Elvira Kohn in a traditional Dubrovnik dress

Elvira Kohn in a traditional Dubrovnik dress

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This picture of me was taken in Dubrovnik in the 1930s.

I am dressed in a traditional dress that was worn by women in Dubrovnik and Konavle area. In comparison to the traditional dress worn in Slavonia, the traditional dress of Dubrovnik is simpler and less ornamental.

There was no special occasion for wearing this dress. Not too long after I came to Dubrovnik in 1932, although I don’t exactly remember the year, I was given an opportunity to try on this dress. I was excited since it was the first time I wore the traditional clothes from that part of Croatia.

Before, I had only worn the dress from Slavonia. In this picture, I am standing next to a well-known fountain in Dubrovnik. I wore this dress just for the purposes of taking this photo, to have it as a nice memory. It was taken by someone from the photo studio Jadran where I worked.

I left for Dubrovnik in 1932. At first I lived alone but later I found a bigger apartment and settled in, and my mother came from Vinkovci to live with me.

In Dubrovnik my mother didn't work. She wasn't employed anywhere. She took care of our house and of me. Apart from my work, I didn't have to take care of anything because my mother was there.

I worked in a photo shop called Jadran, which was on the corner of Zudioska Street where the synagogue in Dubrovnik was and still is today. The owners weren't Jewish. The name of the owner was Miho Ercegovic, and his son was called Velimir Ercegovic.

Within the shop, there were three sections: a book store, a stationary and a photo studio. I worked in the photo studio. My main duties were to take photos of various daily events that were taking place in Dubrovnik and its surroundings: cultural happenings, political events, events related to the church, such as mass, baptism, or other church-related events.

Sometimes people asked me to take photos of their children at birthday parties, or when a child was born. I always liked taking photos of children. Sometimes I took photos for newspapers and journalists wrote a story related to the photo. I never wrote for newspapers, I only took photos.

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Interviewee

Elvira Kohn