The Donja Gradina camp, which is also known as Camp VIII of the Jasenovac system of Ustasha concentration camps for the mass extermination of Serbs , Jews and Roma in the Independent State of Croatia NDH by the Ustasha authorities under the command of Ante Pavelić . The Donja Gradina camp was not a camp in the true sense, but the main execution ground where detainees from the III Ciglan camp were killed. It was established in 1942. and was active until the end of World War II in 1945 . and the collapse of the Independent State of Croatia.
Number of Victims:
Serbs – 500.000, Roma – 40.000, Jews – 33.000, Children – 20.000, Antifascists – 120.000
After the fight against the partisans in January 1942, the Ustashas completely controlled the area of Gradina. Since Gradina is surrounded by the meander of the Sava River, access to it was only available from one side. There was no village nearby, and it was separated from the fields by a forest. That is why it was chosen for the liquidation of detainees from camp III Ciglan who were transported by scaffolding to the right bank of the Sava. Gradina was not only a fortress, but was also important for the defense of the Ciglan camp from Kozarac partisans. That is why it is fortified with bunkers and trenches.
Before his flight, 1945 . In order to hide the traces of their crimes, the Ustasha burned dead bodies and threw the ashes into the Sava. About 2 wagons of ashes remained on the banks of the Sava to this day. Unburnt skulls and vertebrae were still there. The youth, finding their bones on the shore, buried the large grave of children, who were killed by the Ustasha at “Liman”, in a common grave.” (Sarajevo 1975).
It is located on the banks of the Sava River in Donja Gradina , Republika Srpska , opposite the Jasenovac camp , near the confluence of the Una River with the Sava River. When you cross from Jasenovac in Slavonia over the Sava and Una bridge to Republika Srpska, immediately to the left to the southeast begins the atar of Bosanska Gradina , which covers about 125 hectares, i.e. the entire area of the great bend of the Sava (opposite the village of Košutarica , below Jasenovac).
Gradina was not a camp in the true sense of the word, but only a mass execution site in Jasenovac , i.e. “reception camp” until the Ustashas killed the numerous Serbian population brought from Potkozar and other parts of the NDH .
This, in the vast forest, was the place for the direct liquidation of brought prisoners , who were either transferred from Camp III in Jasenovac or, after being caught in the field, immediately taken in columns to the dumping ground in Gradin. Because, due to the large number of constantly arriving columns of people, the Ustashas immediately directed them to be executed and buried them in Gradina. Arrested people from settlements across the Sava were brought to Gradin first, and then Serbs from Republika Srpska were brought from Potkozarje and Bosnian Krajina , where entire villages and Serbian areas were deserted by the Ustasha terror. Only in the summer of 1942 . around 140 Serbian villages in Potkozar were emptied and devastated, and the people were brought to the Jasenovac concentration camp and other camps (Cerovljane near Bosanska Dubica, Mlaku and Jablanac , Stara Gradiška , Novska , Prijedor). At that time, around 68,500 Serbs from Kozar were imprisoned in Jasenovac and other surrounding camps, among whom were 23,850 children, aged from cradle to 15 years old.
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