Stara Gradiska


About thirty kilometres east of Jasenovac along the river Sava lies the village of Stara Gradiska. In May 1941, the Ustasa regime established a concentration camp in an old prison from 1799. First, influential and wealthy Serbs and Jews from nearby communities were imprisoned. Later in 1941, prisoners were transferred from the area in and around Zagreb to Stara Gradiska. In addition to men, a large number of women and children were also imprisoned. Ustasa also conducted experiments with both sulfur dioxide and Zyklon-B. First on horses but then also on women and children in a building that had been converted into a provisional gas chamber (it was later destroyed). Gas wagons were also used in June and July 1942 to murder prisoners who had arrived at the camp from a camp in Djakovo. The camp was dismantled when Yugoslav partisans approached in April 1945. Almost 13,000 confirmed deaths have been recorded. After the war, former members of Ustasa, nazis and fascists were imprisoned in prison. 280 catholic priests were murdered in prison by the communists. The prison existed until 1990 only to be used again as a prisoner-of-war camp by Serbian forces during the Croatian war of independence that began in 1991.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with museum (2009).

Location: 45°08'53.28" N 17°14'36.77" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The old prison is completely dilapidated but preserved. It is in great need of renovation and can only be visited together with representatives from the museum in Jasenovac. Before the civil war in Yugoslavia that broke out in 1991, there was an exhibition in the former tower just outside the prison. The tower was destroyed during the war and has not been rebuilt for lack of money. In the vicinity of the prison there is a memorial for those who were murdered during the second world war. This monument was also badly damaged during the civil war and is decaying.

Follow up in books: Lituchy, Barry M.: Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia (2006).