Serbian Recipes in the Tribune-Democrat 7/26/10 form the Johnstown Area Heritage Association Cookbook, Ethnic Recipes of Johnstown.
by Tom Lavis, July 12, 2009
by Tom Potts, TPOTTS@TRBDEM.COM
Gregory Freeman was as much a hero as were the wonderful characters in his book, THE FORGOTTEN 500, as he addressed the huge crowd of residents gathered for the first annual SERB FEST in Johnstown, PA, USA, when he spoke of the brave deeds of Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetnik villagers, the OSS American heroes, and the 500 USA Airmen they rescued.
“The local Serbian people were willing to sacrifice their own lives to keep the airmen out of German hands.”
“The rescue with the help of the C-47 crago planes from behind enemy lines was an audacious move, and filled with never-ending problems,” he said.
“They built an airstrip without any tools– but then, they were typical of people of that generation– to do whatever it took.”
Greg then spoke of the local Cambria County hero, George Musulin, who will be formally inducted into the Cambria County Military HALL OF FAME on September 18, at the War Memorial Arena, the same area Freeman signed books the day before and answered questions from local Veterans who filled the reception room while TV cameras captured and documented his replies for history.
Freeman told how Cambria County’s “Gov” Musulin was the son of immigrants who befriended the Serbs in Serbia. Once they saw the big American who could speak their language, the Serbian villagers became fast friends with the burly guy from Pennsylvania.
The author spoke of how GOV had been a former steel worker, played football at the University of Pittsburgh, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers (then called the Pittsburgh Pirates like the current baseball team), and served in the army at Ft. Mead, Maryland. He was quickly identified there as an excellent OSS candidate, and well he understood the mission, that he might not return. Gov was rather big for his size (like 100 lbs. over the parachute exemption), and his friends took bets on how successful his parachute jumping practices would be, if the parachute would work.
Freeman urged the Johnstown attendees to read the story about the sacrifices that people made for others, and tell the story to the world.
Freeman then spoke on a wide variety of topics, including his interview with the then 92-yr. old George Vujnovich of NYC who vividly described for the author his life as a carefree American student studying in Belgrade, to spearheading the effort to get the American airmen back. (Side note: George Vujnovich was recognized in 2009 by the Ambridge Area High School (Pennsylvania) HALL OF FAME for his daring bravery in this rescue.
Greg Freeman explained, “These young men did more with their lives before they were 20 than we have at 80 or 90!”
He excited the crowd when he complimented the many present who had held onto the story of General Draza Mihailovich with strong emotions throughout their lives, those who were outraged at the sad fate dealt to Draza Miahilovich who was killed after a mock trial in Belgrade by Tito and his Communist government.
And although “Cica Draza” was always so dear to the Serbis in America, he spoke of the other regular Americans, including those 500 airmen, who did fight to clear Draza’s name over the years after he was branded a “Collaborator” by the Cambridge spies in Cairo. “Hope for the resurgence of truth, of humanity–depicting stories of individual human beings helping others.”
“This story IS of individual human beings helping others, with such emotional drama–more than any fictional tale in history could be.”
“The downed airmen told me that when they met Draza Mihailovich, they felt physically small, although the General was almost the same height. They said they could feel his sense of duty to his people. He was warm and kind, but still he instilled discipline in his troops who adored him. “Cica” (Uncle) Draza was greatly loved by the local villagers too. He was a Celebrity without presence.”
All to soon the great story teller had to wrap it up. “Thank you for having me at the festival, and thank you for your time.”
Wildly enthusiastic response followed as it had when the author finished his Q & A period at the War Memorial Arena in downtown Johnstown!
AGAIN, thanks to the Johnstown newspaper, the TRIBUNE- DEMOCRAT! What a great community newspaper!!!
(Click on the above link!)
by Arlene Johns, 7/9/10
Story of the role played by the late Army Captain, George, “Gov” Musulin, OSS, in recovery of more than 500 American fliers and Allied soldiers.
“May we have a closer look at your historical photo of “Gov” while Gregory signs your books? Thanks, fellas!
George (Gov) Musulin played both for PITT and for the Pittsburgh STEELERS, but then known as Art Rooney’s “Pirates,” before joining the OSS and becoming an unforgettable hero to all of us!
Thirty years! 30! Thirty years Nikola Jovic has devoted his life to teaching others Serbian Folklore and the most intricate of dance steps, helping to keep his beloved Serbian Orthodox culture and heritage alive, helping all of us. He certainly has worked his magic as an Unofficial Serbian Ambassador throughout the USA and Canada!
His Church Folklore groups have included groups from all over the Eastern American seaboard—the USA AND Canada! Lackawanna, NY, Hamilton, Ont, Niagara Falls, Ont Youngstown, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Akron, Ohio, Monroeville, Pa, Youngwood, Pa, Pittsburgh, Pa, St. Petersburg, Florida, Edmonton, Alberta, Sudbury, Ont.
