Located at the south part of the country, in the city of Niš Crveni Krst concentration camp (Red Cross) was established in the middle of 1941 in the premises of a military depot built in 1930.
Crveni krst was the first Nazi-camp in the Balkans and today is considered one of Europe’s best-preserved concentration camps. It was operated by the German Gestapo and used to hold captured some 35, 000 inmates (Serbs, Jews, and Romanis) during its four years course as an active concentration camp. Around 10,000 of them were murdered by German execution squads, with the majority being put to death in the woods surrounding Bubanj Hill. Initially built as a transit camp Crveni Krst concentration camp was transformed into a concentration camp by September 1941.
A small number of Jewish prisoners were freed After Serbian Partisans attacked the camp in January 1942. Next month, in February 1942, the first mass executions occurred on Mount Bubanj. Victims included many Romani inmates who were shot and killed as hostages here, with as many as 100 being shot in one day. Although fifteen prisoners managed to escape, forty-two failed to do so and were killed. A second mass execution involved the shooting of large numbers of Serb and remaining Jewish inmates whose corpses were dumped into mass graves that the Germans had forced Romani prisoners to dig. The camp remained in operation over the following two years before being liberated by the Partisans in 1944.
After World War II the Memorial Park Bubanj was erected to commemorate the victims of the camp. The centerpiece of the site is a marble relief measuring 23 by 2.5 meters, with five compositions that symbolize the “killing machine”: execution and firing squads, civil revolts, the surrender of the German invaders and final victory over the oppressors. Another dominant feature of the park is three concrete obelisks that symbolize raised hands with clenched fists. Each of the three fists is different sizes, depicting men’s, women’s and children’s hands that defy the enemy, symbolic of the fact entire families were killed at Bubanj.