Q. You talked about contributions. Did these have to be
handed over to the authorities in bills, or coins, or in any
A. The police in Zagreb, which had been charged with this,
nominated two assessors who had to collect the money. It
could be given in gold, gems, diamonds, etc., precious
Q. Did you come into contact with the Gestapo in Belgrade?
A. Since the Jewish Community had been closed immediately
during the first days after the entry of the German troops,
I had reason to appear before the Zagreb office of the
Directorate for Public Order and Security with a request for
permission to open the Community offices.
Q. My question was this: Side by side with this Directorate,
which was set up in accordance with the legal Regulation I
have submitted, alongside the Croatian Directorate, was
there also a German Gestapo office?
A. In this connection I wanted to say that the official
concerned of the Directorate later brought me to the
Gestapo. This was my first contact with the Gestapo.
Q. You had to obtain the Jewish Stars for the population of
Zagreb, Mr. Arnon, did you not?
A. The Gestapo official, whose name was Mueller, had charged
me with having 10,000 of these Jewish badges manufactured.
Q. What can you tell the Court about later drastic measures
against the Jews in Croatia?
A. At the end of April 160 Jewish youngsters were arrested
and taken to the Baniza camp near Koprivnica.
Q. What happened there?
A. The youngsters were required to do agricultural work
there. They remained there for a few weeks only, and after
that they were sent to that notorious place, Jadowna, in the
Licca district. In the meantime there were arrests, people
were removed from streetcars, from homes, offices and
enterprises. They were arrested and also sent to Jadowna in
Q. Who headed the camp?
A. They were Ustashi people.
Q. What happened to the people in that camp?
A. A few months later the Italians wanted to occupy this
district. The Ustashi shot all the inmates, among them also
hundreds of thousands of Serbs, and threw them into a pit.
Only a very few youngsters were able to save themselves by
staying behind in the town of Bosnice as street sweepers,
while they were on their way to Jadowna. Later on they
joined Tito’s partisans, and some of them were proclaimed
Q. Mr. Arnon, on 16 June arrests were made, of whom?
A. On 16 June all the members of the B’nai B’rith Lodge were
Q. Where were they sent?
A. A few days later – the date is well-known because on 22
June Croatia declared war against Russia – all members of
the Lodge were deported to the Jadowna camp in Licca,
together with 450 other people who had in the meantime been
Q. What can you tell us about killings by shooting in Zagreb
following what was called acts of sabotage?
A. Masses of Jews were arrested and carted off to nearby
Miximir, where they were shot.
Q. Did this have anything to do with so-called acts of
A. Not directly, because at that time the Jews did not take
part in acts of sabotage.
Q. On 26 June 1941 placards appeared in the streets of
Zagreb, did they not?
A. Yes, an order was issued, which was also posted up, about
the setting up of concentration camps. The order was signed
by the so-called Poglavnik and by Minister of the Interior
Artukovic, who lives now in America.
Q. Where were these camps set up?
A. Apart from the first camp already mentioned in Jadowna, a
large camp was established in Jasenovac, where 60,000 people
perished, among them 20,000 Jews. Apart from this camp in
Jasenovac, camps were also put up in Stara Gradiska with
2,000 Jews, mainly women and children; in Djakovo, in an
abandoned mill, for 3,000 women from all parts of Croatia;
in Peniek near Ossetz, especially for Jews from the environs
of Ossetz, with 3,000 Jews; and lastly Kruschnitze in
Bosnia, where about 3,000 women and children were arrested,
who were afterwards deported to Jasenovac and Stara
Gradiska. I visited the following camps: The youth camp in
Koprivnica, the camp in Loborgrad, and the camp in Djakovo
Q. What kind of permission did you have in order to visit
A. The camps could only be visited with the permission of
the Gestapo, and I always received this permission on
condition that I was accompanied by someone from the
Directorate for Public Order and Security.
Presiding Judge: In what capacity did you receive this
permission, as head of Joint or as what?
Witness Arnon: As Secretary of the Jewish Community in
State Attorney Bar-Or: What was the purpose of these visits
to the camps?
