In Memoriam Dr. Slobodan Lang

Prof. dr. sc. Slobodan Lang 1945 - 2016

Prof. dr. sc. Slobodan Lang
1945 – 2016

 

 

“…Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved…

Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H., 1849.

There are times in human life when writing In Memoriam about the life of a person who has just passed away seems like a task that can never be finished because there are so very many good things in that departed heart and mind yielding the task of writing them down almost inexhaustible. On 23 February 2016 Dr. Slobodan Lang passed away and his passing has left many almost paralysed with grief – I am one of those. Dr. Lang was one of Croatia’s shiniest sons in all respects of the good that humanity could ever muster. He was decorated several times with medals of honour for his bravery, humanitarian work and battles for freedom and democracy. Dr. Slobodan Lang was my friend and my rock for freedom and democracy for Croatia. I already miss and will miss our frequent talks and chats so deeply. I hold it so proudly to have had his contributions to this blog: “Croatia, the War, and the Future”.

Dr. Slobodan Lang 2013 launching book of records for "White Path"/Bijeli Put in Croatian humanitarian aid action in 1993

Dr. Slobodan Lang 2013
launching book of records
for “White Path”/Bijeli Put in Croatian
humanitarian aid action in 1993

Dr. Slobodan Lang was born to a prominent Croatian Jewish family in Zagreb in October 1945. He believed himself to be a Croat Jew and believed in Jesus Christ, saying often that Jesus Christ had appeared to him several times. His father was prominent Croatian university professor Rikard Lang and his mother was from the notable Sorkocevic family of Dubrovnik. Lang’s paternal grandfather Ignjat Lang was president of the Jewish community Vinkovci, Croatia, and his grandmother Terezija was a housewife. In 1941, Catholic priest Hijacint Boskovic, distinguished Dubrovnik and Croatian Dominican, was engaged in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the Langs from Nazi persecution. Boskovic traveled from Dubrovnik to Vinkovci with a special permit that allowed him to relocate the Langs to Dubrovnik. Langs grandfather refused to leave, saying that he “was the president of Jews in peace and he will stay one in the war“. Both of his grandparents were killed at the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia during the Holocaust.

Dr Slobodan Lang and his wife Nada 2006 Photo: blog.dnevnik.hr

Dr Slobodan Lang and his wife Nada
2006
Photo: blog.dnevnik.hr

Dr Slobodan Lang attended his schooling in post-WWII Zagreb and thereafter studied at and graduated Medicine from the University of Zagreb. In his professional lifetime Dr. Lang was one of the world’s outstanding specialists in Social Medicine. He was a fellow professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb, lectured as university professor at the School of National Health “Andrija Stampar” at the Faculty of Medicine in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and was a guest professor at the U.S. Harvard University (in 1993 the first professional collaborator at the Centre for Human Rights and public Health at Harvard) and visiting professor at School of Health in Boston U.S.A. (1985-1986). He was a member of the British Royal Society for Public Health. He was the co-author of more than 200 scientific articles and reviews as well as author and co-author of several books. He was on the Advisory Council of the Harvard Human Rights and Public Health Journal and member of editorial board for the Croatian Medical Journal and editor-in-chief of Croatian Public Health Medicine Journal.

Dr, Solobodan Lang at International Public Health Summer School held in Zagreb Croatia 2001

Dr, Solobodan Lang
at International Public Health
Summer School held in Zagreb Croatia 2001

Dr. Lang’s public life began while he was still attending secondary school and university in Zagreb and had successfully served the public in many high and responsible positions for more than 40 years after graduating medicine. Prof. dr. sc. Lang was a special adviser to Croatia’s first president Dr. Franjo Tudjman on humanitarian affairs between 1993 and 2000. He was a representative in the Croatian Parliament, he was an Ambassador with the Croatian foreign affairs, he was the leader of the Croatian delegation with the Inter-parliamentary union and member of European Council. During the wars in 1990’s on the former Yugoslavia territory he acted with special attention and determination in doing good for people who suffered from aggression. He placed his hard work, his reputation and above all his generous courage to the task of saving lives and helping those in greatest danger. The foundations of his actions were the spreading of knowledge, linking professionals on the ground to help and attempting to create “effective knowledge” everywhere.

