Vinko Nikolić was born in Šibenik, in southern Croatia on 2 March 1912. He was a writer, poet, journalist, literary critic and publicist, one of the most prominent Croatian émigré intellectuals. He was raised in a poor and large Catholic family. He attended primary school and the classics gymnasium in Šibenik and studied the Croatian language, Yugoslav literature, Croatian history, and the Russian and Italian languages from 1932 to 1937. Due to his political opposition to the Yugoslav regime, he did not succeeded in finding employment immediately. Initially he worked as the prefect of Archdiocesan convictus in Sarajevo. After the establishment of the Banovina of Croatia, he found employment in Zagreb and he lectured as an assistant professor at the Commerce Academy from 1939 to 1943. He organized the semi-monthly review Life for Croatia in 1942. In the last two years of the war he was a professor at the First Boys’ Classics Gymnasium in Zagreb. After the collapse of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Nikolić became involved in the public life of the Independent State of Croatia, where he dealt with issues of culture and propaganda for the Ustasha regime. He simultaneously advanced in the military hierarchy of the Ustasha movement, where he attained the reserve rank of lieutenant and later captain.
After the downfall of the Independent State of Croatia, he first left for Austria, and later went to Italy. In 1946, he jumped off of a train to avoid deportation to communist Yugoslavia by the Allies in Italy. After that. he began writing a doctorate in Slavic linguistics in Rome on the theme of Croatian modern poetry under the tutelage of Prof. Giovanni Mavere. But he fled from Italy via France to Argentina due to the permanent threat of extradition to Yugoslavia. In Argentina, he began to work as a journalist, so he edited the journal Hrvatska with Franjo Nevistić from 1947 to 1950. In the following year, together with Antun Bonifačić Nikolić initiated the Croatian Review, the core activity of which was the promotion of anticommunism. Later, it became one of the most important and influential Croatian émigré journals, in which many emigrants of different political and ideological orientations collaborated.
During his life in an emigrant, Nikolić distanced himself from Ante Pavelić and the Ustasha regime, and together with his associates Bogdan Radica and Jure Petričević, his writings were critical of the Ustasha movement. In polemics with Vjekoslav Vrančić in 1969, Nikolić clearly stressed his renunciation of Ustashism. "It may be stated that people already today will surely not accept either the Ustasha or any other totalitarian ideology and its leadership as the foundation and support of the future constitution of Croatian state" (Nikolić, Vinko. "The future cannot be built on Ustasha policies ," Croatian Review 1969. no. 1-2, 144). His political vision was an independent and democratic Croatian state, free from every ideology and historical burden. He additionally advocated for the historical reconciliation between communists and nationalists after the experiences of civil war in Croatia (1941-1945). To possess Nikolić's review was illegal, and Nikolić's other works were also forbidden. The reason was his critical stance against communism and the Yugoslav ideology. Nikolić began publishing works as part of the Library of Croatian Review, in which he edited and printed 65 books on different topics, written by Croatian émigré intellectuals.
Nikolić returned to Europe in 1966, to France, where he planned to continue publishing his review in order to exert greater influence on the situation in the homeland. The intervention of the Yugoslav embassy in Paris forced the French government to take action, and the French authorities seized and destroyed an issue of the review and expelled him from France. Nikolić addressed President De Gaulle and Culture Minister Andre Malraux with an appeal to allow his activities in their country. After travelling throughout Europe, from London, Munich, Salzburg to Zurich, he settled in Spain, where he continued his émigré and publishing work in Barcelona from June 1968 onward.
Nikolić and the circle around Hrvatska revija supported the Croatian Spring, a reform movement of the Croatian communists, and especially the Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language in 1967, which opposed the regime's forcible linguistic unitarism. His review was read by the Croatian Marxist intelligentsia in the country at the time of the Croatian Spring. Although a Catholic, Nikolić criticized the Protocol of 1966 which regulated anew the relations between the Holy See and Tito's Yugoslavia after the communist regime had unilaterally terminated them in 1952. He protested when the communist leader visited Vatican for the first time in 1971, when Pope Paul VI met Tito. He considered Vatican's concessions to Yugoslavia as a move against the Croatian national question. In 1973, he was awarded compensation by a French court due to his expulsion in 1966.
Nikolić returned home after 45 years of life in exile, after the communists lost power in the first democratic elections in Croatia in the spring of 1990. In 1991, he definitively moved to Croatia, where he lived until his death in his native city of Šibenik on 12 July 1997. He supported the new president, Franjo Tuđman, and his Croatian Democratic Union and the process of Croatia’s separation from Yugoslavia. In the last years of life Nikolić was a representative of that party in the Croatian Parliament as of 1993, the head of the Croatian Heritage Foundation (1992-1993) and the vice-president of Matica hrvatska.
