Gift of Edna Klinovsky
Id no. 293.98.1-2, Diary, French, Serbo-Croatian, German, Spanish, Hebrew
This is a page from one of the satirical entries in the diary kept by Sergeant Major – Third Class Vladimir Knezic of the Yugoslav army. He wrote this diary in Serbo-Croatian, including texts and illustrations, and shared it with his fellow Jewish prisoners of war (POW) during his four years of captivity and slave labor in Nazi Germany. This entry from September 1944 is entitled “L’Shana Tova Tikatevu,” which means, “May You Be Inscribed for a Good Year.” The entry celebrates the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, and begins with a menu for an imaginary festive meal. Other illustrations show prisoners at various types of labor, perhaps caricatures of specific people in the camp. Vladimir Knezic was born Vladimir Kaufman in 1909 in Zagreb, in the province of Croatia, but changed his name in an effort to appear more “Yugoslavian” and less Jewish. Knezic began his career in the army at age 20 and rose through the ranks throughout the 1930s. When the Axis Powers invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, a collaborationist state was established under Ustaše regime. The Ustaše, Croat nationalists, led a genocidal campaign against both Serbs and Jews. Knezic’s wife, Berta, and his son, Micro, were likely captured during an Ustaše mass arrest of Jews on June 26, 1941. Berta and Micro were murdered in Treblinka. The Yugoslav army resisted the Ustaše, but many units were captured, including Knezic’s. After four years as a POW, Knezic was liberated, in April 1945. After the war, he met another Holocaust survivor who became his second wife. They immigrated to Israel in 1948 and raised two daughters. One of his daughters is the donor of this diary.
Discover more about this artifact and other stories from the Museum’s collection in, “To Life: 36 Stories of Memory and Hope” http://www.pickmanmuseumshop.com/tolif36storo.html