Visit any of the on-line photography museums and they'll say something like this: "Photography is an art without boundaries." Or, "Good photographs can help create the scene in one's mind vividly, and draw the onlooker into the moment as a participant."
We know that one of the world's finest and most diverse collection of rare historic photographs of American Serbs was on display at the Westin William Penn Hotel, helping to highlight the Serb National Federation's "Century of Serbdom" Spectacular, dramatically casting us back into happy decades past.
Saturday, July 21, 2001, was an exciting day, dedicated to educating, informing and sharing our unique heritage through the SNF Historic Photo Exhibit and events following.
The popular images gave us a beautiful glimpse into a century of history. The photo montage documented changes that took place from our pioneers' earliest days in America, through tough times in the steel mills and coal mines, until very recent history, showing our Serbian Americans leading the country as generals, professors, authors & playwrights, movie stars, chief operating officers of large corporations, and very dedicated, philanthropic businessmen and women.
The Photo Exhibit was an ephemeral walk through 100 years of documented SNF history, our link to the past, poignantly capturing the religious, social, economic, political and military life of American Serbs.
Together with the SNF Centennial Choir singing "Guslareva Smrt" under the direction of conductor, Dr. Milutin Lazich, and Brandon Karlo playing classical selections on the piano, the stroll down Memory Lane was an extraordinary introduction to an enjoyable and exciting evening.
Brandon Karlo was truly grateful to the SNF for being included in what he called "an incredible experience and exquisite occasion." He wrote: "I enjoyed playing the grand piano for the people and of course for my family also. It meant a lot to me knowing I was representing the Brnilovich and Karlo (Karajlevich) families in a way that no one has done before." He was right. How could his early pioneer great-grandfather Krajina farmers turned Pittsburgh steel workers ever imagine their progeny bedecked in a black tuxedo playing a baby grand piano ala Liberace, for such an occasion!"
And kudos go to------
Many people worked hard to make it happen. I'd personally like to thank Bea Radjenovich and her sisters Roberta Gates and Rose Pugliese for making all of the red, blue and white bows that decorated each major photograph display and for creating an added warmth to the exhibit with candles in blue beribboned fluted glass containers. Bea was also one of the SNF photographers for the day, capturing each of the photo displays for future SNF history. (Bea was also the photographer at the St. George and St. Sava cemeteries for the SNF "Bell" book written by Dr. Alexander Petrov.)
Dr. Natalie Pavlovich of Pittsburgh was there early in the morning to help set up the exhibit, along with the Radjenovichs from Monroeville, the Brinilovich-Osman family from Aliquippa, and my own sister, Dr. Rose Karlo Gantner, from Little Rock, Arkansas. Rose worked wonders while in Pittsburgh, running errands several times to buy more foam boards, velcro, and spray adhesive as I kept cutting and pasting the exhibit together until almost midnight each night before the big show.
Georgette Brnilovich Osman, and her mother, "Billie" Brnilovich, used their terrific talents to create an incredibly framed signature piece for the exhibit, consisting of four "windows" full of historic photos I created with my computer, which they artistically surrounded with red Kosovo poppies painted in tole. What a talented mother-daughter team! That evening, Georgette's two children, Alex and Jessica, were dressed in their "narodna nosinje" clothes and helped pass out exhibit flyers.
Kudos also go to and cousin Paul Mamula Belosh of Erie, PA and son, Nick Bizic and his now fiancee, Dana Hickey (as of November 1st!), for dismantling the display near 2:00 AM, that same "evening." Enough "thank-you's" can't go out to the SNF Home Office staff, consisting of Zora, Sylvia, Georgette, and Anne who helped Natalie, Bea and me get the large boards back to their SNF home several days later.
One of the first efforts to pay off was an article written by Ervin Dyer, Post-Gazette staff writer on Tuesday, July 17, 2001, with the headlines of "4,000 Serbs Celebrate a Century in the U.S." Dyer gave recognition to the 30,000 culturally active Serbs in the Greater Pittsburgh region. He noted that its members, like other European groups in the region, worked in the steel mills and coal mines. Once one family got settled, it arranged for other family members to come from the "Old Country."
In that same article, Dyer noted that the Serb National Federation is the largest secular Serbian organization outside of Yugoslavia.
Highlights of the week-long celebration were included: The golf tournament at Quicksilver Golf Club in Washington County; the Friday outing at Kennywood Amusement Park, visits by his Holiness Patriarch Pavle, the Serbian spiritual leader on this continent and throughout the world, a visit by Ambassador Protic, and several other events, culminating in the "Century of Serbdom Spectacular."
