The departure of a Nestor of Croatian emigrant history, Ivan Čizmić

In memoriam – Ivan Čizmić (Zadvarje, July 28, 1934 – Zagreb, January 9, 2022)

With sadness in our hearts and deep disbelief, we received the news of the sudden departure of Dr. Ivan Čizmić, an excellent historian of Croatian emigration, a competent researcher of cultural practices of migrants from this area, one of the few true polyhistors and a sophisticated expert on modern social and cultural processes in Croatian communities whose fourth and fifth generations inhabit the multicultural megapolises of the developed world from Alaska to “Tierra del Fuego”, southern Africa to Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Ivan Čizmić was an emeritus scientific advisor at the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, a renowned historian of Croatian emigration, and a long-time head of the Historical Department of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. He is the author of several notable monographs on Croatian overseas emigration from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, co-creator of several migrant compendiums of socio-cultural topics with fascinating lexicographical contributions, and author of almost five hundred original scientific papers on external migration, and abroad.

Historiographical and journalistic opus, created over six decades, is the result of tireless research on authentic sites of the Croatian diaspora on five continents, which Professor Čizmić began in the 1960s thanks to a Fulbright scholarship.
In addition to the prestigious Annual Award for Science (2005) awarded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, Ivan Čizmić is the holder of the Order for Danica hrvatska with the figure of Ruđer Bošković (1999) and a number of other professional awards.

As a longtime employee of the Matica Emigrant Historical Department, where he began his research career, he never stopped working as an external consultant with our oldest institution dedicated to emigration, contributing to the advice and direct writing of quality Matica serial publications such as Matica and the Croatian Emigrant Anthology.

As one of the key consultants, mediating in the life of the Croatian people abroad during the turbulent social changes during the 20th century, he is one of the creators of the “Lexicon of Croatian Emigrants and Minorities” (2020), persistently interpreting that emigration from Croatia our history and Croatian civilizational and cultural heritage.

Croatian historian Ivan Čizmić was born in Zadvarje on August 28, 1934. He finished classical grammar school in 1953 in Split. He graduated in history from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb in 1959, and received his doctorate in 1973 with a dissertation on the South Slavic emigrant movement in the USA and the creation of the Yugoslav state in 1918. Curious by nature, Ivan Čizmić He began his academic career as a university lecturer in 1963, when he became an assistant at the Faculty of Law in Split. Having moved permanently from Dalmatia to Zagreb, he has been working for the Croatian Heritage Foundation since 1964, and teaches at various symposia and scientific congresses. Participating in the institutional building of public institutions in our country that take care of external migration from Croatia, since 1988 he has been a scientific advisor at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, and since 1993 he has continued to work at the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences.

Along with a rich scientific and journalistic opus, which remains preserved in numerous printed books and magazines, the most important thing that Ivan Čizmić left behind is his human connection with many friends and colleagues from Croatian communities around the world.

He developed a tender friendship with the most ordinary little poor singers and top intellectuals in prestigious international laboratories, but also with adventurers who would choose travel as a way of life. As a member of various expert commissions at Matica’s emigrant projects and events, he has always been a valuable advisor and an inexhaustible source of knowledge. His professional assessments, breadth of intellectual interests and sovereign movement through the endless spaces of the Croatian cultural landscape shaped by migrant circumstances have permanently indebted many of our projects and events.

We will remember Dr. Ivan Čizmić as an exceptional man and a loyal friend, an intellectual of extraordinary work energy who, with his historiographical work and credible journalistic zeal and, above all, human honesty, forever inscribed himself in Croatian scientific and cultural history. He was both a patriot and a cosmopolitan. He collaborated with the historian and statesman Dr. sc. Franjo Tuđman since the mid-1960s, when they worked together in the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

Among the many works of lasting value, we single out: the books “Croats in the Life of the United States of America”, Zagreb 1982; “Emigration from Croatia in the period from 1880 to 1914 “, Zagreb, 1986,” History of the Croatian Fraternal Union 1894-1994 “, Zagreb, 1994; “From the Adriatic to lake Erie. A history of Croatians in greater Cleveland ”(co-authored by Miletić, I., Prpic, G. J.), Willoughby 2000; “Emigrated Croatia”, (co-authored by I., Sopta M., Šakić V.), Zagreb 2005; “Modernization in Croatia and Croatian Emigration” (co-authored with Ivan Rogić), Zagreb: Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences, 2011; Consultant in the “Lexicon of Croatian Emigrants and Minorities”, Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences and Croatian Heritage Foundation, Zagreb, 2020.

He has contributed to the following publications: Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta u Splitu (1964), Historijski zbornik (1966 – 67, 1974 – 75), Zborník Filozofickej fakulty Univerzity Komenského. Historica (Bratislava 1970), Zbornik Historijskog arhiva u Karlovac (1970), Emigration from Northern, Central and Southern Europe (Kraków 1981), Vyst’ahovalectvo a život krajanov vo svete (Bratislava 1982), American Labor and Immigration History 1877 -1920: Recent European Research (Chicago 1983), Journal of Croatian Studies (1970 – 2000), Commoner (1965 – 2020); Studia Craotica (1970 – 1999), Iseljenički kalendar / Hrvatski iseljenički zbornik (1966 – 2021), Matica (1966 – 2021.).

With his departure, Professor Čizmić leaves a deep void in his family – in the heart of his beloved daughter Ivna and his dear wife Vlasta, but at the same time, he occupies a privileged place among all of us who knew him well and whose lives were permanently enriched by this honest Dalmatian of cheerful spirit. one.
On behalf of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and all its employees, the director, Professor Mijo Marić, extends his deepest condolences to the grieving family for the loss of a loved one.

Text: Vesna Kukavica

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