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Eighty-two-year-old Jelena Buhač Radojčić, In 1942, the Ustashas slaughtered their four-year-old brother Dušan, grandparents in the Jasenovac camp
Photo: private archive
Eighty-two-year-old Jelena Buhač Radojčić, who survived the Golgotha of the Jasenovac camp as a child, says that even today she hears the screams of children and mothers who were separated by the Ustashas in the Stara Gradiška camp, and that these are images that do not fade.
During World War II, Jelena’s grandmother, grandfather, father, two brothers and 89 other relatives were killed by the Ustashas, and after the war she, her brother and mother had nowhere to return, because the family house in Jablanac was demolished, and the grandmother’s house was destroyed. grandfather.
In 1942, the Ustashas slaughtered her four-year-old brother Dušan, grandparents, in the Jasenovac camp, because they did not want to separate.
Black-shirted men killed Father Božo with a sledgehammer, and previously he had to dig a pit with a group of prisoners in which he would be buried.
“With my mother Ana and two brothers Živko (9) and Ilija (2), I arrived at the Stara Gradiška camp in Jasenovac in April. We were constantly hungry, we only got one meal, and they say that they poured soda into that only meal, but probably not enough to kill us, “says Jelena.
She arrived at the camp at the age of seven, but she remembers well the pictures from the camp where the women were sitting penitently, the starving children were looking to eat.
At the entrance to the camp, she recalls, the Ustashas demanded that all valuables, money, jewelry be put aside.… The mother, as she says, hid some money in the hem of her skirt, and she still sees a picture of a woman who hid jewelry in a bun, but the black-shirted men discovered him, and killed the woman.
The detainees were constantly hungry, there was no salt, no heba, and they drank water from a well that mixed with feces, because the prisoners were defecating around the well.
“I still remember that I was constantly hungry, but that my mother explained to me that we were in the camp and that there was no bread. I remember that I was constantly taking crumbs out of her pocket,” says Jelena.
Diana Budisavljevic, a woman who saved, they say, about 12,000 Serbian children during the Second World War, saved her and her brothers from the Jasenovac camp.
Separation from the mother was the most frightening thing for her and her brothers, and she has never and will never forget the screams of the little ones who take her away from their parents.
“Those are pictures that don’t fade. I still see my father leaving, I see my mother parting with me. I see my grandmother gnawing bones, those children crying as they separate from their parents,” she said.
From the camp, together with her brothers, she reached Zagreb, where every trace of two-year-old Ilija is lost, while Živko and Jelena are placed in different Croatian families.
Mother Ana was transferred from the Jasenovac camp to Germany to the camp in Leipzig, and she was released in 1944, when she saw her two surviving children again.
Jelena says that even after the war, their misfortunes did not disappear, hunger accompanied them during their growing up, her mother did the hardest jobs, loaded wood… just to feed the two of them.
“I am sorry that for Gradina, to commemorate the suffering of Serbs in Jasenovac, the state could not provide one van for all detainees. Three detainees left by bus, and it was difficult for me to return by bus and on the same day,” she said.
Jelena added that the Association of Detainees does not have its own office today, but gathers in SUBNOR offices on Fridays.
“Today, no one can find us, and there will be no more of us,” said 82-year-old Jelena Buhac Radojcic.
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