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World War II's Forgotten Savior

Diana Budisavljevic is believed to have saved around 7,500 children from concentration camps run by the Croatian Ustase regime during World War II, but her role in the operation was only recently recognized.


The children's hospital at the Stara Gradiska concentration camp for women and children, where thousands were exterminated. Diana Budisavljevic entered the hospital on October 23, 1941.
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The children's hospital at the Stara Gradiska concentration camp for women and children, where thousands were exterminated. Diana Budisavljevic entered the hospital on October 23, 1941.

Diana Budisavljejvic's passport photo from 1945. The Austrian woman is credited with helping rescue 7,500 mostly Serbian children from wartime Croatia's death camps, part of a broader operation in which 12,000 were accommodated in convents or private homes. But her story became public only in 2003, when her granddaughter Silvija Szabo published her diaries.
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Diana Budisavljejvic's passport photo from 1945. The Austrian woman is credited with helping rescue 7,500 mostly Serbian children from wartime Croatia's death camps, part of a broader operation in which 12,000 were accommodated in convents or private homes. But her story became public only in 2003, when her granddaughter Silvija Szabo published her diaries.

Mainly Bosnian Serb women and children escorted on their way to the Stara Gradisca concentration camp in 1941.
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Mainly Bosnian Serb women and children escorted on their way to the Stara Gradisca concentration camp in 1941.

New arrivals at Stara Gradiska, a part of the notorious Jasenovac death camp that was specially constructed for women and children in 1941.
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New arrivals at Stara Gradiska, a part of the notorious Jasenovac death camp that was specially constructed for women and children in 1941.

Budisavljevic relied on associates like Kamilo Bresler to obtain permission from the fascist Independent State of Croatia's Social Affairs Ministry to remove children from Ustase camps. Bresler is pictured here in 1941.
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Budisavljevic relied on associates like Kamilo Bresler to obtain permission from the fascist Independent State of Croatia's Social Affairs Ministry to remove children from Ustase camps. Bresler is pictured here in 1941.

A transit station in Zagreb in 1941.
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A transit station in Zagreb in 1941.

Some children were separated by Stara Gradiska authorities and were to undergo military training.
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Some children were separated by Stara Gradiska authorities and were to undergo military training.

Distribution of food at Stara Gradiska in 1941.
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Distribution of food at Stara Gradiska in 1941.

Children are issued numbers and documented by name at Stara Gradiska in 1941.
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Children are issued numbers and documented by name at Stara Gradiska in 1941.

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