Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (1964-1967)
This thematic collection documents the work of the Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (EFC) of Executive Council of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (EC CC LCC), in the period from 1964 to 1967. The commission was established solely to monitor the activities of the EFC's president, Većeslav Holjevac, and some of his associates, who were considered as opposition figures and nationalists. The collection contains documents that explicitly cite examples of oppositional activities in the EFC which testify to the role of the EFC leadership in opposition in the field of culture pertaining to Croatian emigrant communities, as well as the role of CC LCC in their condemnation.
Zagreb Trg Marka Marulića 21, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
Commission for the examination of nationalist phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (1964-1967)
Provenance and cultural activities
The Communist Party of Croatia (CPC), i.e., the League of Communists of Croatia (LCC), as part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY), was the sole governing political party in Yugoslavia and Croatia during the socialist era (1945-1990). Its members assumed the leading positions in all fields of state and social life. The confluence of party bodies, public administration, the judiciary and the repressive apparatus at that time was by itself understandable, and the unlimited power of the LCY/LCC was unquestionable. The highest party body in Croatia was the Politburo / Executive Council (EC) of the Central Committee of the LCC, which provided directives to all lower-level Party committees, and also supervised activities across society as a whole through its many working bodies. One of the EC CC LCC's working bodies in the 1960s was the Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (EFC), whose documentation which covers the period 1964-1967 is the content of this ad-hoc collection.
This commission was established on the basis of a conclusion adopted by the Seventh CC LCC plenum whereby the Executive Council was tasked with examining alleged nationalist activities in the EFC, which at that time was headed by Većeslav Holjevac. "Nationalist activities" implied any mention and emphasis on national features, either word or deed, which was undesirable in the political system of that time. Namely, in order to suppress the national question of the individual nations in heterogeneous Yugoslavia, to which there was actually no solution, the "fraternity and unity" of the people was emphasized as a kind of officially-sanctioned supranational ideology. "Fraternity and unity" was, together with self-management, meant to act as an integrative factor among the Yugoslav peoples and overcome their differences and divisions. This, however, was not feasible because real problems and aspirations nevertheless came to light. The suppression of Croatian national aspirations entailed the negation of Croatian culture and traditions, and not everyone was ready for that. A good example was Holjevac. This Commission was supposed to establish his political culpability and recommend action in line with the Commission's conclusions. The members of the Commission were Maksimilijan (Max) Baće, Kazimir Jelovica, Stjepan Jureković, Milka Planinc, Stevo Radanović and Slavko Šajber.
The documentation shows that Većeslav Holjevac became subject to the Party's critique due to his different, more open approach to Croatian emigrants and the affirmation of their national qualities. A part of the Croatian emigrant community, which was the largest of all Yugoslav emigrant populations, was considered "hostile," and Holjevac approached it openly, without labelling and affirmed its Croatian nationality, which was unacceptable to the regime at the time. But the attack on Holjevac was not only due to his relationship to emigrants, but also his activities in Croatia and his views opposed to the preconceived ideology - for example, his undisputed outlook on the Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language, emphasis on national traits and his relationship with the members of Praxis Philosophical school, which criticized the regime from the "left".
Holjevac was accused by the aforementioned Commission of being responsible for a "nationalist turn," "an unhealthy climate suitable for further deformation in the EFC," as well as for attempting to "formalistically justify criticized phenomena and actions." The Commission concluded that his evaluation was an expression of "deeper ideological-political misconceptions about the national issue that he considered beyond the class and social context." Consequently, it is clear that his activities at this institution were considered controversial, and Holjevac also suffered from the consequences of the Commission's findings - he was removed from the post of EFC president and was also urged to resign from membership in the LCC Central Committee. Except for Holjevac, other members of the EFC administration were under the oversight of this Commission as well and were called to account for their actions.
The collection thus clearly documents the role of the LCC as a decisive factor in monitoring the activities of cultural institutions, as well as the actions of V. Holjevac and his associates in a direction ideologically and practically different from those propagated by the highest authorities. This Commission's archival records were turned over to the Croatian State Archives (CSA) in 1995 (acquisition 52/1995), following a decision of the Croatian Government, which incorporated the archives of the Institute of Contemporary History, where the archival records were kept until then, into the CSA. The CC LCC archives, including the records of this Commission, were created within the Party organization and were held at the Institute for History of the Labour Movement of Croatia (IHLMC), which after 1990 became the Institute of Contemporary History. The archival records are arranged, described, and re treated as a public archive. They recently became completely available for public use, without any restrictions.