One of its main goals was to provide life insurance to members of the Serbian community, which was critical to giving them security. From its inception, Dyer noted, the SNF worked to help these immigrants adjust to life and to provide support for the Serbian churches and their functions. The SNF also worked to foster pro-American sentiments also, as evidenced by the two American bombers the group raised for the Army Air Forces during WWII. (See photo of SNF bomber.) The staff writer also noted the publication of the Srbobran ("Serb Defender") as starting in 1901.
But it's what Dyer wrote next that set the Serbian community happily ablaze with phone calls. Typical is what Nick Klipa described at Kennywood Park the same evening Dyer's article appeared: "It (the article) was going too well. There weren't any 'zingers' against the Serbs as there always is. I kept on reading. When he mentioned Nikola Tesla, I thought I was going to have a heart attack from happiness. But then, when he talked about Draza Mihailovich, I jumped up out of my chair, knocking it over and scaring my wife. I jumped up and saluted the man! What a writer!"
Nick went on to say that he hurriedly called his Mother and Father, Georgene and Steve Klipa, but they were already on the phone calling everybody else in their Monroeville church community.
Friends I hadn't seen for years from Detroit to St. Louis, from California to Minnesota to Florida, stopped me in those four hours I was away from the work to tell me how grateful they were for some good publicity for a change. Finally, after such a hard time in the last eleven years! All the Pittsburgh papers in the hotel and local newstands were long gone.
Dyer continued: "There are photographs of the famous: poised and impressive actor Karl Malden; lanky basketball star and Aliquippa native, "Pistol Pete" Maravich; a news clipping of a beaming Ohio Sen. George Voinovich; and a formal print of Robert Stone, the first Serbian-American to serve on Pittsburgh's City Council.
"Icons of Serbia will be on display, too. They include Nikola Tesla, the grandfather of robotics, who discovered the rotating magnetic field, and Draza Mihailovich, one of the first resistance leaders to stand against Adolf Hitler. Mihailovich is on the cover of a faded TIME magazine dated May 25, 1942.
I made sure that Dyer mentioned Cukela, as others try to claim him as one of theirs, just like Nikola Tesla. "There's also the handsome, dignified Louis Cukela, who received two Medals of honor for valor in World War I."
"But most of the photos are of ordinary people---the brides, basketball players, soldiers and mill workers--who stayed connected by a network of Serbian-American lodges, picnics, Sunday schools and shared heritage.
Dyer then wrote about the yellowed and crinkled insurance certificates that were part of the exhibit, stating that providing insurance to lodge members was an important aspect of life for Serbian Americans. "The policies signified security and hope. Some were penned in Cyrillic, an original Slavic alphabet."
One of those policies on display was from Lodge No. 142 located in Oakland, California and signed by Gospava Tusup in Cyrillic in 1929. There's a photo in the SNF's First 100 Years book on page 37 that shows a boarding house with 45 men and a few children in 1900 that was started in 1890 by Lazar Tusup and his Irish wife known as "stara Tusupova," a woman who weighed over 250 pounds. These Serbs came to Angels Camp to work in the gold mines, and these were the "best" of accommodations. Was it the same woman or a relative? The detective work makes delving into these photographs and certificates so much fun.
Another of those policies was signed by Djuro Desich for his wife, Milka. This one we know for sure. Milka Desich was one of the survivors from the Titanic when it sunk in 1912! (She is still not listed on any official Titanic lists and this infuriates me as it seems book authors do not wish to have any more survivors known.) This beautiful double-headed crowned eagle certificate reads "Srpsko Pravoslavni Savez Srbobran u Sjedinjenim Drzavama Amerike" and is dated 1917. At the bottom are two crossed flags, one Serbian and one American. Each of the certificates was different, all leading to the present Serb National Federation of today, and all an exciting part of our history!
Dyer continues: "In the exhibit, there are smiling faces on long-legged women selling war bonds and copies of a ledger from a Spokane, Washington lodge that lists $604.00 raised to purchase typewriters for blind veterans of World War II."
The long-legged women he wrote about were Vida Yorkich (Milanovich), Anna Pekich and Martha Stone (Stanish), holding a framed photo of a young General Draza Mihailovich in front of the Serbian Booth in Downtown Pittsburgh, where they were selling War Bonds on September 12, 1942. It is interesting to note that we have two of the same ladies, Vida and Martha, and then Violet Pekich Todorovich (Anna's sister) standing in their same relative positions, holding the same photo of Draza, on July 21, 2001. What a great photo opportunity that was! Getting the three women to be in the same place when there were 3,000 Serbs present was quite a task, but it's all recorded AGAIN for history!
