SNF/St. George Cemetery/Petrov/Marich/etc.

“At the St. George Cemetery in Pittsburgh, PA”

+Andja Mamula, steadfast SNF pioneer and her daughter, +Martha Mamula Belosh, with Marty’s niece and Andja’s granddaughter, Milana Mamula Karlo Bizic, 1943 at the St. George Serbian Orthodox Cemetery in Pittsburgh.  

Both of those tending to the graves were SNF “Women of the Year” (Person of the Year). 


by Aleksandar Petrov, a poem published in the booklet THE STONE AND THE BELL, a publication underwritten by the 100th Anniversary Cultural Fund of the Serb National Federation, July 2001. The booklet was dedicated to Jovan Bratich, long-time Serbian section editor of the AMERICAN SRBOBRAN. 


In the hills

on South Side,

above the river called Monongahela

(A name as opaque to them

in their lifetime

as the red-black noon of Pittsburgh

under the soot screened sun,

a water-name-Monongahela!

like a nut struck

in the throat of newcomers

from the rugged Krajina karst),

here they lie

midway between steel mills

and saw mills that are no more,

under the vibrant grass,

the sedate snow,

of this spring day,

and every other day,

disturbed only by the din of birds

Borotoa, Studen, Vukas,

Zatezalo, Mamula, Mrvos, Pijevac,

Krneta, Klipa, Zdrale,

secendants of Vukela, Dojcin,

Stojan and Pavle,

those who lived beyond old age

and those stranded despite

strong wings

(killed in action!),

buds that never learned

to bloom or wither,

those who fell asleep in daylight,

those who sank at night

into a deeper slumber,

they are seeds gathered in the hand

of the One who sowed their bodies

on earth and reaped

their cross bearing souls

in Heaven.


Borotoa, Studen, Vukas,

Zatezalo, Mamula, Mrvos, Pijevac,

Krneta, Klipa, Zdrale,

who never set off across the sea

but awaited with pure hearts

the hand that was to shut their eyes

and embed them gently alongside their ancestors,

Vukela, Donjin, Stojan, Pavle,,

they were snatched instead

by a different hand

at the doorstep

while sitting at the loom,

plowing in the field,

standing by a haystack,

holding a notebook in school,

sucking a thumb

in the cradle, 

facing the altar,

under the cover of night,

in broad daylight,

their last breath struck

by a hammer,

a rock, a dagger,

so they ended up

in rivers,

in pits,

hanging from branches,

in the fields,

behind barbed wire,

under scorching lime,

like candles in the church,

stripped of their tongues,



with their heart,

like an apple,

in their mouth. 


For your souls,

buried without prayer,

resting not in peace

but crying out like forebording birds

from the rugged Krajina karst,

for you pray those rescued

from their neighbors and brothers

by the ocean,

the dead and living families of

Borotoa, Studen, Vukas,

Zatezalo, Mamula, Mrvos, Pijevac,

Krneta, Klipa, Zdrale, 

descendants of the same Vukela,

the same Dojcin,

your and our Stojan

and Pavle. 


Dr. Sasha Petrov,

Since 1993, Serbian Section editor of the American SRBOBRAN. 

Dr. Aleksandar Petrov is an amazing person of academic intellect, an outstanding poet and novelist whose works have been printed and translated widely in many countries, including Britain, Spain, Sweden, China, Taiwan, Japan and the USA.

He was born in Nis, Yugoslavia, but received his Ph.D. at the University of Zagreb.  He has published over 20 books of literary and scholarly works in history and literature of Slavic Studies.  For many years he was the Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Literature and Art in Belgrade, where he also served as Director of the History and Literature Departments.

LIKE GOLD IN THE FIRE is one of Petrov’s books that was excellently reviewed by Olga B. Markovich, of Toronto, Canada.  Olga was also an SNF “Woman of the Year” for her unending research on the Serbian people of America, Canada and Serbia.



Ned Marich, SNF Stipendist, 1934


Ned Marich is gone.  Died July 25, 2009, but I refuse to let his great deeds go to the grave with him.  He wasn’t buried at St. George Cemetery in Pittsburgh, rather in Indiana, where he lived. However, he belonged to all of us who cared about what happened the last 20 years in the former Yugoslavia.

Ned was an educator, who taught in the Gary Public School System and the Cedar Lake School District at Hanover Central.  But even after he retired, he continue to educate Americans about the truth of what was happening in Serbia through various newspaper articles and editorials he wrote. He’s another of those Bosko Yugovich heroes, carrying the flag and fearless to the end.

Ned J. Marich was born on March 27, 1915 in Gary, Indiana to Jovo and Gosa Marich, who came to America at the turn of the 20th century from Trebinje, Hercegovina.

He was a devout member of his St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana, serving 13 years as the church’s Serbian translator secretary.

Throughout his lifetime, he was generous to the church and Serbian organizations, like the Serbian National Defense Merrillville Chapter, where he was past-president and a delegate many times to the national S.N.D. national conventions.  He was a dedicated member of the SNF King Peter II Lodge 16. 

But what made Ned VERY special is that he was one of the original SNF stipendists awarded a scholarship to study in Belgrade.  That year, the SNF selected 9 of the brightest students throughout America to earn a degree from Belgrade via scholarships.

 Ned Marich 1915-2009

A strong believer in education, in his will, Ned, in gratitude to the Serb National Federation for sponsoring him to study at the University of Belgrade in 1934, left upon his death a $13,000 donation to the current SNF Scholarship Fund.

Ned wanted to be able to give SNF members and opportunity to further their education as he did.

Vjecnaja Pamjat.

Memory Eternal.

 Slava mu!


Pgh.Steel History & Karajlovich Family

100 Years of Serbian Orthodox Heritage in Pittsburgh
by Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic  12/6/06
Published in the American SRBOBRAN
In honor of my Karajlovich (Karlo) and Mamula Grandparents

Samojilo Karajlovich:  One of the first ones in and the last ones out of the Jones and Laughlin Mill gate. He helped organize the Unions and the bosses didn’t like that much, but they hired his sons on the spot due to his Honesty and Integrity. (Photo taken by his eldest son, Milan Karlo, who graduated from the New York Institute of Photography.


Why the Unions came into being.  

This one Serbian lady, originally from Aliquippa and now closer to New Brighton, told me her father (a Union organizer) was beaten up countless times, and his body dumped, left to die  on their front porch.  She recalled her mother and her always cleaning up all the blood.  Soon afterwards, he died of extensive internal damage to his stomach.

If you remember, Mileva Medin was always so proud of her father’s role in helping establish the unions too.  His name was Bozic and a plaque in Aliquippa bears his name with 4 others.

“The day laborers who had earned fourteen cents an hour in 1892 (our grandfathers-Nikola In 1897 and Samojilo In 1906!) received only a cent more at Jones and Laughlin in 1907.”

Josephine McIlvain, a teacher in PPS, did a study of Pittsburgh’s South Side.  Watch this info about wages:

 “Wages in both old and new mills had not kept pace with the
cost of living after 1880. The Pittsburgh Survey in 1907 estimated that a 22 percent increase would be needed to keep up with rising prices, but United States Steel workers had received only a 15 percent increase, while at Jones and Laughlin the increment amounted to just 7 percent. 

“Skilled workers’ wages had actually decreased over the
past fifteen years — as much as 33 percent for rollers (Uncle Joe Mamula was a roller!). The survey further noted :”there has been a consistent policy on the part of the management, not only to cut rates so that with the increased production the earnings of the tonnage workers should not go up to exorbitant figures, but to cut the rates for the highly skilled men still further, so that the earnings for these positions should be brought down to a
figure nearer the common average.” 

 “The day laborers who had earned fourteen cents an hour in 1892 received only a cent more at Jones and Laughlin in 1907.


    “We ask that you be mindful that each milestone is but another commencement-and to recall the words of our Lord, “Behold, I make all things new (Rev.21:5).  Today, invite Him to continue to come into your lives anew, into the life of your parish, and to show you the way for the ongoing upbuilding of your Church and Parish according to His divine plan.”

    So wrote Right Reverend Bishop Christopher (now Metropolitan Christopher and at one time parish priest V. Rev. Velimir Kovachevich) for the celebration of the Holy Trinity’s Serbian Orthodox Church’s (now Cathedral’s) Burning of the Mortgage June 10, 1984.

    Twenty-two years later, on November 3, 4 and 5, 2006, the congregation celebrated another milestone, this time 100 years of Serbian Orthodox heritage in Pittsburgh. Metropolitan Christopher returned, along with Bishop Longin and Bishop Mitrophan, leading more than 400 worshippers in a celebration of the past, present and future of Serbdom in Pittsburgh.  Current Parish priest Fr. Rajko Kosic (who was elevated to Protonamesnik by Bishop Mitrophan in recognition of his leadership role in Pittsburgh), HTC builder priest V. Rev. Fr. Dragan Filipovich, and Very Rev. Fr. Rodney Torbic, invoked the Lord to continue coming into our daily lives, fulfilling His divine plan for the parish.  Deacon Dragoslav Kosic, who just the day before, celebrated the baptism of his second daughter, Teodora, worked smoothly in his role as Deacon, representing the Holy Angels around God’s Throne.  Also assisting were longtime HTC Readers David Manko and Joe Hayden.

    Patriarch Pavle, who had visited Holy Trinity in 1992 and again in 2001 in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Serb National Federation, sent greetings from Belgrade, and also prayers “to God that He grant the benefactors and contributors who have passed into eternal life, and who helped build your temple, everlasting rest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Hearty Early Pioneer Temple Builders

    Who were these early pioneers who built the first church of St. George in Pittsburgh in 1906?  For the most part, they were immigrants who left their homes in the Gormije, Krajina area of present day Croatia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to find a better land for themselves and their progeny.  These Lic(h)ani and Kordunas(h)i had little in the way of monetary wealth, but they brought with them exciting possessions that enriched America’s coffers significantly: most importantly, a non-yielding spiritual wealth for God and their Serbian Orthodox faith; a true treasure chest of Serbian cultural heritage; assets of belief in themselves, dreams of well-educated children and grandchildren, a willingness to work hard and to sacrifice whatever it took to make those dreams come true.

