JRI is honored to publish the comment from John Bosnitch regarding this release that is already much discussed.
“DARA of JASENOVAC”
We’ve waited 80 years for a realistic film of Croatia’s bestial WWII slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews and Gypsies! My great uncle, the then head of our family, retired colonel Jovan Bosnić (whose name I bear in his memory) was among the very first to be slaughtered, even before the pro-Nazi “Ustasha” Croatian fascists had built their network of death camps in Croatia and Bosnia (which they annexed with Nazi support).
This horrific history of genocidal mass murder was minimized in post-WWII Communist Yugoslavia by its President-for-life Josip Broz “Tito”, who lived till 1980. Tito’s own Croatian ethnicity and his rosy-sounding program of “Brotherhood and Unity” might have been questioned if the truth were told of the 1941-1945 “Independent State of Croatia”… and so the truth had to wait…
But finally, 80 years later, the Serbian and Jewish and Gypsy victims are having their story told in the shocking film “Dara of Jasenovac” which portrays the blood-curdling experience of a young girl rounded up with her family, for extermination.
The Holocaust had many chapters, but this one is unique in at least six ways:
(1) the most numerous victims of the slaughter were Orthodox Christian *Serbs*, with other victims including far lower numbers of Jews, Gypsies and other perceived “enemies of the Croat nation”,
(2) the butchers running the camps and doing the mass killings were Roman Catholic Croats, *not* German Nazis,
(3) the genocide was not hidden from the general public, on the contrary, Croat government leaders and official publications openly declared the genocide — so no Croat can ever say they did not know it was happening,
(4) the Croat mass murderers were killing members of the same religion, Christianity, and the executioners included the Vatican’s own Roman Catholic priests, who themselves personally slit the throats of hundreds of innocent men, women and children — while wearing their priestly robes,
(5) the killings took place on city streets, in churches burned to the ground with entire congregations inside them, in people’s homes and on their farms by their Croat neighbors, as well as on the very tourist beaches walked today by romantic European couples – and at hundreds of sites in forests, on mountain tops, and even by hurling groups of people bound together by wire *alive* into deep natural karst pits and crevasses where they were left – if they survived the fall – to lie in the blood of others dead beside them, their own bones broken, as they starved to death over days and sometime even weeks. The Ustasha Croats threw grenades and fired machine guns into the pits, but nevertheless there were a handful of survivors — one of whom escaped a pit where as many as four thousand victims had piled up atop each other as they fell. The genocide was also openly conducted, wherever the Croat murderers found a site of convenience — *not* in secluded camps like the Nazi’s Auschwitz, far away in Poland behind high walls and away from witnesses,
(6) and in a crime that can only be described as Satanic, the Croats even built a special death camp for children, who were starved to death even under the age of one, left without food or clothing, to die from the elements, without their mothers, scratching at the ground to eat mud in desperation and if lucky, finding some shelter in typhus infested shacks for a few more days till dying, even before they had learned how to speak. Their bodies were left to lie among the still living, as a horror that makes Dante’s inferno pale by comparison.
I personally organized the interviews of several dozen survivors of that children’s camp who had the rare luck of being very young, attractive, or blond, or blue-eyed and thus were adopted out to childless Croat parents, who raised their secret-Serb children as Croat Ustasha… only for the children to discover decades later by their adoptive parents’ admission, that they were Serb survivors of a genocide perpetrated against their families when they were so young that they could not even remember their own mothers…
Watch ”Dara of Jasenovac” and you will never forget it, no matter how long you live.
(Pronunciation: Dah-rah of ya-SEN-o-vatz)