Witness Arnon: To look at the situation of the people, to
see to it that sanitary installations were put up and that
food and clothing were sent to the camps.
Q. What was the situation, what kind of regime was there in
A. The camps I visited were crammed full with people. In
one camp, which could hold a few hundred persons according
to any humane estimate, 3,000 women and children were
crowded together. In Djakovo typhoid fever broke out.
People were starving, and many died of illness and hunger.
Q. Who was in charge in the camps?
A. The camps were under the command of the Ustashi, except
the camp in Loborgrad, where the ethnic Germans had the
Q. Did the internees remain in these camps?
A. There were changes. For instance, the camp in Stara
Gradiska was dismantled, and the women were sent to
Loborgrad. I was arrested on 15 August, and after I was
released, the officials at the Jewish Community informed me
that the deportations to the East had begun.
Q. What can you tell us about the desecration of synagogues
in your region?
A. The first synagogue to be destroyed was in Osijek where
there were several thousand ethnic Germans. The second was
the great, magnificent synagogue in Zagreb on Zrinijevac.
Then came the turn of the big Sephardic synagogue in
Sarajevo, and after that all the synagogues in the country.
Q. Was there another synagogue in Sarajevo which was not
destroyed? What happened to it?
A. In Sarajevo, on the bank of the Miljacka, there stands
until this day the beautiful Ashkenazi synagogue which the
Ustashi turned into a warehouse.
Q. Mr. Arnon, later on trains arrived in Zagreb from Bosnia
and Slovenia. Do you remember the Trade Fair Grounds? Tell
the Court about these things.
A. About 15,000 Jews lived in Bosnia and about 8,000 in
Slovenia. In the course of June, and a few months later,
trains full of Jews from these regions arrived day after day
and every night at the Zagreb Trade Fair Grounds, which was
the point of concentration of the Jews arrested in Zagreb.
Q. Were there transports, deportations, from the Trade Fair
A. Transports to the East left from the Trade Fair Grounds a
few days later.
Q. Mr. Arnon, when the Jews from Bosnia and Slovenia were
concentrated in Zagreb, as you described…
Presiding Judge: Is there a difference between Slovenia and
Witness Arnon: Slavonia is part of Croatia. Slovenia is an
independent province which was at that time under Italian
State Attorney Bar-Or: When the Jews of Bosnia and Slovenia
were concentrated in Zagreb, as you described, did you hear
of protest actions from any source? Did you learn about
objections to the transports from any quarter?
Witness Arnon: Unfortunately there were no protests.
Croatia was definitely a Catholic state. Not even the
Catholic Church in Zagreb said one word against the
deportations and sufferings of the Jews.
Q. As far as you know, was there any connection – and if
there was, what was the connection – between these
occurrences and the Germans?
A. I know. As I had to be at the Gestapo every day and to
report daily to the Directorate for Public Order and
Security, we knew approximately when the deportations would
begin, and we also knew that this was done at the order of
Q. You have told the Court about your connections with the
Joint. Did these connections take you to Hungary?
A. When the situation, especially in the Jasenovac camp,
became catastrophic, the Representative of the Gestapo in
Zagreb, Mueller, ordered me to get in touch with the Joint,
and when I said that there was no Joint in Zagreb and that
the nearest connection was in Budapest, I was ordered to go
Q. When did you arrive in Hungary?
A. I was in Budapest three times. I was in Budapest in
June, when I obtained funds for food for those deported to
Jasenovac. I was in contact by telephone with Portugal,
with the Representative of the Joint, Dr. Joseph Schwartz
(now the Vice-President of the Bond Drive), and from there I
obtained money for the camps. Then I was in Budapest again
at the beginning of January and at the end of April 1942,
always for the same purpose.
Q. Did you organize food consignments for the detainees in
A. We bought up waggonloads of food in Zagreb, of course at
exorbitant prices, and sent them on to the camps.
Unfortunately the deportees or the detainees in the camps
were those who benefited the least, because the Ustashi
pillaged most of the consignments.
Q. Mr. Arnon, what do you know about a plan to send fifty
children to Palestine?