    Upon arriving in Pittsburgh, many of the very early immigrants from the end of the 19th century went first to McKeesport, then settled on the South Side, finding long hours and low-paying jobs in the Jones and Laughlin (J & L) mills surrounding the area.  Instead of the beautiful green and fertile fields they left behind in the old country, they were lucky to find other immigrants in poor, close-together tenement houses who had already come, who were willing to make room for them until they could find a home of their own.  Census records of 1900 and 1910 show that it was nothing for families of six, eight or ten to make room for three, four or five relatives or bachelor boarders in their alley homes.

    Cousin Joelle Bobik sent one of those email lists that show what life was like in 1906.  The average life expectancy was 47 years.  Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.  Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone, and you know they weren’t our relatives then!  The average wage was 22 cents per hour, with the average worker making between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.  More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.  Sugar cost four cents a pound.  Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.  Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.  Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

    The five leading causes of death were: 1.Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea  4. Heart disease  5. Stroke.  (One can only imagine the devastating grief our ancestors went through losing so many of their children to the 1917-19 influenzas….).

    Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write.  Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.  

    Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.  We can be sure the reigning steel barons Carnegie, Frick, and Jones, who built mansions for themselves that can only be compared to the finest fairy tale castles in our immigrant grandparents’ imaginations, had multiple servants. These mill owners were ruthlessly anti-union, and used intimidation tactics and violence, while supposedly maintaining an “open” shop, which only meant that the workers remained free to accept whatever management offered.  There were shootings, beatings, no work, infamous black lists, just about anything to discourage any kind of organized labor.

    Stuart Boehmig writes in his 2006 book IMAGES OF AMERICA: PITTSBURGH’S SOUTH SIDE: “Conditions were deplorable for most workers and their families.  Working 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, the men had little time to maintain a household.  There was a desperate need for water, which was carried in buckets to the apartments.  Common water pumps and shared outhouses served rental properties rarely updated by landlords.  In 1914, 85 percent of the employees were non-English speaking, placing them at a terrible disadvantage in moving beyond their present living conditions.”

    Research at the tight-security University of Pittsburgh Labor Archives on 7500 Thomas Blvd. in the Point Breeze section of Pittsburgh shed some light upon a few of our Serbian men and their wages.  One early labor card I found was for Samil Mamula, #4402.  This “Servian” born in 1898 was earning 17 cents per hour on May 1, 1910, was employed in the Blooming Mill as a brakeman. SIX YEARS LATER, January 1916, he got his first raise, up 4 cents per hour to 21 cents, and finally, 33.5 cents per hour by October, 1917.  WWI accounted for the sharp raises, just like for WWII, not from the goodness of the hearts of the owners. Little wonder then why industrialist Henry Clay Frick replied to a dying Andrew Carnegie proposing a truce after two decades of separation, “Tell him I’ll see him in Hell, where both of us are going.”

    Mom’s uncle, Rade Mamula, was a Laborer, #9914, then #13347 and then #13068.  He was born in 1888, but was an American citizen, living first at 2713 Larkins Way in 9/19/22 making 30 cents per hour.  By the time he moved to 2707 Sarah Street, he was working at the South Side works #11 Mill, was married, and making 44 cents per hour when he suddenly left on September 25, 1933.  Cause?  The card says “Died.”  It doesn’t say that he was killed in the mill when a big girder struck him from behind in the head.  Nor does it say anything about the widow and four children he left behind.  Ironically, I found where he had to place his signature after being hired in 1922 on the back of his stamped card, “assuring” he had safety training. Wonder if it was authentic, since most other cards didn’t show the same.

nterestingly enough there was a Mildred Mamula, Serbian, employee # 80520, whose Social Security number was 211-__-____.  The eighteen-year old lived at 2512 Carson Street, and worked as a Laborer in the Hot Mill, employed on 4/11/44.

    There was a barrage of Nikola or Nickola or Nicholas Mamulas.  One of them lived at 2714 Larkins Way, was a locomotive engineer and made 71 cents per hour on 9/29/39.  In case of accident, J&L was supposed to notify his cousin, Dusch Mamula in the Blooming Mill.  Other Nicks lived at 2426 Burnham Street, 3118 War St., 2104 Sidney S., 2713 Larking Way, 2826 Larkins, 323 Overbrook Blvd., and finally mine, my grandfather Nikola Mamula, from 2716 Sarah Street!

    This 2716 Sarah Street address was also home to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, of which we were always so proud because of what the union was able to accomplish for the workers. Records show that a Mary Winowich worked for the SWOC at $25 per month when it was briefly located first at Liberty Hall.  Then, the SWOC rented at 2608 Sarah Street but moved when the rent went from $30 to $50 per month in just the two months time it was there.  U.S. Census records from the 1930s show that Eli Radovich lived there with his wife Martha, roomer Milton Cetina, Nicholas Doycinovich and his son, Nicholas, and the six members of the Blasko family, led by Agnes (45 years old) and son Charles (23).  All “Serbian”.

    There were many Serbs actively involved in the leadership of SWOC, especially Milkovich (Acting Chairman), Bielich (President) and Brnilovich.  In fact, a special executive meeting had to be held on Feb. 5, 1941, at 5:00 PM at 2716 Sarah Street to determine Mike Milkovich’s position as Clerk once he returned from his government’s service, in accordance with the Selective Service Act.

Josephine Mamula, Nikola Mamula, Laura Mamula Karlo, 1943, 2716 Sarah Street, S.S. Pittsburgh, PA 

    The SWOC United Steelworkers of America #1272 stayed at 2716 Sarah Street until it located its CIO Headquarters on 2325 Carson Street many years later.  Boehmig says the SWOC organized in Pittsburgh in 1936, grew to 125,000 workers in 154 lodges.  It played a major role in assuring the 40 hour week and increased wages of 15 cents per hour, and securing recognition of independent grievance committees, all under the leadership of Phillip Murray. 

Paul (“Pi”) Belosh, Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic,          Paul M. Belosh in stroller.

    Pouring over the SWOC lodge minutes from 1937-1943 at the Labor Archives, I saw the rent for my grandfather’s bottom floor front rooms was $20 per month, including heat and light.

    A look at Aliquippa, PA’s early Jones & Laughlin steel history from 1907 offers a glimpse of how hard it was for Pittsburgh’s steel workers and primary wage earners who worked for the same J & L company.

“Forged in Steel” by: David Pacchioli (Research/Penn State, Vol. 20, no. 1 (January,     1999))

   “It was a dizzyingly polyglot place. The company actively recruited immigrants, figuring that they would be both easier to control and willing to do the hard, dirty work of the mill. Freshly arrived Poles, Italians, Slovaks, Greeks, Syrians, Serbs, Croats, and Hungarians worked alongside native-born Irish, African Americans (themselves migrants from the rural South), and Anglo-Saxons. The babel of languages was considered an advantage: Workers who couldn’t understand one another would be less likely to fraternize, or to organize, likening union organizers to “bloodsuckers” and “mad dogs” who should be met with violence. Union organizers were tailed, shaken down for union cards, and rousted from their boarding houses.”
Samojilo Karajlovich (Karlovich) and his grandson, Dr. Ron Kneib, on  Ron’s 4th birthday, only a short time before his grandfather’s passing after suffering a stroke in 1955.  His funeral was one of the largest seen at the time, with flowers filling the rooms, gorgeous baskets stacked 3 and 4 high.


Besides the flowing water, ‘neath the amber sky

    Fred Schmidt, Master music and band teacher at South High School, where all South Side Serbs attended, wrote the Alma Mater for the school.  “When those flaming mills, light those clouds and hills, there’s a golden glow on the scene below….”
    Now, South Side is a yuppie haven, complete with the finest restaurants, clothing and book stores.  The steel mills are gone.  But 50 years ago, it was hard to put out laundry as it would soon be covered with soot.  People washed their windows several times a week to keep them clean.  Historian James Pauton wrote: “Pittsburgh is smoke, smoke, smoke—everywhere smoke—by night it was Hell with the lid taken off.”
    But no matter how hard the conditions of working 12-16 hours per day, sometimes working seven days a week, at the dirtiest of jobs, our Serbian pioneers endured.  They came home covered with black soot, and the women who had been busy all day watching the children, baking bread and providing meals, still found the strength to wash their husbands’, brothers’ and boarders’ burning feet and filthy clothes.
    I can still see my grandfather’s clothes where he took them off in the middle of the kitchen.  Completely covered with dirty soot and black grime, they could almost stand by themselves, in sharp contrast to his white long sleeved underwear. The women labored heavily, but instead of burning steel mills, in bumpy white-washed cellars with slits for windows, with wringer washers and “automatic” dryers that consisted only of row after row of clotheslines strung back and forth like precise, evenly spaced band member formations found on a football field.
    Many steelworkers, like Rade Mamula, were killed in industrial accidents, leaving helpless widows and their children to fend for themselves. Some, like Stevan Trbovich, from 26th and Sarah Street, were injured.  Stevan, who emigrated from Lapovac, a small village near Veljun in present-day Croatia (Austro-Hungary), was given $100 and transportation money back to the old country when he lost an arm.  While here, he was active in the church as an elder and secretary. Stephan helped carry the cross to the St. George cemetery for its dedication.
    Somehow, the Pittsburgh Serbs still “made it.” They lived through times of unemployment, unresolved grievances, and the devastating Great Depression.  Despite all the hardships, they managed to build a church. Then two.  Finally, a magnificent award-winning Cathedral designed by architect Jovan Tomich. “Our” American Serbs became doctors, lawyers and engineering chiefs, pharmacists, dentists, financial experts, teachers, administrators, world-famous architects and authors with beautiful homes, big back yards– some with Olympic-sized swimming. Pools. How? How was this made possible?
    The Serbs had great family support systems, extended families with strong emotional ties, and closely knit relationships with one another.  They were people who valued Education and loved their God. They used their treasures, talents and time wisely.

1948 Philip Visnich Choir from St. Sava’s, Pgh. S.Side  

Popular songstress Vinka Ellison entertains in Pittsburgh, Nick Lalich right behind.  Two ladies to the right of Nick is +Kuma Sonya Kalember from Gary, Indiana. Photo by Milan M. Karlo, published in his American SERB LIFE magazine, 1948.


