1941: The Year That Keeps Returning

Slavko Gold­stein; Michael Gable, trans.
  • Review
By – March 25, 2014

1941: The Year That Keeps Return­ing is a per­son­al account of how Slavko Goldstein’s life changed dur­ing that year. The book is more of an his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive than a per­son­al diary. Gold­stein describes how the Holo­caust affect­ed him and many of Croatia’s Jew­ish res­i­dents after the Nazis occu­pied what was then Yugoslavia.

Ear­ly in the book the author writes, I think I can pin­point exact­ly the hour and day when my child­hood end­ed.” He explains how his father was tak­en from their house on April 13, 1941, and then two months lat­er his moth­er was impris­oned. At the age of thir­teen Gold­stein and his nine-year-old broth­er were left to fend for them­selves. Along with the his­tor­i­cal con­text, read­ers can under­stand that the Jews had only days to escape after the Nazis brought to pow­er the Ustasha, a pro-fas­cist nation­al­ist group. Those unlucky were arrest­ed, includ­ing local Serbs, Jews, and Communists.

The Ger­man occu­piers had a strong influ­ence in Croa­t­ia, espe­cial­ly after the pup­pet gov­ern­ment was estab­lished. Gold­stein chron­i­cles how for the Jews in that state, options quick­ly dwin­dled and bru­tal­i­ty increased. In the begin­ning Jews were only arrest­ed, but as the months passed, they were abused, and toward the end of the year many were exter­mi­nat­ed. The excep­tions were those Jews who either joined the Par­ti­sans or the resis­tance, or fled to Italy.

Hav­ing this eye­wit­ness account of those crit­i­cal events makes a pow­er­ful impact and will enable read­ers to under­stand the expe­ri­ences of Croa­t­i­a’s Jew­ish res­i­dents. Although at times bur­dened with too much detail, 1941 is once again a reminder of that hor­ri­ble peri­od in his­to­ry. Index, list of acronyms, notes.

Relat­ed Content:


Read Elise Coop­er’s inter­view with Slavko Gold­stein here.

Elise Coop­er lives in Los Ange­les and has writ­ten numer­ous nation­al secu­ri­ty arti­cles sup­port­ing Israel. She writes book reviews and Q and A’s for many dif­fer­ent out­lets includ­ing the Mil­i­tary Press. She has had the plea­sure to inter­view best­selling authors from many dif­fer­ent genres.

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