The Glina massacre was the August 1941 killing of at least 250 - 1764 Serbs by members of the Croatian fascist Ustaše movement in the town of Glina in the Independent State of Croatia.
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 more than 500 - 1200 Serbs from Kordun [Krajina] 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.
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 Ljuban Jednak, 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 Jednak 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.
pp 258-260 Document III HERBEROVIC AFFIDAVIT
Source: A legal affidavit, signed and sworn to by Herberovic Hilmija, a Mohammedan [Muslim] resident Croatia, in regard to the Glina massacres:
"I came to Belgrade in 1938 and lived there until the war. At first I made my livelihood by selling various trifles on the street; later, I was employed as office servant by the Centralno Transportno Drustvo of Kolarceva, Belgrade.
"On the day of the bombing I was in Belgrade, and I left on the same day to report to my command in Susak; in accordance with my mobilization orders....
I cannot remember the date, but I thillk it must have been the I7th or 18th of April 1941. The company commander on that date called all the soldiers together and informed us that the war was over and everyone should proceed home....
I arrived home in Bosanski Novi about the 24th of April, 1941....
Then I received an order from the military command in Petrinja to report there....
At the beginning of June my company was ordered to Glina to establish order and peace in that district and to collect all the arms and ammunition from the people....
On our arrival in Glina we searched the houses of that town and then went to the neighboring villages. When the searching was over the Ustashis arrived from Zagreb and Petrinja and we were then ordered to round up from the villages all men from twenty to fortyfive years of age....
At the beginning we arrested only the men. We collected them from the villages and shut them in the Court gaol. There they remained several days, until the gauls were filled, and they were thell put to death. The killing was done in several ways. Some were locked up in the Orthodox Church in Glina, which could contain 1,000 men. Then the company oficer chose about fifteen men to do the killing. They were then sent into the church with knives. During the butchering, sentries were placed before the church. This was necessary because some of the Orthodox Serbs dimbed up the bell tower and jumped into the porch. All these were killed by the sentries in the porch. I was three times chosen to do the killing. Each time we were accompanied by some officers, Dobric Josip and Cvitkovic Mihailo, and some Ustashi officers.
"When we entered the Church the oficers remained at the door and watched while we did the killing. Some we struck in the heart and some in the neck. Some we struck haphazard. During the killings there were no lights in the church, except that some soldiers were specially appointed to light our way with electric torches. It happened on several occasions that some Serb rushed us with his fists or kicked us in the stomach, but he was butchered immediately. There was always much noise during the killing. The Serbs used to shout 'Long live Serbia,' 'Long live the Serbs,' 'Down with Pavelich,' 'Down with the Ustashis,' 'Down with the Croatian State,' etc.
"The killing usually began at about ten o'dock in the evening and lasted until two o'clock in the morning, and the cries were continued until the last Serb was killed. These killings in the Church took place seven-eight times, and I took part in them three times. Every time we were so bespattered will blood that our uniforms could not be cleaned. We therefore changed them in the magazine and washed them later. The church was washed after every killing, after the corpses were taken away in motor trucks. Usually they were thrown into the river Glina. Sometimes they were buried.
"Some Orthodox Serbs were taken from the gaol to the river Glina and mashine-guned. Usually three to four hundred persons were machine-guned at a time. They were stood up in two ranks on the bank, tied arm to arm with ropes, and then shot with machine guns which were placed a few yards away. The machine-gunning was done by the Ustashis while we stood guard around. The corpses of these persons were thrown into the Glina....
"My company's task was to round up the Serbs in Glina and in the Glina district, but orders were also given that all Serbs in the districts of Topusko and Vrgin Most as well as Glina should be rounded up and killed. I do not know exactly how many Serbs we re Killed, but I have heard it said that about 120 thousand Serbs from the abovementioned districts have been killed....
"I have nothing more to add. These notes have been read out to me, and all my statements have been correctly written down.
"I can read and write."