Samokovlija, Isak

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SAMOKOVLIJA, ISAK (1889–1955), Yugoslav author. Samokovlija, who was born in Goražde, Bosnia, was a practicing physician. He published his first story in 1927 and wrote nine volumes of short stories, beginning with Od proljeća do proljeća ("From Spring to Spring," 1929) and including post-World War ii books such as Nosač Samuel ("Samuel the Porter," 1946), Solomunovo slovo ("Solomon's Letter," 1949), and Djerdan ("The Necklace," 1952). Three volumes of Samokovlija's collected tales appeared in 1951–56.

Samokovlija wrote entirely about Jewish life in Bosnia. Although many of his stories deal with the isolated Jewish existence of the Bosnian Sephardim during the 19th century, a few relate the tragic events of the Holocaust era. Samokovlija generally presents the picture of a Sephardi community in some small town, where the Jews live in self-imposed isolation, having much in common with their non-Jewish fellows, but refusing to assimilate. Between the world wars, Samokovlija also wrote plays: Hanka (1931), Plava Jevrejka ("The Blonde Jewess," 1932), On je lud ("He is Crazy," 1935), and Fuzija ("Fusion," 1939).


E. Finci, in: Zapisi, 4 (1929); I. Andrić, in: Život, 6 (1955), 97–99; S. Vinaver, in: Republika (Jan. 25, 1955); B. Novaković, in: Letopis Matice srpske, 1 (1957); M. Marković, in: Književne novine (Jan., 1957); M. Begić, in: Izraz, 4 (1958), 240–50. add. bibliography: Z. Loker, "Sureti s Isakom Samakovlijom," in: Novi Omanut (Zagreb), No. 26 (1998).

[Ana Shomlo-Ninic]