Free PDF Book Download Now Available – Esther Gitman’s “When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945”, Second Edition

In 2011, she published ‘When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945’ on the rescue of Jews in Independent State of Croatia and about the role of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac. In 2019 she received the prestigious (Croatian) Order of Duke Branimir, Honoray Doctorate from University of Split Croatia and published a book titled ‘Alojzije Stepinac – Pillar of Human Rights’.  

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Diaspora and Homeland/HAZUDD and

Croatian World Congress associations have worked tirelessly in the past couple of years to bring out the Second Edition of Esther Gitman’s acclaimed with significant historiographic and historical values book “When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941 – 1945”.  

This book in its full version of Second Edition, in pdf format, is now available for download or online reading at this link:  

In this book, against the terrible backdrop of Croatia’s fight for independence (from any form of Yugoslavia) during World War Two, the reader will find many clear and touching examples of how Croats, often with the knowledge and cooperation of the Ustashe regime’s officials, courageously subverted the government’s compliance with policies of occupying Nazi forces. For example, one of the things that made rescue possible was the designation by Ante Pavelic, the leader of the Ustashe and the Independent State of Croatia, that Jews whose professions were vital to Croatia’s national interest, and their families were termed ​“Honorary Aryans” and members of mixed marriages were also subsumed under this title. In relation to the now Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac the book takes the reader through various diplomatic correspondence, letters, and sermons.  Although Stepinac was convicted by the Communists, falsely accused of assisting the Ustashe in a highly political trial immediately after WWII, without the right to a defence, the facts of history researched and presented in this book justify Esther Gitman’s  portrayal of Stepinac as a courageous prelate who never forgot “his belief in moral law as a guiding principle”. She reminds the world that he believed there was only one race, the human race, and that he was the sort of man who requested that the eight Jewish priests and nuns in his diocese continue to wear the yellow Star of David despite an exemption as a sign of their “belonging to the people from which Our Saviour was born”. She provides irrefutable and factual historical documents that explain the conversion to Catholicism during those times of the Jews and the Orthodox who accepted the conversions; it was done at Stepinac’s instruction “in order to save human lives” with the explicit intent that they could “return to their church” when “this time of madness and savagery passes”.  

Dr Esther Gitman/ Photo: Ina Vukic

The Second Edition of this book, like the First one, will serve many a reader as an eye-opener to the history written by those who served the interests of communist Yugoslavia. This book shows us that many facts and truths about Croatia and Croats were, during post-WWII Yugoslavia, either covered up, twisted, or ignored on purpose. This book is a valuable reference and resource of a very important part of Croatian history that has worldwide reach and relevance. Ina Vukic        


  1. Franjo Tušinec says:

    Only true !

  2. 🧡

  3. Thanks for sharing this Ina x

  4. 💜

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