It is to be hoped that this book by Dr. Esther Gitman on the rescue of Jews in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War II by its very presence in Yad Vashem through President Rivlin will usher in rays of illumination of the truth there where it brings great value for both the Croatian and the Jewish people. For, many years have passed in which the alleged truth about Blessed Aloysius Stepinac was not based on facts but on a fabricated and politically coloured spectrum of dark colours and untruths.

Autor: Ina Vukić

The gift given by President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic on July 29, 2019 at Yad Vashem Centre in Jerusalem to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has gone almost unnoticed in both Croatia and Israel media! True, it rarely happens that the media writes about gifts that the heads of state exchange, but it’s also true that a great deal of attention and effort always stand behind every such gift. On these occasions, gifts are always given as a sign of respect and a reflection of the relationship between the gift-giving state and the state whose president receives the gift, and the gift often becomes more than the mere formality of the act of gift exchange – it also becomes a reminder of what is of particular importance within the alliance between two countries, between the giver and the recipient of the gift.

The President of the Republic of Croatia presented in Yad Vashem to the President of Israel a book by the author Dr. Esther Gitman “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights”! Not only did the President of the Republic of Croatia, in February 2019, decorate Dr. Esther Gitman with the “Order of Prince Branimir with a Necklace” for the special merits deserved through researching, documenting and promoting the truth about 20th century Croatian history, as well as for deepening of understanding between the Croatian and Jewish people, in July, she gifted Dr. Gitman’s book to the President of Israel which evidences the indisputable truth about the work and efforts of Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac in rescuing Jews in World War II. Bearing in mind that in June 2019, at the University of Split, Dr. Esther Gitman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her historical research and writings about Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, then the gift that President Grabar Kitarovic presented to President Rivlin comes as a bright link in the circle of strengthened presentation to the world the goodness which, despite various propagandistic attempts denying the goodness of Alojzije Stepinac, still existed and is a fact, and therefore indisputable.

Dr Esther Gitman and her book: “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights”

It is to be hoped that this book by Dr. Esther Gitman on the rescue of Jews in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War II by its very presence in Yad Vashem through President Rivlin will usher in rays of illumination of the truth there where it brings great value for both the Croatian and the Jewish people. For, many years have passed in which the alleged truth about Blessed Aloysius Stepinac was not based on facts but on a fabricated and politically coloured spectrum of dark colours and untruths.

In the evening of July 29, 2019, an official dinner was held in Beit HaNassi, the residence of Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel, specifically to welcome Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, President of the Republic of Croatia. Usually, such events are often briefly mentioned in daily news, but this festive dinner in Jerusalem carries something special and precious, not only that the Croatian and Israeli flags were flying in front of Beit HaNassi, but also some very special guests were inside the presidential residence – Dr. Esther Gitman with her husband Dr. Israel Gitman.

Dr Esther Gitman had dinner with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, and the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.

A week before the visit of the Croatian President to Israel, the Croatian Embassy in Israel informed Dr. Esther Gitman of the President’s arrival and announced that she would be contacted by the office of Israeli President Rivlin. She was invited by President Rivlin to that official and festive dinner as a Croatian guest and her husband Israel as an Israeli guest.

Before her arrival at the dinner, Dr. Gitman photographed the streets around the presidential residence, which were decorated with Croatian and Israeli flags, imagining how much her Croatian friends would like to see the pictures. The cocktails lasted for an hour and dinner for two hours. Dr Gitman was told that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, on the occasion of her official visit to Yad Vashem earlier that day, had gifted to President Rivlin her book “Alojzije Stepinac: The Pillar of Human Rights”. That would have been the main reason for her being invited to the presidential dinner at the Israeli President’s residence. The work of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac is indeed great in the history of the whole world, because in the terrible times of World War II, only a few people throughout Europe committed themselves so much to fighting against injustice, against human suffering and human rights violations.

According to Dr. Gitman, the President of Israel, Rivlin, welcomed President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic at the festive dinner, emphasising their warm relations and intentions for cooperation. The Croatian president also thanked the Israeli president for emphasising their plans for future co-operation.

“What was really humorous,” Dr. Gitman told me, “was when the presidents stopped while walking out of the hall where the dinner was taking place and talked to the guests, and I introduced my husband, Israel, and he with a smile on my face quickly managed to tell President Grabar Kitarovic ‘you have a beautiful country and I gave that country my most precious possession – my wife’. The Israeli president who stood by my husband Israel’s side at the time said to my husband that the president highly respects his wife.”

“I hope somebody from Yad Vashem reads my book or at least part of it! Croatia was trashed for so many years by Serbia, Croats were portrayed as murderers as anti-Semites that killed not only Jews but also Serbs, Roma and other dissidents. The Israelis are unaware that throughout the war the Serbs had armies. The Chetniks, the Milan Nedic’s army so favoured by Hitler that they received closed trucks to kill in them 50 Jews at the time! The ignorance is embracing, the information was concealed for 70 years, few only know that Belgrade was the first city in Europe free of Jews. And that 90 percent of the Jews perished there. Sorry, but for this ignorance I must blame the Croatian historians who for the past 25 years failed to tell the world what had transpired! Yes, many Ustashe were murderers, they committed heinous crimes, but there were good people who helped. Yes, even this criminal Ustashe regime saved Jewish Physicians and instituted against the Nazi will concepts such as Aryan Rights and Honorary Aryans. Just to save those whom the regime needed and respected. Stepinac rescued those in mixed marriages, orphans, 58 elderly and prevented a major catastrophe when they prevented Bastianini Giuseppe, the governor of the Italian zones, to ship back to the Ustashe all the Jews who managed to escape!” Dr. Gitman said answering my question about what President of the Republic of Croatia gifting her book to the President of Israel in Yad Vashem personally means to her.

This article of yours is not a place for all these details, but we must spread the truth and not only about Stepinac but the Croatian people and Stepinac in his sermons aimed at instilling in them the duty of saving human lives,” Dr. Gitman commented at the end of our talk.

Photo: (Private collection) Dr Esther Gitman, President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and President of Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic at Beit HaNassi July 29, 2019
Originally published by: https://inavukic.com

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