85,000 Jews Annihilated in Yugoslavia; Only 1,000 Left Alive

Ninety-nine percent of the 80,000 Jews of Yugoslavia and, the 6,000 Jewish refugees who found asylum there before the outbreak of the war are now dead as a result of atrocities committed by the Nazis and their puppet-governments in Croatia and Serbia, it was reported here today in a statement released by diplomatic representatives of the Yugoslav Government-in-Exile.

The statement declares that no more than about 1,000 Jews remain alive in Yugoslavia, while only about 220 have succeeded in fleeing. Those still in the country are practically interned and live in imminent danger. “The details of the bestial cruelty and sadism by which the 85,000 other Jews were slaughtered, achieve a degree of horror which numbs the mind,” the statement says.

“In Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the Yugoslav sources relate, “Jews have suffered not only because they are Jews, but also for their traditional loyalty to the Yugoslav cause. But in the other parts of ‘independent’ Croatia, the extermination has been just as thorough. It was in the hands of a special section closed down on June 15, 1941 – its task was completed. Apart from those who escaped to the forests and hills, and a handful who for special reasons were granted ‘honorary Aryan status,’ the Jews of Croatia had been annihilated.

“In Serbia, the whole people was opposed to anti-Semitism. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that General Neditch, twice applied, in August, 1941, for permission to deal with the Jewish problem, explaining that too violent Gestapo measures could only recoil on the Germans themselves. Neditch’s request was, of course, rejected – on the grounds that the Serbian people were not civilized enough to be trusted to deal with the Jews. The Jews were to be dealt with by a special section of the Gestapo. In February. 1942, this organization carried out its task by gassing the few score remaining Jewish women and children kept in the Sajmiste camp. In March, with some pomp and ceremony, its offices too were closed. Its mission had been accomplished.”

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