Pavao Tijan was born in Senj in the Croatian Littoral on June 15, 1908. He was a Croatian political émigré, lexicographer, journalist and columnist. He attended primary and secondary school in his native Senj. He graduated with a degree in Slavic studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science in Zagreb in 1930. Initially, he worked in Vukovar as a private instructor for the Eltz family from 1931 to 1934. After that, he became a teacher of the Archdiocesan Classical Gymnasium in Zagreb (1935-1944). In 1938 he began working with Mate Ujević on the Croatian Encyclopaedia project as a member of its Central Committee and as Ujević's deputy chairman and secretary. After the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia in 1941, he started working in the Croatian Publishing and Bibliographic Institute (HIBZ). He contributed to various journals and magazines, such as Hrvatska prosvjeta, Obzor, and Jutarnji list, for a time he was editor of Hrvatski jezik and Književni tjednik and wrote for the cultural section of Spremnost. He also explored the cultural history of his native Senj and the Croatian coast. As the head of higher education and scientific institutions in the Education Ministry of the Independent State of Croatia, he particularly worked for the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine in Sarajevo in 1944.
He first went to Italy after 1945 to immigrate. Two years later he moved to Spain, where lived the rest of his life. In 1949, with a group of Croatian Catholic intellectuals in Madrid, he launched the journal Osoba i duh. As a university professor, he taught Slavic linguistics in Madrid at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones scientificias. Besides contributing to émigré journals such as Studia Croatica and Hrvatska revija, Tijan was editor of the Croatian program on Spanish National Radio for almost twenty years (1956-1975), where he reported from an anti-communist standpoint on social, political and cultural movements in Croatia under Yugoslav socialism. Likewise, in Spain as a technical editor, he participated in the encyclopaedia project on Spanish cultural history entitled Enciclopedia de la cultura española (1963-1968). He also translated many discussions and works from Croatian culture and literature into Spanish. Tijan died in Madrid on July 2, 1997.
His collection was created spontaneously during his lifetime as an émigré. As an anti-communist intellectual, he opposed the regime in Croatia and Yugoslavia, and considered his own work vital in order to destroy the communist ideology and regime in his country. Because of this commitment, he could only travel to Croatia in the 1990s after democratic changes. He arranged his collection at the end of his life because he wanted to move it to research and cultural institutions in Croatia, so it could serve future generations interested in exploring the history of Croatian anti-communism in the latter half of the 20th century. His family eventually fulfilled his wish and transferred Tijan's collection to Croatia in 2006.
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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- Senj, Croatia
Date of death
Luetić Tijan, Nedjeljka. 2014. Život Pavla Tijana [The life of Pavao Tijan]. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska.