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A book by Jasenovac survivor:

"Witness to Jasenovac's Hell"

by Ilija Ivanović

Edited by Wanda Schindley, PhD,
Publisher: Dallas Publishing Company, Dallas 2002

Translated by: Aleksandra Lazić

The cover of
Mr. Ivanović's book

The horrors of Jasenovac surpass manyfold anything we know about the dark ages of the Inquisition. The daily mass murder orgies in which Catholic clergy participated directly can hardly be put in words. Every day, every night at Jasenovac was a Bartholomew's Night. Over six hundred thousand men, women and children were butchered in the most bestial fashion. Too few survived to tell the story.

This rare book, translated to English, gives a full view into Jasenovac Hell, the World War II Ustasha, Nazi Croatian death camp.

Whole families, entire villages from Bosnia and Croatia were sent to Jasenovac system of camps. Very few out of hundreds of thousands of people -- Serbs, Jews and Gypsies -- survived the camp. Mr. Ivanović, one of those rare survivors, felt a strong need to tell the story of his survival after he was brought to the camp when barely 13 years old.

One can not understand what happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990's and without knowing about Jasenovac. Very powerful forces, including the Vatican and its Western allies, do not wish you to know.


Daily horrors of Jasenovac

Terrible Torturing

Break out from Jasenovac!
On April 22, 1945, around a thousand remaining survivors know that Ustashas will kill them soon. Nazis, including their Catholic Croat allies, are loosing the war. They are trying to erase evidence of their deeds. Malnourished, helpless, bare-handed inmates charge the armed Ustasha guards. Only round 80 people make it to freedom. Mr. Ivanović is one of the lucky ones.

... More to come ...


EXCERPT from pp. 177-178 of the above book.

Chapter Title:

It Cannot be Forgotten


I was born in 1928 in the village of Gornji Podgradci, in the municipality of Bosanska Gradiška. My father Mile Ivanović and mother Jovanka (maiden name Ninković) had seven children-five daughters and two sons.

Before the war, we were living quite modestly and poor. My parents were illiterate but intelligent people, and they took care to educate their children. Until the war, all of us finished four classes of elementary school except Koviljka, Nikola, and Ranko, who were too small. Marija also finished a vocational school. In our village and also in neighboring villages, my father was highly respected. We were proud of that in him. He and my mother taught us to be honest, diligent, and honorable. Even today, after all these years, old people mention our father with respect.

When the old Yugoslavia fell and Ustashas took over, that honor put him in jail. Immediately, with other respectable people, my father was captured and taken hostage. He ran away and hid with friends in the village of Sovjak until the autumn of 1941 when he went to the Partisans.

After the liberation of Podgradaci, my sisters Mara, Marija, and Zorka were actively working in the National Liberation Resistance, and all three of them were soldiers from 1941. Marija and Zorka were honored for their valor in 1941. At the time of the [Nazi] offensive on [Bosnian Serb majority mountain of] Kozara, Marija succeeded in escaping toward [mountain of] Grmeč. And we, the rest of the members of the family, stayed in the circle. My father hid a weapon somewhere and came with us...

Except Marija, our whole family was taken to the [Ustasha held death] camps at Stara Gradiška, Jablanac, Mlaka, and Jasenovac. Sister Zorka ran away from Jablanac to Gredani and later managed to go across the Sava [a river that separates Bosnia from Croatia Proper] and come back to Podgradci. From Jablanac, with other peers, Ustashas took me to Jasenovac. Mother succeeded to keep the youngest children Koviljka, Nikola, and Ranko with her when they went through the village of Jasenovac. The Ustashas herded them by the camp and loaded them into a cattle car. There they separated my father from them, and we have never discovered what happened to him. Probably, he was immediately herded to Gradina [a part of the Jasenovac system of death camps] and liquidated. The oldest sister Mara was married and, separated from us, went through the camp.

My mother with the three youngest children, after much torturous work and traveling around villages in Slavonia, happily managed to come home to Podgradci.

I stayed in Jasenovac from the middle of July, 1942, until April 22, 1945--about 1,000 days--when, in the famous escape of the last 1,060 prisoners, I managed to avoid the Ustashas dagger or mallet.

I have spent 43 years in freedom, and Jasenovac’s wounds that were etched in my soul have not healed. The memories of all that I experienced and saw are indelible. They can’t be forgotten.

Every year, on that day--April 22--survivors gather, and every year there are fewer and fewer of us. Live witnesses of the horror are dying, the witnesses of the hell of the Ustashas’ camp in Jasenovac. At the end of the war, Ustashas tried to destroy the proof by burning bodies from the massive graves, but they didn’t succeed in that. Still new graves and piles of bones of murdered patriots are being discovered. And seeing those bones haunts me. It’s as if I hear their voices, "Write, Ilija, write. Don’t let them forget, because you are living for us."

If I succeeded at least partly to satisfy that calling, I have paid my debt to my dead peers and to other known and unknown Jasenovac victims, and to today’s and future generations, I have left the truth about the price of freedom.

(End quote)

How to order the book: Send check to $22.95 by ground mail to:
Dallas Publishing Company
P. O. Box 1144
Mt. Pleasant, TX 75456-1144


Other survivors of Jasenovac speak

What was Jasenovac?

Who were Nazi Croats - the Ustashas?

More on WWII Yugoslavia

Nazi Croatia TODAY!!!


Where am I? PATH:

Book of facts

The truth will free us all.
Feel free to download, copy and redistribute.
First posted: October 27, 2007