JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP MEMORIALS
The former Nazi camps which were scattered throughout Europe during the Second World War were on the whole preserved in their original condition, or the camp buildings subsequently reconstructed.
The Ustasha concentration camp in Jasenovac was shelled, burned and destroyed.
The remains of camp buildings were taken away to build houses, so that the camp location became completely overgrown with weeds and undergrowth.
In the late 1950’s, the first steps were taken to mark the area of the former camp.
In the Report of the Conservation Institute of the National Republic of Croatia of 15 April 1956, it was stated that there were still traces of barracks and other buildings (foundations and parts of the walls), and that the brickworks had been largely preserved, as had part of the camp railway track and the foundations of the camp wall. Measures to protect the remains of the buildings and to mark and re-order the mass graves were proposed.
Along the foundations of the camp wall, a wire fence was erected and the camp buildings were marked with signs bearing inscriptions.
In September 1960 the Central Committee of the Federation of War Veterans’ Organisations of Yugoslavia invited architects Zdenko Kolacije and Bogdan Bogdanović to present proposals for commemorating the Jasenovac concentration camp.
Bogdanović’s proposal was accepted: a Flower Memorial – “a sign of eternal renewal – an edifice as a superstructure facing two ways – with a crypt looking towards the victims, in whom its roots and crown are planted, and a kind of inverse cupola – looking towards the light and the sun. Symbolically, towards life and freedom…”
The locations of the camp buildings were marked by earth mounds, and the graves and torture sites by shallow hollows.
The memorial was officially unveiled on 4 July 1966,.
The path leading to the Flower Memorial was paved with railway sleepers, a symbolic reminder of the railway track by which transports of prisoners arrived in the camp.
The Jasenovac Memorial Site Memorial Museum was opened in 1968 close to the original site of former Camp III (Brickworks).
By 1971 the landscaping of the environment had been completed and during the following years, the sites of mass graves were re-ordered in Limani, Mlaka, Uštica, Krapje and Donja Gradina.
Along with the memorial site in Jasenovac, the Jasenovac Memorial Site also looks after the original, preserved camp Tower and the camp cemetery in Stara Gradiška, as well as the Roma cemetery in Uštica and mass graves in Krapje, Mlaka and Jablanac.
Artistic expression is one of human society’s most significant, civilised achievements. During the period of existence of Jasenovac Concentration Camp, it found wide expression.
The prisoners expressed their resistance to human suffering and death in their art, showing that the spirit of man and his will to live are unbreakable.
After the end of the war, artists continue to create in this spirit. They do so in order to remember and honour the victims, and because they hope for a more humane, better world.
They condemn crime and murder.
Their works form a permanent warning … Never again.