Fifty years ago today, back in 1972, we signed an agreement in Paris with the International Naturist Federation to hold the 13th World Naturist Congress in Vrsar, in ex-Yogoslavie (Croatia today), at the naturist camp Koversada.
Something that seemed neither spectacular nor important at the time created a media buzz in Europe that transformed a small Istrian town into an international naturist brand name and a fashionable hangout for naturists. The event drew the attention of the entire world’s media. Around a hundred media such as Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Playboy, the New York Times and even the Russian Izvestia reported on the congress.
The European public was amazed that an international meeting of naturists was being organised by a company in a communist country, while at the same time in Italy several people were being convicted and sentenced to ten days in prison for having bathed naked.
Apparently, the notion of public behaviour was very different back then. Another paradox is that at that time we had about thirty naturist camps in Croatia while Italy had none. Today Croatia has 11 compared to Italy’s 16. One would say that perception changes over time and so do people. It is worth noting that the meeting was organised not by a machine of specialised congress connoisseurs and tourist specialists, but by a small group of proud locals, who emerged from the former agricultural cooperative.
The first president of the INF, Richard Ehrmann, wrote for the event at the time that it was the “congress of superlatives” with 23 delegations from 19 countries, 200 radio, television and print media from all over the world with 10,000 spectators – guests of Koversada’s organisers.
In my opinion, this immense success was made possible thanks to the simplicity of the whole story which, I can say immodestly, was made brilliant by a well-organised script and the commitment of the hosts. Because simplicity and genius are impossible to copy and occur very rarely together, perhaps just once a century at a certain time and in a certain place, my only logical explanation is that only the sincere hospitality, passion and love of the then members of Koversada and Anita are “to blame” for this unique big show effect.