Vladimir Nazor

Vladimir Nazor (30 May 1876 – 19 June 1949) was a Croatian poet and politician. During and after World War II in Yugoslavia, he served as the first President of the Presidium of the Croatian Parliament (Croatian head of state), and first Speaker of the Croatian Parliament.

Vladimir Nazor
Vladimir Nazor 1976 Yugoslavia stamp.jpg
Stamp featuring Nazor's likeness issued in May 1976 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.
President of the ZAVNOH[a]
In office
13 June 1943 – 21 August 1945
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byHimself (as Speaker of Parliament)
1st Speaker of the Croatian Parliament
In office
21 July 1945 – 19 June 1949
Prime MinisterPavle Gregorić
(as Minister for Croatia)
Vladimir Bakarić
Preceded byHimself (as President of the ZAVNOH)
Succeeded byKarlo Mrazović
President of the Presidium of the Croatian Parliament[b]
In office
26 February 1946 – 19 June 1949
Prime MinisterVladimir Bakarić
Preceded byHimself (as Speaker of Parliament)
Succeeded byKarlo-Gašpar Mrazović
Personal details
Born(1876-05-30)30 May 1876
Postira, Dalmatia, Austria-Hungary
Died19 June 1949(1949-06-19) (aged 73)
Zagreb, PR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Political partyUnitary National Liberation Front (1942–45)
National Front (1945–49)
Alma materUniversity of Zagreb
University of Graz
^a The President of the ZAVNOH (the wartime deliberative council) formally held the position of head of state.
^b The President of the Presidium of the Parliament was the office of the head of state, the Speaker of Parliament was a separate office.

Nazor is, however, most remembered as a well-known poet, writer, translator, and humanist. Although he was not an active politician until 1941, he had a significant political influence through ethical aspects of his work during prewar Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Early careerEdit

Nazor's early work paralleled the rise of the Young Croatian literary movement. He acquired much literary popularity in Croatia writing about folk legends and stories, including Big Joseph (Veli Jože) (1908), which features a helpful and kind hearted giant named Jože living around the town of Motovun (Inner Istria). His verses in Hrvatski kraljevi (Croatian Kings) (1912) established him as the great patriot poet. Istrian Tales (Istarske priče) (1913) revealed his storytelling skill and mastery. By illuminating the personality of the South Slavs through tales of Croatia, he contributed a great deal in creating the Yugoslav national consciousness.

Nazor supported the opposition alliance led by Vladko Maček in the 1938 Yugoslavian election.[1] During World War II, on 30 December 1941, Nazor became a member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts by government decree,[2] but in 1942 he escaped from Zagreb with poet Ivan Goran Kovačić in a boat across the river Kupa, that was sublimed in poem The Boat on the Kupa (Čamac na Kupi) and joined the Partisans. However, there is also a different story related to Nazor's alleged escape. According to the Croatian writer and politician Nedjeljko Mihanović (citing a testimony from Nazor's sister), Nazor, who at the time was old and had health issues, did not escape on his own will but was abducted by communist agents for propaganda purposes and later forced to collaborate with the new government.[3] Nazor became one of Josip Broz Tito's closest associates and the President of Croatia's World War II assembly, the ZAVNOH. He went on to write a war diary With Partisans (S partizanima) (1943–1945).

Nazor began his political career as the head of the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH), the provisional Croatian World War II deliberative assembly, before becoming head of the first post-war Croatian National Parliament (Narodni Sabor). In that post, he was, by law, concurrently the first (non-monarchical) head of state of Croatia, and the de facto first head of state of the current Croatian republic. His position carried little real political power, which was instead invested in the office of the President of the Government and (informally) with the Secretary of the Communist Party of Croatia.

Nazor's opus after WWII mostly consisted of works strongly supportive of Tito's communist regime. His hagiographic poem Titov Naprijed (Tito's Forward) was famously memorized by generations of schoolchildren throughout Yugoslavia well into the 80s. Other poems such as Drug Tito (Comrade Tito), Naš vođa (Our Leader), Uz Maršala Tita (With Mashal Tito), and many others had a similar socialist realism style bolstering Tito's cult of personality. However, it is a matter of debate whether Nazor really became a fervent communist or supported the regime mostly out of fear and opportunism. Reflecting on his position under the communist government in his diary Večernje bilješke (1945), Nazor notes "They gave me a lot of honor but no power!" ("Doduše, dodijeliše mi čast, ali ne i vlast!").