Nikola also taught at our SHADELAND CHURCH CAMP DURING FOLKLORE WEEK FOR 20 YEARS, using his vacation time from work to “Pay it Forward!”
Anyone who has seen the Shadeland performances or has been lucky enough to witness them elsewhere, knows that Nikola has certainly left his mark on many communities who have witnessed some of the most incredible performances. The audiences are usually so impressed, they rise to give thunderous applause and a standing ovation to both the performers and their instructor(s). Nikola, wife Nada says, has NEVER said “No” to any group who asked for help and was always proud to share his knowledge with others.
Nikola and his dance groups have traveled extensively throughout the USA and Canada to cities like: Buffalo,NY, Lackawanna, NY, Youngstown, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Akron, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pa, Steelton, Pa., Elizabeth, New Jersey, Chicago, Ill, Milwaukee, Wisc., Schererville, & Merrillville, Indiana, Detroit, Michigan, Phoenix, Arizona, San Diego, California, Windsor, Ont, Kitchener/Waterloo, Ont, Hamilton, Ont, Oakville, Ont, Missisauga, Ont, Toronto, Ont, Sudbury, Ont, Ottawa, Ont, Sherbrook, Quebec and of course Niagara Falls, Ont.
Everyone needs to start somewhere! Nikola learned from the best! He participated in many folklore dance workshops that were conducted by many renowned famous directors and choreographers,:
Mr. Atanas Kolarovski of Tanec Ensemble of Yugoslavia
Mr. Bora Gajicki of “Ensemble Kolo” from Beograd.
Mr. Vladeta Vlahovic of Beograd State Folk Ensemble
Mr. Bozidar Travica past member of Beograd State Ensemble
Mr. Dragan Kovacevic past member of Ensemble Kolo from Beograd, Serbia
But Nikola was wise enough to know that he must ALSO pass this knowledge on, and so, of the 1000+ students that he taught, he always made sure throughout the years that he included a student from his oldest group as his assistant throughout the school year. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge and at the same time was training future instructors for the next generation to come!!! Marianne Kovljenic, Dijana (Tadic) Manojlovic, Milan Zakula, Zoran Matijevic, Tomislava (Stojsavljevich) Andjelic, Jovan Madjercic, Katarina(Pantelic) Maniatis, Dr. Branko Bojovic & Miso Gostimir
Today, Nikola sees many students who are second generation—children of past students!
(These two LOVE their Serbian heritage!)
Thanks to his wonderful Nada for this info!
“On a hot summer day a ‘PROUD SERBIAN BABY BOY” is born on June 22, 1957 in Niagara Falls, Ont Canada. Proud parents +Mirko & +Zora Rose Jovic.
Nikola is the 7th of 10 children.
In 1960…Due to lack of work at Niagara Hydro, the Jovic family moves to Lackawanna, NY with the assistance of long time friend +Very Rev. Miodrag Djurich.
8 kids born in Niagara Falls, Ont Canada…2 born in Lackawanna, NY… USA
(in Canada…Ana, Mary, +Joey, Vladimir, Olga, Milan, Nikola, Milorad…..in USA…Dusan, Jovanka (affectionately known as Seka)
Nikola joined St. Stephen’s Tammies in Lackawanna, NY in 1966 at the age of 8. +Nada Milosevich taught Music Theory in preparation for playing tambura.
At the same time he was dancing folklore with Kathy (Djurich) Sljegovich and Monica Damjanovic as his instructors.
After finishing music theory in 1968 Nikola graduated to Brac with +Stanko Djurich & +Stevan Vranjes. At the same time he continued dancing Jr. folklore under the direction of Jane Sheehaud.
After seven years, he left the instrumental group and remained a member of dance under the direction of Dennis Piatkowski.
In 1974 Nikola answered the call of becoming a member of St. Stephen’s Choir “Kosta Manojlovic” which he still remains a member. In 1976 the “Kosta Choir” was getting ready to travel throughout Yugoslavia. In preparation for their journey +Nada Milosevich invited Mr. Atanas Kolarovski (renown director/choreography from Tanec Macedonian Ensemble from Yugoslavia) to teach a dance workshop to the newly formed Kosta Dancers.
He took the liberty of teaching a dance representing each region of Yugoslavia that the choir was to visit & perform.
After Atanas returned to Macedonia, +Mr. Zifko Andreff continued to instruct the Kosta Dancers.
1977 the trip took place. This trip was a very memorable travel for all members. Many high-lights of this trip were singing in the SABORNA CRKVA & having an audience with the +Patriarch German, visiting many famous monasteries STUDENICA, PEC, ZICA, DECANI, ST. MARK CATHEDRAL IN BEOGRAD , OPLENAC & many local churches through-out their visit and performing on stage alongside Ensemble “KOLO” in Beograd.
After returning home from this unforgettable trip Nikola continued dancing under the St. Stephen’s Tammies & singing with “Kosta Choir”. The dance bug bit him again that he also became a member of Goce Delcev Macedonian Dance Group of Lackawanna, NY which +Mr. Zifko Andreff was director/choreography.
