Lavoslav (Leopold) Ružička
Lavoslav (Leopold) Ružička was born in Vukovar on 13 September 1887 to a wealthy artisan family. Although being of Czech origin, his father was a fierce Croatian patriot, which influenced Lavoslav, who considered Croatia his homeland his entire life and spoke Croatian fluently.
When Lavoslav was four years old, his father died and in 1891 his mother moved to Osijek with Lavoslav and his younger brother Stjepan, where Lavoslav completed the Volksschule and the classical gymnasium. Between 1906 and 1910, he studied Chemistry at the High Technical School in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he earned his doctoral degree under the supervision of Professor Staudinger, the founder of macromolecular science.
“Everything I had done in my life I had done thoroughly”
As assistant to Professor Staudinger, until 1916 he investigated the structure of active ingredients of Tanacetum cinerariifolium. He subsequently parted ways with Professor Staudinger because he wanted to work on projects of his own choosing. During this time, Ružička proved that musk scents muscone and civetone are macrocyclic ketones, which made it possible to synthesize expensive musk scents and tied Ružička to the pharmaceutical industry. He lived for a while in Geneva and in the period between 1927 and 1929 he worked as a professor of organic chemistry in Utrecht. His return to Zurich in 1929 marks the beginning of the most successful part of his professional career.
Nikola Andrić was born in Vukovar on 5 December 1867. He was a Croatian literary historian, philologist, dramaturge and theatre worker.
He studied Slavic and Romance studies, earning a doctorate in 1897 in Vienna. He worked as dramaturge and manager of the Croatian National Theatre and is also one of the founders of the Zagreb Acting school and the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek. He wrote feuilletons, travelogues and literary and historical discussion papers. Andrić has earned much acclaim in literature, not just as a writer of many genres, but also for his organisational abilities and driving ideas, especially in publishing. For thirty years he has published Zabavna biblioteka, (“An Entertainment Collection”) which provided the reading audience with a multitude of valuable literary works, hitherto unknown in these parts, in almost seven hundred green-coloured volumes.
He died in Zagreb on 7 April 1942.
Andrić’s Branič jezika hrvatskoga (“Defender of Croatian Language”) is an important contribution to Croatian language purism.
Antun Bauer was born in Vukovar on 18 August 1911. He was a museologist, scientific worker and collector.
He graduated art history and archaeology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and earned his doctoral degree in 1937 on the subject of “Roman lead sculpture”. He initiated and founded many museum institutions, including the first Gipsoteka in 1937 (Now the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Glyptotheque), which he managed until 1952. He also deserves credit for the foundation of the Literary Arts Archive (1944) and the Museum Documentation Centre (1955), where he also served as director from 1964 to 1976. He was also the director of the Croatian School Museum, where he prepared numerous exhibitions, as well as the curator of the Brethren of the Croatian Dragon museum collection in Ozalj.
Over long years of work, he became a key figure of museum work in Croatia. Anton Bauer was a collector who donated his collections that initially served as an important part of museum holdings, as was the case with the Glyptotheque and the Vukovar Museum. Vukovar also received one of the most significant donations, the Bauer Collection and the Artwork gallery, which is one the most complete collections of Croatian 19th and 20th century art. He has also left a strong mark on the development of Croatian museology and museography. He authored over 200 published and 500 unpublished scientific papers. Bauer was a guest lecturer at many universities and he has received many awards and decorations for his work.
“At least one gallery in every town,” Bauer used to say
Pavao Pavličić was born on 16 August 1946 in Vukovar, where he finished primary and secondary school. He graduated comparative literature and Italian at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and in 1974 he earned his doctoral degree on the subject of metre. Since 1970 he works at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, where he still works as a tenured professor at the Department of Comparative Literature. Literary and scientific work interest him in an equal measure and are intertwined. As a scientist, Pavličić is interested in topics related to older Croatian literature and literary theory. He has published a large number of discussion papers and several books in this area. He began his literary career as a novelist, publishing three books of stories and some twenty novels.
His work The Danube is a “specific prose about a river and a town”
Siniša Glavašević was born in Vukovar on 4 November 1960. He finished primary and secondary school in his home town, and graduated comparative literature and library science in Sarajevo.
During the Homeland War, he worked as an editor at Croatian Radio Vukovar and a war correspondent. His voice was a voice of hope. Croatia knew that as long as Siniša Glavašević’s voice can be heard, that Vukovar was alive, although surrounded. Unfortunately, his voice was silenced forever, but his words still echo all of us: “The town, this is you”, and he is proven right day after day.
After the fall of Vukovar, he was taken away from the Vukovar hospital on 19 November 1991 and all trace of him was lost. He was exhumed from the Ovčara mass grave and identified, so it is assumed that he was killed and buried at Ovčara on the same day as he was taken away, on 19 November 1991.
Matica Hrvatska in Zagreb posthumously published his collection “Stories from Vukovar” in 1992, consisting of warm stories of basic human values which Siniša read to radio listeners in the surrounded town.
The town – that is you!
Rene Matoušek was born in Vukovar on 7 February 1958. He attended the gymnasium in Vukovar. He spent one part of his life living with his grandparents in Velika Gorica, where he moved in 1977 when he enrolled a study of stomatology. From 1985 to 1990 he worked as a dentist in Žegar near Obrovac and in 1990 he moved back to his hometown of Vukovar where he was involved in the re-establishment of the Croatian Hall Society and was appointed secretary.
He began writing haikus during the 1980s when he moved to Žegar, Bukovica as a young dentist. In 1995 his work was included in an anthology of Srijem writers entitled The Croatian word in Srijem. He also wrote for Polet, Studentski list, Quorum, Oko, Vukovarske novine and Osječki tjednik where he had a regular column entitled “C- Section” in which he satirised the everyday life in Vukovar. During the Homeland War, he was a member of the Expert operational headquarters of the Vukovar hospital and his voice was also heard from the airwaves of Croatian radio Vukovar from which, with the help of another ham radio operator, he broadcast reports about the conditions in the town. After the fall of Vukovar, he was in the line of people taken to Velepromet and every trace of him was lost after he was taken out to a hearing from the so-called Carpentry. His remains were exhumed from a mass grave at Vukovar’s New Cemetery and after he was identified, he was buried in the Alley of Croatian Defenders in Vukovar on 22 November 2002.
In his memory, the René Matoušek International Haiku Gathering was launched by Tomislav Marijan Bilosnić in 2008.
A bronze bust of Rene Matoušek by academy-trained sculptor Mladen Mikulin is located at the entrance of Croatian Hall in Vukovar.
An augmented reality app was also launched, which can bring us back to the not-so-recent past, the town of Rene’s adolescence.