Ante Ciliga Collection
The Ante Ciliga Collection is deposited at the Collection of the Old Books and Manuscripts at the National and University Library in Zagreb. It testifies to cultural opposition activities of the Croatian political émigré Ante Ciliga, who made the transition from high-ranking member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to an anticommunist and critic of the one party system and the totalitarian form of socialism.
Zagreb Ulica Hrvatske bratske zajednice 4, Croatia 10000
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Provenance and cultural activities
The Ante Ciliga Collection contains records which cover nearly the entirety of Ciliga's life. The time from 1945 until his death in 1992 is best documented. Its highest value lies in the fact that it offers a different interpretation of the history of the Yugoslav communist movement than the official party historiography. Due to Ciliga's numerous travels, stays in prisons and camps throughout Europe and the Soviet Union and later in the Second World War, most of the collection was lost for the period before 1945, so that records from that time account for a far lesser part of the collection.
The personal fund was received at the National and University Library in Zagreb in 1999, when Ciliga's nephew Milan Ciliga decided, in line with his uncle’s will, to save it in that institution after his death. In his will, Ciliga also specified that his records be copied twice, and that one set of copies be deposited at the State Archives in Pazin and the other set in the National Library of France in Paris, but thus far this has not been done. The head of the National and University Library in Zagreb, Josip Stipanov, Ph.D., signed the agreement on the acquisition of the collection. Librarian Drago Pažin processed the collection and also compiled an inventory list. Since 2014, it has been accessible to the public and researchers. The collection was not gathered with a specific aim, but it developed over time as a result of Ciliga's opposition activity in exile against Titoism and socialist Yugoslavia. In that sense, the collection was formed by Ciliga's activity as the primary creator and collector and as such, it is a creator's personal fund.
The collection has exceptional importance to national history and also the history of the world communist movement. It is especially significant for studying differentiation within the movement, since Ciliga evolved from a Stalinist and Yugoslav communist to a Trotskyist during the 1930s, while in WWII he completely distanced himself from any relations with communism. In the post-war period, Ciliga functioned under the aegis of Western Marxism, standing for democratic socialism as an alternative to the totalitarian socialism of the Eastern bloc. He was one of the rare people in the first phase of Croatian political emigration who supported social democratic attitudes. Ciliga was a banned author in socialist Yugoslavia, and consequently his texts and books were forbidden as well. Yugoslav political and intellectual circles attacked him for his émigré work, because he opposed Titoism and the one-party dictatorship of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The collection was saved in Italy and was not hidden from the communist regime in Croatia and Yugoslavia.
Description of content
Ciliga's collection contains personal documents, books, articles, essays, lectures, art paintings, photographs and private bills. It is classified into three separate units. Records of type A contain Ciliga's manuscripts of books, lectures and articles, which account for a total of 1,311 bibliographical units. Records of type B are his correspondence: type B-a, letters that he wrote to other people; type B-b, letters from other people to him; type B-c, other people's letters found in Ciliga's collection. There is a total of about 10,000 letters in the collection. In the last unit, under the letter C, there are other records, among which: C-a, 70 personal photographs; C-b, 704 photographs; C-d, 965 bills; C-e, 697 addresses, invitations, manifestos; and finally, C-f, press clippings. Additionally, there are 109 brochures by different authors under type C-g, 347 manuscripts by other authors and, at the end, 22 obituaries of people from the émigré period of his life.
There are materials related to émigré organizations (the Croatian National Council, the Croatian Democratic Parliament and the Croatian Democratic and Social Action); in which Ciliga worked actively and also related to émigré publications that he published (the Bulletin of the Croatian National Council, the Bulletin of Croatian Democratic and Social Action and On the Threshold of the Future). Next, the collection contains an abundance of various manuscripts, declarations, manifestos and other documents by different people and institutions related to the activities of Croatian émigré communities. It contains several important historical documents on Croatian history and the Yugoslav communist movement before 1945. His numerous articles and essays in Italian dealt mostly with issues from the history of the world communist movement, but also many other issues from the Cold War period.
Ciliga exchanged letters with over 800 correspondents from Croatian émigré circles (Karlo Balić, Antun Bonifačić, Ivo Bogdan, Bogdan Radica, Pavao Tijan, Vinko Nikolić, Luka Fertilio and others), with Serbian émigrés (Lazar Prokić, Đoko Slijepčević, Stojan Pribićević, Mihajlo Mihajlov) and with acquaintances from intellectual and political milieu of France, Switzerland and Italy (Elsa Bernaut, Pierre Béguin, Christian Bourgois, Carlo Antoni, Gianmatteo Matteoti and others). The collection materials are mainly written in Italian, French, Croatian and to a lesser extent in Spanish, German, English, Russian, but also in the Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian, Slovenian languages. The collection also contains materials related to Ciliga's native Istria, very important to the history of this region, especially in the twentieth century. All in all, the collection consists of almost 40,000 pages. The records are in a paper format and have not yet been digitised.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 100-499
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
- Rubić, Mislav
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kljaić, Stipe
Dujmović, Tihomir. Razgovori s dr. Antom Ciligom [Conversations with Dr Ante Ciliga]. Zagreb: Alfa projekt, 1991.
Rubić, Mislav. Časopis dr. Ante Cilige „Na pragu sutrašnjice“ u kontekstu iseljeničkog tiska (1964.-1974.) [The journal of Dr Ante Ciliga On the threshold of the future in the context of the émigré print]. Zagreb: Hrvatski studiji, 2014. (doctorate dissertation)
Ciliga, Ante. Dokle će hrvatski narod stenjati pod srpskim jarmom?: diskusija o suvremenim problemima hrvatske politike [Until when will the Croatian nation groan under the Serbian yoke? Discussions about contemporary problems of the Croatian cpolitics]. Paris: self-published by the author, 1952.
Ciliga, Ante. Sam kroz Evropu [Alone through Europe]. Pula: Gordo: Udruga dr. Ante Ciliga, 1998.
Očak, Ivan. „Dr. Ante Ciliga – otpadnik od komunizma i staljinske čistke“ [Dr Ante Ciliga - the oucast of communism and Stalin's purges], Radovi Zavoda za hrvatsku povijest 22 (1989), br. 1., 267.-296.
Strčić, Petar. “Prilog za bibliografiju Ante Cilige [A contribution for Ante Ciliga's bibliography]”, Časopis za suvremenu povijest, 20 (1988), No 3, 15.-49.
Rubić, Mislav, interview by , July 05, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection