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Nikola Zutic
Nikola Zutic


Along with author Dušan Đaković (Jadovnička žmižda, Belgrade, 2011) and publicist Dane Lastavica, a number of researches of the genocide, culprits and victims has been published, and there are also numerous memoirs as well. Very important are the books by historian Đuro Zatezalo on Jadovno and other execution sites all over the NDH.[1] Episcope Atanasije Jevtić also wrote about Jadovno from the religious-historical point of view (From Kosovo to Jadovno). However, what we are missing are papers who would emphasize the causes of the genocidal behaviour of the most Roman Catholic population, unified in the Croatian nation. In order to reveal the causes of the genocidal behaviour we need to reveal the mentality and character of the devoted believer and a positive Roman Catholic, who in his/her frequent contacts with the priest, in so called daily worship (prayers in the church), has to accept priest’s way of thinking and behaviour towards the so-called unbelievers, heretics and schismatics. These very categories of believers and unbelievers stand out as the victims of the Ustasha genocide – Serbs (“schismatics”), Jews and unitary liberal Croats (Yugoslav nationalists) to a smaller extent.

Roman Catholic instigators of the religious and national hatred

The conversional basis of the Croatian nation, with emphasised spirit of Germanic coldness, resulted in the fanatical hatred towards the people of the same blood but of different religion within most of this religious nation. Such hatred had been created and nurtured for years, from the great division between the churches or “The Great Schism” in 1054. At the Roman Catholic Assembly in Florence in 1439 it was accepted that “the Holy Roman Church firmly believes that nobody that is not a member of the Catholic Church, not only heathens, but also Jews, Heretics and Schismatics, cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but they will all go into the eternal flames made for the devils, unless they convert to the true faith before they die”. The Florentine vow of religious hatred grew stronger through the Inquisition, by burning heretics on stakes, and unfortunately, it was felt the strongest by the Serbs and Jews in Ustasha death camps and in the pits of Velebit, Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the Vatican terminology, used in documents over centuries, the Serbian people were called “the worst schismatic people”, Orthodox churches were called “filthy temples”, and they said that there is “unfaithfulness and injustice” in the Eastern Church. There were many people in the Balkans who conducted such Roman Catholic ideology. Most of them were educated in Illyrian (Serbian) colleges in Fermo, Loreto and the Illyrian Institute of St. Jerome in Rome. From such missionary (proselyte) institutions came out eager proselyte missionaries who dressed in the same way and knew the Serbian language (they were of Slavic or Serbian origin) and in that way conducted proselyte actions over Orthodox Serbs. In order to hide the true goal of their activities, they at start used the unification approach, i.e. Greek Catholicism, and then Roman Catholicism in the second stage of conversion. More precisely, the unification priests still acted as their brothers the Orthodox priests (they wore the same robes, got married, had beards, did not change the Orthodox liturgy), but they immediately went under the organizational authority of the Vatican.

The more renowned missionaries and proselytes were, for example, Archbishop of Zadar Viktor from 17th century who tried to prevent “schismatics” to build their “filthy” temples. The Archbishop of Pecs, Count Kolonić was in charge of the areas of Slavonia, Bačka and Baranja. Priest Marko Mesić (“the missionary with a sword”) worked in the area of Lika and the Velebit coast. He was born in 1604 in Brinj, in Lika, in the family of a Serbian-Catholic Krajina officer, and died in Karlobag on 2 February, 1713. He was elected an archdeacon and priest in Senj in 1678, but he was still a vicar in Brinj at the same time. Although a priest, he often went on sorties into the Turkish territory. He tried to keep the Muslim Serbian population, especially in Perušić, on the Austrian territory, so he could convert them to Roman Catholicism as soon as possible. He officially called himself “the missionary of Lika and Krbava, Vicar of Brinj and the Chaplain of the Karlovac General Staff”. In 1692, the Pope named him the “apostolic delegate for Lika”.[2]

After the liberation of Lika and Krbava in the Great Vienna War (1683-1699), he converted a great number of Serbian Muslim and Orthodox families to the Roman Catholic faith. He converted mostly Serbian families in the villages that the Serbs founded from both sides of Velebit (Lukovo, Šugarje, Barić Drga, Tribanj Šibuljina, Starigrad, Cesarica, Jablanac, Oštarije, Brušane, Lički Novi, Pazarište, Žitnik, Trnovac and others). From all the named villages the only village under Velebit that stayed Orthodox Christian was Tribanj Šibuljina (on the coast), so the residents of this village were the main target of Ustasha slaughters in the summer of 1941. The main efforts of turning Serbs into Roman Catholics in that area was conducted by Capuchin monks from Karlobag who had well-organized proselyte activities.[3]

A true example of a militant Serbian-Roman Catholic missionary was Archbishop of Bar and Serbian Primate Vićentije Zmajević from Njeguš in Montenegro. As a Roman Catholic outcast from the Orthodox Christianity and Serbian nation he had to become a great opponent of “schismatics”, i.e. Orthodox Serbs. The knowledge that he belongs to the people who, according to his interpretation, “remained deceived by schism and heresy”, became a great burden for him over time. This very strong feeling of religious belonging to the Church of Rome overpowered his feeling of belonging to the Serbian heritage (just as in the case of Croatian cutthroats in 1941). His hatred towards the people he had come from was astonishing. Suffering because of the fact that all Serbs were not of the Roman Catholic faith, he called them the worst names.

With his insulting description of the origin of the Serbian Orthodox people, Zmajević became the role model of the leader of the Croatian Party of Rights, Ante Starčević from Žitnik (hamlet of Pazarišta under Velebit) near Gospić in Lika. It is known that Starčević derived the word Serbs from the Latin word servus (slave), or sclavus servus (double slave), while for the Serbs he also used words such as “an itch”, “the unclean race”.

Ante Starčević went to a public school in Klanac, and then he was schooled “privately” by his “distant uncle” Šime Starčević, a vicar in Bag (Karlobag).[4] For a time Šime was also a vicar in Lički Novi near Gospić. During the establishment of French Illyrian provinces (during Napoleon’s rule), Šime Starčević wrote a French-Illyrian grammar. Šime Starčević had the most influence on Ante Starčević in the religious, ideological and national sense. Member of Parliament Marko Došen wrote the following on the care that Šime Starčević had for Ante: “Seeing Ante as a bright and open boy, uncle Šime decided to take the boy with him for further studies. But along with that, as we heard from older residents of Lika, for a while he was tutored by priest Vlatković in Smiljan. Then Šime brought Ante to him in Bag. He was 13. There he was preparing him for the first two grades of the grammar school. Ante inherited all virtues of his smart and strong uncle Šime”.[5]

In 1839, uncle Šime sent Ante to Zagreb to continue his studies and become a priest. In Zagreb he was enrolled to the third grade of the grammar school. Marko Došen writes in an apologetic way, “his classmates and professors admired how bright and how quick to understand the young man from Lika was, whom for fun they called “a Wallach”. A game of irony: Ante was called “a Wallach for fun” (a Serb: in translation) and later on in his national evolution, Ante “seriously” called Serbs with derogatory name “the Wallach spawn”.