Our Karlo’s Confectionary Store was only 1 shot block up from the Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill at 13 South 27th Street onPittsburgh’s South Side, which is now only an empty lot.

Mim, born 1/2 block away in 2618 Carey Way, and our dog SHEP, and Uncle Nicky Karlo.  Note all of the guys in suis across the block.



    John Maxwell, Motivational expert, says:  “People who use time correctly are purposeful, committed to values, attuned to strengths, choosers of happiness and equippers.”  Look how our early pioneers practiced these without ever hearing of Leadership Principals.

Five Characteristics of Wise Stewards of Time

#1 Purposeful:  People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life, consistently channeling time and energy toward an overarching purpose.  
    Our pioneers’ main purpose (after the welfare of their own families), was to safeguard their Orthodoxy and Serbian heritage.  They established Serbian lodges first, and attended other churches, but felt a need to have a church of their own.  On October 8, 1905 they organized a church that was incorporated as St. George Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church on January 13, 1906.  It was only a small house on 123 S. 25th Street on South Side, but it was the first S.O. Church in Pittsburgh.

#2 Committed to Values:  People who use time correctly underscore their values with the time they spend. By acting in accordance with their beliefs, they find fulfillment. Clarity of values is like a beacon of light, guiding the way through life’s twists and turns.  When extended to an organization, values inspire a sense of broader purpose. They make work worthwhile. In an organization, if vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul.
    The Pittsburgh Serbs were committed to values they held dear.  In 1910 they purchased land in Carrick for the St. George Cemetery.  The faith of the humble community thrived.  Soon they purchased larger quarters from the Lutheran Church in 1911, at 103 South 16th Street.  They added a belfry in 1917 and established a church school and choir.
    (I’m fortunate enough to own one of those school desks, a gift from my mother, who was lucky enough to purchase one from a nearby antique shop.  She always regaled me with her stories of Serbian school and the strict “Miss Mamula”.)
    When an argument arose about burial between a parishioner who lost his young child in an accident and the priest, many families left to form the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, just 5 blocks away.

#3 Attuned to Strengths:  People who use time correctly play to their strengths. By doing so, they are most effective. As Jim Sundberg says, “Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.” You are blessed with a unique set of skills and talents. Find them, refine them, and let them carry you toward success.
    Our Serbs did just that.  By the 1920s. the ladies formed the Kolo Srpskih Sestara, the indispensable part of the parish.  Andja Mamula had many skills.  She was an elementary school teacher in the old country, and had writing and speaking skills that served her well in leadership roles.  Early photos attest to her as President of the Kolo at St. George’s, later President of St. Sava’s Kolo, and also President of the Ladies’ Lodge, Majka Jugovica.
    Another example of “attuned to strengths,” can be seen in this example.  When St. Sava’s parishioners purchased the Cemetery/picnic grounds in Castle Shannon, each male in the family was supposed to cut down five trees.  My Uncle Chappy (George), home fresh from the *C.C.C. (Civil Conservation Corps), not only cut down his five trees, with his brother, Uncle Joe, but cut them also for his blind brother, Steve, his Dad, and for good measure, going beyond what was ever expected of him, cut five trees each for each of his sisters:  Martha, Rose, Millicent and Latinka (Laura) to their lifetime pride.
    This “attuned to strengths” philosophy didn’t die with the pioneers.  You see it today with the leadership skills of George Topich and his sons and their extended families.  Bobby leads the HTC choir and Dane for many years was “Mr. Shadeland.” Speaking of Shadeland, there’s Milly Radovick and her mom and whole family, serving not only Holy Trinity, but the whole eastern KSS!  There’s Dr. Nenad Janicijevich and his beautiful family of medical experts:  Wife/Dr. Milena, daughters Dr. Jelena and Nurse Nada and son Dr. Bora, who recently received his medical degree from Belgrade University.  Dr. Nenad led in the founding of the American Serbian Information Center during the terrible years of disinformation (1990-2000) about the Serbs, he led the Relief efforts of the Eastern Diocese, along with the help of countless volunteers and especially his brother, Predrag.  For the 100th Anniversary, Drs. Nenad & Milena donated $10,000, with another promised “matching fund” of up to $15,000 for HTC’s new Capital Fund Drive.
    Just look at all the committees who worked tirelessly and diligently to plan and execute this year’s grand celebration, especially those led by Lara Trbovich, Rudley Mrvos, Valerie Tassari, and the Slavkovichs with their White Angel Productions.
    Look no further than Fr. Rajko himself!  Besides being a caring, loving, dedicated priest, he has the talents of a carpenter, just like Christ.  He used those talents to construct the frames for the 29 icons that adorn the back wall of the altar.  Each is 50” by 8 feet!

4. Choosers of Happiness:  People who use time correctly choose happiness by prioritizing relationships and recreation. Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.
    With the above, we make mention of the members, parishioners and organizations of both Holy Trinity and the present-day St. Sava, Randy Lugares’ orchestra, and other Orthodox friends who made it possible to celebrate the historic Serbian Orthodox Heritage weekend in such a fine fashion.  But then, we could go all the way back to the Neven Tamburitza Orchestra playing on a street corner in the 1930’s, Choir socials at Liberty Hall in the 40’s, Savez Day picnics up at the cemetery, weddings, bridal showers, Turkey Trots or New Year’s Eve celebrations at the American Serbian Club, Serbian Days gatherings at Kennywood, or a week or two at Shadeland Camp, where the Serbs CHOSE to stick together and enjoyed each other’s friendship and conviviality.  Not that they didn’t participate in other, more “American” activities, but they genuinely love “their own.”  Other parishioners are looked upon as “one family” in God, extended family members.  It’s so true, family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness and “Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade” couldn’t be more correct in instances like this!  God bless the Serbs!

#5 Equippers

:  People who use time correctly equip others in order to compound their productivity. They realize the limitations of individual attainment, and they build teams to expand their impact. By developing an inner circle of leaders and investing in them, wise time-users multiply their influence.  Equippers recognize that legacies are carried on by people, not trophies. They pour themselves into the lives of others and watch the ripple effect of their leadership spread through those they have taught and mentored. Equippers seek significance over the long term, which causes them to have a vested interest in the success of their successors.
    These of course were our fathers and mothers, Sunday School Teachers, talented choir directors, jr. tamburitzan leaders, our Djedos and Babas. And mainly our priests.
    While I have only the fondest memories of Fr. Zivojin Ristanovich, Fr. Velimir Kovachevich and Fr. Milan Savich, we cannot overlook the tremendous and tireless deeds of Fr. Aleksija Savich and his immense role for Pittsburgh Serbdom.
    He not only administered to his flock, he kept increasing it by making countless trips back and forth to Gormije in the early 1900’s, where he would personally shepherd people to Pittsburgh.  Since he knew them all so well personally from serving in the Gormije Monastery—their strengths and weaknesses–he would match up young bachelors in America with brides from the “Old Country.” (My Karajlovich-Karlovich-Karlo/Batalo grandparents were testimony to his matchmaking skills.  People, not trophies!)
    If you look up Aleksije Savich in the Ellis Island immigration records, perhaps only one or two examples will appear.  But if you research deeper, looking at alternative spellings, you’ll find many more. He was a dedicated worker, and “equipper,” building “teams” to expand the Serbian impact in America.  


Unity of St. Sava and St. George Kolos

    Laura Karlo, then secretary of Holy Trinity KSS, wrote in the SRBOBRAN about the KSS celebrating their Silver Jubilee, the 25th anniversary of “Renewed” unity, on Sunday, October 25, 1987.  In so doing she said they were honoring the eighty years of service and devotion, “founded and perpetuated by the parents and grandparents of today’s Kolo members. This commemorates the consolidation of the St. George and St. Sava Kolos in 1962, separate entities then, but with a common goal-UNITY, a goal that had been reached through common sense, hard work and inspiration of the church organizations.”
    Shy Laura, signing herself only as “Reporter,” continued:  “It was back in 1905 that the St. George Church Board, a catalyst of Pittsburgh Serbdom, originated.  With foresight and pride, with a noble purpose of preserving their religion and traditions, a former Russian church (originally a Lutheran one) was purchased.  Father Sava Vojvodich was the first priest to serve in what was to become the St. George Eastern Orthodox Church of Pittsburgh.
    “It was on January 3, 1928 that the forerunner of the present Kolo was organized in the home of Andja N. Mamula, with a total of twelve members. + Cveta S. Kosanovich, a charter member and STILL active, proposed the name ‘SLOGO,’ personifying peace, harmony and goodwill.”

Historical Treasures Revisited

    Current President of Holy Trinity, George Topich, found several wonderful old documents for the historical display in Holy Trinity’s historical files.  One of those was a little handbook signed by +Jovo Miljush, President, and +Mile Trbovich, Secretary, authorizing +Simo Verlinich to solicit donations on behalf of the Congregational Committee of the St. George SERVIAN Orthodox Church, for purchase of a Church Building on the corner of Sixteenth and Roland Streets, on the South Side of Pittsburgh, which he handed in on September 14, 1907.

    It is very interesting to note that Jovo Miljus was the father of the famous baseball player, +Johnny “Big Serb” Miljus, who made his professional debut Oct. 2, 1915, and played his final pro game, September 25, 1929.  Johnny played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1917-1927) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1927-1928) before playing for the Cleveland Indians (1928-29). Miljus played in several World Series games, the most “famous” (infamous) being the October 8, 1927 game where he was a relief pitcher for the underdog Pirates against the Bronx Bombers, the NY Yankees.  In the last of the 9th, with the score tied, and bases loaded, including Babe Ruth (who had given Miljus his nickname of “Big Serb”) on 2nd, Miljus struck out Lou Gehrig and Bob Meusel.  Miljus had 2 strikes on Tony Lazzeri, but a wild pitch allowed Earle Combs to score the winning run, and the Yankees were now world champs four years in a row!