+Mr. Andreff became an inspiration & mentor to Nikola which lead Nikola to teach Folklore. In 1980 Nikola received a phone call from his friend +Mr. Nikola Bogdanovic from St. George Church Niagara Falls, Ont that there was a dance workshop being held in Niagara Falls, Ont by the renown director/choreographer Mr. Bora Gajicki of “Ensemble Kolo” from Beograd.
WELL…Nikola jumped to this opportunity to study folklore dance with such a famous, professional choreographer!!! When it rains it pours…the same time Nikola received a call from +Mr. George Terzieff to join the Balkan dancers of Buffalo State. +George was the director/choreographer of this group which performed dances from the Balkan region of Europe.
Nikola, Nada and her brother Mickeyand sister-in-law Millie in front of St. Sava’s Church in Cleveland, OH.
Ziveo, i na mnogaja Ljeta!
We congratulate you on your 30 years of commitment, dedication and love towards our Serbian church, folklore community, and our Serbian youth. God has truly blessed you with a very BIG heart and a very special talent!
Nikola Jovich and Nicole Belich (Pittsburgh gal!). They were a dynamite team of Instructors at Shadeland’s Forklore Week for many, many years! Always put on incredible programs that made your heart soar higher than any Fireworks put on by the Zambelli Fireworks company! They got the kids enthused and always taught them to be their best!
Stella Banks said: “They taught us to Serbian dance and sing with pride and always give our best.”
AND, they DID!!!! Thank you, Nikola and Nicole!
From ALL of US!!
Check out the video above! 🙂
Nikola Jovic & Shelly Phillips Vranjes were approached to teach the St. Stephens Tammies.They accepted with great inthusiasim & joy.Taking this upon themselves, they did not realize that they would both continue teaching for many years to come.Shelley remains to this day the director/choreographer of the Tammies along with her sister Stacey Delmont.Nikola & Kosta choir travel to Cleveland, Ohio to be guests at the Njegos choir concert weekend.That weekend he meets me!!!Our sudbina is starting without us even realizing!!!!.
In 1983 the Jovic family mourn the loss of their beloved mother after a lengthy illness and 5 months later the loss of their oldest brother +Joey in a tragic accident.
In 1984 Nikola moves back to Canada after the passing of this mother & brother.Upon moving to Canada he is approached by Mrs. Mima Ivosevic and asked to teach the St. Nicholas Cathedral Dance Group on Nash Rd. in Hamilton, Ont. He accepted the position and started teaching in 1985.This was a huge challenge for him with approx. 80 students ranging in age from 5-18. Through the years the membership was as high as 150 dancers. With so many students 6 groups are formed.RASTKO, OBILIC, KARADJORDJE, NJEGOS, MORAVA, and AVALA.Proto Stevo Stojsavljevich was the parish priest on Nash Rd. He would often come and greet the children at many rehearsals and state to our Serbian youth on how important it was to respect the Orthodox Church & the holy days of our church calendar. Whenever the groups traveled to be guests at other Serbian communities, Proto Stevo would emphasize that they were the Ambassadors of our SERBIAN community.
Eager to expand his reparatory, Nikola invites Shelley (Phillips) Vranjes & +Zifko Andreff to conduct a dance workshop to his young dancers.The following year +George Terzieff accepts the invite to conduct a workshop and share his knowledge of folklore.
+Bishop Christopher & +Zorka Check (Eastern Region KSS President) called Nikola to teach dance during folklore week at St. Sava Camp in Shadeland, PA.Continued teaching folklore with many talented music directors such as:Kathy Loncar, +Nick Zatezlo, Martha Kukich, Vuk Kandic, Demitrija Lazich, Nicole Belich.With these talented Serbs together with Nikola each camp season they compiled a weeks worth of music & dance to entertain the people in attendance at the last day of camp.Later, Bishop Mitrophan becomes the Bishop of the Eastern Diocese & Nikola continues receiving offers to teach at folklore week at our beloved camp.Some of the directors/camp mothers during this time were:+Olga Galagaza, Daniella Milanovich, Millie Radovick, Martha Springborn, Vesna Meinert, and Dee Dee Baskot.
+Nikola Bogdanovic & Nikola Jovic traveled to NYC to meet the dance troop BELGRADE STATE ENSEMBLE and to make arrangements for yet another dance workshop in collaboration with George Lukic (Director of Kolo from Sv. Nikola of Hamilton Barton Street). The workshop was held at McMaster University with Mr. Vladeta Vlahovac as the instructor.He was the Renown DIRECTOR/ CHOREGRAPHY of the famous BELGRADE STATE ENSEMBLE.
WEDDING BELLS RING!!!!!
