Isak Samokovlija

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Isak Samokovlija was born in 1889 in Goražde. The town, as well as the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Austrian-Hungarian rule at that time. His family, Sephardi Jewish, moved there from Bulgaria. Isak Samokovlija studied medicine in Vienna and worked as a doctor in a military hospital in Sarajevo. In his spare time, he wrote poems, articles on Jewish topics, and since 1927 also his first short stories, which were praised by Ivo Andrić and Meša Selimović, both great writers of that time. His best-known work is the book Nosač Samuel (1946). After WWII, Isak Samokovlija became the president of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian writers’ association. He died in 1955 in Sarajevo.