Life of traveller Karlin explored in new book

Celje, 12 October - Global traveller Alma M. Karlin (1889-1950) was honoured today, on her birthday, with a launch of a new book about her written by anthropologist Barbara Trnovec, who has been studying the life of this extraordinary traveller and author from Celje for over two decades.

"Neskon─Źno Potovanje Alme M. Karlin" (Endless Travels of Alma M. Karlin) will shortly be also published in English and German, accompanying an exhibition about Karlin at the Art History Museum in Vienna, Austria. The exhibition was scheduled for this year but has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Presenting the book at the Celje Regional Museum, Trnovec said she wrote it in plain language to bring Karlin closer to a broad audience. Apart from what Trnovec included in her 2011 book about Karlin, the new book includes a number of new discoveries.

It also features several texts by Karlin, as Trnovec wanted the readers to get to know the author and traveller through her own words, as well as stories by people who knew her.

Naturally, the book focuses on Karlin's eight-year trip around the world, but also on her literary work, with Trnovec saying that Karlin had sold tens of thousands of copies of her travel journals and had been a very popular author, especially in Germany.

Karlin travelled alone and to make money, she wrote articles for the Ciller Zeitung on the way and occasionally took on various jobs. This was a remarkable feat for her time, with Trnovec saying she is not aware of anybody travelling the world by themselves for eight years, supporting themselves.

After finishing her journey, she soon became well known abroad. She travelled around Europe, holding lectures. In a 1931 calendar, she was presented as one of the most influential women in Germany.

Although she was born in Celje, her mother decided that her mother tongue will be German, but Karlin later showed her devotion to her homeland by becoming a fierce opponent of Nazism and joining the Partisan movement in 1944.

Above all, Karlin was a principled woman, having fought against both Nazism and Communism. Both regimes spied on her and both wanted to kill her. She died five years after the end of World War II of typhoid and cancer, in poverty and obscurity, said Trnovec, who is proud that Karlin has slowly been rehabilitated in Slovenia.