Vranetić at around age 19-20
Vrbas, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, (now Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|Died||3 February 2010
|Spouse(s)||Erna (née Montilio) Vranetić|
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Ivan "Ivica" Vranetić (Hebrew: איוואן ורנטיץ'; c. 1926 – 3 February 2010) was a Yugoslav partisan of ethnic Croatian descent, whose aid to Jewish people during World War II resulted in his inclusion among the "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem in 1970. For more than two decades, he was Chairman of the Righteous Among the Nations organization.
He grew up in a liberal, middle-class, Catholic household. Although his parents were not particularly religious, Vranetić said he was raised to love and respect others. Vranetić began helping Jewish refugees at the age of 17 even though his village largely supported the Nazi-sympathizing Ustaše. His first attempt to help a Jewish doctor resulted in a beating from a Croatian soldier that resulted in Vranetić losing hearing in his left ear. He went on to help many others find secure hiding places and to supply their needs.
Among the refugees he assisted was Erna Montilio, whose husband had at the infamous Jasenovac concentration camp, but her mother and sister managed to escape. In 1948 Erna and her daughter moved to Israel, where she married and had two more children. But the marriage did not last. After the war, Vranetić continued to communicate with her and other refugees he had helped, eventually moving to Israel in 1963 and marrying Montilio. He was granted honorary Israeli citizenship by the government of Israel. In 1970, he received his "Righteous Among the Nations" award from Yad Vashem for his work, becoming chairman of the Organization of Righteous Among the Nations in Israel in 1986, a position he held for more than twenty years.
Widowed in the late 1990s, Vranetić was honored during a memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem Hall of Remembrance in 2009 when he and six Jewish Holocaust survivors met Pope Benedict XVI.
- Sudilovsky, Judith (11 May 2009). "Catholic... who rescued Jews from Nazis excited to meet pope". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- Associated Press (3 February 2010). "Yugoslav Partisan Who Saved Jews in Holocaust Dies", abcnews.go.com; accessed 16 November 2010.
- Yad Vashem (4 February 2010). "In Tribute to Ivan Vranetic, Righteous Among the Nations". yad-vashem.blogspot.com. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- "Briefly: Ivan Vranetic". The Independent. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- Obituary, newsday.com; accessed 27 January 2017. (registration required)
- Boston Globe report on Vranetić's death, 7 February 2010; accessed 8 September 2016.