Menu JTA Search

Jews in Croatia Given Twenty-four Hours to Leave Small Towns

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Jews in many small towns in Croatia today received orders to leave the towns within twenty-four hours, following the deportation some time ago of 4,000 Jews from Zagreb to salt mines on the island of Pag in the Adriatic.

About 1,000 of the deported Jews have died in the salt mines as a result of terrible living conditions and complete lack of drinking water, it was stated in a report received here today. The report discloses that two doctors who sere sent from Zagreb to render medical aid to the suffering Jews, were not permitted to land on the island by the Ustachi organization of Ante Pavelich, head of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia.

When Pavelich had to later agree to Italian occupation of the Adratic Islands and the Dalmatian coast, the Ustachi would not leave the remaining 3,000 Jews in Italian hands, but decided to transfer them to a new concentration camp in Croatian territory, this report states. Two days before the Italian forces took over the coast area the 3,000 prisoners of Pag were loaded into cattle-trains to be taken into the interior. Each train was loaded so fully that the unfortunate prisoners could not move but had to stand, in burning heat, crushed against each other. They were jammed so tightly together, that if a man or woman fainted, there was no room for him to fall to the floor and her remained unconscious but erect.

At Karlovac, a group of Italian officers present when the train stopped in the siding, told the Ustachi guards to open the doors and let the prisoners out until the train had to proceed. The Ustachi men refused. Thereupon, the report says, the Italian officers, with drawn revolvers, ordered the doors opened and the prisoners were allowed to set foot on the ground, to get water and some food. The bodies of six people, who had died as a result of their treatment, were carried out of one cattlecar.

NEXT STORY