Early 20th century
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Before the outbreak of World War II, the government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia built a prison near Kerestinec and used it to detain political prisoners, mainly Communists. In March 1941, at the eve of the Axis invasion, a large number of left-wing intellectuals from Zagreb were arrested and interned in Kerestinec.
A few weeks later Yugoslavia collapsed and the prison was taken over by authorities of the newly formed Independent State of Croatia. Following German invasion of USSR, the Croatian Communist Party started a resistance movement that would later become known as Partisans. The Ustaša regime decided to retaliate by killing some of Kerestinec prisoners.
On 9 July 1941, the first group, including Božidar Adžija, Otokar Keršovani and Ognjen Prica, was executed. The Communist Party reacted by organizing an impromptu prison break. On 13 July, the guards were overpowered and all the remaining prisoners managed to escape. But the attempt soon proved to be poorly organised and uncoordinated. Very quickly, most of the prisoners, including August Cesarec, were recaptured and shot in Maksimir woods.
Late 20th century
The base was used from November 1991 to May 1992 as a prison camp that housed JNA soldiers, Serb volunteers, mainly from Sisak, and civilians, including women. The prison commander, Stjepan Klarić, took part in and encouraged his four colleagues (all five are currently on trial for war crimes) and members of the Croatian Army, to use physical and psychological torture against the prisoners. A total of 34 people were involved and implicated in having inflicted great suffering and violation of bodily integrity and health, including daily harassment, assaults and rapes.
- "Strava u Kerestincu - Krvavi dvorac: Trudnica je pobacila od šoka i straha". Večernji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- "Podignuta optužnica za "Kerestinec"" (in Serbian). B92. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2016.