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Enver Čolaković

Enver Čolaković (27 May 1913 – 18 August 1976) was a Bosnian novelist, poet and translator, best known for his 1944 novel The Legend of Ali-Pasha, written in the Bosnian language. During the later stages of World War II he served as a cultural attaché to the Independent State of Croatia embassy in Budapest. After the war he spent the rest of his life in Zagreb, where he published a number of literary translations from Hungarian and German.

Enver Čolaković
Enver Čolaković.jpg
Born(1913-05-27)27 May 1913
Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died18 August 1976(1976-08-18) (aged 63)
Zagreb, SR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Resting placeMirogoj cemetery, Zagreb, Croatia
OccupationPoet, writer, journalist
LanguageBosnian, Croatian, German and Hungarian[1][2]
Alma materUniversity of Belgrade
University of Zagreb
GenrePoetry, novels
Notable worksThe Legend of Ali-Pasha
Notable awards
  • Matica hrvatska
    1943 The Legend of Ali-Pasha
  • Petőfi Award
    1970 Translations of Hungarian works
  • Austrian Decoration for Science and Art
    1970 Translations of Austrian works
SpouseStella Čolaković
ChildrenEsad Čolaković and Zlatan Čolaković


Born in Budapest in 1913 to a Hungarian mother and a Bosniak father, Čolaković spent his childhood traveling around the region, and after World War I he settled in Sarajevo. He was a student of physics and mathematics in Budapest and history in Zagreb. Between 1931 and 1939, Čolaković wrote in the Hungarian and German languages.[3] Between 1939 and 1941, his works were published by a number of magazines based in Sarajevo and Zagreb, such as Osvit (Dawn), Hrvatski misao (The Croatian Thought), Hrvatski narod (The Croatian People), Hrvatsko kolo (The Croatian Kolo) and Novi behar (The New Blossom).[1] Čolaković also wrote a series of essays and reviews in which he advocated rights for Bosniaks.[3] His comedy Moja žena krpi čarape was performed at the Sarajevo National Theatre in 1943 and later at the Banja Luka Theatre in 1944.[3]

His novel The Legend of Ali-Pasha (1944) was awarded with Matica hrvatska Award. In 1944 he was appointed cultural attaché at the embassy of the Axis-allied Independent State of Croatia in Budapest.[1] In a 1971 interview with Enes Čengić of Svijet magazine, Čolaković stated: "I began writing The Legend of Ali Pasha with a specific purpose - to preserve our Bosnian language. Not the language of denominations or peoples of Bosnia, but the language of Bosnia. I also wanted to re-create a historical period of Bosnia."[3]

After World War II he was arrested in Sarajevo, detained in Zagreb, and eventually released. He later worked as an editor at the Publishing Institute of Croatia until 1946. Between 1952 and 1954, he was an editor at the Croatian Lexicographical Institute. Since he was not allowed to publish original works, he translated literary works from other languages.[1] He translated Hungarian, Austrian and Hebrew poetry. For his enormous body of translations of Hungarian[4] and Austrian authors, he was awarded the Hungarian Petőfi Award and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1970. He translated the novels of Ervin Šinko and Gyula Illyés, Zoltán Kodály's oratorio Psalmus Hungaricus and Richard Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.[5] Together with his wife Stella Čolaković he also created many classical music programs for radio broadcast.[6]

Čolaković was member of Matica hrvatska, Croatian Writers' Association, the Association of Literary Translators and the Yugoslav branch of the International PEN.[3]

Enver Čolaković died in Zagreb on 18 August 1976 of a heart attack. A street in Sarajevo and several schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina are named after him.[3] In 1970, Čolaković was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class[7]


  • Legenda o Ali-paši, Zagreb 1944, 1970, 1989, Sarajevo 1991, 1997, 1998.
  • Moja žena krpi čarape, salonska komedija, 1943.
  • Mali svijet, Zagreb 1991.
  • Gyula Illyés, Poezija, Zagreb 1971.
  • Zoltán Csuka, Moje dvije domovine, Sarajevo 1972.
  • Zoltán Csuka, Poezija, Zagreb 1975.
  • Zlatna knjiga mađarske poezije, Zagreb 1978.
  • Izabrane pjesme, Zagreb 1990.
  • Lokljani. Iz Bosne o Bosni, Zagreb 1991.
  • Bosni, Zagreb, 1998

" Jedinac", Novel in verses, Zagreb 2001 "Knjiga majci", Novel, Zagreb, 2013.


  1. ^ a b c d Dizdar et al. 1997, p. 79.
  2. ^ Nemec 2003, p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Zlatan Čolaković. "Biografija: Enver Čolaković". Official Enver Čolaković Website. Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  4. ^ Zlatna knjiga Mađarske poezije (1978). Nakladni Zavod Matice Hrvatske, Zagreb
  5. ^ Izabrane pjesme (1990).Hrvatsko drustvo sv. Cirila i Metoda, Zagreb
  6. ^ "Enver Colakovic: Pisac, Pjesnik, Prevodilac". Official Enver Čolaković Website.
  7. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 299. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  • Dizdar, Zdravko; Grčić, Marko; Ravlić, Slaven; Stuparić, Darko (1997). Tko je tko u NDH (in Croatian). Minerva. ISBN 953-6377-03-9.
  • Nemec, Krešimir (2003). Povijest hrvatskog romana: od 1945. do 2000. godine. Školska knjiga. ISBN 9789530507128.