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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art



ZAGREB


1941: In Yugoslavia, prince regent Paul is forced to retire by a military revolt. Hitler takes this occasion to invade Yugoslavia. By German and Italian support, an independent authoritarian-fascistic state Croatia comes into being under the command of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelić, which includes, by only a few exceptions, the area of the modern Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Working on his late Yugoslavian stamps, Seizinger had his first contacts to Zagreb which became an advantage, when the German Wehrmacht occupied Yugoslavia in April 1941. Once again Seizinger was in the same situation like three years ago in Czechoslovakia. Because he only wanted to realize his artistic dreams and conception, he used the connections to Croatia and went to Zagreb. There, on April 10, 1941, Croatia had declared its independence with support of the German Reich and Italy under the command of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelić (1889-1959). Seizinger was taken in with open arms, because the new state was very proud of engraving its stamps by such a highly reputed engraver like Seizinger.

"Ja se medu vama osjecam dobro i kao kod kuce. Da nisu tako ozbiljna vremena, bilo bi kao u zemlji slarafa."
I feel well among them and like at home. If times would not be so bad, it would be like in "Schlaraffenland"
(= a German fairy tale, something like "fool's paradise")

Karl Seizinger 1943
about his life in Zagreb


KATARINA ZRINSKÁ (1625-1673)
engraved by Karl Seizinger
according to a design
by Ivo Režek (1898-1979)
date of issue: June 7, 1943, MiNr. 103
from the series "Zrinski i Frankopan"


In Zagreb, it lasted two years, until Seizinger stamps were issued for the first time, because there hasn't been any basis for a high quality stamp production. Only when this basis was organized, Seizinger received the order for engraving a small series with portraits of the Croatian noble families "Zrinski" and "Frankopan" by the Croatian postal office. The designs were created by the well-known Croatian painter and professor of arts Ivo Režek, born in 1898 at Varazdin, died in 1979 at Zagreb. The three motifs show on the 1-Kn-stamp Katarina Zrinská (1625-1673, see above), on the 2-Kn-stamp Krsto Frankopan (1643-1671) and on the 3.50-Kn-stamp Petar Zrnski (1621-1671). The aristocrat Petar Zrinksi and the poet Krsto Frankopan were executed because of their resistance against Habsburg monarchy in 1671. The poet Katarina Zrinská was Krsto's sister and Petar's wife. For Croatian philatelists, these issues are important milestones in the history of Craoatian stamps.

Short after starting his work on these engravings, Karl Seizinger gave an extensive interview about his life and work as stamp engraver to the Croatian stamp magazin "Hrvatska filatelistika" in 1943. In this interview he describes and shows the development of a stamp from his very first design until the ready-made stamp by the example of the Zrinski series. The black and white pictures are from this article and show two steps to the Zrinská stamp. In this interview, Seizinger also spoke about his stay in Zagreb and answers on the question, how does he feel among the Croatian philatelists, by the above shown quotation.




Design and development variety of the Zrinská stamp by Karl Seizinger
depicted by courtesy of Tom Mikulić

And it looked as if Seizinger's "Schlaraffenland" would come true. According to common meaning, the engraving of the stamp to the 3rd Philatelistic Exhibition in Zagreb 1943 was the very summit in his artistic development. Many people think this stamp is the best stamp engraving in postal history ever. The stamp can be seen on the title page of this section. It should be mentioned for specialists that the Croatian postal ministry issued an album with this stamp on a maximum card and a commemorative cover, limited on only 15 items and signed by the two artists of this issue - Vladmir Kirin and Karl Seizinger (see below). For his artistic work, Seizinger has got the professor title at Zagreb and because of his successful stamp engravings the Croation authorities entrusted him the engraving of banknotes, too. But these banknotes have never been issued because of break down of the Croatian state. And soon, history will meet him again and destroy his dream of "Schlaraffenland". Already during his work for the Croatian postal authorities he had to make compromises and to arrange with the not loved "Third Reich". Because the technical basis for stamp printing didn't exist in the independent Croatia, his stamps were printed at the Vienna State Printing House - and so in the German Reich, where Austria belonged to. And by this connection to the Vienna State Printing House he finally worked for the Third Reich, too, like shown on the following page.


© Patrice Cadot

But history and political circumstances finally met him much more evil. For after Croatia's break down and re-establishing of Yugoslavia there was no posibility anymore for him to stay in Zagreb. As a German he had to leave the country and lost in this way his complete goods and chattles. Especially for collector it is a very pity that Seizinger also lost his own designs and engravings when leaving Yugoslavia. Therefore he wasn't able to prove enough his abilities and talent when he applied for a new job in Haarlem in 1947, what he also regrets in his letter: "Unfortunately all my works and prints have been left in Yugoslavia, because I lost everything and couldn't take anything with me." Completely without any means, he had - after a short stay in Klagenfurt, Austria - to return to his home town Hildburghausen and to start from there again in the age of 57 years.


Title Page * Introduction * Biography * Personality * Hildburghausen * Helsingfors *
Praha I * Praha II * Praha III * Praha IV * Praha V * Praha VI *
Belgrade * Zagreb * to be continued