Jadovno concentration camp

The Jadovno concentration camp was a concentration and extermination camp in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. Commanded by Juco Rukavina, it was the first of twenty-six concentration camps in the NDH during the war. Established in a secluded area about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the town of Gospić, it held thousands of Serbs and Jews over a period of 122 days from May to August 1941. Inmates were usually killed by being pushed into deep ravines located near the camp. Estimates of the number of deaths at Jadovno range from 10,000 to 68,000, mostly Serbs. The camp was closed on 21 August 1941, and the area where it was located was later handed over to the Kingdom of Italy and became part of Italian Zones II and III. Jadvono was replaced by the greater sized Jasenovac concentration camp and its extermination facilities.

The camp site remained unexplored after the war due to the depth of the gorges where bodies were disposed and the fact that some of them had been filled with concrete by Yugoslavia's Communist authorities. Additional sites containing the skeletal remains of camp victims were uncovered in the 1980s. Commemoration ceremonies honouring the victims of the camp have been organized by the Serb National Council (SNV), the Jewish community in Croatia, and local anti-fascists since 2009, and 24 June has since been designated as a "Day of Remembrance of the Jadovno Camp" in Croatia. A monument commemorating those killed in the camp was constructed in 1975 and stood for fifteen years before being removed in 1990. A replica of the original monument was constructed and dedicated in 2010, but disappeared within twenty-four hours of its inauguration.

Concentration and extermination camp
A photograph of a deep hole amid moss-covered rocks.
The Šaran pit, located one kilometer from the camp.
Jadovno concentration camp is located in NDH
Jadovno concentration camp
Location of Jadovno within the Independent State of Croatia
Coordinates44°32′18″N 15°14′20″E / 44.5382°N 15.2388°ECoordinates: 44°32′18″N 15°14′20″E / 44.5382°N 15.2388°E
LocationNear Gospić, Independent State of Croatia
Operated byUstaše
OperationalApril 1941 – August 1941
InmatesPrimarily Serbs and Jews
KilledEstimates generally range from 10,000–68,000
Notable inmates



On 6 April 1941, Axis forces invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Poorly equipped and trained, the Royal Yugoslav Army was quickly defeated.[1] After the invasion, the extreme Croat nationalist and fascist Ante Pavelić, who had been in exile in Benito Mussolini's Italy, was appointed Poglavnik ("leader") of an Ustaše-led Croatian state – the Independent State of Croatia (often called the NDH, from the Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska).[2] The NDH combined most of modern Croatia, all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and parts of modern Serbia into an "Italian-German quasi-protectorate".[3] NDH authorities, led by the Ustaše militia,[4] then implemented genocidal policies against the Serb, Jewish and Romani populations living in the new state.[5]

Aiming to exterminate the entire Serb population of the NDH,[6] the Ustaše sought to murder one-third of Serbs, convert one-third to Roman Catholicism, and force the rest from the country.[7] A series of massacres were committed by the Ustaše, and the degree of cruelty with which the Serb population was persecuted shocked even the Germans.[8]

The Cyrillic script was banned, Orthodox Christian church schools were closed, and Serbs were ordered to wear identifying armbands.[9] Similar measures were enacted against Jews, who were required to wear a yellow armband with a black-on-yellow Star of David for identification. These armbands bore the word "Jew" in two languages: German ("Jude") and Croatian ("Židov").[10]


Located in a secluded area about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the town of Gospić,[11] the Jadovno camp was formed during the early stages of the persecution of Serbs in the NDH[12] and was placed under the command of the Ustaša Juco Rukavina.[11] Intended as an extermination camp, it was established between 11 and 15 April 1941[12] and was the first of twenty-six concentration camps located in the NDH during the war.[13]

Most inmates at Ustaše camps – including Jadovno – were Croatian Serbs.[14] Other victims included Jews and anti-Ustaše Croats.[11] Notable Jadovno inmates included the Croatian Jewish mayor of Koprivnica, Ivica Hiršl,[15] and the Croatian Jewish Communist Aleksandar Savić.[16]

Immediately, the Ustaše trucked several hundred detainees to a site intended almost exclusively for extermination near Gospić. Located on Mount Velebit, the town contained gorges – some up to 91.5 metres (300 ft) deep – that were used as dumping grounds.[12] The Jadovno camp itself was surrounded by such abysses (Serbo-Croatian: jame) which were difficult to gain access to and characteristic of the karstic mountain range. The camp itself acted as a "way station" en route to these pits.[11] Here, prisoners had to work the entire day with almost no food until exhaustion.

