Vjekoslav Luburić

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Vjekoslav Luburić
Vjekoslav Luburić.jpg
Vjekoslav Luburić in 1940s
Nickname(s) Maks, General Drinjanin, El Polaco
Born (1913-06-20)20 June 1913
Humac, Ljubuški, Austria-Hungary
Died 20 April 1969(1969-04-20) (aged 55)
Carcaixent, Spain
Allegiance  Independent State of Croatia
Service/branch Ustaše militia
Croatian Armed Forces
Years of service 1929–1945
Rank General
Commands held III Office of the Ustaše Surveillance Service
Ustaše Defence Brigades
Battles/wars World War II in Yugoslavia
Awards Iron Trefoil 1st Class
Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir
Iron Cross 1st Class

Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić (20 June 1913 – 20 April 1969) was a Croatian Ustaša and Croatian Armed Forces general, commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp, commander of the guerrilla army Crusaders and post-war Croatian diaspora organization called Croatian National Resistance.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Humac village (part of Ljubuški), Austria-Hungary. In his youth, he was involved with petty crime. On one occasion he was charged with vagrancy and got sentenced to two days in prison on 7 September 1929. Two years later on 5 December 1931, the District Court in Mostar sentenced him to five months in prison for embezzlement of funds belonging to the public stock exchange in Mostar. He was arrested for embezzlement once more after that.[1]

Luburić went abroad after Ante Pavelić and was trained in brutality in various Ustase camps in Italy and Hungary.[2]

World War II[edit]

Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, Luburić travelled to the newly proclaimed Independent State of Croatia (NDH) on his own initiative, in order to join the Ustaša regime, and became part of Pavelić's inner circle.[3] Groups of Ustaše militia under his direct command were responsible for the first mass atrocities committed against Serbs in the NDH, namely the Gudovac, Veljun and Glina massacres.[4] Luburić was appointed the commanding general for the area of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) around the Drina river, which is why he is sometimes referred to as General Drinjanin (General of the Drina).[5] He was the founder and first commander of the concentration camps in the NDH, and from late 1941 also commanded the Ustaša Defence Brigades, which were part of the Ustaša Surveillance Service. The Defence Brigades were involved in operations against the Chetniks and Partisans, and also ran the concentration camps and engaged in mass terror. It was in this role that Luburić acquired a reputation for being the most bloodthirsty and brutal of all Ustaša commanders.[6]

Luburić with a German officer in the Stara Gradiška concentration camp, June 1942.

Vjekoslav Luburić, as the commander-in-chief of all the NDH concentration camps, announced the great "efficiency" of his Jasenovac concentration camp at a ceremony on October 9, 1942. Vjekoslav Luburić gave gold and silver medals to Ante Pavelić and Andrija Artuković because they were the most efficient soldiers.[7][8] He enjoyed unlimited Pavelić's trust and had had instructions for extermination of the Serbs from Pavelic himself.[9]

Besides running the camp, Luburić would come to Jasenovac to participate in the executions in person.[10][11] It is estimated that 100,000 people were killed at Jasenovac during World War II.[12][13]

Those who were without papers were, without trial, interned into the camp, providing that they were able to work and with a profession that suited the Ustaša's needs. Those who had permits to remain three years were immediately taken to liquidation, and those who had special permits were dealt with according to what the permits were for.

As the coup against Pavelić known as the Lorković–Vokić plot was uncovered in 1944, Mladen Lorković and Ante Vokić were arrested and sent to the camp at Lepoglava, where they were tried and sentenced to death on Maks Luburić's orders in May 1945.[14]

In February 1945 Pavelić sent Luburić to Sarajevo with instructions to destroy the resistance movement. The postwar commission on war crimes identified 323 victims of Luburić's reign of terror in Sarajevo. The results of this brutality were witnessed by Landrum Bolling, an American journalist[15]

...who arrived in the city on April 7 after its liberation by Partizan forces. He was shown a room containing bodies "stacked like cordwood on top of one another. We were told these Serbs whom the Ustashs had hanged by barbed wire from lampposts in Sarajevo, " he said, "Luburic's brief reign of terror constituted the Ustasha's final gruesome legacy in Sarajevo. As his last sadistic acts were being carried out, Sarajevo's destiny was being decided on the field of battle in the hills around the city.

