Professor Ljudevit Jurak of Zagreb University


Professor Ljudevit Jurak [1881-1945]

The documents reproduced on this page detail how Tito's "communist" Yugoslav, frequently seen by naive Westerners as supposedly "independent from Stalin's Moscow", still found it expedient for the protection and maintenance of their own repressive regime to condemn at a "kangaroo court" and kill one of the independent, professionally qualified witnesses to Soviet culpability for the Katyn Forest massacre, and the Soviet slaughter of Ukrainians at Vinnytsa.

Professor of Pathology and Anatomy at Zagreb University Ljudevit Jurak, was an honest man skilled in forensic medicine, but, unfortunately for him, in 1945 he had the misfortune to be living in Tito's "communist" state.
As a forensic pathologist, in 1943 he had been caught up in aftermath of the Katyn Forest Massacre and, in agreement with other pathologists at the site, he delivered his professional opinion that the massacre was a Soviet crime.
Unfortunately this meant that he made implacable enemies of Stalin, Beria and the rest of the Soviet NKVD, who had slaughtered the Poles on Stalin's written orders in 1940.
After being arrested "[Professor of the Zagreb University] Jurak was invited to renounce his statements about Vinnytsa by saying he gave them under compulsion, and he would be pardoned in return. He refused it and according to some sources" (they don't say which ones) "he had been shot even before the sentence was delivered.- "Tko je tko u Nezavisnoj drzavi Hrvatskoj", Zagreb 1997., pages 174-175.
Under communist "justice:" "There is no right of complaint against this verdict," because to retain Tito's power it was necessary to try to kill all who were honest, of good character and independently inclined.
Also presumably because it is hard to complain from the grave; because they have already shot their victim [10th June, 1945].
In this case the verdict was typed up before the arrest warrant. The verdict (9th June) is dated before the arrest warrant (9th July).

As you read this page please recall that the Soviets/Russians have now found it expedient to admit they slaughtered the Poles in the Katyn Forest massacre and the Ukrainians at Vinnytsa.

We must give Professor Doctor Ljudevit Jurak full credit for having the courage of his convictions, and while in no way diminishing the tragic loss that his murder was both to his family and to society, we must also remember that we are lucky to have the record of his being framed and shot, for he represents, and serves to remind us of, all those people murdered by "communism" for no greater sin than being honest.
For all his tragedy, he is one of the rare post WW 2 victims in Croatia that we can name. Almost all other victims of communist reprisals in Croatia (ie: The Bleiburg and Death March victims) weren't even that lucky. They were killed without any kind of trial, and even the memory of them was forbidden for almost fifty years.
Add to that the fact that we have very little documentation concerning these events (we don't know if they are preserved in Croatia's Ministry of Internal Affairs for their archive is still not accessible).
All this means we cannot give any definite number for those killed after WW 2 in Croatia. But from what is known it is reasonable to say we are dealing with at least 30 000 deaths, and some conjecture this figure may well be easily be more than tripled when the archives are opened.

A biography of Professor Doctor Ljudevit Jurak [1881-1945] is available here.

If you want to see better reproductions of the documents listed on this page please try here.


A.K. July, (194) 5.

Subject: Ljudevit Jurak,-
Decision on determining crime by cultural collaboration with the enemy.


We deliver you the Decision dated 9. July 1945. On determining crime concerning prof. Ljudevit Jurak for further proceedings. We suggest that the accused should be arrested immediately because of possibility of escape.
Death to fascism-freedom to people!
Secretary: President [signature illegible]


Zagreb Military Court
date: 30.8.1945.
to Land's Direction for nationalized property, Zagreb
By the verdict of this court number 86/45 from 9.6.1945.
Jurak Ljudevit, University professor, Croat, Roman Catholic, son of Stjepan and Amalija (her maiden name Progelhofer), born 6.10.1861. in Zalug, with permanent address in Zagreb, Gunduliceva Street 20 is found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death by shooting, permanent loss of citizen's honours, and confiscation of property.
There is no right of complaint against this verdict. In the course of investigation it has been established that the accused possesses following property
a three room flat in Gunduliceva street 20.
Death to Fascism-freedom to people!
Court's president Captain: [signature illegible] "