In the Gospić based “Lika Croat”, the main newspaper of the Lika and Krbava organization of the Croatian Republican Peasants’ Party, with people’s representative (Member of Parliament) Marko D. Došen as the editor, in the issue 17 (from 17 May, 1923) “Some thoughts and lessons of Ante Starčević” from the “Magjarolacah (Slavoserbs) Letter” were published. I am going to quote Starčević’s most insulting part dedicated to the Serbs (under item eight): “8. And finally, something about the Slavoserbs that you think you could win over. They are a servant breed (stressed in the “Lika Croat”), a revolting spawn, more than any other. Let’s take a look at three levels of perfection in a man: the level of animal, the level of reason and the level of mind and spirituality. The Slavoserbs did not even fully reach the lowest level, and cannot rise above it. They do not have consciousness (here using Ekavian dilalect – N.Ž.), they do not know how to read as people do; they cannot adopt any learning; they cannot become better or worse than they are; they are, except agility and cunning coming from practice, all equal in everything; whether they are hungry or full, they cannot talk or lie about themselves, stay still or jump, but they in everything act as they shepherds tell them… This slave trash of Europe, Asia and Africa…; all Slavoserbs are made for servitude, for every evil, for every bad thing, according to their nature, just as pigs, for example, are made for mud…”

Just as in the case of Vićenitije Zmajević, Starčević’s hatred towards the Serbian people, with whom he shares heritage, was astonishing. Even the author of the article, Marko D. Došen (in the text “Ante Starčević 1823-1923) mentions that the Starčević tribe is “great in numbers”, and that they live in Lika, the Coast, Dalmatia near Muć, under Mount Durmitor, in Montenegro on the Ibar, and that most of them were Roman Catholics. However, he stated that in Popina and in Kninska Krajina they were Orthodox Christians. In that time, the second half of 19th century, along with Serbian and Bunjevac Ikavian dialect, Starčević also uses the Ekavian dialect (just as villagers in the Ikavian village Lički Novi near Gospić, who until recently used Ekavian pronunciation of the words “bowl” and “hay”).

In the named article, Marko Došen stresses that “our famous Kačić” (Andrija Miošić – N.Ž.) was the first “in the Croatian history and books” who mentioned the name Starčević, more specifically “the name of Captain Jakov Ključki” who “vowed on bread”. Došen again admits that the Starčevićs originate from Herzegovina, “just as the other Bunjevac tribes in Lika”. He mentions Starčević’s relative Miloš Starčević, “a fortress captain” in Pazarište. Ante himself descends from grandfather Filip (born in 1743), who had five sons: Adam, Jakov, David, Filip and Martin. Anto’s father Jakov married one Milica, a widow from “some man named Čorak”, coming “from an Orthodox home of one Bogdan from Kula”. Jakov Starčević had two sons with Milica, Jakov and Ante, whom mother MIlica, according to Došen, “on the seventh day after his birth, took by herself to be baptised in Klanac Pazariški” (baptism in a roman catholic church).

Inspirers, creators and disseminators of the endless hatred towards the Orthodox Serbs were, therefore, fanaticised members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, but also “laymen” such as “liberals” Ante Starčević, Eugen Kvaternik, Josip (Jošua) Franko, Ivo Pilar, Stjepan Radić and other inspirers of hatred and perpetrators of the slaughter from Lika, and leaders of inglorious Roman Catholic and Great Croatia group of Serb-haters. Along with the named “Father of Nation” Ante Starčević, the most credit goes to NDH ideologist Mile Budak from Lika, lawyer Andrija Artuković, and the man who realised the slaughter, Ante Pavelić also from Lika (accidentally born in Bradina in Herzegovina). Such lethal team of Serb-eaters had to create numerous fanaticised followers who, with unprecedented sadistic zeal, performed mass throwing into pits and slaughter of Serbs, Jews, and liberal Yugoslav Croats. Due to the hatred towards the Serbs and affection to committing bestial crimes, Gospić and wider Lika area were chosen by the Poglavnik and the Croatian leadership as the most suitable and efficient area for a quick destruction of Serbs by passionate Roman Catholic fanatics representing Great Croatia.

We need to remember that in Gospić, lawyer Andrija Artuković fully fuelled the all-Croatia chauvinism and additionally enflamed the Frankists (followes of Josip Frank) ideas amongst the Roman Catholic converts in Lika during the time of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. We are going to name examples of Artuković’s political, religious, national and cultural activities. First, he founded the Gospić Sports Club “Croatia”, tried to renew the Frankist Organisation of the Croatian National Youth (known as HANAO) and the physical culture organisation, the Frankist Croatian Falcon. To remind you that the second in line, just as important ideologist of the Ustasha movement form Lika, author Mile Budak, was a prominent member of the separatist Croatian Falcon. So in 1932, Artuković together with Budak and Italian fascists started the “Lika Uprising”, by attacking the Gendarmerie Station in the village of Brušane under Mount Velebit (to remind you, Brušane is located on the road from Gospić to Jadovno and other pits of Velebit).

As you might know, Gospić, that is Lika and wider area of Krajina, were a border area of the Orthodox Christianity and Serbian-hood (a kind of “antemurale ortodoxis”), which the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church have been trying to eliminate for centuries with proselyte activities. In the summer of 1941, they moved from the centuries-long ideological, religious and national activities in the anti-Serbian propaganda, to the slaughter and horrifying massacre of the Serbian population in the NDH, and to a smaller extent also the Jewish people and Yugoslav-oriented Croatian individuals.

Therefore, for centuries the Vatican has been creating fanaticised loyal sons of the Church of Rome. This fanaticism also entered the vast masses of the Roman Catholic Croatian nation. The author of this article in his books thoroughly analysed the genesis of the Roman Catholic Croatian nation and causes of its hatred towards the Serbs.[6]He wrote on the mentality of the Serbs of the Roman Catholic faith, who in 19th century started to get certain new national aspirations, i.e. choosing the Croatian nation. Specifically, Austria started to nurture the Croatian national feeling only from the time when the state crisis of the Habsburg Empire started to grow, especially after the Hungarian liberal-democratic revolution in 1848/49, when the Empire was split in two in 1867, after the Military Krajina was abolished in 1881 and when the inevitable three-side concept was created with the third part of the Empire being a Great Croatia, which was to be the pillar and loyal barrier to Hungarian pretensions to full independence. The Austrian “Great Croatia”, consisting of Croatia and Serbian lands Slavonia, Syrmia, Dalmatia, Boka, Istria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was to be “a country of Croatian state right”, in which there was no room for “schismatic” Serbs and their Orthodox Church.