Namely, the records of the CC LCC, of which this Commission was a part, were only partially accessible for general use until the adoption of the Amendments to the Archives and Archival Institutions Act on May 4, 2017. According to the Archives and Archival Institutions Act (NN 105/97), the Regulations on Use of Archival Records (NN 67/1999) and the Transfer Protocol between the Croatian State Archives (CSA) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) from 1995 and 2008, access to certain record collections was limited. The limitation applied to all documents marked as confidential and to a few complete sets of documentation. If researchers wanted to use such materials, the CSA had to obtain written consent from the SDP, whose response was generally negative.
The records of this Commission were used by the researchers, but not to a large extent.
Description of content
The archives of the Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia (EFC) on approximately five hundred pages documents the operations of this EC CC LCC body on activities incompatible with the ideological outlook of that time and also on individuals, their protagonists. Part of the records pertains to the determination of political responsibility of EFC president Većeslav Holjevac in connection with the alleged emergence of nationalism at that institution - records of hearings of EFC members including Holjevac, as well as of the Commission's conclusions.
Part of the records documents the controversy between Božidar Adžija's Awarding Committee and the Commission on the winners' choice award for 1966. The prize was awarded to scientists and cultural workers. The Awarding Committee, whose chairman was Većeslav Holjevac, was called to account because two among those awarded were Milan Kangrga and Gajo Petrović, important representatives of Praxis - the critical dissident (leftist) school of philosophy. They were founders of the Praxis philosophical journal (1964-1974) and the Korčula Summer School. Holjevac was subsequently removed from the post of Chairman of the Awarding Committee.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
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
- A conclusion on the basis of a report submitted by the Commission for the Examination of Nationalist Phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia, 1967
- Minutes of the emergency session of organization of the League of Communists in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia, 1967
- Report of the „Božidar Adžija“ Award Committee for 1966
- The Draft Charter of the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia, 1966
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Šarić, Tatjana
- Goldstein, Ivo. Hrvatska povijest 1918. – 2008. (Croatian history 1918 – 2008), Zagreb: Europapress holding, Novi Liber, 2008.
- Holjevac, Većeslav. Hrvati izvan domovine (Croats abroad), Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 1968.
- Horvat, Branko. ABC jugoslavenskog socijalizma (ABC of the Yugoslav socialism). Zagreb: Globus, 1989.
- HR-HDA-1126.96.36.199. Centralni komitet Saveza komunista Hrvatske (1941. – 1990.), Izvršni komitet, Radne grupe i komisije, Komisija za ispitivanje nacionalističkih pojava u Matici iseljenika Hrvatske (HR-HDA-1188.8.131.52. League of Communists of Croatia Central Committee (1941-1990), Executive Committee, Working groups and commisssions, Commission for the examination of nationalist phenomena in the Emigrant Foundation of Croatia)
- HR-HDA-1220.3.2. Centralni komitet Saveza komunista Hrvatske (1941. – 1990.), Izvršni komitet, Radne grupe i komisije, Komisija za društveno-politička pitanja iseljenika 1966. – 1969. (League of Communists of Croatia Central Committee [1941-1990] , Executive Committee, Working groups and commisssions, Commission for Socio-Political Issues of Emigrants 1966 – 1969)
- HR-HDA-1184.108.40.206.7.2.1. Socijalistički savez radnog naroda Hrvatske, Komisija za nacionalne manjine 1953.-1967., Matica iseljenika Hrvatske 1956.-1967. (HR-HDA-1220.127.116.11.7.2.1. the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Croatia, Commission for National Minorities 1953.-1967., Emigrant Foundation of Croatia 1956.-1967.)
- Kraljević, Iva. “Matica iseljenika Hrvatske 1964. – 1968.” („Emigrant Foundation of Croatia 1964 -1968“). Časopis za suvremenu povijest, 41 (2009) 1: 71–92.
- Kraljević, Iva. “Većeslav Holjevac – predsjednik Matice iseljenika Hrvatske 1964. -1968.” (Većeslav Holjevac – President of Emigrant Foundation of Croatia 1964 -1968). Magistarski rad. Sveučilište u Zagrebu, 2007.
- Spehnjak, Katarina. “Većeslav Holjevac u političkim događajima 1967. godine” („Većeslav Holjevac in political events in 1967“). Časopis za suvremenu povijest 32 (2000) 3: 567–596.