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18.9.2020. 7:23
o Branku Poliču
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Jewish Literatures and Cultures in Southeastern Europe. Experiences, Positions, Memory University of Graz September 16-18, 2019

Ljiljana Dobrovšak

Branko Polić’s Memoir Records
Next to his memoir records, this paper presents Branko Polić (1924—2014) as a person who was a journalist, music writer, critic and Jewish activist. 

Branko Polić descends from a Jewish family
from Zagreb. His family was detained by the Independent Croatian State’s regime in camps in Kraljevica and Kampor (Island ofRab); until their liberation in 1943 family Polić joined the Yugoslav
Partisan movement and survived the horrors of war. 

Branko Polić completed high school in 1945 in Zagreb, studied at the Sorbonne obtaining a degree in French Language and Literature. Later, he received another degree in English Language and Literature from
the University of Zagreb. 

Under the influence of his stepfather,Prof. Fritz Lunzer (vocal pedagogics), Branko Polić—even though
without previous education—became involved with music. After graduating from university, Polić worked first as a journalist and later as a music editor for Radio Zagreb. He is the author of numerous music shows as well as critical music reviews and essays
which he published in Croatian and international journals.

 He published four memoirs resp. autobiographical records: Vjetrenjasta klepsidra (Airy Clepsydra. Autobiographical Notes 1924—
1942, Zagreb, 2004), Imao sam sreće (Memoirs of a man who was lucky, Zagreb, 2006), Pariz u srcu studenta (Paris in the heart of a student, Zagreb, 2008) and Na pragu budućnosti (At the threshold of the future, Zagreb, 2010). 

The first book depicts his life from 1924 to 1942. It provides rich descriptions of Zagreb between the two World Wars emphasizing cultural events in thecity. 

The second book follows events in Polić’s life during the mostturbulent years of the 20th century, namely between 1942 and 1945. 

The third book tells about his stay in Paris and his studies from 1945 until August 1948. 

The fourth book as last biographical work documents the period from 1948 to 1950. 

Therefore, based on his style and the scope of his writings, his memoir records hold a unique place in Croatian Literature. Those are not the recollections of a politician, but of an “ordinary” man—a man who is at the same time witness, participant and companion as well as victim of the events which marked the turbulent times in Croatia inside Yugoslavian space. 

His records mark Polić as a meticulous writer who was endowed with incredible cognitive abilities to recollect every single detail, in particular those related to his parents and grandparents’ contemporaries. He also
took great care in recording events, expressions and personalities, turning his book into a valuable document not only about personal history, but also about so many known and unknown contemporaries. 

However, his memoirs are above all recollections
about Polić’s immediate and wider family, friends and teachers who were killed in the Holocaust.