Serbian Holocaust

Judita Krivokuća, December 14, 2011, Belgrade

Judita Albahari-Krivokuća was born 1925 in Sanski Most, but before the war her six-member family moved to Drvar where they were the only Jewish family. In July 1941 the Ustashas took the family-except for her sisters Rahela and Flora, who were not in Drvar,  to camp in Bosanski Petrovac, where they were with the Jews of Bihać.  From there, in September 1941, the Ustashas crammed  them into trucks and took them to Gornje Bravsko and from there by train towards Jasenovac. However, they stopped at the railway station in Prijedor. They had to wait a  German transport to pass and Judita's family had the chance to escape.

In 1942 Judita joined the partisans where she worked as a nurse.

Father David M. Albahari,mother Luna, born Levi, brother Moric and sisters Rahela and Flora survived the war.

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:

On July 16,1941 we were deported from Drvar to Bosanski Petrovac ... We were in a camp in Petrovac till September the same year. Young people were organizing an escape, and my father was with them.  But the old people were against it." If you escape", they said "Ustashas will kill us". So nothing happened.

The Ustashas used to come and take away beautiful young women. They took three women from Bihać.  We could hear their screams as they raped them in Petrovac. Two of them didn't come back, and the third did. They were raped and thrown down into deep pits. One of those women was doctor Levi's wife. She was German, and spoke German, but all the same, they killed her.  And one hairdresser. She was very pretty. I was sixteen . Whenever Ustashas would come, and they came every day, my mother would put soot on my face and cover my face with hair so I looked dirty.

Among those Ustashas there was one who wasn't  cruel and didn't look at us with hate. They called him Osmica.  And imagine, in 1948 on the street in Sarajevo I came across him. He walked free. I looked sharp at him and said: "I am going to report you to UDBA. (State Security Administration). You were an Ustasha!". "I wasn't", he said "I was a communist and I joined them under orders." He spoke the thruth, I checked it later.

- So the Ustashas didn't guard you? 

No, but we couldn't go out, we were locked in. I don't remember if any of them spent nights there. 

One day they came and lined us up. Children on one side and elderly on the other side. They came with machine guns and made us dance  a kolo [a traditional folk dance]. We had to sing and dance the kolo. Grown-ups were lined up in front of machine guns. They were ready for killing. And suddenly...Osmica, the man I told you about, run to the mayor who was a Croat and was with the Domobrans [The Croat (NDH) Army, separate from and in competition with the Ustasha army, which was the militia of the Ustasha Party.] Now I've already forgotten his name. He rushed on horseback into the camp and shouted:"While I am the mayor, there will be no shooting!". So we stayed alive.

In September they loaded us on trucks. Children in one truck and grown-ups in the others. We
came to the railway station in Gornje Bravsko. We were waiting for the train to come. That narrow-gauge train was called "ćira". We were sitting on the truck waiting for this "ćira".  We heard shooting from the hill, and thought that the Ustashas were coming to kill us. Then we saw a truck coming from Donje Bravsko. It was full of Ustashas, all dressed in black. They went up the hill where guerrillas were shooting…My mother hid my head in her lap so a bullet would not hit me in head. The Ustashas silenced the guerrillas' fire and slaughtered the villagers up there. When they came back, on their bayonets were bloody peasant shirts and long peasant skirts called kiklje. 

Finally the train came and we started for Jasenovac. The camp in Petrovac was disbanded and Jasenovac was already established. There were so many of us in those wagons that we could hardly breathe. I remember how David Atijas lifted up one little girl to those small windows so she could breath.

We arrived in Prijedor at the narrow-gauge railway station. We stayed in the opened wagons for four days waiting for some German transport that had to pass by wide-gauge railroad. The Serbs from Prijedor who knew us were bringing us food. The Kreco family from Drvar--the mother was Jewish and the father was Serb.  They had fled to Prijedor… Their son Omilj brought us a pie that his mother prepared for us. He asked an Ustasha to let me to take a short walk with him. The Ustasha let me go and I went with Omilj  to the river of Sava. During the walk he told me: "Don't worry. We'll soon beat the Ustashas.  The guerrillas here are already organized". It was 1941 and how long did it take that we won! He was idealist. So he brought me back to the wagon. I could escape then but nobody thought of it. The Ustashas were drunk. They had with them some prostitutes, they were kissing and hugging them and throwing beer bottles, they were drunk on success.

My father sensed that we could escape. We were allowed to go outside to toilet. There was no toilet but we had to go somewhere into the field. So in the middle of the night my father first came out of the wagon, then my brother, then my mother, and I was the last... There was a separate railway station for a train for Ljubija mine so we hid behind the station. Early in the morning, almost at dawn, there was a train for Sanski Most and we got in.