[Editors note: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of one of the most cruel and ruthless genocides of the 20th century and one that has been largely forgotten. However VT has reported at length on this issue in the past:
Jasenovac was Croatia’s largest death camp. It was a network of several sub-camps, established in August 1941. It certainly was a death camp, since the plan was to exterminate all its inmates.
In Jasenovac the Ustasha guards competed in killing contests, on an artisanal level. The Croat Ustashas, the military wing of a clerical party whose symbol was the knife and crucifix, appeared to enjoy the burdensome labor of manual killing; they took pride in saving bullets, as they killed their enemies. They used knives, hammers, axes. Occasionally they used saws.
The number of people murdered in the Jasenovac death camp system is unknown. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs perished there, together with Jews, Gypsies, Croat partisans, and other Croat opponents of the Ustasha regime.
The event is held at the Memorial Area Donja Gradina to mark 75 years since the beginning of the genocide against Serbs, Jews and Roma in the death camp Jasenovac, the Serbian government announced on its website.
Donja Gradina is located on the right bank of the Sava River and is now in the Serb Republic (RS) – the Serb entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the Second World War, it was controlled by the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH), whose Ustasha regime operated the death camps.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and RS President Milorad Dodik will both speak at the event.
The commemoration will also be attended by representatives of the two governments, the Serbian National Assembly, the RS Assembly, and other state organs, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Alliance of Jewish Communities, the Roma national minority, and other associations and citizens.
The Independent State of Croatia’s system of concentration camps, headquartered in Jasenovac, was established on August 21, 1941. Around 700,000 people were killed there, mostly Serbs, Jews, and Roma.