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Dinko Šakić
Born (1921-09-08)8 September 1921
Studenci, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Died 20 July 2008(2008-07-20) (aged 86)
Zagreb, Croatia
Cause of death Metastasis
Other names Ljubomir (Ljubo)
Ethnicity Croat
Education Secondary school graduate
Occupation Military officer
Known for Commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp
Predecessor Ivica Brkljačić
Successor Hinko Dominik Pičili
Political party Croatian Ustaša Movement
Croatian Liberation Movement
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Nada Tamić Luburić
Relatives Vjekoslav Luburić

Dinko Šakić (8 September 1921 – 20 July 2008) was a convicted Croatian war criminal, an army leader of the fascist Independent State of Croatia (NDH), established under Third Reich and Italian tutelage, and commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp during World War II.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Voice of America pronunciation of Dinko Šakić

He was born in Studenci, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina) on 8 September 1921.[1]

He became a committed member of the nationalist organisation Ustaša from a very young age.[2] Following the German-led invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 the new Independent State of Croatia set up detention facilities for Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croats.[2] Šakić joined the concentration camp administration in 1941. At the age of 21 Šakić came to Jasenovac, south-east of Zagreb, the biggest of the 20-odd camps set up by the Ustaša regime, as an assistant commandant. In April 1944 he was promoted to commander and served for seven months.[1] His rapid rise was the result not only of his enthusiastic and loyal support for the policies of Ante Pavelić; in 1943 he had married Nada Luburić (Sakic), the half-sister of Vjekoslav Luburić, a veteran Ustaša official, who had been a force behind the creation and oversight of Croatia's network of concentration camps.[2] After the defeat of the Axis forces, he emigrated to Argentina.[2]

In 1994, Šakić spoke with Magazin and stated that "I’d do it all again". He said that he hoped more Serbs had died at Jasenovac and that "I sleep like a baby."[1]

Having been tracked down by the Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, the District Attorney in Zagreb brought charges against Šakić on 20 April 1998 for war crimes during World War II when he was the chief of the Jasenovac concentration camp.

Trial[edit | edit source]

Dinko Šakić was a part of the panel of the "mobile martial-court" that committed investigations under means of torture at Jasenovac. Šakić took part in the torture of Remzija Rebac, who led, along with Dr. Milan Boskovic, a group of 20 internees that organized an uprising and stole corn. Rebac was tortured with a flamethrower.[3] Šakić ordered the group executed by hanging during a camp "public performance" (general muster) on 21 September 1944. Primorac Silvestar asked one of the inmates, Hadzija, whether he forgave him. Hadzija said he never will, and Silvestar answered: "until we meet again in the other world". Dr. Milan Boskovic asked to be shot in the head, facing his death, instead of being hanged.[4] Šakić also ordered the hanging of Dr. Marin Jurcev, the manager of the Ustaše hospital, which aided a defected Ustase to smuggle information of Jasenovac to the partisans, his wife and three internees held in the village of Jasenovac were hanged.[5] Mrs. Jurcev had to be pulled to the scaffold by her hair since she fell off three times. Šakić set and watched the hanged bodies with interior minister of the NDH, Andrija Artuković.[6] Food quality became worse after these executions.[7]

Šakić also ordered the reprisal against inmates in June 1944, in light of the escape of Ivan Wollner, who played the orchestra for the red-cross delegation, and feared for his life. He then fled (or, alternatively, was taken by the Ustase) to Dubica, where the Ustase garrison caught him and beat him to death. After the retrieval of his body to the camp, a muster of the Jewish inmates was held in front of a machine-gun, during which 100 Jews, who lived in the same barracks with Wollner or played in the orchestra with him, were selected. By utilizing a record called "the directory", Šakić himself selected 25 inmates to be taken to the "Zvonara", where they were put in solitary, starved and tortured.[3][5]

During his trial, he was found laughing at certain testimony, and had to be told to refrain from laughing.[8] Šakić was extradited from Argentina, found guilty by a Croatian court and sentenced to twenty years in prison, which was the maximum penalty under Croatian law at the time.[2]

