Postal censorship of Bosnian public health institutions during the Second World War: The Independent State of Croatia versus Dr. Stanko Sielski

John A. Papalas, Husref Tahirović


This study aims to present evidence of censorship during World War II by the Independent State of Croatia of one of its public health officials, Dr. Stanko Sielski who was a physician trained in epidemiology and public health. During World War II, he directed the Institute for Combating
Endemic Syphilis in the Bosnian town Banja Luka. The staff under his direction consisted solely of Jewish physicians. We analyzed two groups of envelopes either sent by or to Dr. Stanko Sielski during the War and found evidence of censorship only in communications with a Jewish physician dated towards the end of the War. Dr. Stanko Sielski would be posthumously recognized for his efforts to shield his Jewish colleagues. Conclusion. The newly available, but still limited data, which we present indicates efforts to censor Dr. Stanko Sielski’s postal communications towards the War’s end. The censors targeted specifically Dr. Stanko Sielski’s correspondences with the Jewish physicians he was protecting. This material highlights the many challenges his public health service experienced during the time of armed conflict.


Postal censorship; Stanko Sielski; History of medicine

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