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FEMALE EMANCIPATION / ANTI-FASCISM / YUGOSLAV BOOK DESIGN: Žena v sedanji družbi [A Woman in Today’s Society]


An unusual early feminist anti-Hitler publication from 1934 was written by a famous Slovenian / Yugoslavian female writer, who later became a partisan fighter, prisoner of the  Ravensbrück concentration camp and after the war a victim of the new Yugoslav regime.


8°. 96 pp. with black and white title page, original illustrated wrappers (light foxing, mostly to the wrappers and first and last pages, tiny folds in corners, tiny chips on the spine).

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This unusual publication with a cover, representing a modern woman as a prisoner, divided between roles of the intellectual, wife and mother, a factory and a farm worker, includes a highly intellectual analysis of the role of women in the modern word. It discusses the traditional role versus the modern one.

The last part is dedicated to the rising of Fascism and Nazism.

The author Angela Vode blames the Fascist for directing the young girls towards the traditional role of homemakers, leaving them uneducated and without a choice.


Angela Vode, one of the first Slovenian / Yugoslavian feminists

The author Angela Vode was a teacher and a known fighter for equal rights of women in the marriage, education and job opportunities. Because of her firm believes, she was often publicly insulted by her male colleagues in the press, forcing her to file a lawsuit for defamation.

With the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, Vode became a fierce opponent of Hitler and Mussolini, blaming them, among others, for suppression of the emancipation of women, forcing the girls into the traditional stand of mothers and housewives.

Her most famous works of the time are Žena v današnji družbi (A Woman in Today’s Society, 1934), Žena i fašizam (A Woman and the Fascism, 1935, in Croatian language) and Spol in usoda (The Gender and the Destiny, 1938).

In 1939, Angela Vode exited the Communist party, disagreeing with its extremes, yet upon the Nazi’s occupation of Yugoslavia, in April 1941, she became one of the founders of the National Liberation movement (i. e. the Partisans, or O.F.).During WWII, Angela Vode, a member of the underground partisan movement, got into disputes with her Communist fellow fighters for opposing their suppression by the Fascists and later by the Nazis in Ravensbrück.

After the war, Vode was tried again by the Yugoslav Communists for her early sympathising with the Soviet Union, treason and spying. She was released in 1953, serving 6 years out of 20.

Upon her release she was denounced her citizen rights and working permit. She was supported by her relatives until her death. The new Yugoslav regime made sure, that Angela Vode was forgotten by the public.

Six years after Angela Vode’s death in 1985, the country annulled the judgement from 1947 and her autobiography The Secret Memoires was published in 2004.

The book was designed by an engineer and architect Mitja Švigelj. Švigelj, active as a designer and photographer, was running his own studio Mico (also Miko), where his

photomontages were developed. In 1940 his works were exhibited in the Jakopic pavilion, most important modern art institution in Ljubljana. During WWII he’s also recorded as an

author of theatrical scenes. After WWII he escaped to Buenos Aires.

Although a great talent, progressive modern designer and book illustrator, Mitja Švigelj was forgotten after WWII in Yugoslavia under the new regime, for his political believes.

The book is in a very good, nearly mint condition.

We could find 12 institutional copies in Slovenian libraries and none abroad.


References: OCLC 441880992.

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