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Centropa in Bosnia

This short text describes our work in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia

There was no country called Yugoslavia before 1918, and this “Union of South Slavs” brought together lands that had spent centuries under Austrian, Italian, Hungarian and Ottoman rule. Some 87,000 Jews lived in this new land and they ranged from Sephardic Jews in Bosnia, Serbia and along the Adriatic to Ashkenazi Jews in most of Croatia and in the Hungarian-speaking parts of Serbia (Vojvodina).

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Judita Jovanovic’s father Zoltan Biro with fellow cadets

My father with fellow cadets. Zoltan is the second person from the right. The picture was taken in the dining room of the military school for reserve officers of the Yugoslav Royal Army, in Sarajevo in 1935. 

He finished his law degree in Belgrade and then served in the Yugoslav Army from 1934 to 1935. His service included completing an officers' training course. Upon the completion of his army service, he began his apprenticeship with a Belgrade law firm. 

 

Judita Jovanovic’s father Zoltan Biro and fellow students from the Mostar gymnasium

My father Zoltan Biro with graduates from the Mostar gymnasium. Zoltan is the first boy on the left sitting in the foreground. The other people are probably his friends from the same grade. The photo was taken near Mostar in 1930. 

When my father finished primary school, his family moved from Subotica to Mostar. My father completed high school in Mostar and then enrolled in law school at the University of Zagreb. 

Judita Jovanovic’s father Zoltan Biro with his classmates from gymansium

My father Zoltan Biro with graduates from the Mostar gymnasium. Zoltan is the first boy on the left sitting in the foreground. The other people are probably his friends from the same grade. The photo was taken near Mostar in 1930. 

When my father finished primary school, his family moved from Subotica to Mostar. My father completed high school in Mostar and then enrolled in law school at the University of Zagreb. 

Josip’s parents wedding

Wedding of my parents Rifka Levi and Albert Papo in Sarajevo on June 26, 1919. 

Sitting row, from left: Hajim Levi, my mother’s brother, Bojna Levi, my grandmother, my mother, my father, Sturlaca Papo, and Moshe Papo, grandfather’s brother.

Standing row, from left: Klara Almuzlino, my mother’s sister, Isidor Levi, mother’s cousin, Safira Papo, father’s sister, Albert Papo, father’s brother, Bukas Finci (nee Papo), David Finci, Rena Papo, Jakov Papo, Anula Levi ,mother’s sister, David Papo.

Josip’s mother and sister

Photo of my mother Rifka and my sister Sara Papo, Sarajevo 1921. 

I spent my entire childhood with my older sister in Makarska and it was the nicest childhood that one could have.  We were always on the street, we did not live in our homes, we only went there to sleep and eat. I was the only Jewish boy and my sister the only Jewish girl. There were also Ela and Ester but they were very young. They now live in Israel. While playing with the other children there was no difference between us. 

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