END OF DOCUMENT "Jurak Presuda"

Archival signature for this page: HR-HDA, ZKRZ,GUZ, 2611,Vojni sud Zagreb, no 86/1945

Federal state of Croatia

Land's Commission for war crimes


On determining war crimes committed by the foreign occupation forces and their collaborators


Family and personal name: Jurak Ljudevit
Approximate age: about 50
Nationality: Croat
Official position and rank: Professor of the Zagreb University
Permanent address: Zagreb, Gunduliceva street 20
Last known address: Zagreb
Other personal data: NIL

VICTIMS OF CRIME: (personal data) none

University professor Ljudevit Jurak was a member of the so called "International Committee for investigating findings in Vinnytsa", which had the task to ascribe mass slaughter in Vinnytsa to the friendly Soviet Russia.
Later, on 25.7.1943 in the "Croatian people" , page 3, he wrote the article "Mass graves in Vinnytsa-the depiction of the findings by the International Committee", in which he published tendentious photographs of the excavation site, and by all that he deliberately and maliciously propagandized against friendly Soviet Russia, and therefore indirectly against our people. Thus he committed a crime from article 13 of the Military Courts Act.


Archival signature for this and all documents that follow: HR HDA, ZKRZ, GUZ 2611, box 29


(criminal, place and date of crime, means of crime, victims):

The accused published the incriminating article in the "Croatian People" 25.7.1943., in which we can see that:

1. The accused participated in the so called International Committee which was instructed by German Ministry of Foreign affairs and Ministry of Health to attribute the mass slaughter of Vinnytsa, by using their allegedly scientific knowledge, to the Bolshevik authorities; and by emphasizing that victims were civilians- mostly peasants and working class people (in contrast to victims of Katyn forest who were Polish officers) to spread, maliciously and intentionally, fear and hatred towards the Soviet Russia in our peasants and working class.

2. In his article, among other things, the accused intentionally and maliciously insinuates:
a) "Through last year the rumour of Bolshevik atrocities was spreading in Vinnytsa. In the autumn a few citizens of Vinnytsa expressed their suspicions that strange things had happened during the Bolshevik rule and that there had to be mass graves somewhere in that area."
b) In June 1943. Dr. Schrader professor of forensic medicine in Halle reported that forensic expertise on 40 exhumed mass graves containing 950 bodies, was carried out. Nine, by that time completely investigated graves contained approximately 100-130 bodies; the cause of death for all victims was shots in the back of the head with 6 mm calibre bullets. Due to the small calibre the bullets barely penetrated skull or occipital tissue. Sometimes bullets would slide off the skull without injuring marrow or brain. Some victims were shot 2-3 times repeatedly because the first bullet didn't kill them. Others had skull fractures indicating that they were beaten with rifle butts.
Judging by their clothes and shoes, victims were mostly manual workers, Ukrainian masses. Among victims who were mostly elderly men (some of very old age}, there were 7 elderly women and one young woman. The latter was completely naked and had her hands tied behind her (as other victims had too).
According to the scientific opinion of Dr. Schroder it was reasonable to assume that the victim had been raped before being killed. On some victims skin burns were positively identified.
Concluding from the post mortal changes especially on brain tissue victims were killed during 1938 and 1939.
c) According to the statement of Dr. Wagner, who conducted "The Vinnytsa Committee", the results of forensic investigation under supervision of Prof. Schrader on 8.7.1943. were:

1. Number of mass graves:
site I orchard 38;
site II, graveyard 15 found (probably 25-30);
site III city park 13 found (probably 20-30);

2. Number of bodies: exhumed 1286;

forensic examinations carried out on 617;

buried 1115 and another 171 later...

d) On 12.7.1943.(??) "The Investigating Committee" led by Dr. Wagner (chief of the German health department in Eastern front) and Dr. Schrader went to Vinnytsa on 13.7.1943.(???) For next two days there they carried out forensic examinations on bodies exhumed from mass graves.

