ⓘ Branislava Susnik
Branislava Susnik was born on 28 March 1920 in Medvode, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, currently in Slovenia to the lawyer Joze Susnik and Karolina nee Prijatelj. She attended primary school and classical grammar school in Ljubljana, and in 1937 entered Ljubljana University where she studied prehistory and history at the Faculty of Arts. In 1942, Susnik completed her doctoral studies in ethnohistory and Ural-Altaic linguistics with the German anthropologist prof. Wilhelm Schmidt in Vienna and began studying the cultures and languages of Asia Minor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. In addition to history and anthropology, she studied ethnology, prehistory, ancient languages and scripts.
After completing her studies in Rome, Susnik returned to Ljubljana. Her father Joze Susnik was murdered at the beginning of the Second World War and when she tried to escape to Italy, she was caught and imprisoned in the Ajdovscina prison. At the end of 1945, Susnik left the country and spent some time in a refugee camp in Lienz in Austrian Carinthia, which she was able to leave after the intervention of the Jesuits and go to Rome.
In 1947, Susnik emigrated to Argentina, having learnt Spanish during a month-long boat trip. In Argentina she began field research work at Laishi Mission in Los Tobas de Formosa, writing her first linguistic work in America.
On 1 March 1951, Susnik at the invitation of the founder of the Ethnographic Museum, Andres Barbero, she went to Asuncion, Paraguay. After his death in 1952, she took over the management of the museum and ran it until her death in 1996. Susnik reorganized the museum and enlarged its collection, while also running the richest library on indigenous peoples in Latin America.
For 20 years, Susnik headed the Department of American Archeology and Ethnology at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Asuncion. During her scientific career Susnik wrote 77 works, including articles, essays and books. Her best-known texts are "The Aborigines in Paraguay", "The role of indigenous people in the formation and experience of Paraguay", "The colonial Indian of Paraguay", "Notes on Paraguayan Ethnography", etc.
In 1992, Susnik received the highest Paraguayan awards for scientific achievements. Also she was posthumously awarded the title of Gran Official of Paraguay for her creative contributions to the formation of the Paraguayan identity.
Branislava Susnik died on 28 April 1996 in Asuncion, Paraguay.
In 2005, the Paraguayan Post issued a stamp with Susniks portrait. In 2009, a street in Asuncion was named after her. In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia honored Susnik by organizing special events at certain diplomatic missions and consular post on the occasion of her birth centenary.
2. Selected works
- 1965 - El indio colonial del Paraguay
- 1990 - Una vision socio-antropologica del Paraguay del siglo XVIII
- 1978 - Los aborigenes del Paraguay
- 1990 - Guerra, transito, subsistencia: ambito americano
- 1986 - Artesania indigena: ensayo analitico
- 1969 - Chamacocos
- 1977 - Lengua-maskoy, su hablar, su pensar, su vivencia
- 1968 – Chiriguanos
- 1975 - Dispersion Tupi-Guarani prehistorica: ensayo analitico
- 1995 - Los indios del Paraguay
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