The Righteous Among The Nations
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International Events Honoring Righteous
Ceremony Honoring Six Rightoeus Among the Nations in Belgrade
On October 30, 2007, a ceremony was held in the “Sukkat Shalom” Synagogue in Belgrade, Serbia, bestowing upon six individuals the title of Righteous Among the Nations for their efforts in saving Jews during the Holocaust. Those honored at the ceremony were Dr. Dusan Jovanovic, Andrija Latal, Petar Zankovic, Klara Baic, and Slobodan and Milenija Knezevic. Dr. Dusan Jovanovic received the medal and certificate of honor, while those of the other five posthumously honored individuals were accepted by their relatives. The President of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadić, attended the ceremony as a guest of honor. Also present were Israel’s Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mr. Arthur Koll, Honorary President of the Union of Jewish Communities in Serbia, Mr. Aca Zinger, the extended families of the rescuers, Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergymen, the diplomatic corps and members of the Jewish community.
During the ceremony in Belgrade’s only functioning synagogue, “Sukkat Shalom,” the President of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadić, addressed the gathering. After reflecting upon contributions made by Serbians during the Holocaust to help Jews, Mr. Tadić observed, “It is regrettable that even today in Europe, and elsewhere in the world, there are those who deny the existence of the concentration camps, the gas chambers and the Holocaust”.
H.E. Mr. Arthur Koll, Israel’s Ambassador to Serbia, said, “Sadly, 62 years after the victory over the Nazis and their collaborators, xenophobia, racism and antisemitism still exist. Such hatred is still amongst us, it is spreading and nowadays is the greatest danger for peace and stability in many regions, and for the world in general.” However, he continued, “This evening we are gathered here, in the only still active Jewish synagogue left in Belgrade, to learn from the past, to call for action in the face of bigotry and hatred in the present and above all, to pay tribute to the individuals whose acts showed then, and show us today, the right path to a better future. Andrija Latal, Petar Zankovic, Klara Baic, Slobodan and Milenija Knezevic and Dusan Jovanovic are the torch leading the camp, the moral compass, who in the dark days of World War II lit the light of human dignity, of humanity.”
The Rescue Stories
Dr. Dusan Jovanovic saved the lives of twenty Jews by hiding them in the municipal hospital in Novi-Sad which he ran.
Mr. Andrija Latal saved Laura, Lisa, and Rochele Elias by hiding them in his home in Sarajevo for two years.
Mr. Petar Zankovic helped smuggle and hide the Zaltkovich family during the years 1942-1943. In reprisal for these actions, the Nazis punished both him and his family.
Ms. Klara Baic concealed the children of the Danberg family in her home. Providing them with shelter in her home in June 1944, they remained there until the liberation of her town of Sobotiza in October 1944.
Mr. and Mrs. Slobodan and Milenija Knezevic took into their home Julia Irenfeld, who fled the Nazis in March 1943 when she was in her ninth month of pregnancy. Her son, Ilan Doron, born in hiding, lives today in Haifa and has three children.