Vilma Vukelić, née Miskolczy (1880-1956) was a Croatian writer and translator who wrote exclusively in German. She has received public recognition in her home country of Croatia with the publication, in 1994, of her memoir in the Croatian translation under the title Tragovi prošlosti (Nakladni zavod Matice Hrvatske, Zagreb 1994).
She was born and raised in a well-to do Jewish family in a small but prosperous town of Osijek situated on the River Drava in the close vicinity to the border with Hungary. Her father, Julius Miskolczy, was a respected businessman. Due to the social norms imposed on women of her times, the adolescent Vilma Vukelić was not allowed to realize her desire to pursue her education beyond the two inspiring years of schooling at a boarding school in Vienna (1893-95). Instead, a frustrated young woman fell deeply in love with a young officer of the Austro-Hungarian army, Milivoj Vukelić, and, after a long period of letter-writing about love, literature, and philosophy, married the young man in 1902, following the death of her father who had been adamantly against her relationship with the young impoverished officer from Lika.
With four children at home, and a marriage on the verge of collapsing, Vilma Vukelić finally realized her dream of pursuing her education and, in 1912, enrolled at the University of Munich to study biology. The outbreak of WWI put a stop to this endeavour.
From her adolescent days into old age, Vilma Vukelić never stopped writing and translating works of Croatian poets and playwrights into German. Her translations were published in respected Austrian and German literary magazines. However, only one of her numerous fictional works was published in her lifetime in Leipzig in 1923: Heimatlosen (People without a Homeland), an account of the Jewish community in Hungary prior to WWI.
In 1926, Vilma Vukelić and her four children - sons Branko and Slavko, and daughters Ljiljana and Elinor - moved to Paris. She returned to Croatia with her two daughters in the mid-1930s and spent WWII years in Zagreb under perilous conditions. Her two sons had from their earliest age been deeply engaged in radical politics of those inter-war years of upheaval. They joined the Communist movement, and both found death in pursuing their conviction in the righteousness of their fight for a better world for the humanity. Slavko died in the Soviet Union at the time of the purges, Branko in Japan as a member of an espionage network.
Vilma Vukelić spent her last years mostly writing, and produced her memoir, A Past Rescued from Oblivion, and eight unpublished novels. Her manuscripts are today preserved at the State Archives of Zagreb.
Ivana Caccia, née Mihovilović was born in Zagreb (today the capital of Croatia). Vilma Vukelić was her grandmother. Ivana acquired her Canadian citizenship in 1986. Her doctoral thesis, which she defended at the University of Ottawa in 2008, was published in late 2010 by McGill-Queen’s University Press under the title Managing the Canadian Mosaic in Wartime―Shaping Citizenship Policy, 1941-45. At the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, it received the prize as the best political history publication of the year. She lives in Ottawa.