The Slovenia Times

Slovenian victims of Jasenovac given names and faces

Stone Flower, a monument to the victims of the Ustasha concetration camp during WW II, in Jasenovac, Croatia. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A Slovenian cultural association in Zagreb has published the first detailed book about Slovenian internees at Jasenovac, the Croatian World War II concentration camp, to shed light to this little researched topic. The authors found that at least 306 Slovenians, mostly political prisoners, died at the camp and 103 survived.

Slovenian Inmates in Jasenovac, A Book of Names and Faces was written by Slavko Alojz Kramar, whose father was taken to the camp in 1943, and edited by Ilinka Todorovski, a journalist and long-standing contributor to Slovenski Dom Zagreb.

Kramar and Todorovski compiled the list of victims with the help of data from the Jasenovac Memorial Site and other sources dealing with the 1941-1945 period of the Nazi collaborationist Independent State of Croatia and Jasenovac, one of the largest concentration camps in Europe.

Todorovski told the Slovenian Press Agency their wish was to give faces to the victims, who are usually just numbers and names on lists. Working amid a rise of historical revisionism, the pair also wanted facts and documents to show that Slovenians were not just sporadic victims of the Croatian fascist Ustasha regime.

"While facts about the massive deportation of the Slovenian population to Italian concentration camps and the unimaginable cruelty of the Nazi death camps fade into oblivion, we can say that the Ustasha camp of Jasenovac is not even a part of our consciousness as a place of suffering for Slovenian civilians during World War II," Todorovski stressed.

She noted that to a certain extent this is understandable, since the majority of the tens of thousands killed there were Jews, Serbs, and Roma, while the topic of Slovenian internees at Jasenovac had been virtually unexplored.

The pair were surprised of the large number of Slovenians who ended up in Jasenovac, and Todorovski also pointed to the large number of Slovenians who lived on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia prior to 1941, meaning also prior to the mass expulsion of the Slovenian population from the German-occupied territory.

Todorovski said that Slovenians were imprisoned in Ustasha camps for political reasons, not for racial reasons like Roma and Jews. They were not targeted due to their ethnicity or religious affiliation, as was the case for Orthodox Serbs. Slovenians ended up in the camps mostly because they supported the liberation movement and opposed fascism, Nazism, and collaboration.

According to official Croatian sources, more than 83,145 people were killed in Jasenovac, mostly Serbs, Jews, and Roma, but also Croats and Slovenians considered opponents of the Independent State of Croatia.


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