What happened at Jasenovac?

Ustasa militia execute prisoners near the Jasenovac concentration camp (1942 – 1943). Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade

Jasenovac was a complex of five detention camps. They were established, run and guarded between August and November 1941 by the Croatian Ustasa (pronounced oo-stash-ah) government: a regime independent of the Third Reich.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that somewhere between 77,000 and 104,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma, and Croat opponents of the Ustasa regime were brutally murdered there. The Jasenovac Memorial Site has identified by name 83,145 Serbs, Jews, Roma, and anti-fascists who perished in these camps.

Conditions in the camps were brutal, characterised by wild violence, torture and sexual violence. Jasenovac is frequently referred to as the “Auschwitz of the Balkans”.