Sarajevo, 1941-1947: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler's Europe
On the drive from the airport, I shared a ride with an Austrian journalist, in town because it was 80 years to the day since Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been shot. A couple of days later, a friend sneaked me into the Unprofor headquarters in a villa in the centre of town.
General Michael Rose was away in Pale, we were told, negotiating with the Serbs. The book was wrapped in brown paper with a sticker on it that said: For MOD use only.
For a vast and often unreadable book, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon was read by a lot of people at the time. Class, not ethnicity, was what most academics had been interested in during the Cold War, but now nationalism was the only thing anyone cared about. Serbs were heroic; Muslims were pleasure-loving Orientals, but with blue eyes and blond hair. Sarajevo, which she rather liked, was a hedonistic backwater.
- Sarajevo, –, Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler's Europe?
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It was a fatalistic vision that suited the hand-wringing, do-nothing policy of the UN Security Council. A counter-narrative soon surfaced from the advocates of intervention.
They argued that Bosnia, and especially Sarajevo, was not the problem but the solution: Sarajevo is the place time-shared by the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, and where Judaism, Islam, and Orthodox and Catholic Christianity interlocked. In seven chapters, Greble portrays life in Sarajevo after the city became part of the Croatian Ustasha state in According to the author, this peculiar Sarajevan spirit helps to explain why many inhabitants of the city were reluctant to support the racist Nazi and Ustasha programs. The biographic sketches also demonstrate the importance of the confessional traditions, which limited the sense of solidarity, as the religious communities were highly segregated from one another.
Their actions, and the behavior of the members of the confessional communities, oscillated between these two poles.
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