Marpurgi: Between History and Literary Freedom
The expected date of announcement of the opening of the exhibition was 18th March 2020, when the presentation of the fourth reprint of the novel Marpurgi by Zlata Vokač Medic was planned (https://beletrina.si/knjiga/marpurgi). The opening date of the exhibition was supposed to be 3rd April 2020, simultaneously with the premiere of the opera Marpurgi by Nina Šenk and Igor Pison at SNG Maribor (https://www.sng-mb.si/predstave-opera-balet/marpurgi/). Since it will not be possible to realize these plans for some time, we give you “a taste” of the exhibition, prepared by the co-author mag. Klemen Brvar from the Maribor Public Library.
According to Zlata Vokač Medic, author of the Marpurgi novel, the origins of this cult book came about during the ordeal of adolescence. In 1941 the Germans expelled her family to Bugojno, a Bosnian town that was then an integral part of Pavelić’s Independent State of Croatia. In difficult existential circumstances and feelings of being torn away from home, the curious teenager got hold of the famous Jewish History by Heinrich Grätz. In the first synthetic historical work of such sort, her Maribor was mentioned several times as an open and cosmopolitan medieval city with a strong Jewish community. In stark contrast to this was the Ustasha violence against the Jewish and Serbian populations, which Zlata was seeing with her own eyes. This conflict marked her deeply and sparked a lifelong interest in the past of her home town and the phenomenon of Judaism. In a meaningful way, this double affinity is portrayed by the pseudonym under which she wrote and translated for some time – Stefana Morpurgo.
Photo 1 (left): Zlata Medic as a 14-year-old, 1940. (D. V. Personal Archive)
Photo 2 (right): First page of the novella Facelija written by Zlata Vokač Medic under a pseudonym. It is dedicated to the murdered Ignác Nacika Grof, the son of a Jewish merchant and hotelier Rudolf Grof of Bugojno. Two weeks after the Medic family arrived in Bosnia, the 19-year-old and his father were brutally murdered by a Ustasha militia. (Source: Dialogi, 1975, Volume 11, No 9, p. 561)