As a poetEdit

Nazor was a very productive author. He was the master of prose, but his highest achievements are in lyric poetry. One of his main prose works is the extensive novel Loda the Shepherd (Pastir Loda) (1938). The work describes the history of his native island of Brač as told by Loda, a faun, one of the last of that kind on the island.

In poetry, Nazor's creative way began with metaphysical transcendental philosophy and materialistic revolutionary action, prior to rational scheme and harmonic larpourlartistic crystal structure and interior protest against artistic verbalizing in Futurism, Dadaism, Expressionism, and Surrealism, as well as instructive didactics of socialist realism. Therefore, his opus comprises a plenty of style tendencies, from neoclassical to surrealistic. Despite its heterogeneity, in essence it belongs to Symbolism. Nazor's poems are rather difficult to read, due to subjecting contents to form – especially in sonnets, rhyme and rhythm forcing, vowels shortening for adjusting the number of syllables and progressing the sentence to the next verse, as well as his use of unusual and archaic words.

Nazor wrote over 500 poems. His poetry implicates that art is aesthetically stronger than reality, for art reflects the essence of real world. Early phase of Nazor's poetry work is mostly object of scholars' research now, but Galérien's Poeme (Galiotova pesan) from that time (1903), describing suffering and sadness of a galley slave, attains universal meaning as condemnation of oppression and still stands as one of the most expressive disapproval of slavery.

Nazor probably reached the highest scope in poems of so-called pagan phase, published in books of verse Lyrics (Lirika) (1910) and New Poems (Nove pjesme) (1913). Passionately ecstatic, these poems comprise symbols of life, its eternal fertility, pantheistic metamorphoses of nature and sensual affirmation of love; life prevails for life itself, so life is taken in its whole versatility. Vitalistic view of life and fascination by countryside – Cypress (Čempres), Dionysian Poems (Dionizijske pjesme), Cicada (Cvrčak) and Olive (Maslina), as well as contemplative experience and spiritualizing of natural appearances – Turris eburnea, Notturno, Forest Sleeps (Šuma spava), Trunk (Stablo) and Spider (Pauk), dominate in the heights of that phase, and these are the heights of Nazor's poetry at all. Poems Cicada, Olive, Notturno and Forest Sleeps belong to the top of the World poetry.

Vladimir Nazor spoke several languages and translated Italian (DanteDivina Commedia, Giosuè Carducci, Giovanni Pascoli, Gabriele d'Annunzio), German (Goethe, Heine), French (Hugo, Alfred de Musset), and English (Shakespeare).

Nazor was buried in Mirogoj Cemetery.[4] Since 1959, Croatia has named a state award for artistic achievement the Vladimir Nazor Award. In 2008, a total of 306 streets in Croatia were named after Nazor, making him the second most common person eponym of streets in the country.[5]


His works have been translated into following languages (incomplete list):

  • Italian
  • Hungarian
  • Slovenian
  • German


  1. ^ Vladimir Nazor Archived 23 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Croatian Radiotelevision
  2. ^ Tko je tko u NDH, "Vladimir Nazor". Minerva. Zagreb, 1997
  3. ^ Božidar Nagy, Svjedočanstvo dr. Nedjeljka Mihanovića: Partizani su na silu oteli Vladimira Nazora, Glas Koncila, no. 16 (2078), 20. april 2014., in Croatian, as cited by HRSvijet.net, accessed 8. august 2020.
  4. ^ Vladimir Nazor at Gradska Groblje Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Letica, Slaven (29 November 2008). Bach, Nenad (ed.). "If Streets Could Talk. Kad bi ulice imale dar govora". Croatian World Network. ISSN 1847-3911. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
Political offices
New title President of the ZAVNOH
Succeeded by
as Speaker of Parliament
Preceded by
as President of the ZAVNOH
Speaker of the Croatian Parliament
Succeeded by
Preceded by
as Speaker of Parliament
President of the Presidium of the Croatian Parliament
Succeeded by