|THE JASENOVAC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
PO Box 332
Birmingham, Mi. 48012
"Let the truth be known!"
For Immediate Release
4 February 1999
JRI STATEMENT ON THE RELEASE OF USTASHE WAR CRIMINAL
The Release of Nada Sakic by Croatia Demonstrates the Unrepentant Pro-Fascist Character of the Current Tudjman Regime in Croatia
The Jasenovac Research Institute joins with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and other anti-fascist institutions and activists around the world in denouncing the release of the World War II war criminal Nada Sakic by the government of Croatia on Monday. Mrs. Sakic, 72, was extradited from Argentina last November to Croatia where she was held until her release on Monday. Mrs. Sakic was never even indicted by the Croatian authorities. The release and exoneration of this former concentration camp commander and mass murderer at the World War II death camp known as Jasenovac is a dangerous precedent that validates the resurgence of fascism in present day Croatia and amounts to nothing less than a victory for the rebirth and resurgence of fascism worldwide.
The Croatian government falsely claimed that no evidence or witnesses exist to indict Mrs. Sakic. However, the JRI is in contact with Survivors living in Yugoslavia who have given eyewitness testimony to Mrs. Sakic's crimes at Stara Gradishka (part of the Jasenovac camps). At the First International Conference on Jasenovac in New York City in 1997 one of these Survivors, Mara Vejnovic, gave an eyewitness account of Nada Sakic's activities as a death camp commander. The JRI possess a videotaped recording of this testimony.
For Nada Sakic, genocide was a family profession. By birth she was the sister of the first Commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp, Maks Luburic. By marriage she was the wife of Luburic's successor at Jasenovac, Dinko Sakic. Dinko Sakic, 76, still awaits his trial in Zagreb. By choice Nada Sakic was herself one of the commanders of the women's camp at Jasenovac' satellite camp of Stara Gradishka. The Jasenovac death camp complex encompassed some 150 square miles and was the third largest death camp during the Holocaust in terms of total victims. It is believed that some 700,000 people died at the eight sites that comprised the Jasenovac complex. The vast majority of the victims were Serbs, but at least 30,000 Romas and 25,000 Jews also are known to have been murdered there, as well as tens of thousands of antifascists of different nationalities. The names of some 20,000 children murdered there have been collected thus far by historians. Nada Sakic was personally responsible for the deaths of many of these children.
The action of the government of Croatia in the Nada Sakic case confirms everyone's worst fears about the true nature of the current Tudjman regime in Croatia which was established in an orgy of murder and anti-Semitic, anti-Serbian and anti-Roma vandalism and racist aggression in 1991. Since its rise to power, the Croatian regime has welcomed the return of former fascist war criminals and the restoration of numerous symbols of Nazi power such as the old fascist salute. Since 1991 Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated. In 1995 more than a quarter of a million Croatian Serbs were ethnically cleansed in a major military operations. The site of the Jasenovac camps and its former museum have been vandalized. In the capital Zagreb, the "Square of the Victims of Fascism" has been renamed the "Square of Great Croatian People." Human Rights organizations have regularly condemned Croatia for its treatment of minorities and dissidents.
Now that the government of Croatia has shamelessly and arrogantly exonerated one of the worst examples of its own Nazi past and of its past crimes of genocide, what can we possibly expect of it in the case of Mrs. Sakic's husband, the former top Commandant of Jasenovac, Dinko Sakic? Mr. Sakic has openly stated that he was proud of what he did at Jasenovac and only wishes he could have killed more. Will the world allow one of the worst Nazi war criminals escape justice as well?
The Jasenovac Research Center joins with other anti-fascist organizations in calling for the retrial of Mrs. Sakic and her extradition to Yugoslavia which previously requested her extradition immediately after World War II and again in 1998. In both instances these requests were ignored by Argentina, the United Sates and the world community. We urge anti-fascists around the world to protest this miscarriage of justice to your governments and to human rights institutions. We demand a serious prosecution of Dinko Sakic, a monitoring of the trial, and justice for his victims.