Ljubo Miloš

Ljubo Miloš
Miloš in an Ustaše uniform
Birth name Ljubomir Miloš
Born (1919-02-25)25 February 1919
Bosanski Šamac, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died 20 August 1948(1948-08-20) (aged 29)
Zagreb, SR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Allegiance  Independent State of Croatia
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Ustaše
Croatian Home Guard
Years of service 1941–45
Commands held Commander of Jasenovac concentration camp,
Commander of Lepoglava concentration camp

Ljubomir "Ljubo" Miloš (25 February 1919 – 20 August 1948) was an Ustaše official in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. He served as commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp on several occasions and was responsible for various atrocities committed there during the war. He fled Yugoslavia in May 1945 and sought refuge in Austria. In 1947, he returned to Yugoslavia with the intention of starting an anti-communist uprising. He was soon arrested by Yugoslav authorities and charged with war crimes. Miloš was found guilty on all counts and hanged in August 1948.

Early life

Miloš was born in Bosanski Šamac on 25 February 1919. He attended primary school in Orašje and Bosanski Brod and finished secondary school in Subotica. He stayed in Subotica and worked as a municipal clerk.[1]

World War II

On 6 April 1941, Axis forces invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Poorly equipped and poorly trained, the Royal Yugoslav Army was quickly defeated. Yugoslavia was then dismembered and the extreme Croat nationalist and fascist Ante Pavelić, who had been in exile in Benito Mussolini's Italy, was appointed Poglavnik (leader) of an Ustaše-led Croatian state – the Independent State of Croatia (often called the NDH, from the Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska). The NDH combined almost all of modern-day Croatia, all of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and parts of modern-day Serbia into an "Italian-German quasi-protectorate".[2] NDH authorities, led by the Ustaše militia,[3] subsequently implemented genocidal policies against the Serb, Jewish and Romani population living within the borders of the new state.[4]

Miloš arrived in Zagreb in June 1941 and met with his first cousin, Ustaše commander Vjekoslav Luburić. Luburić made him his right-hand man and used his influence to get Miloš a position within the Ustaše Supervisory Service (Croatian: Ustaška nadzorna služba, UNS), which ran the Jasenovac concentration camp. In October, Miloš was named camp commander and promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. Miloš was personally responsible for the safety of Croatian politician Vladko Maček during his imprisonment, from 15 October 1941 to 15 March 1942.[1] At one point, Maček noticed that Miloš prayed very often and asked him if he "feared God's punishment" for the atrocities he committed in the camp. "Say nothing to me," Miloš replied. "I know I will burn in hell for what I have done and for what I will do. But I will burn for Croatia."[5][6]

Miloš was transferred to the Đakovo concentration camp in early 1942, but returned to Jasenovac and reassumed the position of camp commander in the spring.[1] He seemed to compete with the other commanding officers in the camp to see who could torture and kill the most inmates.[7] Miloš often dressed in a white robe and pretended to be a doctor in front of sick inmates. He would sometimes take those applying to be hospitalized, line them up against a wall and slit their throats with a slaughtering knife.[8] He seemed "very proud" of this "ritual slaughter of the [Jews]...".[9] Witness Milan Flumiani recalled:

[As] soon as the seventeen of us arrived at Jasenovac, Ustaše beat us with rifle butts and took us to the Brick Factory, where Ljubo Miloš had already lined up two groups, while we arrived as a special third group. Maričić asked Ljubo Miloš, "who should I aim at first?", and Miloš replied, "where there’s more of them", and both of them pointed automatic rifles at the 40 men from the first two groups and shot them all. After that, he asked the first man from our group why he came here, and when that man replied that he was guilty of being born a Serb, he shot him on the spot. Then he picked out Laufer, a lawyer from Zagreb, and asked him what he was, and when he replied, he called him out like this — "I like lawyers very much, come closer" — and killed him right away. Then he found out that a third man was a doctor from Zagreb, and he ordered him to examine the first two men and to establish whether they were dead. When the doctor confirmed that they were, he turned to the fourth man and when he found out that he too was a doctor, he "forgave" the whole group.[10]

Miloš also raised a wolfhound and trained it to assault inmates.[11] During the summer of 1942, he travelled to Italy to complete a law enforcement course in Turin, but returned to the NDH after only ten days. In September, he returned to Jasenovac and assumed the role of assistant-camp commander. Troops under Miloš's command raided several villages near Jasenovac in October 1942, looted countless homes, arrested hundreds of Serb peasants and deported them to the camps. NDH authorities learned about the raids shortly after and arrested Miloš. He was not imprisoned long, as Luburić ordered his release on 23 December 1942. In January 1943, Miloš joined the Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko domobranstvo) and was stationed in Mostar. He returned to Zagreb in April 1943, where he remained until spring the following year. In September, he was named commander of Lepoglava prison.[12]

Capture and death

By the end of World War II, Miloš had attained the rank of Major.[13] He fled Yugoslavia at the beginning of May 1945, and withdrew through Austria to Allied-controlled northern Italy with help from the Roman Catholic church.[8] He soon returned to Austria and established links with Croatian émigrés there. He illegally crossed the Yugoslav–Hungarian border in 1947 with the intention of infiltrating Croatia with anti-communist guerrillas known as Crusaders (križari). Miloš was arrested by Yugoslav authorities on 20 July 1947, charged with war crimes and tried the following year.[13] During his trial, he confessed to killing Jasenovac inmates[6] and testified that the Ustaše had drawn up plans for the extermination of Serbs long before 1941.[14][15] Miloš was found guilty on all counts on 20 August 1948 and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of the People's Republic of Croatia.[13] He was hanged in Zagreb the same day.[16]



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