And about that lodge in Spokane, Washington raising money for blind Serbian soldiers? Can you believe that only a few weeks before I located that photo of the generous Serbs in Spokane that I had purchased a postcard from Serbia of four blind soldiers sitting at their typewriters with a Serbian instructor in the background? What serendipity! At the same time, I purchased a postcard of 8 young Serbian boys, some of them blind, learning to play Tamburitzan instruments. I bought those cards then only because of the interesting subject matter! Fate just meant for them to come here. Someday I'll do an article just on my collection of Serbian postcards, but let me continue.
Dyer finished by saying "In Pittsburgh, they formed a close-knit community characterized by its strong work ethic. They had large families headed by men who worked 14-and 16-hour days in the mills."
"The tale of Bizic's mother, Laura Karlo, offers a snapshot of what life was like in the South Side flats. Karlo cared for her children and ran a corner store during the day. In the evenings, she worked at a plastic factory until midnight. On the weekends, she took her three daughters to help her clean the offices of the plastic factory's executive offices."
"The photographs reveal again for Bizic a time when all the world she knew was Serbian."
It was a beautiful tribute to the Serbs and it was surprising to note how far reaching its distribution was. For example, I received a post card from Puerto Rico from a family vacationing there who had read the article while enroute on an airplane from Pittsburgh!
Another one of Val Pastore's contacts was Charlotte Latvala from the Allegheny and Beaver County TIMES, whose work appeared the same day as Dyer's. This article had a photograph featuring those "3 long-legged women" that Dyer talked about, with the cutline reading "Serbian-American family life in the World War II era beams though in the Centennial Photo Exhibit."
Latvala wrote: "There are photographs of inventor Nikola Tesla, photographs of Aliquippa basketball legend Pete Maravich, photographs of actor Karl Malden--and photographs of 1930's lodge members in tamburitzan costumes."
"Mimi Bizic of Moon Township has sifted through 100 years of Serbian-American history to compile a photo exhibit that highlights the famous and not-so-famous."
"There are people at elegant banquets in New York City, funerals, weddings, children in old-fashioned clothing, and lots of pictures from World War II."
There were banquet photos from the Hotel Schenley (9/29/22), which is now the Student Union of the University of Pittsburgh, the Ft. Pitt Hotel (9/8-13/47), and the Webster Hall Hotel where the 1st Youth Convention was held (7/31/40) where my father was elected to be the Youth's Delegate to the SNF's 40th Anniversary Celebration. However, the most elegant and lavish banquet was the one hosted by Mihailo Pupin in New York City for the all tuxedo-clad Yugoslavian delegates to the FIDAC Congress on September 15, 1930. It was so impressive with the lavish flowers and attentive waiters that his photo was enlarged to 24" x 36" so we could all feel a part of it!
There was the funeral of Kojo Bizic, where he was laid out inside his home on 610 Pine Street in Ambridge, PA. The 1/2 glass-topped, see-through coffin lid was resting upright, off to the side in the corner, and the deceased was holding his SNF lodge cap from the Vidov Dan Lodge #188. The second photo showed the coffin stopped on the mud-covered rutted street in front of the house before being placed in the waiting hearse, and all of the Vidov Dan Lodge members respectfully wearing the back-side black SNF lodge pins with the gold fringe on the bottom. Kojo was my husband's grandfather, who ran a boarding house. I still have a few of the thin copper token "coins" he made, imprinted with his initials "KB" which he used for rationing out beer, and a small 5 cent notebook with the names of some of the boarders.
Other Serbian funerals were much more lavish out in Colorado, with horse-drawn hearses, a top-hatted driver, and a large tamburitzan orchestra, with the deceased in the middle of the long photo, surrounded by the Serbian Colma, Colorado community. Only a few of the mourners had the black lodge badges. Most of them had full black sashes, belts, gold-trimmed hats and sabers! In all of the funeral photos, the American and the Serbian flags were always seen.
Latvala continued her article by talking more about the Serb National Federation and the high concentration of Serbs in the Pittsburgh area. She mentioned the visit from His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, the SNF Museum tour hosted by Evie Adams and her Midland crew, the block party on Pittsburgh's South Side at 25th and Sarah Streets, and Saturday's multi-media show, "Century of Serbdom," featuring documentary video, vocal performances, ethnic dancing and tributes to Serb pioneers and contemporary heroes. Latvala, too, did a great job in promoting the Serbs.
There were two articles about the Patriarch's visit. The one written by Ann Rodgers-Melnick, Post-Gazette staff writer, was entitled: "Church leaders brings message of hope."
The other was written by Carol Waterloo Frazier, McKeesport Daily News Religion Editor, on July 23, 2001. It was called: "Patriarch Pavle Helps SNF Celebrate 100th Anniversary.
