Storie dalla Slovenia

ZORA JANŽEKOVIČ, UNA VITA PER LA MEDICINA 

Chi era o meglio cos’era Zora Janžekovic? Un chirurgo plastico sloveno (nessuna forma femminile) specializzato nel trattamento delle ustioni. Zora fu una grande star mondiale della scienza medica. Tuttavia, in Slovenia, è ancora trascurata, sebbene il suo nome e la sua foto siano stati inseriti nei libri di testo di tutto il mondo. Zora era laboriosa, molto fantasiosa e perseverante.

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Da bambina osservava un medico locale al lavoro e ciò fece nascere in lei l’interesse per la medicina tanto da voler diventare lei stessa un medico – una scelta piuttosto insolita per una ragazza ai tempi in cui la medicina era ancora dominata dagli uomini. Studiò medicina all’Università di Zagabria. Durante i suoi studi si innamorò di un compagno di studi ucraino ed entrambi lavorarono nell’ospedale di Varaždin durante la seconda guerra mondiale, dove Zora acquisì molta esperienza. Poi trascorse diversi anni in attesa di un posto di tirocinante nel dipartimento di chirurgia plastica presso il Centro clinico universitario di Lubiana. Sebbene fosse una giovane dottoressa molto impegnata, non riuscì ad evitare di essere disprezzata dai suoi colleghi maschi. Come in molti paesi europei la professione di chirurgo era considerata troppo stressante per le donne e quindi per loro non accessibile. Zora resistette e sviluppò un metodo di trattamento immediato delle ferite da ustione tagliando il tessuto morto e coprendolo con la pelle del paziente. Fu una grande svolta nella chirurgia plastica. Ma ancora una volta, essendo una dottoressa, lavorando in un piccolo ospedale di Maribor con pochi fondi a sua disposizione e soprattutto dietro la cortina di ferro, Zora Janžekovic dovette lottare contro molti stereotipi. Era difficile cambiare la mentalità e le menti indottrinate dei suoi colleghi. Fondamentale per il suo riconoscimento professionale e scientifico fu un congresso di chirurgia plastica a Lubiana nel 1968 dove presentò il suo metodo (1335 pazienti, trattamento ben documentato con foto e filmati). Da quel momento in poi i chirurghi di tutto il mondo vennero a Maribor per imparare da lei. Diventò un’icona mondiale nella sua specialità (ma anche un mostro, difficile lavorare con lei, la pazza della Jugoslavia, ecc.) sostenendo che le ferite da ustione vengono contaminate da un trattamento inappropriato e non dall’ambiente. Creò e fondò un reparto di chirurgia plastica nel suo ospedale e in età avanzata una Fondazione per studenti di medicina originari di Slovenska Bistrica. Ridusse drasticamente i casi di contaminazione e venne annoverata tra i 25 medici più influenti al mondo. Nonostante questo, in Slovenia è ancora sconosciuta. 

Letteratura e bibliografia 

Janžekovič, Zora. 2008. Once upon a Time … How West Discovered East. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 61 (3): 240– 244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjps.2008.01.001

Veljko Vlaisavljević. (ur.) “Zora Janžekovič”. Poglavje v knjigi Osebnosti slovenske medicine MatTv Maribor, 2011

ANGELA VODE

Angela Vode (1892-1985) nacque  in una povera famiglia operaia. Il suo nome è stato uno dei nomi più nascosti dopo la seconda guerra mondiale. Prima della guerra era un’educatrice (le donne potevano essere solo insegnanti o mogli), leader di movimenti femminili e politica di sinistra. Ha pubblicato diversi libri tra cui il più noto è Gender and Fate.

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Fu uno dei primi membri del Partito Comunista quando questo era ancora segreto nel 1940. A causa della sua forte opposizione al Patto Stalin-Ribbentrop fu esclusa dal partito. Nel cosiddetto Processo di Nagode del 1947 Angela Vode fu accusata di essere una spia, nemica della classe operaia e sul libro paga dei governi stranieri. Condannata a 20 anni di reclusione fu rilasciata nel 1953 a causa delle sue condizioni di salute. Fino alla sua morte nel 1985 conducesse una vita dimenticata, isolata, lontana dagli occhi dell’opinione pubblica, senza diritto al lavoro, all’assicurazione sociale e sanitaria, ma seguendo e analizzando gli sviluppi politici, rimanendo critica nei confronti dei suoi ex “compagni”. Negli anni ’70 volle rivedere la sua vita e gli sviluppi sociali. Dopo la sua morte il manoscritto venne nascosto in modo sicuro per essere pubblicato solo molto più tardi nel 2004 dal titolo Hidden Memory. Il libro tratta ei movimenti femministi e rivoluzionari prima della seconda guerra mondiale.

Angela Vode venne cresciuta come era normale per le ragazze nell’allora impero austro-ungarico (per diventare insegnanti o mogli!). Una volta sposate, le donne erano costrette (per legge) a rinunciare al loro lavoro di insegnante. Perché si pensava che le insegnanti donne sposate fossero un modello cattivo e immorale per le ragazze? Angela lavorò come insegnante fino al 1917, quando venne licenziata per essere membro di un movimento giovanile anti-austriaco. studiò poi educazione speciale a Praga, Berlino e Vienna per diventare insegnante di bambini con disabilità.

