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Bosnian Jewish Refugees Find New Homes in Croatia

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Within a few weeks, the last Bosnian Jewish refugees in Croatia will be resettled in permanent housing, according to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

“The relatively speaking `massive displacement’ of Jews from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia is now a chapter of the past,” said Yechiel Bar Chaim, the JDC country director for Croatia.

Hundreds of Bosnian Jews fled to Croatia during the war in Bosnia, either on their own or in convoys organized by the JDC. Hundreds more found refuge in Serbia.

Many went on to settle in Israel, the United States and elsewhere.

Bar Chaim said three of the four Bosnian Jews still in temporary housing in a hotel at Makarska on the Croatian coast would be moved shortly to the Ladislav Svarc Jewish Old Age home in Zagreb.

It was hoped that permanent housing would be found soon for the one remaining refugee.

Most Bosnian Jewish refugees in Croatia had received Croatian citizenship and were receiving Croatian pensions, he said.

In Serbia, he said, about 70 Jewish families remained without citizenship or pensions and were getting subsidies from the JDC, British World Jewish Relief and other Jewish aid organizations.

More than 100 Jewish refugees who fled Bosnia for Serbia remain in temporary quarters.

Bar Chaim said that since the Dayton peace accord, some Jewish refugees had returned to Sarajevo.

“Sarajevo is a ruin, but I don’t think I’ve felt as much joy in these past four years as walking into the Jewish community center there and seeing some of the elderly refugees that we cared for sitting, talking and being with their friends,” he said.

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