Serbian Holocaust

Nada Milašin, December 30, 2011, Belgrade

Nada Milašin was born in 1929 in Dvor na Uni in Croatia. Her parents were Ljubomir Živković and Evica, born Ratkovic, moved to Drvar in Bosnia, shortly after Nada's birth.  At the age of twelve she was admitted to the League of Yugoslav Communist Youth. During the Italian occupation Nada and her mother were taken to prison in Knin and were imprisoned from November 1942 until the capitulation of Italy in September 1943. Nada returned to liberated Drvar where she attended the Cipher Course at the Supreme Headquarters and after the Raid on Drvar joined the partisans.
In 1941 in the church in Glina, the Ustashas killed  Nada's paternal grandfather Nikola and one of his sons. Her maternal grandfather died of typhus while in hiding in the woods, in the year of 1942 or 1943. 

Interviewer: Jelisaveta Časar | Camera: Milan Džekulić | Editing: Milan Džekulić, Nemanja Krdžić | Transcript: Jelisaveta Časar | Webmastering: Dusan Gavrilović

Voices of Survivors

English rendition of the interview, paraphrased and abridged:


It was May 25,1944.  On April 23, 1944 I had turned fifteen. Around five in the morning bombing  began. It was beautiful May day. We were accustomed to bombing of Drvar. Very often the German planes flew over dropping bombs… 
I and others from nearby houses run to shelter in a burnt factory that had tunnels. There were  women and children and several uniformed fighters mostly without weapons. They just took shelter and  didn't expect anything else except bombing to happen. Nobody did.

--The factory had already been bombed earlier, hadn't it?--

 In 1941 rebels set fire to the factory and it turned into ruins. Only a large concrete hall remained. The Second Congress of the United Association of Yugoslavia Anti-fascist Youth was held there. I attended it but not as a delegate but for the prize for cleaning and arranging that space.

All of us who had fled to take shelter from the bombing entered into some of those tunnels. Down there we heard the terrible sound of dive-bombing Stuka airplanes...

When all was quiet, we came out and saw German paratroopers. In my memory they were all in black, but they were not, they wore some military  uniforms. What I do remember is that they had machine guns. They had something like pillows on their knees, probably not to be injured when they hit ground. 

My fear at the time was being captured and raped. As I said, I just turned fifteen. When I saw paratroopers coming towards us, I grabbed the sleeve of one of the uniformed fighters who was with us and said: "Comrade, kill me, I beg you!". He was one of the few who had a rifle. Others were mostly unarmed. He told me: "I have only one bullet. Even if I had more I could not kill you".  At that time I had long blond braids… 

I grabbed the hand of my friend Desa Markanović who was my age and said: "Lets run away!  Let them kill us while we run...It's better than if they catch us alive!"  So the two of us started to run over that open space. Bullets whistled by our ears.  We were running and occasionally we threw ourselves on the ground and when shooting stopped for a while we would get up and run again.  So we came to a big ditch that went next to the burned houses in Kolonija, the part of Drvar where workers lived. We jumped into that ditch.  All women and children, everyone that remained in the tunnel  were killed. Among them was Desa's father. I don't know exactly how many of us were there. That day the Germans killed many citizens of Drvar.

Most of the day we stayed in the ditch. Lying in the ditch we saw aircraft pulling gliders. Every glider was carrying troops. We watched them landing. After that day, for twenty years, I had dreams in which some bad people dressed in black jump from the sky and chase me. 

Across the place where we were hiding, there was a hill and in the early evening we saw there some of our partisan fighters. They were students at the Supreme Headquarters Officer school.  Among them we recognized Brano Tanda…we waved at him.  He motioned with his hand the way where should we go and they continued toward the cemetery. That day the partisans managed to corner the Germans on that single hill where was an Orthodox cemetery.  

The next day the Germans came from all sides with armored units and occupied Drvar.  Tito and his command escaped from the cave.  Allied aircraft landed and transferred them to the island of Vis. All students at my Cipher Course went to Vis with Tito and Supreme Headquarters. All except me because I was in town when the raid happened.