Dr. Slobodan Lang (Left) and Dr. Franjo Tudjman President of Croatia, 1991

Dr. Slobodan Lang (Left) and
Dr. Franjo Tudjman
President of Croatia, 1991

Having decided to act for the good of those that suffered at any cost and in the most difficult of war circumstances Dr. Lang co-organised the so-called “Libertas” convoy to bring humanitarian aid to Dubrovnik during the ferocious 1991 siege of the city by Serb aggressor; he protected war prisoners in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1991-1995 by organizing care and protection of Bosnian refugees in their hundreds of thousands who fled Serb aggressor and came to war-torn Croatia. In late 1993 he organised and led one of the largest and boldest humanitarian aid operations in European history: the so-called “White Path” lives-saving action for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia/Bosna Srebrena (Bosnia and Herzegovina) aimed at helping Croats (multitudes of whom had been massacred or ethnically cleansed from the area) and all other suffering peoples of Central Bosnia. He organised and carried out many other humanitarian aid actions during the war in Croatia.

 

 

Dr. Slobodan Lang's "White Path" humanitarian aid convoy to Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia makes its way through treacherous Bosnian terrain - 1993

Dr. Slobodan Lang’s
“White Path” humanitarian aid convoy
to Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia
makes its way through treacherous Bosnian terrain – 1993

 

 

In 2012, Lang criticised the statements of Croatian President Ivo Josipovic when the latter addressed the Israeli Knesset on February 2012 and apologized for the crimes committed against the Jews in Croatia during World War II. Lang accused Josipovic of left wing Antisemitism and of insulting Croats, Jews and Franjo Tuđman for not recognising the communist crimes of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against the Croats and Jews. Lang stated: “Josipovic spoke in the Knesset without truth, justice, accountability and good for Croatia, Israel and the world. President Ivo Josipovic was supposed to deliver a speech in Israel about the two small nations who have shown that there are no small nations. Members of the Knesset should have heard about the pride of Croats from the man whom the Croatian people entrusted to speak about the truth and good, to present the Croatian experience of suffering, trials, persecutions and slander, with the aim of joint efforts for the good of our peoples and for the good of all mankind.”

Dr. Slobodan Land handed out roses in Zagreb to the women of Vukovar, victims of war crime of rape and their supporters. (With Dr. Lang - Marija Sliskovic Croatia’s tireless activist for the rights of women victims of rape by Serb aggressor in Croatia 1990’s) Photo: Screenshot Vecernji List 8.3.2012

Dr. Slobodan Land handed out roses
in Zagreb to the women of Vukovar,
victims of war crime of rape
and their supporters.
(With Dr. Lang – Marija Sliskovic
Croatia’s tireless activist for
the rights of women
victims of rape by Serb aggressor in Croatia 1990’s)
Photo: Screenshot Vecernji List 8.3.2012

There were many stations in the life of Dr. Slobodan Lang at which, because of his personal decision to make a difference in life, many human lives have been saved. The founding of the Croatian Network of Healthy Cities, the mine Old Square at Kosovo, Convoy Libertas to Dobrovnik, prisoner of war camps, convoys of love and peace, the building of Nova Bila hospital, action Save Lives After Military Operation Storm in Croatia, the return to Cazin area, founding of the Faculty of Medicine in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, advocating for the Hague prisoners, traveling exhibition Wounded Jesus, dedication to public health throughout his adult life, etc. Through all these and many more activities the power of the Good was mobilised and people who suffered terribly, who were humiliated and whose lives were at risk – were helped. Dr. Slobodan Lang made an unforgettable difference for the good of the human race. Rest in peace – great man! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Convoy "Libertas" with humanitarian aid arrived in port of Dubrovnik 31st October 1991 returning hope for peace and the removal  of the blockade by Serb aggressor to the exhausted, tortured and hungry people of Dubrovnik under enemy siege Photo: portaloko.hr

Convoy “Libertas” with humanitarian aid
arrived in port of Dubrovnik 31st October 1991
returning hope for peace
and the removal
of the blockade by Serb aggressor
to the exhausted, tortured and hungry people
of Dubrovnik under enemy siege
Photo: portaloko.hr

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

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  2. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind.

