Jerome Alexis Brentar (1922 – 2006)
Jerome Alexis Brentar died unexpectedly on December 1, 2006 in Cleveland. He was a well respected humanitarian known for his good deeds in Croatian communities throughout the world. He was born on July 17, 1922 in Cleveland to Croatian parents who came to the United States in 1899 from Klana, Istria. During WW II he served with the 93rd Armored Cavalry under the command of General William Patton. After the war ended the young man of 24 years criss-crossed Europe and what he saw made a deep and lasting impression on him. Destroyed cities, columns of refugees and homeless people, refugee camps full of hunger and hopelessness caused him to decide to study sociology and to spend his life as social worker.
It is a well known fact that Jerry emptied Austrian refugee camps of Croatian widows with their young children, whom no country was willing to accept. Not only did he bring them to the U.S. but he also found organizations and individuals who were ready to help them. Later on when I received political asylum and moved to Munich to work for the NCWC. There I had ample opportunities to observe Jerry’s work on the entire territory of West Germany and Austria, including all the refugee camps. He helped thousands of Croatians, Muslims, Slovenians and others. His name became legendary. Not only did he help those who wanted to emigrate, but he also helped those who stayed in Europe. Jerry’s home was always open to immigrants who came to the U.S. He helped them find jobs, apartments, or even temporary overnight stay. After returning from Europe Brentar founded The Europa Travel Service, which it made possible for him to continue his humanitarian work in Croatian communities in Ohio and the rest of the country. He was a member of countless Croatian organizations, among them the American Croatian Academic Society, for which he also served as president. Brentar is survived by his spouse Dora, his three daughters Carolyn, Mary Ann and Dora, his son John, four grandchildren and three brothers. Jerome Brentar, a deeply religious man, leaves a legacy of compassion for his fellow man. And will always be remembered for his strong commitment to a free Croatia. His friends and Croatian communities throughout the U.S. will dearly miss him.