The nearest pit to the camp was the Šaran pit, located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) away, while the pit where inmates were executed and dumped was 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the camp.[17] Here, inmates were bound together in a line and the first few victims were murdered with rifle butts or other objects. Afterwards, an entire row of inmates were pushed into the ravine.[18] In some cases, inmates were also killed by gunfire, as well as with knives and blunt objects. Once inmates were thrown into the ravine, hand grenades were hurtled inside in order to kill off the victims. Dogs would also be thrown in to feed on the wounded and the dead.[12][18] The pits in the vicinity of the camp were filled with the bodies of Jewish and later Serb inmates. However, killings were not confined to these two groups, and the bodies of some Croats and Roma were disposed of in this fashion as well.[18]

By the end of June, the Ustaše transferred several hundred Jewish families from Zagreb to Jadovno.[19] Afterwards, the camp was visited by Ustaše commander Vjekoslav Luburić, who opened his visit by cutting the throat of a two-year-old Jewish child. Luburić then forced a camp guard to murder and squash the skull of a second child with his foot.[20] The last group of inmates at Jadovno were killed with machine guns.[17]

The camp was closed on 21 August 1941, and the remaining Croat inmates were transferred to other NDH-controlled camps, while the remaining Serbs and Jews were murdered.[12] Work on the replacement Jasenovac concentration camp started in the same month. The area in which the Jadovno camp was located was later handed over to the Italians[19] and became part of Italian Zones II and III.[21]

Death toll

Jadovno na Velebitu
Monument to the victims of the camp.

The number of deaths at the camp is difficult to establish as many inmates often went unregistered as they were taken directly to the edge of ravines and murdered.[12] The highest recorded estimate of Jadovno deaths was made in 1942 by a former inmate of the Gospić prison, who claimed that 120,000 people were killed. In 1964, a survey of World War II victims by the War Victim Census Commission showed a figure of 1,794 individual victims in Jadovno. The results of this survey were not published until 1989.[22]

The 1960 edition of the Encyclopedia of Yugoslavia states at least 35,000 were killed in Jadovno, with a possible final death toll of 50,000–60,000.[17] The 1967 Military Encyclopedia of Yugoslavia estimates that 72,000 inmates perished in the camp.[11] The 1971 edition of the Encyclopedia of Yugoslavia also revised the number to 72,000, which became the most commonly cited estimate in the 1960s and the 1970s.[23] Rev Atanasije Jevtić stated in 1983 that 80,000 inmates were killed. Historian Jozo Tomasevich said this claim was "exaggerated" and not based on any documentation or detailed investigation.[11] Historian estimates in the late 1980s and the 1990s mostly ranged from 15,000 to 48,000 victims.[24]

A 2007 research study by historian Đuro Zatezalo, using 17 archives,[25] estimated that the total number of deaths at the camp was 40,123 (38,010 Serbs, 1,998 Jews, 88 Croats and 27 others) and listed the names of 10,502 identified victims, of whom 9,663 were Serbs, 762 Jews, 55 Croats and 22 others.[23] 1,029 children were identified (1,014 Serb and 15 Jewish),[25] as was 55 Serbian Orthodox priests according to Zatezalo's data. As it operated over a period of 122 days, this would suggest that an average of 329 people were killed there every day.[12] Paul Mojzes cites Zatezalos's data.[12]

According to a 2009 research by the Belgrade Museum of Genocide Victims, between 15,300–15,900 people were killed in the Gospić, Jadovno and Pag camps.[26] Sources generally offer a range of 10,000–68,000 deaths at the camp. Estimates of the number of Jewish deaths range from several hundred[12] to 2,500–2,800.[18]

Aftermath and legacy

The Jadovno camp site remained unexplored after the war due to the depth of the gorges where bodies were disposed of and the fact that some of these had been filled with concrete by Yugoslavia's Communist authorities. Additional sites containing the skeletal remains of camp victims were uncovered in the 1980s.[12]

