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CHILDREN’S STORY – YUGOSLAV PRO-PARTISAN PROPAGANDA: Mali Smolček.

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A children’s story about a young boy helping the partisans and tricking the Nazis, accompanied by high quality illustrations by the artist Stane Kumar, was published in 1956 as a part of the Socialist Yugoslav propaganda for children.

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Description

A story about a boy “Smolček” is set in WWII, in a Nazi occupied area. Smolček volunteers to become a spy for the partisans, reporting on the numbers of German soldiers in the village. He bravely faces the horrors of the war, such as burnt houses, hunger and gun fights, joins the partisans in the snowy forest and is at the end reunited with his mother.

The Slovenian author Venceslav Winkler (1907 – 1975) was himself a partisan during WWII, who was caught and imprisoned in a concentration camp on the island Rab. He was active as an author of children’s books before and after WWII.

The illustrator of simple, but powerful turquoise and black illustrations, was Stane Kumar (1910-1997), a Slovenian artist, born in Trieste. Kumar studied history of art and archeology, and later art under Ljubo Babić and Krsto Hegedušić in Zagreb. A left-wing activist and socialist, he was imprisoned at the Gonars concentration camp during WWII by the Fascists. After WWII, Stane Kumar decicared himself mostly to painting and graphic design. His favourite subjects came from the world of technology, mostly from the world of railroads and trains. The book was published in the after-war period in Slovenia, Yugoslavia, as a part of political propaganda for children, to glorify the WWII partisan and socialist movement, which was led by the Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito.

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