    Jovo Miljus is also famous in Pittsburgh Serb National Federation history, as he is the one who purchased on a visit to Serbia, the magnificent gusle with the whole history of every Serbian ruler engraved on the bow.  This incredible gusle can be seen at the Heinz Western Pennsylvania History Museum, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.
    Another “treasure” George found with the help of Anna Marie Belich, church secretary, was the “PRILOZI” or list of donations for the purchase of Pittsburgh’s St. Sava Church 1942-1943.  Simo Vrlinich led the way with a $200 donation, followed by Jovo Miljus’ $105.  The next list of donors each gave $100:  Nikola Vrlinich, Jovo Vrlinich, Nikola Mamula, Janko Karamarkovich, Simo Mrvosh, Stevo Senjan, George Soknich, Nikola Bruich, Milosh Niksich, Stevo Savich, Stana Milich, Bogdan Vuynovich, Smilja Stojanovich, Jovo Chotra, Nikola Vukchevich, Milovan Momchilovich, Milovan Vukelich, Milovan Milkovich, Jotso and Gojko Lalich, Petar Stipanovich, Sava Tomashevich and Nikola Jankovich.  There were 49 other donors listed, with gifts ranging from $50 to $1.
    But imagine pledging so much money at a time when most workers were making a little more than $5.00 per day with large families to care for!  They put their time, treasures and talents where their mind, hearts and souls were!  Vision, mission, values.

    Also found was a list of the Rules and Regulations for the St. George Independent Serbian Orthodox Church Cemetery of 1937, with the word “Independent” blackened out.  The final regulation, #34, was that no priest or priests were permitted to conduct any religious or funeral services in the Cemetery other than the priest of The St. George Serbian Orthodox Church.  Anyone living through the 1963+ nightmare understands how hard that must have been on people who owned lots there.

    Another find was the list of charges for services, cemetery lots, etc. at St. Sava S.O.C. in Pittsburgh, January 15, 1946.  Interestingly enough, a lot of eight graves cost $200 for members.  One small grave was only $15, with a large one priced at $35.  I say interesting as my “eyes always on the future” Grandmother and Aunt Marty purchased 32 graves in one spot, assuring that the whole family could be buried together.

    Finally, I’d like to end by giving you a glimpse of life around this time.  

Baba’s Diaries

     I am fortunate to have inherited my Baba Andja’s diaries from 1936-1962.  From them I can glimpse life as it was, the comings and goings of Andja’s children, friends, the church celebrations, the good times and the sad times.  I know what I did almost every day of my early life (1941-62) thanks to my grandmother who recorded it for posterity.  It was simple, but interesting.  For instance, going back even before I was born….

January 3, 1938-“Dosao ovde Rade Pozderov sin Nikola, a Latinka za njega pise “theme.”  (Rade Pozderov’s son Nikola was here, and Laura wrote his theme for him.)

It must have been successful as the next night, January 4th—-“Bio i Niki Stojanovic ovde, i kaza Laji jopet da nesto za njega pise.”  (Nick Stone was here and he asked her to do an essay for him, too!)  They were the best of friends, all the way through school until he died.  He and brother Pete, Pertz, and George Erdel were at Baba’s ALL the time!)

January 6, 1938:  Nikola (Papi), Josip i Batalo su pecenica donesli od Bucarne.  Vagao je 150 funti.”  (Papi, Uncle Joe and Batalo brought home the pig from the butcher’s.  It weighed 150 pounds!)

On Sunday, Jan. 9, Kumin bojs Walter, Chedo Milich i Slobodan Pekic su dosli u podne.  Lepo su. Jeli keksa i pili vina.  Lai i Smia su osli u show, vidli su sliku koja se zove “Stage Door.”  (Kum Walter came, along with Chedo Milich -later editor of the SRBOBRAN- and Slobodan Pekic, in the afternoon.   Pleasantly, they ate cakes and drank wine.  Laura and her friend Smia went to the show.  They saw “Stage Door.”)

Jan. 17, 1938- “Laja otisla na tanac koji su drzali Pgh. Serbs Basketball Team.  Veli da nigda nije toliko naroda videla.  Dosla kuci u po druge.  (Laura went to a dance held by the Pgh. Serbs Basketball team.  They said they never saw so many people in their lives!  They came home past midnight.)

Like Mother, Like Daughter, Intermittently

    Aunt Marty gave my mother a diary on Dec. 24, 1935 which my 17 year-old Mom wrote in English, Serbian AND German when she didn’t want anyone to know what she was writing.  We’re lucky to have this:
January 3, 1936:  Kuma Potkonjak made us rehearse our program through.  Skaljak came up and told us of the Serbs and the Slavic race.  We left about 9:45.  We kids played basketball in the gym, boys and girls together. (Some German words here) We joined our King Peter II gang in front of the A.O.H. (Ancient Order of the Hiberians, which was directly across the street from Baba’s house!).  We sang various Serbian songs until 10:45.

January 16, 1936:  Pete, Nick, Erdel, Mitzie Musulin and their Helen, Bus (Helen Basara) and Duddy and Smia here.  Sang church songs from 7 to 8.  Then the gang went out for a snow fight.  Erdel gave me a good sock with a snow ball.  Enjoyed it all immensely.  Mitzi told me she is going to have the “Apostle” the first day of church and I the “Vjeruju.” (But it was Aunt Marty who actually sang it, for the record!)

January 25, 1936:  In the evening our gang went down to Serbian school to organize our new choir.  Lugojna gave a very interesting speech on the organization of choirs, etc.  Chose the name “Phillip Visnich,” after the famous Serbian composer.  Sloboda Pekich, pres., Erdel-VP, Mitzi Musulin, Sec’y; Marty (Belosh) treasurer.  Nick (Stone), Bertha Milkovich and I are on the membership committee.  We three went around and collected money from men and women there to pay 25 cents a month to help our choir.  Met Angie Codan.  All the Grubesich kids were here, Nickie sure grew.  36 members in choir.  Whole gang walked home together.  Nick and Previs treated me especially nice.

January 27, 1936:  Wanted new dress, so Peep and I went to the Merky (Pittsburgh Mercantile Company- the huge company department store on 26th and Carson Streets. for the Steel Mill across the street!)  Bought one for $1.95, Mom made me take it back.  Manicured nails, wore a beautiful pink silk sport dress with brown jacket, very becoming.  Program didn’t start until 9:15.  Sure was a hit.  Many congratulations over my poem (St. Sava’s day declamatica); Didn’t dance except one with Mitzi as floor was too slippery (Mom was in a cast most of the time for her leg.)  Was sorta a big shot.  Nick and I went around and collected $3.50 for our choir, sure acted like a good sales lady.  Had a good time with Bus who got a new permanent and talked with Violet Pekich, Mitzie and Nick Grubesich.  Spent 30 cents on refreshments.  Helen Shatlan was with me part of the night. Very big crowd, very surprised.  Mom and I left at 1:10 AM.  Went to sleep and slept pretty well.”

    Here’s the part I love.  My Mom would read and re-read her mother’s diaries and her own, too, to bring back memories.  One of her favorite memories is when she repeated the poem she said on Jan. 27, 1936 at the Serbian Club for St. Sava’s Day in 1987(?). 

Well, there was an addendum added to her diary, 10/4/94 on the Jan. 27th date of 1936.  It says, “Remember, Mimbo (she knew I would find this!), “Dvadesetog ovog veka….”

    So here I am, twelve years after she wrote that, and six months since she passed away, remembering the joy she had of teaching us her favorite poem because the audience made her feel so good in 1936:  “Dva desetog ovo veka, Sveti Sava na nas ceka.  Za visinu un nas gleda, gde brat bratom mira neda.  I cude se nase glase, gde neki rusi pravde… ponizuje nasa slava, gazi, ruzi pravoslavne.  Sve visnim se molim Bogu, da nam daje ljubav, sloga.  Da se brat za bratom miri, da se Srpski jezik shiri, da se slavimo Srpske Krsna Slava, to nam zeli Sveti Sava!”

    One hundred years. I can only give you a brief glimpse of life in that time frame. Mom saved some things that helped. I found her “Novo Odusevljenje” or “Renewed Excitement” certificate of appreciation from January 29, 1984 signed by Fr. Dragan Filipovic.  Fr. Dragan, who led a HTC contingent to Washington to proclaim “Kosovo is Serbian, Kosovo is Serbia.

    Before that, Mom Latinka was like Simo Verlinich from 1906-07, offering to serve as a solicitor for her church, but instead of St. George, or for her old St. Sava, this time it was for Holy Trinity.  Her certificate of Solicitation was signed by +President Samuel Vignovich, Rev. Fr. Milan Savich, George Topich (Finance Committee), +Nicholas R. Stone (Building Committee) and +V. Rev. Zivojin Zdravkovic.
    The Solicitor’s Pledge went like this:  “I pledge allegiance to the Holy Trinity Building Fund and to the progress for which it stands.  One beautiful building, under God, indivisible, with brotherhood and love for all.”

    From poor immigrant steel mill roots, HTC is a magnificent Cathedral poised to continue serving its American Serbian population.  Other Americans marvel how we have maintained our Serbian language through our songs and great traditions. We know we’re lucky to have what we have.  It was all jealously guarded and handed down to us for us to preserve and pass on.  Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade!  Happy 100th Anniversary, Holy Trinity!

    “Ongoing and upbuilding your Church and Parish according to His divine plan!  Together, we can!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++MOre (More about Steel Unions)

*The CCC was a public works program that put over three million young men and adults to work during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and 1940’s in the U.S.  It was sometimes called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army.

