Miroslav Brandt Papers
The Miroslav Brandt Papers are deposited at the Collection of Old books and Manuscripts at the National and University Library in Zagreb. It reveals cultural-oppositional activities of Croatian historian Miroslav Brandt, who became one of the consistent critics of Yugoslav regime and its ideology after ending his membership in the League of Communists of Croatia and participating in the Croatian Spring (1967-1971).
Zagreb Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice 4, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
- Miroslav Brandt Papers
Provenance and cultural activities
The Miroslav Brandt Papers cover almost the whole period of his own life, beginning in the 1930s, since it best documents the period from 1950s to 1991. Its importance lies in what it reveals about the existence of an intellectual from the period of Croatian socialism. In the beginning, Brandt was a Marxist and a member of Communist Party who became one of the protagonists of the cultural dissent movement later, because he suffered denouncements, persecution and marginalization in his own research and intellectual work. He felt that the Croatian people did not have equal status with other people in the Yugoslav federation under the dictatorship of the Yugoslav communists, which prompted him to become a dissenter.
The Miroslav Brandt Papers came to the Collection at the National and University Library in Zagreb right after his death in 2002. Since he was employed in the same Library for a brief period, in his will he stipulated that his personal archives be donated to it. His library was separated from his personal archives and then integrated into the Library’s relevant inventories. Prof. Drago Pažin processed the collection in a very professional manner, and it has been open to the public and researchers since 2010. It was not collected with a specified goal, but Brandt compiled it during the course of his research and public activities. The collection was thus compiled at his own initiative agency as its primary creator and collector, and as such it was his personal archive. As the collection already existed during the period of socialist Croatia, Brandt concealed it from the secret police and repressive apparatus, fearing that its discovery would lead to his persecution.
Brandt became a participant of the culture of dissent at the time of the Croatian Spring, when, as vice president of the cultural and literary organization Matica Hrvatska, he became active in this national movement against the manner in which the federalist Yugoslav state was organized. After the fall of that movement in 1971, Brandt began to abandon his former Marxist positions, expressing doubt in the success of Yugoslav self-management socialism, and his marginalized status was reinforced by his professional marginalization at the Faculty of the Humanities in Zagreb, where he was prevented from dealing with topics from national history. Rejecting Yugoslav federalism as a way of resolving the national question and Marxism-Leninism as an ideological base contradicted the governing doctrines of the Yugoslav regime. His professional reputation and knowledge were so great that the regime could not dismiss from the professorship.
Description of content
Brandt's collection consists of his personal correspondence, manuscripts of books, articles and notes, private correspondence, photographs, paintings and various types of brochures, and it is classified in three different units. The records in group A there are Brandt's book manuscripts, lectures and articles which consists of over 108 bibliographical units. The records in group B encompass his correspondence: B-a) letters he sent to others; B-b) letters others sent to him; and B-c) correspondence belonging to others, but held in Brandt's collection. The last group, designated as C, consists of other records, among them personal documents (C-a), photographs (C-b), bibliographies (C-b), paintings (C-c), brochures (C-g) and manuscripts by others (C-h).
The content of the collection could be succinctly described as a summary of Brandt's work. As to his research work, in the first place there are historiographic manuscripts, articles and essays dealing with various themes from the medieval history of Croatia and Europe, reflecting to his long-term research in that field. Brandt's preoccupation with literature and translation projects can also be seen from the overview of collection.
Brandt also possessed correspondence with many people from the fields of scholarship and culture of his time, as well some of his manuscripts. He mainly corresponded with his closest associates, colleagues, and friends from Matica Hrvatska (Petar Šegedin, Jozo Ivičević Bakulić, Grga Gamulin, Stjepan Babić), who also dealt with cultural issues for which they were suspected for “counter-revolutionary work” by the socialist regime in Croatia later. His articles like “Biology and Marxism” and lectures like “Dialectic and historical materialism” from the 1950s clearly testify to his Marxist views in that period.
More interesting in the context of his dissent with the regime are his memoirs, written testimonies and documents from the initial period when Brandt was the vice-president of Matica Hrvatska (1963-1971) and later when he renewed the banned activities Matica Hrvatska in December 1989. Therefore Brandt's collection is a very useful historical source for cultural dissent in socialist Croatia during the Croatian Spring, and especially for the history of Matica Hrvatska as one of the central institutions of that national movement. It also provides information on how old dissidents engaged with the political and cultural changes which emerged on the eve and after the fall of the socialist regime in Croatia. In many places in his manuscripts, he mentioned that the communist regime removed him from the public sphere and socially marginalized him after 1971. Brandt also highlighted the general atmosphere of fear and repression that dominated Croatian public life during that period, supressing any possible dissenting opinion which was not in the line with the policy of the one-party regime.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
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
1) Kljaić, Stipe. 2017. Intervju s Galić Bešker, Irena. 26. ožujka 2018.
2) Pavličević, Dragutin. 1994. „Prof. dr. Miroslav Brandt: uz osamdesetu godišnjicu života“(Prof. Brandt: 80th Anniversary of Life), u: Radovi Zavoda za hrvatsku povijest Filozofskoga fakulteta Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, (27) 1994, 1.
3) Brandt, Miroslav. Život sa suvremenicima: političke uspomene i svjetonazor, (Life with Contemporaries: political memoirs and Worldview), Zagreb: Naklada Pavičić, 1996.
4) Brandt, Miroslav. Triptih, (Triptich), Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Matice Hrvatske, 1992.
5) Brandt, Miroslav et alt., Deklaracija o nazivu i položaju hrvatskog književnog jezika, (Declaration on the Status and Name of Croatian Literary Language), Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 1997.
Bešker, Irena Galić, interview by Kljaić, Stipe , March 26, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection