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The Curious Case of the Missing Index Card

Dr. Miloslav Stojadinovic (Photo: Yad Vashem)

As Belgrade came under Nazi occupation during World War II, Dr. Miloslav Stojadinovic held a senior position in the city's municipality. But instead of helping the city's puppet regime that supported Hitler, Dr. Stojadinovic helped his Serbian Jews who faced certain death at the hands of the occupying Germans.

He first did so by providing many Jewish acquaintances with false identification papers which had been authenticated by his own municipal seal. One Jewish friend, Jovan Lovric, was saved on three different occasions when the Gestapo tried to arrest him and Dr. Stojadinovic provided false documents. But perhaps the most intriguing rescue carried out by Stojadinovic came when he saved his friend's wife, a Jewish woman named Helena Lovric.

Dr. Stojadinovic found Helena's name in the card index of Jews that was located in an office called "the Special Section for Jews." The doctor knew there was nothing special about this, and decided to save her.

Planning to dispose of Helena's index card before a final list of Jews to be deported and murdered had been completed, Dr. Stojadinovic arrived at the office and removed the card. But before the doctor could destroy the card, a Nazi arrived at the office.

The German entered the room, questioned what Dr. Stojadinovic was doing there, and declared that outsiders were forbidden. The doctor - being a forbidden outsider - quickly pocketed the card and took his leave, saving Helena Lovric's life with his departure.

For the Jewish lives he saved during the Holocaust, Dr. Miloslav Stojadinovic was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations in 1966.

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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