The Jasenovac Camp in wartime Croatia was established in August 1941 near a village of the same name. It was operated by the Croatian wartime regime. It consisted of five separate camps, two of which were short-lived, but the other three – Ciglana, Kozara and Stara Gradiska – operated until April 1945.
The purpose of the camp is disputed; some claim it was strictly a detention and labor camp, whereas orthodox historians assert it was an extermination center. However, the camp had no technical equipment that could be re-interpreted as execution facilities. Therefore, murder is said to have happened haphazardly by ubiquitous random violence using knives, hammers, axes and simple shootings. The victims were mostly Serbs, but also Jews, Gypsies and Croatian dissidents.
Death-toll estimates vary wildly. Individuals sympathetic to Croatian independence, like former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, gave figures of just 3,000 to 4,000 in total. Such numbers date back to the first forensic examinations of the camp in 1947. But by the 1970s and 1980s, the numbers were rising; the 1990 Encyclopedia of the Holocaust claims that some 600,000 people were murdered at Jasenovac (p. 740). Over the years, Western media articles have claimed death tolls up to one million. Serbian publications of the 1990s cited figures as high as 1.2 million. If true, this would make Jasenovac the bloodiest extermination camp of the Second World War. Wikipedia currently sets the total death toll to 77,000 to 100,000, up to 20,000 of them with a Jewish background. This shows that many accounts about this camp are rife with wartime atrocity propaganda twisted by ethnic prejudice and hyperbole.
The problem with Jasenovac is that it had no technical equipment or infrastructure to achieve anything on a large scale – neither mass murder itself nor the destruction of the bodies. There isn’t even anecdotal evidence of the destruction of tens or even hundreds of thousands of bodies by way of large-scale open-air incinerations, as exists for many of the claimed major German crime scenes. Hence, if there was no mass cremation of the victims, where are their bodies?
During the 47-year rule of the communist Yugoslavian government over Jasenovac, they never bothered even once to try and locate any of the missing remains. Nothing has changed in this regard to this day; more than 30 years of Croatian self-rule, and still no attempt at locating mass graves or remnants thereof.
In contrast to the rest of the Holocaust, Jews have only a minor stake in Jasenovac. They are the minority among the victims. Hence, even if Jasenovac falls, it won’t affect them, or so they might think. Therefore, occasional Jewish voices can be heard admitting that Jasenovac is “the only wartime concentration camp without any verifiable data” confirming the claimed mass slaughter. But that is a self-delusion. The evidentiary situation isn’t much better for the claimed extermination camps whose primary victims are said to have been Jews. If Jasenovac falls, that may well have a domino effect.
(For more details, see Dalton 2021.)