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History Class: How Family Pozderac saved Jews and Serbs?

House of Nurija Pozderac, a prominent BH politician from the beginning of the last century and proven benefactor, is located in the center of Cazin, in the northwest of the country, and it represents a recognizable symbol of the town.

Before the World War II, Nurija was a senator in the government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. During the war, he took the side of the partisans and became vice-president of the Executive Council of AVNOJ. After recognizing Nurija’s importance in this part of BiH, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) offered him a high office, but he refused it. His oldest daughter, Sadeta Buljubasic, wrote about it in her memoirs:

“My father expressed his relationship with NDH with the refusal of all functions that have been offered to him, taking all the humiliation and continuing to offer constant help to those who have been in trouble. With the arrival of Ante Pavelic and the Ustasha government, dark days started for all the honorable and honest people. In our house was agreed to help all those who find themselves in trouble, regardless of the consequences.”

The war was already heating up. According to the family agreement, the Pozderac family opened their doors to refugees:

“Sometimes our house was full of men, women, and children, who were fleeing from the Ustasha terror. One day my father brought home a Slovenian family of five members, which Germans expelled from Slovenia. When their position was threatened and uncertain, we helped them to leave Cazin on time.”

The terror of the fascists and the Ustasha in the area of Cazin was mostly against Jews and Serbs. Sadeta recalled the situation when the Ustasha were wearing Muslim clothes and attacked Serbs in the area of Cazin, with the aim of provoking conflict between Muslims and Serbs. A key role in preventing conflicts had Nurija Pozderac.

Nurija fiercely opposed taking away and liquidation of the Jews, and gave a speech in front of the reading room in Cazin, where he opposed the burning of houses and killing of innocent people.

In early 1943, columns of refugees from Lika, Kordun, and Banija from Croatia came to Cazin Krajina. In those days, Nurija and Devleta Pozderac organized the reception of refugees, their accommodation, and food, with the help of fellow citizens.

Nurija Pozderac was killed in the famous battle of Sutjeska, but even after his death, activities to rescue innocent civilians were continued. Moreover, revenge of fascists to his family continued as well. Nurija’s wife Devleta was captured. Ustasha ‘s took her to the camps in Bosanski Novi, Kostajnica, and in Gradiska. Josip Broz Tito advocated for her release from the camp who offered a German officer in exchange for her.

Pozderac family greeted the end of the war with great relief and happiness for mostly surviving the war and for saving lives to the majority of those they were hiding. All these activities of family Pozderac were recognized by the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, which posthumously awarded the medal “Righteous among the Nations” to Nurija and his wife Devleta. Sadeta Buljubasic, their eldest daughter, received the medal on their behalf.

(Source: fokus.ba)

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