About 6,000 children passed through this first children’s camp in the Ustasha-ruled Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The camp operated from 3 August 1942 until 8 January 1943, during which time about 1,200 children, aged several months to 10 years, died, Serb National Council president Milorad Pupovac recalled.
“More children would certainly have died had it not been for people who rose above the evil that reigned in people’s hearts at the time, such as Diana Budisavljević and women and men around her, such as nurses, people from the Red Cross and the Caritas charity of the Zagreb Archdiocese, who tried to alleviate the horror of children being separated from their mothers and wives from their husbands,” Pupovac said, adding that many residents of Sisak and Zagreb had taken in those children and saved their lives.
“That’s why we have to thank those who were not only at risk of being scorned and censured but who also risked their own lives. They did what others, who were supposed to, did not want to,” Pupovac said.
“This place should become a place where we would gather to show that we can rise above the evil we went through not so long ago in our country, Croatia, and in Yugoslavia.
The commemoration was organised by the Serb National Council and the Council of the Serb Minority in Sisak. It was attended, among others, by the deputy head of Sisak-Moslavina County, Mirjana Olujić, the mayor of Sisak, Kristina Ikić Baniček, representatives of the Serbian Embassy and several survivors of the camp. The memorial service was led by the Serb Orthodox parish priest Veselin Ristić.
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