Kruščica concentration camp

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Kruščica concentration camp
Concentration camp
Logor Kruscica 2.jpg
The monument built in Kruščica
Location Kruščica, Vitez, Independent State of Croatia (modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Built by Mijo Babić, the first commander of all concentration camps in the Independent State of Croatia
Operated by Independent State of Croatia
Commandant
  • Josip Tehler
  • Mate Mandušić
Original use concentration camp
Operational April 1941 - September 1941
Number of inmates Jews, Serbs and antifascists - mostly women and children
Killed 3,000

The Kruščica concentration camp (Croatian: Koncentracijski logor u Kruščici, Serbian: Koncentracioni logor Kruščica, Serbian Cyrillic: Концентрациони логор Крушчица) was a concentration camp established in the Independent State of Croatia (Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH) during World War II. This short-lived camp was founded in April 1941 for women and children.[1][2] The camp was founded by Mijo Babić, a deputy of the Croatian fascist dictator Ante Pavelić, and the first commander of all concentration camps in the Independent State of Croatia.

Background and establishment[edit]

In 1939 Kruščica was used by Banovina Croatia, whose governor (Ban of Croatia) Dr Ivan Šubašić established a labour-penitentiary camp at the site.[3] Pre-WWII actions of the Ustaše, which included terrorist attacks, forced the Ban of Croatia to order their arrest and imprisonment, first in Lepoglava and then in Kruščica.[4] Notable Croatian nationalists imprisoned in Kruščica included Mladen Lorković, Šime Vitanović and Marko Došen. When they were brought to Travnik, the angry crowd shouted "long live the Ustaša movement" demanding their release. On 5 April 1941, the members of Ustaše movement organized the escape of all imprisoned Croatian nationalists.[5]

As a concentration camp, Kruščica was founded immediately after the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia[6] in April 1941[7] by Mijo Babić, a deputy of the Croatian fascist dictator Ante Pavelić, and the first commander of all concentration camps in the Independent State of Croatia.[8] It was established on the site of the abandoned hunting lodge of Guttman, 17 kilometers from Travnik.[9] Guttman was German landowner from Slavonia.[10] The first commander of the camp was Ustaše emigrant Josip Tehler.[11] After his death on 5 August1941 he was succeeded by Mate Mandušić.[12]

Inmates[edit]

Memorial plaque with names of Serbs from Pale killed in Kruščica concentration camp

Kruščica belonged to a group of concentration camps in the Independent State of Croatia where mass executions of inmates were performed.[13] During first two months of the functioning of the camp, local residents killed three thousand people within it.[14] At the end of July 1941, the Ustaše, under the command of Boško Cvjenćek, captured and transported a group of 74 Serbs from Pale to the Kruščica camp with the false explanation that they were going to work and earn money. All of them were killed.[15] All of them were cruelly massacred by Ustaše during the night on 5 August 1941.[16][17] According to a 2001 work published by Hrvatski informativni centar and authored by Topalović, imprisoned Serbs were actually political prisoners who attacked the Ustaše, attempting to kill them, refusing all calls for surrender, so the Ustaše were forced to kill them. Topalović also emphasized that the Ustaše commander of the camp, Josip Tehler was killed attempting to suppress the rebellion.[18]

The first transport of inmates arrived at Kruščica between 28 August and 1 September 1941, when around 1,000 people, mostly Jewish women and children, were transported from concentration camps on Pag and in Gospić.[19] During the night of 3 September 1941, members of the Ustaše broke into the houses of Jewish residents of Sarajevo, captured the inhabitants, and transported them to Kruščica.[20] The next day, the Ustaše plundered the homes of imprisoned Jewish victims.[21]

At the beginning of September 1941, there were approximately 3,000 people interned in Kruščica camp, including 300 Serb women and children, with the remainder being Jews.[22] All were housed in two buildings, 80 people to each room, without basic living conditions.[23]

The Jewish community from Zagreb sent carloads of packages to inmates in Kruščica. Local Ustaše burned these before the eyes of hungry children and women, who were unable to retrieve anything.[24] It was difficult to accommodate and feed the inmates of this camp, so the Ustaše decided to resolve this difficulty by torturing inmates with forced labour and hunger and by killing them.[25]

Legacy[edit]

