Exhibition marking 30th anniversary of battle of Vukovar, heroic city overcoming painful past
Marking the 30th anniversary of the battle of Vukovar, the most bitter armed conflict of the 1991-1995 Croatian Homeland War as well as the most brutal and longest battle on Europe’s territory since the Second World War, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) and the Večernji list daily in partnership with the Kliofest association and Vukovar City Library are organising an exhibition dedicated to the heroism of this one-of-a-kind city in the easternmost part of Croatia and its long and fascinating cultural heritage (Sloboda se njegovim imenom zove). Opening on 4 November 2021, the exhibition will be held under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media, as part of the Ministry’s Year of Reading 2021 national programme.
The exhibition’s opening programme will include addresses by the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković, Director General of the National and University Library in Zagreb Dr Ivanka Stričević, one of the exhibition’s authors and Head of the Homeland War Book Collection of the National and University Library in Zagreb Hrvoje Špac, editor-in-chief of Večernji list Dražen Klarić, the exhibition curator, author of texts of the exhibition and member of the Kliofest association Vlatka Filipčić Maligec, Director of Vukovar City Library Jelena Miškić and one of the exhibition’s authors and Public Relations Adviser at NSK Marketing and Communications Section Maja Priselac, who will be moderating the opening programme. The programme will also include a reading by Croatian stage and screen actor Joško Ševo of selected passages from a notable work capturing the spirit of Vukovar (Dunav: P.S. 1991. Vukovarske razglednice) by Pavao Pavličić, Croatian contemporary writer, Professor Emeritus at the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and last but not least – a native of Vukovar.
With this exhibition, the National and University Library in Zagreb and its partners wish to pay tribute to Vukovar, a heroic city, and make their contribution to marking the 30th anniversary of its suffering in the Croatian Homeland War. Through the exhibition’s preparation, which took an entire year, we wished to give insight into the events of 1991 and present resources documenting the fate of the city and its people during the most difficult period of their history. However, even more than that we wanted this exhibition to offer hope, by portraying Vukovar’s endurance and its determination to overcome its painful past. Thus, apart from resources in the Library’s Homeland War Book Collection, the exhibition features varied treasures in other Library’s collections, ranging from old prints, postcards and maps to literary works and manuscript music, bearing witness to Vukovar’s unbreakable will to go on, said the exhibition’s main author, National Library Affairs Assistant to the Director General of the National and University Library in Zagreb Dr Sofija Klarin Zadravec.
The exhibition will feature a rich selection of photographs, manuscripts, newspaper articles and other material in the collections of the National and University Library in Zagreb and the partner institutions preserving the memory of the suffering of Vukovar and events surrounding its three-month siege in 1991, but also presenting this unique city’s centuries-long cultural tradition.
Texts by the exhibition curator, and historian, Filipčić Maligec, will provide insight into the circumstances of the battle, especially those related to events at the Vukovar hospital, the site of the horrible Ovčara massacre, which followed af Vukovar’s capture, as well as in nearby Borovo Selo. They will be accompanied by the photographs of Croatian photojournalists (Damir Radnić, Davorin Višnjić, Drago Havranek, Emica Elveđi Goran Pichler, Igor Kralj, Josip Bistrović, Marko Mrkonjić, Mišo Lišanin, Robert Belošević, Robert Šipek and Siniša Hančić) and the Večernji list frontpages documenting conditions in wartime Vukovar and its tragedy in the Croatian Homeland War.
A representative selection of books thematising wartime Vukovar from the Library’s Homeland War Book Collection which will be displayed at the exhibition is part of currently more than 3,000 titles included in the Collection, bringing in one place and making available all relevant resources on the Croatian Homeland War. Apart from books published in Croatia, by Croatian authors and in the Croatian language, the Collection includes non-book material and titles published all around the world, on various media, by authors from a wide range of countries, in many different languages thematising, occasioned or inspired by the Croatian Homeland War.
Apart from books on Vukovar, works by Vukovar authors, prints and old postcards featuring Vukovar’s most notable landmarks and vistas and Vukovar-related music manuscripts and maps from the Library’s Print Collection, Music Collection, Manuscripts and Old Books Collection and Map Collection, the exhibition programme will also include the presentation of a digital collection thematising Vukovar (Vukovar) and online exhibition presenting Vukovar’s culture (Kultura u Vukovaru danas), both created by Vukovar City Library, in cooperation with the National and University Library in Zagreb.
The exhibition will remain on view until 30 November 2021.