A. In July 1941 the council of the Jewish Community decided
to submit an application to Minister Artukovic in which we
asked to send fifty children to Palestine, whose parents had
already been deported or were about to be deported. I also
talked with Gestapo Representative Mueller about this
matter, and within 48 hours we received a positive reply, on
condition that we state the children’s addresses. We
prudently gave the address of the Jewish Community. Within
another 48 hours we were ordered to give the real addresses,
and we had to comply. On 22 November 1941, when I was
released after 100 days of detention, I learned that only
eleven children could be sent off, the others had been
caught and put to death.
Q. You were arrested on 15 August, Mr. Arnon?
Q. Why were you arrested?
A. From the very beginning we made efforts to supply the
Jasenovac camp with food and other supplies. So I was
engaged in dispatching the first boxes, together with Dr.
Breier, the Community physician. While we were thus
occupied, a young man in Ustashi uniform came to the
Community offices and told us that he had visited Jasenovac.
Conditions in Jasenovac were such that one had to see to it
that food parcels were sent, especially sanitary supplies
for women, and he offered to help us with this.
Q. What happened next?
A. He actually left with two big boxes – and a few days
later I was arrested.
Q. What was the connection?
A. In the course of five hours of examination during the
night, under terrible ill-treatment, I learned that this
person was a communist who had smuggled thousands of
communist leaflets into these same boxes. In answer to the
question from the examining official where he obtained the
boxes, he said, of course, from me, and so it had to be
assumed that he also received the leaflets from me.
Q. Where did you spend the 100 days of your detention?
A. In the well-known Zarzecze prison in Zagreb.
Q. How did it happen that you were freed after 100 days?
A. As was to be assumed, there were also some leftist
elements among the Ustashi, partisans, communists, etc. I
had constant contact with them, and thus I could also keep
in touch with my office in Zagreb. When the Jewish
Community asked for more funds from the Joint in Budapest
during my arrest, the Joint, which I had represented in
Yugoslavia for years, made it a condition that I be
released, in order that I might resume its representation.
Q. And thus you were liberated?
A. I was also liberated because there was no proof against
me. On the other hand, my cellmate, whose guilt could not
be proved either, was nevertheless taken to Jasenovac and
Q. Mr. Arnon, in the end you managed to escape to Ljubljana
which was then in Italian-occupied territory?
Q. Tell us about the circumstances of the escape, please.
A. May I mention…
Presiding Judge: You have to answer the question. If it
concerns the questions you may tell us about it, otherwise –
Witness Arnon: I think – yes. My friends in Ljubljana,
together with some well-meaning Slovenes, first made it
possible for my children to flee, then, a little later, for
my wife. And after that my friends, together with my wife,
found a Gestapo man who could be bribed, as well as an
ethnic German who could be bribed, and these people came to
Zagreb with an order to arrest me as a spy and took me to
Ljubljana, which was under Italian occupation.
Q. When did you arrive in Ljubljana?
A. On 4 May 1942.
Q. Were the living conditions for the Jews there different
from the living conditions in Zagreb?
A. If by this you mean the refugees who had fled from
Croatia – because in Ljubljana itself there lived only a few
Jewish families – the Jews could move about freely there and
only had to register with the Italian occupation
Q. Mr. Arnon, until the date of your flight to Ljubljana –
and this is, by the way, the capital of…?
A. Of Slovenia.
Q. All the time while you were still in Zagreb, you were in
underground contact with other parts of Yugoslavia, were you
A. We had contacts with Serbia.
Q. Can you tell us something about the fate of the Jews in
Serbia during these months?
A. Several days after the Germans occupied Serbia, we
received confidential information through refugees – German
Jews who lived as refugees and who wanted to leave again and
escape via Croatia to Italy – that anti-Jewish measures and
mass arrests had begun. Thus we learned about the
establishment of transit camps for arrested Jews in Banice,
Topovske Supe, Jabuka, etc. Some months later the large
concentration camp Sajmiste was set up near Belgrade. About
90,000 persons, including 7,000-8,000 Jews, were detained
there – and in the course of time starved to death – were
killed or sent to the East, among them my sister and her two