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Vladimir Herzog : biography

27 June 1937 - 25 October 1975

Vladimir Herzog (27 June 1937 – 25 October 1975) nicknamed Vlado, was a Brazilian journalist, university professor and playwright of Croatian origin. He also developed a taste for photography, because of his film projects., no Instituto Vladimir Herzog. Although his birth name was Vladimir, he adopted the pseudonym of "Vlado", since his real name was very unusual in Brazil.Freitas, Daelcio. , UOL Educação.

In October 1975, Herzog, then editor in chief of TV Cultura, was tortured to death by the political police of the military dictatorship, which later forged his suicide. Over 37 years later, his death certificate was revised to say that Herzog had in fact died as a result of torture by the army at DOI-CODI. His death had a great impact on the Brazilian society, marking the beginning of the redemocratization process of the country. According to journalist Sérgio Gomes, Herzog is a "symbol of the struggle for democracy, freedom, and justice".Forte, Gabriela. (2006), Faculdade Cásper Líbero.


Early life

Herzog was born in Osijek, Kingdom of Yugoslavia province of Sava Banovina (currently Croatia) on 27 June 1937, to Zigmund and Zora Herzog, a Croatian Jewish family who emigrated to Brazil in the early 1940s, to escape Nazi persecution.

Education and career

Herzog received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of São Paulo in 1959. After his graduation, he worked as a journalist in major media outlets in Brazil, notably in the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. During that period he decided to use "Vladimir" instead of "Vlado" as his first name, because he felt that his real name sounded extremely exotic in Brazil. Herzog would later work in London for the BBC for three years.

In the 1970s Herzog became the editor-in-chief of TV Cultura, a public TV station managed by the São Paulo State government. He also became a journalism professor at the University of São Paulo School of Communication and Arts and at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado's defunct Journalism course. He developed a career as a playwright, gathering with theater intellectuals. Later in his life, Herzog became active in the civil resistance movement against the military dictatorship in Brazil, as a member of the Brazilian Communist Party ().

Arrest and murder

On 24 October 1975 – when Herzog was already editor-in-chief of TV Cultura – Brazilian Army agents summoned him to testify about his connections with the then illegal PCB..["Nos Tempos da Ditadura"].. The following day, Herzog went to the DOI-CODI in order to comply with the summons. His interrogation, however, was conducted through a torture session. He was arrested with other two journalists, Jorge Duque Estrada Benigno and Leandro Konder, which later confirmed his beating.

On 25 October, Herzog's body was found hanging in his prison cell. Although the official cause of his death is "suicide by hanging", there is a consensus in the Brazilian society that he was tortured to death. The DOI-CODI officers would have placed his body in the position it was found in order to inform the press that he had committed suicide. There are several facts in the photos of Herzog's dead body that prove the impossibility of a suicide attempt. He could not have hanged himself with a belt, because the officers collected the belts from inmates. His legs were bent and in his neck there are two marks of hanging instead of only one, showing that he was strangled to death.


Herzog was married to advertising agent Clarice Herzog, with whom he had two children. With the death of her husband, Clarice went through rough times having to tell her young children what happened to their father. Three years later she was able to legally blame the Union for the death of her husband. Still unable to cope with Herzog's death, she has said that "Vlado would contribute more to the society if he were alive".

Generating a wave of protests from the international press, and initiating a process in defense of human rights in Latin America, the death of Herzog boosted the movement against the military dictatorship in Brazil.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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