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Jovanka Jovicic Babunovic

Foca, Yugoslavia

Jovanka was one of six children born to Serbian Orthodox parents in a small town in the Bosnian part of Yugoslavia. Her parents were prominent Serbian nationalists. After Jovanka completed middle school in Foca, she moved with her parents in 1912 to the multi-ethnic city of Sarajevo. There she met and married Marko Babunovic in 1916. The couple raised three children.

1933-39: Jovanka was an active member of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Her husband was a prosperous businessman, and she was active in supporting various charities. Her favorite causes were helping needy families in Sarajevo and in her hometown of Foca, and supporting the construction of bell towers for Serbian Orthodox churches in the poor communities of rural Bosnia.

1940-44: The Germans invaded Yugoslavia in 1941. That spring, Jovanka's son, Momir, who was studying in Germany, was arrested as an "enemy alien" and sent to Dachau. After Sarajevo was taken over by Croatian fascists that year, Jovanka's husband was arrested because he was a Serb leader and her other son fled to Serbia. Jovanka remained in Sarajevo with her sister and daughter; they were arrested by Croatian police in 1944. Upon refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism, Jovanka was deported to a Croatian-run concentration camp.

Jovanka died in the Jasenovac concentration camp in late 1944. She was 50 years old.

 

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