In occupied Croatia during World War II, the Nazis established a quisling regime under Ante Pavelic. The regime pursued a Nazi policy of extermination of minorities, mostly Serbs, Jews and Roma, but also Croatian dissidents. For that purpose, the Jasenovac concentration camp was built.
The concentration camp was built in 1941 and was actually a complex of several camps. Once fully completed, it was one of the 10 largest camps in occupied Europe.
Jasenovac is the only concentration camp outside Germany that the regime was allowed to run independently without Nazi interference.
The number of victims of this camp depends on the sources. Subjective sources report 20,000 to 900,000 deaths, while unbiased research puts just under 100,000.
On April 22, 1945, the partisans began to approach dangerously close to the liberation of Jasenovac. Fearing that the Nazis would kill them before they withdrew, the inmates organized a breakthrough. Of the 600 who tried to escape, only a hundred succeeded.
Jasenovac after the Second World War
The communist government established after the war continued to use parts of the camp for its own political opponents. Little by little, parts of the camp were dismantled to finally cease operations in 1951.
In 1960, a monument in the shape of a flower was erected in Jasenovac, but not as a memorial to innocent victims but as a memory of the partisan uprising. In 1963, a memorial center with a museum was finally added. It houses things found in the camp after the liberation.