Commemoration ceremonies honouring the victims of the camp have been organized by the Serb National Council (SNV), representatives of the Jewish community in Croatia, and local anti-fascists since 2009. 24 June has since been designated as a Day of Remembrance of the Jadovno Camp in Croatia. A monument commemorating those who perished was constructed in 1975 and stood for fifteen years before being removed in 1990 prior to the outbreak of ethnic violence during the Croatian War of Independence. A replica of the original monument was constructed and dedicated in 2010, but disappeared within twenty-four hours of its inauguration.[27]

See also


  1. ^ Cohen 1996, p. 28.
  2. ^ Goldstein 1999, p. 133.
  3. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 272.
  4. ^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 397–409.
  5. ^ Hoare 2007, pp. 20–24.
  6. ^ Cox 2007, p. 224.
  7. ^ Velikonja 2003, p. 165.
  8. ^ Cox 2007, p. 225.
  9. ^ Judah 2000, p. 126.
  10. ^ Donia 2006, p. 174.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Tomasevich 2001, p. 726.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mojzes 2011, p. 60.
  13. ^ Israeli 2013, p. 184.
  14. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 747.
  15. ^ Kraus 1998, p. 382.
  16. ^ Romano 1980, p. 478.
  17. ^ a b c Israeli 2013, p. 67.
  18. ^ a b c d Mojzes 2009, p. 160.
  19. ^ a b Cohen 1996, p. 91.
  20. ^ Balen 1952, pp. 78–80.
  21. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 399.
  22. ^ Geiger 2011, p. 730.
  23. ^ a b Geiger 2011, pp. 730–31.
  24. ^ Geiger 2011, p. 733.
  25. ^ a b Mirkovic 2010.
  26. ^ Geiger 2011, p. 732.
  27. ^ RTS 29 June 2013.


Journals and documents
  • Švarc, B. (2006). "The Testimony of a Survivor of Jadovno and Jasenovac". In Lituchy, Barry (ed.). Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia: Analyses and Survivor Testimonies. New York: Jasenovac Research Institute.
  • Zatezalo, Đ. (2007). "Jadovno: kompleks ustaških logora 1941" [Jadovno: complex of Ustascha camps in 1941]. Belgrade: Muzej žrtava genocida.
  • Zatezalo, Đ. (2011). "The Jadovno complex of ustascha concentration camps 1941". First International Conference on Ustasha Concentration Camps in Jadovno-Gospic 1941. Belgrade: Muzej žrtava genocida.
  • Mirkovic, D. (2010). "Book reviews: Jadovno: Kompleks ustaskih logora 1941 [Jadovno: A Complex of Ustasha Camps, 1941] Djuro Zatezalo". Journal of Genocide Research. 12 (1–2): 141–143. doi:10.1080/14623521003633503.
News articles

External links

Aleksandar Savić

Aleksandar Savić (born Alel Schwarz; 1923 – 1941) was a young Croatian communist and member of the resistance movement in Croatia, murdered during the Holocaust.

Savić was born in Zagreb to a Jewish family, the son of Miroslav Savić and Ina Juhn-Broda. His father changed the family surname from Schwarz to Savić due to the increasingly intense antisemitism in the 1930s.Savić joined the Young Communist League of Yugoslavia - SKOJ (from Serbo-Croatian: Savez komunističke omladine Jugoslavije) during high school education. Savić was influenced by Beno Stein (a Croatian communist and medical internist, whose apartment was a favorite meeting place for leftist intellectuals) and his mother communist activities. Savić attended the gymnasium in Zagreb, where he led the SKOJ activities and was member of the SKOJ high school leadership in Zagreb.Savić gathered the SKOJ advanced youth and held illegal meetings in his apartment. With the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia in 1941, he joined the resistance movement in Croatia. He participated in the writing of anti-fascist slogans and distribution of leaflets. On 24–25 May 1941, he was arrested with the group of 165 young Jewish men. He was deported to the Danica concentration camp near Koprivnica. Later he was deported to the Jadovno concentration camp where he was killed by Ustaše in July 1941; he was 17 or 18 years old.

