The Croatian Righteous, heroes of the Holocaust

On Tuesday, 29th of July 2008, the Croatian Embassy in Argentina, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Subsecretary’s Office of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Buenos Aires opened the exhibit named ”The Croatian Righteous”.

The presentation took place in the Golden Salon of the ”Casa de la Cultura” and was in charge of Josefina Delgado, Subsecretary of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Buenos Aires; the Croatian Embassador, Mira Martinec and the historian José Ignacio García Hamilton, for the Wallenberg Foundation, as well as the ”Casa Argentina” in Israel Holy Land.

”The Croatian Righteous” presents the isolated cases of 39 people, part of a group of 106 men, women and teenagers, who showned solidarity toward Jews persecuted since the creation of the nazi-fascist satellite country, in April 1941, known as the Independent State of Croatia.

After the Kingdom of Yugoslavia capitulated, the 17th of April 1941, the Croatian Jews found themselves into two states: the Independent State of Croatia, aligned with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and, at the same time, a field controlled by the Fascist Italy. During World War Two, 80% of the Jews who lived in the territory of the actual Republic of Croatia had been victims of the Holocaust. Only were saved those who could run away in time; who incorporated the anti-Fascist Army; who lived in the Italian areas in Croatia and those in the concentration camp of Kampor, in the Rab island; those who were protected in the Elderly Home located in the property of the Archbishop of Zagreb at that time, Aloysius Stepinac, who then became Cardinal; a part of the Jews in a mixed marriage and those who were hidden, in many cases with the help of Croatian people.

Among the assistants were Hernán Lombardi, Minister of Culture of Buenos Aires; Aldo Donzis, president of the DAIA; Gudrun Graf, Ambassador of Austria; Svetlana Borovnica, Ambassador of Serbia; Mario Feferbaum, president of the Holocaust Museum; the Minister José Mina, from the Direction of Central and Eastern Europe in the Argentine Chancellery; Cecilia Vázquez, General Coordinator of Culture Attached to the Cultural Center Ricardo Rojas; Monsignor Néstor Villa, representing the Bishop of Zárate Campana, Monsignor Oscar Sarlinga; the writer Marcos Aguinis; the consacrated photographer Julie Weisz and Nora Tage Müller.

The Croatian Embassy in Argentina and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation would like to thank the Subsecretary of Cultural Heritage in the Government of Buenos Aires for the collaboration with the presentation of the exhibit and the many volunteers who worked with intensity and efficiency in its organization.

They also would like to thank Yad Vashem, and particularly its Director, Avner Shalev; Mrs. Irena Steinfeldt, Director of the Department of the Righteous among the Nations; Mrs. Miriam Aviezer, researcher and member of the Committee for the Recognition of the Righteous; Doctor Mordecai Paldiel, Director of Special Projects for the Wallenberg Foundation in New York and ex Director of the Program ”Righteous among the Nations” in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; Nomi Roth Elbert and the Foundation Atzum; the Commision Father Alfonso Durán; Casa Argentina in Israel Holy Land; Institute Angelo Roncalli in New York and the Foundation Conscience and Science, ”Memorial Fidel y María Moreno”.

The exhibit will be open to public from the 30th of July to the 17th of August in the Hall Ana Díaz, Avenida de Mayo 575, First floor, from Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm.