» History » Esther Gitman and Jadranka Juresko-Kero @ The Harriman Institute on November 3rd 2011
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Esther Gitman and Jadranka Juresko-Kero @ The Harriman Institute on November 3rd 2011
Dr. Esther Gitman, a historian of Jewish origins who has written the book “When Courage Prevailed”
You are invited to this event, the book I wrote and the documentary Jadranka Kero produced capture the essence of my work which demonstrates that in the darkest hours in world history bright sparks of light existed because people who were determined to defy dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Pavelic, among many others. In the fight for human dignity were individuals of all religions, ethnic groups and walk of life; it is demonstrated that race and religion played a role only in the minds of the perpetrators while the people were divided into good and bad people. A leader of a group of children that survived the war wrote: "We came across many Righterous Gentiles as we were buffeted by our destiny. There were many more that sympathized with us and gave us help on our long journey. It was important for our our children to see that not only Nazis existed in this world, but also good people who had not lost the faith and courage to be humane."
I hope to see you, Esther
Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 6:30—8:30pm
WHERE: The Harriman Institute, 1219 International Affairs Building at Columbia University 420 West 118th Street - 12th Floor MC 3345 New York, NY 10027 USA CONTACT: Tel: 212.854.4623
When Truth Prevails A Documentary film Length: 42 minutes Author: Jadranka Juresko-Kero
First released on HRT Croatia: June 2011
This is a story about dr Esther Gitman, a historian of Jewish origins who has written the book “When Courage Prevailed”. Her book was published by Paragon House, United States of America in early March 2011. The book examines the theme of the rescue and the survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia during World War II and the role of the Archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac (Aloysius Stepinac), during that time.
Dr Gitman embarked upon scientific research for her PhD dissertation in New York in 1999. There were numerous topics and themes offered to her for this but she decided to dedicate her dissertation work exclusively to the courageous Croatians who had saved Jews in the Independent State of Croatia and to Stepinac. The film talks of how and why she chose this topic for her doctorate. She had never heard of Stepinac until her dissertation work took her to the Croatian national archives in Zagreb where she uncovered numerous mislaid boxes that contained tens of thousands of unprocessed documents that talk of his honourable activities during the war.
Esther Gitman was born to a Jewish family in Sarajevo from which she fled with her mother during 1941. She has been living in New York since 1972. Since 1999, her scientific studies have been dedicated to the destiny of the Jewish people in Pavelic’s State (Independent State of Croatia, World War II). Having uncovered previously unknown historical documents that confirm Stepinac’s perseverance in rescuing endangered Jews, especially during World War II, she has attracted significant attention of the Croatian as well as the world public.
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. Such research had previously been “forbidden” or politically unsuitable and “uninteresting” to all historians in the former Yugoslavia as well as for those in Croatia who had written about the Jewish Question in the Independent State of Croatia.
Using scientific arguments, Gitman talks of the courageous and honourable Croatian people who had placed their own lives at risk in order to help the Jews.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. The film further shows how she defended the theses about Croatians and Stepinac which are set out in her PhD dissertation and in her book.
Dr Gitman’s message is the film’s main motive. Her 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 whose courageous representatives were the only ones in Europe during World War II to openly oppose Hitler’s racist laws. 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.
Author of the documentary film “When Courage Prevailed”, Jadranka Juresko-Kero.
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