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The Holocaust in Yugoslavia

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Letter from the Jewish Community of Brod na Savi to the Jewish Communities of Zagreb and Sarajevo

Brod na Savi Jewish community letter 1941
Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade

Jews rounded up by the Croatian fascist Ustaše in the November 1941 raids in Sarajevo—described in Srećko Bujas's letter—were transferred to several camps in the Independent State of Croatia. Many Jewish women and children ended up in the camp at Đakovo, located in the region of Slavonia in eastern Croatia. On the way to Đakovo, one of the groups was transferred to another train at the station at Brod na Savi (today called Slavonski Brod).

The Jewish Community of Brod na Savi helped these deportees in the late night hours of December 3 and the following early morning. About 1,500 Jewish women and children were transferred from the train that brought them from Sarajevo to one that would take them further into the unknown. It seems that there were also about 50 Serbian women with children—also deportees from Sarajevo—in the group. After helping make them as comfortable as the circumstances allowed, the president of the Jewish community felt the need to write to his counterparts in Zagreb and Sarajevo in order to inform them of a job well done. The tone of the letter is a fascinating mixture of pride and anxiety.

All Jewish inmates from the Đakovo camp were transfered to Jasenovac in the spring of 1942. It is likely that all of the 1,500 women and children mentioned in this letter were killed there.1

To learn more about the history of the Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia, see Ivo Goldstein and Slavko Goldstein, The Holocaust in Croatia (Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh University Press, 2016).

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December 4, 1941


1) Zagreb

2) Sarajevo

On December 3 [1941], at 2300 hours, a special train arrived to the railway station in Slav.[onski] Brod, carrying 1,400-1,500 women and children from Sarajevo.

Although we strove to secure 3rd class cars for their further transportation, it was not possible, since there were not enough personal cars available. However, enough personal cars were found for the elderly and the sick.

The manager of the railway station was so accommodating as to heat all the personal cars, and equip the freight cars with a sufficient number of benches, whereas we provided [the deportees] with candles and pocket torches for lighting in the cars.

Since there were many children, even very small ones, and since women were mostly very weak, we helped them with the transfer of luggage, and then supplied them with sufficient amounts of food and hot tea.

This especially improved the psychological disposition of the [female] inmates, which was not too bad to begin with. The transfer, including the break for food, lasted for 4 1/2 hours, so the train left for Djakovo only at 0330 [on December 4].

Three envoys from the Osijek Jewish Community helped us with this momentous task.

As always, our female youth distinguished itself especially with selflessness and readiness to help.

The president, signed below, who has already praised in writing the strenuous and dedicated work of our female youth, suggests that the president of the Zagreb Jewish Community also praise our female youth, so as to encourage them further to such social work, which they manage to do and want to perform despite strenuous additional forced labor (scrubbing floors, etc.).

Our Community, meanwhile, continues with the gathering of old clothes, shoes, bed sheets, and towels for the camps, gathering of sewing machines for the Jasenovac camp, and is also gathering monetary contributions.

We are especially seeking to place as many children as possible with Jewish families in Slav.[onski] and Bos.[anski] Brod, and we are hoping to be able to place [illegible] children.

Only we are noting that we have heard that mothers of these children do not want to separate from them, and would rather stay together with the children in the camp.

Please let us know as soon as possible, whether there would be other transports in the coming period.

According to the statement of the person who escorted this transport, 500-600 male and female inmates from Sarajevo are to pass through Slav. Brod, but this statement is not authoritative.

We hold that our Community is fulfilling all tasks needed and possible in the current conditions in a conscientious way.

Secretary                                                         President


Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade
RG Number 49.007M
Date Created
December 4, 1941
Jewish Community of Slavonski Brod
Slavonski Brod, Croatia
Brod na Savi, Independent State of Croatia (historical)
Reference Location
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Sarajevo, Independent State of Croatia (historical)
Đakovo, Croatia
Đakovo, Independent State of Croatia (historical)
Osijek, Croatia
Osijek, Independent State of Croatia (historical)
Document Type Letter
How to Cite Museum Materials

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