Important Information:
“Forged in Steel” by: David Pacchioli (Research/Penn State, Vol. 20, no. 1 (January, 1999))
Somehow, Vacca relates, the Amalgamated managed to sign up enough workers to start a local affiliate, Beaver Valley Lodge 200. The company’s attempts at intimidation only intensified. Lodge officers’ homes were subjected to round-the-clock surveillance; neighbors and visitors were followed and questioned. “We received word yesterday,” the Lodge president wrote in early 1935 to Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor, “that the police department of the Corporation had taken into the plant a machine gun, gas guns, shotguns and rifles, and placed them at convenient places.” He adds, plaintively, “We are American Citizens, not Reds, as the police say we are.”
In another incident, a laid-off worker who had been seen collecting signatures for the union abruptly vanished, to the dismay of his wife and seven children. It was later found that he had been dragged off the street by police on unspecified charges, held in jail for some days, then spirited 60 miles to a state mental hospital, where he was committed. When union officials finally determined his whereabouts, they contacted the governor, reform-minded Gifford Pinchot, who ordered the man’s release. Stirred to anger, Pinchot also sent a detachment of state police to protect Aliquippa’s citizens. First lady Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, herself an outspoken labor advocate, traveled to town to give a speech. “I am against Jones and Laughlin first, last, and all the time,” she told a large crowd of workers. “I am with you in the fight you are making . . . for the chance to call your souls your own.” Several of the men who attended Mrs. Pinchot’s speech were fired – veteran workers who suddenly, according to later company testimony, became incompetent or negligent or violent.
“This process,” Vacca says, “is something the workers really saw as evidence of their economic citizenship. Here was their chance to stand up and say things were unfair, and to get them resolved. Particularly for the immigrant and black workers, who had always been restricted to the lowest, dirtiest jobs, here was protection from the arbitrary decisions of foremen. It was a system they could use – and they used it.”

Solid Roots
By Laura Mamula Karlo

 (Mom Laurie wrote this when she attended Writing Classes at the University of Pitsburgh in the 1970’s)

They stand there,
The tombstones.
Evidence of what was.
A genetic procreation.
Gone, but living
Into other generations.
I look at them,
Mute as they,
But not cold nor dead.
I am here, today.

Well-known Matriarch and staunch Serbian pioneer immigrant, Andja Mamula, with her oldest daughter, Martha Mamula Belosh, and granddaughter, Milana Karlo (Bizic) bending over Andja’s infant daughter’s grave from the 1917 flu.  This is at the old St. George Serbian Cemetery in May, 1943. Andja and the rest of her family are buried in Holy Trinity’s ST.SAVA cemetery in Castle Shannon, PA.

Milan Karajlovich-Member, Serb National Federation-Sprski Narodni Savez, 1940.


“Dad, take me to Pittsburgh for 3-Day!”
The Beloshs, Benusas, & Mim, 2008 at Cousins Jules’ & Cheri’s 4th of July picnic.  Cousin Paul Belosh made copies of the SRBOBRAN story about me being named SNF Person of the Year.  On August 8, 2009, we inherited all of these new cousins when our Halle married Matt Benusa! We feel so lucky.  They’re great.


We in Pittsburgh were lucky to the the Serb National Federation headquartered in Pittsburgh. 

Metropolitan Christopher said in his letter of congratulations to the SNF on it’s Centennial in 2001:

The history of the SNF abundantly documents that the Serbian people have rejoiced together, mourned together, labored, prayed and suffered together, and because of that has survived over a hundred years to yet remain a vibrant, concerned and dedicated Serbian institution which continues to emphasize and reinforce our values and heritage.  A prominent historian and philosopher once said:  ‘If a man is fortunate, he will before he dies, gather up as much as he can of his civilized heritage and transmit it to his children.  The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.’ “


Bishop Longin wrote: “The SNF has played an irreplaceable role in the preservation of everything that is ‘holy and honorable’ for the Serbian people.”


Baba Andja Mamula, in front center.  To her left, and our right, is her daughter, Martha Belosh.  Behind them is Rev. Fr. Alexis Savich of the St. George Church that was located at So. 16th Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side.  Baba was the President of the Serbian Society “Majka Jugovica”. We have a ribbon of that says 1917, and it has on it the 4 C’s:  “Samo Sloga Srbina Spasova.”

Click the lower right hand corner of the photo to enlarge.


One of my favorite ALL-TIME Serbian T-shirts!  Great job! Marko Wuslich and Mary Paich do Monroeville proud (2006) at the Pgh. 3-Day festivities.
Marko proved that INDEED he is a Serbian Superman while serving as an usher and flag bearer at the Bojovic-Stipanovich wedding in Lackawanna, NY on August 30, 2008.  
Marko was incredible, absolutely extraordinaire!  He carried BOTH the heavy American and Serbian church flags by himself, all the way from the bride’s home (SKUP!) to the church, walking in front of the Wedding Party’s Limousine!  Bravo, Marko, Bravo!  You are indeed our SUPER SERB!
(More about this wedding later!) 
Samojilo Karajlovic, father of Milan M. Karlo, professional photographer, who took this early color photo.
Samojilo’s grandchildren Milana and Rose and his daughter-in-law, Laura Karlo.
 This page is dedicated
in honor of
Stana (“Stella”) Batalo
from Primishjle (Slunj)

Lifetime SNF Members of St. George, Lodge #6,
Pittsburgh, PA.
Samojilo Karajlovich:
From Gornji (Upper) Primishlje
Kucni Broj # 243
(House Number #243)
Samojilo’s parents were Sava Karajlovic(h) and Lljeka Mutich Karajlovic(h)
according to one source, but Samojilo and Stana’s wedding certificate (Tekući broj#31), with Fr. Aleksija Savich officiating on July 14 (July 27) 1912, states that his parents were Mihailo and Sava Karajlovich. And that her parents were Minich and Sava Batalo.
Their wedding Kum and Stari Svjat were Mile Kovachevich and Dane Devich, July 27, 1912.
Wedding certificate Allegheny Co.  #2077.
(Mosije Karaljo & Stana Batalla)
(June 10, 1882-April  21, 1955)
Stana Batalo Karajlovich:
July 10,1882- April 28, 1973
From Donji (Lower) Primishlje
Kucni Broj # 28
(House Number #28)
Samojilo Karajlovich was 25 years old when he sailed from Havre, on the S.S. La Bretagne on July 6, 1907. He arrived in the USA on July 15, 1907.  He was going to his brother Mane Karajlovic who lived at 2608 Sarah Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. In case of emergency on the ship, his father, Mihailo Karajlovic, of #343 Primishlje, was to be notified.  It says that Samojilo was 5’7″ tall.
Stana Batalo left Primishlje on 2 Mar, 1912.  She was 26 years old. Stana was listed as Hungarian, like Samojilo was listed as Austrian & Croatian.
No, they were both very proud of their  Serbian Orthodox heritage.
Like her future husband, she was from Primishlje, which is recorded on the ship’s records as Doljni Trgic, which I think they meant to say Doljni Terzic. Her ship’s name was the Graf Waldersee.  
Karajlovich Family:
(Children of Samojilo and Stana Karajlovich)
Milan 3/7/1913-12/8/95
Milka 8/12/15-1/27/2008
Djuro died 1 yr. old 1919.
Lepasava 11/27/22-
Sam 2/6/ 1925-
Dorothy 2/6/1925-5/21/1984
Nick 10/21/26-7/27/2004
 Samojilo became an American citizen on December 3, 1936 at age  54. His naturalization paper reads “Samajlo Karajlovich” at 2618 Carey Way, Pittsburgh’s South Side.  It says he was a white male  5″8″ and weighed 235 lbs. He had a fair complexion and has a scar of the tip of his second finger of the right hand.  Petition number  103242; Certificate #   4243726.
The 1930 census shows that they were living at 2618 Carey Way at the time.
On one side of them were 3 different Mamula families, to the other side were the Stepanovichs and Petrovichs.
Besides all the children, they also had a boarder, Janko Kovachevich.

Son Milan’s fondest memories were of standing at the mill gate for his dad on Pay Day and being treated to fig and nut purchases.  Samojilo was valued by the mill bosses for his dependency—the first one in, and the last one out—but they didn’t take kindly to his known Union tendencies.  Still, his dependency won out and they hired all 3 of his other sons on the spot!
Many of our readers have roots in the Primishlje region and I thought they would be interested to know some of the information I found in a letter addressed to my dad and Helen, at their Tucson, Arizona home dated April 24, 1987.  It was from Nikola B. from Waterdown, Ontario, Canada.  He had read and reread my father’s and Helen’s book entitled EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN PIONEERS IN AMERICA, and was fascinated with the part about the Karajlovich name and Primishlje or Primislje.

    “Besides some other personalities mentioned in the book known to me, Karajlovich name was (and is) geographically and by relationship, closest to me.  It was Djuro (George Karajlovic, the son of Milovan, who married my aunt, the sister of my father.”

    “And now a little description of Primislje.  Prior to and somehow at the reduced extent after W.W. II, Primislje was an administrative centre, analogous to a Township in the USA, a local government.  Slunj, which is about 8 miles away from Primislje lies on the river Korana, a fairly sized town and up to the Second World War was a county seat and had a county Court.  Cvijanovic Brdo is only a few kilometers N.E. of Slunj on the East side of the river Korana.  Both Primislje and Slunj, as well as the other places, are in the region known as Kordun, derived from the French word “”cordon”, a tract of land, a buffer zone populated by the Serbs who were organized and led by the Austrians to fight the Turks in past centuries.”

    Nikola continued in his letter: 
“The pre-war (WWII) private houses and municipal buildings were completely destroyed. The Church (Serbian-of course-) was disgraced, plundered and finally destroyed before the end of the war.”
Painting of hometown Slunj-Primishlje church in Kordun commissioned by Baba Anna Boich of Phoenix, Arizona. Many Serb immigrants to America worshipped here before settling on Pitsburgh’s South Side and Steubenville-Mingo Junction, p. 193, Milan Karlo’s book: EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA, 1984.
(Baba Anna’s father was Mile Dodig, pioneer businessman in Steubenville, OH, who founded the Phoenix church.)
Karajlovich relatives went looking for old church or municipal records, but they were all destroyed in WWII in an effort to eliminate any trace of the Serbs in “Croatia.” 
A dear friend holds the Karajlovich Family 1989 book, published to commemorate the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo.
And this page is dedicated to Nikola and Andja Mamula  who loved and understood the meaning of this poem.
Death of the Guslar 
In the west the sun has fallen on the sheer stone cliffs,
Bursting into a myriad of precious stones.
And in the sky numberless stars begin to shine,
Just as on earth twinkle and glisten the tears
of the sorrowing peasantry.
Why doth the peasantry shed tears so ceaselessly?

