The second study visit took place on 25 November, 2017, and was dedicated to the Jasenovac camp complex, and the Jasenovac concentration camp. The Jasenovac concentration camp was established in August 1941 and dismantled in April 1945. It was operated by Ustaše (Croatian fascist militia which governed the Independent State of Croatia) as a place of mass killings of Serbs, Jews, Roma and antifascists. According to the most reliable estimates, between 120,000 and 130,000 people had been killed in Jasenovac. At the time of its existence, it was presented to the Croatian public as a labour camp, where people were sent to perform forced labour. Even though a part of the prisoners was used as a workforce in the solid brick production, agricultural works and levee construction at the Sava River, the issue of forced labour as a form of punishment for certain categories of the population had become the driving narrative for concealing the actual operations carried out in the camp.This narrative is used even today by those who deny the actual purpose of the Jasenovac concentration camp, which was the extermination camp.
On the other hand, in the late spring of 1942, at the request of the German forces, several thousand detainees were transferred from the camp to the Sajmištecamp, from where they were supposed to be transferred to the Germany as forced labourers. However, the majority of prisoners were in very poor health and physical condition, and they were returned to the Jasenovac camp where they were killed. A few months later all the inhabitants of the town of Mlaka near Jasenovac were transferred to the Sajmiste camp and later to Germany. In 1942 their houses were used as detention facilities for the Roma population that the Ustasha authorities picked up throughout the country, and later killed.
During the visit, a group of about 70 people visited the Jasenovaccommemorative heritage site, where the director of the heritage site gave a tour of the location of the former camp and the permanent museum exhibition. After that, the group visited the village of Jasenovac, where the experts of theJasenovacCommittee organization talked about the current state of the site and the memory of the suffering that took place. The end of the visit was dedicated to the Gradina memorial area, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a place that served as the site for mass killings of prisoners from 1941 to 1945.
Visit to Jasenovac memorial site, conversations with Ivo Pejaković and Dragoslav Ilić.