There was also an AP photo that appeared in the Allegheny/Beaver County Times on July 23, 2001 and it's title was "Serb history, illustrated." It talked about the SNF being an organization of Serbian traditions and history. All of these contacts were made by Val Pastore!
Bob Bauder had a great article in the Beaver County Times, the opening paragraph a crowd pleaser: "One thing is certain: The Serbs know how to throw a party, and the one at Pittsburgh's Westin Convention Center on Saturday will go down in the record books."
Perhaps Bauder was a little prejudiced, as his wife and children have some Serbian blood. He mentioned the 4,000 Serbs from all over the U.S. gathered in Pittsburgh for the celebration, with official guests including His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle. Then Bauder talked about the photographs: "black-and-white images of funerals and weddings, celebrations and athletic events, and men with long mustaches attending meetings at the SNF."
There was one photograph I didn't use for the exhibit because it was so dark, not dated, and had the familiar "all-suited, long-mustached-guys-at-just-another-Convention" look. Several days AFTER the Exhibit, I was getting the pictures not used ready to take back to the Savez in my loaded-down car. While waiting atop of my washing machine to be packed in the car, suddenly, the sun shone down on this very same photo. The beam landed in the middle of the elongated, old, mahogany-framed shot as I was passing. I couldn't believe it! There in the middle of 54 gentlemen, were two ladies, and one of them was my grandmother, Andja Mamula! What a historical photo! Sitting in front of them was a very young Glisho Rapaich of Gary, Indiana and Constatine Fotich. The third man seated in the front from the right was my grandfather, Nicholas Mamula! Oh, if only they were all identified then! A man who looks just like a young Milan Vukas is behind the other woman. Perhaps it's Milan's grandfather. Those genes just have a way of showing through. What a lucky find!
Bauder continued: "We know Serbs have been here long before 1901," Bizic said, referring to the year the SNF was founded. They were here for the Civil War in Louisiana and Texas. They participated in the California Gold Rush of 1849."
"Bizic said she has always been involved with photography. Her father, Milan Karlo, was the photographer and editor of the SNF's Srbobran newspaper for decades, and he created many of the images."
(He was right. Like Teenie Harris did for the Black community, my Dad's photos show the comraderie, friendship and spirit of the Serbian community in the United States. He portrayed what he knew, capturing a beautiful and vibrant social life in which his people were proud and driven and celebrated in life. He was their advocate, their beacon. He crusaded for his people, and left behind a great legacy and reservoir of history.)
Bauder continued: "The fraternal organization was formed to help immigrating Serbs in their new country, and it helped solidify ties with their heritage. The SNF also offered all-important life insurance policies to members who otherwise could not have afforded them."
"Bizic tells a story about a Serb named Milkovich, who was killed when he fell into molten steel at Pittsburgh's J&L Steel plant sometime after the turn of the century. Rade Mamula was also killed in the mill, hit by a steel beam. He left a wife and four young children, who would have been hard put to survive without the help from the SNF."
"It was the Serbian community that pulled together and helped with the children," she said.
"Beaver County had plenty of SNF lodges in the old days, including three in Aliquippa alone. Members were proud of the organization. They wore their lodge caps and insignia even to the grave."
"The funeral of Kojo Bizic of Ambridge documented in the photo exhibit shows Bizic resting in the coffin with his lodge cap near his side. Prominent in the picture is Marko Roknick, the longtime president of Ambridge SNF Lodge #188, also known as the "Vidov Dan."
"Lodge officials always helped out in times of duress, Milana Bizic said."
Now this next relatively innocent statement about Peter Zebich threw the whole Beaver County into a dizzy uproar, as the community shared recollections over the next few weeks.
"One of the most interesting parts of the exhibit was a poster advertising an event featuring Professor Peter Zebich, who was billed as the 'greatest athlete on Earth.' Zebich appeared around the country performing feats of strength and would pay any comer $5,000 if he could beat him."
"Legend has it that he once tied horses to each of his arms, locked both hands together and the horses were unable to pull them apart. He could lift a dinner table with his mouth. His arms were so strong that a knife dropped point first from a height of several feet would bounce off without breaking his skin."
"He could pick up horses and everything," Bizic said. "Oh, everybody loved Peter Zebich!"
Bob Bauder was having a good time getting this interview from two gentlemen brothers from Illinois, if I remember correctly, who were recollecting with Steve Klipa from Monroeville. Steve related how he had inherited a bottle of Peter Zebich's medicinal brew from an aunt who passed away. It was one of her (and now his!) most prized possessions.
