Odvjetnička pisarnica Licht Aleksander

  • Law Office of Aleksander Licht
HR-DAZG-96 Odvjetnička pisarnica Licht Aleksander
Language of Description
1 Jan 1913 - 10 Apr 1941
Level of Description
  • Croatian
  • Latin

Extent and Medium

65 boxes, 1 book


Biographical History

The collection reflects the interwar work of the prominent Zagreb lawyer Aleksander Licht. It contains documentation from legal proceedings in which he was involved (property law cases, film rights, access to public information/journalism cases), and documentation about development of the Zionist movement in Croatia/the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Archival History

The material was obtained from the lawyer dr. Fedor Vukovic in a poor and dispersed condition. The documentation referring to the Zionist movement in Croatia has been sorted chronologically. The material regarding the involvement of Licht as a lawyer in court hearings and proceedings has been sorted by case based on the type of law in question (trade law, etc.)

Scope and Content

The collection contains documentation concerning legal representation in property disputes and disputes of journalists in the publishing and film industries, as well as documentation about the Zionist movement in Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Dr. Aleksandar Licht (1884−1948) was a Croatian Zionist leader and founder of the Zionist movement in Croatia. Licht was born in the village of Sokolovac, near Koprivnica, to a Croatian Jewish family. As a child he moved with his family to Zagreb. Licht was educated in Zagreb, where he finished elementary and high school. He earned a law degree from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb. In 1909 he was promoted to a Doctor of Law at the University of Zagreb. In 1913 he opened a law firm in Zagreb, but in 1914 was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. Upon completing military service, Licht returned to Zagreb, where he practiced law at his firm. He was the founder and spiritual leader of the Zionism in Croatia. As a young man he was elected chairman of the Jewish youth circle Literarni Sastanci (Literary Meetings), which soon became a Zionist society. He was also the editor of Židovska smotra (The Jewish Review). In Vienna he was the chairman of Bar Giora, a group of Zionist students from Yugoslavia. After its foundation, in 1909, he was elected secretary of the Zionist Federation of South Slavic Countries. In 1919 he was one of the leading Zionists, with Šime Spitzer, who founded the Union of the Jewish Confessional Municipalities in the Kingdom of SHS (Savez jevrejskih vjeroispovjednih općina u Kraljevini SHS) in Zagreb. In 1919 Licht also helped to found the Zionist Federation of Yugoslavia (SCJ - Savez cionista Jugoslavije) in Zagreb, where he first served as a secretary and later as an elected president. He also befriended Croatian politician Frano Supilo. Under Licht’s leadership Zagreb was the strongest Zionist centre in the newly founded Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He was also the only Zionist from Yugoslavia lands who was a member of the action committee of the World Zionist Congress. Licht was the founder of the so-called Zagreb school of Zionism, which represented an uncompromised and radical Zionism. Under his leadership Croatian Zionists, through the years, raised over 50–60% of the total funds collected in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for the Jewish National Fund. Although not wealthy, Licht was great philanthropist who often aided various Zagreb student, sport, and charitable societies. Licht was among the financiers who funded the Society for Building a Monument of Tomislav of Croatia. Licht believed that the major hate toward the Jews in Croatia was spread by the Serbian press in Croatia, and that some Serbs had anti-Semitism in a depth of their souls (sic). During the 1930s riots in Mandatory Palestine, Licht always advocated peaceful solution over armed conflict. Licht openly criticized the rising wave of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during the 1930s. During World War II Licht was arrested by the Gestapo along with other notable Zagreb Jews, including Hinko Gotlieb, Lavoslav Šik, Slavko Mayer, Robert Deutsch-Maceljski (of the notable Deutsch-Maceljski family), Branko Alexander (of the notable Alexander family) and others. All were taken to Graz, Austria, where they were questioned about the Croatian Jewish community. They were soon released, except for Mayer, who was never seen again. Upon his return to Zagreb, Licht managed to get his identity document back and soon escaped to Slovenia. From Slovenia Licht emigrated to Switzerland through Italy in Autumn, 1943. In Switzerland, he was initially placed in a refugee camp. With the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović’s help, Licht soon found permanent residence. While in Switzerland Licht actively collected financial aid for the Zagreb Jewish community; this aid was then transmitted to Zagreb via various channels. Licht died in Montreux, Switzerland on 27 June 1948. He was one of the few Croatian Jews to survive the Holocaust. His body was moved from Switzerland to Israel, where he was buried in 1955.

System of Arrangement

The collection is arranged so that the material is divided into two series: one relating to legal representation and the other relating to Licht as the creator of activities in the Zionist Organization.

Existence and Location of Originals

  • Archive of the City of Zagreb

Existence and Location of Copies

  • USHMM (2014)