On 17 April 2023, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) hosted the opening of The Righteous Among the Nations – Croatia, an exhibition by Branka Sömen commemorating the Croats who risked their lives to save Jewish people from the persecution to which they were subjected during the Holocaust. Marking the 2023 Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) and remaining on view in the Library’s side lobby until 28 April 2023, the exhibition was put on as a result of the Library’s cooperation with the Školska knjiga publishing company, Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the exhibition’s author.
Featuring stories about 68 noble Croats, the exhibition has been inspired by the book by Miriam Steiner-Aviezeron about Croats on the right side of history during World War II (Hrvatski pravednici) and is a sequel to a homonymous exhibition put on at the UN headquarters in New York in 2020.
For the past 60 years, since 1963, guided by a famous Talmudic proverb Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire, the State of Israel and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, have been honouring non-Jewish people who were rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. By 1 January 2022, Yad Vashem recognised 28,217 men and women from 51 world countries as The Righteous Among the Nations, including 130 Croats, the kindness, courage and generosity of over the half of which Ms Sömen’s exhibition is a powerful witness statement to. Established in 1953, Yad Vashem is both the central memorial site commemorating the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust and the world archive and research and education centre for the Holocaust.