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Oral history interview with Lea Popovic, Blimka Rosic, and Jeti Svarc

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.135.12 | RG Number: RG-50.459.0012

Blimka, Jeti (born July 15, 1921), and Lea Svarc describe escaping from Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (Bosnia) with their parents; the family fleeing one at a time with help from a family friend; going to Mostar, Yugoslavia (Bosnia) in the winter of 1941-1942 and assuming new identities to hide their Jewish background; the family being interned on the island of Hvar (Croatia), where they enjoyed freedom and comfort under the Italians' loose control; the family being transferred to the island of Rab (Croatia), where a concentration camp was established, though there was no ill treatment of the inmates; Lea attending classes taught by other inmates, Jeti working in the town's Italian hospital, and Blimka organizing activities within the camp; the sister splitting from their parents in the fall of 1943; joining the partisans and the liberation movement, which transferred them from the island to the mainland; Blimka’s work doing administrative work for the partisan forces and retiring as a captain; Blimka almost freezing to death twice on offensive missions, and being rescued at the last moment; Blimka marrying a Croat anti-fascist and having two sons; Jeti becoming a chief medical officer of a partisan battalion and fighting in a battle; Blimka completing her medical studies, eventually working as a pediatrician at a military teaching hospital in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (Serbia), and retiring as a colonel; Lea being a member of two surgical units of Tito's partisan army (National Liberation Army), being wounded in battle in 1944 and suffering permanent injury, after the war spending 30 years with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where she became the Director of Finance, marrying a medical student she met in one of the surgical units, and having one son and one daughter; and their parents being transferred to a liberated territory in Croatia when they joined the partisans.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Blimka Rosic
Lea Popovic
Jeti Svarc
Anne G. Saldinger
interview:  1997 April 18
5 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation