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Viktor Brenko
Memories
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Hrvatski

Viktor Brenko Traces his Roots to Istria

brenko.jpg (6948 bytes)Viktor Brenko, who has been living in the Russian city of Novgorod near Sankt Petersburg, has at the age of 73 managed to trace close relatives in Istria and the birthplace of his father. His now deceased father Mate had left the Pazin area at the start of WW I and no one had ever heard anything about him since. He was not allowed to return home and had died in Russia, but his son has finally managed to fulfil the promise he made to his father. 

His father was a prisoner between 1915 and 1978. A total of 58 years in captivity! First as a POW and then a Russian detainee, as he could not leave Russia. He was not provided with the necessary documents. However in 1940 all the documents were secured and the family could set off, but then WW II began. We remained in Russia's Smoljen region near until 1946. Father filed for documents once again. We sold our last cow to pay for the trip to Moscow. But then the discussion between Tito and Stalin took place. Stalin tried to force Tito to build Yugoslavia in the image of the Soviet Union a dictate Tito disobeyed. Stalin told his father not to show his face again. 

Mate Brenko died in 1973 at the age of 80 and was buried in the Smoljen region. Viktor's father while he was alive told him to go visit the place where he was born. Viktor had found the Croatian Embassy in Moscow some 10 years ago and asked of the officials to help him trace his father's homeland. Together with the officials Brenko searched the map and found Pazin and the area some 100 kilometres from Trieste where his father told him was the place he originated from. Some 10 days later the Croatian Embassy officials phoned him with the address of his relatives. Viktor found them all, a total of four first cousins and an older sister who remembers their father. This was crucial! The next day I phoned Croatia and I got through, says Brenko. 

This is Brenko's second visit to Croatia. A year ago he arrived for a short stay, but a month ago he came over at the invitation of his cousin Stanko. We shot this report just a night before Viktor was to head off for Russia by train. Viktor had only praise for the way he had been treated at his cousins' homes: he stayed with Jolanda, Dita and also met with Rikardo, then Lidija's son etc. We need to have feelings in our soul, says Viktor, and sometimes we forget about our roots, our blood. Viktor says he is even ready to remain in Croatia and to be buried there, this being his wish, since his father could not have it granted. Brenko had a wife and two sons in Russia. He says he will come back for a visit as soon as he can. He is happy that he had fulfilled the promise he had given to his father and traced his relatives and in a way symbolically closed a circle of life.

Source:

  • Croatian RadioTelevisions / Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT Web), Croats around the World / Hrvati u svijetu - Viktor Brenko © All rights reserved - . http://www.hrt.hr/arhiv/hrvati_u_svijetu/izbor_iz_emisija/05-2000/viktor_brenko_eng.html (English) & http://www.hrt.hr/arhiv/hrvati_u_svijetu/izbor_iz_emisija/05-2000/viktor_brenko.html (Hrvatski).

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Created: Wednesday, June 19, 2002; Last Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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