After World War II[edit]

After the end of the war, following the defeat of the NDH, Luburić led the Crusaders (Križari) paramilitary, but was unsuccessful, escaped to Hungary and later to Spain.[16][verification needed]

In 1957, Luburić founded the Croatian National Resistance (Hrvatski narodni odpor, HNO), a radical nationalist and terrorist organization, and led it for two decades, until his death.

Luburić was killed by Ilija Stanić on April 20, 1969, in Carcaixent, Spain,[17] after Stanić infiltrated Luburić's organisation. Ilija Stanić was Luburić's godson, and the son of Luburić's comrade-in-arms Vinko Stanić.[18] However, Stanić claims (in the Globus newspaper as per Jutarnji list, a Zagreb newspaper) that he killed Luburić because Luburić abandoned Pavelić. At the time of the assassination, Stanić was not an agent of Yugoslav secret police.[19]

Nada Tanić Luburić (also Esperanza Tanić Luburić),[20] Vjekoslav Luburić's sister, was married to Dinko Šakić.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zločini u logoru Jasenovac. Zemaljska komisija za utvrdjivanje zločina okupatora i njihovih pomagača Besjeda, Banja Luka 2000 page 59
  2. ^ Crimes in the Jasenovac Camp, Zagreb 1946 The State Commission of Croatia for the Investigation of the Crimes of the Occupation Forces and their Collaborators [1]
  3. ^ Tomasevich (2001), p. 336
  4. ^ Goldstein (2007), pp. 22–24
  5. ^ Hudelist, Darko (2004). "Pact with Norval". Tuđman-biografija (in Croatian). Zagreb: Profil. p. 604. ISBN 953-12-0038-6. 
  6. ^ Tomasevich (2001), p. 422
  7. ^ Dr. Edmund Paris, "Genocide in Satellite Croatia, p. 132
  8. ^ State-commission of Croatia for the investigation of the crimes of the occupation forces and their collaborators: crimes in the Jasenovac camp, p. 28-29[dead link]
  9. ^ The massacre in history by Mark Levene, Penny Roberts Berghahn Books (July 1999) ISBN 978157181934 page 264 Camp personnel members believed, as they testified later, that Luburić had had instructions for extermination of the Serbs from Pavelić himself. Faced with German complaints about Luburić's methods, Pavelić appears to have commented that he was worth more to him than a hundred university professors.
  10. ^ for a single example, see: State-commission, p. 26
  11. ^ ג'ורו שוואץ, "במחנות המוות של יאסנובאץ", קובץ מחקרים כ"ה, יד ושם (Djuro Schwartz, "In the Jasenovac camp of death" in Yad Vashem Studies 25 (1996) pages 383–430). p. 322, 328
  12. ^ Official website of the Jasenovac Memorial Site
  13. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  14. ^ Lord of the Dance Macabre by Cali Ruchala, Diacritica Press Chicago IL 2002 page 75
  15. ^ Sarajevo: A Biography by Robert J. Donia, University of Michigan Press (May 16, 2006) ISBN 978-0-472-11557-0 Pages 196–7
  16. ^ Ruchala, page 76
  17. ^ Guldescu, Stanko, Prcela, John: "Operation Slaughterhouse", page 71. Dorracne and company, 1970.
  18. ^ Ubij bliznjeg svog by Marko Lopusina, Cekic i stangla chapter[dead link]
  19. ^ Autor: Portal Jutarnji.hr (2009-07-15). "Ilija Stanić: Ubili smo Luburića jer se razišao s Pavelićem, Jutarnji list, Zagreb, July 15, 2009". Jutarnji.hr. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  20. ^ http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Croatia/Sakic/press6.htm



  • Goldstein, Ivo (2007), "The Independent State of Croatia in 1941: On the Road to Catastrophe", in Ramet, Sabrina P., The Independent State of Croatia 1941–45, New York: Routledge, pp. 19–29, ISBN 0-415-44055-6 
  • Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration 2. San Francisco: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3615-4.