The camp was destroyed after the Second World War. One building was restored, and a memorial area, occupying around 2,000 m² was established, consisting of the restored building (containing a museum), a monument created by Fadil Bilić, incorporating a text from Ivan Goran Kovačić's poem Jama, and several memorial plaques commemorating communities interned in the camp (including those from Zenica and Pale). This memorial area became known as the 'Black House' (Crna kuća). During the War in Bosnia & Herzegovina, the museum's contents were removed. In 2014, the site was declared a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Avramov 1992, p. 371): "Крушчица, близу Травника у Босни, кратко је постојао, а био је намењен искључиво за жене и децу."
  2. ^ (Bauer 1981, p. 280):" ... internees were imprisoned at Jasenovac and Kruščica; in the latter camp, mainly women were interned"
  3. ^ (Bulajić 2002, p. 117): "The labor-penitentiary camp in Kruščica was first organized by the Ban (governor) of the Banovina Croatia, Dr. Ivan SubaSic, in 1939."
  4. ^ (Colić 1973, p. 64): "Te akcije, uključujući i terorističke, natjerale su tadašnjeg bana Banovine Hrvatske Ivana Šubašića da naredi hapšenje niza ustaša, ... Uhapšeni ustaše su najprije bili internirani u Lepoglavi, a zatim su preseljeni u Krušćicu kod Travnika."
  5. ^ (Bulajić 2002, p. 117): "On 5 April 1941, Ustasha knights Ante MiSkovic and Ilija Bebek organized the dissolution of the Kruscica camp and the ..."
  6. ^ (Matica 1974, p. 142): "Логор Крушчица основан је одмах по успостави НДХ ."
  7. ^ (Gilbert 2002, p. 75): "Kruscica concentration camp set up in April 1941"
  8. ^ (Dedijer 1987, p. 442)
  9. ^ (Dedijer & Miletić 1990, p. 531):" Logor Kruščica nalazio se na napuštenom Gutmanovom imanju, oko 17 kilometara od Travnika."
  10. ^ Vera Mujbegović: Tuzla moje mladosti
  11. ^ (Bulajić 2002, p. 117): "... the first camp commander was Ustasha emigrant, Ensign Josip Tehler..."
  12. ^ (Fumić 2008, p. 47): "Zapovjednik logora bio je Mate Mandušić. U logoru se moglo ..."
  13. ^ (Petranović 1981, p. 207): "Masovna pogubljenja vršena su i na Pagu, u Kruščici (kod Travnika), Đakovu, Osijeku, Sisku, Staroj Gradiški."
  14. ^ (Friedman 2013, p. 95): " For example, in the Kruscica camp near Travnik in Bosnia, three thousand people were killed by the local residents during two months of its functioning (April–May 1941), among them two entire Jewish communities."
  15. ^ (Srdanović & Jeknić 1998, p. 160)
  16. ^ (Albahari 1977, p. 687): "Te stravične noći, 5. avgusta 1941, na zvjerski način su ubijena 74 Paijana, među kojima: jedanaest Gluhovića, sedam ..."
  17. ^ (SANU 1995, p. 410): "Крадем јула 1941, усташе су под заповједништвом свог таборника Бошка ЦвјенЬека похватал е на Палама 74 српска сељака, отпремиле их у логор Крушчицу код Травника, гдје су почетном августа сви убијени."
  18. ^ (Topalović 2001, p. 494): "... u 20:00 sati pobunili su se politički pritvorenici u Kruščici i napali ustašku stražu u namjeri daju razoružaju i pobiju."
  19. ^ (Dedijer & Miletić 1990, p. 531):"Prvi transporti logoraša stigli su u Kruščicu od 28 avgusta do 1 septembra 1941 - oko 1,000 osoba, uglavnom Jevreja - žena i dece iz logora na Pagu i u Gospiću."
  20. ^ (Hamović 1994, p. 382)
  21. ^ (Albahari 1977, p. 687): "Sutradan su ustaše iz stanova odvedenih Jevreja odnosile stvari u svoju kasarnu."
  22. ^ (JZ 1967, p. 236)
  23. ^ (JZ 1967, p. 236): "Nije potrebno naglašavati da uslova za smještaj nije bilo i da je ovaj logor, bez obzira ..."
  24. ^ (Jelavič, Frucht & Jelavič 1992, p. 204) :" In another camp, KruSCica, hungry inmates-women and their children-saw the carloads of parcels sent to them by the Jewish community of Zagreb being burned before their eyes, without these starving inmates being able to take any ... "
  25. ^ Pinto Avram. "Jevreji Travnika". elmundosefarad. Veselin Masleša,Sarajevo, 1987, ISBN 86-21-00090-3. Retrieved 29 January 2017. Iskrsli su problemi njihovog smještaja i ishrane. Da bi ove probleme ublažili, ustaše su logoraše mučili glađu i teškim fizičkim radom, a zatim ih ubijali. 
  26. ^ http://aplikacija.kons.gov.ba/kons/public/uploads/odluke_hrv/Vitez_Crna%20kuca%20kompl%20HR.pdf

Sources[edit]

Coordinates: 44°08′24″N 17°47′24″E / 44.14000°N 17.79000°E / 44.14000; 17.79000