So-called civilising mission of Roman Catholicism and Habsburgs was increased with the feeling of cultural superiority of the Roman Catholic people of them being special compared to the schismatic Serbs. So-called cultural superiority was imposed through faith into the cultural mission of Catholics. Dr Bogdan Prica, a Serb from Zagreb, with roots in Korenica in Lika, who spent the whole of First World War in Zagreb, wrote as an eyewitness how all of Zagreb intelligentsia treated Serbs poorly: “Although they did not formally participate in incidents caused by Frankist and Stjepan Radić followers, they still rooted for the victory of Austria, and when Austria was in trouble then they cursed it. In the same way, they had been mocking the Allies for three years, and when it was time to take the responsibility for that, they played innocent and claimed that they had always been supporting the Allies”. The Croatian adulation to the stronger side is well known, just as is the case today towards the USA and Bush.

Irritated with the events at the time of the persecution of Serbs from the Croatian Banovina in 1939, Dr Prica wrote about the primeval, a priori anti-Serbian chauvinist attitude of the Croats, which was imposed thanks to both the Serbian naivety and simple-mindedness: “We should not search for the fundamental and main cause for Croatian discontent within the history of these past 20 years… People who think that Croats entered this state (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) perfectly unburdened with tribal hatred, as the Serbs from Serbia did, do not know the essence of the dispute… Croatian masses never liked the Serbs, while the public opinion of the top Croatian layer steered between the Yugoslav and Great Croatia policies, and they chose the Yugoslav direction only when the West put the Croats against the wall and when there was no danger of unity being conducted from Belgrade”.

Therefore, the overt hatred of the Serbs appeared as soon as the Croatian nation was created in the second half of 19th century, when the Frankians and the clergy focused on the Orthodox Serbs in Zagreb, which is particularly evident during the visit of Franz Joseph, the “Emperor and King of Croats”, in 1895. Specifically, in the honour of the high dignitary the Serbs put their church flags on the church and the Church Municipality building, which provoked mass attacks on Serbian institutions and shops with people shouting that Croatia is a contry only for Roman Catholics, i.e. Croats.

Demonstrations against the Serbs in Zagreb were repeated in 1902, and this time for a trivial reason because the Zagreb newspaper “Srbobran” copied the article titled “Serbs and Croats” from the “Serbian Literary Herald”. Previously this article was not banned by the “merciless and strict Austro-Hungarian censorship” in Zagreb and it appeared freely in the press. The real cause to organise anti-Serbian demonstration was deep hatred of Zagreb Roman Catholics towards the Orthodox Serbs, which was augmented with the fact that Serbs had numerous shops in the Vlaška Street in Zagreb, and numerous business and banks. In certain Croatian circles, the prosperity of Serbian trade in Zagreb caused envy since there were almost no Croatian shops next to Serbian and Jewish ones. The chronicler of that time wrote: “The political fanaticism of the Frankians was joined by the Jesuit fanaticism and traders’ accounts, and all of that together created an anti-Serbian ‘St. Bartholomew’s Night’ in Zagreb”. The pogrom of the Zagreb Serbs was named the “Arnaut Action in Zagreb” (according to the cruelty of Arnauts, i.e. Arbanasi, today Shqiptar Albanians).

The revamped hatred towards Serbs by the members of the new Roman Catholic nation of Croats got the full swing when Gavrilo Princip killed the exemplary member of the great Habsburg Dynasty, Franz Ferdinand, who was the main designer of the idea to create the third unit in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the form of Great Croatia. Throughout the Austro-Hungarian countries there was an outburst of intolerance of Roman Catholic Serbs (Croats) and Islamic Serbs (Muslims) towards Orthodox Serbs. Roman Catholics – Croats and ancestors of today’s Bosnian Muslims in Austrian uniforms, under the command of the K. und K. officers (Imperial and Royal), were raiding all over Syrmia and Mačva. The town of Šabac and its surroundings were subjected to probably the first classical genocide in 20th century, since Austrians and Croats dressed in Austrian uniforms mostly murdered innocent civilians.

Genocidal crimes of the Croatian nation on Pag and in Jadovno

In the summer of 1941 the ominous intention of a complete ethnocide started to realize. The executors of the monstrous centuries-long plan of the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church on the complete destruction of Serbian Orthodox Christianity from the western Serbian areas appeared. They moved from the religious mission process and proselytism into the field of banishment and complete “cleansing” of the Western Balkans from Orthodox Serbs. Therefore, what then started was a genocide over the Serbs west from the Drina River by organizing the first concentration camp in Southeast Europe – “the Gospić system of death camps”, which included the Concentration Camp Gospić (the centre in the penitentiary of the Gospić County Court), Jadovno camp with numerous pits, historical Serbian area under Mount Velebit with the centre in Karlobag and Tribanj Šibuljina and the island of Pag (sites Slano and village Metajna). The crime was prepared in Gospić and it culminated on the Serbian Mount Velebit, which is Serbian because of the Serbs historically lived on that mountain, but unfortunately it became even more Serbian because of tens of thousands of un-dead victims within its bowels.

“Velebit” is a Serbian mountain – it was and it is, once with living people, but unfortunately, since 1941 solely with dead residents of an underground city. Therefore, Velebit is a historical mountain of living and dead Serbs. We should not forget that the Venetians once called it “Montagna Morlacca” (Serbian Mountain). Once Serbian border men from Krajina used to sing the song “Velebit Fairy”, which the mongrel Croatian nation heartlessly adopted as a Croatian Ustasha patriotic song, as they did with numerous Serbian poets and songs – and since recently also the song “Just Call Us”, and finally also the Serbian Krajina “Ojkan”. In the last hundred years or so, the Adriatic coast under Velebit along with Pag has been expressly cleansed from Serbs, whether by converting them to Roman Catholics or by slaughtering and killing them in 1941-1945 and 1991-1995, and after that with mass and forced emigration of the wider Lika and Krajina area.

The last oasis of Orthodox Serbs in the Velebit Serbian “Morlacco” Channel – Tribanj Šibuljina, was cleansed from Serbs during 1941, only to receive the final blow to the survival of Serbs on the coast by Tuđman’s Frankian units in 1991. Immediately after the NDH was formed, the authority in Tribanj was taken over by Ustashas, headed by Ustasha commissioner Mile Stjaus, who led the executions. Already on 23 April, 1941, on the order of infamous Ustasha Jurica Frković (who came from Gospić by car that day) four villagers (Dušan Marinković and his son Filip, Iso Štrbo and Mile Lukić) were taken to Gospić, from there to Jadovno and then thrown into the Šaranova Pit in early June. On 25 April, 1941 the following villagers from Tribanj were taken to Gospić: Vladimir Babac, Nikola Poljak, Dragan Lukić, Marko Lukić, Pilip Marinković, Serđe Poljak and Stevan Poljak (the last two managed to run away). The rest of them were savagely tortured and also thrown into the Šaranova Pit in the village of Jadovno ten days later.

