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1941: The Year That Keeps Returningby Slavko Goldstein
Synopses & Reviews
Award-winning publisher, editor, and author Slavko Goldstein was born in 1928 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and grew up in Karlovac, Croatia. During the Holocaust, he lost his father and most of the members of his father's and mother's families. His mother saved him and his brother Danko by joining the Partisans in 1942, in which he served until 1945, achieving the rank of lieutenant at the age of seventeen and becoming one of the youngest officers in the Partisan army. After the war, he worked as a journalist and editor for several leading Croatian newspapers and as a scriptwriter for feature and documentary films. As the director of University Publisher Liber Zageb and then as the publisher and editor of Novi Liber for more than forty years, he has been responsible for the publication of many important works of Yugoslav and Croatian literature and on Croatian social life. He was president of the Jewish Community of Zagreb from 1986-1990 and the founder and president of the first non-communist political party in Croatia from 1989-1990. From 2001 to 2005 he was the president of the Council of the Jasenovac Memorial Center. He has been awarded about twenty prizes for his journalistic, film, and editorial work. The Croatian edition of his latest book, 1941: The Year that Keeps Returning, won four different prizes as the best publication in Croatia in 2007, and the Krunoslav Sukić Award as the book of the decade in the field of nonviolence, human rights, and civil society.
Charles Simic is a poet, essayist, and translator. He has published some twenty collections of poetry, six books of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Simic’s recent works include Voice at 3 a.m., a selection of later and new poems; Master of Disguises, new poems; and Confessions of a Poet Laureate, a collection of short essays that was published by New York Review Books as an e-book original. In 2007 Simic was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. His book Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell was published by New York Review Books in 2011.
Michael Gable was born in Barberton, Ohio in 1952. After serving in the US Navy, he graduated from the School of International Service of The American University in Washington, D.C. in 1979. He worked for US government and international humanitarian agencies in the countries of the former Yugoslavia between 1987 and 2005. He now resides in Zagreb, Croatia.
"'I think I can pinpoint exactly the hour and day when my childhood ended: Easter Sunday, April 13, 1941.' In this ambitious mix of history and memoir, Goldstein, a Croatian writer, looks back at WWII and its effects on his life, family, and neighbors. Much of the book is dedicated to the last days of his father, a leftist bookseller who was arrested and later killed at the Jadovno concentration camp in Croatia. However, Goldstein covers a lot of territory as he explores the vicious ethnic warfare between Serbs and Croats from 1941 onward and looks at how the Nazi pogrom further affected his country's Jewish community. The result reads like several books in one, with Goldstein digressing through numerous tangents to provide a thorough accounting. Thus, readers learn about the fate of the family and its bookstore, the brutal tactics of the fascist Ustasha regime, and Goldstein's own activities as a partisan. It's a poignant, uncompromising recollection, told in a meandering but easy-to-follow manner. Though its size will intimidate many readers, Goldstein's book, reconstructed through personal experience as well as numerous interviews and historical documents ('I have placed all my memories under suspicion'), provides invaluable insight into Croatia during WWII. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A New York Review Books Original
The distinguished Croatian journalist and publisher Slavko Goldstein says, “Writing this book about my family, I have tried not to separate what happened to us from the fates of many other people and of an entire country.” 1941: The Year That Keeps Returning is Goldstein’s astonishing historical memoir of that fateful year—when the Ustasha, the pro-fascist nationalists, were brought to power in Croatia by the Nazi occupiers of Yugoslavia. On April 10, when the German troops marched into Zagreb, the Croatian capital, they were greeted as liberators by the Croats. Three days later, Ante Pavelić, the future leader of the Independent State of Croatia, returned from exile in Italy and Goldstein’s father, the proprietor of a leftist bookstore in Karlovac—a beautiful old city fifty miles from the capital—was arrested along with other local Serbs, communists, and Yugoslav sympathizers. Goldstein was only thirteen years old, and he would never see his father again.
More than fifty years later, Goldstein seeks to piece together the facts of his father’s last days. The moving narrative threads stories of family, friends, and other ordinary people who lived through those dark times together with personal memories and an impressive depth of carefully researched historic details. The other central figure in Goldstein’s heartrending tale is his mother—a strong, resourceful woman who understands how to act decisively in a time of terror in order to keep her family alive.
From 1941 through 1945 some 32,000 Jews, 40,000 Gypsies, and 350,000 Serbs were slaughtered in Croatia. It is a period in history that is often forgotten, purged, or erased from the history books, which makes Goldstein’s vivid, carefully balanced account so important for us today—for the same atrocities returned to Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s. And yet Goldstein’s story isn’t confined by geographical boundaries as it speaks to the dangers and madness of ethnic hatred all over the world and the urgent need for mutual understanding.
About the Author
Slavko Goldstein (b. 1928) is a Croatian historian, writer, and publisher. The president of Zagreb’s Jewish Community from 1986 to 1990, he was a founder and the first president of the Croatian Social Liberal Party in 1989. He is the editor of the publishing house Novi Liber.
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