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City Museum Senj - Senj Museum Society
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  • Planinari I Speleolozi
  • Hela I Ivan Krajač
  • Mountaineers And Speleologists
  • Hela I Ivan Krajač
  • Die Bergsteiger Und Spaleologen
  • Hela I Ivan Krajač
  • Earth Science
  • Engineering


There are numerous articles published about Ivan Krajač (Senj, 1877 - ? 1945) in Croatian mountaineering publications and his important role in the development of mountaineering, while his wife Hela (born Schlacht in Tchehoslovakia in 1899, now living in Austria) is not mentioned so frequently. They were both universal mountaineers as well as speleologists and in 1930 they made noteworthy speleological actions. Ivan Krajač was a lawyer by profession and worked in Jastrebarsko, Belgrade (from 1925 - 1929 as a minister of finance) and Zagreb. He was active in speleology from 1925 to 1933, when he used to make investigations of caves and pits for the most part on Mt Velebit. He hiked together with the forestry engineer Ante Premužić through the regions of northern part of the massive of Velebit, accompanied by his wife Hela. During the summer of 1930 he descended into the pit Vrtlina, on the south part of Velebit, which is a large cave with a pit entrance, to a record depth of - 180 m while his partner reached -195 m, which was the greatest depth achieved by the Croatian speleologists.That same year, in the autumn, he descended with his wife, aided by the alpinist equipment and technique, into the pit Varnjača (ice pit in the region of Rožanski kukovi on the northern part of Velebit), to a depth of 120 m. Hela Krajač was the first woman in Croatia who descended into a pit. Although Ivan Krajač was a great opponent to a record breaking in mountaineering, unintentionally, he and his wife became record breakers in the same year and in different pits. That was the unique example in Croatian that wife and husband, both together broke all the previous speleological recorders.

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