"The photos brought back old memories for the folks who showed up for the exhibit, but the event was also a reunion for old friends. Steve Gacesa of New Brighton, PA, known for building Serbian churches around the country, said he came for the latter. 'I just wanted to see if any of my friends would be here.'"
There was a whole board exhibited with the work "Kum" Steve did on the Shadeland Church for material cost, in honor of his deceased Mother. I was happy that Bob had included Steve Gacesa in his article, as Steve is such a humble man, he never would have mentioned his accomplishments unless I had pointed them out to Bob.
An old friend of mine, Frannie Kluz, of Sewickley, PA, called me on my birthday, July 30, and asked if I had seen the article in the Allegheny TIMES about Peter Zebich written by longtime columnist, Gino Piroli. At the time, I hadn't, so she brought it over.
"My congratulations to Mim Bizic, who was featured in a Times story about her collection of photos and articles of Serbian history. I've mentioned Bizic, who is the librarian at the Edgeworth Elementary School, in past columns for her leadership in the Veterans Day celebrations at the school the last two years. What caught my eye in the recent story was her mention of Peter Zebich." (Gino grew up with the Serbs in Aliquippa and the Italians and Serbs are very close there.)
Gino goes on: "Peter Zebich was a legendary strongman, touted as the Serbian Paul Bunyan, who toured Serbian settlements in this country displaying various feats of strength. I remember him coming to Aliquippa around 1935 for a show at the old Serbian Club just a block from our home. He wore those knee-high Cossack-type boots and had a full beard. A few of us crawled through the front windows of the hall to see the show."
Gino later explained to me that the reason why they were so successful in doing so, is that all of the people were in the back, watching Zebich.
"I was curious to find out whether any others were present or recalled the event," Gino wrote. "I called Mike Reback, John Musolin, Nick Hayden, Lou Ceccarelli, Veda Milanovich and Dr. Wally Zernich and e-mailed Dorothy Vuynovich in San Diego for help. Although all remembered the event and could tell some story about Zebich, no one could pinpoint a date."
"Popovich remembered all of us slipping into the hall with my older brother, Bill. He said Zebich also came to Aliquippa to sell his magic strength elixir outside the tunnel entrance to the Jones and Laughlin Steel works on paydays."
"Reback's recollection of Zebich was his coming to West Aliquippa twice, once performing at the Slovak Hall and once at the Crow Island baseball field. Zernich remembered Zebich frequenting his father's tavern and showing some of his acts of strength.
"Vuynovich, whose maiden name was Winowich, remembered Zebich coming to her family's home in Beaver Falls decked out in a military uniform. Her husband, Nick, was the steward of the Serbian Club at the time that Zebich came to Aliquippa.
"Of course, I also turned to my Serbian historian, Yovan Vukmaravich, who had a file on Zebich and turned up an article from 1976 in the Srbobran, the Serbian newspaper. The article refereed to a phrase common in town when someone tried or did some show of strength: "Who do you think you are, Peter Zebich?"
Piroli then goes on to share his findings from Jovan: "Zebich was born in 1877 in Kostajnica, now a part of Croatia and the birthplace of many of the Serbians who settled in Midland. The Aliquippa Serbs came primarily from Vrgin Most, about an hour away from Kostajnica."
"The article said Zebich came to America in 1911. Some of his acts included tying his long hair to a full beer barrel and lifting it and swinging it in circles. He also lifted the beer barrel with his teeth, could bend an iron bar like a coil round his arm and stand strapped between horses and hold them at bay. He died in Cleveland in 1947."
Gino concluded his article about the Serbs with more information on the Serbian Hall on Hopewell Avenue which was officially known as the Serbian Independent Society Golub. "Most thought Golub meant club, but it means 'dove' and how it fits into the name I'm not sure."
"The late Sam Milanovich (former SNF Athletic Director) told of his days as the captain of the University of Pittsburgh basketball team and on a train trip to an away game, the large letters on the club's façade were visible from the train. The team members kidded Sam that the Serbs in Aliquippa weren't too bright because they didn't even know how to spell the word 'club.'"
The Zebich poster Piroli was talking about came from the Centennial Historic Photo Exhibit. It was sent to the Serb National Federation in 1977 from a Serb from Vancouver, British Columbia, who had it in his possession from the time Zebich performed there in 1934 or 1935. So Gino's 1935 date was right on target.
Again, the phones were ringing off the hook as one Serb in the Beaver Valley called another. The news spread from neighborhood to neighborhood. "Did you see Gino Piroli's column on Peter Zebich?"
He truly is a community treasure, and one of the best-loved guys of the Valley.
