Two Croatians Named Righteous Among the Nations

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, September 14, 2018 – The late Antun and Katarina Šragalj of Vrbovsko, who saved Jewish girl Lea Gostl in World War II, were named on Friday as Righteous Among the Nations, the highest honorific bestowed by the State of Israel on non-Jews who during WWII saved Jews, risking their own lives.

On behalf of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, Israeli Ambassador Zina Kalay Kleitman gave the Righteous Among the Nations medal to Anton and Katarina Šragalj’s descendants.

So far, 117 people in Croatia have been named Righteous Among the Nations.

The late Šragaljs hid 7-year-old Lea Gostl on more than 20 occasions in the period from September 1943 to the end of the war in May 1945. By doing so they demonstrated extreme courage and sacrifice because people hiding Jews faced the threat of death for themselves and their entire family, it was said.

The mother and two daughters of the Gostl family from Vrbovsko had until then already passed through the concentration camp on the island of Rab from where they were liberated after the capitulation of Italy, while the father joined the Partisans already at the start of the war.

Lea Gostl, later Lea Ukrainčik, survived WWII together with her immediate family thanks to Anton and Katarina Šragalj while many members of her extended family died in Ustasha and Nazi camps.

Lea Ukrainčik, who was later known as the director of Zagreb’s Art Pavilion, died in 2000, and the friendship between the two families that started in the difficult war years has continued to this day.


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