In April 1941 German troops occupied Zagreb. A few weeks later a Young Zionist from Osijek, Josef Inding, Ied 43 Jewisch children, who had fled from Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzing, Hamburg, Vienna and Graz because of Nazi persecution, into the part of Slovenia that had been annexed by Italy.
There they lived for a year in a hunting lodge at Lersno Brdo, near Ljubljana. Despite Fascist racial laws and the fact that foreign Jews were barred from entering the country, Italian authorities tolerated their stay.
In July 1942, when the situation became increasingly dangerouse due to the partisan war, the children were moved to Nonantola, nearModena, whereDelasem (Delegazione per l’assistenza agli emigrati), the relief organization of Italian Jewry, had rented Villa Emma for them. Later a second Group of children arrived from Spalato (Split).
They were mostly from Bosnia and had fles because of the terror regime unleasched by the Ustashi inn Croatia. After the arrival of the latter Group there were 73 children at Villa Emma, boys and girls vying in age from six to twenty years, who were looked afeter-towards the end of their stay- by 18 adults.
The children were mostly orphans. Their parents had been shot, or had died in concentration or extermination camps.
On the 9th of September 1943, because of the armistice between Italy and the Allies, German troops entrered Nonantola. Within a day the children had all gone into hiding, some in the town seminary, some with local families.
Five weeks later they were able to escape to Switzerland, before the German police carried out a Roundup, as was feared.
In switzerland the children were first interned for a short while, and then placed in a Zionist home at Bex, in the Rhone Valley. In May/June 1945, a few weeks after the end of the war, most of them left fro Barcelona, where they boarded a ship for Palestine; thus ending a flight that had lasted five years.
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