I wrote a letter to the editor (appeared August 6, 2001) that started like this: "Who does Gino Piroli think he is, Peter Zebich? There he goes with all of his many years and ills, still entertaining us, his faithful readers to the hilt, and lifting us up like barbells!"
I also mentioned that in my father's book, EARLY DAYS, SERBIAN PIONEERS IN AMERICA: THEIR LIFE AND TIMES, there's a photo of Peter Zebich and the caption reads: "Touring strongman Peter Zebich hired Rade Kozic's horses to prove they could not pry his folded arms apart." What a promoter Zebich was to rent out local horses to increase local interest in his amazing feats.
I had e-mailed Gino a picture of Peter Zebich, but he had already received a very good photo of the Serbian strongman from Ralph and Elaine Salaya in San Diego. Elaine remembered sitting next to me this past year in Weirton at a choir function. I was next to her 90 yr.-old mother and reminisced with her. Isn't the world small?
Gino informed me that Peter Zebich was the subject of a local Radio Talk Show where people called in for more than an hour discussing his feats, and that he received many phone calls at home with people sharing their reminisces of Zebich. And to think that it all stemmed from me making sure Bob Bauder realized the importance of Zebich to the Serbs at the Exhibit!
The photos truly were wonderful: WWI Serbian Red Cross Workers in New York with Mrs. Pekich as president; the framed photo of the American Serb bomber (9/12/43), the King Peter photos when he was in Washington, DC feted by President Roosevelt and the Washington Press Corps, Libertyville St. Sava Monastery Dedication (9/6/31), the Nationality Day's War Bond Parade in Pittsburgh; the Medal of Honor Winner Mitchell Paige at the SNF Home Office in 1944, Barberton, Ohio Sokols from 1914, Fr. Mateja Metejic and his work on Kosovo and Vidovdan, Tillie Klaich and his Balkan Serenaders with their Fijaker, the first SNF Stipendists sent to Belgrade in 1934, and even Joan Erdelan, later known as actress Jan Darling, crowned Tournament Beauty Queen in 1953.
The Exhibit featured our summer camp programs, the Hilander Project in Cleveland, the SNF employees with Mr. Bratich, Bishop Sava on Tour of the Print Shop with Danny Kukich, more photos of typesetter workers in the Print Shop in the 1940's, maps of the WWII Holocaust, the rescued U.S. airmen and Draza Mihailovich, Srbobran Crossword Puzzles by Bill Drazich, and photos of the American Serbs in Chicago observing "Vidov Dan" activities on July 2, 1944 with Chicago choir Branko Radicevich singing "Kosovo Elegy," and the Popovich Brothers and Sloboda Choir singing the famous "Chetnik March" (Spremte se, Spremte, Cetnici!") in front of a theater for the premiere of the movie "Chetniks, the Fighting Guerrillas."
Also included were photos of the marches and demonstrations against the illegal 10 year war waged against the Serbs 1990-2000. One of the best is of Jennifer Bobik and Danica Wuchenich holding my Serbian flag in Washington, DC in 1995 with a sign that says "The Serbs Were The First To Stand Up To Hitler, Too! Shame on NATO!" I believe it was the 1990's equivalent of the 1943 picture of the War Bond Ladies.
One of my all time favorites was a photo of what looked like hundreds of Serbian men lined up on the streets, including a full dress band, in Douglas, Alaska on Serbian Christmas, 1905. They belonged to the Serbian Cultural Society "Lovchen," #57 of the S.P.S. Srbobran. They wrote on the photo: "We extend our brotherly reach to other Serbs throughout America, spending our own monies to do so, and guard our people's national identity, our good Serbian name, our Serbian faith and our customs."
The SNF Historic Photo Exhibit was a salute to those pioneers who gave so freely of themselves to guard our people's national identity, our good Serbian name, our Serbian faith and our customs. They live! Ziveli!
This "Servian" Society badge is from the "SLOGA" No.8 Lodge, February 1910 in Pittsburgh, PA. Note the presence of the American and Serbian flags, ALWAYS!
The black ribboned badge next to it would have been worn for funerals. It reads (right to left ) Serbian Orthodox Lodge; Mother of God #16; organized on the 10/28 February, 1902 on the South Side of Pittsburgh, PA.
The Federation of United Serbian Benevelent Lodge "St. Sava" of Vidovdan (June 27, 1897) from McKeesport, PA. It says "Saint Savoy" (Sava?) on the top with the 4 C's and the cross.
The badge next to it is the Serbian Orthodox Brotherhood Lodge of St. Nikola, No. 7, organized 13th of August, 1900, in Wilmerding, PA. (Now Monroeville parish.)
