Principal Deputy High Representative Michael Scanlan and Deputy High Representative, Marianne Berecz paid respects to Jasenovac victims at Donja Gradina memorial site on Sunday. Honoring victims and survivors we must make sure such atrocities never happen again. We must never forget.
The Jasenovac concentration camp was an extermination camp established in Slavonia by the authorities of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. The camp was established and operated solely by the governing Ustaše regime rather than by Nazi Germany as in the rest of occupied Europe. It was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe and it has been referred to as “the Auschwitz of the Balkans” and “the Yugoslav Auschwitz”.
It was established in August 1941 in marshland at the confluence of the Sava and Una rivers near the village of Jasenovac, and was dismantled in April 1945. It was “notorious for its barbaric practices and the large number of victims”. Unlike German Nazi-run camps, Jasenovac “specialized in one-on-one violence of a particularly brutal kind” and prisoners were primarily murdered manually with the use of blunt objects such as knives, hammers and axes.
In Jasenovac the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs (as part of the Genocide of the Serbs); others were Jews (The Holocaust), Roma (The Porajmos), and some political dissidents. Jasenovac was a complex of five subcamps spread over 210 km2 (81 sq mi) on both banks of the Sava and Una rivers. The largest camp was the “Brickworks” camp at Jasenovac, about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Zagreb. The overall complex included the Stara Gradiška sub-camp, the killing grounds across the Sava river at Donja Gradina, five work farms, and the Uštica Roma camp.