IVO MASINA

(Preko on the island of Uljan, 1927 - Stara Gradiska prison, 1961)

My dear Mother,

Ivo Masina (portrait by Joja Ricov from 1952)I m writing a joyous letter for Christmas to you. Don't cry because I am not there to decorate the Christmas tree and set up the Nativity scene with Davor. Here, in my heart I have made a big, golden Christmas tree and the crib for Little Jesus.

The Just One will come into the heart of the just because he said so.

All the bells in my tissues ring, my soul is a singing nightingale in the bushes. Thank you my dearest mother for this feeling which surpasses all the feelings. Thank You and the Grace. Because there is no more noble idea than the idea of love.

Here, Love is being born into the world, here Love is being born into me.

What harm can my enemy do to me when I love him?

For my yoke is easy and my burden light, so light that I don't even feel it in any other way but as happiness. So how can you be sad because of your son? Rejoce with me because it was written: I will turn your mourning into joy, your sighs into joyous shouts, your tears into laughter.

Preko, island of Uljan

I'm here in the dining room, next to the Christams tree and I'm singing. The tree lights are burning and their reflection shines in your eyes. The light of Christ is burning in us. The dark was dispersed by the torch of love, because God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to Earth to suffer and die. Is there a greater example of love, can a human imagination create a similar example? The example of Christ shines like a lighthouse before us. Let us love so that tonight we can be happy in the presence of our Lord in full obedience to God's command. And let His mercy rest upon us. Having the two of those – Love and Mercy - we are rich enough and we ask for nothing else.

Rejoice dearest mother for this Christmas and don't cry because I'm not there to decorate the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene with Davor. Here, in my heart, I have made a big, golden Christmas tree and the crib, waiting for Little Jesus.

The Just One will come into the heart of the just because he said so.

Your Ivo


in Croatian


Ivo Masina, born in small town of Preko on the beautiful island of Ugljan in 1927, was a young historian, for who academician Jaroslav Sidak predicted to become his successor at the University of Zagreb. The above letter was sent to his mother in 1954, from the infamous prison in Djordjiceva street in the centre of Zagreb. Savagely killed (strangled) in the Stara Gradiska prison in 1961, at the age of 33.

He the most gifted student of history at the University of Zagreb in his generation, and his professors predicted him a brilliant career. However, the same day when he had to have his diploma exam, the police arrested him, thus preventing him to finish his studies. The same occured on another two occasions, showing that police deliberatly prevented him to approach the final exam each time, and Ivo Masin never had opportunity to officially finish his studies. Personal information by prof. Joja Ricov.

Many thanks to Ivica Relkovic for contributing the above letter. Translated from Croatian by Antonija Pavic.


There exists a literary monograph devoted to Ivo Masina written by a Croatian writer Joja Ricov: Ivo Masina - pitate me - tko je to? (Ivo Masina - you ask me - who was he?) Lumin, 1994, Zagreb. Joja Ricov was born in the fishing town of Kali on the island of Uljan, near Preko - Ivo Masina's birthplace. We also mention the book - Ivo Mašina: Uskrsna zvona (pisma), 1945. - 1961., issued in Preko, 1994.


Monument of Ivo Masina in his birthplace Preko on the island of Ugljan
near the city Zadar

Another monograph devoted to this little known martyr is Ivo Masina, Krscanski borac za slobodnu i pravednu Hrvatsku, Braca hrvatskog zmaja, Zmajski stol u Zadru, ed. Bernardin Skunca OFM, Zadar, 2002.


The grave of Ivo Masina near the Franciscan Convent 
on the islet of Galevac, Preko

Another important monograph containing authentic testimonies related to Ivo Masina was written by [Hrvoje Kačić, Dubrovačke žrtve / Jugokomunistički teror na hrvatskom jugu 1944. i poratnim godinama]. A special chapter in this book is devoted to Ivo Masina:  XII. Dike Dubrovnika: Ivo Mašina i Boris Krasovac / protivnici svakog totalitarizma i borci protiv svakog zločina.

  • XII. Dike Dubrovnika: Ivo Mašina i Boris Krasovac / protivnici svakog totalitarizma i borci protiv svakog zločina
Finally, there is a very extensive and detailed presentation of the Zadarska smotra journal, dedicated exclusively to Ivo Mašina, which has 985 pp. (zahvaljujem g. Davoru Klarinu na informaciji i darovanoj knjigi):
  • Zadarska smotra, časopis za kulturu, znanost i umjetnost, Godina XLIV, br. 4-6. 2000. (985 pp.)


My special gratitude goes to prof. Joja Ricov and to dr. Hrvoje Kačić, for their first information dealing with Ivo Mašina. Also many thanks to mr. Davor Klarin for his information about Zadarska smotra from 2000., dedicated to Ivo Mašina and for donated issue.