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Lebović, Djordje


LEBOVIĆ, DJORDJE (1928–2004), Yugoslav playwright. Born in Sombor, Lebović was a survivor of the Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps, where he was interned during the last years of World War ii. Later, after studying in Belgrade, he wrote many plays for stage, broadcasting, and the screen which bear the mark of his wartime experiences. Lebović tackled in a bold and original manner some of the controversial questions about men's behavior in the death camps: the work of inmates in the crematoria, passive submission, solidarity, and resistance to the oppressor. His radio plays include Do vidjenja druže Gale ("Goodbye, Comrade Gal," 1961); Lutka ("The Doll," 1967); and Sahrana počinje obično popodne ("Burial Usually Begins in the Afternoon," 1963). The last describes how the liberated survivors of a concentration camp, faced with the death of one of their number in a hospital, insist on a decent burial and thus regain their own dignity and sense of the value of human life. Lebović's outstanding work is his dramatic trilogy on the death camp theme: Nebeski odred ("Commando Heaven," 1959), written in collaboration with A. Obrenović and later made into a motion picture; Haleluja (1965); and Viktorija ("Victory," 1968).

Lebović came to Israel in 1982. While there, he wrote another drama, entitled Istraživanja u pesku ("Search in a Sand-bank," 1985), which was translated into Hebrew (1992), and a radio drama Svetlosti i senke ("Lights and Shadows"), broadcast by Israeli radio. His own Holocaust experiences are leitmotivs in his plays, emphasizing the transformations in the behavior of the victims and their terrible exploitation in an absurd and alienated world.


W. Gallasch, in: Nuernberger Nachrichten (June 6, 1966). add. bibliography: D. Katan Ben-Zion, "Presence and Disappearance – Jews and Judaism in Former Yugoslavia in the Mirror of Literature" (Hebrew, 2002), 300, 347.

[Zdenko Lowenthal]

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