How Saving a Haggadah Saved a Life

One of the most famous Haggadahs in the word, is the Sarajevo Haggadah.  It is believed to have been taken out of Spain by Jews who were expelled in 1492. It was sold to the National Museum in Sarajevo in 1894.  During the Second World War, the Haggadah was hidden from the Nazis by the Museum’s chief librarian, Derviš Korkut, who at risk to his own life, smuggled the Haggadah out of Sarajevo. Korkut gave it to a Muslim cleric in Zenica, where it was hidden under the floorboards of either a mosque or a Muslim home.  In 1992 during the Bosnian War, the Haggadah survived a museum break-in and it was kept in an underground bank vault during the Siege of Sarajevo. The Haggadah went on permanent display at the museum in December 2002.

Derviš Korkut, who saved the book from the Nazis, also hid a young Jewish girl, Mira Papo, from the Nazis.  During the Bosnian war, Mira Papo, then living in Israel was able to persuade the Israeli government to secure the safety of Korkut’s daughter.

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