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Book Review
by Richard E. Burney
Neither Red nor Dead, by Stevo Julius Published by Medvista (2003)
In May of 1941, the German army, moving steadily southward, invaded and began its occupation of the Balkan countries, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia- Herzegovina, known more familiarly as Yugoslavia or Land of the South Slavs.
When this happened, Stevo Julius, the distinguished and internationally known professor of Internal Medicine,
and Huetwell Professor Emeritus of Hypertension, was 12 years old, living in Zagreb, Croatia, where his father was a child psychiatrist and his family Jewish. He recounts in his 2003 book, Neither Red Nor Dead, in remarkable detail the dramatic events of the ensuing years, how he survived the war and entered medical school, and then how he survived as a physician in Communist controlled Yugoslavia until he was able to escape to the United States in 1964. .
The Balkans have always been a place of turmoil and con ict, alternatively occupied by Europeans as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and Turks as part of the Ottoman empire. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formed after WW I, but this also saw the rise of the Soviet Union under Stalin, who sought to expand his in uence in the area. It was never a stable place, buffeted by Fascism on one side and Communism on the other. The tragic genocidal events of the 1990’s were presaged by events during WW II.
Dr. Julius gives a  rst person, eye-witness account of surviving the war in a politically unstable region, with German occupiers and the puppet Ustasche government in Zagreb and Communist Partizans under Marshall Tito controlling much of the countryside. He was separated from his family; his parents were likewise separated; his older brother joined the Partizans and was seriously wounded. That he is able to reconstruct the events and conversations of that time in such credible detail is testament to the intensity of the experiences, which imprinted them indelibly in his young mind. e sHe Two years were spent as a courier for the Partizans, carrying messages on foot at night, ri e on his shoulder, through forested mountainous regions.
After the war, he was able to enter medical school in Zagreb, but ran afoul of local Party bosses before he could complete post-graduate training. He was saved by a local “angel,” never named, who enabled him to escape punishment (or worse) by lying low for two years as a physician in the small, rural town of Gorazhde, in mountainous southern Bosnia. There he learned to deal with corrupt of cials and Party bosses, while trying to build a new hospital in the town. He was eventually allowed back to complete specialty training in Internal Medicine. He could not tolerate the politics and eventually found a way to escape to the United States.
The title of the book is apt: it describes how he survived both Fascists and Communists. After the war ended, the Communist Party imposed Soviet-style draconian controls on the populace. He learned to survive among the Communist Party apparatchiks, where the choice was to be “red” or dead.
The book is available on Amazon. I think you will  nd it a remarkable story.
Volume 70 • Number 3 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN 19

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