Ivan Goran Kovačić
pjesnikIvan Goran Kova?i? (1913-1943) was one of the greatest Croatian writers of the 20th century. He was born in Lukovdol, a town in Gorski Kotar, a mountainous region of western Croatia, and his middle name Goran stems from that.

During World War II, he joined the Partisan forces, as did the poet Vladimir Nazor in 1942.

His most famous work is Jama (The Pit), which ranks among the greatest Croatian poems ever written. He penned it during the war, while in service near the city of Livno. The poem was written out of intellectual and ethical responsibility that condemns fascist atrocities done by the Ustase and Chetnik forces. Ivan Goran Kovacic was killed by Chetnik forces in an east-bosnian village of Vrbica near Fo?a (On July 13, 1943).

The work is a great example of anti-war poetry. Its message against torture, mass murders and war crimes is universal, and it should be translated to every language. Jama was studied in elementary school all over Communist Yugoslavia. Many schools in Croatia bare his name.

Curiosity: the poem praises Zion as the "place from which light comes", which is an obvious opposition to extermination policy against Jews of Ustashe regime of the time. (Another controversy is that use of Zion here is probably a Biblical metaphor, but the poem was still supported and taught by Communist regime throughout four decades in schools.)