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Rescue and survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), 1941--1945.

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  • History
  • European.
  • History
  • Modern.
  • History
  • Political Science


This dissertation focuses on the rescue of the Jews in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. The central thesis is that, despite the brutalities of the Nazis and the Ustashe (Croatian Fascists), assistance came from all strata of the society: from officials in the NDH government, the Catholic Church, from national and international humanitarian organizations, the Italian 2nd Army, as well as thousands of ordinary citizens, family friends, neighbors, strangers and even individual Ustashe. The reasons, the means, and the ways of offering rescue and assistance varied, but most of those that reached out to help took great risks and put themselves in harm's way. They offered shelter, provided food, obtained forged exit visas, transported Jews across enemy lines and rescued children whose parents either had joined the Partisans or had been deported to concentration camps. However, due to the hostile and complicated political, religious and social environment in NDH, 30,000 Jews (77%) lost their lives. Thus, it is not surprising that contemporary historiographic literature focuses for the most part on the annihilation of the Jews. But there is a second side to this story: 9,500 Jews were rescued and survived.

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