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  3. A true loss to the Country as well as his Family and Friends.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

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  4. I am very sorry your loss and the sorrow of Croatia.

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  5. Zezevice says:

    Croatia has lost a man of undeniable knowledge and ideas. Would have made a great President or Prime Minister if it were not for people who were only looking after their own interests.

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  6. Dearest Ina.. I join in your sorrow and that of Croatia in reading about this extraordinary man, whose compassion and energy joined to help bring awareness and wisdom to each project he touched in public life..
    Many thanks for sharing such a wonderful Tribute… He will be sadly missed by many…

    Like

  7. Great post and sounds like a great man in his own time had to be posted on newsroom ..Ian http://wp.me/p4NkMr-eV

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  8. A great light in life and death. His legacy lives on. His inspiration forever ingrained on the Croatian consciousness. Unfortunately I did not meet him in person, but am humbled by his works. I am sure it was an honour to know him. God bless and rest in peace.

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  9. Thank you for doing justice to someone who spent his whole life spreading good and doing his best to make the world the excellent place that God means it to be. I feel what this loss means to you and I know that what he stood for and accomplished will continue for, a long time, to be a source of inspiration to you and many others who knew him or have read about him.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    WE GRIEVE WITH THEM!

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  11. Dear Ina you have penned a lovely tribute to your friend and a great man who tirelessly worked for the good of Croatia. So sorry for your loss. Hugs xx

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  12. therealamericro says:

    Big mind, big patriotic heart. Too bad that ass Matesa made his bizarre comments at his memorial.

    Like

  13. Thank you for this tribute, Ina. It must have been difficult to write – it was difficult for me, so far removed from Dr. Slobodan Lang personally, to even accept the news. It is shattering to know that another great person, with such a big, caring, patriotic heart, has passed without seeing the Croatia they dreamed of truly become a reality.

    Thank you for having Dr. Lang contribute to your blog. It was through here that I got to know of him and his work. I hope that many, many more people will know of him and be inspired.

    Like

  14. WOW! Should we all have such a legacy to leave this earth! He lived well ~ grace be to him.

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  15. Such a moving tribute to this man!

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  16. cary neil pollack says:

    I met Dan in 1995. We were trying to by a company in Croatia-Maraska. We became fast friends over the next several years. While no purchase was ever made after 5 trips to Croatia from NYC, I did get to meet this extraordinary gentleman. That was a great experience. The more I got to know Dan, the more I came to like and respect him. We talked about many things. As he got to know me better Dan understood that I had the ability to introduce him to major Jewish influencers in the United States. He always commented that small nations need as many friends as they could get. We both decided that he was to come to NYC and meet with Jewish “movers and shakers” who could help move Israel closer to Croatia in terms of establishing diplomatic relations. Dan stayed over my house for 3 days. The meetings that I was able to arrange were educational and served as an impetus for Dan’s asking me to do something that as an ex-Wall St. businessman was a bit unusual. As we drove back to my house I summarized each of the 3 meetings we had. By the time we arrived at my house, an hour outside the city, Dan requested that I write those summaries down, point by point, in my own handwriting, and that he would present my summary to President Tudman. Dan brought the letter to the President. Weekly, I would phone Dan and ask him what the President said. He said, “I gave your letter to my President and I can’t bug him. He knows where to get me if he wants to see me.” I was very excited to see something materialize from our efforts. Some months later as I was reading The New York Times I saw an article on Croatia and Israel establishing formal diplomatic relations with each other. Dan called me and expressly said that my letter helped move Mr. Tudman to make certain statements that enabled the two small nations to get together. Every small nation needs all the friends they can get. We helped make that possible. Rest in Peace, my dear friend and may your memory be a blessing to you and to all who knew you. Cary Neil Pollack caryneilpollack@gmail.com

    Like

    • Thank you for this Cary – Dan was a great and compassionate human being, I miss his wisdom and frequent chats we used to have. Good to know regarding the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel
      Cheers and be well

      Like

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