The accused tendentiously emphasizes literally(???) this: During coroner's inquests hundreds of people gathered at mass graves sites. They were of various age and gender, mostly women searching for their missing relatives, inspecting the items of clothing dug from the graves and hung on rope stretched between trees in the city park


Notes to translation
Question marks in passage 2. d) : the sentence is senseless. He probably wanted to say that the Commission gathered on 12.7. (question is where) and then proceeded to Vinnytsa.
Next question marks emphasize lack of basic literacy.

These items were found in the first layer which covered the bodies. According to testimonies of these people, during the Bolshevik occupation they were asked to bring some clothing to their jailed relatives who, they had been told by the Bolsheviks, were to be deported to Siberia for a period of 10 years and needed some clothes for the journey. It was the last time they saw them.
Searching the clothes, piece by piece, many women found their husband's, brother's, son's, belongings and sadly concluded that their relatives would never be back home since they had already been dead and buried in these mass graves.
Tragic scenes took place by these graves; one woman recognized, from the exhibited objects, her son's coat; the other, by special patch on them sewn by her, her husband's trousers....
These scenes kept on and on before our eyes and no doubt they will continue until the last family is convinced that their loved ones will never be back home again. Some bodies still had their worn out clothes on; thus their relatives were able to identify them.
Up to 100 bodies have already been positively identified by their relatives. Not only locals but people from all parts of Ukraine are still coming to the sites looking for their missing family members. Exhausted and tired these "pilgrimages" they go from one site to another, in the hope of ending their search and finding out the truth about their relatives- if they are dead in one of these graves, or if their hopes can still stay alive.
The International Committee found, in some victim's pockets, different documents: search warrants, arrest warrants with victim's names on them, letters from victim's relatives abroad, mostly dating from 1938, as well as Bibles, prayer books...
People say that during the Bolshevik rule there were secret religious ceremonies in the village: they would gather there for prayer. Was it the only reason for their arrest? Maybe the Bolsheviks considered it as some sort of conspiracy?"
The accused says who performed autopsies and literally says: "In the orchard the forensic examinations are in progress on exhumed bodies. They are constantly performed by two Ukrainian and two German forensic pathologists; on 14. and 15. of July members of the International Committee took their turns in these forensic investigations, while others observed and inspected the whole procedure. The expert who performed his own work also inspects the work of his colleagues and compares results. I myself have done full examinations on four bodies (three men and one woman) in two days. Three bodies were from the orchard and one from the city park. I have also checked several other bodies for their injuries."

3./ The accused states that so called "International Committee" has made a protocol about their inquiry results. He says that the "International Committee" allegedly carried out scientific forensic examinations of mass graves between 13-15 of July; he also states the names included in the "Investigative Committee" from which we can clearly see that these so called "experts" are in fact German collaborationists.
It also seems that he intentionally and tendentiously gave the name of a certain Swedish expert to mislead the public and to give some importance and dignity to the whole project.
The accused does not give us the original report, he only cites the names of the "experts". After that, as the content of the Committee's protocol he emphasizes literally this "The Committee was asked by Reichgesundfuhrer Dr. Conti to go to the grave sites and to give their forensic report.


