Serbian Holocaust

Vlado Tadić, August 8, 2010, Kozara

Interviewer: Nada Ljubić | Camera: Dušan Gavrilović | Editing: Nada Ljubić, Dušan Gavrilović | Trancript: Jelisaveta Casar / English: Jelisaveta Casar | Webmastering: Dusan Gavrilović

Voices of Survivors

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English rendition of the interview, paraphrased and abridged:

We are located on the famous Kozara. I am Vlado Tadić, president of the Association of Military Pensioners in Bela Crkva, where I live. I came here with dear friends and survivors of Jasenovac to visit this holy place called Kozara.

As we know from history, Kozara was at that time occupied and surrounded by three circles of the Germans, Ustashas and, unfortunately, domestic collaborators. At the time, on Kozara was civilian population from
Potkozarje and from the wider area. They made their shelters in dugouts, under the pines, fir and beech trees. Our military leadership had decided to carry out the breakthrough of the triple enemy encirclement and to save the civilian population from massacre.  Unfortunately, many left their lives there, many managed to pass through the enemy encirclement but did not survived, some remained in Potkozarje. We who had passed through the enemy encirclement were taken to logor Jasenovac and some of us to Sisak.

I was in
Jasenovac with my two sisters. The older sister Vuka was five, younger sister Milka was three and I was a baby of six months. After everything we survived in Jasenovac, an old woman named Ana, who I appreciate as my own mother,took us to Garešnica where we stay untill liberation. 

The reason we are here today is to recall difficult moments and also to remind ourselves of some happy moments that we experienced. We came to recall of our dearest ones which we lost and our neighbors which didn't survive. Here with us are some young people who have not experienced such horrors, but they support us and sympathize with us.

- Do you know how many children from Kozara ended up in Ustasha's captivity?

 Based on the books, reports and information that that I got as a member of the Yugoslav Army, now I am retiree of Serbian Army, I have learned that about 23 000 children from Kozara were gone to logors as
Jasenovac, Sisak, Jastrebarsko...However, according to some historians and analysts, this figure is far higher.

-  Do you know how many of them survived?

I can not tell you the exact figure, but by reading the books of Dušan Bukva, who was also at that time on Kozara and who in the age of twelve already participated in the war, and according to what he to
ld me, approximately 18 000 children survived. A large number of them left their loves in logors. Since I am from this area, I know that a large number of children were killed in the lime pit that was located on the left side of river Una. It is called Baćin. In that lime pit they (Ustashas) burned mothers, children and exhausted partisans from Kozara who were in captivity.

-  Who was killed from your family?

Here on Kozara was killed my father Stanko Tadić and my father's two brothers, and at Mirkovci, in Prijedor and here in Podgradci my six uncles, among them my uncle Mirko. They left their lives defending their people from the Kozara territory.

-  Are there from your family any women and children who were taken to the Ustasha logors and lost there their lives?

My three uncles were married and had children.  My mother told me that eighteen of them lived in the house and of those eighteen family members survived only my mother, my uncle's daughter Mira, my mother's sister-in-law Milka and nobody else.

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