Married October 14, 1989 on the feast day PROTECTION OF THE THEOTOKOS at St. Stephens Serbian Orthodox Church by parish priest Proto Rastko Trbuhovich, Proto Stevo Stojsavljevich of Hamilton, Ont & +Proto Slobodan Zivadinovich long-time family friend to both the bride & groom. Nada (Patijarevich) Jovic moves from Cleveland, Ohio to Hamilton, Ont. Not only does she marry Nikola but also accepts the life of folklore with the man that swept her off her feet!!! At our wedding 12 of the members of Avala folklore of Hamilton were part of our wedding party wearing Sumadija Nosinje. In addition we had a total of 40 in our bridal party!!! As a gift to us the Avala folklore group performs for us at our reception & welcomed Nada with open arms!!!
No sooner we get back from our honeymoon, we are off to another folklore workshop held at Buffalo State University. Mr. Bozidar Travica (former member of Belgrade State Ensemble) was the instructor of the workshop. A close friendship develops between Nikola & Nada & Bozidar.
Mrs. Mary Paich & Very Rev. Dragoljub Malich invite Nikola to teach the Monroeville Tammies a new dance set to be performed at their spring concert 1991. Monroeville Tammies of St. Nicholas Church.
Invited by Rev. Miodrag Popovic from St. Sava SOC of Edmonton, Alberta to become director/choreographer of OPANAK Folklore Group which Nikola accepts.
HISTORY WAS MADE AT 3 DAY WEEKEND IN PITTSBURGH, PA
+Bob Stone invites Avala Folklore of Hamilton to be the entertainment for the weekend. They became the first CANADIAN DANCE GROUP to perform for the weekend celebration but ALSO the first dance group to perform ALL THREE DAYS!!!! Kennywood, Majestic boat cruise & castle Shannon!!!!
Nikola established a new folklore group in Hamilton (St. Nicholas Cathedral ..Nash Rd) called Czar Lazarwhich consisted of former Avala Members who were university & career oriented members over the age of 21.Their first performance was at the opening ceremonies at the World University Games held in Buffalo, NY.
Nikola was invited to conduct a dance workshop in Sudbury, Ont at St. Peter & Paul Serbian Orthodox Church.Proto Milan Savic was parish priest at the time.
1994Nikola & Nada move from Stoney Creek, Ont to Niagara Falls, Ont.
Fr. Milos Milovanovic, parish priest from St. George SOC of Niagara Falls, Ont offers Nikola a position as Choreographer/ Director of the STUDENICA FOLKLORE.Nikola once again.ACCEPTS!!!With much enthusiasm former dancers of the St. George community approach Nikola with interest in forming an adult dance group which became known as ENSEMBLE STUDENICA. This group consisted of dancers 18 years of age and older from Niagara Falls, Ont but also from the neighboring Serbian communities of Hamilton, Ont & Lackawanna, NY.Not only does he have is day job but now he is teaching in the evenings at both Hamilton & Niagara Falls.
Nikola attends a folklore dance workshop sponsored by the SNF which was instructed by Mr. Dragan Kovacevic former member ofKOLO (Beograd, Serbia) & at the time Serbian Choreographer for Duquesne University.
+ Proto Janko Rajlich along with Mrs. Ann Milkovich contacted Nikola & asked him to teach the AVALA TAMBURITZANS of Holy Trinity Church in Youngstown, Ohio. For 2 months, Nikola traveled every weekend & prepared the group for their annual spring concert. That same year, Fr. Stevo Zaremba parish priest from Holy Ascension SOC of Youngwood, PA asked Nikola to conduct a dance workshop for the parish youth.
Fr. Dejan Obradovic becomes parish priest at St. George SOC and serves his first Divine Liturgy in Canada on January 2nd which coincidently is the Jovic family Krsna Slava ( Sv. Ignjatije Bogonosac). Folklore membership grew immensely. Fr. Dejan suggested that we rename our groups in keeping with the monastery themes Decani, Hilandar & Studenica.
A little overwhelmed with time Nikola with a heavy heart decides to stop teaching in Niagara Falls and continue to teach in Hamilton. He concluded his 22 years with Hamilton in 2007. That same year, Mr. Dusan Kolundzich (church president in Niagara Falls) approaches Nikola to come back & teach here at St. George. WELL, NIKOLA ONCE AGAIN CAN NOT SAY NO AND WITH A BIG HEART ACCEPTS.
After being approached by former dancers from Niagara Falls & neighboring communities, Nikola forms yet another adult dance group consisting of formers dancers ranging in age from 19-33 years of age. These members consisted of university students and many held professional careers. Keeping with the church theme.this group is named VRACAR!!!
In the fall of 2009, Nikola is contacted by Jedinstvo Folklore Group President Patty Opacic &Director/ Choreographer Milana Capuzzi from Holy Trinity Cathedral of Pittsburgh, PA to be guest instructor for a 3 day weekend folklore workshop held at Shadeland Camp. He also returns to Pittsburgh 2 more times that season to conclude his teachings. In May 2011 Jedinstvo held their annual Folklore Concert with Folklore groups HILANDAR, STUDENICA & VRACAR OF Niagara Falls as honored guests!!! Proto Rajko Kosic is parish priest.