Topal Pasha has lain to bed, but sleep will not come.
The pasha leaps, as he wipes his brow—The devil tears at his soul.
A name of glory!  A proud name,  for that does Topal yearn.

“I hate wealth, I despise gold— All is black and darkness.
Topal Pasha wants a song—Wants a glorious name!
Gusle!  Gusle!  Rajo, rajo,  Those cursed bandits, brigands….
Must your name be glorified and sung—
You wolves of the mountains?
Should Topal harken to the song that Eternity prepares for him?”

Ah, but that pasha, Topal Pasha, Has no such singer of his own.
This is the pasha madly shouting—Torn by desire.
“Ho, there!  All Turks! Prepare a manifestation of joy.
Bring unto me the old man Mirko,
Why is he not here yet? Bring unto me that guslar
With the divine strings.
Let him sing for me, let him glorify me, Glory is divine.
Yesterday I put to death all four of his sons.”

The blind one sits clasping his gusle to his bosom.
The Turks sing, shout all in rapturous orgy.
The Turks drink, Topal drinks not, He thrusts away the goblet.
He strides forward, His steps all a tremble—
The blind man sits, Holding his gusle to his breast
His long grey hair falling And covering his tears.

“Avast, you Dog! No, not that way, rather this, My dear old timer.”

In whose hands lie the gusle In him lies the strength.
“Let me hear how sounds the glory of my greatness.
I will free from the dungeon all four of your sons.”  He lies.
Trembling, the blind man attempts to play his gusle.
A nauseating lump of his first utterance stuck in his bosom.
Tears flow, wetting the gusle.
The guslar falls, menacingly shakes his gusle at the pasha,
And dashes it to pieces as he collapses and dies.

They have razed and destroyed Our worldly goods—
They have harvested our hopes—
But the gusle, the Serbian gusle,
Knows not how to lie!
                                                By:  Isidor Baich
Teta Soka Glumac’s Wedding.  She was the 1/2 sister of Samojilo Karajlovich, and always invited her brother’s family to her little “farm” above South Side, where she fed them during the Depression and also gave them live chickens and vegetables from her garden, and nickels to take home.
She was born 5/15/1893 and died September 6, 1989.
Samojilo’s brother and best friend was Sava (Sam) Karajlovich.  Sava and his bride Jeka had  4 children:  Michael (Karlson), Mildred (Manalovich), Ned Karlovich and Sam Karlovich.
Mtg. in St. Sava Church Basement:  V.Rev. Tomich,  ____,  V. Rev. Zivojin Ristanovich, Mr. Steve Senjan.  Mr. Petar Vukelic behind Fr. Ristanovich. Photo by Milan M. Karlo
Karlo’s Ice Cream Bar was on South 27th Street, only 1 block up from the J  & L  Mill Gate.  Shown here,  Paul (“Pi”) Belosh, Millicent Bobik and Joe Mamula.

Patriotic Songs of the Serbs

Thanks to Sasa Stojsin from Vrsac, Serbia, for sending me the words in both Serbian and in English for Vostani, Serbije… 

“Thank you for beautiful song Vostani Srbije. It was written 1804. in Trieste, Italy by Mr. Dositej (born Dimitrije) Obradovic.”


Voštani, Srbije

Vostani, Serbije! Vostani, carice!
I daj čadom tvojim videt’ tvoje lice!
Obrati serdca ih i očesa na se,
I daj njima čuti slatke tvoje glase.

Vostani, Serbije! Davno si zaspala,
U mraku ležala; Sada se probudi,
I Serblje vozbudi!

Ti vozdvigni tvoju carsku glavu gore
Da te opet pozna i zemlja i more,
Pokaži Evropi tvoje krasno lice,
Svetlo i veselo, kako vid Danice,
Vostani, Serbije! i proč.

Spomeni se, mati naša, tvoje perve slave,
Tvojih vraždebnika ti posrami glave!
Divjeg janičara teraj sa Vračara,
Koji svog istoga sad ne sluša cara!
Vostani, Serbije! i proč.

Tebi sad pomaže nebesna volja,
I sad ti se pokazuje sudbina bolja,
Svi bližnji tvoji tebi dobra žele
I daljni se narodi tvom dobru vesele.
Vostani, Serbije! i proč.

Vostani, Serbije! Mati naša mila!
I postani opet što si prije bila!
Serpska tebi vopiju iskrena čada
Koja hrabro vojuju za tebe sada.
Vostani , Serbije! i proč.

Bosna, sestra tvoja, na tebe gleda,
I ne želi tebi nikakova vreda.
Ko tebe nenavidi, ne boj ise Boga
Od kojega tebi ide pomoć mnoga.
Vostani, Serbije! i proč.

Hercegova Zemlja i Černaja Gora.
Daleke države i ostrovi mora –
Svi tebi pomoć nebesnu žele,
Sve dobre duše tebi se vesele
I soglasno vele:

Vostani, Serbije! Davno si zaspala,
U mraku ležala; Sada se probudi,
I Serblje vozbudi!

( Serbiji i hrabrim jeja vitezovom i čadom i bogopomagajemu ih vojevodi gospodinu Georgiju Petroviću posvećena) “God help the brave and honored Knights of Serbia, guided by Duke George Petrovic.”)  Those who participated in the Uprising against the Turks & Ottoman Empire.


Today we have three melodies for Vostani Serbije: Vartkes Baronijan/Zarko Petrovic, Z. Vauda and Lj. Manasijevic.

Thank you,
Warm regards,



Arise, Serbia! Arise, empress!
and let your children see your face.
Make them turn their hearts and eyes on you,
and let them hear your sweet voices.

Arise, Serbia!
You fell asleep a long time ago,
And have lain in the dark.
Now wake up
And rouse the Serbs!

Raise high your imperial head,
So that land and sea may recognize you again.
Show Europe your delightful face,
As bright and cheerful as that of Venus (– the morning star).

Arise, Serbia!
You fell asleep a long time ago,
And have lain in the dark.
Now wake up
And rouse the Serbs!

Your sister Bosnia looks upon you
And she doesn’t want any offend
Who doesn’t love, he isn’t afraid of God
Who gives you a lot of help

Arise, Serbia!
You fell asleep a long time ago,
And have lain in the dark.
Now wake up
And rouse the Serbs!

Herzeg’s Land (– Herzegovina) and Black Mount (– Montenegro),
Faraway countries and sea islands
They all want heavens help to you
All good souls are kin to you

Arise, Serbia!
You fell asleep a long time ago,
And have lain in the dark.
Now wake up
And rouse the Serbs!

Here’s a wonderful website with so many more Serbian patritoic music songs collected!

Востани Сербије

 (Arise, Serbia!)
Востани Сербије!
Востани царице!
И дај чедом твојим видет твоје лице.
Обрати серца их и очеса на се,
И дај њима чути слатке твоје гласе.
(Arise, Serbia!  Arise, O Empress!  And let your children see your face, Incline their hearts to what you want them to be.) 
Востани Сербије!
Давно си заспала,
У мраку лежала.
Сада се пробуди
И Сербље возбуди!
(Arise, O Serbia!  Long ago, you fell asleep, in the dark lying.  Now wake up, Now wake up your Serbs!) 
Ти воздигни твоју царску главу горе,
Да те опет позна и земља и море.
Покажи Европи твоје красно лице,
Светло и весело, како вид Данице.
Востани Сербије!
Давно си заспала,
У мраку лежала.
Сада се пробуди
И Сербље возбуди!
Теби сад помаже и небесна воља
И сад ти се показује и судбина боља.
Сви ближњи твоји теби добра желе
И даљни се народи твом добру веселе.
Востани Сербије!
Давно си заспала,
У мраку лежала.
Сада се пробуди
И Сербље возбуди! 

Mars na Drinu:

During World War I, the river Drina (located on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina in eastern Bosnia and Serbia) was the site of a bloody battle between the Serbian and Austro-Hungarian army, the Battle of Cer, from August 16 to August 19, 1914. To honor the bravery of the fallen, the Serbian composer Stanislav Binički composed “Marš na Drinu” and dedicated it to Serbia’s favorite fallen commander, Col. Milivoje  Stajanovic, the third commander of the 2nd Infrantry Regiment of the Serbian Army. This song has become a symbol of the bravery of the Serbs during the First World War.


Thanks to Indjijatsar 2 for this:

Marš na Drinu (Serbian Cyrillic: Марш на Дрину, pronounced [mârʃ na drǐːnu]; English: March to the Drina) is a Serbian patriotic song from World War I and the title of a film (1964).[1]

Words from the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Cer by poet and journalist Milovje Popovic in 1964:


U boj, krenite junaci svi (To battle, go forth you heroes,)

Kren’te i ne žal’te život svoj (Go on and don’t regret your lives)

Cer da čuje tvoj, Cer nek vidi boj (May Cer see the front, may Cer hear the battle)

A reka Drina slavu hrabrost (and river Drina glory, courage)

I junačku ruku oca, sina! (And heroic hand of father and son!)

Poj, poj Drino, vodo hladna ti (Sing, sing, Drina – of cold water,)

Pamti, pričaj kad su padali (Remember, and tell of the ones that fell)

Pamti hrabri stroj (Remember the brave front,)

Koji je pun ognja, silne snage (Which full of fire, mighty force)

Proterao tudjina sa reke naše drage! (Expelled the foreigner from our dear river!)

Poj, poj Drino, pričaj rodu mi (Sing, sing, Drina, tell the generations,)

Kako smo se hrabro borili (How we bravely fought)

Pevao je stroj, vojev’o se boj (The front sang, the battle was fought)

Kraj hladne vode (Near cold water)

Krv je tekla (Blood was flowing,)

Krv je lila (Blood was streaming)

Drinom zbog slobode! (By the Drina for freedom!)


