Silvija Degen

Lawyer – witness of time


This is a book about an unusual man. Due to his versatile giftedness, the Faustian desire to embrace the world in its countless forms and components, in everything that bears the mark of human in the world, developed and manifested itself in him. Whatever he took up in that desire, he showed excellence and left the stamp of his personality: in sports, politics, thinking about everything important in Zagreb, art, medical and other legal sciences, and in something else, especially in law as a life’s vocation and the fulfillment of what he deeply carried in himself and to which he dedicated the majority of his spiritual and human characteristics.

Silvije Degen was, therefore, a great athlete and a successful sports worker, a politician in the noblest sense of the term, as one who cares for the common good and not for his own livelihood, a persistent advocate of the true values of the city where he shaped his personality, a connoisseur and promoter of arts, a top lawyer and, above all, one of the most respected lawyers. The area that he was always particularly interested in was medical law. He started with forensic psychopathology, and later with the advent of ultrasound in the world, he entered an area that was completely unknown at the time. He was also seriously involved in politics without abandoning his profession as a lawyer. He is the winner of the Linus Pauling Award, which is awarded for special merits in humanitarian activities, and is awarded by the majority of living Nobel laureates who have distinguished themselves in this field.

As a lawyer, he has been a defender of individual human rights before the authorities for almost 50 years, and there is almost no place in the former Yugoslavia where he did not either represent the injured or defend the accused. At the same time, it was always and without exception that his main concern was to defend man, that being made of so many unrepeatable, one-off and special qualities, by which every man deserves an equally special approach, attention and understanding, even in those deep and seemingly incomprehensible stumbling blocks and sinking into crime.

He is also special in something: like few people, he knows how to live with past times, looking for the living fabric in them that still lasts even in us today, and he also recognizes the essential and unavoidable determinants of modernity, the time in which he lives and works, keeping his eyes on the future. which so often, without us even realizing it, determines our present moment. This is precisely why this book will be a testimony of his modernity, by which he is inextricably linked with his time, as well as with the past and the future, which is more or less visibly reflected in our current life.

Zagreb, May 2022.