Serbian Holocaust

Julijana Kočović, March 5, 2012, Belgrade

Julijana Kobiljski Kočović was born on June 19, 1924 in the village of Bačko Gradište, near Bečej, Serbia. Out of sheer empathy for the poor Julijana joined the Yugoslav leftist youth organization USAOJ, before the WWII had started. She told us how she eagerly participated in the massive anti-German riots in Belgrade on March 27, 1941 as well as how she survived Hitler’s punitive bombing of Belgrade.

Upon arrival back home Julijana faced Hungarian fascists’ occupation of Bačka, Vojvodina. She subsequently joined an underground resistance movement lead by illegal Union of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia, and was arrested in 1943. Julijana also spent three tormenting months in a Special Hungarian Police prison known as ‘the army building’, in Novi Sad. She was declared a political enemy and spent two years in a remote penitentiary on the Hungarian border with Czech, called the prison in Shatoraljaujhelj. On March 22, 1944 the inmates managed to escape but did not get far as the German troops occupying Hungary had just entered the prison and committed a massacre against those who failed to find a nearby Czech resistance unit. Juliana managed to survive once again but was captured and sent to Bergen-Belsen death camp, and later to an all female sub-camp in Salzwedel, where she witnessed the suffering of Jewish women. Liberated by the Americans, on her long way home, she saw Berlin in ruins and a lot of post-WWII Europe.

Today she lives in Belgrade as a widow, a mother of two children, and a grandmother. More than 70 years have passed but Julijana still firmly believes, as she did back then, that the antifascist struggle was a righteous and a worthy one.

Interviewer: Nada Ljubić | Camera: Dušan Gavrilović | Editing: Nada Ljubić, Dušan Gavrilović | Webmastering: Dusan Gavrilović

Voices of Survivors

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