Few days ago it was 38 years since Diana Budisavljević died. Have you ever heard of her? I bet the answer is no, just like mine would be a week ago. But everyone heard of Schindler, and what her did should be heard too.
She was born in Austria-Hungary, but after she married Julije Budisavljević (doctor from Serbia), the couple moved to zagreb. Zagreb was the capital of, at that moment, during the World War II, Independent state of Croatia, a puppet state of Nazi Germany. Jasenovac death camp was located nearby.
Here's what i've found about her:
“During World War II, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis forces in April 1941 and the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia began a genocidal campaign against Serbs, Jews and Roma, setting up numerous concentration camps in Croatia. After she learned about children held at the camp Lobor-Grad, in October 1941, together with a number of collaborators, she launched a relief campaign named "Action Diana Budisavljević". The Action took care of mostly Serbian children but also women held in various concentration camps including the Jasenovac death camps.
With help from the local Jewish community, which was forced to support the camp inmates, her team sent supplies of food, medicines, clothes and also money, first to Lobor-Grad and later to another camp at Gornja Rijeka, both situated north of Zagreb. Her team also helped the members of the Croatian Red Cross at the main railway station in Zagreb, providing travel supplies for workers in trains that stopped there on their way to forced labor in Germany - some of those men, women and children returned to Zagreb after they were stopped in Maribor and Linz and were not allowed to travel further due to their illness - they were taken care by the Red Cross and the Action. During that work, in March 1942, Diana Budisavljević met the Headnurse Dragica Habazin, who became a close collaborator in the following months and years in helping the inmates from various camps that were relocated to Zagreb and other places.
At the beginning of July 1942, with assistance from German officer Albert von Kotzian, Budisavljević obtained written permission to take the children from the Stara Gradiška concentration camp. With the help of the Ministry of Social Affairs she was able to relocate child inmates from the camp. After the rescue efforts in Stara Gradiška, Budisavljević, wearing the uniform of a Red Cross nurse, took part in the transport of children from Mlaka, Jablanac and Jasenovac. More than 6,000 children had been moved away from those camps by the "Action" in July and August 1942. After obtaining permission in August 1942 to move the children from the institutions in Zagreb into the care of families, she worked together with the Zagreb Archdiocese branch of the Caritas and in that way made it possible for several thousands of children to be placed with families in Zagreb and rural communities.
Out of 15,536 children that Budisavljević saved, 3,254 children died during the rescue or immediately after leaving the camp, exhausted by torture, hunger and disease, while more than 12,000 rescued children survived the war. Eleven members of her team were killed during World War II. Upon request by the Ministry of Social Politics in May 1945, she handed over the card-files that she managed for 4 years.”
She died when she was 87.
Even seeing the horror of Nazi’s death camps is terrifying enough, but she chose to risk her life and do her best to help those poor children. More than 15 thousand of them! 15 THOUSAND.
I think that Internet should be filled with her and people similar to her instead of reality stars. So that’s why i’m sharing her story with you, she doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.
P.S. I had so many problems writing this text, my computer and internet connection were acting up so much. This has never happened to me before. As if someone didn’t want me to share this lol. If you could, share this post with someone, i truly believe more people should learn about Diana.
, by Dunja