It has been 76 years since unprecedented courage was shown by Šefket ef. Kurt, who saved neighbors of Serbian nationality on Christmas Eve on the 6th of January 1942 in Tuzla from the planned execution.
Christmas Eve in 1942 was supposed to be the last one to the believers who were in Tuzla Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady because the Ustasha authorities planned to demolish the building. Along with the destruction of the Orthodox Church, Ustasha’s intended to commit the mass executions of civilians of Serb and Jewish nationality.
Šefket ef. Kurt learned about the monstrous plan and led the three-member delegation of prominent Bosniak citizens from Tuzla who went to Hohbajer, the German commander in Tuzla and his deputy Lieutenant Colonel Wist, and requested from them to prevent the realization of the plan.
Lieutenant Colonel Wist immediately ordered poster all over the city with warnings saying that “no one can not abuse others, take away or tear down other people’s property and not to touch the people who are celebrating.”
Later, the group of prominent citizens of Tuzla, led by Kurt and Mayor Hasan Pasic, went to a meeting in Zagreb with Andrija Artukovic, the Minister of Interior of NDH.
Their conversation was not very pleasant, but at some point, according to witnesses, Artukovic pulled his gun and went after Kurt and Pasic. The remaining members of the delegation from Tuzla warned Artukovic that entire Tuzla will go to the woods if he kills them.
Artukovic buckled in front of the determination of Tuzla delegation and amnestied the area of Tuzla from his racial laws, and thanks to them, the big number of Serbs and Jews from Tuzla escaped the tragic fate of their compatriots from the Yugoslav space.
Kurt stayed in Tuzla until his death on the 21st of June 1963 at the age of 84. Tens of thousands of citizens of Tuzla and surrounding area arrived at his funeral, and Archpriest Djordje Jovanovic gave a touching speech. Otherwise, Archpriest Jovanovic spent the entire war in a German concentration camp Dachau and stayed alive by chance.
Šefket ef. Kurt, as a religious official, was awarded the Order of Brotherhood and Unity, and the street next to Mejdan mosque in Tuzla is named after him. In World War II, Šefket ef. Kurt lost three sons: Fadil, Enver and Asim.