Cultural heritage

The width and depth of the Slavonian soul is beautifully reflected in local speech, primarily the original speech of Šokci. They speak (divaniti), slowly with slightly lengthened vocals, melodically. The original Šokci rič (speech) is often of the Ikavian dialect, rich in Turkish loanwords (avlija – courtyard, komšija – neighbour, bunar -well, pendžer – window, rakija – rakia, brandy), German loanwords (bircuz– pub, šlingan – embroidered, jauzna – break-time sandwich), Hungarian loanwords, as well as a lot of specific localisms. In addition, Šokci often swallow the letter h, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the word and say lad (instead of hlad – shade), lače (instead of hlače – trousers), naranit (instead of nahraniti – feed) and odma (instead of odmah – immediately). The original Šokci-speech is, unfortunately, less and less frequently heard, nowadays only among the elderly, so it is crucial to record it in folk art.

n important and protected part of this heritage is the Slavonian bećarac – a humorous, satirical, and often lascivious folk song in the form of two couplets consisting of two decasyllables whose last words rhyme. Bećarac is another good example of a cheerful Slavonian soul, not taking life too seriously, knowing how to make a joke at their own expense and drawing inspiration from a vibrant, dynamic and lively heritage.

Šokci are a Croatian ethnic group living in Slavonia, Srijem, Baranja and Bačka, but today the majority of Šokci live in the area of ​​eastern Slavonia and western Srijem. In Slavonia, the term Šokadija means an area inhabited by Šokci, where traditional customs and heritage are cherished. Today’s image of the Šokac is inseparable from Slavonia – Šokci love horses, land, brandy and tambura, and are driven by the joy of life, diligence and spite.

It should not be forgotten that many Jewish families who moved to Vinkovci left a big mark and influence on the cultural identity in Vinkovci, mainly after the development of the Military Frontier. It is not known when exactly the Jews received a permanent residence permit in Vinkovci and its surroundings. The Gross family moved to Vinkovci in the second half of the 19th century from Hungary. According to family tradition, they were the first Jewish immigrants in Vinkovci, and in their business papers they proudly stated that the company “Ignjat Gross and son” was founded in 1866, and before World War II they were the richest family in Vinkovci. Most of the Jews who immigrated to Vinkovci before the middle of the 19th century were Ashkenazi Jews who spoke German or Hungarian, with some words from the language of the country where they had previously lived. The house of the Gross family is among the first modern villas in Croatia.

Other wealthy families also lived in houses with large libraries, art paintings and antiques. They had foreign language teachers, musical instruments, they were the first in the town to have bicycles, skis, and ice skates As many as 33 Jewish families had the first telephone lines in Vinkovci! They spread literacy and a higher standard of living to the entire area

Today, on the banks of the Bosut, right next to the bridge, you can see a park of sculptures depicting iron birds. Their author is Dina Merhav, born Gross in Vinkovci, in the family of the famous industrialist Rudolf Gross Their factory “Ferolim” was destroyed during the bombing of the railway station. Her father Zlatko renovated the factory and donated it to the state… It was later renamed into “Srp i čekić”. Although Dina completed the study of graphics, she later switched to sculpture. For many years, she has been making only iron sculptures. “I am the fourth generation of a family that deals with iron,” she said about her work.

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