing that when the Ustashas didn’t see us. We were walking the whole day. We arrived in the early evening in front of the concentration camp wire. We spent the night there, because we couldn’t get inside. It was supplemented. We set off for the railway station at dawn. There, they put us in the railroad cars. We were travelling long. I don’t know how long. A lot of people died in these freighted cars. We arrived to Pleternica at dusk. The soldiers and civilians were waiting for us. The civilians were the village dukes. They disposed us to the villages that were located in the direction of Krndija. So, I found myself in the village of Požeške Sesvete. My family was with me (mother and sister). I was placed in the house of some Veronika Meceček, while my mother and sister were in some other family. Daughter Emica, granddaughter Marica and the son-in-law Rek Ferdu, who was S. S. man, were living with her. During my stay, Rek Ferdu came from front because he was wounded. While we were residents of the village of Sesvete, the police hour was introduced for us. So, we mustn’t move anywhere at night.

When the concentration camp in the village of Bektez was built, they deported us there, where they tortured us with hunger and thirst. They didn’t allow us to drink the well water. The people were killed because of beet and potatoes.

After twenty days, the son-in-law Rek appeared in the concentration camp in the uniform of S. S. men. The Ustashas were running around, looking for me. Even today I can see that sight before my eyes. Rek brought a small package of food for my family. I ran toward his direction, hugging him. The Ustashas and other POW were amazed. He asked me then: “Mile, can you go with me?“ I was crying, saying that I wanted to go because the mister had the food. Mother was against my going with this man, but my longing for the life was stronger than my love for the mother. My grandmother gave her approval. Mister Ferdo left the address in case of someone was about to survive, to come after me. He was killed in Poland in 1944. Her wife receives his pension from Germany now.

My grandmother survived and saved the address. In 1945, when my father returned from Aushwitz, he came after me. I came back home in the fall of 1945.

My case is a unique one. One S. S. man took the Serbian child from the concentration camp?

Even today, both me and my family are visiting that good woman. I will not be able to thank her with anything for her immense kindness and mother’s love which she gave me.

After all the victims who were killed off in Bektež concentration camp, it wasn’t marked with anything (not even with a stone).

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