Slavko Goldstein, 89 died in Zagreb on September 13 2017. He was a prominent public and Jewish activist, journalist, publisher and writer. He left an indelible trace in Croatian society, in publishing, politics, and non-fiction literature. He was a versatile intellectual.
Borne in a Jewish family in 1928 in Sarajevo, he spent his childhood in Karlovac (50 km from Zagreb) until 1941. His father was a prominent bookseller. From his early years Slavko was interested in books. Beginning of war in at that time Kingdom of Yugoslavia interrupted his happy childhood when in Croatia a Nazi government, NDH came to power and Jews came under persecutions. He was left without his father who was soon arrested and then killed in one of Nazi scaffolds called Jadovno. His mother Lea was also arrested and both neighbours and the grandfather took care of Slavko and his younger brother Daniel. His mother succeeded to return from jail and escaped with Slavko to Italian occupation zone where Jews were safe. Later, together with a group of other Jews and non-Jews they join Communist partisans and stayed with them till the end of WW II. Slavko was a brave fighter, was honored for his courage and became a member of Communist party. The family returned to Karlovac in 1945. Disappointed in situation in post-war Yugoslavia, Slavko abandoned his Communist party membership and left for Israel. He returned to Zagreb in 1951. He started to work as a journalist and was one of founders of a popular weekly paper "Newsweek on Wednesday". Later he switched to less exposed job to radio station Zagreb. He was also engaged as screenplay writer but his greatest affiliations were books. He started to work as a publisher. Most of books he published at that time were unfavorable for the Communist regime. At the same time he was active in Jewish circles, he was the president of the Jewish Community of Zagreb and later as president of Bet Israel religious community. He was also the B'nai B'rith member. In late 80's he became involved in politics and was one of the founders of the first non-Communist parties at the end of Communist rule. Last decades of his life he was writing non-fiction book which had not only literary, but also had historical importance.
Slavko Goldstein was, first of all, a brave man and, as he himself told, he got it when he was with partisans. He was independent, belonged to no group and was not bound to follow anybody's views. His courage arose from his optimistic expectations. He was brave when only 13 he was left alone without his father and mother. He was brave when he joined partisans. He was brave when he abandoned Communist party. He was brave when he published "Years in Moscow" by Veljko Michunovich. He was brave when he founded the firs non-Communist party the HSLS. He was brave when he invited Belgrade intellectuals for a discussion in Zagreb. He was brave opposing nationalism because he was an European, a Yugoslav, a Croat and a Jew.
He was successful. He was successful as a newspaper editor. He was successful as a movie screenplay writer. He was successful as a writer. But mostly he was successful because of his humanism.