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Alfred Pal
File:Alfred Pal.jpg
Born (1920-11-30)30 November 1920
Vienna, Austria
Died 30 June 2010(2010-06-30) (aged 89)
Zagreb, Croatia
Nationality Croat
Occupation Painter, graphic designer

Alfred Pal (30 November 1920 – 30 June 2010) was Croatian painter and graphic designer.[1]

Early life and education

Pal was born in Vienna on November 30, 1920 to a Jewish[2][3][4] family of Stefan and Therese (née Deutsch) Pal. His father owned small chemical factory in Vienna. With the decay of Austro-Hungarian Empire his father moved his family to Poland, where he opened a new factory of chemical products "Purus" near Krakow in 1921. Pal had an older brother, Aleksandar.[1] In 1923 his parents divorced. Pal and his brother remained living with their father in Krakow, while their mother moved to Berlin. She would often visit their sons. German governess from Katowice, Margareta "Greta" Petruschke took care of Pal and his brother. In 1926 Pal and his brother began attending the private German elementary school in Grodska street, Krakow. In 1929, in front of great depression, Pal father sold his factory and moved back to Vienna to live in three bedroom apartment with his sons. At that time Pal and his brother for the first time visited their father sisters, Judita in Vukovar, and Gisela in Čakovci. Pal brothers continued their education in Vienna. With their father constantly on the road as a traveling salesman, housemaid Margareta took care of Pal brothers. In 1930 Pal finished the elementary school in Vienna. That same year he enrolled in high school, where for the first time he started drawing under professors Wimmer and Eisler. In 1931 Pal father died while traveling for Krakow, where he was subsequently buried. After that Pal and his brother moved to Vukovar, where they lived with their aunt Judita and rest of their father's numerous family. In 1932 Pal began to attend the high school in Vukovar, where his professor was Marijan Detoni. During his high school education, Pal often traveled to Čakovci where he helped his aunt Gisela. During the summer Pal earned his pocket money by drawing caricatures across the Adriatic beaches, from Sušak to Dubrovnik. He also paid for his high school tuition by teaching German and mathematics. Pal's mother escaped Berlin because of antisemitism, and returned to Vienna. In 1938 because of the Anschluss she had to flee again, but this time without valid documents. At the beginning of 1940 she managed to enter the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and see their sons for the first time after 13 years. Pal graduated from high school in 1940, and that same year he enrolled at the Study of Architecture in Belgrade, but because of the numerus clausus he was sent on hold.[5]

World War II, later life and career

In 1941 with the invasion of Yugoslavia, Pal, his brother and their aunt Judita hide from the German army at their aunt Gisela estate in Čakovci. Winter of 1941/42 was the last winter they would spend together. From all surrounding areas, Vukovar, Vinkovci and Ilok, Jews from 14 to 60 years of age, were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. In 1942 Pal's aunt Gisela had a stroke, and aunt Judita severe hip fracture, which left them both immovable. Pal's mother was arrested in Nova Gradiška by Yugoslav police, and was then taken by Ustaše to concentration camp in Đakovo where she had survived typhus. Later she was taken to Loborgrad camp in Hrvatsko Zagorje, where she was killed in August, 1942. In the summer of 1942, Pal and his brother decided to escape the Nazi and Ustaše persecution. His brother swim across the Dunav near Opatovac to Hungary, never to be seen again. While Pal managed to reach Crikvenica, which was then under occupation by Italian Fascist, with the self made pass. In Crikvenica, for living, Pal draw caricatures of local villagers, visitors and Italian soldiers. On November 10, 1942 Pal was taken to camp in Kraljevica and later to Rab concentration camp. After the capitulation of Italy and the liberation of the camp, Pal joined the Partisans as the member of Jewish Rab battalion. In the Partisans he became a member of the war editorial board of ZAVNOH newspaper Vjesnik.[5] After the war Pal returned to Vukovar to find out that all his family has perished during the Holocaust, except his cousin Heda Sinberger who survived the Auschwitz.[5][6] Pal aunts Judita and Gisela, and his brother Aleksandar were all killed in the concentration camps. In 1945 Pal moved to Zagreb, where he became technical editor of weekly "Ilustrirani Vjesnik". Pal is one of the founders of satirical newspaper "Kerempuh", in 1945. From 1947 to 1949 Pal worked as an editor of "Kerempuh". Pal was also the victim of the Yugoslav Cominform, and was imprisoned on several occasions in prison and labor camp Goli otok, from 1949 to 1950, and again from 1951 to 1954. In 1954/55 he begin to translate the books from German and edit graphic design for publishers in Zagreb. Pal continues to suffer discrimination, with no travel documents and under surveillance by UDBA. Since 1970 to 1984, Pal worked as an art editor at the publishing institute of Matica Hrvatska, and since 1985 he worked as independent artist. Pal was also socially engaged, he is the member of the Croatian Association of Artists of Applied Arts and one of the initiators and founders of Zgraf, the prestigious exhibition of graphic design.[5] In 1991, during Croatian War of Independence, Pal made the first Croatian stand at Frankfurt, and printed the shocking poster "Help Croatia.".[7]


