Egon Aufrichtig

Book releases

 

 

 

PEOPLE WITH BIG HEART

(FRIENDSHIP WITHOUT BORDERS)

 

 

 

Written by Miodrag Nikolic in Serbian (Srpski) - original title Šabac i Jevreji u susretu - and translated into English as People With Big Heart (Friendship Without Borders), this publication, compiled by Milosh Jevtich, is an outstanding account of first hand experiences of the Šabac atrocities.

 

Of special significance is the fact that Miodrag Nikolic is the grandson of  Miodrag Petrovich, who selflessly strove to protect the Jewish refugees in Šabac at both danger and cost to himself. Miodrag has made PDF copies of his book available online in both Srpski and English http://miodragpetrovic.com/SabaciJevrejiususretu,english.pdf

 

Factual, and containing a large array of photographs and documents, www.aufrichtigs.com applauds Miodrag for honouring the victims of Šabac and perpetuating his grandfather's memory in such a fine manner.

 

Reproduced below is the English Foreword written by Miodrag and an appeal outlining aspirations for a film documentary. 

Dr Miodrag Petrovich

 

FOREWORD


By publishing this book, I wanted to honor my maternal grandfather, Miodrag Petrovich, who performed, even though it had cost him his career, prosperity and family life, an outstanding humanitarian act by harboring the Jewish refugees in Šabac (Shabats), Western Serbia, in 1940, at the time when very few people in Europe dared to do so. Unfortunately, these Jews were found and executed by the Germans in 1941 in the village of Zasavica (Zasavitsa) near Šabac.


After hearing that the Jewish Society of Belgrade was interested in making a documentary about this event, and being in possession of some notes related to this event written by my relative, Mara Jovanovich, I decided to undertake the task of gathering more information about the arrival of Jews in the Šabac area, their activities and life in Šabac from the beginning of the 18th century until the tragic events of 1941-1945, all the way to the time when their presence in this region completely ceased. In this endeavor I was generously helped by a dear friend of mine, Mr. Radomir Putnikovich, as well as a number of other people who selflessly provided their time and energy to make researches into historical facts, and to objectively document this book. 


I was particularly interested in reports that the Jews from this region often declared themselves as Serbs, and refused to abandon their homes in Šabac as Hitler’s forces were advancing, replying to neighbors urging them to leave by saying: “Why should we leave? We are Serbs, like you…” Many of them who volunteered for service and fought in the Serbian Royal Army became close friends with other Serbs and generally felt and behaved like natives of Šabac. I am very proud of my Serbian countrymen from Šabac, the town where I was born, for they compassionately protected the Jews, Gypsies, and others prosecuted by the Germans as if they had been their own flesh and blood.


With this book, I also wanted to pay respect to my great benefactor, a Jewish man, Mr. Arie Leo Hanin, born November 20th, 1913 in Lithuania. As a new immigrant to America in 1972, when I needed help most, Mr. Hanin embraced me without any questions, supported and helped me start my own business, which enabled me to secure my family’s well-being, success and prosperity in the new country. I interpreted Mr. Hanin’s support as karma, a return for my grandfather’s good deeds toward the Jewish people whom he helped without ever asking anything in return, though Mr. Hanin knew nothing about my grandfather. During World War II, Leo also helped out, as he told me, smuggling Jews out of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine via Shanghai into China where he spent the war years.


Like my ancestors, my great-grandparents, my grandparents, and my beloved mother and father, I also strive to continue the tradition of helping those in need. Whenever I can, I aid the refugees from Krajina (Krayina) and Kosovo and Metohija (Metohiya), financially support the children
whose parents were killed, and contribute to the deprived. Humanitarian work is a great pleasure for me. I believe that our Christian tradition obliges every single one of us to help out the ones in need whenever we can.

 

Miodrag Nikolic

Belgrade - Los Angeles 

May, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

Miodrag Nikolic

P.O. Box 90309

Los Angeles, California 90009-0309

Email: mile@milenikolic.com

Dear Reader;

 

The book you are holding is a startling story of 1,050 European Jews who found refuge in the small Serbian town of Šabac (pronounced “Shabatz”) during the worst years of World War II.  This is the Anne Frank story multiplied by 1,050.

 

The memory of this ordeal is embedded in the minds of Šabac’s older citizens, but there is virtually nothing left to teach new generations of the tragedy.  This book was compiled and published thanks to the descendents of the Jewish citizens of Šabac, and Serbian, Israeli, British, and US citizens, businessmen, historians, teachers, and clergymen who cherish the stories told by their grandparents and parents.  They want the world to never forget this story of humanity.

 

My desire is to distribute this book free of charge.  Reader response has been overwhelming.  Book lovers have flocked to obtain the book and an interest has arisen to make a documentary.  This documentary would be a memorial to the vanished Jews and a testament to the human sacrifice and friendship of the Serbs who risked their lives attempting to save the 1,050 Jews.

 

Funds for a documentary are currently nonexistent.  Relatives of those killed in Šabac and the Jewish-Serbian Society have established a collection drive.  We are also working to solicit funds.

 

If you can contribute any amount we implore you to do so.  Regardless of the amount your name will appear at the end of the documentary as a sponsor.  Donors over $10,000.00 will be included in promotional items.  Donors over $5,000.00 will receive a commemorative thank-you plaque.

 

Checks can be made to the not-for-profit organization “Save Displaced Serbs”, P.O. Box 90309, Los Angeles, CA 90009-0309.  SDS is a California registered humanitarian organization and your contributions are fully tax-deductible (EIN#95-4624917).  Funds will be deposited into a special account for safe-keeping until there is a sum large enough to initiate the project.

 

We are planning an informational event in the near future.  You may visit our website for updates, further information on the project, and to place donations:  www.serbiankids.com.

 

I and all those involved in the project thank you in advance and wish you all the best,

 

Miodrag Nikolic            

 

 

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Egon Aufrichtig - Kladovo-Šabac

Egon Aufrichtig - Dead-End Journey

Egon's Letter of  1 July 1940

Egon's Letter of 12 November 1940

Egon's Letter of 20 January 1941

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