Zagreb - A memorial plaque was unveiled at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Zagreb on Wednesday to commemorate doctors and nuns who had treated and hidden Jews during World War II, saving many of them from concentration camps and death.
The inscription on the plaque bears the names of the hospital's then director Bogoljuba Javzo and doctors Vatroslav Folrschultz, Aleksandar Blašković, Vinko Panac, Milan Žepić, Kurt Huhn and Josip Glaser.
The information on the Jews treated at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital during WWII was collected by Zagreb lawyer Marko Danon while researching the history of his own family.
According to documents he received at the Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade, by May 1943, or the deportation of Zagreb's Jewish community to Auschwitz, 250 Jews had been treated in the hospital, 70 of whom survived the war.
Danon highlighted the important role of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who frequently visited the hospital.
The hospital's present director Mario Zovak said that there were many personal accounts indicating that even in the darkest of times people showed their humanity and mercy. He noted that not one doctor or nun had informed on any of their Jewish patients.
The Speaker of Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic, said that these witness testimonies cast a new light on the events from WWII and the role of Cardinal Stepinac and nuns in helping Jews. "This is a story of noble people who risked their own lives to save others. This is a story of good people in difficult times, in terrifying times, and they deserve great respect," he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Order of Sisters of Mercy, mother superior Miroslava Bradica said that today's event cleared the name of Cardinal Stepinac and the nuns who had done all they could to help, even at the cost of their own lives. She said that despite that, 95 nuns were forced to leave the hospital in 1945 and seven were killed.