Armin Schreiner

Armin Mordekhai Schreiner (25 February 1874 – 29 November 1941) was influential Croatian industrialist, banker, Jewish activist and member of the first Freemasonry Jewish Lodge Zagreb No. 1090 independent order of B'nai B'rith.Schreiner was born on 25 February 1874 to Yaakov and Khana Schreiner. He was Jewish, considered himself non-Zionists and was married to Roza Schreiner. He and his wife had six children; daughters Mira (b. 1915) and Ella (b. 1902), and sons; Leo (now Arie Aharoni, b. 1913), Ferdinand (b. 1901), Hadumi (b. 1908), Vladimir (b. 1909), and Otto (b. 1912). He was the owner of multiple factories, among them brick factory "Zagorka" (now "Tondach Hrvatska") in Bedekovčina. He was also the vice president of "Gradska štedionica" (now "Zagrebačka banka") and vice president of the "Industrialists Union".Schreiner's suffered terrible devastation during the Holocaust. Schreiner was killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp in 1941. His wife and daughter were killed on August 1941, at the Pag concentration camp. His son Vladimir was killed in 1941 at Jadovno concentration camp, son Otto in 1941 at Thessaloniki, and son Ferdinand, with his 7-year-old daughter Helga, in 1942 at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Schreiner son Arie was the only one who survived the Holocaust.

Association for Serbian language and literature in Croatia

Association for Serbian language and literature in Croatia is a nonprofit professional organization that brings together scientists and technical workers engaged in studying and teaching of Serbian language and literature in Croatia. The association operates throughout Croatia and its headquarters is in Vukovar.

In early 2011, the association issued first edition of the Proceedings which was presented at many schools and institutions in Croatia and the region. Publishing of the book was financed from funds of Vukovar city, Trpinja, Markušica, Šodolovci, Erdut municipalities and from private donations.The association has organized a number of seminars.In their work, the association collaborates with professors from the University of Belgrade, University of Zagreb, University of Novi Sad and with Matica srpska, Joint Council of Municipalities, The Institute for the Serbian language in Belgrade etc.

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Tepljuh

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Democratic Alliance of Serbs

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Gymnasium Vukovar

Gymnasium Vukovar (Serbo-Croatian: Gimnazija Vukovar/Гимназија Вуковар) is a secondary school situated in Vukovar, Croatia. Gymnasium Vukovar carries the educational programs of general secondary school, science and language direction. Classes are held in Croatian and Serbian language. In the school year 2007/2008, 384 students were enrolled. Of these, there were 248 female and 136 male students.

High School Dalj

High School Dalj is a public high school in Dalj, Erdut municipality, Croatia. The school offers the students the following educational programs: Economist, Commercial Officer (in Serbian), Agricultural Technician and Agricultural Technician General. In accordance with rights derived from Erdut Agreement Serbian minority in this school use right of education in minority language. For this reason, students can attend classes in Croatian or Serbian language and Serbian Cyrillic alphabet.

Independent Democratic Serb Party

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Ivica Hiršl

Ivica "Ivina" Hiršl (1905 – 1941) was a Croatian communist and Mayor of Koprivnica who was killed during the Holocaust.Hiršl was born in Koprivnica to a Jewish family. His father was a merchant who owned an inn in Koprivnica. Hiršl completed high-school education in his native town in 1923. Hiršl attended and graduated from the University of Paris in 1929.Fluent in French, Hiršl was a member of the Yugoslav Communist Party, and during his two-year stay in Paris, he was also a member of the French Communist Party. His communist activities were pursued in the framework of the Alliance française, where intellectuals gathered to learn French, so that they could develop political, cultural and artistic activities in Koprivnica. Returning to Koprivnica, he worked as a theatre actor at the Alliance française.In 1935 he was employed as teacher at the Koprivnica gymnasium. Hiršl distinguished himself as a Kajkavian dialect poet and wrote a linguistic study about the impact of the French language on the Podravina Kajkavian dialect. He was dismissed as a teacher in the Koprivnica gymnasium because of his communist activities. In 1939, supported by Mihovil Pavlek Miškina, Hiršl was elected Mayor of Koprivnica. As mayor, he continued his anti-Hitler and communist activities.

In Koprivnica's local press he wrote columns Priča se i piše (There is a talk and it is written) and Politički kutić (Political nook). He also wrote columns Ivina z vugla (Ivina angle) and Ivina z drugoga vugla (Ivina second angle), in which he ridiculed the government of the time. During World War II, Hiršl was transferred to Vinkovci as punishment, and in 1941 he was among the first arrested in Koprivnica by the Ustaše. He was deported to Jadovno concentration camp where he was killed.Hiršl was known by his nickname, "Ivina". He was a member of the Croatian Mountaineering Association and was particularly knowledgeable on Bilogora. In his honor Koprivnica Gymnasium teacher Vladimir Blašković proposed on 29 November 1975 that Koprivnica mountaineers rename the highest Bilogora peak as Ivina peak.