Again, be sure to notice the crossed American and Serbian flags.
These 2 photos were from a 1938/39 SNF Calendar.
From Pgh. Post-Gazete article, preparing for the exhibit, 7/20/01
American Bomber.... American Serbs bought this airplane to help America win WWII! This bomber's nose is painted "AMERICAN SERBIAN."
Mary Erdel is seen on right of photo of General Draza Mihailovich as the bomber presentation takes place. Also recognized in photo is Danilo Kavachevich, Bronko Pekich, Simo Verlinich and Bishop Dionisije. Far right corner is Martha Mamula Belosh in folk costume.
Serbian Booth in downtown Pittsburgh, selling war bonds in 1942: L-R: Veda Yorkich, Anna Pekich, Martha Stone.
Newspaper clipping says: "'The song of the Serb Guerrillas' was sung by these three young women at the Serb War Bonds Booth at Market Street, holding a photo of General Draza Mihailovich."
King Peter II visits America, here shown in Washington, DC. In his address to the nation on December 9, 1941 (2 days after Pearl Harbor!), President Roosevelt spoke of the Serbs as America's allies and friends. The American SRBOBRAN reprinted his address the following day. King Peter was welcomed by President Roosevelt to the White House as the ruler of a heroic and friendly nation.
Massilon, OH Serbs, with Fr. Zivadinovich. (Now CANTON).
Lodge "Stevan Sindjulich," Miami, Arizona Serbs
Bratska Sloga, Buffalo, NY!
SNF Pres. Bob Stone and Pistol Pete Maravich.....1970's?
Braca Jugovic Lodge #252 of the SNF, 1938. "Welcome!"
This Freedom, PA lodge, under the strong leadership of + George Pevac, is to always be remembered for its humanitarian response in sending $10,000 from its hard earned-treasury to help the Serbian Relief Efforts during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, as the refugees from those areas poured into Serbia. There were hundreds of thousands of refugees in Serbia without food and shelter.
Wilmerding Lodge donated by Milan Pokanjac from Wall, PA
WWII Caption reads:
"Vidan Vukovitch, after 2 years of fighting with the Mihailovich guerrillas, finds only his mother and sister alive out of a family of 16, at the charred remains of his home. "
Early 1920's photo of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Sunday School on S. 16th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, Branko Pekich, head teacher. This was a gift to the SNF from Ljubica Pekich Todorovich.
Pittsburgh's Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church Bus says "Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade," or "Nobody has what the Serbs have" in front of +Nick Musulin's garage on the South Side of Pittsburgh, PA, waiting to escort South Siders to Whitehall in the 1970s.
Supreme Council and Judicial Board of the Serb National Federation of the United States of America in session at Pittsburgh, PA, January 29, 1938. Simo Verlinich, President; Luka Kristoforovich, VP; and Danilo Kovachevich, Treasurer.
Painting of Louis Cukelja, Serbian hero, at the SNF headquarters. Louis won the Congressional Medal of Honor, not once, but TWICE! Read about this American on the Famous American Serbs page.
Bronko Generalovich. Caption reads, "Best Blast Furnace Foreman for Sharon Steel." Branko's son, Brian Generalovich, was Pitt's famous basketball star, became a very successful dentist, and also headed up Pitt's Alumni Fund-raising efforts.
Anyone recognize American Serb, Mladen Sekulovich? Better known as Karl Malden, Academy Award winning actor, author, and most famous for making sure the name "Sekulovich" was said in EVERY episode of "The Streets of San Francisco" TV shows.
Wish I could have been at this picnic held by Lodge #138, "MLADA NEDELJA" in Salem, Ohio, Summer of 1926! Serbs know how to have good times! If YOU are not a member of the Serb National Federation , join now! We need you!
Call the SNF at 412-642-7372
George Musulin, PITT football star, ran off the field when he heard the news about the death of King Alexander in 1934, shouting, "They shot my King, they shot my King!"
George Musulin is fondly regarded, remembered as being in charge of the OSS rescue of the 512 downed American flyers from behind German-occupied enemy lines in Yugoslavia. George was recalled by Washington (due to George not trusting British intelligence-which proved right when British spies Kim Philby & his gang were finally exposed as double agents), and Captain Nick Lalich of Cleveland, OH succeeded him. George had a huge Military Funeral in Washington, with Nick and Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley and many others mourning his loss.
Amazingly, George also played for Art Rooney's Steeler Football team in 1938 too! Only then, they were called the Pittsburgh PIRATES. George Vuynovich, hero of the book THE FORGOTTEN 500 by Gregory Freeman, recalls George Musulin telling him that the Pittsburgh football players then made $25 or $30 per game, depending on the outcome, and they had to bring their own helmets!