Before the arrival of the "Committee" prof. dr. Schrader established the following: Site I. "Orchard" containing 38 mass graves; site II "Graveyard" about 40 mass graves (15 being excavated by now); Town park 35 mass graves (14 being opened by this day).
From partly emptied graves 1286 bodies have been already exhumed, out of which 817 have been forensically analysed under the leadership of dr. Schrader and his German-Ukrainian forensic team."
Then the accused states that the "Committee" checked all the sites in Vinnytsa and completed forensic expertise on 11 bodies themselves, and inspected results of 24 previous forensic examinations. This is how he justifies forensic results of the "Committee": "If we take in consideration that the forensic expertise done so far, shows that the bodies were buried 5 years ago, we have to admit that they are in relatively good condition....".Then he continues :"Male bodies had, without exception, their arms tied in the back with a rope. Three female bodies dug out from a mass grave in our presence, were completely naked and their hands were not tied. "Then he continues: "There was also a case where we found a piece of compact clay, stuck in victims throat, which made us assume that the victim, while still being alive, swallowed a piece of soil. All the bodies, according to their clothes were almost exclusively peasants and manual workers, mostly in older age. "The accused, posing as an alleged expert, justifies the statement that bodies were buried 5 years ago in the following way:" By high and dense vegetation of elder-trees, density of soil in the graves and especially by fusion of the bodies and the degree of their disintegration (especially by creation of post mortal wax) we can conclude that they were buried some 5 years ago; It can also be confirmed by the locals, relatives and town authorities who were questioned". Then the accused cites so called final conclusion of the "Committee", ending like this: "The statements of relatives and witnesses; documents found in the clothes remaining from the victims, as well as post mortal changes described in the protocol all show that killings took place in 1938."
4. In the incriminating article, the photographs showing grave sites, dead bodies, as well as relatives of the victims standing by mass graves, were maliciously and tendentiously published to supplement the effect of the article, with the intention to mislead the public.
In the middle of the article there is a comment of the "Croatian people" editor from which we can see that it was printed with dr. Jurak's permission, for it confirms Jurak's thesis about Bolshevik's mass slaughter of workers and peasants. Here is the whole comment: "In the Ukrainian Vinnytsa the "Investigating Committee" of foreign experts met to investigate the mass graves of the victims (peaceful peasants and manual workers) killed without single reason, at their own soil in the Bolshevik terror. This is a horrifying example of what they are preparing for all those who are to be under their rule. We bring you the report of dr. Ljudevit Jurak, forensic expert from The Zagreb University, about Vinnytsa mass grave sites. This report of the expert ,backed by 12 widely recognized European experts speaks for itself, in its sincere simplicity, more than any comment or appeal to fight Bolshevik barbarism.


ad 1/ Even before the war, the cannons of massive German propaganda had thundered against our friend and ally-Soviet Russia. They were silent only when Germany needed peace with Russia to beat its enemies in the West. When the war between Russia and Germany broke out, German propaganda said it was the holly war against the Asiatics who wanted to destroy the European civilization and impose their devilish order to the world. German propaganda derogatory calls Soviet Russia Eurasia and (???) committing terrible atrocities and mass crimes. German propaganda became worst in the year 1943., when the incriminated article was published. Germans, who ruthlessly took freedom, enslaved occupied European people, crushed all humanitarian concerns under their feet, committed mass crimes worldwide, introduced devilish and absurd collective responsibility, who recruited their POW's to fight against their own nation and had the intention to exterminate our people, went this time even further in their criminal activities: they ascribed their atrocities -as unbelievable as it may seem-to the Soviet Union. They established Committees to "investigate" grave sites in Katyn and Vinnytsa. They claim these Committees to be international, while they were consisted of German collaborators. These collaborators are to be considered even worse then German experts. The alleged participation of the Swedish "expert" does not prove anything because it was not hard to find a collaborator expert in Swedish, German and Ustasha atrocities in our own country made everyone conscious of the nature of Germany and pro Nazi Independent State of Croatia; even to those Croats who, for a moment thought of Independent State of Croatia as of means of gaining freedom to Croatia.
The accused University professor went as the member of so called "International Committee" to the occupied countries and worked there for three days, went back home and, as early as 25.7.1943., published the incriminated article along with the photos to supplement the effect of the article.
ad 2/ The accused "expert" manipulates with words "there was rumour" in such an important matter and claims the most vicious statement that a few citizens have expressed their suspicion to the city authorities (meaning German authorities) about strange things happening during the Bolshevik rule and that there had to be mass graves in the vicinity. In his article he maliciously cites dr. Schrader's report in which he describes the way the victims were first tortured, and killed, and that these victims were exclusively peasants and manual workers; all this with the intention to make our own peasants fear Russia. Further he says that women were killed after they had been raped. The most incriminating is that he cites dr. Schrader's statement that killings took place during 1938.,1939., which is a lie fabricated only to be able to accuse Russians for these atrocities.The accused simply cites the statements of dr. Wagner the leader of the Comission misleading the public to believe that he himself had established the truth of these statements.Also by insisting that there was a large number of bodies he wants to create terror and fear in readers. The accused admits that the Comission worked under the supervision of dr. Wagner for two days- enough to carry the protocol of meetings and lunches. The most tendentious is when the accused describes how women gathered there


