Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feeding his horses


My grandfather, Dušan Rajšić, was one of the only 92 people who broke free from the Nazi concentration camp Jasenovac on April 22, 1945, after spending four years there. All other inmates were killed by the guards that day. He said that what kept some people alive for four years was if they excelled at some trade, so that they were useful to the camp managers. My grandpa had a gift of talking to animals so he was in charge of the work horses at the camp. The horses apparently followed his instructions to minor details. I later witnessed his gift when he would take us, children, into his carriage for a ride through the village.

In 1995, when we were leaving our homes in fear of retaliation by the Croatian army during the operation Storm, my grandpa said to my grandma, my uncle and his family: "You go; I have to stay and feed the horses." On April 10, 1996, on the anniversary of the Nazi state that instituted Jasenovac, my grandfather was found dead in his empty house. They say he died of natural causes. Either of natural causes, or because some passers-by got overly enthusiastic celebrating the anniversary, the date of his death is quite ironic. If there is heaven, I am sure my grandpa is taking care of his horses there.

Oh yes, and did I say that my son's name is Dušan?

My grandfather, Dusan Rajsic, in his village

My family, taking a ride in some other village

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