February 23, 1994

SARAJEVO EXODUS -- Four centuries ago, Sarajevo accepted Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, and they lived happily in the city until the Nazis came during World War II. But even after the Holocaust, a Jewish community remained in the Bosnian capital.

After the siege of Sarajevo began 23 months ago, the Joint Jewish Distribution Committee worked to get many Jews who remained out of the city to safety in Israel or elsewhere. Most of the 1,200 Jews who lived in Sarajevo have now been evacuated. Hundreds still are on the waiting lists for the convoys that take them to Croatia before getting them to safety in Israel and other parts of the worlkd.

It is a difficult process, requiring negotiations with various governments ahead of time and bargainng along the way with the militias that man roadblocks. Many non-Jews have been evacuated through this connection that operates out of the Jewish Community Center in Sarajevo.

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