Read more from Carl Savich about this song that is familiar all around the world: 


October 10, 2020

MMiloje Popovich, author of the poem “Mars Na Drinu!”„У бој крените јунаци сви, кренте и не жалте живот свој!“ Јуче је у Београду преминуо аутор ове херојске поеме, Марша на Дрину, и мој драги таст Милоје Поповић. Имао је 84 година живота. Био је књижевник са тридесетак објављених књига, новинар, дипломата у Њујорку, први директор Сава Центра, иницијатор подизања споменика Николи Тесли на Нијагари, и писац једне од најлепших поема српског народа: Марш на Дрину. Нек му је вечна слава и хвала. Вечнаја памјат! 

“To battle, go forth you    heroes, Go on and don’t regret your lives!”

The author of this heroic poem and beloved Serbian march, the March on the Drina, Miloje Popović has died in Belgrade yesterday. He had 84 years of life. Miloje was a writer and publisher of over thirty books, a journalist, a diplomat, the first director of the Belgrade’s Sava Center, the initiator of the construction of a monument to Nikola Tesla at Niagara Falls, and the author of one of the most beautiful poems of the Serbian people: March on the Drina. May he have eternal glory and praise.

Bishop Nikola & WWI orphan situation

Serbia made land of starving orphans:

An eye witness tells tragic stories.

New York, Nov. 27, 1915, Chicago Day Book


Indescribably moving first-hand stories of the amazing misery of the 10,000 wandering orphans of Serbia have been given me by Father Nikolai Velimirovich.

This famous priest, the greatest preacher the Slavs have ever had, has just reached New York from Serbia. He looks an old man. He is only 34. But three wars have each added ten years to his life -His simply-told, yet heartrendering stories of the almost unbelievable sufferings of Serbia’s lost children need no embellishing. They hit home by themselves. Here they are:

Tale No. 1

“One day I was standingoutside the Town hall in Nish. A little girl was in the bread line, and when it came to her turn she asked for two loaves. “Oh, please give meone more,” she cried. “I am not alone. We live six together.”

“I made them give her two loaves,and went with her. We walked for half an hour, and at last came to a field. But I saw no house. There was a little heap of straw, and in it six little children were playing.”

When they saw Yela coming their faces lit up, and they ran toward us with little shouts of joy. This was the only food they got each day. They lived in the straw, and Yela was their  only protector!”

Tale No. 2 

“In Lazzaravitch I saw a boy holding a dog by a chain. He was crying, and a few ‘soldiers were gathered around him.” ‘What is the matter, my little man?’ I asked.”

‘My dog is hungry.’

“He was Marko Markovitch. When  the enemy came his mother told him to flee, while she remained to look after the house.”I did not want to go,” he told me.

“I got my dog and we ran away. We walked for days and days, and we slept in the fields. Once it snowed. I have walked half over Serbia, ‘and Iam now going back to look for mymother.   We have stopped here for a rest.”

‘Yes, I am hungry. ‘But give my dog something first.’ “


Tale No. 3

“Kossera Petrovitchwas the mother of four. She fled from Resnik to Belgrade and tried to get a train to take them south, The cars were full, and there were 20,000 others waiting there. In the terrible struggle for trains Kossera stayed four days.”

Then one of the children strayed. Where? Who knows? It was lost!

“On the fifth day she and the other three got aboard a train. After 50 miles the second child was crushed to death on the train. 

Two days later another child died.”Then I saw her with her one remaining child and no home. She said to me:” ‘I will go home. What does it matter if I and this one are killed, too?'”


Tale No.4

“A father is fighting at the front The mother has died of typhus. The children are left without anybody. Kosta is a boy of 12,   and his sister Vera is 9. They start off to find their father. After many days of wandering, by chance they meet him.

‘Mother is dead. What shall we do with the house?’ they ask.

“The poor father, fighting for his country what answer could he make them?”

“There are ten thousand children looking for their parents like this.They are known as the “wandering children” –Serbia’s babes in the woods.  Just a few of the 10,000 war orphans wandering around aimlessly about their country of Serbia in search of food and shelter.

A WWI first-hand account of the plight of the Orphans in Serbia by St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich!

Orphans were taken to Libertyville, IL.  Here is St. Bishop Mardarije in 1913, before the Monastery was built.

WWI, Malvina Hoffman & the Kosovo Serbs.....

 Malvina Hoffman is one of the best known American women sculptors.  She created a whole “Hall of Man” for the Chicago Field Museum that included 35 full figure statues, 30 busts and 39 heads. She is also the author of several books about Mankind.

Shown here with one of her statues in England.


Malvina witnessed unbelivable tragic things while traveling in Serbia’s Kosovo and reveals she knew the Kosovo legends quite well.

 This is from her book entitled: HEADS & TALES


The sole surviving monk from the Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo had given Malvina TWO candles to take back to New York to thank the American people for saving his people from starvation. It was no easy task to keep the candles safe during the next few months while she traveled either in her Ford, or with the Ford on a Railway Flat Car on her way back from Kosovo.

This is the St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York, where the candles given to them  from the monk in Kosovo were lit June 15, 1918 for special “VIDOVDAN” commemoration. The service was attended by 5,000 people who wanted to see the candles their Dean, V. Rev. Howard C. Robbins had talked about.  All across America, bells pealed and churches paid homage to the Serbian people, their fight for Kosovo, and an end-of-the war Victory celebration.

Do Guardian Angels Send Messages Electronically?
Malvina Hoffman and Dean Howard C. Robbins, Kosovo Day, 1918
By Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic  4/10/08

    Serendipity?  Or perhaps it was my Guardian Angel working overtime! 

    Something made me go to EBAY’s website last night after an absence of several weeks. I was perusing half-heartedly when something struck my eye.  Offered for sale was a handwritten letter from the famous American sculptress and authoress, Malvina Hoffman to the Rev. Howard C. Robbins.

    The cost listed for this Ebay item ($699.00) was too high for me, but the descriptive words were priceless to all of us Serbian Americans who haven’t given up the fight for historic Kosovo to remain a part of Serbia. 

    Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966) studied with Auguste Rodin (considered the progenitor of Modern Sculpture) in Paris, and indeed, was called “The American Rodin.”  Hoffman was also instrumental in helping Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic (who also loved the Serbian Legends of Kosovo) reach his full potential, but she is most known for her incredible work featuring 35 full figures, one half figure, 30 busts and 39 heads at the Chicago Field Museum and its “Hall of Man.”

    Howard Chandler Robbins was the Dean of the incredibly exquisite Episcopalian Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC form 1917 until 1929.   (See photo)

    In the letter offered on EBAY, Malvina Hoffman thanked the minister who led Americans in celebrating Kosovo Day, in 1918! 

    The ad offered this explanation along with the “Buy It Now” price tag:

    “This is the reduction of the original declaration which you saw last Sunday. Thank you for the copy of your beautiful address, and for all the trouble you and Mr. Nash must have taken to make the Liberty Service such a success. Some day when perspective permits us to be judges of what has actually occurred during these momentous five months, I think we will be more glad than ever that we celebrated Kossovo [sic] and Victory day for the peoples in Europe. Very cordially”. MALVINA HOFFMAN.

    Ebay item # 290138015953 was offered by “historydirect”, a UACC Registered Dealer and proud member of the Manuscript Society.  His Ebay store is called “History For Sale” and boasts a 99.5% satisfaction rate with hundreds of dealings since 2003.

    The dealer offered more in his explanation: “The Kosovo region of the former state of Yugoslavia, detached from Serbia by a NATO intervention in the 1990s and now on its way to independence with a majority population of ethnic Albanians, has become a symbol of ethnic strife.

    “During World War I, however, the people of Serbia were themselves praised by American and Allied populations as heroic models of the struggle for independence of oppressed peoples. On June 18, 1918, memorial services across the US commemorated the Battle of Kosovo (1389), in which the Serbian Prince Lazlo died attempting to resist conquest by the Ottoman Empire.

    “Reverend Howard Chandler Robbins, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and recipient of this letter, delivered an address comparing the Serbs to the people of Israel. World War I ended five months after these celebrations, hence Hoffman’s reference to ‘these momentous five months.’ This letter’s reference to a date once celebrated but now long forgotten by most Americans helps explain Serbia’s dogged determination to hold on to Kosovo, a region central to its sense of national identity. Fine content! Mailing folds. Pencil notes (unknown hand) on blank integral leaf. Overall, fine condition.”

    It’s great being retired.  Your time is your own to spend as you wish.  Further research indicated there are many photographs taken by Malvin Hoffman of the Serbs in the Online Archive of California.  Papers 1897-1984, Box 75 has her Serbian War Photographs.   There is another box that looks real interesting for all researchers there in sunny CA, of Box 64, F2. 

  St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich taught us about the soul of Serbia suffering through 500 years of Turkish slavery:  “With belief came hope, with hope strength, and so the Serbs endured the hardest and darkest slavery every recorded in history, not so much by their physical strength as by the strength of their soul.  It was a great temptation for the Serbs to abandon the Christian faith and to accept the faith of the Crescent.  Under this condition only, the Turks promised freedom to the Serbs and equal rights.  Several of the aristocratic families could not resist this temptation and became renegade to the faith of their ancestors in order to save their lives.  But the mass of the people fearlessly continued to be faithful to the belief in the Cross.”

   Just the way most of today’s Americans forgot about the rescue of the 500 U.S. Airmen during WWII, they forgot that everyone in America during WWI knew of the heroic Serbs and their struggle for Kosovo.  Then, America led with prayers for the Serbs and their Kosovo, not with threats and bombs. 


Mars Na Drinu

From Aleksandra Rebic we have this information:


Note from Aleksandra:

One of the greatest patriotic songs of any people, anywhere, is “March on the Drina“, a World War One song written by Serbian composer Stanislav Binicki. The Drina River runs through Serbia and Bosnia, and was the site of the Battle of Mt. Cer in August of 1914, a pivotal battle between the Serbs and the occupying Austro-Hungarian forces. The Serbs won the great battle of Cer and “March on the Drina” was written to honor the bravery of the fallen Serbian soldiers.

This was one of the very first songs I remember from my childhood and the video below, posted by “cveti007” on YouTube, includes a great version of the song, a photo slide show, and actual live film footage! You cannot help but feel deep national pride and patriotic passion upon listening to this timeless tribute to the military bravery so embedded in the soul of the Serbs.  The music is by the famous composer Binicki, and the words are by Miloje Popovic. (Thanks, Sasa Stojsin for this info.)

