The Glina massacre was the August 1941 killing of hundreds of Serbs by members of the Croatian fascist Ustaše movement in the town of Glina in Croatia. It was one of the largest single acts of mass murder to occur in Yugoslavia during the Second World War.
The massacre took place a few months after the invasion of Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany. The Ustaše, led by Ante Pavelić, established a pro-Nazi government with Adolf Hitler's support shortly after the invasion, ruling an enlarged "Independent State of Croatia" that also incorporated all of Bosnia-Herzegovina and parts of Serbia. Pavelić adopted a violent racial policy towards Serbs that his minister Mile Budak summarised as "Kill a third, expel a third, convert a third".
The new policy was put into effect almost immediately. In July 1941 some 500 Serbs from the Glina area of central Croatia were arrested and shot by Ustaše soldiers. Much of the Serb population went into hiding in the region's forests. The Ustaše responded by offering an amnesty if the Serbs would convert to Roman Catholicism. Many Serbs responded positively and turned up at the Serbian Orthodox church in Glina. The exact numbers are disputed; the Nuremberg Trials heard that 250 had arrived at Glina for the ceremony, while other sources put the figure as high as 1,200.
The Serbs were herded into the church, the doors of which were locked shut after the last had entered. Croatian Ustaše members began to massacre the victims using clubs and knives. Only one of the victims, a Serb named Ljubo Jadnak, survived after playing dead and later described what had happened:
- They started with one huge husky peasant who began singing an old historical heroic song of the Serbs. They put his head on the table and as he continued to sing they slit his throat and then the next squad moved in to smash his skull. I was paralyzed. "This is what you are getting" an Ustaša screamed. Ustaše surrounded us. There was absolutely no escape. Then the slaughter began. One group stabbed with knives, the other followed, smashing heads to make certain everyone was dead. Within a matter of minutes we stood in a lake of blood. Screams and wails, bodies dropping right and left.
The bodies were taken by trucks to a huge burial pit, from where Jadnak was able to make his escape. He survived the war and later testified against Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac in 1946 and the Ustaše government's Minister of the Interior, Andrija Artuković, in a 1986 trial in Croatia. The church itself was destroyed by the Ustaše shortly after the massacre.
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