The Diplomatic Negotiations over the Transfer of Jewish Children from Croatia to Turkey and Palestine in 1943
The main participants in this drama include the Jewish authorities, and the Italian foreign ministry and their local military personnel. Following the fall of Yugoslavia to Axis troops, a few thousand Jews found refuge in Croatia’s Italian zone. For almost a year the Germans demanded that the Italians hand over the Jews to the Croatians. In order to mollify the Germans, the Italians arrested all 3,000 Jews in Croatia and Dalmatia and placed them in a camp on the Croatian coast. In the meantime negotiations were taking place on the transfer of Jewish children from Budapest, Romania, and Slovakia to Turkey. However, the Mufti of Jerusalem torpedoed these plans. Simultaneously, the Italian army headquarters in Croatia agreed to petition their foreign office in Rome to permit transfer of the Jewish children from Croatia to Turkey or Switzerland. Surprisingly, a positive answer was received. However, in the meantime, Italy laid down its arms and the German army occupied most of its positions. But by the time the occupying forces reached Croatia, most of the Jews had fled and joined the partisans.