Friday, February 17, 2006

CONCEALED AND FORGOTTEN: CYRIL A. ZEBOT (1914 - 1989)

CYRIL A. ZEBOT

April 8, 1914 (Maribor, Slovenia) - January 11, 1989 (Washington D.C)






Cyril A. Zebot was born and raised in Maribor, Slovenia on April 8, 1914, right in the year when the world plunged into the most devastating war period of that time. His father Franjo Zebot was a vice mayor of Maribor and an imminent politician in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) on his deputy. Shortly after Germans invaded Slovenia the position of vice-mayor led Franjo Zebot to his arrest and later on sent him to prison. Young Cyril had very soon created his sociopolitical profile and common goals. In 1932 he graduated from the High School of Maribor (Classical Gymnasium Maribor). In 1936 he began studying law and became specialized in economics. After graduating at the University of Ljubljana, Cyril Zebot went on several education trips around Europe. He continued to study and attend specialization in economic sciences in Paris, Milan and Czechoslovak Republic. After coming back to Ljubljana in March 1941 he was appointed docent of economics at the University of Ljubljana. In Ljubljana, Cyril A. Zebot closely collaborated with prof. Lambert Ehrlich and they together prepared several papers concerning Slovenia's economic and political future. One of such mainstreams was so called "Intermarum", a community of independent and sovereign nations between Baltics and Adriatic. In May 1942, prof. Lambert Ehrlich was shot to death by the VOS (communist secret service), assassinated in the communist attempt on his life.. Ehrlich's murder was also the beginning of brutal civil war, inflamed by the Bolshevik movement. In September 1943, when Italy formally capitulated, Zebot withdrew to Rome and found sanctuary in the Vatican, after he learned that the Gestapo was looking for him. While staying in Rome, Zebot immediately organized a few initiatives in order to isolate Slovenia from Tito's socialism. At that time, a majority of allied nations was beginning to recognize, that Tito's Yugoslavia is nothing else but a Soviet-driven "puppet" of Stalin. Zebot worked together with native immigrants for an independent Slovenia addressed to Western allies. Prof. Zebot organized "Action Board for an independent Slovenia". The plan was very simple. The area around Trieste that was namely allied-driven area would became an independent state and soon after also other parts of Slovenia would be unified into independent Slovenia. After Slovenia was deliberately reannexed to Yugoslavia, prof. Zebot immigrated to the United States and became a prominent professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. His academic performance was admired among American professors. Since 1958, prof. Zebot was holding lectures at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. He titled several books and papers that were recognized all across Western Europe and North America. His books, papers and articles were published in important New York-Washington newspapers, such as NY TIMES and WASHINGTON POST. In the latter alone, prof. Zebot published nearly 50 papers and articles that were issued in several publications.

THE ACADEMIC CAREER OF CYRIL A. ZEBOT IN ECONOMICS

After obtaining Bachelor’s degree in Economics & Law at the University of Ljubljana and finished specialization in economic sciences in Milan, Paris and Czechoslovak Republic, prof. Zebot, trained in both Economics and Law conducted various research works. In 1939 he published the book, entitled "Korporativna analiza narodnega gospodarstva" (Corporate Analysis of National Economy) which drew a reflection upon fascist-driven economy. The recent importance of that work was more than just a "few letters on the paper". The introduction of the book was written by prominent European economists Francesco Vito and Francois Perroux. The book was an "establishment of knowledge", that young Zebot instituted, when he was studying economic systems. His research performance could easily be compared with "state-of-the-art" Chicago authors. After coming back to Slovenia in 1939, prof. Zebot became employed in the Chamber of Labor. After promoting forward, prof. Zebot found an employment at the National Bank. In March 1941, prof. Zebot was the appointed docent of economics at the University of Ljubljana and since then he had been holding world-class lectures on economics at the Faculty of Law, at the University of Ljubljana. He issued his last book published in Slovenia at that time called "European Economic Perspectives" After immigrating overseas to the United States, prof. Zebot was an appointed professor of economics at the University of Duquesne in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1958, prof. Zebot found an employment at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. where he had been the appointed professor or Political Economy. On the 275th anniversary of Georgetown University Cyril A. Zebot had been a proud and "world-class" professor at Georgetown University in times when Bill Clinton studied Foreign Affairs there. He had been interested in such topics as integrated theory of inflation, convergence, economic growth, economic systems, economic perspectives, competition and economic coexistence. In 1964, prof. Zebot published "The Economics of Competitive Coexistence: Convergence through Growth", a masterpiece, that reflected upon economic courses within comparative economic systems. Since the very beginning of his Career, Cyril A. Zebot was a prominent part of "golden generation" of Slovenian economists, together with Alexander D. Bilimovich, Ljubo Sirc, Spektorski, Ogris and Eler. His excellent and world class lectures put an emphasis on the integrated theory of inflation in the United States, comparative economics and convergence through economic growth.

