| ||Dr. Esther Gitman, American historian living in New York, wrote an important monograph entitled When Courage Prevailed. It is a scholarly study dealing with the history of saving the Jews in Croatia during the WW2. She published original petitions signed by hundreds of ordinary Croatians in order to save their Jewish friends. According to dr. Gitman, no other European nation can show such documents.|
Esther Gitman: Hrvati su spasili tisuće Židova, a Stepinac je svetac
"Paveliću su ljudi slali peticije, svojim imenima i prezimenima tražili milost za Židove. Ti su ljudi lučonoše mira, a takvih dokumenata o otporu fašizmu nema ni jedan europski narod"
Dr. Esther Gitman
Početkom ožujka u američke knjižnice dolazi knjiga "Kad hrabrost prevlada" (When Courage Prevailed) povjesničarke Esther Gitman, koja obrađuje temu spašavanja i preživljavanja Židova u NDH te ulozi zagrebačkog nadbiskupa Alojzija Stepinca u tom razdoblju. Gitman je rođena u židovskoj obitelji u Sarajevu iz kojeg je s majkom pobjegla ratne 1941. godine. Od 1972. godine živi u New Yorku, a od 1999. godine posvetila se znanstvenom proučavanju sudbine židovskog naroda u kvislinškoj Pavelićevoj državi te je privukla pažnju hrvatske i svjetske javnosti dosada nepoznatim povijesnim dokumentima koji potvrđuju Stepinčevu ustrajnost u spašavanju ugroženih, a posebno Židova tijekom 2. svjetskog rata. Večernji list posjeduje knjigu o kojoj smo ekskluzivno s autoricom Esther Gitman razgovarali u New Yorku.
Gospođo Gitman, vaša je knjiga i prije objavljivanja pokrenula polemike među povjesničarima koji su NDH istraživali isključivo kroz zločine i ubojstva, avi progovarate o hrabrosti i dobroti onih koji su spašavali tuđe živote i po cijenu gubitka vlastitoga?
'I u najmračnijim trenucima, postoji svjetlost velikodušnosti pojedinaca' - povjesničarka Esther Gitman o spašavanju Židova u NDH
Najljepše zahvaljujem dr. Vladimiru Katoviću na poslanom članku posredstvom AMAC-ove mreže. D. Ž.
Alojzije Stepinac and saving the Jews in Croatia
Croatia - Overview of History, Culture, and Science
It has been several months since Dr Esther Gitman's book "When Courage Prevailed - the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia" was published. It was an enlightening and warm experience reading this book. Enlightening because it revealed to me the truth about Croatian people during WWII - i.e. that there were, indeed, many who helped Jews survive the Holocaust period. I felt warm after reading the book because amidst all that terrible tragedy that ensued against the Jews during World War II there were lots of stories of real hope and survival.
One could almost extract a kind of a "Schindler's list"/"Schindler's Ark" from Esther Gitman's book only the events were in Croatia and not in Poland, and while Schindler's list has been written about extensively the list we could extract from Gitman's book has, until her book, remained in the dark, in dusty and forgotten archives.
Using scientific arguments and discovered original documents, Gitman presents the evidence of the courageous and honourable Croatian people who had placed their own lives at peril in order to help the Jews. In essence, this is a historical study based on documented facts with the emphasis on the ways Jews survived and were rescued in the Independent State of Croatia (1941 - 1945) by Croatians, among others, who put their own lives in great peril in order to help Jews.
Usually, when reading books on historical and factual findings, one expects not to enjoy reading such a book as one would a novel or a non-fiction of desired genre. Esther has broken that mould; When Courage Prevailed was a delight to read.
Esther Gitman was born to a Jewish family in Sarajevo from which she fled with her mother during 1941. Sixty one years after fleeing Sarajevo Esther Gitman came to Zagreb in 2002 as an American scientist where, with the aid of the Fulbright Scholarship, she spent one year researching the theme of the rescue of Jews from the Independent State of Croatia. She uncovered previously unknown historical documents that confirm Stepinac's perseverance in rescuing endangered Jews, especially during World War II.
Such research had previously been "forbidden" or politically unsuitable and "uninteresting" to all historians in the former Yugoslavia as well as for those in modern-day Croatia who had written about the Jewish Question during the WWII Independent State of Croatia.
Esther Gitman's book "When Courage Prevailed - the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia" has earned profound respect by documentary filmmakers in Croatia and, indeed, a documentary film "When Truth Prevails", written and directed by the New York based journalist Jadranka Juresko-Kero, has been completed in both the English and the Croatian language and first released to television in June 2011. Filmed in New York, Zagreb and Sarajevo, the film reconstructs the personal and scientific paths Esther Gitman walked to understand the truth about the rescued members of her people in the Independent State of Croatia.
Dr Gitman's message is that the rescue of the Jews in the Independent State of Croatia and the role played by Archbishop Stepinac deserve internationalisation so that the whole truth is known about the Croatian people who helped rescue the Jews during WWII. Dr Gitman does not mitigate the terrors and the crimes perpetrated by the Ustashi when the Independent State of Croatia held power. She emphasizes that there is always hope to conquer evil if there are good and decisive people who love a human being as a human being and not for his or her racial or religious belonging.
Ina Vukic, Prof