Socialist Republic of Slovenia and Autonomous Province of Vojvodina / Slovenia and Serbia
Dr. Ana Kladnik
The post-doc subproject does not contribute only to the overall project research goals of Central and East Central European comparison, but also to the inner Yugoslav comparison between two Yugoslav federal units (and former provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire [A.-H.]): the Socialist Republic of Slovenia and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, during late socialism and during and after the breakup of Yugoslavia. While Slovenia became a new independent country, Vojvodina not just remained a part of Serbia, but also lost its autonomy. On the territory of former Yugoslavia the first VFDs were established in the A.-H. part of the country, inspired by the contemporary social trends in Austria, Bavaria and in Czechia. In nowadays Croatia, the first VFD was established in 1864, just a few years later the first VFD appeared in nowadays Slovenia, and in 1870 in Vojvodina. In nowadays Monte Negro, the first VFD had been established in 1867 in Kotor, after the town came from Venetian into Austrian rule, while and in Bosnia and Herzegovina after A.-H. annexation of the country in 1878. In northern Monte Negro and in southern Serbia, first VFDs had been established only in the Interwar period, while in Kosovo or Macedonia even later, in the 1950s and 1960s.
In socialist Yugoslavia the umbrella organisation of the voluntary firefighters was under the Ministry of Interior. However, in 1988 the organisation came under the Ministry of Defence. In Serbia, the onset of the authoritarian regime of Slobodan Milošević in the late 1980s led to the decline of local VFD while the role of professional firefighters was increased. At the beginning of the 1980s, there were around 700 VFD with 100 000 members in Serbia, while nowadays, there are around 300 VFD with 30 000 members, the majority (225 VFD) of these in Vojvodina. For the project's field study in Serbia, we have chosen the VFD in Bačka Topola, a town of 13.000 in central Vojvodina. This VFD, founded in 1882, is currently one of the most active in the country and it serves as a union for nine VFD in surrounded villages. In Slovenia the number of volunteer firefighters after the democratic changes hasn’t changed much since late socialism (1987: 1.275 VFD, 2000: 1.394 VFD). We have identified the VFD in the town of Domžale in central Slovenia, with its population of 12,000 for the local case study. This VFD originates in 1884 and has been almost continuously in operation since then. Domžale is also a seat of the Domžale firefighter association, connecting twelve VFD in the country side. Both cases will also enable us to research the relationship between volunteerism and nationalism, although under the markedly different conditions of mobilisation for the war in neighbouring Croatia.