In order to destroy Serbs (but also Jews and Croats) in late May and early June 1941 a camp for Serbs and Jews was established in Slano, and also nearby a camp for women and children in Metajna on Pag. Since at the time the authority over Pag was in the hands of Pavelić’s Independent State of Croatia, the camp was established by Ustashas, led by Ivan Devčić-Pivac, Mijo Bzik, engineer Sazunić and others. The imprisoned Serbs and Jews who were to go to Slano were first transported from the collection camp in Gospić to Karlobag and then on boats (mostly on “bracera” cargo boats) to Slano on Pag. Prisoners from all over the NDH were taken in sealed train cars or trucks to Gospić, and from there they went tied up together on foot over Mount Velebit to Karlobag (40 kilometres). Eyewitness Luka Babić described this Serbian road of no return from Karlobag to Slano in the following words: “Prisoners, who came from various police jails, where they had obviously gone through terrible suffering, were loaded into boats in Karlobag in the most brutal way… These miserable souls had to get down inside the boat (“štiva”). Those who could not manage to jump quickly inside while being hit by Ustasha guards would be mercilessly pushed inside using feet and hands like sacks or something, so after they embarked these people would practically cover the inside of the boat”.[7]

The ride from Karlobag to Slano gave Ustashas the opportunity to subject the prisoners to more cruelty, torture and unprecedented humiliation. Specifically, during every journey in a boat the Ustasha escort would threw living men into the sea with a rock tied around their necks. Before doing that, they would rob the prisoners by taking their money, gold and jewellery. During the transport of prisoners to Slano, Vinko Barić was especially infamous for his cruelty for beating and killing prisoners and throwing them into the sea. After arriving to Pag, women and children were put in houses in Metajna, while the men had been disembarked earlier in Baška Slana (a beach in a cove on Pag across from Karlobag) and in Sušac lagoon, from where they were taken to the camp in Slano. Jewish inmates were accommodated in the northern part of the camp, while the Serbs and others were accommodated in barracks in the southern part of the camp. The prisoners were sleeping on bare boards, on wooden double bunks.

Inmates’ diet was so bad that there was no doubt that this was aimed to end their lives. They were so starved that sometimes while unloading food for the Ustasha camp guards they dared to steal few raw potatoes, not fearing that such actions would get them shot. They knew that all inmates were already sentenced to death without a trial. It was only a matter of time when each of them would lose their lives. The killing was performed in various ways. Ustashas took care that, when choosing the victims, the inmates did not find out they would be executed. Every ten days or so inmates would be called out to get ready to leave for their homes. They would usually load them into boats, transport them just around one cape to the Sušac lagoon, where they would disembark and then taken to an area called Furnaža. According to witnesses’ statements, “these miserable souls, after digging their own pits, would be massacred with knives and thrown into that very pit”.

Island Pag 1941.

In some other cases when they would choose their victims, Ustashas usually asked inmates if they would volunteer to be transferred to another camp or for a medical examination. They often threw them alive into the sea with a rock around the neck. Some of the victims Ustashas took from Slano to Drvarica, where they robbed them, and then took them to Velebit and threw them into pits. Ustasha Vjekoslav Fačini, called “the Judge”, on 8 August, 1941 told witness Visko Donadić that they would sometimes line up people inside the camp itself and shot them with a machinegun, and in that way they would kill from fifty to one hundred people a day. Later on they received an order to only slaughter the inmates with a knife, so that no gunfire would be heard and upset the residents of Pag.

Women and girls, who were accommodated in the village of Metajna, had to suffer severe humiliation, torture and rape, only to be slaughtered together with children in the end. They were usually tied together with children and thrown into the sea, which is confirmed by many fishermen who used to find such group corpses in their nets. Roman Catholic priest Don Ljubo Magaš, the vicar from Barbat, bragged publically that he had, together with an Ustasha named “Pavica”, raped and then killed a Jewish 18-year-old girl.

In early July 1941, in a Serbian Orthodox coastal village under Velebit, Tribanj Šibuljina, a detachment of the Italian regular army was stationed, commanded by Captain Dorian, while the commander of the Gendarmerie station was Sargent Ante Orlović from Benkovac. The Serbian people expected that with the arrival of Italians their salvation would arrive as well, and that Ustasha tortures and killings would stop. However, the Italian army did not prevent Ustasha atrocities, so they continued in even larger volume. After making an agreement with the Italian troops that Italians would not interfere with their “bloody work”, on St. Elijah’s Day (2 August) Ustashas “started collecting all of the people (women, elderly, children) telling them they would be transported to Italy, and since there was famine there, they should take all of their money and good clothes, and that their property would be recorded and not go to ruin. Ustashas collected around one hundred people, out of which twenty managed to escape, and sixty eight were brought to a small Orthodox church (in Tribanj), where they were held for four or five days under the most difficult conditions, because they were physically abused, tortured with hunger, thirst and heat. Five girls aged from sixteen to nineteen were raped. After that all of them were taken to the island of Pag, where they were killed. There is a mention that Ustasha executioners looted lots of cattle, goods and money on that day.[8]

In only few summer months of 1941, the whole Serbian families Poljak, Marinković and Babac were wiped out, killed by their close or distant Roman Catholic neighbours from Lika and the Coast. They murdered thirty members of the Poljak family, fourteen members of the Babac family, fourteen Marinkovićs, four members of the Prodan family and two members of the Lukić family. They also murdered nine children aged two to fifteen. All of the murdered people, sixty eight of them in total, were farmers from Tribanj, Starigrad Municipality, Benkovac County. According to statements by the eyewitnesses (Ana Lukić, Milica Babac and Jovana Poljak) from Tribanj, the victims were taken away and thrown into pits and into the sea around the island of Pag. The people who committed the crime were Ustasha Sergeant Zizanović from the Sinj area, Ustashas Jerolim Trošelj and Ante Trošelj from Tribanj, “and many other unknown Ustashas”. The most infamous among them was the Ustasha commissioner in Tribanj (an Ustasha ensign), Mile Sjaus.

The last large slaughter of inmates in Slano was committed on the Assumption of Mary, 16 August, 1941, just before the Italians took over the authority over Pag. On that day 700 to 800 inmates were killed in one go. Praising the “Mother of God – Queen of Croats”, Ustashas organised the bloodiest monster feast. According to survivors, this slaughter was terrible: they killed children with their mothers; Ustasha bragged saying “there was blood tonight, we slaughtered 700 of that Jewish and Serbian scum”; Ustasha Martin Magaš told people that in the camp he killed women, that he cut off the breast of living women, bragging that it was “a wonderful thing once you get used to it”; the other Ustashas told how they were slaughtering Serbs, that they were throwing them into pits and the sea half alive, while one of them said how he cut an unborn child out of one woman’s belly, and then took another alive three-year-old child and put it inside her belly, and then threw all of them into the pit.