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The Main Staff was formed on 16 October 1992, and its activities started on 27 November of the same year. During its existence, the Main Staff had constant problems with personnel.

Museum of Serbs of Croatia

Museum of Serbs of Croatia (Croatian: Muzej Srba u Hrvatskoj, Serbian Cyrillic: Музеј Срба у Хрватској) was a public museum in Zagreb, which was specialized in history of Serbs of Croatia. Museum existed from 1946 till 1963 when it became part of Croatian History Museum. Today, part of the material is kept in Museum of Metropolitanate of Zagreb and Ljubljana, part in Prosvjeta, some in Museum of Croatian History and part of them were destroyed in mining of Museum of Metropolitanate of Zagreb and Ljubljana on 11 April 1992 during War in Croatia. In 2009, on 65 anniversary of Prosvjeta, organization has launched an initiative for restoration of museum work.

Orahovica Monastery

The Orahovica Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Orahovica, Croatia. It is mentioned in 1583 when it was a seat of the Požega metropolitanate and an important culturo-religious center, located in the then Virovitica County. It is thought to have been built before the end of the 15th century.


Srpsko privredno društvo "Privrednik" (Serbian Cyrillic: Српско привредно друштво "Привредник"; English: Serbian Business Association "Privrednik") is an organization of Serbian minority in Croatia, which is aimed to creating and increasing economic opportunities in rural areas where majority of Serbs live in Croatia, as well as development of professional skills of individuals. Privrednik is a registered nongovernmental, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.

Radio Borovo

Radio Borovo (Serbian Cyrillic: Радио Борово) is Serbian language radio station serving primarily Serb national minority in the eastern Croatia. It has a local broadcasting license for the municipality of Borovo, Croatia. Its frequency is 100,7 MHz FM and it is listened in Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja County and in Vojvodina in neighboring Serbia Radio Borovo is an independent radio station privately owned, registered as a limited liability company - "Rhapsody", with 75% of initial capital owned by workers, and 25% owned by the municipality of Borovo. This radio station is the most popular minority radio station in Croatia. Through 2011 radio stations celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Due to its promotion of human and minority rights radio station is often collaborateing with the NGO sector.

Serb People's Radical Party

The Serbian People's Radical Party (Serbian: Српска народна радикална странка, Srpska narodna radikalna stranka) was an ethnic Serb political party in Austria-Hungary.

It was a sister party of the People's Radical Party in Serbia.

It was one of the founders of the Serbo-Croat coalition (1905) that governed the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, but it left the Coalition soon afterwards.

In 1918, it had two representatives in the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs.

Slana concentration camp

Slana concentration camp was a concentration and extermination camp on the Croatian island Pag.

The camp was established in June 1941 in Metajna. It was established by Mijo Babić and controlled by the Ustaše, who had been installed as rulers of the puppet state of Croatia by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Slana was a men's camp. Most prisoners were Jews, Serbs and Croatian communists. The commander of the camp was Ivan Devčević, who was also a commander of the 13th Ustaša battalion which was garrisoned in the camp.The camp was closed in August 1941 by the Italian military, who feared that the brutality of the Ustaše would provoke unrest in the region. Historians have estimated the death toll in Slana and the women's camp Metajna to be between 4,000 and 12,000. During the first weeks the inmates mainly died of physical abuse, exhaustion, hunger and thirst. When the transports became more frequent and the camp lacked space, the Ustaše began to execute many prisoners. The Author Ante Zemljar wrote a book about what happened in Slana in 1941: Charon and Destinies.

St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery

St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery (Serbian Latin: Manastir Sv. Vasilija Ostroškog) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog located in the village of Crnogorci near the town of Imotski in Dalmatia, Croatia. The construction of the monastery began in 2005, and it had been suspended in 2006 after protests from the municipality of Podbablje.

Špiro Bocarić

Spiridon "Špiro" Bocarić (Serbian Cyrillic: Спиридон Шпиро Боцарић; 24 May 1876 – 19 July 1941) was a Serbian painter.He was killed by the Croatian fascist Ustaše on 19 July 1941 at the Jadovno concentration camp near Gospić and his body was thrown in the Šaran pit.

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