The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ZAGREB, Yugoslavia—We arrived in Zagreb on time and after going to the hotel and reading my mail which is, of course, always a great event when one is travelling, we started off at 11:30 to visit a factory.

The factory is named Rade Koncar. Mr. Koncar was a factory worker here who was a leader during the war and was killed by the Italians in Split. The workers have erected a very fine monument to him and named their plant in his memory.

We sat down on arrival and discussed what they were doing here and the way they were running the plant. It is a plant for making electrical machinery, transformers, engines, machinery needed for their power development, etc.

In Yugoslavia they need all that can be produced of the heavier machinery, but they export to Greece and Turkey and to some of the Near Eastern countries some of their smaller engines and transformers. Last year they ran at a profit.

The pattern is the same here as it was in other factories I visited but the manager told me that even the expert staff is new at this kind of work and they do make mistakes. They have rapidly enlarged and are on their way to having a really high rate of production, however. I do not think I mentioned before that one incentive to production is the fact that the Workers' Council, after the payment of taxes, divides profits, half goes in to paying interest and amortization on money borrowed, and for improving the plant further. The other half of the profits is divided among all the workers. I asked if they thought this arrangement had raised production and they looked at each other and smiled and said: "Of course, it has."

The head of the Council said they were grateful to America for they knew that without the help coming from there they would never have been able to go ahead the way they have been able to do.

I took a hurried trip through the plant then we drove through the city before lunching with the President of Croatia. It was a delightful luncheon attended by some of the officials and our own Consul-General, Mr. Connelly, and his wife.

I then went for a brief call on Mrs. Mates, the mother of the permanent member of the Security Council now stationed in New York.

In the afternoon about 5 o'clock we drove out to a village an hour's drive from Zagreb. The villagers have had a cooperative for a number of years. This cooperative has built what they call a cultural center and they told me they hoped to have one in every village. The center consists of a hall with arrangements for showing moving pictures and plays but they hold meetings there and any kind of village celebrations.

They have a small library in which I was amused to find translations of Jack London and Upton Sinclair. In the recreation room I found several children playing chess!

We watched an exhibition of folk dancing done by three villages in costume, with their own four piece string orchestras. The costumes of the women are sometimes heavily embroidered and the men wear wide white trousers tucked in their high boots.

The dancing is very similar to our own folk dancing but the singing seemed to me on the whole to be rather sad with a melancholy flavor to all the tunes.

We were back around 8 o'clock and stopped for a few minutes to meet the Consul-General's staff and then we dined with the mayor and other members of the local government at a charming guest house outside town.

This morning at 10:15 we took off for Brioni.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Zagreb (Yugoslavia(1918-1991)) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 26, 1953

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.