Srbosjek (literally "Serb cutter" in Croatian, often referred to as "cutthroat") is the colloquial Croatian term for a type of knife allegedly used for killing prisoners in Croatian concentration camps in World War II.
History[change | change source]
The knife gained notoriety in the former Yugoslavian countries because it was believed to be used by the Croatian Ustaše during World War II for the killing of prisoners in the concentration camps of the Nazi-puppet Independent State of Croatia, most notably the Jasenovac concentration camp. It has been discovered recently that only Jews (and not all of them, as there was a noticeable amount of Jews who were exempt from this so long as they contributed to the state in some form) and Roma were imprisoned on 'ethnic' grounds and Serbs and Croats simply imprisoned on the grounds that they were Yugoslav Partisans resistance members, or simply on the suspicion they were against the Ustaša regime as well as those who supported the Greater Serbia idea. 
It is said that in the Jasenovac concentration camp competitions in speedy slaughter were organized by the Ustaše. The winner of one such competition, Petar Brzica slit the throats of 1,300 (or 1360 ) prisoners. However, since recently it is regarded as something that was made up by the Yugoslav communists as there doesn't seem to be any solid evidence of it. It is also mentioned that even if it were true, the number is greatly exaggerated as one would have to kill non stop for 10 hours one person every 45 seconds.
Description[change | change source]
The upper part of the knife was made of leather, as a sort of a glove, designed to be worn with the thumb going through the hole, so that only the blade protruded from the hand. It was a curved, 12 cm long knife with the edge on its concave side. The knife was fastened to a bowed oval copper plate, while the plate was fastened to a thick leather bangle. The knife was fixed on the glove plate in order to prevent injuries and to prevent taking care of a separate knife in order to improve the work speed.
Such a type of wheat sheaf knife was manufactured prior to and during World War II by German factory Gebrüder Gräfrath from Solingen under the trademark "Gräwiso". Gebrüder Gräfrath was taken over in 1961 by Hubertus Solingen.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- David M. Crowe: Crimes of State Past and Present: Government-Sponsored Atrocities and International Legal Responses, Routledge, Sep 13, 2013, ISBN 1317986822, 9781317986829, p. 71
- William Dorich: Jasenovac: Then and Now: A Conspiracy of Silence, BookBaby, Oct 1, 1997, ISBN 1882383907, 9781882383900
- Margaret E. Wagner, David M. Kennedy, Linda Barrett Osborne, Susan Reyburn: The Library of Congress World War II Companion, Library of Congress, Simon & Schuster, 2007, ISBN 0743252195, 9780743252195 p. 683
- David M. Kennedy, Margaret E. Wagner, Linda Barrett Osborne, Susan Reyburn, The Library of Congress World War II Companion (Simon and Schuster, 2007), pages 640, 646-47, page 683:
At Jasenovac, a series of camps in Croatia, the ultranationalist, right-wing Ustasha murdered Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, Muslims, and political opponents not by gassing, but with hand tools or the infamous graviso or srbosjek (literally, "Serb cutter") - a long, curved knife attached to a partial glove and designed for rapid, easy killing.
- Howard Blum, Wanted! : The Search for Nazis in America, (Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co. 1977) pp. 163.
Petar Brzica was the champion: His graviso cut through 1,300 throats in a single night.
- Dimitrije Ristevski: Psihološka rehabilitacija Srbije, Narodna knj. Alfa, 1997 p. 148
- Taborišče smrti--Jasenovac by Nikola Nikolić (author), Jože Zupančić (translator),Založba "Borec", Ljubljana 1969
The knife described on page 72: 'Na koncu noža, tik bakrene ploščice, je bilo z vdolbnimi črkami napisano "Grafrath gebr. Solingen", na usnju pa reliefno vtisnjena nemška tvrtka "Gräviso" '
Picture of the knife with description on page 73: 'Posebej izdelan nož, ki so ga ustaši uporabljali pri množičnih klanjih. Pravili so mu "kotač" - kolo - in ga je izdelovala nemška tvrtka "Gräviso" '
- Vladimir Dedijer (Editor), Harvey L. Kendall (Translator), The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican: The Croatian Massacre of the Serbs During World War II (Prometheus Books. July 1992)
- Für die Richtigkeit: Kurt Waldheim by Hanspeter Born Schneekluth, 1987
ISBN 3795110556, 9783795110550, page 65
Beliebt war das sogar wettbewerbsmäßig organisierte Kehledurchschneiden mit einem speziellen Krumm-messer Marke Gräviso.
Bibliography[change | change source]
- Ladislaus Hory and Martin Broszat: Der kroatische Ustascha-Staat, 1941-1945, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt Stuttgart, 1964
- Dave Hunt: Die Frau und das Tier Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft der römischen Kirche © 1994 by Dave Hunt, Herausgegeben von Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon - Das Abschlachten der Serben Chapter, pages 289-301
- Egon Berger: 44 mjeseca u Jasenovcu, Graficki Zavod Hrvatske, Zagreb 1966