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Witness to Jasenovac's Hell [Hardcover]

Ilija Ivanovic , Wanda Schindley , Aleksandra Lazic
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dallas Publishing (Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912011602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912011608
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 736,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal account of Ustashi horror 7 Feb 2004
By RM
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ivanovic's book is more a personal account of his own experiences in Jasenovac and the surrounding region, rather than a general historical account. His book demonstrates Ustashi barbarism, while being careful not to generalise to all Croats and Muslims as being Ustashi ( unlike the way in which many historians portray all Serbs as being evil today).

In fact, only a small minority supported the Ustashi, and he
acknowledges the heroism of many of his Croat and Muslim friends.
As no one truly knows the number of civilians who were exterminated at Jasenovac, Ivanovic relies on the estimate of Hermann Neubacher, an important German diplomat to Yugoslavia (who's position escapes me), as being 750,000. Whether he meant in the whole of the Independent State of Croatia or just at Jasenovac, is difficult to tell. However, it is likely that he meant in the whole of the NDH.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Proceed with caution...
The story of the original writer's experience is quite well told by him, but the "explanatory" "historical" footnotes, afterword and captions to the photos which the (American) editor has included are hopelessly inaccurate and biased and do no one any favours, least of all those who were in Jasenovac. The photographs themselves have been the subject of heated debate for years....
They sit very uneasily alongside the true experiences of Ilija Ivanovic and even border on contradicting them. I'm sure that 99.99% of Bosnian Muslims would not agree that they are some kind of lapsed part of the Serbian nation (just as they were not the lapsed Croats which the Pavelic regime wishes to make them), for example, and while Mr Ivanovic mentions people of all ethnic and religious groups who fought against fascism or who helped him, the editor attempts to talk up the Serbian role to the detriment of all others. The differences (or not) betwen the Serbian and Croatian languages are also cause for controversy, but to state simply that they are one and the same is just over-simplification again.
Chetnik collaboration is barely mentioned by the editor, of course. Pathetic generalisations don't help anyone and do nothing to break down ethnic hatred.
On a more literary level, the translation is apparently by a teenage girl and could have been greatly improved by some polishing by a native speaker of English. Ivanovic is from a simple rural background and so we cannot expect the style of writing to be on a level such as primo Levi's, but that's just a minor point.
Read it, digest it and disregard anything not written by Ivanovic. The editor is as fanatically pro-Serb as the Ustasha movement was anti.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witness to Jasenovac's Hell 19 Feb 2002
By Timothy E. McMahon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Witness to Jasenovac's Hell
by Ilija Ivanovic
Edited by Wanda Schindley, Ph.D.
Reviewed by:
Timothy E. McMahon, M.S.
Electronic Publishing Specialist
American Mathematical Society

