From the remarks of Zejneba Hardaga at the tree planting ceremony at Yad Vashem
I would like to express my deep thanks for the great honor of receiving the medal and certificate and of adding the Hardaga family to the international family of Righteous Among the Nations. I am also proud that I was privileged to plant a tree on the Mount of Remembrance, here, in the country where our friends, with whom we have a shared fate, live. The friendship between the Kavilio and Hardaga families began many years before World War II, when Josef Kavilio built his pipe factory– the second largest in the entire state – in our courtyard. This friendship was sealed almost in blood on 14 April 1941. On that terrible day when the synagogue was destroyed by an air raid, houses were on fire and people ran to the forests.
When they returned the following day they found destroyed homes, looted shops and businesses and wounded and beaten people. When we learned that the house of our friends Kavilio was also hit, we went to give them help. We found them destitute. We brought the entire family, Josef, his wife and both his children, to our place. It was the first time a male stranger spent the night in our house. This was forbidden for us women, who according to tradition and religion had to veil our faces. But our husbands Mustafa and Izet received them with the words: “our home is your home; feel at home. Our women will not hide their faces in your presence, because you are like family members to us. Now that your life is in danger, we will not leave you.”…
…It is a great pleasure for me to commemorate my late father, especially here, among the Righteous from all over the world who risked their lives and the safety of their families for the rescue of their Jewish friends-neighbors. Our father Ahmed Sadik of blessed memory was born in Celine and was close to the Mostar community. He came to Sarajevo in 1913 and immediately found friends among the Jews. When the persecution started, he was in Konitsa. We knew he was helping Jews, but he told us only of one case.
It was at the beginning of 1942. Our father Ahmed happened to be at the Konitsa railway station, which is an intersection. Suddenly he saw Isidor Papo, an agent from Sarajevo, with his wife and two children, who were getting off the train that had arrived from Dubrovnik and getting on the train to Sarajevo. My father approached them and asked where they were going. “Home to Sarajevo”, they said. My father told them that there were no more Jews in Sarajevo, that all had been taken to the camps, and that if they showed up, his family would be brought to Jasenovac. They didn’t know what to do, but my father knew. He took the entire family home with him, got papers for them and passed them to an area under Italian occupation. They were all saved, only my father wasn’t. He was denounced, and taken on one of the last transports to Jasenovac where he was executed for having saved Jews. The name of our father, Ahmed Sadik, is among the Jewish names on a large monument that was erected in the memory of the victims and fighters. His burial place is unknown.