A history of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War
by Professor Martin Gilbert
Published by: Holt, Rinehart and Wilson, New York
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Martin Gilbert, a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, is the official biographer of Winston Churchill. He has published more than thirty books and atlases. He is one of England's most distinguished and versatile historians.
On Sunday, 6 April 1941, Palm Sunday, the Germans invaded Yugoslavia and Greece. There were many thousands of Jews serving in the Yugoslav and Greek armies. As both both countries were overwhelmed by the force of German onslaught, Jews fell alongside their fellow soldiers-in-arm. On April 13 German troops entered Belgrade. There, according to one account, the first civilian to be shot in cold blood was a Jewish tailor, who, as German troops marched by, spat at the column and shouted out, "You will all perish."(End quote)
In Yugoslavia occupied by Germans, Italians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, all contributed to slaughter of Serbs and Jews... Here is a detail of the Hungarian Nazi contribution:
Pages 287 - 288:
In Yugoslavia, in the last week of January , Hungarian soldiers ran amok, killing several thousand Jews and Serbs. On January 23, at Novi Sad [Vojvodina, Serbia], 550 Jews and 292 Serbs were driven on to ice of the Danube, which was then shelled. The ice broke, and the victims drowned. At Stari Becej, on January 26 and the two following days, a hundred Jews and a hundred Serbs were slaughtered. At Titel, thirty five of the thirty six Jews living in the village were killed. These killings, seen and publicized, led the Hungarian government to charge the senior Hungarian officer responsible for the murder of six thousand Serbs and four thousand Jews: before he could be brought to trial, however, he fled to Germany...
By the end of 1942 the once vibrant pre-war Jewish community of Yugoslavia had been destroyed: at four camps, Lobograd, Jasenovac, Stara Gradiska and Djakovo [all in "Independent State of Croatia], more than 30,000 men, women and children had been starved, tortured and shot. More than 4,500 Jews, escaped from their homes, joined the Yugoslav pertisans. Of those Jews who fought with the partisans, 1,318 were killed in battle....
In Croatia, Soviet forces were sweeping the German forces nortward to the Austrian border. One last camp remained to be liberated, Jasenovac, where tens of thousands of Yugoslav Jews had been murdered. By April 1945 there were only a thousand Jews and Serbs still alive in the camp. On April 22, six hundred of them rose in revolt. The guards had no hesitation in opening fire, and five hundred and twenty prisoners were shot down. But eighty [80 people out of 600,000+ Jasenovac inmates!] managed to escape, among them twenty Jews.
[BACK TO:] Common suffering of Jews and Serbs
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First posted: August 14, 1997