"In the concentration camp at Jasenovac, on the night of August 29, 1942, orders were issued for executions. Bets were made as to who could liquidate the largest number of inmates. Peter Brzica cut the throats of 1,360 prisoners with a specially sharp butcher's knife. Having been proclaimed the prize-winner of the competition, he was elected King of the Cut-throats. A gold watch, a silver service and a roasted suckling pig, and wine were his other rewards." (104)
After Germany and its Axis allies invaded Yugoslavia in April of 1941, the Nazis permitted the fascist and terrorist Ustasha organization to found the Independent State of Croatia. The Ustasha regime established numerous concentration camps in Croatia between 1941 and 1945: The largest was the Jasenovac complex. Set up in 1941, the camp complex functioned with ruthless efficiency until 1945. During these few short years, some 600,000 people were slaughtered there. In 1945, nearly all of the remaining prisoners were killed and the camp was blown up to conceal evidence of the Ustasha's mass murder campaign.
Witness to Jasenovac's Hell is a grim first person account of a thirteen-year-old boy, Ilija Ivanovię, who was taken from his home in the former Yugoslavia and interred in the Jasenovac concentration camp for three years. During this time, Ivanovię was witness to innumerable, unspeakable horrors many of which are graphically portrayed in this work. In April 1945, as the partisan army approached the camp, the Ustasha blew up all the installations and killed most of the internees in an attempt to erase traces of their atrocities. Sensing that their total annihilation was at hand, the remaining few prisoners banded together in one last desperate effort to break free of their captivity. En masse, the prisoners broke down the doors of their prison, and despite their frail conditions, fought their captors for their lives. Of the 1,060 men and boys left alive in the camp on April 22, 1945, less than one hundred survived this mass escape attempt. Machine gun fire decimated the escaping prisoners leaving only eighty to survive the slaughter. Ivanovię was one of the few to escape the confines of the camp and to eventually reach freedom.
In addition to this compelling first-person account, readers will be gripped by the riveting imagery presented through multiple photographs illustrating the monstrous actions perpetrated by the Ustasha against camp internees.
Initially published in its original Serbian language edition in 1988, this release was edited by Wanda Schindley, Ph.D. with translations by Aleksandra Lazię. Schindley has done a thorough job in editing this translation with copious footnoting and sound commentary in her forward and the editor's epilog. In doing so, Schindley has started down the road to making an important, and apparently overlooked page in twentieth century history available to a broad English speaking population. Placed in the broader context of World War II histories, Yugoslavia and Croatian history, this work will be a valuable addition to college and university libraries as well others interested in this dark era of world history.
Resources consulted:
1. The Simon Wiesenthal Center
2. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.
22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witness to Jasenovac's Hell 7 April 2002
By Timothy E. McMahon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Witness to Jasenovac's Hell
by Ilija Ivanovic
Edited by Wanda Schindley, Ph.D.
Reviewed by:
Timothy E. McMahon, M.S.
Principal Web Developer
The McMahon Group
...
"In the concentration camp at Jasenovac, on the night of August 29, 1942, orders were issued for executions. Bets were made as to who could liquidate the largest number of inmates. Peter Brzica cut the throats of 1,360 prisoners with a specially sharp butcher's knife. Having been proclaimed the prize-winner of the competition, he was elected King of the Cut-throats. A gold watch, a silver service and a roasted suckling pig, and wine were his other rewards." (104)
After Germany and its Axis allies invaded Yugoslavia in April of 1941, the Nazis permitted the fascist and terrorist Ustasha organization to found the Independent State of Croatia. The Ustasha regime established numerous concentration camps in Croatia between 1941 and 1945: The largest was the Jasenovac complex. Set up in 1941, the camp complex functioned with ruthless efficiency until 1945. During these few short years, some 600,000 people were slaughtered there. In 1945, nearly all of the remaining prisoners were killed and the camp was blown up to conceal evidence of the Ustasha's mass murder campaign.
Witness to Jasenovac's Hell is a grim first person account of a thirteen-year-old boy, Ilija Ivanovię, who was taken from his home in the former Yugoslavia and interred in the Jasenovac concentration camp for three years. During this time, Ivanovię was witness to innumerable, unspeakable horrors many of which are graphically portrayed in this work. In April 1945, as the partisan army approached the camp, the Ustasha blew up all the installations and killed most of the internees in an attempt to erase traces of their atrocities. Sensing that their total annihilation was at hand, the remaining few prisoners banded together in one last desperate effort to break free of their captivity. En masse, the prisoners broke down the doors of their prison, and despite their frail conditions, fought their captors for their lives. Of the 1,060 men and boys left alive in the camp on April 22, 1945, less than one hundred survived this mass escape attempt. Machine gun fire decimated the escaping prisoners leaving only eighty to survive the slaughter. Ivanovię was one of the few to escape the confines of the camp and to eventually reach freedom.
In addition to this compelling first-person account, readers will be gripped by the riveting imagery presented through multiple photographs illustrating the monstrous actions perpetrated by the Ustasha against camp internees.
Initially published in its original Serbian language edition in 1988, this release was edited by Wanda Schindley, Ph.D. with translations by Aleksandra Lazię. Schindley has done a thorough job in editing this translation with copious footnoting and sound commentary in her forward and the editor's epilog. In doing so, Schindley has started down the road to making an important, and apparently overlooked page in twentieth century history available to a broad English speaking population. Placed in the broader context of World War II histories, Yugoslavia and Croatian history, this work will be a valuable addition to college and university libraries as well others interested in this dark era of world history.
Resources consulted:
1. The Simon Wiesenthal Center
2. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.
27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastatingly truthful read. 19 Sep 2002
By Slavko Ristich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
From the moment I purchased this book I could not put it down until I was finished it (a few hours later).
Ivanovic's personal account of his "1000 days" in hell is so devastatingly truthful, so shocking and is a perfect example of why his story "had to be told". So brutal are his accounts of events from 1942-1945, that I was nearly brought to tears on several occasions.
The sheer brutality of the Croatian Nazi masters (Ustashi) was unparralled in Europe during WWII. In fact, even Germans found the Ustashi methods of torture and liquidation beyond explanation. The methods of torture and murder at Jasenovac even exceeded the horrors of Auschwitz. While the main target of the murderous ISC were Serbs, they also liquidated tens of thousands of Jews, Gypsies and Partisan Croatians.
It is amazing that the realities of Jasenovac have remained largely a "hidden shame" for the Croat government of the ISC and even the current Neo-Fascist regime in Croatia presently.
The single most impressive part about this book pertains to points of factual or statistical reference (by way of footnotes). Most of the sources the editors used were either from Croat WWII sources or Catholic Church sources. Often the debate about Jasenovac has revolved around the false belief that Serbian historians falsified numbers, facts and statistics. By using sources from Croatia and the Vatican this book has legitimized the horrors that the sons and daughters of Serbia faced in WWII.
Additionally this book puts into context the current climate in fascist Croatia and Fundamentalist Bosnia. Only through survivor accounts (such as this) and greater investigation into Croatian attrocities at Jasenovac can the Balkan's move forward into the 21st century.
I highly recommend this book to all who seek the truth about a place called hell, a place called Jasenovac.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One among many 20 Dec 2008
By Mirko Djuric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are many horrific testimonies I've heard from people who passed through Jasenovac on their way to somewhere in Germany. All they bear great similarity to those I've found in the Ivanovic's book. May that time and that place never be forgotten - for the sake of those who perished there and whose the only guilt was having a 'wrong' name, being of 'false' ethnicity, belonging to 'bad' God.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real holocaust story 13 Dec 2004
By Aaron Aden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This work presents a true account of Vatican's "forbidden holocaust" and Croatian genocide of Serbs, in Second World War...The most evil concentration camp of all nazi camps, Jasenovac in Croatia, was the place of torture and extermination of close to 1 milion Serbs, Jews and other non-catholics in Balkans. This is a powerful book that will make you want to know more and after reading it, your understanding of present situation and wars in Yugoslavia will be quite clear...Do not miss it.
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