Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Croatian writer, esteemed puppeteer, poet, and artist Luko Paljetak. Honored member of UNIMA in 2004, Luko Paljetak (1943-2024) was an artist whose contributions to literature and puppetry have left an indelible mark on Croatian culture.


“In 1971, Paljetak directed the play “The Ugly Duckling” at the Zadar Puppet Theatre, a production that propelled him into the ranks of creators who pushed the boundaries of puppetry, crafting a form of sincere, imaginative, and genuine poetry.” – Livija Kroflin, President of UNIMA’s Education, Development, and Therapy Commission, reminisces on Paljetak’s transformative influence on modern puppet theatre.

From 1968 to 1978, Paljetak served as an actor, puppeteer, dramaturge, and director at the Zadar Puppet Theatre, directing Croatian puppetry towards modern expression. Graduating from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zadar in 1968 and obtaining his doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb in 1992, Paljetak’s scholarly pursuits paralleled his artistic endeavors.

Living in Dubrovnik since 1978, where he served as the editor of the Dubrovnik magazine, Paljetak was a prolific writer, publishing over 150 books by 2019. His literary legacy and artistic vision will continue to inspire generations to come. In Croatia, World Puppetry Day has been celebrated since 2003, the year of its proclamation, and since 2004, the central Croatian celebration has been held in a different city each year. In the same year, the tradition of reading the Croatian message was introduced. The first Croatian message was written by Luko Paljetak, an honorary member of the UNIMA International.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who were touched by his work. Luko Paljetak’s absence leaves a void in the Croatian literary and artistic landscape that will be deeply felt. May his soul rest in peace.