After the slaughter and in bloody uniforms, Ustashas wanted to participate in the famous procession of the Virgin Mary’s statue from the Old Town Church to another church on the hill above the town of Pag. The Ustashas in bloody uniforms were prevented to enter the church due to the disapproval of the people.[9]

Just before this “last slaughter” on the Assumption of Mary, according to witness Josip Datković, more than three thousand Orthodox Christians (Serbs) suddenly disappeared from the camp. They were taken to Velebit and throw into pits. The named mass slaughters were conducted mostly on land, more specifically in the area called Furnaža. During the investigation, three large mass graves were found in Furnaža, which were dug out by the Italians in late August 1941.

The concentration camp in the area of Slano (on the island of Pag) was abolished after the Italians took over the island in late August 1941. Several days before the Italians took over the camp, a transport of women came to Metajna. Due to the presence of the Italian troops they were transferred to Caska (a village nexto Barbat on Pag), and then transported to the “Pag Doors” (a strait at Pag through which boats on the way to Slano, Metajna and the town of Pag would sail through), where the “trenches for corpses” were located. Witness Jakov Dokozić, who was in Slano as an Ustasha from late July to early August, claimed that the women had been killed the same night, because “he had heard Ustashas returning to Slano in the morning singing”.

After taking over the island of Pag, Italians dug out the mass graves, took pictures of the murdered people, and then burned their remains.[10] In late August 1941, the Command of the Fifth Italian Army Corps in Kraljevica sent a team of thirty five soldiers of the medical squad commanded by Doctor Stazio, with the mission to burn all the corpses “if they were located in various trenches over the whole area of the camp in Slano”. According to Dr Stazio’s statement, who photographed each corpse before it was burned, the corpses “were victims that were killed within the last four days before the medical team arrived”, and all of the victims had been robbed first.

The number of murdered and slaughtered Serbs and Jews (and a small number of Croats) has not been accurately determined. The County War Crimes Committee for the Croatian Coast assessed that at least six thousand inmates had been brought to the island of Pag. The number is surely larger, because a large number of inmates were thrown into the sea during transport. According to witnesses, Ustashas brought inmates to Karlobag every day and transported them to Slano for three full months, while they returned only some of them and took them to Velebit into the pits. Witness Pavle Lovrić stated that three to five pyres had been burning each day where forty five to seventy corpses had been burnt. Since the cremation lasted for eighteen days, this means that Italians burned over 6300 victims. According to data given by the Country Committee for War Crimes of the Occupying Forces and Their Aids for Croatia, during the operation of the camp on Pag, around twelve thousand inmates went through it and most of them were murdered on the island of Pag itself.[11]

The Ustasha camp garrison numbered around one hundred men. The slaughter of Serbs and Jews was conducted by thirty or so Ustashas who received one hundred dinars per hour for their executioner’s work. The Ustashas who were present at the slaughter of the Serbs and Jews had to work in conspiracy, because the bloodthirsty operation was kept top secret. The residents of the island of Pag were not allowed to get to the camp closer than five hundred metres, otherwise they would be shot. The Commander of the camp Slano, who managed all molestation, torture and murder, was Ustasha Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Devčić called “Pivac”, born in Redine, Karlobag municipality (Gospić County). His deputy was Pava Devčić called “Žila”, born in the village of Pržunac, Karlobag municipality. The commander of the female camp in Metajna was Ustasha Sergeant Maks Očić, born in Zagreb. One of the commanders was also Ustasha Lieutenant Frane Šlibar from Bjelovar. They were the main organizers but also the perpetrators of the crimes, while the other members of the camp garrison actively participated in the crime. Most of them were from coastal villages under Velebit (Lukovo Šugarje, Barić Draga, Karlobag, Cesarica, Prizna and Tribanj Kruščica) and some of them were from Pag.[12]

According to witnesses, before they left Ustashas sprayed with the blood of the inmates the whole of camp in Slano, as well as the one in Metajna. Ustashas took with them the surviving inmates, around 450 of them, in the night of 19 August, 1941 and executed them by throwing them into the sea, in Jadovno or in Jasenovac and Gradiška. The liquidation of Slano camp was personally conducted by Ustasha Lieutenant Colonel Maks Luburić, but he continued his bloody work in the new system of Croatian death camps – in Jasenovac.

Documented testimonies on mass slaughter in the system of Gospić death camps (with Pag) are numerous and, fortunately, preserved. The list of Ustashas of the Gospić area who butchered and slaughtered Serbs from 10 April to early September 1941 in the system of Gospić Ustasha camps, i.e. while it was operational, is priceless. This list of Ustashas (Frankians) of the Gospić Municipality (bloodthirsty Ustashas) is kept in the Archives of Yugoslavia, and is located in the fund of the Emigrant Government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The list holds 254 names of Ustashas who committed crimes on the territory of Lika and committed the slaughters and threw Serbs into the pits of Lika. The document holds descriptions of the tortures used on Orthodox Serbs, such as cutting skin into strips, pulling out fingernails, cutting out eyes, cutting off breasts, rape and other. Among other names there is the famous cutthroat of German origin Rude Ritz, for whom it says that he was a teacher from Podlapac, commander of the Ustashas in the Knin-Ogulin sector who led all operations and slaughters of Serbs.

We are going to name some of the prominent cutthroats – executors in Jadovno (according to the ordinal number in the document):

2. Zvonko Verzon, 7th grade student of the Grammar School in Gospić, around 21 years old, committed atrocities around Gospić;

7. Martin Mesić, a five-grade-school graduate from Gospić, one of the main instigators and perpetrators of atrocities.

9. Stipe Stilinović, an eight-grade-school graduate from Gospić, agitated against the Serbs and personally participated in many murders and atrocities.

10. Nikola Kasumović from Perušić, an infamous killer of Serbs.

12. Ivan (?), from Lešće, age around 28 (had a broken tooth), he walked around in a bloody clothes and bragged about killings many Serbs.

16. Nikola Ugarković, from Gospić, shocked people with his bestiality and blood thirst.

19. Mile Ratković, from Lički Osik, arrested and murdered women and children.

26. Tomo Regvart, from Vrhovine, a barber by profession, murdered and molested Serbs on the Plitvička Lakes.

27. Mile Katarinić, from Vrhovine, a shoemaker by profession, led Serbs from Plitvice to Gospić, and from there took them to the slaughter.

30. Mile Vukelić, from Kosinje, a carpenter and a mason, worked in Rudopolje for Mijko Ivanišević for several years. He collaborated with Ustashas and together with them committed murders of Serbs.

31. Mandica Pajduka, the wife of forester Jozo from Rudupolje, she murdered Serbian children.

34. Ana Prebeg, from Plitvice, age 20, attended many murders of women and children and incited others to commit slaughter.

36. Jure Špoljarić, from Plitvice, age 51, bragged about killing over 50 Serbs.

37. Dane Luetić, from Plitvice, arrested and took people to Gospić camp, and from there took them to the slaughter.

38. Tošo Dujmović, from Otočac, he molested people in a cruel way, burned their soles and stuck hot needles under their toenails.