Nikola is contacted by long time friends Proto Stevo & Protinica Svetlana Zaremba & by Folklore President Rajka Rakovic to teach the Folklore Group Srpski Biser of St. Sava Church in St. Petersburgh, Florida. Nikola traveled 1-2 weekends a month in order to prepare the group for their annual concert held in February 2011. The honored guest dance group for this event was St. George SOC Folklore group Vracar from Niagara Falls, Ont Canada of which Nikola is the choreographer/director.
30 year anniversary for Nikola teaching SERBIAN FOLKLORE!!!
Nikola has been our Serbian maestro, sharing his happy self, sprinkling his magical PIXIE dust all up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the Americas! Ziveo, Nikola!
No one deserves to be honored more than Nikola in this area for what he has been able to accomplish with the BIGNESS, kindness of his heart!
Karadjordje, better known as “Black George” for his dark hair and complexion, was born November 14, 1762. He is most famous for being the leader of the successful uprising against the Turks in 1804, after hundreds of years of the Serbs being vassal slaves. He died a most unfortunate death at the hand of his Kum, Milosh Obrenovich, June 26, 1817.
King Alexander was the great grandson of Karadjordge, the founder of the famed Karadjordjevich Dynasty.
Beloved King Peter I, of Serbia, father of King Alexander I, of Yugoslavia.
Queen Zorka, married to King Peter, oldest daughter of Prince (King Nikola and Queen Milena of Montenegro)
Mim says she recently learned that supposedly, when Victor Flemming heard this story, he was so inspired, that the scene of Scarlett O’Hara falling down the stairs in “Gone With the Wind” was actually based on Zorka’s misfortunes.
She died a most unfortunate death. Her husband, King Peter had been away on business for a few weeks and when she learned of his coming home after his party was spotted climbing up the mountains, she ran to meet him and fell down the steps and died. (Some erroneously report that she had a fight with her husband and fell down the stairs.) She died soon afterwards, in childbirth, and her newborn son, Andrew, soon followed his mother to the grave.
It is said that when VICTOR FLEMMING heard this story, he was so inspired that the scene of Scarlett O’Hara fallin g down the stairs in “Gone With the Wind” was actually based on Zorka’s misfortune. She had five children. Jelena, Milena, George, Alexander (who later became King Alexander) and infant Andrew.
King Alexander was born December 4, 1888 to King Peter I of Serbia, and Princess Zorka, oldest daughter of King Nikola and Queen Milena of Montenegro.
King Alexander and Queen Marie had three sons: Peter, Andrej and Tomislav. Where birth rank has its privileges!
King Peter was only 11 years old when his father was so cruelly assassinated in Marseilles, France in 1934.
This is the age of young King Peter when he was the guest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Too, my mother, Laura Karlo, was first President of the King Peter II Club in Pittsburgh’s South Side.
Turn your volume up! 🙂
Here’s another version!
St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, IL is where King Peter II was interned since his funeral in 1970. This photo is from Wikipedia, posted by B. Garrett from Kenosha, WI on Feb.7, 2008.
King Peter was forced to flee Yugoslavia in WWII after the Axis invasion. He traveled widely, but settled in the USA, and died at the young age of 47 after a failed liver transplant.
From the official Royal Family of Serbia website:
His Majesty King Peter II
“King Peter II of Yugoslavia was the firstborn son of King Alexander I and Queen Maria of Yugoslavia. King Peter II was born in Belgrade 6 September 1923 his Godparents were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother of Great Britain). His education commenced at The Royal Palace after which he went to Sandroyd School in England, which he left after his father’s assassination in 1934. Since King Peter II was 11 years old and underage at the time of his father’s assassination, a regency was formed consisting of three regents including his great uncle Prince Paul Karadjordjevic.
“In 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia found itself surrounded by countries that had joined the Axis as allies of Nazi Germany. Prince Paul’s decision in 1941 to sign a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany resulted in severe protests in the country and this led to a government crisis and a coup d’état by Yugoslav officers on 27 March 1941. As a result of the coup, King Peter II was proclaimed of age.
“The Yugoslav Army was unprepared to resist the ensuing invasion by Nazi Germany and Yugoslavia was occupied within eleven days. King Peter II was forced to leave the country along with the Yugoslav Government – initially to Greece, Palestine and then to Egypt. King Peter II joined other monarchs and leaders of German occupied Europe in London in June 1941. There King Peter was regarded by the people of Yugoslavia as the symbol of resistance against Nazism. King Peter II completed his education at Cambridge University and joined the Royal Air Force.
“Despite the collapse of the Yugoslav army two rival resistance entities were formed. The first resistance entity was the loyalist one led by Yugoslav Army Colonel Dragoljub Mihailovic who was later promoted to General and made the Minister of Defence of the Yugoslav government in exile. The other resistance entity was that of the communist Partisans led by the communist party leader Josip Broz – later known to the world as Tito. A bitter civil war followed during the German occupation.