Nikolić was the author and editor of several books, numerous collections of poems, essays and articles. His most important books were At the Door of the Homeland. Encounters with Croatian Emigration in two volumes in 1965 and 1966, followed by The Tragedy of Bleiburg in 1977 and Stepinac is His Name in 1978. All of these books were banned by the regime because they criticized the circumstances in Croatia and Yugoslavia under communist rule. In his émigré period, Nikolić corresponded with many members of the post-war Croatian emigrant community (Bogdan Radica, Jure Petričević, Jere Jareb, Ante Smith Pavelić, Ivan Meštrović, Mate Meštrović, Karlo Mirth, Vladko Maček, Filip Lukas, Luka Brajnović, Stjepan Buć, Jure Prpić, Tihomil Rađa, Ivo Rojnica, Stjepan Sakač, Gvido Saganić, Bruno Bušić, Ante Ciliga, Lucijan Kordić, Krunoslav Draganović, Tihomil Drezga, Vladimir Ciprin, Rajmund Kupareo, Nikola Čolak, Ante Kadić, Jakša Kušan, Zlatko Markus, Luka Fertilio, Franjo Hijacint Eterović, Marko Čović, Antun Bonifačić, Vinko Grubišić, Milan Blažeković, Hrvoje Lorković and others).
After returning to Croatia in 1991, Nikolić and his wife Štefica handed over his entire manuscript collection and literary legacy to the National and University Library in Zagreb. It consists of numerous books and newspapers printed abroad, his manuscripts, the archives of Croatian Review, his correspondence with many important people of that time. Part of his legacy (manuscripts, correspondence and the archives of Croatian Review) is held in the Manuscript and Old Book Collection.
The newspaper materials became part of the Periodical Reading Room and the books became part of the Foreign Croatica Collection. His stance on the culture of the written word and materials testify to his oppositional activities, which Nikolić confirmed by keeping these materials and storing them in Croatia’s largest library.
Željka Lovrenčić, the head of the Foreign Croatica Collection, notes that all of Nikolić's activities in the diaspora can be described as cultural opposition: “You could say that his life outside of Croatia was genuine cultural opposition. Opposition made evident by the books, words, culture – for you to show, in a particular environment that was not so friendly to Croatians. (...) What these people went through in Argentina – is just horrible. All the while they managed to preserve that spirit and culture – that was the real opposition.”
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Zagreb, Croatia
Božidar (Božo) Novak (Hvar, 18 May 1925 – Zagreb, 26 June 2013) was a Croatian journalist and current affairs writer, also active in other areas of public life. According to the biography in his book Hrvatsko novinarstvo u 20. stoljeću [Croatian journalism in 20th century], after attending the classics gymnasium in Split and Zagreb, in 1946/1947 he graduated from the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, majoring in journalism and diplomacy. He studied law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb. He studied journalism in Salzburg (American Studies Training) and specialised during study tours in England, the USA, Austria, Italy, Czechoslovakia, the USSR and Japan.
He began his career in journalism in May 1945 in the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija in Split. He wrote news, features, commentaries, foreign policy reports and travel pieces. He worked as the editor-in-chief of Slobodna Dalmacija, the domestic affairs editor in the Jugopress news agency and for Vjesnik, serving as editor-in-chief of that paper Vjesnik from 1955 to 1963, and as director of the Vjesnik publishing and printing company from 1963 until the end of 1971. After assuming the latter post, he initiated the creation of Vjesnik’s newspaper documentation collection for the operational needs of that newspaper company and its editorial departments. He served two terms as the president of the Croatian Association of Journalists and the Union of Yugoslav Journalists, and in period 1966-1969 he was a delegate in the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, during the Croatian Spring, he criticized the communist regime through his public work. This is why in period 1972-1990 he was banned from engaging in any journalistic or public activity. He wrote about this in his aforementioned book on Croatian journalism in 20th century, and when it was published, he spoke about it in length in an interview for the newsmagazine Nacional in June 2005. In his own words, the first open confrontation with the regime came in 1962, when at the plenum of Yugoslav journalists in Pristina on 16 and 17 April of that year, on behalf of Croatian Association of Journalists, he requested the breaking up the federal unified information system, abolition of the division into federal, republic and provincial newspapers and media, rejection of the doctrine on the “press as the voice of the communist party” and Moša Pijade’s assertion on the “journalist as an general ignoramus”, as well as the request for abandonment of the party directive stipulating that Yugoslav newspapers should not engage in mutual polemics. As a particular period of crisis for Croatian journalism and the media in general, he further specified 1969, under circumstances of normalisation of relations between Yugoslavia and the USSR, harmed in the preceding year by the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. At the time, Vjesnik wrote critically about the presence of the Soviet fleet in Croatian territorial waters, ports and shipyards. Thereupon, as a condition for normalization of transnational and party relations, the Soviet communist party and government requested control of the press, especially Vjesnik, on the grounds that it was anti-communist. At a meeting with Josip Broz Tito on the Brijuni islands on 16 June 1969, which was also attended by media directors, Novak, as the president of the Union of Yugoslav Journalists, rejected Kardelj’s bill on information which stipulated stronger influence of the communist party on the media, and advocated
the further opening and liberalization of the press. That same year, he refused to print texts in Vjesnik about the Andrija Hebrang case, which was reviewed and approved for print by Tito himself. He further said that in the spring of 1971 he refused the federal leadership’s request for removal the Vjesnik’s editor-in-chief, Milovan Baletić, because of the “Croatian spy affair”, a ploy by which the federal intelligence agencies attempted to compromise the Croatian national democratic political leadership on charges of collaboration with Branko Jelić’s Ustasha/émigré centre in Berlin. At the end of 1971, due to the suppression of the Croatian Spring and repression against its participants, Novak was forced to retire, as he pointed out itself, with a “very extensive media slander campaign.” First he resigned from the party, and then as a director of Vjesnik. Condemning his work, the party organization in Vjesnik suggested his arrest on charges that was a “participant in the maspok [mass movement], a counter-revolutionary, a techno-manager, a rotten liberal who defies Tito and Bakarić.”
