Foreign Croatica Collection
The Foreign Croatica Collection is the largest collection of books and periodicals published by Croatian authors in foreign countries. The Collection includes publications in many languages covering numerous issues on Croatia and the Croatian people, including those related to the socialist period. It is the most important collection in Croatia containing books by Croatian émigrés banned during the time of socialist Yugoslavia.
Zagreb Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice 4, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
Foreign Croatica Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The Foreign Croatica Collection in Zagreb was sourced from material collected by the Republic Secretariat of the Interior (RSUP) of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and material from abroad received directly by the National Library, which together formed the Collection of the Press in Exile. After democratic changes in the 1990s, the Collection was further enriched by donations from a large number of Croatian émigrés, with the most generous donors being Štefica and Vinko Nikolić. The Collection of the Press in Exile evolved and grew over the course of many years, starting in 1945 and until the 1990s. Materials of this origin received by the National Library during socialism were deemed unfit and therefore were hidden by the National Library’s employees. There existed special lockers, the so-called D-lockers (meaning the Director’s lockers), in which such items were stored, and the only people who had access to the items were the director and assistant director of the National Library, and in some cases only trusted individuals.
Branko Hanž had a significant role in storing this Collection and later presenting it to the public. He was one of the librarians and was once the assistant director of the National Library in charge of the Collection. According to Branko Hanž, the socialist government did not confiscate any library books: “Not a single book or any other publication was ever removed from the National Library. Any material arriving at the Library has been preserved to this day. This, in fact, had its advantages as such books, magazines and newspapers were excluded from borrowing and lending, meaning they were preserved and remaining in the same condition as when they arrived at the Library” (Branko Hanž, The Croatian press in exile: a book catalogue).
After the fall of the single political party system, the Collection was opened to the public. The Collection was presented in two catalogues, a catalogue of serials and a catalogue of books, published in 1992 and 1993, respectively. In 2007, the Collection of the Press in Exile was transformed into the official Foreign Croatica Collection, and that same year, Željka Lovrenčić became head of the Collection. The Collection includes only books, whereas periodicals are part of the Periodicals Reading Room, and manuscripts belong to the Manuscripts and Old Books Collection. The Collection is not formally independent but is part of the Department for the Procurement and Building of Collections. The Collection is autonomous but not independent; it is part of the reading room which is located on the first floor of the National and University Library in Zagreb.
The Collection is entirely open for all visitors, from researchers to students, and those expressing interest. The management handling the Collection has organised in the past several exhibitions of items from the Collection and is also actively hosting a series of public debates on topics relating to Foreign Croatica.The Collection includes publications with relevant topics concerning the Croatian people, including discussions on national self-determination and records from Croatian history. It also includes philosophical debates on human rights and women's rights, the arts and literature. Importantly, it also includes many publications that have criticised the previous socialist regime.
Description of content
The Foreign Croatica Collection at the National and University Library in Zagreb contains books and journals written and published by Croatian authors in foreign countries. The books have been written in numerous languages and published in many different countries (USA, Japan, China, Australia, Argentina...). The Collection includes many titles published in the period from 1945 to 1991, and is an expression of the cultural opposition to the previous socialist regime in Yugoslavia. Such content represents the most open criticism of the Yugoslav communism, something not found in any other collection in Croatia.
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- Donation of books and periodicals from Vinko Nikolić to the National and University Library in Zagreb
- Exhibition: A Century of Croatian Books from the Croatian Diaspora from 1900 to 2000
- Exhibition: A Century of Croatian Periodicals from the Croatian Diaspora from 1900 to 2000
- Exhibition: Serial Publications by Croats Living Outside of Croatia (from NUL fund)
- Event (general): A Series of Public Debates on Topics Relating to the Foreign Croatica Collection, 2014-2017
- Banac, Ivo. The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics, 1984. Book
- Kadić, Ante. Croatian Reader: with Vocabulary. 's-Gravenhage: Mouton & Co., 1960. Book
- Liburnicus, Georgius. Tito perseguidor (Tito the Persecutor). Madrid: [s. n.], 1952. Book
- Nevistić, Franjo and Nikolić, Vinko. Bleiburška tragedija hrvatskoga naroda (The Bleiburg Tragedy of the Croatian People). Munich: Hrvatska revija, 1976. Book
- completely open to the public
1) Hanž, Branko. Hrvatski iseljenički tisak: Katalog knjiga (The Croatian Press in Exile: Catalogue of Books). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna biblioteka 1992.
2) Hanž, Branko. ˝Hrvatski iseljenički tisak u Nacionalnoj i sveučilišnoj biblioteci u Zagrebu˝ (The Croatian Press in Exile at the National and University Library in Zagreb). Hrvatska revija 42, no. 1 (1992), 123-131.
3) Hanž, Branko and Draženka Kekuš. Hrvatski iseljenički tisak: Katalog serijskih publikacija (The Croatian Press in Exile: Catalogue of Serials). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna biblioteka, 1993.
4) Hanž, Branko and Nada Mihaljević. Izložba Stoljeće hrvatske periodike u iseljeništvu 1900.-2000 (Exhibition a Century of Croatian Periodicals from the Croatian Diaspora from 1900 to 2000). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica, 2002.
5) Lovrenčić, Željka. Katalog Zbirke knjiga gradišćanskih Hrvata Nacionalne i sveučilišne knjižnice u Zagrebu (Catalogue of Books from the Burgenland Croats at the National and University Library in Zagreb). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u Zagrebu, 2010.
6) Lovrenčić, Željka. Serijske publikacije Hrvata izvan Hrvatske: (iz fonda NSK) (Serials from Croats Living Outside of Croatia. From the NLU fund). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u Zagrebu, 2014.
7) Zelić, Naco. Publikacije bačkih Hrvata: popis izdanja od 1901. do 2007 (Publications from the Bačka Croats: A list of Publications from 1901 to 2007). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica, 2009.
8) Zeman, Zagorka Gligora, Željko Mrša, and Branko Hanž. Stoljeće hrvatske knjige u iseljeništvu 1900.-2000. (A Century of Books from the Croatia Diaspora from 1900 to 2000). Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica, 2001.
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Bencetić, Lidija
1) Lovrenčić, Željka. "Inozemna Croatica u Nacionalnoj i sveučilišnoj knjižnici u Zagrebu˝ (Foreign Croatica in the National and University Library in Zagreb). Vjesnik bibliotekara Hrvatske 54, no. 1/4 (2009), 135-142.
2) Pavleković, Ivan. Popis knjiga koje darujem Nacionalnoj i sveučilišnoj knjižnici u Zagrebu: kulturno nacionalni spomenik emigracije domovini Hrvatskoj, neiscrpiva baština potomcima (The list of books that I donate to the National and University Library in Zagreb: an emigration cultural-national monument for homeland of Croatia, inexhaustible heritage to the descendants). Zagreb: Tuross Head, 2008.
3) Stipčević, Aleksandar. The National and University Library in Zagreb 1607-2007: On the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary. Zagreb: The National and University Library, 2007.
Lovrenčić, Željka, interview by Bencetić, Lidija , October 21, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection