Dinko Šakić bigraphy, stories - Croatian war criminal

Dinko Šakić : biography

8 September 1921 - 20 July 2008

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.

In popular culture

  • Šakić is featured on the Military Channel's show "Nazi Collaborators", episode "Beast of the Balkans"

. The show specifically claims that around 300,000 people died at Jasenovac.


[[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.

He became a committed member of the nationalist organisation Ustaša from a very young age. 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. 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. 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. After the defeat of the Axis forces, he emigrated to Argentina.

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."

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.


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. 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. 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. 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. Food quality became worse after these executions.

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.

During his trial, he was found laughing at certain testimony, and had to be told to refrain from laughing. 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.


On 20 July 2008, Dinko Šakić died in hospital at the Remetinec prison in Novi Zagreb at the age of 86. 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. 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.

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