Public institution memorial zone Donja Gradina, Kozarska Dubica – Donja Gradina
EComplex of land at which the Memorial Zone Donja Gradina is situated at the most salient, northwest part of kozarsko-dubička plain. It is positioned between rivers Sava and Una and the armlet of river Una called Tišina, and it covers 800 hectares in its wide zone and 116 hectares in its narrow zone.
Memorial Zone Nova Gradina is the major scaffold of the Serb people and the part of the concentration camp Jasenovac that was established in time of the Independent State of Croatia, in the Second World War.
Ustasha’s – fascistic forces of Ante Pavelić were literally enforcing the genocide in the concentration camp Jasenovac and the major scaffold Donja Gradina, against Serbs, Jews and Roma's, in aim of creating of the ethically “clean” Independent State of Croatia. Jasenovac’s terror lasted from autumn of 1941. until April 22nd 1945.
At the end of the Second World’s War, in concentration camp Jasenovac happened something that haven’t happened in any other camp. Namely, in all countries of that time’s fascistic coalition, the camps were turned into Memorials, as the remonstrance to the humankind.
In Jasenovac, all camp buildings were destroyed, everything was razed to the ground and all taints of ustasha’s crime were erased. Only in 1965. the memorial – a Flower – was built, and in 1968. the museum was opened. Since that time, the Memorial Zone Jasenovac is functioning with Donja Gradina as the single Memorial. This institution functioned with such status until the autumn of 1991.
With disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Memorial Zone Jasenovac has experienced similar destiny. Jasenovac remained at the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and Donja Gradina in the Republic of Srpska – Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Out of total area of the Memorial Zone Donja Gradina, until now was researched and protected 116 hectares. At this area, to date was disclosed 125 mass graves of huge dimensions. Graves are situated at nine grave fields: grave fields Topole, Hrastovi, Jasen, Bare, Košute, Brijestovi, Orlovače, Vrbe and the grave field Tišina.
At the area of Donja Gradina are situated many identified grave fields and graves of victims of ustasha’s crime of genocide, but also numerous yet unexplored and unmarked.
Besides mass graves, in Donja Gradina is also situated Willow of horror. The tree at which ustasha’s hanged thousands of men, women and children, horribly torturing them before the hanging act.
In Donja Gradina are also situated remains of ustasha’s “soap factory” where ustasha’s were making soap out of parts of the camp prisoner’s bodies.
Since September of 1991. (when both the SFRY and the single Memorial Zone Jasenovac have disintegrated), the Memorial Zone Donja Gradina have lost its status and nobody was managing it in institutional terms.
By the Decision of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska, number 02-871/96 from 9th of July 1996. the Law on the Memorial Zone Donja Gradina was passed. This Law regulates the status of this Memorial in the Republic of Srpska.
Presently the title of the Memorial is Public Institution Memorial Zone Donja Gradina.