Scrisse Women in Contemporary Society in cui ammetteva le differenze naturali tra uomini e donne, ma richiedeva l’uguaglianza sociale di genere. Vode ha esortato le donne a conoscere il passato e la società per migliorare la loro posizione sociale. Sosteneva che un matrimonio sano si sarebbe dovuto basare sull’amore, l’amicizia, il rispetto reciproco, la comprensione ma anche l’indipendenza economica. Diceva che “… le donne sono una parte organica della società umana, della nazione, dello stato e della famiglia proprio come gli uomini essendo ugualmente dipendenti dagli sviluppi politici, economici e culturali”. Ha anche sottolineato come una richiesta di partecipazione delle donne alla vita pubblica fosse legittima.

Letteratura e bibliografia 

Vode, Angela (1998) Spol in upor. Zbrana dela Angele Vode ( Eng.Gender and Resistance) 

Vode, Angela (2004) Skriti spomin. Ljubljana : Nova revija (Eng. The Hidden Memory) Wiess, Maja : Skriti spomin (film) Alenka Puhar about Angela Vode https://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/razlicni-prispevki/31638842?jwsource=cl

Gerda Taro
1910 - 1937

Pioneer of war photography
Gerda Taro, nee Gerta Pohorylle, was born in Stuttgart and educated in Leipzig, Germany. As she is from a Jewish family, she flees from the Nazis to Paris in 1933. There she lives a bohemian lifestyle with her friend Ruth Cerf and eventually meets Endre Ernő Friedmann, better known today as Robert Capa. Together, they start documenting the Spanish Civil War in 1935, after Gerda had invented their alter egos in order to better sell Endre's and her own pictures. Inspired by their own political convictions, they only take pictures of the the fight of the republican troops against the rebellious franquist troops. Both of them try to be as close to the action as possible - a goal which eventually led to Gerda's death. Despite the fact that her pictures only cover 1 year of the war, her pictures are those that went around the world. Together with Robert Capa and with David Seymour, she developed modern war photography as we know it today during this short period of time. Since she officially was Capa's agent and he sold many of her pictures as his own, it took until the 2000s until people began to recognize her as an artist in her own right rather than only his partner: In 2007, the so-called Mexican Suitcase was found in Mexico City, a suitcase containing thousands of negatives believed lost by Capa, Taro and Seymour. Since then, many photographs originally attributed to Capa are known to have been taken by Gerda. However, during her short life, Taro was well known and when she was killed in 1937 by a tank, - she was only 26 - thousands of people attended her funeral in Paris. The funeral procession, led by Pablo Neruda and Louis Aragon, became a demonstration against fascism.

Marie-Claire Chevalier
1955 - 2022

The one whose trial for illegal abortion changed the law against abortion in France
In 1971, Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 years old when she became pregnant after being raped by a boy two years older than her in high school. The young woman asked her mother to help her have an abortion. The mother turned to an underground doctor, but her daughter suffered a hemorrhage that forced her to the hospital. Her rapist, arrested for stealing a car, decides to turn her in against his own freedom. She is directly accused, as are four other women, including her mother, because in 1971 the voluntary termination of a pregnancy was illegal in France and punishable by six months to two years in prison. She was then convicted at the Bobigny trial and all were defended by lawyer Gisèle Halimi. Gisèle Halimi made of this trial and of Marie-Claire Chevalier a political symbol for the right to abortion. The case will forever mark French history and symbolize real progress for women's rights. Extremely mediatized, the trial closely followed by many personalities ends on a brilliant victory. Three years later this judgement, things started to move. This event contributed to the adoption of the Veil law and the legalization of abortion in France in 1975.

Having suffered greatly from this trial, she attempted suicide. Then, she chose to return to anonymity by changing her name. At her death, she received tributes from the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron and feminist associations.

Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very talented and ready to share her ideas and stories with the world. But, that´s where she bumped into a big obstacle. At the beginning of the XX century being a female writer was seen as immoral work, especially for an educator. If she had risked meeting her goals, she could have lost her teaching job. She found a solution to this problem in her marriage by publishing her works under her husband's name. So, she was writing and waiting at home and he was the one receiving praise and applause at the premiers of the plays. Before dying, her husband confirmed the rumours circulating in theatre circles that she was the true author of his works.
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Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very talented and ready to share her ideas and stories with the world. But, that´s where she bumped into a big obstacle. At the beginning of the XX century being a female writer was seen as immoral work, especially for an educator. If she had risked meeting her goals, she could have lost her teaching job. She found a solution to this problem in her marriage by publishing her works under her husband's name. So, she was writing and waiting at home and he was the one receiving praise and applause at the premiers of the plays. Before dying, her husband confirmed the rumours circulating in theatre circles that she was the true author of his works.
continue reading

Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very...
continue reading