39. Juka Dujmović, the brother of Tošo from Otočac. Both brothers were butchers by profession. In the Otočac Slaughterhouse they skinned trader Pero Branković by putting him on the table and peeling his skin in strips, so the victim died in horrible pain.

41. Nikola Ćulum, gendarmerie sergeant in Korenica, he ordered the hanging of gendarme Nikola Dragičević, who was his superior as the station commander.

48. Ivan Brkljačić, a five-grade-school graduate from Gospić, took Serbs to the camp (in Jadovno) and molested them there.

55. Konjiković (?), from Gospić, murdered a woman and her children and an elderly man and then looted them.

56. Nikola Crni from Gospić, tied Serbs with barbed wire and made a procession with them through the town, and later on killed them.

64. Tomica Ritz, the Post Office Manager in Korenica, born in Gospić. He was the commander of Ustashas in Korenica and managed the arrests and killings of Serbs and took part in them, especially in Prijeboj.

65. Stjepan Butković, a customs officer in Korenica, born in Gospić, participated in the killing of Serbs in Prijeboj.

68. Ivan Devčić, called “Žicar”, the supervisor of telephone lines in Korenica, born in Gospić. A very bloodthirsty man and looter, he broke into the Serbian church in Korenica, and desecrated and looted it.

71. Petar Mažar, called “Pekara” from Rudanovaca, he slaughtered and looted Serbs.

72. Milan Mataija (son of Vinko), a teacher trainee from Gospić. He was a dedicated Ustasha and looted Serbs. He killed a Serb, the director of the Teachers College in Gospić, Ilija Opačić and his son, a student.

73. Ivan Stefanović, called “Cicvara”, a 7th grade student of the Gospić Grammar School, a dedicated butcher of Serbs, amongst other he beat up Đuro Stanić.

74. Ivica Pavičić, a student of the Traders Academy, a dedicated butcher, he participated in murders in Gospić and its surrounding area.

80. Zvonko Pezelj, a failed students of the Gospić Grammar School, together with the Naglić brothers and Ivica Pavičić he committed murders in Gospić and the area.

84. Ante Došen-“Tona”, a son of Dane from Gospić, he killed Nikola Ribar and many other Serbs in Divoselo and surrounding villages.

89. Luka Polić, a son of Frane, a trader from Gospić, he slaughtered and burned in Smiljan.

90. Ivan Crnković, a 5th grade student of the Gospić Grammar School (Budačka Street), he was an Ustasha and committed atrocities and slaughters in Korenica.

92. Juco Rukavina, a failed student from Gospić, he was an Ustasha in Korenica where he slaughtered and looted Serbs.

93. Ive Kovačević, from Smiljan, he slaughtered and burned in Smiljan and its surrounding area.

97. Antić Kovačević, from Smiljan, he slaughtered and burned in Smiljan, and killed many Serbs, mostly women and children.

98. Nikola Pejnović from Smiljan, he slaughtered and burned in Smiljan and its surrounding area.

100. Franjo Kovačević, from Smiljan, he slaughtered and burned in Smiljan.

101. Drago Asić, a son of a tavern keeper, from Gospić. He was very a bloodthirsty man and a looter. He personally participated in slaughters of Serbs, and he was particularly infamous for his actions in Medak, where he savagely tortured, slaughtered and beat up Serbs at a plantation. He constantly went around in bloody trousers, stained with Serbian blood and slaughtered people dressed like that. He openly spoke and intimidated Serbs with a bloody dagger. He constantly arrested and killed anybody who was a Serb without any difference.

102. Stipan Dukovac, from the village of Ribnik near Metak, the most bloodthirsty of all Ustashas, he was a commissioner of the Medak Municipality and managed the slaughter of Serbs in that municipality. On 5 August, 1941, when he arrived to the village of Počitelj with a large group of Ustashas to conduct slaughter and looting, he was ambushed by Chetniks and killed with another five Ustashas.

109. Martin Rogić, from Ribnik, a dedicated cutthroat, he stunned people with his atrocities, he slaughtered, cut eyes out, smashed children against a wall so that their skull would smash and brains come out.

110. David Dukovac, a road worker from Ribnik, he was a dedicated cutthroat and murderer of children.

112. Nikola Uzelac, a gendarmerie sergeant from Caprage, he was serving in Metak. He was the most dedicated Ustasha and a cutthroat and participated in all murders together with Stipan Dukovac.

113. Ivan Dukovac, from Ribnik, a dedicated Ustasha, he slaughtered and murdered Serbs.

114. Frane Sekulić, from Ribnik, he murdered Serbs in a savage way.

117. Josan Dukovac, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated cutthroat and looter.

121. Mate Sekulić II, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated cutthroat and looter.

122. Joso Sekulić, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated cutthroat and looter.

123. Ivica Došen, a mechanic from Gospić, working in Gračac, he committed a large slaughter in the Gračac area.

124. Perina Matić, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated cutthroat and looter.

125. Ante Mudrovičić, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated butcher and robber.

126. Martin Mudrovčić, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated butcher and robber.

128. Jokan Jurjević, from Ribnik, he was a dedicated butcher and robber.

132. Ante Šimac, a tavern keeper from Gospić, a dedicated Ustasha, he was the instigator of many atrocities he attended.

135. Mate Lisac from Mušaluka, the greatest executioner, he killed women, children and elderly.

136. Joso Adžija, a blacksmith from Gospić, the greatest cutthroat and Ustasha, he was commissioner for Lika.

137. Božidar Sokolić from Gospić, the president of the Ustasha court martial, he is known all over Lika as a bloodthirsty person and responsible for many murders.

138. Marko Bubaš, from Gospić, a chauffeur, he was a heavy machinegun operator during the killing of the Serbs in Jadovno.

139. Vladimir Levar, from Gospić, he was a dedicated cutthroat and instigator.

140. Jurica Frković, from Gospić, the commander of the Ustasha headquarters, the Grand Governor, one of the organizers of the Ustasha movement in Yugoslavia, a dedicated butcher of Serbs, he was the instigator for all crimes and murder of Serbs.

141. Mila Stilinović, an electrician from Gospić, he drove living and killed Serbs in a car to the pits and execution sites.

143. Sajdl (?), a gendarmerie major in Gospić, instigator and a hanging judge, he was guilty of many atrocities committed over Serbs.

144. Tomislav Tomljenović, a trader from Gospić, he was a judge of the Ustasha court martial and he is guilty for the slaughter of Serbs in Smiljan.