“The Allies, having initially supported General Mihailovic later threw their support behind Tito. The Partisans entered Belgrade in 1944 in the wake of Soviet tank brigades and illegally established a communist Government. In November 1945, the monarchy was illegally abolished without a referendum and Yugoslavia remained a totalitarian single party state under the League of Communists for more than four decades.
“King Peter II never abdicated. Initially King Peter II lived in exile in London with his wife (he married the Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark in 1944, she was the daughter of King Alexander of the Hellenes and Aspasia Manos) and his son Crown Prince Alexander was born in 1945.”
(Be sure to check out all of my WWII pages with the Chetniks to learn more about this period of history!)
This is the beautiful St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Oplenac, where King Peter II will be buried along with other members of the royal family.
My Danilovich relatives in Belgrade gave me this book of the Karadjordjevich Dynasty they guarded from the 1940’s when I visited there for the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo in 1989. Here are only a few of the many photos inside……Enjoy!
Mim Bizic’s photo of her dad, Milan Karlo, then editor and photographer of the English section of the American SRBOBRAN; King Peter II visitng the Serb National Federation Headquarters at 3414 Fifth Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, PA in the very early 1960’s, and Rev. Fr. Velimir Kovachevich, later Bishop and then Metropolitan Christopher.
Milan Karlo was working at the Diocesan Observer at the time of King Peter II’s death. He took most of the funeral photos you see here.
Michael Sneed, writing in the Chicago TRIBUNE of Sunday, Nov. 15, 1970 wrote about the funeral, with the headlines of EXILED YUGOSLAV KING BURIED; 15,000 GATHER TO SAY GOODBYE.
Sneed began: “A king was buried in American soil yesterday in a small countryside chapel three miles north of Libertyville. ‘Bury me in Liberty,’ King Peter II of Yugoslavia had said, preferring to leave the ‘ville’ off his favorite town. ‘I want to rest near my freedom-loving people. I must always share their destiny.’
“A throng of 15,000 people dressed in black filed past his bier, kissed the cross that lay across the top and wept. His body lay in a brown, metal coffin, the upper half covered with glass.”
In another section, Sneed acknowledged “King Peter II helped thwart Hitler’s movement into Russia” said a WWII amputee who had served with him in the Yugoslav Air Force.”
“When the doors of the chapel were closed, 75 Serbian religious leaders and dignitaries from throughout the world were escorted in, the funeral services began, and it started to snow.
“Candles were lit, the smell of incense filled the room, and Serbian changing began as four bishops prayed for their dead king.”
Near the end of the article he quoted a 17-year old girl for his article: “He was our king. He hated Communism and all the evil that goes with it. He loved freedom. He was a symbol of hope. Now he is gone.”
WWI Postcard of King Alexander of Yugoslavia
I’ve always had a fascination with Prince and later King Alexander (Aleksandar) of Yugoslavia ever since I found a two-spread photo of him decades ago in the middle of an old French publication from WWI, in an antique book shop located in Alexandria, VA. (This has since been sent to HRH Prince Aleksandar of Serbia.)
Too, my Aunt Rose Mamula, was studying Philosophy as an American student in Belgrade only a month, when they learned of King Aleksandar’s untimely assassination on October 9, 1934, in Marseilles, France, while he was attending a Peace Conference with Prime Minister of France, Louis Barthou. She wrote a letter home to her mother, my grandmother, Andja Mamula Mamula, explaining the grief that had overcome the whole country. I found a copy of that letter in the American SRBOBRAN which I will talk about later, including how the 9 USA stipendists carried a wreath from the SNF to Oplenac, where he was buried.
I will talk more about the amazing funeral elsewhere, covered so eloquently and in great detail by the major newspapers from all over the world.
According to Wikipedia: “As Foreign Minister, Barthou met King Alexander I of Yugoslavia during his state visit to Marseilles in October 1934. On 9 October, the King and Barthou were assassinated by Velicko Kerin, a Bulgarian revolutionary wielding a handgun. One of the bullets struck Barthou in the arm, passing though and fatally severing an artery. He died of excessive blood loss less than an hour later. The assassination was planned in Rome by Ante Pavelić, head of the Croatian Ustaše, in August 1934. Pavelić was assisted by Georg Percevic, a former Austro-Hungarian military officer. France unsuccessfully requested extradition of Percevic and Pavelić.[1“
Prime Minister of France, Louis Barthou was killed along with King Alexander of Yugoslavia on Oct. 9, 1934.
And I can’t help but mention, as we read about Admiral Vladimir Shashkevich’s duty as the bearer of King Alexander’s body back to Yugoslavia, how our Kum Rudy Ignatovic told us so many times of his walking on foot over a hundred miles, just to see the body of his slain beloved King Alexander pass throough on its journey throughout Yugoslavia in 1934. That would be 80 years ago now, but only 13 years since the passing of his loyal subject, Rudy Ignatovic, 11/28/00, who had spent part of WWII in Stalag IX C as a POW.
Royal Standard of Yugoslavia from Wikipedia 3/28/14
(Click all photos on the lower right hand side to enlarge.)