Notes to the translation

The sentence with the question marks is incomplete and thus senseless. The writer probably wanted to say that the German propaganda calls Russia names and (than probably missed next) accuses it of mass crimes etc. All these mistakes and typing errors clearly show the character of this trial.

from all parts of Ukraine, tossing over and recognizing some objects as their son's, daughter's, husband's, belongings; belongings of those who allegedly were asked to bring clothing for the journey to Siberia where they were to be jailed for 10 years. (1???) The description of these so called emotional and deeply moving scenes is the most tendentious kind of propaganda aimed at misleading our public. The accused contradicts himself unwillingly when he claims it was the mass slaughter of peasants and workers, when the fact that letters from abroad were found in some victim's pockets leads us to different conclusion. (2???) The most malicious is the accused's statement that the slaughter took place while victims were engaged in some religious ceremonies. (3???) By this he wanted to frighten our religious people The accused operates with the words "the people told, there were rumours" etc.
The accused admits that the forensic expertise was done by two German and two Ukrainian forensics-we all know the real meaning of this.
ad3/ The accused describes the work of these "scientists" in such a way that it's clear the Germans had the main role in this project, and that the rest simply followed their orders and signed whatever was asked of them. According to the incriminating article these "experts" just came to the site and accepted the report done by dr. Schrader and his Ukrainian collaborators.
The Germans needed scientific proof that murders took place in 1938., and that victims had been tortured before the execution. The forensic experts confirmed this without doubt. But their opinion is not of scientific origin at all; the truth is the public had to be mislead and mentally stupefied, and they assumed that only few anti-German individuals would be able to see through the misery of their scientific opinion. They obviously didn't take such people in account. The Committee has, allegedly, established the time of death by high vegetation that cropped out on the sites, by the density of the soil in the graves and by local people's testimonies.
This Commission therefore found dr. Jurak guilty of all crimes described above.


Notes to the translation

Question marks no 1: the author either a) doesn't differentiate between those who were supposed to bring clothes to the prisoners, and the prisoners themselves, or b) doesn't care about such "subtle" differences
-question marks no 2: it is not clear why possession of letters from abroad would imply that the people who received them are not peasants or manual workers
-question marks no 3: It is clear, from the previous passages, that the victims were not killed WHILE being engaged in religious ceremonies. The fact that they were engaged in these ceremonies is previously mentioned only as a possible reason for the executions. The author didn't find logical consistency to be important in this matter.


Article published in "Croatian People" on 25.7.1943.


End of documents.

Artykuły o zbrodni Katyńskiej w tej witrynie (po polsku i angielsku).
Articles on this site about the Katyn Forest Massacre [in English and Polish].
"Doing justice to the dead."
"Sprawiedliwo¶ć dla zmarłych."
"Lost Souls."
"Zagubione dusze."
"Separate memories, separate sorrows."
"Odrębne wspomnienia. Odrębne smutki."
"The Soviet memory hole."
"Podróż w Sowieck± Dziurę w Pamięci."

Michał Synoradzki, Jacek Grodecki, Victoria Plewak. [po polsku]"

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Katyn related sites and LINKS.

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Stalin's order to shoot the Poles.
A map of the Katyn massacre site.
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Information about the photos used in this site.
Katyn photos which people have sent me.
1943 Nazi photos of exhumations in Katyn Forest.
Polish language Katyn Forest Massacre lesson from the Association of Polish Teachers Abroad.
The Anglo-Polish agreement of 25 August 1939.
Early German/Soviet co-operation: the Treaty of Rapallo.
The rebellion of Russian troops at Courtine in 1917.
Second Lieutenant Janina Dowbor Musnicki Lewandowska, the Polish woman pilot murdered at Katyn by the Soviets.
A copy of the "legalistic" pretext Tito's "communists" used to murder Professor Doctor Ljudevit Jurak, on 10 June 1945.