147. Ivan Jurčić, a professor in Gospić, he was an Ustasha officer and a dedicated cutthroat.

148. Ilija Bogdanić (Delko), from Otočac, he was an Ustasha major and a dedicated cutthroat.

149. Krešo Milković, from Otočac, he was an Ustasha commissioner and a butcher of Serbs.

151. Ivica Milinković, from Otočac, he was a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat.

152. Mirko Milinković, from Otočac, he was a dedicated Ustasha and instigator of many atrocities.

155. Zvonko Rukavina, a navy sergeant from Otočac, he was a dedicated Ustasha.

157. Toma Drljača, a labourer from Otočac, a dedicated cutthroat, he slaughtered women and children.

158. Vilko Usmijani, a butcher from Otočac, he was a dedicated Ustasha and murderer who has lives of many Serbs on his consciousness.

159. Josip Usmijani, his son from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha, he has lives of many Serbs on his consciousness, and he bragged publically how he slaughtered people.

163. Bruno Sillaf, a trader from Gospić, German by origin, he was one of the main instigator who organized sessions with the traders named below during which they would decide the fate of Serbs.

166. Ivica Dubravčić, a trader from Otočac, an instigator and official, he personally took Rato Ogrizović out from the jail and killed him.

169. Stipe Marić, a trader from Otočac, a dedicated instigator and an official.

177. Blaž Biondić, a tavern keeper from Otočac, he was one of the main officials and instigators. Serbs were murdered and tortured in his yard, while he participated.

178. Pere Biondić, the son of Blaž, a chauffeur from Otočac, he drove Serbs from Otočac towards Ličko Lešće and Gospić where they were killed.

179. Drago Žubrinić, a bookstore owner from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat.

182. Žubrinić (?), a trade assistant from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat, he has lives of many Serbs on his consciousness.

187. Harif (?), born in Bosnia, called “the Turk”, he lived in Otočac and he is known as a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat.

190. Dragan Smolčić, a butcher from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and looter, he slaughtered and looted in Bosnia and bragged about it.

193. Franjo Kolaković, a worker from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat, he murdered many Serbs.

194. Joja Pavelić, called “Buban”, a worker from Otočac, a dedicated and infamous executioner and Ustasha.

195. Ivica Favala, a lawyer trainee from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha, cutthroat and instigator of many atrocities.

197. Ive Štimac, a shop assistant from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat.

198. Josip Žubrinić, called “Čun”, a farmer from Otočac and a dedicated Ustasha.

200. Ambroz (?), a shoemaker from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and looter, he blackmailed Serbs and then reported them and attended their slaughter.

201. Pave Podnar, a farmer from Kutarevo, Otočac municipality, a dedicated Ustasha, cutthroat and looter, he killed Rada Varda and many others with a stake.

202. “Šuca” (?), a farmer from the village of Švice, Otočac municipality, a dedicated Ustasha, cutthroat and looter, he killed around 50 people from the village of Ponori.

203. Iva Dasović, called “Prcak”, a farmer from the village of Švica, Otočac Municipality, he was a famous Ustasha, cutthroat and looter.

206. Zvonko Filipčić, a musician from Otočac, a dedicated Ustasha and murderer.

207. Luka Kolaković, a farmer from the village of Spilnik, Otočac Municipality, a dedicated Ustasha and executioner, he committed many slaughters.

208. Dana Marković, a worker from the village of Dubrava, Otočac Municipality, a dedicated and famous Ustasha and looter.

209. Bižanović (?), a farmer from the village of Dubrava, Otočac Municipality, a dedicated Ustasha and looter.

210. Bižanović (?), a craftsman from the village of Drubrava, Otočac municipality, a dedicated Ustasha and instigator of slaughter.

211. Joso Bogdanić, a farmer from the village of Dubrava, Otočac Municipality, a dedicated Ustasha and looter.

212. Joso Vukelić, a teacher in Gospić, working in the village of Škare at the time, a dedicated Ustasha and instigator of atrocities.

215. Konrad Rogić, a student from the village of Švica, Otočac municipality, a dedicated Ustasha, murderer and looter.

218. Miko Bilović, a coach driver from the village of Poljica, Otočac municipality, a dedicated Ustasha and looter.

219. Tomo Negeš, a farmer from the village of Vratnik, Senj County, a dedicated and famous Ustasha and looter, he participated in many crimes.

220. Stipe Jelić, a farmer from the village of Žuta Lokva, a dedicated Ustasha, looter and blackmailer.

223. Frane Banić, a student from the village of Brlog, a dedicated Ustasha, the organizer and instigator of many atrocities.

228. Ivica Smolčić, a farmer from the village of Petrinić Polja, a dedicated Ustasha and cutthroat, he participated in many murders.

231. Dane Rogić, a shoemaker’s assistant from Senj, now a police agent in Zagreb.

232. Đuro Pajdaš-Đuka, a former worker in Senj, born in Senj, now a police agent in Zagreb.

233. Rafael Glavičić, a butcher from Senj, he escaped to an unknown location six months ago. He killed an elderly man and a pregnant woman in the village of Prokike.

235. Ivan Mihovilić, a trader from Senj. Together with Ustasha Major Sudar he participated in various atrocities in Bosnia until late 1941. He is now an active Ustasha.

236. Anton Šojat, a baker’s assistant from Senj. He participated in various atrocities. He is now in Sarajevo working as a commissioner in a large Jewish shop.

237. Josip Šojat, the brother of named Ante, a baker’s assistant from Senj. He participated in many atrocities. He is now an active Ustasha in Gospić.

238. Marijan Gržanić, a mason from Senj, living in Senj, he looted the goods of Yugoslav officers and Serbs.

239. Pave Boras, a chauffeur from Senj, he drove Viktor Rivosechi and others in a truck. He is now a chauffeur at the ice-factory in Senj.

The following are members of the Ustasha committee that orchestrated the arrests and murders in 1941:

240. Dr Ante Vlahović, a lawyer from Senj.

241. Franjo Sudar, a tax clerk, now an Ustasha major, born in Senj.

242. Slavko Tomljenović-“Njok”, a former district official, now a high-ranking official in the railway company in Zagreb.

243. Edo Magas, a trader from Senj, now an Ustasha state commissioner in a large Jewish shop in Sarajevo.

244. Ludvih Osterman, an entrepreneur from Senj, now a black marketer in Sinj.

245. Josip Papić, a town steward in Senj, currently still resides in Senj.

246. Josip Lovrić, a shoemaker in Senj, also still resides in Senj.

247. Nikola Rončević, a court clerk from Senj.

248. Vinko Vlahović, a tax clerk in Senj, now the police chief in Bihać.

249. Dragan Vlahović, a trader from Senj, he recently moved to Zagreb.

250. Branko Župan, a town treasurer in Senj, a member of the board for the destruction of the Serbian Orthodox church building in Senj. On his order the graves and tombstones in the church graveyard were desecrated and destroyed, and tombstones were used to cover cess pits and canals. The marble plates, square rocks and church beams were sold to one Grga Gržanić, a tailor from Senj. Two church bells and the iron gates, together with some other items are in the Senj municipality building. Icons and other valuables were allegedly sent to a museum in Zagreb.