For a period of 18 years (1972-1990) in which he was banned from engaging in any journalistic or public activity, he recounted that he spent time fishing, reading books and clipping articles from newspapers. With the support of his father’s friend Grga Novak (Hvar, 2 April 1888 – Zagreb, 7 September 1978), a Croatian historian and archaeologist, and then president of the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences, he researched and wrote about the history of Hvar’s fisheries in the Middle Ages. Looking back to that, dissident, time, he said he was “professionally killed and then left to live.”
After 1990 he once more began participating is public life, actively standing up for media freedom and democratic values through engagement in civic organisations: the Croatian Association of Journalists, the Civic Initiative for Freedom of Public Speech, the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Open Society Institute, Miko Tripalo Centre for Democracy and Law. In 2005, he received the Miko Tripalo Award for his contributions to the development of democracy and press freedom, and in 2010 the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights honoured him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has written and published several books and approximately fifty technical papers about the history of journalism and about issues pertaining to journalism and the protection and promotion of press freedoms.
- Zagreb, Croatia
Choreographer, director, and ethnographer Ferenc Novák was born on 27 March 1931 in Aiud, Romania (or Nagyenyed by its Hungarian name).
He did adaptations of folklore and traditional peasant culture for the stage, which at the beginning of his career was extraordinary and shocking. He was one of the imaginative creators of the Hungarian folk dance school and folklore show. He also took part in the organization of the first dance house in Budapest in 1972.
He founded the Bihari Ensemble in 1951.
He was the leader of the Honvéd Ensemble between 1964 and 1975. In 1983, he was made the Art Director of the Honvéd Ensemble. Between 1977 and 1983, he was the choreographer and director of the Dance Theatre in Amsterdam.
Výtvarnice Věra Nováková, které nebylo až na výjimky umožněno z politických důvodů prezentovat uměleckou tvorbu, se narodila v Praze 17. 1. 1928. Po maturitě na klasickém gymnáziu v roce 1947 byla přijata na Akademii výtvarných umění, ale po třech semestrech byla nucena kvůli politickým čistkám školu opustit. Ve studiu pokračovala až v roce 1950 na Vysoké škole uměleckoprůmyslové, kterou úspěšně absolvovala o dva roky později. V roce 1950 se rovněž provdala za svého spolužáka, malíře Pavla Brázdu. Od roku 1958 pracovala jako výtvarnice z povolání, ale bez možnosti veřejně vystavovat své dílo. Věnovala se především knižní ilustraci, od sedmdesátých let pracovala jako kreslička v Archeologickém ústavu. Svoji tvorbu mohla oficiálně prezentovat v době komunistického režimu pouze třikrát. Poprvé v roce 1968 na skupinové výstavě II. pražského salonu, o osm let později s manželovou tvorbou v Divadle v Nerudovce, v roce 1989 ve Vinohradské tržnici. Samostatné výstavy se dočkala až v roce 1998. Kvůli vyřazení z uměleckého života v době komunistického režimu vystavovali od roku 1971 s manželem své obrazy také neoficiálně na schodišti vinohradské vily jejich přítele Zdeňka Neubauera, kde se pravidelně konaly filozofické bytové semináře. Kromě hostitele, manželů Brázdy a Novákové se setkání účastnili např. Jiří Němec, Věra Jirousová, Martin Palouš, přednášel zde i Jan Patočka.
Ve své tvorbě se Nováková věnuje existenciálním tématům a roli jedince ve světě. Od počátků padesátých let, v souvislosti s její konverzí ke křesťanství, do její umělecké práce silně pronikaly náboženské motivy (např. apokalyptický triptych Tak končí sláva světa z let 1952-1953, Noe na cestě do práce 1958). Z hlediska formy byl v jejím uměleckém vyjádření fenomén písma jako konstitutivní prvek stavby a symbolického sdělení obrazu (např. V-Vegetace 1966) a strukturální abstrakce, kde rozhodující roli hraje povrch obrazu (např. Potopa 1960).Po sametové revoluci Nováková realizovala řadu samostatných výstav, pokračovala také ve společných prezentacích s manželem Pavlem Brázdou. V roce 2006 dostala cenu Revolver Revue.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic