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Holocaust Identification Cards

Holocaust Identification Cards aim to emphasize the importance of remembrance, through snatching from oblivion the stories of 5 victims from Mostar. The Holocaust Identification Cards, which are given at the entrance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, served as a stimulus for this project.

These documents, resembling a passport, preserve a story of a real person who lived during the Holocaust.

This perspective, which focuses on an individual, broadens the apprehension of suffering and loss; the ID card readers, when introduced to even basic personal information, realize how nets of affected persons (family and friends) spread around each deceased victim.

The idea for this project arose from the fact that none of these 138 victims stories were recorded and included in the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

Inspired by such a simple and highly effective document, Senior Fellow Inga Kotlo browsed the USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia in search of the stories from victims originating from Western Balkans. When she realized that there are only a few stories available, she decided to conduct a research in her hometown, Mostar, with the aim to gather information and put them in a form of an ID Card, which could serve both as a contribution to USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia and a tribute to the citizens of Mostar who lost their lives during World War II.

In other words, the concept of singling out the importance of a single victim significantly enhances the reader’s ability to depict and relate to the universal concept of loss.

During the Holocaust, more than 1500 Jews fleeing from the southern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina found shelter in the City of Mostar. Unfortunately, despite the citizens’ tremendous efforts, 138 Jews were taken away and killed in the concentration camps of the Independent State of Croatia. The idea for this project arose from the fact that none of these 138 victims stories were recorded and included in the Holocaust Encyclopedia. Therefore, five stories were snatched from oblivion in order to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of remembrance and learning from the past.

After having invested time in learning more about the concept of Holocaust Identification Cards, as well as in browsing the already existing USHMM database, which assured her that there are only a few (7) stories about victims from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Inga conducted a research in Mostar to inspect whether this kind of project would be achievable there. Upon gathering enough material to document 5 stories, she started the process of selecting, editing and translating the text (cards are available in Bosnian and English language), as well as designing and, finally, printing the Holocaust Identification Cards. Currently, the project is in its final phase – promotion – which will hopefully result in a number of partnerships with individuals/organizations/institutions interested in the project.