Appeal to our Jewish brothers and sisters

Zagreb, 7th October 1991

To the World Jewish Congress, European Jewish Congress, National and International Jewish Organizations, Memebers of the World Jewish Congress and all Affiliated Organizations and Institutions

Appeal to our Jewish brothers and sisters

We, members of the Council of the Jewish Community in Zagreb, representatives of this two hundred years old Jewish Community, and in the name of another eight Jewish Communities in Croatia - Osijek, Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik, Virovitica, Cakovec, Slavonski Brod and Daruvar that have existed here for centuries

note with sadness, dismay and indignation:

that the Republic of Croatia, whose citizens we are, is being attacked by a brutal military force led by the Yugoslav Army;

that the innocent civilian population is being indiscriminately killed by armed forces on the ground, from the air and from the sea and that by 7th October 1991 at least 700 civilians had been killed and at least 2,000 wounded;

that over two hundred thousand refugees had left their homes and everything they had achieved in their lives;

that severe physical, psychological and economic suffering has been imposed on all the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, regardless of their nationality, race, colour, creed or political belief;

that, contrary to international humanitarian laws, these military forces are indiscriminantly destroying hospitals, kindergartens, old people's homes, schools and other institution of social care;

that hundreds of cultural and historical monuments of the highest category, including churches, monasteries, libraries, cemeteries and Jewish monuments of culture are being severely damaged or completely destroyed, regardless of local or international laws and protection - the latest example is the city of Dubrovnik where the second oldest European synagogue stands;

that the Jews in Croatia and their institutions, their communal and private property are similarly suffering from the same threats and that the destruction of Croatia, its cities and villages may bring to an end the history of this Jewish community which has lived on this soil from ancient times.

Furthermore, we record:

that the Jewish Community in Zagreb, after the antisemitic terrorist attack by a still unknown person or group on its Community Centre and cemetery on 19th August 1991, received wide public support and expressions of compassion and outrage, as well as all necessary practical support and protection, from our fellow-citizens, other religious communities, numerous political parties, public institutions, the Town Hall of Zagreb and the Government of Croatia;

that although the present Government of Croatia has arbitrarily been depicted as antisemitic or neo-Fascist, the Jewish Community in Croatia enjoys all the rights of a religious or national minority without hindrance or or discrimination;

that the Government of Croatia has publicly denounced and condemned all neo-Fascist and extremist ideologies and organizations that threaten the democratic system in Croatia and its citizens and resolved to undertake all necessary legal steps to prevent the spread of such dangers.

We express our fullest support for the efforts and declared policy of the Government of the Republic of Croatia in building a new and democratic society in which the human, political, civil, national and religious rights of every citizen and group will be protected.

We note with great sorrow that, due to the ongoing war, all our practical connections with our Jewish brothers and sisters in other Republics of Yugoslavia* have been broken and we express our deepest concern for their security and survival; we express our full solidarity with them as well.

We urge every person and institution in Yugoslavia* that cherishes human life, dignity and freedom to act against the aggression on the population of the Republic of Croatia and in any other parts of Yugoslavia*.

We specially call upon all our fraternal Jewish organizations and individuals around the world and the general public abroad to impress upon their governments and international organizations the need for an immediate peace in Croatia based on the protection of human life.

We will never forget how our Jewish people was exterminated in the Second World War before the eyes of the whole world, which watched our tragedy in silence and indifference. We do not want this tragic lesson of history to be repeated.

For the Council of the Jewish Community in Zagreb

Nenad Porges, M.A.

* former Yugoslavia (D.Z.). Boldface also by D.Z.

Related links:

  1. Darko Zubrinic: Saving the Jews in Croatia during the WW2
  2. New York Times: Einstein Accuses Yugoslavian Rulers in Savant's Murder,
  3. Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann: Appeal on the occasion of killing of Professor Milan Sufflay in Zagreb (full text, in Croatian)
  4. Igor Primoratz: Israel and the war in the Balkans