Hajszan’s work is of exceptional importance not only to the culturological history of this ethnic Croatian minority enclave, especially in the area of present-day Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia, but also to homeland philologists and historians.
At the initiative of the Council of Europe the European Day of Languages has been celebrated on the 26th of September every year since 2001. With Croatian one of the twenty-four official languages of the Union it is clear that working on the preservation of European linguistic heritage is impossible without an awareness of the importance of one’s own language.
The CHF marked the occasion with a promotion of the 2018 Pannonian Almanac. On hand to speak at the event were Croatian Heritage Foundation director Mijo Marić, historian Željko Holjevac PhD, croatologist Sanja Vulić PhD, geographer Tomislav Jelić PhD and editor, historian and philologist Robert Hajszan PhD. Vesna Kukavica, the head of our publishing department, brilliantly and emotionally moderated the presentation. The 544-page 2018 Pannonian Almanac offers readers articles in the Croatian, Gradišće dialect of Croatian, German, Hungarian and Slovenian languages.
Ms Ivana Perkušić, the deputy state secretary at the State Office for Croats Abroad, was at the event to greet the gathered as the personal representative of Andrej Plenković, the Croatian prime minister. Also at the event was Maja Petrić, an expert advisor at the City of Zagreb municipal office for culture, as the personal representative of the Mayor of Zagreb. Other guests of honour included writer and Croatian Heritage Foundation board of directors member Hrvoje Hitrec, and Hispanicist Željka Lovrenčić, the head of the Croatica Abroad Collection at the National and University Library.
In presenting the Pannonian Almanac, a multilingual serial publication that has been published by the Pannonian Institute (PAIN) of the Austrian town of Güttenbach (Pinkovac) for the past twenty-five years, the Croatian Heritage Foundation is encouraging the affirmation of the Croatian language among the indigenous minority communities of Central and Southeastern Europe. The Pannonian Institute celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary at the Martineum in Hungary’s university town of Szombathely (Sambotel) in early September. The event was opened by PAIN chair and founder Robert Hajszan PhD, who set up the institute in late 1993 in his native village of Pinkovac with the objective of strengthening culture and publishing activity in the Croatian enclaves in the south of the Gradišće region. This annual publication has been printed regularly since 1994, initially as the Pannonian Summer Book. It has been regularly featured at promotional events in Zagreb and on several occasions in Karlovac, Ogulin, Split, Čakovec, Brinj, Otočac, Senj, Zadar and Trogir.
From the launch of the PAIN institute Hajszan has worked very closely with Sanja Vulić and since 2003 he has frequently been a guest lecturer for the subject she teaches at the University of Zagreb’s Centre for Croatian Studies. In her in-the-field instruction the volume’s promoter professor Vulić often incorporates a visit to the Pannonian Institute in the Gradišće region for students attending lectures on Croatian Dialectology and The Language of Croats in the Diaspora Communities. They have also joined forces to launch the institute’s Croatian Writers Around the World series, in which they edited and published six collections of poetry. Vulić has also reviewed and penned forewords for over ten other PAIN publications, some of which were featured in a small exhibition accompanying this book promotion.
It is worth noting that the Croatian Heritage Foundation presented Hajszan with a commendation in 2015 recognising his thirty-five years of work in collecting, studying and publishing material on the topic of the Gradišće Croat community, an effort of exceptional importance not only to the culturological history of this ethnic Croatian minority enclave, especially in the area of present-day Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia, but also to homeland philologists and historians engaged in the systematic study and research of the half-millennial presence of Gradišće Croats outside the sphere of their nation of origin.
By: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek; Photography: Snježana Radoš