Howard Fast

Tito and His People

Tito's Collaborators

We have familiarized ourselves with the life and struggle of the Yugoslav people and their great leader, Marshal Tito. Here and there other names have come up, men who from the very beginning, sided with the people in their struggle for liberation. Who are these men and what role did they play in Yugoslavia before the war and in what capacity are they serving at the present time?

Perhaps next in importance to Tito, stands Dr. Ivan Ribar. He is 62 years of age, a wealthy Croat lawyer who lived in a palatial home in Belgrade. Perhaps his humble surroundings today are quite a comedown for a man accustomed to so much of the comforts of life. But home is where the heart is and Ribar's heart is in the Liberation Movement.

His palatial home was destroyed by the Nazis. All his art treasures, books and worldly goods went down in flames, but personal tragedy never deterred him from the cause that he has his heart set on.

A few days after the Germans occupied the country, Tito met Dr. Ivan Ribar in a Belgrade flat and while Nazis patrolled the streets with guns and truncheons, the Liberation Movement was born.

An interesting sidelight on their present association is the fact that Ribar was a leader of the democratic party that dissolved the Yugoslav Communist party in 1924. This shows how widely divergent were the views of these two men who today lead Yugoslavia's struggle for liberation — one a Communist, the other a Conservative Democrat. And yet in their country's hour of trial, both buried their partisan differences and in their common struggle found a common goal.

Today he is president of the Presidium of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation.

A few of the others are:

Edvard Kardelj, vice-president; Slovene; teacher from Ljubljana; Communist; was for many years in prison for his political activities; a well-known publicist and contributor to the review Sobodnost.

Vladislav Ribnikar, vice-president; Serb Commissioner for Information; former chief editor and co-proprietor of the leading newspaper Politika; 43; graduated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts Paris; independent.

Bozhidar Magovats, vice-president; born in Karlovac; 35; Croat; member of the Croat Peasant party; former editor of Dom, official weekly of this party.

Dr. Josip Smodlaka, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs; Croat from Split; 70; friend of Masaryk of Czechoslovakia; M.P. for Dalmatia in the Vienna Parliament before the first World War; collaborator of Svetozar Pribichevich, Dr. Trumbich and Stjepan Radich; when Austria declared war on Serbia was imprisoned because of pro-Serbian feelings; in 1918 headed the provincial government of Dalmatia; in the same year became member of the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in Zagreb; in 1919 member of the Yugoslav delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference; Yugoslav minister to the Vatican and in Madrid.

Reverend Vlado Zechevich; Serb; Commissioner for Internal Affairs; Orthodox priest from Krupanj, Serbia; when guerrilla movement originated in Serbia in summer, 1941, commanded a detachment of Chetniks, but after the treachery of Drazha Mikhailovich went over to the Partisans; in autumn, 1941, was commander of a guerrilla battalion; member of the H.Q. of the N.L.A.. It was Zechevich who saved Tito's life at the Battle of Green Mountain when he was surrounded by Germans.

Edvard Kotsbek; Slovene; Christian Socialist party; vice-president of the executive committee of the Liberation Front of Slovenia; well-known Slovene poet and essayist; member of the P.E.N. club; Professor of French Language and Literature; born in Styria; founder of Christian Socialist; review Dejanja (Action).

Ivan Milutinovich, Commissioner for Agriculture; Montenegrin; economist specialist in agrarian questions; Communist.

Dushan Sernets, Commissioner for Finance; Slovene; member of the Slovene Popular Party (Catholic); former Minister in the Belgrade government; former governor of Slovenia.

Sreten Zhuyevich-Tsrni, Commissioner for Transport; Serb from Belgrade; Communist; distinguished himself in the guerrilla organization.

Milivoy Yambrishak, Commissioner for Public Health; Croat; 70; M.D. from Karlovac; member of the Yugoslav Committee in London during the last World War; collaborator of Trumbich; in 1917 was delegate of the Yugoslav Committee to the Russian government.

Todor Vuyashinovich, Commissioner for Economic Reconstruction; Serb from Bosnia, former official of the Social Insurance Office in Tuzla.

Dr. Anton Krzhishnik; Slovene; Commissioner for Social Welfare; born in Styria, about 60; President of the High Court of Slovenia; former President of the Administrative High Court of Celje; a Freethinker and active Freemason, working in the lodges of Sarajevo and Ljubljana. Although he never belonged to any political party, he might be classified as a Liberal Democrat.

Fran Frol; Croat; Commissioner for Justice; about 50; member of the Croat Peasant party; former head of the Civil Service in the Banovina of Croatia.

Mile Pernuichich, Commissioner for Supplies; Serb; former M.P. of the Democratic party.

Dr. Rade Pribichevich, Commissioner for Public Works; lawyer from Petrinja; 45; Serb; member of the Executive Committee of the Independent Democratic party. Fought actively against King Alexander's dictatorship; very popular with both the Croat peasants and the Serbs.

Colonel Suleyman Filipovich, Commissioner for Forests and Mines; Moslem from Bosnia; recently went over to the Partisans from the Croat conscripted army with his whole regiment.

Mosha Piyade; 50; one of the vice-presidents of the National Liberation Committee; journalist and painter from Belgrade; Serb (Jew); Secretary of the Communist party of Yugoslavia; translator of Marx's "Das Kapital"; sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for being Communist. Apart from his activities in political life he was known to the people of Yugoslavia as a distinguished painter and writer. He is known to be a very capable administrator.

There are many others who perhaps deserve mention just as much as those listed. We merely bring these to your attention to give you an idea of the cross-section from which these men came in public life. All men to whom party differences meant far less than the defeat of fascism.

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