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Vinkovci, Croatia, Dam Construction Photograph Album: “The Contributions and Voluntary Work of the Citizens of Vinkovci built this Dam in 1953 to Serve the Economic and cultural improvement of our town and its surroundings…”

Identifier: SC Photo-0022

Scope and Contents

This photograph album depicts the construction of a local dam in the Yugoslavian city of Vinkovci, Croatia in the post-World War II era. The album measures 24.5 x 34 x 2.75 cm. It is a red string-tied blue leather album stamped in tan ink image of a dam on the lower left corner. There are 18 black and white photographs of assorted sizes (16 x 24 cm, 11.5 x 17.5 cm) neatly mounted on the front side only of the grayish tan pages with tissue paper guards (some wrinkled). Each photograph is captioned by hand in Serbian. The leather binding is moderately scuffed. The album appears to be complete and probably was assembled professionally created for local party officials or for propaganda purposes. There is a vague chronological arrangement apparent – formal groups, casual groups and dam site photographs. Title page is printed in gold ink in Serbian: “Doprinosima i Doprovoljnim Radom Gradana Vinkovaca Izgradena je ova Brana 1953. Godine, da bi Služila Privrednom i Kultutnom Podizanju Našeg Grada I Niegove Okolice, te Sredivanju Hidrografskih Prilika Panonske Ravnice” (loosely translated as: Contributions and Voluntary Work of Citizens of Vinkovci Built this Dam in the year 1953, to serve the Economic and Cultural Improvement of our Town, its Surroundings and Hydrographic Conditions on the Pannonian plain [watershed]).


  • Creation: 1953


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

This album was likely created for local or Socialist party officials or propaganda purposes to document the building of a small concrete dam by the citizens or party youth brigade of Vinkovci, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) as a united volunteer effort. The captioned photographs tell the story not just of the dam itself but of a young and growing Yugoslavia Socialist movement. Among the Eastern Bloc countries following World War II, Yugoslavia had a more open and less repressive form of Socialism. The photographs show young, thin, bare-chested “volunteers” (so described in captions) but hint at a murkier truth – these “youth brigades” were a tool of Yugoslavian leader Josip Tito to rebuilt his country’s shattered infrastructure on the backs of cheap labor and to help indoctrinate them into participating in the Socialist ideology. The photographs give a glimpse of labor under a Cold-War Socialist regime promoting the idea of “brotherhood and unity.” As a side note Vinkovci has a literary connection of interest. It is reputed to be the place where the train breaks down in Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”


0.25 Linear Feet : 1 album [ 19 photographs] ; 25 x 34 cm

Language of Materials



A photographic record of the construction of a small concrete dam by citizens of Vinkovci, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). It appears to have been created for propaganda purposes for the young and growing Yugoslavian Socialist movement. A number of photographs of the builders of the dam.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, April 2013.

Vinkovci, Croatia, Dam Construction Photograph Album
“The Contributions and Voluntary Work of the Citizens of Vinkovci built this Dam in 1953 to Serve the Economic and cultural improvement of our town and its surroundings…”
Eleanor Nothelfer
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
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Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)