Compartmentalized Pasts: Workers’ History in Socialist Yugoslavia

by Ulf Brunnbauer

Paper presented at the 2016 European Social Science History Conference, Valencia 30 March – 2 April 2016


In December 1960, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia decided about the director of the newly founded “Institute for the History of the Workers’ Movement” in Zagreb. Their pick was a major-general from the Yugoslav People’s Army. He did not have training as a historian but only secondary and vocational school education. However, he possessed other important qualifications: he had been a partisan during World War Two, he was an active member of the Communists Party and of the influential partisan veteran organization, and he was a history enthusiast. He had already published on themes from the military and political history of Yugoslavia, and he was a member of the editorial board of the “Military Encyclopedia” (Vojna Enciklopedija).

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Migration and Economic Development in Socialist Yugoslavia

by Ulf Brunnbauer

This article is based on a talk at the Polanyi Center, Corvinus University, Budapest, on March 2, 2016

In 1971 the Yugoslav economic Ivo Vinski published an assessment of the Gastarbeiter’s economic contribution to Yugoslavia. Vinski calculated that the average Yugoslav worker in Germany produced a net product worth of 1,250 German Marks. 400 of that were profits for the employer as well as taxes and social security contributions. Out of the remaining salary, the average Gastarbeiter spent 440 Marks on his (or her) subsistence in Germany; that is, money spent in Germany. He (or she) saved 410 Marks, out of with 145 Marks were put on a savings account at a bank in Germany and 265 Marks repatriated to Yugoslavia. Summing up, Vinski concluded that four fifths of the added value produced by the Gastarbeiter benefitted the German, that is, a capitalist economy and only one fifth the Yugoslav one. If the costs of schooling and training were factored in, Yugoslavia’s balance of the Gastarbeiter economy would even be negative.[1]

"How much a Yugoslav worker abroad values"
„How much a Yugoslav worker abroad values“

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