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A Serbian family slaughtered in their home after a raid by Ustaše militia.

During World War II, the Croatian Ustaše regime murdered around 500,000 people, 250,000 were expelled, and another 200,000 were forced to convert to Catholicism, the victims were predominantly Serbs, but include 37,000 Jews.[1] The estimate by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum say that Croat authorities murdered between 330,000 and 390,000 ethnic Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia during the period of Ustaše rule, out of which between 56,000 and 97,000 were murdered in Jasenovac concentration camp.[2] The Jasenovac memorial lists 75,159 names killed in this concentration camp.[3]



Following the invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, the Kingdom was divided into several occupation zones. A rump Serbia remained, following the country's dismemberment. The territory was divided among the occupiers as follows:

Persecution in the Independent State of Croatia

Serbs in the NDH leaving town after being expelled from their homes.

Under its leader Ante Pavelić, the Ustaša subjected ethnic Serbs, together with much smaller minorities of Jews and Roma, to a campaign of genocidal persecution.[4][5] It is estimated that, during WWII, between 500,000 and 1,200,000 Serbs were killed. Of that number, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Ustaše killed 330,000–390,000 ethnic Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.[6]

Persecution in occupied Serbia

In October 1941, the German occupying army killed 2,500 to 5,000 people in the Kragujevac massacre.



During the four years of occupation, Axis forces committed numerous war crimes against the civilian population in Vojvodina where about 50,000 people were murdered and about 280,000 arrested, violated or tortured. The victims were mostly Serbs but also included Jews and Roma.[7]


During World War II, with the fall of Yugoslavia in 1941, Italians placed the land inhabited by ethnic Albanians under the jurisdiction of an Albanian quisling government. That included Kosovo.

Kosovo's inclusion into a geo-political Albanian entity was followed by extensive persecution of non-Albanians (mostly Serbs) by Albanian fascists. Most of the war crimes were perpetrated by the Skenderbeg SS Division and the Balli Kombëtar. Some 10,000 to 30,000 Serbs were killed and another 100,000 driven out.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Mustafa Kruja, the then Prime Minister of Albania, was in Kosovo in June 1942, and at a meeting with the Albanian leaders of Kosovo, he said: "We should endeavor to ensure that the Serb population of Kosovo be – the area be cleansed of them and all Serbs who had been living there for centuries should be termed colonialists and sent to concentration camps in Albania. The Serb settlers should be killed."[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ "Croatia" (in English). Shoah Resource Center - Yad Vashem. Retrieved 4 January 2010.  
  2. ^ "Jasenovac". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 4 January 2010.  
  4. ^ Hitler's Pope, John Cornwell, Viking Penguin, New York, 1999, p. 250.
  5. ^ Ustaša: Croatian Separatism and European Politics 1929-1945, Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, London, 1998, pp. 144-145 etc.
  6. ^ Staff. Jasenovac concentration camp, Jasenovac, Croatia, Yugoslavia. On the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  7. ^ Enciklopedija Novog Sada, Sveska 5, Novi Sad, 1996, p. 196.
  8. ^ Rastko project: Albanian Skenderbeg SS Division
  9. ^ Нацистички ген оцид над Србима - Православље - НОВИНЕ СРПСКЕ ПАТРИЈАРШИЈЕ
  10. ^
  11. ^ Carl Savich,B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, M.A. in History and a J.D. in Law.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pavle Dzeletovic Ivanov:21. SS-divizija Skenderbeg (Svedocanstva)
  14. ^ Bogdanović, Dimitrije. "The Book on Kosovo", 1990. Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1985, p. 2428.
  15. ^ Genfer, Der Kosovo-Konflikt, Munich: Wieser, 2000, p. 158.


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