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February 11, 1994 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-02-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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JDC Evacuates
Group From Saravejo

Rome (JTA) — Just hours
after a mortar killed more
than 65 people in the worst
atrocity committed in the 22-
month siege of Sarajevo, a
Jewish-organized, multi-
ethnic convoy successfully
brought nearly 300 people
from the embattled Bosnian
city.
The six-bus convoy,
organized by the American
Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee in partnership
with Sarajevo's Jewish La
Benevolencija organization,
brought 296 Jews, Croats,
Serbs and Muslims on a tor-
tuous overland journey
overnight from Sarajevo to
Makarska, on the Croatian
coast, where JDC maintains
a refugee center, JDC offi-
cials said.
The group included men
and women of all ages, and a
few children. Among the
evacuees was an elderly
Muslim woman who has
been designated a Righteous
Gentile and her family, who
have been invited to live in
Israel.
About one-third of the
evacuees were Jewish, leav-
ing about 300 to 350 Jews in
the city, the JDC said.
Jewish evacuees who want
to go to Israel are being pro-
cessed in Makarska by the
Jewish Agency.
"We are so happy to have
been able to bring this con-
voy out," JDC President
Ambassador Milton A. Wolf
told the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency by telephone from
Makarska.
"The convoy brought out
not only Jews but a multi-
ethnic group that including
Christian Serbs and Croats
as well as Muslims," said
Mr. Wolf, a former U.S. am-
bassador who had flown in
from New York to supervise
the operation and was on
hand to meet the evacuees.
"Our joy in bringing out
the convoy, however, is tar-
nished by the terrible
tragedy of the shelling Sat-
urday," he said. "It took
place as our convoy was
preparing for departure, and
people who just got off the
buses say it was horrible."
Mr. Wolf extended thanks
to the governments of
Bosnia- Herzegovina and
Croatia, to Serbian forces, to
the U.N. protection force,
and to the Jewish com-
munities of Sarajevo and
Zagreb, Croatia, for their
help in setting up and mak-

Milton Wolf:
Pleased with the results.

ing possible the evacuation.
He also thanked the
government of France, the
European Jewish Congress
and the Central British
Fund of London for their
help.
"It was an event that had
to be orchestrated — a Her-
culean effort," he said.
"Everyone was very coop-
erative."
The first of the six convoy
buses was just leaving Sara-
jevo when deathly mortar
shells hit Sarajevo's central
market, killing and injuring
hundreds.
Torrential rains and
mudslides on the narrow

The convoy
brought out a
multi-ethnic group.

winding roads across the
mountains slowed the con-
voy and disrupted radio
telephone contact between
the buses and Makarska,
Mr. Wolf said.
The evacuees had been
allowed to bring only a cou-
ple of suitcases with them.
The strain of the grueling
overnight trip and of life in
besieged Sarajevo was evi-
dent on their faces.
The evacuation convoy
was the latest in a series of
air and land evacuations ex-
ecuted by the JDC, the
operational organization for
overseas Jewish aid, since
the beginning of hostilities
in Bosnia. These evacua-
tions have transported about
2,200 residents of Sarajevo
of all religions and ethnic
groups to safe havens. ❑

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