The following are the persons who in 1941 provoked and accused people for being Yugoslavs and reported them to the Ustashas:

251. Anka Lončarić, an official of the female Ustasha your organization in Senj, born in Senj.

252. Katica Dragičević, a trader’s widow from Senj.

253. Kristina Zrinjski, a supervisor in the tobacco factory in Senj, very dangerous.

254. Olga Boras, a supervisor in the tobacco factory in Senj, born in Senj, very dangerous.

(On the eve of the 1991-1995 civil war, the author of this article distributed these lists of cutthroats to the people in Gospić and Lika in order to warn them that revamped Croatian Ustashas, sons and grandsons of these very Ustashas from the list, would try and do the same thing. Among others, the list was delivered to dentist Milan Vujnović during his stay in Belgrade in May 1991. As we all know, many Serbs from Gospić did not manage to get away in time so they were butchered just as their ancestors had been in 1941.)

By analysing the list of Ustashas from the camps, it is obvious that the perpetrators were members of the confessionary (conversional) international Croatian nation. The named Ustashas are mostly Croatianized foreigners and religious converts (converted people, i.e. Catholicised and Croatianized Serbs of the Orthodox and Muslim faith). The list of Ustashas from the camps, with detailed description of the slaughter and mutilation, speaks about the blood thirst of religious fanatics who in 20th century were supposed to be an anachronous recidivism of the past cruel religious (Roman Catholic-Protestant) wars waged throughout Europe. Dozens of “robed camp officers” (Roman Catholic priests) testify of the fanaticised ideology of the Roman Catholic Church who used a special upbringing to turn their seminary students into fanaticised followers who were always ready to become executioners of the members of the Orthodox or Moses’ faith.

The unfortunate events from 1941-1945, 1971, 1991-1995, have completely confirmed the predominant anti-Serbian attitude of Roman Catholic Croats and their unexplained hatred towards Orthodox Serbs. With this article, we give a testimony on the instigators and executors of the crimes in the Bloody Lika Summer in 1941, a testimony that was not easy to write, primarily due to painful associations to ancestors, relatives and neighbours who died, but also to Serbs that were brought to Gospić and its surrounding area from all over the Independent State of Croatia. I wish to thank the man who initiated the establishment of the Jadovno Association, and the man who published these proceedings – Dušan Bastašić, who with his extraordinary energy gave a decisive contribution so that the memory of the Gospić system of death camps and the great Serbian place of suffering – Jadovno is preserved from the oblivion.


The article reconstructs and analyses, on the historic micro area of Lika and the coast under Mount Velebit together with the island of Pag, the phenomenon of overt hatred of the members of the Croatian nation towards the Serbs, which appeared as soon as that nation was created in the second half of 19th century, and especially by the anti-Serbian demagogy of the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church. It also analyses “secular” instigators, such as the anti-Serbian ideologists from Lika Ante Starčević, Andrija Artuković and Mile Budak, and then perpetrators of numerous crimes (“executors”) in the Gospić system of death camps, which spanned from Gospić (“collection site”), the village of Jadovno, Tribanj, Šibuljina, Karlobag all the way to the island of Pag (Slano). The infamous criminals have been portrayed and named in all their obscurity and blood thirst. Therefore, the article stresses the causes of the genocidal behaviour of the most of Roman Catholic population united in the Croatian nation. It discovers the cause of genocidal behaviour, i.e. mentality and character of a loyal believer and positive Roman Catholic, who during his frequent contacts with a priest, during so-called daily confessions, simply accepts priest’s ways of thinking and behaviour towards the so-called heterodox, heretics and schismatic people. These very categories of believers and non-believers are the main victims of the Ustasha genocide – Serbs (“schismatic”), Jews and a small number unitary liberal Croats (Yugoslav nationalists).

[1] Đ. Zatezalo, Jadovno – the Complex of Ustasha Camps in 1941, book I and II, Belgrade, 2007.

[2] N. Žutić, Roman Catholic Church and the Croatian Nation – From the Illyrian Idea to the Realization of the Great Croatia 1453 – 1941, Belgrade, 1997, pg. 64.

[3] Ibid, pg. 65.

[4] Šime Stračević, “philologist”, born in Žitnik on 18 April, 1784, and died in Karlobag on 14 May 1859. He was educated in Varaždin, Zagreb and Gratz, finished theology studies in Senj, where he was a teacher for a time. From 1814 he was a vicar in Karlobag. Starčević’s most important work was New Illyrian Grammar, published in Trieste in 1812. In the “Dalmatia Herald” he published the grammar of “people’s Ikavian speech” in sequels from issue 34 to 57 in 1849/1850 under the title Ričoslovlje (Grammar). He had an idea to unite “Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Bosnia, Slavonia and Croatia” under one literary language (Shtokavian), because they are “not so much different in their speech”. He advocated Shtokavian literary language with Ikavian pronunciation based on the “folk”, i.e. Serbian Bunjevac basis. He was a strong opponent of Ljudevit Gaj’s orthography and advocated the Dalmatian “verstopis” (orthography). He also published two books with religious content (Short Lesson on Morality, Zadar 1807 and Homilies or Interpretation of Gospels, Zadar, 1850. People who wrote about him were Slovenian Branko Vodnik (Priest Šime Starčević, Veda, 1912), Ljudevit Jonke (Literary Language in Theory and Practice, Zagreb, 1965), V. Anić “Accent in Šime Starčević’s Grammar”, in: “Papers of the Faculty of Philosophy in Zadar”, 1967).

[5] M. D. Došen, Ante Starčević 1823-1923, “This issue of the A Lika Croat was dedicated to 100 anniversary of Starčević’s birth”, “A Lika Croat”, issue 17, 17 May, 1923, Year II.

[6]N. Žutić, Roman Catholic Church and the Croats, Belgrade, 1997; Serb Roman Catholics, so-called Croats, Belgrade, 2006; Vatican, Serbia and Yugoslavia 1853-1935, Belgrade, 2008, and other.

[7]Archives of Yugoslavia, State Committee for War Crimes of Occupying Forces and Their Aids, f. 29, Concentration Camp Slano on the Island of Pag.

[8] Archives of Yugoslavia, State Committee for War Crimes of Occupying Forces and Their Aids, folder 502, report by Tomislav Dominis, a member of the County War Crimes Committee in Zadar, on the slaughter of 68 persons from Tribanj Šibuljina committed by Ustashas on 10 August, 1941.

[9] Ibid.

[10] The County War Crimes Commission for the Croatian Coast in Sušak, sent a report in February 1946 that next to all pits that had been found “there are still visible remains of burned bones and ashes from the time when Italians burned the corpses of the victims” (Ibid).

[11]Archives of Yugoslavia, the State Committee of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia for War Crimes of the Occupying Forces and Their Aids, f. 29, the Country Committee for War Crimes of Occupying Forces and Their Aids, Zagreb, 2 April, 1946.


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