"Ustaša Killing Specialists: The Personnel of the Jasenovac Concentration Camp Complex"
Emil Kjerte is a Doctoral Candidate in history at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. He earned a BA in history from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and an MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Uppsala University in Sweden.
Kjerte’s research interests revolve around the perpetrators of the Holocaust and other cases of genocide and mass violence. He is particularly interested in exploring intragroup interaction and socialization processes within perpetrator units as well as the relationship between violence and identity formation. Throughout his educational trajectory, he has analyzed the atrocities of the Einsatzgruppen in German-occupied Soviet Union, mass killings perpetrated by German order policemen in the Polish city of Bialystok, as well as the My Lai massacre committed by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Kjerte is the recipient of research grants from the Central European History Society and the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University.
Kjerte was awarded the 2020-2021 Alexander Grass Memorial Fellowship for his dissertation project “Ustaša Killing Specialists.” The dissertation analyzes the guard force stationed at the Jasenovac concentration camp complex, which was established in 1941 by the Ustaša regime and functioned as the main killing site in the fascist Independent State of Croatia. As a fellow, Kjerte will study records from postwar military-court proceedings and war-crime commissions in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition, he will draw on the Museum’s collection of visual survivor testimonies.