Exhibition “IF I FORGET YOU…”

At the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Croatian History Museum has organised this exhibition under the title IF I FORGET YOU... – The Holocaust in Croatia 1941-1945 / Final Destination Auschwitz. The exhibition is open to the public at the French Pavilion (Savska cesta 25) from February 6th, 2020 until April 21st, 2020., from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM on workdays, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on weekends. The entrance is free of charge.

The exhibition focuses on the sufferings of Jews from Croatia during World War II, with a special emphasis on the fates of Jews deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. The exhibition has been set up at the French Pavilion, an authentic site of suffering for Jews from Zagreb and other places in Croatia, as they were gathered in front of it to be deported in railway wagons to the Auschwitz camp.

 Destinies of the killed, testimonies of the survivors, and the few preserved original objects from the camp, photographs and documents from various Croatian and international museums and archives, as well as those borrowed from the families of the victims and the Righteous among the Nations, have been divided into four thematic units:

 I. ExcommunicationII. Concentration and Liquidation
III. Auschwitz (Oświęcim) – Death Factory
IV. A Sparkle in the Darkness

 The first part, “Excommunication”, positions the topic in place and time. It provides the visitors with an insight into the broader context of historical events and informs them about the regime of terror established in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) against the Jewish, Serbian, and Roma populations, Communists and anti-Fascists, and in particular its attitude towards the Jewish population, now subjected to the racial laws and deprived of all their rights.

The second unit, called “Concentration and Liquidation,” describes the camp system in NDH, as well as in other areas of present-day Croatia that were under Italian (Istria and the Croatian Littoral) or Hungarian (Međimurje) annexation and/or occupation. A particular emphasis has been placed on the Jasenovac camp, which has become a symbol of Ustasha terror and the suffering of Jews, Serbs, Roma, and anti-Fascists. Namely, even before the mass deportations of Jews to the Auschwitz camp in August 1942 and May 1943, most Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Jews were killed in the camps located in the territory of NDH.

The third section, “Auschwitz (Oświęcim) – Death Factory,” specifically focuses on the camp where a large part of the Jewish population from the NDH area, but also from Istria, the Croatian Littoral, and Međimurje, were killed in the period from 1942 to 1944. Other camps have been included as well, such as Mauthausen, Bergen-Belsen, or Buchenwald, as they were also death camps for the Jewish and other populations.

The last section, called “A Sparkle in the Darkness,” is dedicated to those Jews who participated in the anti-Fascist resistance and to the Croatian Righteous among the Nations, individuals who were involved in saving Jews even though it meant a great risk to their lives.

 Within these thematic units the individual fates of the victims, specifically Jews, are presented. The organizers and perpetrators of crimes have been introduced within individual thematic units with regard to the context and their role in the given time and space. The exhibition also includes a selection of photographs of the victims, Jews from various Croatian cities and towns, who were killed in Ustasha camps and in Auschwitz.

Video clips with the testimonies of surviving Auschwitz inmates – Branko Lustig, Tonka Petričević, Oleg Mandić, and Oto Konstein – are shown at the exhibition.

 In addition to the said units, the exhibition presents the methodology used in creating a list of victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp from the territory of Croatia, a project conducted since 2017 at the Croatian State Archives. In order to explain the process of victim verification, based on the original historical material, several examples of identification of victims of the camp system are presented at the exhibition.

 In this respect, it should be noted that the exhibition also presents the results of many years of research aimed at designing a new national exhibition of the Republic of Croatia at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, supported by the UNESCO Office in Venice and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Finally, with the exhibition IF I FORGET YOU... – The Holocaust in Croatia 1941-1945 / Final Destination Auschwitz the Croatian History Museum continues its core programmatic activity of presenting significant events from Croatian history and topics related to the problematic historical heritage, with the ultimate goal of creating a permanent exhibition.


The title of the exhibition IF I FORGET YOU... (Ps137,5) symbolically refers to the consequences of the undemocratic, intolerant, and racist Ustasha regime, which should not be forgotten. At the same time, we indicate the need to further encourage scholarly work and research in this field, and the responsibility of the profession to explore and present this extremely turbulent, tragic, and brief period of Croatian history (1941-1945) based on methodically established historical facts and the contemporary methods of museological practice.



The exhibition has been organised under the high patronage of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

Croatian History Museum

Croatian State Archives

Student Centre, University of Zagreb

Nataša Mataušić, Croatian History Museum

Nataša Mataušić, Croatian History Museum
Rajka Bućin, Croatian State Archives 

Damir Gamulin
Antun Sevšek 

Nives Sertić 

Statements of the former inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau:
Oto Konstein (author: Mira Wolf, recorded by: Miljenko Bolanča)
Branko Lustig (author: Mira Wolf, recorded by: Miljenko Bolanča)
Oleg Mandić (recorded by: Robert Kalčić)
Tonka Petričević (recorded by: Dubravko Kuhta)

 Postproduction: Mira Wolf

Croatian History Museum: Tomislav Degmečić, Mirana Jušić, Ivo Margaretić, Ozren Solić, Ivica Tarle, Zdenka Šinkić
Student Centre, University of Zagreb
Ars kopija d.o.o.
Prima promus d.o.o.
Sliško Trio FML j.d.o.o.

Ivica Tarle, Croatian History Museum

Silvija Brkić Midžić

Marina Schumann

Family Birtić-Ujević, Zagreb
Jasminka Domaš, Jewish Religious Community Bet Israel, Zagreb
Milivoj Dretar, Ludbreg
Vladimir Kalšan, Čakovec
Oleg Mandić, Opatija
Sanja Simper, Lovran
Stribor Uzelac Schwendemann, Slavonski Brod
Mira Wolf, Jewish Community Zagreb
State Archives in Rijeka
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Vinkovci Municipal Museum
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Croatian State Archives
Croatian History Museum
Varaždin City Museum
Historical Archives of Belgrade
Public Institution Jasenovac Memorial Site
Jewish Historical Museum Belgrade
Museum of Brodsko Posavlje
Koprivnica Municipal Museum
City Museum of Rijeka
Međimurje Regional Museum in Čakovec
Museum of Slavonia in Osijek
National and University Library Zagreb
Jewish Community Osijek
Jewish Community Zagreb
Jewish Religious Community Bet Israel, Zagreb

Naida Mihal Brandl, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
Ivo Goldstein, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Nataša Babić, Museum of the City of Rijeka
Ivanka Cafuta, Museum of Brodsko Posavlje
Goran Hutinec, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
Grgur Marko Ivanković, Museum of Slavonia in Osijek
Draženka Jalšić – Ernečić, Koprivnica Municipal Museum
Danijel Petković, Vinkovci Municipal Museum
Spomenka Težak, Varaždin City Museum 



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