Death[edit | edit source]

On 20 July 2008, Dinko Šakić died in hospital at the Remetinec prison in Novi Zagreb at the age of 86.[9] He was buried at Zagreb crematory on 25 July 2008. His funeral was attended by some Croatian right wing politicians, including Anto Kovačević. Simon Wiesenthal Center director Efraim Zuroff complained to the Croatian president Stjepan Mesić about Šakić's funeral.[10] At that funeral, Croatian Dominican priest pater Vjekoslav Lasić held a speech in which he said that "the court that indicted Dinko Šakić indicted Croatia and Croatians" and that "every Croat should be proud of Šakić's name". He also claimed that the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) formed a ground for establishing the modern state of Croatia.[11]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

  • Šakić is featured on the Military Channel's show "Nazi Collaborators", episode "Beast of the Balkans".[12] The show specifically claims that around 300,000 people died at Jasenovac.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Martin, Douglas (23 July 2008). "Dinko Sakic, Who Led WWII Death Camp, Dies at 86". http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/world/europe/23sakic.html?printing=true. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Dinko Sakic: Concentration camp commander". 24 July 2008. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dinko-sakic-concentration-camp-commander-875730.html. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Crimes in the Jasenovac Camp". The State Commission of Croatia for the Investigation of the Crimes of the Occupation Forces and their Collaborators. pp. 52–55. http://www.jasenovac-info.com/cd/biblioteka/jasenovac1946/jasenovac1946.pdf. 
  4. "WITNESS IN SAKIC TRIAL SAYS HE SAW DEFENDANT SHOOT ONE INMATE DEAD". 7 April 1999. http://public.carnet.hr/sakic/hinanews/arhiva/9904/hina-07-a.html. "Sakic then told Boskovic he valued him as a man and expert, and that he should feel honoured to have the camp's commander personally kill him. I saw everything well. The first shot hit Boskovic between the nose and the temple, the second between the left eye and ear, while the third, I don't know if that one hit him." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Indictment against Dinko Ljubomir Sakic". Office of the County Prosecutor in Zagreb. 14 December 1998. http://public.carnet.hr/sakic/documents/optuznica/optuznica.html. 
  6. "MILKA ZABCIC TESTIFIES IN TRIAL OF DINKO SAKIC". 29 March 1999. http://public.carnet.hr/sakic/hinanews/arhiva/9903/hina-29-r.html. "I can remember well that Artukovic was eating red beet and fried schnitzel while looking through the window at the hanging bodies. The three of them were laughing and commenting on something." 
  7. "DRAGUTIN SKRGATIC TESTIFIES IN SAKIC TRIAL". 14 April 1999. http://public.carnet.hr/sakic/hinanews/arhiva/9904/hina-14-f.html. 
  8. "Trial of Dinko Sakic - chronology". Public.carnet.hr. 1944-09-23. http://public.carnet.hr/sakic/hinanews/arhiva/9903/hina-22-l.html. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  9. "WW II concentration camp commander dies in Croatia". 21 July 2008. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/07/21/sakic-dies.html#ixzz0qgLfaYWa. 
  10. "Zuroff traži od Mesića osudu organizatora Šakićevog pokopa". 29 July 2008. http://dnevnik.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/zuroff-trazi-od-mesica-osudu-organizatora-sakicevog-pokopa.html?ar=. 
  11. Hrvoje Šimičević (29 July 2008). "Zuroff Mesiću: Osudite organizatore Šakićevog sprovoda" (in Croatian). Zuroff to Mesić: Condemn organizers of Šakić's funeral. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. http://www.webcitation.org/69LsH9SzW. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  12. "Military Channel’S New Series Nazi Collaborators Uncovers The Untold Stories Of The People And Organizations That Shockingly Sided With The Third Reich : Discovery Press Web". Press.discovery.com. 2011-09-28. http://press.discovery.com/us/mil/press-releases/2011/military-channels-new-series-nazi-collaborato-1542/. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 

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