Rudi Debijadji

1920 (Mostar, Herzegovina) - 2006 (Belgrade)


"... medically, we all survived in our bad condition through a repression into the subconscious ... It sleeps and surfaces in certain moments."

Rudi Debijadji was born in Mostar, Herzegovina on 28 December 1920, the son of a mason. He passed his final examinations in Podgorica, Montenegro in 1939. In 1941, during the early days of the occupation of Yugoslavia, he joined the National Liberation Movement under Josip Broz Tito.

Early in 1942, Debijadji was arrested by Italians and taken to a prison in Bar, and from there to an internment camp in Albania and on to further camps in Italy. In 1943, he escaped, but was arrested again by fascist Italian forces and handed over to the Germans. He was taken to a work camp and came to Buchenwald Concentration Camp as a "political inmate" late in 1944 or early in 1945. He was involved with the Yugoslav group of illegal anti-fascist resistance organizations.

Following the liberation, Debijadji was a member of the Antifascist Committee of Yugoslavs and worked for the newspaper of the Yugoslav camp committee, Nas glas ("Our Voice"). At the end of 1945, he returned to Yugoslavia and studied medicine in Belgrade. In 1946, he married the future heart specialist Hagar Kajon. After graduating from the military medical academy in Belgrade with a specialization in pathological physiology, he worked until 1976 in the institute for aeromedicine of the Yugoslav air force and air defence detachment. In Yugoslavia, he was one of the pioneers of aviation and space medicine. He was widely published, nationally and internationally, and was a member of many scientific associations in Yugoslavia and the USA, including, beginning in 1973, a seat in the Committee for Astronautics of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. After working in the health services of the air force and air defence in various positions, he retired in 1986 as a medical colonel.

Rudi Debijadji died in Belgrade on 3 March 2006.