Ivica Matković (Ustaša)

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Ivica Matković (1913 – 1945) was an Ustaša lieutenant colonel[1] and the administrator of the Jasenovac concentration camp between January 1942 and March 1943, during World War II in Yugoslavia. During his tenure, most of the atrocities happened in the camp, and he was directly involved in the plannings and execution of those atrocities.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Matković was born in Zlarin.[1]

Arrival at Jasenovac[edit]

According to the State-commission of Croatia, Matković arrived at the camp as early as December 1941 as the deputy of Vjekoslav Luburić before a massacre which took place on 25 December 1941.[2] In January 1942, he was appointed "administrator" of the camp and Ljubo Miloš was his deputy, the commander. Miloš was aided by Father Miroslav Filipović, a Franciscan friar, who was chief guard, and Hinko Dominik Picilli, commander of the labor force.

Under the command of Matković[edit]

Matković was infamous for being a refined and cold-blooded killer,[citation needed] who often amused himself by mocking his victims while killing them and prolonging their suffering.[3][4] The liquidations in the camp, previously held openly all around the camp grounds, were now organised in the form of systematic extermination: inmates had to pass selections and attend musters where inmates were hanged. Matković ordered Picilli to construct a kind of crematorium. Matković would attend musters in the crematoria, and forced inmates to watch the hangings and not look away. He also initiated murder in Gradina, which would later become the main killing grounds of the complex.[citation needed]

Atrocities under Matković[edit]

  • Liquidation of the 'sanatorium' in Jasenovac: In the winter of 1941-1942, rough conditions and exposure to the elements caused acute health impairment of the inmates of Jasenovac. Some 300 inmates were held in a barracks used as a "hospital", where gravely ill and feeble inmates were kept with no care. On 1 February 1942, 42 inmates were selected to exterior labor in the Jewish grave-digger group (group "D"). upon returning to camp at 22:00, after digging graves, they were restricted from accessing the barracks due to custody.[4] Later it became known that the patients were driven out of the barrack to be liquidated. Other witnesses that were present at the time confirmed this and also claimed that such sort of practice later became standard, and the "sanatorium" would often be cleansed or that individuals were also selected there to be liquidated.[5][6][7] The grave-diggers later learned that the graves they dug were meant for the relatives [clarification needed] of the liquidated people.[8]
  • Hanging of five people in public on winter 1941-42: In the winter, inmates did hard labor on the embankment of the river, and were fed potatoes or "turnip soup". According to the State Commission investigation, which drove five hungry inmates to dig out raw potatoes, despite the threat of death... "Matković ordered all prisoners to line up in groups for the public punishment of these five men. Even though it was extremely cold, all five of them had to strip naked. The Ustase tied their hands behind their backs and hanged them by their arms. They were hanged in this position for an hour, shivering from the cold. Their bodies turned blue. After an hour, Matković had them untied and shot all five of them in the back of their heads. He held a speech for the prisoners, in which he threatened an even harsher punishment if such a 'crime' happened again."[9]

Changes in the administration in March 1943[edit]

In March 1943, a diversion became imminent within the Ustase leadership. The direct influence over this debate was the lost of the Axis at Stalingrad. Some of the Ustase, led by Ante Pavelić himself, wanted to slow down their policy of ethnic cleansing, in fear of losing to the allies, while others, led by Eugen and Dido Kvaternik, sought to boost the rate of extermination. Pavelić was allegedly so fearful[citation needed] of the power and influence Dido Kvaternik obtained (to such a degree that he could threaten Pavelić's position and defy him), that, by the counsel of Andrija Artuković, he had he and his father exiled. With the replacement of Eugen Kvaternik by Josip Crnković a substantial cleansing of the ranks in the UNS was at hand. On 19 March 1943, Matković was relieved of administration. His replacement, Ivica Brkljacic, was not due to arrive until 25 March. Matković celebrated his release of-duty with his fellows, by beating inmates roughly, wounding many and killing one. One of those who participated was Petar Brzica.[10] Matković apparently remained in the camp.

Dolfo Matković (brother)[edit]

Matković's brother, Dolfo, relied upon his brother's authority to rob inmates of whatever property they had.[11][12]


Matković died in the Celje area in 1945.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ivica Matković bio at Jasenovac Memorial Site". Jusp-jasenovac.hr. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  2. ^ State Commission of Croatia for the investigation of crimes of the occupation forces and their collaborators; pg. 30. Cf. Djuro Schwartz, ג'ורו שווארץ, "במחנות המוות של יאסנובאץ" in: קובץ מחקרים כ"ה (Yad Va-Shem, 1994). pg. 315
  3. ^ State-commission, pgs. 3, 18, 24, 28
  4. ^ a b Schwartz, pgs. 324-6
  5. ^ four testimonies in the State-commission, pg. 39
  6. ^ Editor Srpska Mreza (2007-09-26). "Sadik Danon, "The smell of human flesh"; see the chapter entitled: Hunger". Srpska-mreza.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  7. ^ ‏Indictment of Dinko Ljubomir Šakić; witness testimonies: Dragan Roller, Anton Milković, Mara Cvetko, Jakov Finci, Adolf Friedrich and Jesua Abinun. Video hic
  8. ^ Schwartz, pg. 303
  9. ^ State Commission investigation, pg. 39
  10. ^ State Commission, ep. C, article XV.
  11. ^ Menachem Shelach (ed.), et al. History of the Holocaust: Yugoslavia (pgs. 199 n. ff.)
  12. ^ Schwartz, pg. 300, reads: "The man [Hinko Dominik Picilli] walked constantly about the brick kilns, where young Matković[which?] then laboured, leading the grave-diggers ... Once I had to go via the brick-factory's elevator, and young Matković issued me a guard, saying to him: 'lead him past the front stairs into the elevator and if he sways but slightly, kill him on the spot!'"