Rudimir Rudolf Roter - A Righteous Among Nations
The following is a translation of an article which appeared in the January 27, 2005 edition of Slobodna Dalmacija, a Split daily. John Peter Kraljic, Esq.
One of the latest decisions taken by Yad Vashem, an Israeli state institution which preserves the memory of the Holocaust and the tragic deaths of millions of Jews, was to posthumously name Rudimir Rudolf Roter as a "Righteous Among Nations."
This is a special recognition granted to non-Jews who during the time of terrible Nazi persecutions provided help to Jews without any kind of material gain. The recognition is granted on the basis of documents and statements of witnesses given before a commission at Yad Vashem. This also means that this person from the Peljesac Peninsula and a later inhabitant of Dubrovnik will have his name carved on a wall at the memorial center in Israel as a testament to the bravery and morals of a this special man and humanist, which Roter (1897-1959) undoubtedly was.
This important recognition will be presented to his younger daughter, Jasneka Roter-Petrovic, otherwise a well known pianist who performed in venues throughout the world. Today she is a retiree living in Dubrovnik, while her older sister, Zrinka, lives in Canada.
It is interesting to note that the people of Potumje on Peljesac even today remember how "our Rudi" was a well known carpenter who always had been hungry for knowledge. It was fate that led him to wrap some nails in an old newspaper in the village store where he happened to read about the possibility of getting an education through correspondence classes. He jumped at the opportunity and finished high school in Split in only two years and later graduated from the Philosophical College in Zagreb.
His life as a journalist brought him to Sarajevo where he found himself at the beginning of World War II. He and his family along with his colleague, Abraham Koen, and Koen's family left for Peljesac. Putting his life and that of his family in danger, Roter as well as the other inhabitants of Potumje hid Koen and his family for a long time, until Koen and his family were forced to leave Peljesac in 1942 as a result of increasing danger. Koen later became a reporter for Vjesnik [today a Zagreb daily - JPK] and was killed in 1944 during an enemy offensive near Korenica.
The decision to give Roter this recognition was based on statements made by Nevenka Poljanic (87) and Kate Fabijanovic of Potumje and on material which was collected by Stipe Anticevic. Koen's daughter, Mira Solic (66), who today lives in Belgrade, confirmed the story in an account given to Yad Vashem.
Roter was an important supporter of the Croatian
Peasant Party prior to the War. After the War, he was one of the founders of Radio Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the weekly Dubravacki vjesnik. For a time, he was also a correspondent for Slobodna Dalmacija. It is important to emphasize that he is the first Croatian
journalist to be named a Righteous Among Nations and indeed is one of the few journalists in all of Europe to be so honored.