SNF Past President Steve Pyevich, Traci Weir, layout artist and English Section Editor, Sandi Radoja, of the American SRBOBRAN.
P. Rhody Brenlove, first SNF legal advisor, 1939-1952. Rhody was also the FIRST Serb lawyer in Pittsburgh.
December, 1959 article in the SRBOBRAN from the priest in Jasenak, Ogulin, thanking Andja Mamula, Martha Belosh and Mileva Mrvos and all their relatives for giving funds to rebuild the church of "St. Czar Lazara," burnt down in WWII.
Kumovi Mr. Milan Trivunchich and SNF President Robert (Bob) Stone at the dedication in 1984 of the rebuilt St. John's Serbian Orthodox Church at Jasenovac, where hundreds of thousands of Serbs were killed because of their religion during WWII. In 1991 the church was severely damaged again.
"A Century of Serbdom, 1901-2001"; beautiful tole painting of the red poppies by Georgette Osman and her very talented Mom, Billie Brnilovich.
Dr. Milutin Lazich, opera star, leads off the S.N.F. Centennial Celebration at the Westin Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, 2001.
Andja Mamula holding the "Distinguished Service Cross," award earned by her son, M/Sgt. George Mamula in the Korean War. Article "Hero's Welcome Set for South Side GI" appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. SRBOBRAN story, March 5, 1952. Mamula also served with Merrill's Marauders in WWII.
WWII hero Mitchell Paige,of Charleroi, PA, Congressional Medal of Honor awardee, visits the SNF office to the delight of the staff! In his book A MARINE NAMED MITCH, Paige tells of the "Maiden of Kosovo" painting always hanging in his parents' kitchen.
Two pages of early SNF historic photos in Milan Karlo's EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA book. The caption reads: "Founder members of the Serb National Federation Fraternal, pioneer organizations and newspapers in its first 40 years (1941). The Alaskans in Douglas (top left) also had a church of their own. The old McKeesport, PA church (bottom right) was the third oldest in America, founded in 1901. The book is full of heartwarming stories of our early Serbian immigrants from the western part of the United States.
The first photo of the Douglas, Alaska Serbs features the Serbian "LOVCHEN" lodge #57 of the S.P.S. Srbobran from (Serbian) Christmas Day, January 7, 1905, who considered it "their sacred honor and duty to maintain the good names, customs and faith of the their people."
The second photo is the Fourth Convention of the S.P.S. Srbobran 1905, Harrisburg, PA.
The third photo, top right, features the Serbian Sokols from Barberton, Ohio in 1914, "one of many sokol groups found throughout the country."
Photo caption says it all! This was Nikola Mamula's KUM and best friend. They lived only 1/2 block from each other, all of their lives in America. Bozo Mamula was the one who signed Nikola's Citizenship papers, Nov. 15, 1915. (See Andja's FOLK COSTUME page)
Both Nikola and Bozo were so proud of their SNF "PIONEER" affiliation right from the start of the organization.
"Bozo" isn't pronounced as an English-speaking person would normally say it, but more like "Bozh-o" with a short "o" at the end. It means "of God" like "Bozidar" would mean "God's gift"; "Bogdan" would mean "God's day." Boz(h)o is a beautiful name indicating the pride of the parents and their gratitude to God for giving them this child. Vjecnaja Pamjat to these wonderful pioneers! Memory Eternal!
Bozo Mamula is the GREAT grandfather of Bob Susnjer, the creator of the web links of Famous America Serbs found elsewhere on this site. As the tree is bent......
These badges are presently on display at the W.PA Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh, but were originally from the Serb National Federation Museum collection. The first badge is from the Serbian Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Nikola Lodge in Slovan, PA, 1916.
Next to it is a badge with photos of King Peter I from Serbia and President Woodrow Wilson of the USA; from the 10th Annual Convention of the Servian Orthodox Society SRBOBRAN, from Pittsburgh PA, September, 1911.
The little round pin in the middle says Serbian Day on top, features the 4 C's crest in the middle, and underneath it says 1924, and on the bottom, it tells us its from Kennywood Park. Serbian Day at Kennywood!
The final badge is from the 1st delegation of Pittsburgh, June, 1931. (When all the lodges merged into the SNF).
This W.PA Heinz History Center document says that the McKeesport Lodge of June 22, 1897 of St. Sava, eventually became Lodge #6 of the Serb National Federation.
A History in Badges! All of these badges from the SNF Museum Collection were gifted to the Heinz Center for posterity.
You, as a researcher, should be able to click on any of these badge pictures to enlarge them for further examination.