!928 V. Shashkevich seated in the middle in Dubrovnik
V. Shashkevich with young King Peter aboard the year he became King after his father’s assassination.
V. Shashkevich with Admiral of the First Italian Fleet, the Marchese Riccardi at Boku Kotorshu Naval Base, Bay of Kotor.
V. Shashkevich dining in Split, Yugoslavia, with the Turkish Ambassador
from the American SRBOBRAN of Wednesday, June 3, 2020, pp.12,13.
Daughter Dorothy Kovich married William Stepan on Feb. 4, 1947. They had three children. Two of her boys predeceased her.
From the Kosovo Choir’s brochure:
“The Serbian Men’s Choir ‘Kosovo’ of Northeastern Ohio is under the direction of Dr. Rick Zivic, DDS and Mr. Sam Rusnov of Youngstown, Ohio is president. The choir was organized in February, 1994; with eleven men from several cities in the Greater Cleveland-Akron area. They took the name “Kosovo” in honor, and to preserve the memory of Kosovo, a region in South Serbia, the heart and cradle of Serbian Orthodoxy since before the battle of Kosovo, June 15 (28th), 1389.
“The Kosovo Choir has evolved into a regional choir with over 30 members whose repertoire consists of Orthodox liturgical music as well as serbian and Slavic folk melodies. Not being musical professionals, and not all of Serbian national heritage, but all with a love of Serbian music and desire to sing and preserve Serbian cultural identity has kept them together for more than 14 years, boasting of thrid and fourth generations of mostly american-born singers. To their credit, they have recorded 4 CD’s including liturgical and Serbian secular music and American National Hymns. They have been the recipients of numerous citations for fostering, performing and preserving ethnographic songs perpetuating the cultural wealth.
“They have performed across the USA and Canada. Among the dignitaries for whom they performed are Patriarch Pavle, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg, Russia, HRH Crown Prince Alexander and HRH Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, as well as Senator George Voinovich, the Ohio National Guard and the visiting Serbian Military Attache and others.”
Kosovo Men’s Choir Trip to “Stari Kraj” – August 13-27 2008
Thanks to the Kosovo Serbian Men’s Choir of Ohio, the efforts of organizers Mary Paich and Dr. Rick Zivic, and our hosts, MATICA ISELJNICA from Belgrade, I was able to accompany the Kosovo Men’s choir ambassadors on a 2.5 week tour of Serbia and five new countries (all once formerly a part of Yugoslavia, that was then only a little larger than our state of Pennsylvania to begin with!). Every time our bus crossed newly constructed borders, we needed our passports! Such annoyances paled in comparison to the rich trip prepared for us that proved an emotional and uplifting spiritual journey with some of the most dedicated American Serbs (and Russian Orthodox friends!) from throughout the Eastern Ohio areas and more. I will write more and share more photos later, but for now, here are some interesting places to visit that highlight some of our experiences. It is important for all readers to know that the choir worked so hard to prepare for this trip spiritually, mentally and financially, and as Director Rick says, “All of our hard work paid off, as we represented the Serbian people in America well, preserving our “Srpstvo,” and showing our Serbs in the Otadzbina that they are not alone in this world!”
A visit with their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine is the way EVERYONE should start a tour! They were so very hospitable! Far left is the Director of Matica Iseljnica, from France, who VOLUNTEERS his time for free!
Here’s a stop at the Embassy of the USA in Belgrade, August 20, 2008 with Charge d’Affaires, Jennifer Brush.
The Choir signing “Mnogaja Ljeta” to Ms. Brush of the U.S. Embassy for her generous hospitality.
We all loved being in Trebinje, Hercegovina, Republic of Serbia!
The Municipality of Valjevo welcomed us well!
The camera men in Valjevo were out in full force to cover the exciting event!
That’s Milan, our TV cameraman, 4th from left.
Performance at Emir Kosturica’s Drvengrad
with 2 folklore groups, one of them made up of orphans from the war. The Choir & their tour group guests left $1,500.00 with the young performers!
Milan Zec, now of Phoenix, Arizona, overlooking Trebinje from the famous “Mala Gracanica” Monastery built by Chicago’s famous Serb, Branko Tupanjac for the cost of $2.5 million dollars!
How about THIS for a venue? It was Awesome!
Ampitheater at the Mala Gracanica Church.
“We are one!” said a happy visitor to the site.
You can buy some of the Kosovo Men’s Choirs Tapes from here:
The Choir practicing right before their Concert at Kent State’s Stark Campus, Sept. 20, 2008. Their singing was augmented with a slide show by Kent State music professor, Ken Kramer, of beautiful churches and other scenes of their recent trip.
Kosovo Men’s Choir Trip to Serbia, August 2008
Crest on a jacket pocket.
St. Sava’s Cathedral-Vracar
Susan & Lt. Col John Cappelo, Community Liaison Officer, and Air Attache at the Vice Counsel’s House (Ms. Jennifer Brush) of the Embassy of the USA speaking with Mim about “Operation Halyard” & the rescue of the 512 U.S. Airmen from behind German-occupied lines in Yugoslavia.
