Jasenovac – The Essence of Horror

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 by the governing Ustaše regime and not operated by Nazi Germany. It was one of the largest concentration camps in Europe and the camp 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”.

In Jasenovac the majority of victims were ethnic Serbs, others were Jews, Roma, 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.