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"The Holocaust"

"The destruction of European Jewry 1933 - 1945"

by Nora Levin 

Published by: The Schocken Books, New York 
Edition 1973

Library of Congress Catalog #: 67-23676

Page 514 - 517

In Croatia, the Nazis also achieved their "solution".

The puppet state of Croatia was created in great haste on April 10, 1941, after Yugoslavia was crushed... By April 16, the most important offices had been filled and Ante Pavelic, founder of the terrorist Ustasha movement and instigator of the assassination of the former Yugoslav King Alexander, became the head of state. Fascist Croatia had been created and guaranteed not only by Germany but by Italy as well. However, the two occupying powers never completely controlled Pavelic...

The precise boundaries dividing Italian and German spheres of influence in Croatia were never clearly drawn. The Italian occupation zone included almost half of Croatia proper, Dalmatia and Montenegro; part of this area was officially annexed by Italy...

The Ustashi were fanatics bent on the destruction of both Serbs and Jews. The movement was formed at the end of World War I to protest the union of Serbia and Croatia. During the interwar period of exile in Italy and Hungary, the Ustashi perpetrated acts of sabotage and political assassination while awaiting the day of reckoning. When unleashed after April 1941, the Ustashi murdered and tortured Jews and Serbs in indescribably bestial fashion. One of the most notorious camps in Hitler's Europe, Jasenovac, was in Croatia. Here the Ustashi used primitive implements in putting their victims to death - knives, axes, hammers and other iron tools. A characteristic method was binding pairs of prisoners, back to back, and then throwing them into the Sava River. One source estimates that 770,000 Serbs, 40,000 Gypsies and 20,000 Jews were done to death in the Jasenovac camp.

The new Croat [Ustasha] Government lost no time in introducing anti-Jewish measures. On April 30, a definition of the term "Jew" was framed and within a short time the government enacted all the measures which German experts had toiled over for eight years...

The economic destruction of the 30,000 Croat Jews came swiftly within the first few months. A wave of massacres then struck the Jews in the summer of 1941. Survivors were sent to the three labor-extermination camps of Jasenovac, Laborgrad and Pag Island, north of Zadar, and to the salt mines at Karlovac and Yudovo...

There remained only one problem: about 5,000 Jews lived in the Italian-occupied zone of Croatia where none of the anti-Jewish laws had yet been applied. There, as in southern France and Greece, the Germans tried to goad the Italians into action against the Jews but failed. General Mario Roatta, the commanding general in the Italian Military Zone II, centered around Dubrovnik and Mostar, was especially obdurate. He had promised equal treatment to all [!] inhabitants under his jurisdiction, refusing even to evict Jewish tenants from their apartments to make room for the German Todt Organization. His explanation was simply that anti-Jewish measures were "incompatible with the honor of the Italian Army."...

The Italians flatly refused to surrender any Jews. After fall of Mussolini, a representative in the Foreign Ministry of the Badoglio Government urged General Roatta not to surrender the Croatian Jews under any circumstances. In September 1943, however, after the Italian armstice, the Italian zone disappeared altogether. Some Jew went into hiding; other joined Tito's partisans (a detachment in the fourth Partisan Brigade won special distinction),...

In April 1944, Kasche made a final report to Berlin, in which he declared that the Jewish question in Croatia had been solved except for three categories: honorary Aryans, Jews in mixed marriages and Mischlinge the same groups that could not be completely erased in the Reich itself. In the meantime, Pavelic had had his hands full dealing with partisans who raged throughout Croatia from Zemun [suburb of Belgrade] to Zagreb. The Ustashi fought them with savage inhumanity, making a common practice of gorging out their eyes and collecting them in wicker baskets. But Pavelic's power shrank as the partisan movement swelled and German victory receded. By the spring of 1944, when he visited Hitler in Klessheim, his power had become so restricted that he was known derisively as "the Mayor of Zagreb."...

End quote.

See, also, excerpts from the same book on the subject of Hitler's attack on Yugoslavia (pp. 508-509). See how brave Serbs said NO to Hitler "at the moment of his greatest power." The Serbs said "Rather war than the pact [with Hitler]", "Rather death than slavery." ... Hitler's personal hatred of the Serbs made him postpone attack against Russia - "a delay that would prove crucial."


 -  More quotes from the same book


 -  Common suffering of Jews and Serbs

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Last revised: September 25, 1997