The remains of hundreds of people believed to have been executed during and after World War II have been exhumed from the Jazovka pit in northern Croatia.
The remains found during the excavations at the Jazovka pit. Photo: Croatian War Veterans’ Ministry.
The Croatian War Veterans’ Ministry said on Tuesday that the remains of at least 814 people have been found during excavations at Jazovka pit in the Zumberak Mountains area of Croatia, near the Slovenian border, between July 13 and 17.
“According to the information gathered by the relevant interdepartmental services, these are victims of the World War II and the post-war period,” the ministry said.
“According to witnesses, the victims were thrown into the pit on several occasions, after the battle in Krasic in 1943 and after the end of the war in 1945,” it added.
The Jazovka pit is known as a site where Yugoslav Partisan fighters killed hundreds of soldiers from Croatia’s WWI-era, Nazi-sponsored Ustasa regime, war prisoners and civilians killed during and after World War II.
In January 1943, after the battle near Kresic between Partisan forces and Ustasa troops, the bodies of Ustasa soldiers were dumped into the pit.
Mladen Kuka, a speleologist who discovered the Jazovka pit in 1989, provided advice to the War Veterans’ Ministry during the exhumation, the ministry said.
The remains will be transferred to the department of forensic medicine at Zagreb Medical School for analysis. A grave site will then be chosen to ensure that “the victims are buried in a dignified manner”, the ministry added.