Pal worked on graphic design from the very beginnings, practically on medieval hand carved wood graphics during the war. He was a master of book graphic design, in his long career he equipped a number of books from various libraries. Pal was the author of numerous posters, which he made worked various clients such as; Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Gavella Drama Theatre, Modern Gallery, Zagreb and others. As a painter, Pal had twelve solo exhibitions; in Zagreb (1961, 1964, 1969, 1982, 1989, 1999, 2001), Vukovar (1965, 1984), Rijeka (1966), Karlovac (1971) and Dubrovnik (1985).[5] His painting was on the line of gestural abstraction and sarcastic fiction.[8] Pal used encaustic technique in his painting, with which he got the surprising effects.[5]


In 2010, Pal received the Vladimir Nazor Award for lifetime achievement in the category of fine and applied arts.[9][10] That same year, he also received the city of Zagreb award for lifetime achievement.[11]

Personal life

Pal was married to medical technician Branislava (née Žuvela) Pal, whom he meet in 1960. They married in 1962. Pal had two children, first born daughter Aleksandra (Saša) was named after Pal late brother, and son Petar Samuel was named after his grandfathers.[5] Pal was longtime member of the Jewish community in Zagreb. He died on June 30, 2010 in Zagreb and was buried at the Mirogoj Cemetery.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 (Croatian) Čadež, Tomislav. "Alfred Pal: Preživio holokaust, dvaput bio na Golom otoku, a onda radio najljepše hrvatske knjige". Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  2. Snješka Knežević (2011, p. 96)
  3. Ognjen Kraus (1998, p. 239)
  4. "Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database: Alfred Pal". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Jelena Hekman (2004, pp. 197)
  6. "USC Shoah Foundation Institute testimony of Heda Sinberger". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  7. (Croatian) Popović, Nenad (2011-09-08). "Židovska mapa Hrvatske". Nacional. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  8. (Croatian) "Otvorenje izložbe Alfreda Pala: Gorući grm". 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  9. (Croatian) Piteša, Adriana (2010-05-31). "Solaru i Palu Nazorova nagrada". Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  10. (Croatian) Weiss, Ljubo Ruben (2010-07-05). "Kruna dobra imena za Alfreda Pala". Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  11. (Croatian) Kovačević, Jelena (2010-05-31). "Nagrada grada Zagreba posthumno i Vici Vukovu". Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  12. (Croatian) Gradska groblja Zagreb: Alfred Pal, Mirogoj RKT-118-II-246


  • Snješka Knežević, Aleksander Laslo (2011). Židovski Zagreb. Zagreb: AGM, Židovska općina Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-174-393-8. 
  • Kraus, Ognjen (1998). Dva stoljeća povijesti i kulture Židova u Zagrebu i Hrvatskoj. Zagreb: Židovska općina Zagreb. ISBN 953-96836-2-9. 
  • Jelena Hekman, Tonko Maroević (2004). Stratišta i po koje stablo. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. ISBN 953-150-720-1. 

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