(See bottom of Draza Mihailovich page on this website to read more!)
Mayor of Valjevo in white shirt
Fr. Zivojin & Rick Zivic with famous poet Desanka Maksimovich and other notables from Valjevo!
Special ladies who made things happen in Valjevo!
Explaining the return of St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich’s remains to his beloved Lelic Monastery.
Bishop Nikolai’s Museum with many of my Dad’s photos in Lelic Monastery
Here’s Milan, taking movies of my father Milan Karlo’s photos of Bishop Nikolai’s funeral in Libertyville, IL, USA, on display at the Lelic Museum, near Valjevo.
Dr. Nenad Janicijevich in front of the fresco to show size.
Grave of Jovan Duchich is right below the huge fresco above. Duchich died 4/22/43, but was buried in America as Yugoslavia was still communist. 57 years after his death, he was reburied in his beloved Trebinje 10/14/00.
The photo caption above says: “Branko Tupanjac, great benefactor (from the USA) of the new church in Trebinje, and Dr. Predrag Ristic, architect of the church.”
From the article about Jovan Ducic in the American SRBOBRAN, by Dr. Aleksander Petrov.
New friends! Everyone was so nice and we really enjoyed the evening concert in Trebinje. These young mothers, one of them originally from Kosovo, promised to look up babamim.com!
Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration built in 1908. We were there for this 100th Anniversary Celebration that spilled out onto the streets. It’s located in the very CENTER of Trebinje, and is surrounded by a beautiful park. Our Kosovo Men’s Choir sang in church and also at the outdoor concert where there were more than 20,000 people gathered! What an impressive show!
Altar of Orthodox Church of the St. Transfiguration in downtown Trebinje. Next to the church there is the eparchy’s home with the library.
Our homes for 2 nights.
We felt like Heidi and friends, ready to yodel in the beautiful mountains surrounding us!
Chapel dedicated to St. Sava. The choir sang “Oce Nas” here before leaving Drvengrad.
++++++++++++++++++We We took the Sargen train to ride around the “8” loop in Mokra Gora.
George M., the Choir’s secretary, on a rare occasion without his notebook in hand! George took extensive notes of the trip to help us ALL remember!
Singing “Oce Nas” in the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church right in the heart of Dubrovnik’s walled city. It was one of the main buildings damaged during the war.
Lovers’ Bridge in Vrnjacka Banja loaded with locks! You’re supposed to stay in love and married forever!
Alex & Connie Ristich add their own lock to the Bridge!
This waiter in Vrnjacka Banja hotel knew how to please the ladies. You’d spot several of them with freshly picked roses!
Farewell dinner on the River, right across from the magnificently lit-up Patriarchate, and not far from Kalemegdan Park. We were entertained royally with an orchestra, female singer, and the famous Bajich Brothers of Belgrade!
Boris Solomko, Project Manager of St. Sava’s HRAM Construction Site, and his son. Great job, Boris!
Eugene Zemlansky, one of the Americans of Russian descent singing with the Kosovo Men’s Choir, handed out these lovely 4″ wooded icons to Serbian kids everywhere he went. He said they were blessed by his priest at the Russian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio beforehand.. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift!
August 13-Arrive Belgrade
Aug. 14-Royal Palace, Vracar Cathedral, “Ima Dana” in Skardalija, USA Embassy
Aug. 15-Valjevo, Lelic, Celije, Sirogojno, arrive Drvengrad.
Aug. 16-Mokra Gora, Train Ride on Sargan Eight, Zlatibor, Concert in Drvengrad with folklore group orphans.
Aug. 17-Trebinje, Mala Gracanica Monastery Concert.
Aug. 18-St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery, “Glava Zeta” Restaurant in Montenegro
Aug. 19-Dubrovnik Serbian Orthodox Church; Evening: Trebinje Church Centennial Celebration in Town Square, Concert with 20,000 participants!
Aug. 20-Vrnjacka Banja
Aug. 21-Zica Monastery-800 yrs. Concert, Lunch in Vrnjci Restaurant.
Aug. 22-Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo-Decani and Pec Monasteries.
Aug. 23-Oplenac, lunch at Alkesandar Restaurant in Arandjelovac.
Aug. 24-Holy Divine Liturgy in Saborna Crkva-reception by Belgrade First Choral Society, Concert-Ethnographic Museum.
Aug. 25-Matica Iseljnica-Ministry for Diaspora, City Assembly & National Assembly at Parliament Building, lunch in Parliament building.
Aug. 26-Free day (I met with relatives, which was the BEST part for me! and lunch at the “Knez” Restaurant in Belgrade near the Patriarchate), then group farewell supper on the “Victoria” river boat.
Aug. 27-Belgrade to Frankfort to Chicago to Cleveland to HOME!
Thank you to EVERYONE who worked so hard to make this dream vacation a reality!
I appreciated it so much!