Ancient history

"Father Satan"... The Croatian executioner of the death camps

Last updated:2022-11-07

Miroslav Filipović was born in Bosnia in 1915. Little is known about his life. He was of Croatian origin. In 1938 he became a monk of the Franciscan order and received the name Tomislav. When he completed his theological studies, he joined, in January 1942, the Ustasi, Pavelic's infamous Croatian organization. Filipovich was appointed a military chaplain.

By April 1941, a Croatian state had been established under Pavelic, starting savage massacres of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies , but not Muslims. On February 7, 1942, Filipović was with an Ustasi battalion in their raids on Serbian villages in the Banja Luka area. More than 2,300 Serbs, men, women and children, were murdered, most with axes.

Even the monk Filipovich slaughtered a child with his own hands, shouting to his men:"I convert in the name of God the devil, do the same." On another occasion, in Krivaja, he allegedly single-handedly massacred all the Serbian students at the school there.

The massacres in question caused disgust even in Germans and Italians. So Filipovic, who actively participated in the massacres, was deposed as a priest and expelled from the Franciscan order. However, he was not disqualified, as, according to the rules, he should have been. Filipovic was detained for a while but was released and without a race was placed in Jasenovac's death camp.

There he assumed the duties of warden and later became commander for a time. According to a Jewish inmate of the camp, Filipovich "dressed in an elegant suit and wearing a hunter's hat, watched with pleasure the victims... He took the children from the mothers ostensibly to baptize them... The mothers begged but Filipovich threw the children up and nailed them with his knife".

Together with other officers, they were organizing a competition to see who would kill the most prisoners in a given time. After the war he himself admitted to the murder, 100 prisoners, with his own hands and thousands more in which he was present.

During his administration at least 20,000 people were brutally murdered – other sources put the number at 30,000. Not without reason he was given the nickname "Father Satan". He himself admitted that he forced the prisoners to dig graves and sit on the edge. There they killed them with big hammers.

"I was in the Stara Gradiska camp from the end of October 1942 until March 27, 1943. During that time mass extermination took place usually outside the camp," he had said. According to eyewitnesses, Filipovic sometimes forced prisoners to kill other prisoners with heavy weapons. He killed children with pleasure.

At Christmas 1942, after mass he slaughtered four prisoners with a knife. He did the same with a Jewish prisoner whom he forced to sing to him. As soon as the song was over he cut his throat. On one occasion he killed 56 Jews with an ax and dumped the bodies in a well, and on another occasion he shot 40 people. Witnesses speak of other murders as well.

It is worth noting that he was so cold that once he was having lunch he got up, killed a prisoner and calmly sat down and continued to eat. After the murders he used to sit in his armchair exclaiming:"Justice has been served".

Croatian doctor, also imprisoned in Jasenovac because of his opposition to the regime, Nikola Nikolic states:"His voice was feminine, contrary to his body type." On one occasion, Nikolic, along with other prisoners, were ordered to stand at attention and watch as Filipovic "operated on other prisoners without anaesthetic" , as he characteristically said addressing Dr. Nikolics himself. After killing two people himself he ordered his men to "finish the rest".

In September 1944, as a member of a military court, he sentenced 31 people to be hanged. He was finally arrested and in 1946 he was tried for war crimes and hanged wearing the Franciscan cassock.