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Lest we forget

An excerpt from book by: Ms. Ruth Mitchell,

The Serbs choose war

Published by: Garden City; New York; 1943

pp 256-258

Document II


Source: Handwritten report sent by underground channels through Cairo, written by Dr. Theodore Lukac, a Croatian, director of the District Hospital at Mostar, Yugoslavia:

. . . "Meanwhile, 24 days after the first pogrom, that is on June 2, 1941, the real massacre began. Vidovdan [the Serb national holiday] was approaching, and the Ustashis openly said that the Serbs would remember this Vidovdan. We now come to the most treacherous crime committed by the Ustashis. On June 22 Pavelich published an order in the official newspapers, on the wireless, and even through church sermons, that whoever used force against the citizens of the state would be most severely punished. At the same time he sent a coded telegram to each Ustashi group, directing them to carry out by whatever means they wished precisely during the days before Vidovdan the massacre and extermination of the Serbs.

"From June 24th to the 28th over 100,000 Serbs were murdered in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Lika, Croatia, and Srem [Syrmia]. All of them were innocent men. On this occasion they were carried off, not under cover of night, but in full daylight. The Serbs were caught as if they were wild beasts, in the streets, in oficial buildings, and in their ofices. The peasants were caught in their fields. They were thrown into lorries and carried outside the towns, where they were massacred. Many of them were subjected to the most brutal tortures before they were killed ....

"Out of 2,000 Serbs in Livno, over 1,900 were murdered. A few old men and women and some small children got away. At Ljuboski all the Serbs were killed and not one was spared. There perished with them a very popular doctor of the town, Dr. Alexander Lukac.

"In Stolac, all the Serbs, except three old men of over eighty, were put to death. At Ljubinje and in the valley of Popovo polje, more than 8,000 peasants were killed and all the Serbian villagers were completely exterminated.

"Twelve hundred people were killed in Mostar, among them some of the most prominent persons: seven priests, Dr. Valjko Jelashic, the medical officer, the most prominent businessmen such as the brothers Cerekovic, Ljuba Sain, Jovo Oborin, Tosa Mjuhic, and his brother, Dr. Veljko Mjuhic, schoolmasters, engiheers, judges, and the railway officials.

"The remainder of the Serbs were saved either by flight into the forests or else by going into Serbia. For a great deal of money permits to travel to Serbia could be bought from the Gestapo....

"In Bihac and the neighborhood not one Serb remained alive. On the eve of Vidovdan they rounded up the peasants in the neigh bor bood of Bihac and 9,000 men were killed in only four days. The executioners were the gypsy-moslem scum, and they were paid by the Ustashis fifty dinars. A kilogram of mutton, and a kilogram of rakija per hour of murdering.

"But the worst murder occurred in Glina. Each night Serbs were bound and taken (from the concentration camps) to the Orthodox Church, where they were killed with knives. The corpses floated on the blood, and the murderers boasted that they walked in Serbian blood up to their knees.

"In the valley of the Neretva, from Mostar towards Metkovic, all were exterminated; in Capljina only one Serbian remained alive. In the villages of Klepce and Pribilovci, near Capljina, they took away 300 peasants, deceiving them by telling them that they were being taken to work. Then they shut them up in great sheds, which they set alight so that they died of the most terrible suffering....

"The concentration camps were not barracks, but merely open places which had been enclosed or else roofless sheds, with no floors to lie down upon and where people were shut in as if they were animals. For food they were given once a day a lind of soup, which was in fact merely lukewarm water with five or six beans in it. In the course of three weeks, most of them died of acute dysentery. The most infamous of the camps was the one at Jasenica on the Sava , where over 60,000 people succumbed.

"The worst of the women's camps was at Loborgrad. It is impossible to describe the conditions which women had to endure. They could not wash, and they had to lie down on the filth. All the young ones were raped, and girls of fourteen were found to be pregnant. The camp on the island of Pag was the scene of the most terrible bloodshed. There were about 4,500 Serbs there, 2,500 Jews, and about 1,500 Great Nationalists, Communists, and so-called Freemasons. They also lived in the open, and thirty were murdered under particularly brutal circumstances. When the Ustashis heard that Pag would again be taken over by the Italy they killed all the persons in the camp at the last moment, merely in ordel to prevent their being set free by the Italians....

"The turn of some towns, Sarajevo for instance, came as late as October and November 1941. At that time punitive expeditions were sent to the villages around Sarajevo, Pale, Blasuj, Romania, Semozovac, Railevac, all of them purely Serbian villages. They always proceeded in the same way: they either caught the peasants through trickery, or else during night attacks with the help of the regular troops.

"The district where the Serbian population was the most compact ofered the strongest resistance to the Ustashis: that is, Bosanska Krajina, E. Bosnia, and Herzegovina.

"This terrible catastrophe at the hands of their 'brothers,' according to quite certain information simultaneously collected by two committees, the one on Split and the other, a secret one, in Belgrade, cost the Serbs not less than 700,000 lives."

Document III


Source: A legal affidavit, signed and sworn to by Herberovic Hilmija, a Mohammedan [Muslim] resident Croatia, in regard to the Glina massacres...

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Last revised: Nov. 26, 1997