POLITICAL PATH OF CYRIL A. ZEBOT

The earliest political participation of Dr. Cyril A. Zebot was his very first membership of the academic club Straza v viharju ("Guards in the wind") that had been instituted upon the staunch anti-communist and pro-Slovene ideas of fulfilled Liberty. Zebot's academic club insisted strongly to oppose communist-driven coalition of Liberation front during the World War 2.


Page of the "Sluzbeni list" (Official Gazette) from Yugoslavia, dated June 21, 1967, whereby Belgrade prohibited to bring Zebot's book into Slovenia.

Consequently, Slovenia under the Communist regime of the great-Serbian Yugoslavia found itself indeed in the greatest state of emergency of its historical existence after WW2. The people in Slovenia, and also the leading Communist class were fully aware of this. However, it was impossible to speak out in a totalitarian Yugoslavia. And even among Slovenians of the free world, Prof. Zebot was one of the very few, who at that time knew and was aware of the critical situation in Slovenia. Against the threatening disappearance of Slovenians, he had no other tools but his visible rank, his great knowledge, and his pen.


Cover and title page of Zebot's book "Slovenija, vceraj, danes, jutri" (Slovenia, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, 1967), which stirred up Slovenia and Yugoslavia at the end of the 60s.

Of course, his books, articles, and even the mentioning of his existence had to be suppressed in the then Slovenia. Besides, being a Catholic, who was teaching at an American university, his figure did not fit well in the Communist "scientific" mould, in sense of which the Faith should have been "opium for the people" (Marx). As a man of faith, Prof. Zebot should have been lagging behind, should have been ingenuous and incapable to understand the very social and economic process of development.

Actually, in the 60s no one in Slovenia believed in the Communist scientific "truth", but there were no examples of a different reality. Thus the fact must have been like a "divine finger" (as Slovenians say), when the knowledge of Prof. Zebot's figure and his endeavours for Slovenia were spread widely throughout the country. In 1967 Zebot's book "Slovenija, vceraj, danes, jutri" (Slovenia, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, 1967) was published by the Mohorjeva Publishing House in Klagenfurt - Celovec (Austria).


As already mentioned above, the bringing of the book into Yugoslavia was prohibited. But even the suppression provoked a great interest for it. Many people made a trip to Celovec (Austria) and brought the book secretly into Slovenia, like a kind of triumph. And the book was sold out in no time.

Among the young generation of Slovenian intellectuals, Zebot's analysis of the political and social situation of Slovenia of that time was very well accepted. It was said, he did not blindly attack Communism and Yugoslavia, albeit he critically took a standpoint toward the leading Communists, whom he called by name (Kardelj, Ribicic...). Prof. Zebot depicted the difficult situation of Slovenia, and in a constructive way he showed the salvation. After his prevision, the Slovenian Communist leaders themselves should have made a stop to the tremendous exploitation that went on in the autonomous Republic of Slovenia by sides of Belgrade.


Zebot's last book "Neminljiva Slovenia" (Everlasting Slovenia, 1988), which could be considered his last will to the Slovenian people.

Prof. Zebot was watching the situation in Slovenia. In the second half of the 80s - during its greatest critical period since the existence of Yugoslavia - his new book called "Neminljiva Slovenia" (Everlasting Slovenia, 1988) was published in Klagenfurt - Celovec (Austria). In this book he quoted anew the Slovenian endeavours for a national identity, which started already since the WW1, and therefore he stated: Only a non-questionable sovereignty of the Republic of Slovenia must become a guarantee for an "Everlasting Slovenia" (p. 489).


In 1991, this message was finally carried out by the Slovenian ruling leadership with the day of the declaration of independence of Slovenia. It was the message, for which Prof. Ehrlich at the beginning of the WW2 was shot in an attempt on his life. Prof. Zebot did not live to see this, because he died in 1989. Some people tend to prefer to not remember him, but I think we should rather maintain and preserve his economic excellence, hard work and extensively knowledgeable literature, that were written by the man who was extremely talented in economics. But his talent was often turned into the struggle to survive in times of winding conditions and dark stages of the bloodiest century of the mankind.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for this insight into Dr. Zebot's heroic life. While it was written 7 months ago, it is very special for me to find it today. His wife and daughter are a loving and inspirational part of my life.

Anonymous said...

This week my parents went to London and found a very cheap second-hand bookstore. But they don't speak English, so they bought a random book. And it was Zebot's "Economics of Competitive Coexistence"!!!
The book has several interesting aspects. Among them it has many appendixes. One of which is "Economic System of Communist Yugoslavia", a 3-pages masterpiece.

Thanks for the post and freedom to all.

Rocks said...

I personally have this particular book "The Economics of Competitive Coexistence: Convergence through Growth" and to be honest it is an outstanding masterpiece which is mainly focused on the progress of European community in the process of real versus nominal convergence. There is also a bulk of citations in the book. It's an excellent book and I'm sure that when you read it, you see how theoretically and empirically coherent was the analysis of prof. Zebot.

Thanks for the comment and enjoy the rest of the day.

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