YOUTUBE VIDEO   <—-click here  

To battle, go forth you heroes,

Go on and don’t regret your lives

May Cer see the front, may Cer hear the battle and river Drina glory, courage

And heroic hand of father and son!

Sing, sing, Drina – of cold water,
Remember, and tell of the ones that fell,
Remember the brave front,
Which full of fire, mighty force
Expelled the foreigner from our dear river!

Sing, sing, Drina, tell the generations,
How we bravely fought,
The front sang, the battle was fought
Near cold water
Blood was flowing,
Blood was streaming
By the Drina for freedom!

Serbian Cyrillic Lyrics:

У бој, крените јунаци сви
Крен’те и не жал’те живот свој
Цер да чује твој, Цер нек види бој
А река Дрина славу храброст
И јуначку руку оца, сина.

Пој, пој Дрино, водо хладна ти
Памти, причај кад су падали
Памти храбри строј
Који је пун огња, силне снаге
Протерао туђина са реке наше драге.

Пој, пој Дрино, причај роду ми
Како смо се храбро борили
Певао је строј, војев’о се бој
Крај хладне воде
Крв је текла, крв се лила
Дрином због слободе.



IN Latinica

U boj, krenite junaci svi

Kren’te i ne zal’te zivot svog

Cer da cuje tvoj, Cer nek vidi boj

A reka drina slavu hrabrost

I junacku ruku oca, sina.


Poj, poj Drino, vodo hladna ti

Pamti, pricaj kad su padali

Pamti, hrabri stroj

Koji je pun ognja, silne snage

Proterao tudjina sa reke nase drage.


Poj, poj Drino, pricaj rodu mi

Kako smo se hrabro borili

Pevao je stroj, vojev’o se boj

Kraj hladne vode

Kra je tekla, krv se lila

Drinom zbog slobode. 


“Mars Na Drinu” was the finale of a wonderful concert featuring the Serbian people in a concert for Serbian New Year’s Day for the United Nations, thanks to Serbian President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic.  Viva Vox performed ten songs ranging from “Bohemian Rapsody” by Queen and “Mamma Mia” by Abba, but also traditional Serbian songs such as “Hajde Jano” and “Tamo Daleko.

From Balkan Insight:

“Jeremic dedicated the concernt to “all of those who dream about world peace… millions of people of good faith of all colours and religions.

“They are the true owners of this noble home. We serve them, so that future generations may live as one,” Jeremic told guests.


All of his fellow monks had been massacred when the monastery at Gracanica, Kosovo was attacked and destroyed in WWI. (These photos were taken by Malvina Hoffman, herself, perhaps America’s foremost Woman Sculptors.

This young boy lost a hand during the war and most likely, both of his parents.

Malvina Hoffman made this famous WWI poster which helped raise funds for the suffering Serbian people. America responded beautifully, especially led by the wonderful efforts of the Dean of  the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and his parishioners in 1918.


Prince Aleksandar, King Peter, and  Prince George.
King Peter was loved by all!
Click on link above to see a YouTube video made by
April 11, 2008
“They marched along,
They marched along,
King Peter’s Royal Guardsmen.”

Марширала, марширала краља Петра гарда,
марширала, марширала краља Петра гарда,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије.

Гледале их, гледале их београдске даме,
гледале их, гледале их београдске даме,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије.

Клекле доле, клекле доле па се Богу моле,
клекле доле, клекле доле па се Богу моле,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије. 


Here are some excerpts from an old Coraopolis School District textbook I found entitled THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY: Patriotism Through Literature, by Lyman P. Powell, copyright 1918, Rand McNally & Company.  (I wrote about this for the SRBOBRAN in July, 1998).

The poems inside, Mr. Powell asserts “were selected for their intellectual comprehensiveness, moral elevation, restrained feeling and rhythmic quality.  There were FOUR selections offered about Serbia and the Serbian people, beginning on p. 180.  This is important “treasured gold” proof for our younger generations, as today’s shameless rewriters of history would have them and us believe that the Serbs (and not the Germans and Austrians) wore the “black hats” in WWI because of the death of Archduke Ferdinand.  Not so, my young ones. 

Go to this website’s webpage called “Serbia’s Sacrifice” to the far left of this column, above “Interesting Tidbits.”



The American Red Cross hired the famous Lewis Hine (known for his documenting of child laborers and the Ellis Island immigrants) to document its European Relief efforts in the waning months of the war after the Armistice in 1918.

There’s a photo taken by him in the back of the July 2009 issue of a young Serbian refugee from Grdjelitza. Hines notes:  “With not even a roof over their heads, these families were finding their ways back home on foot from northern Serbia where the Austrians and Germans had sent them to produce food for the enemy….When these people reach home, it will not be home, but simply ruins.”

Thanks to Carl Savich for pointing out the above.

The main story about the SERBS in the July 2009 issue of National Geographic is nothing but propaganda rubbish like the magazine has been producing for the last 20 years.  Lies, lies and more lies. Read carefully readers! 

Like Carl pointed out there is no photo of the TOWER OF NIS, but the text says how the Turks “DECORATED” the wall with the cut-off heads of the Serbs.  You judge for yourself!


WWI Website from Wikipedia 


Bridge on the Drina 



Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic 


The illustration above is from the book THE BOY SCOUTS OF SERVIA by Capt. John Blaine. It was illustrated by E. A. Furman, published by the Saalfield Publishing Company of Chicago, Akron and New York, 1915.  

“In a moment they were alone in the heavens, racing toward Servia.” 


Serbia:  American Allies in WWI, WWII!

Faithful Allies.  

Don’t let REVISIONISTS change history!

WWI Serbian Generals-Thanks to "Labud"

Reverse of WWI Generals:

These coins were made in 1988.  On the back were the dates 1912, 1914, 1918 and 1988.


4 Marshalls and 1 General by”LABUD”
Radomir Putnik (Радомир Путник)
DIED: 5/17/1917-NICE, FRANCE.
He was born in Kragujevac, 24. I 1847. He graduated Artillery school there. In Serbo-Turkish wars 1876-1878, as Captain and Major, he commanded Rudnik Brigade in battles on Javor, Veliki Siljegovac, Krevet, Djunis and the liberating of Nis and Pirot. In later operations he commanded Veternik detachment. After these wars he became the Chief of the Standing Army. In the Serbo-Bulgarian war 1885., he was Chief of Staff of the  Danube division. He was promoted to Colonel in 1889, and then he became Assistant Chief of the General, and a professor at the Millitary Academy. In 1893., he became Commander of the Sumadija Divisional Region, but he was retired in 1895, because he was suspected for collaborating with Radical party.

After the May coup, 1903., he was activated, promoted to General, and became Chief of General-Staff. In the same time, he was Minister of the Army three times: 1904,1906-1908,1912. During this time, Serbian Army was armed with modern weapons, war plans and new doctrines was made.
During the Annexation crisis (1908), with his assistant, Zivojin Misic, he made plans for war against Austro-Hungary.

In the Balkan Wars, he was the Chief of High Command. He took big part in Serbian victories in Kumanovo and Bitola battles. After the Battle of Kumanovo, he became the first Serbian Marshall. In the Battle of Bregalnica, he disposed the Serbian army in the best way to receive Bulgarian attack.

In the Great War, he was again Chief of High Command, although he was very sick. He was due much credit in the Serbian victories in 1914 on Cer, Drina and Kolubara.
During the Great Retreat, in 1915, he escaped the surrounding of the Serbian Army, although it was attacked from three sides. Old, sick and tired, he resigned in Skadar in December 1915. After the evacuation of Serbian Army, he was sent to Nice on therapy. He died there in 17. V 1917. His body was moved to Belgrade in 1926. He is remembered as the master of a deep and elastic defense.

Zivojin Misic (Живојин Мишић)
He was born in village of Struganik near Valjevo as the 13th child in family, in 6. VII 1855. When he was sent to school in Kragujevac, his older brother Lazar, was already in Army. He graduated Artillery school as 19. in rank. In Serbo-Turkish wars 1876-1878, he was pupil-sargeant and second liutenant, as commander of company, batallion, and detachment, where he got the Gold medal for courage. In the Serbo-Bulgarian war, he was in rank of Major and commanded the batallion. In the period from 1891-1903 he was professor on Millitary academy, Royal Adjutant and commander of Drina divisional region. As a former Obrenovic adjutant, the conspirators from the Black Hand society who made the May coup, retired him for the first time, in rank of Colonel. In this period, he tried to start a printing business.

Because of the hard situation, he was re-activated in 1908 on demand of Radomir Putnik, as his assistant. Then, they made war plans for the inevitable Austro-Hungarian attack on Serbia. He remained Putnik’s assistant in the Balkan Wars.
After the Battle of Kumanovo, Misic was promoted to general. Anyway, the influence of Black Hand society and the bad treatment of civilian authorities to great generals made that he was the second time retired in 1913.

But, as always, in hard moments, in the July crisis, he was re-activated again. He was again Putnik’s assistant, and they realized the plan they made 6 years earlier very successful.
In the beginning of the Kolubara battle he became commander of 1st Army instead of wounded Petar Bojovic. He led this battle in the region where he was born. Then, he made, after big arguing with High command, an ingenious and risky thing: he retreated his army very deep, and then, after soldiers have been rest themselves, started great counter-attack, without receiving attack on new positions! Because of that, he was promoted to Marshall (војвода). During the Great retreat, he stayed as commander of 1st Army. In the meeting of army commanders in Pec (December 1915), he was against retreating through Albanian and Montenegrian mountains. Instead of that he proposed the decisive battle on Kosovo. His proposal was rejected, and after evacuation on Corfu, he was retired for the third time, because of this his proposal, which authorities formulated as “treason”. Then he was sent to France on therapy, because he got sick in Albanian Golgotha. Anyway, when he was more needed, in the middle of Bulgarian offensive on Macedonian front in september 1916, he was again re-activated, and led his 1st Army to victory in battle of Gornicevo. 1. VII 1918., he became chief of High Command, and led Serbian Army on its final attack on Macedonian front to liberate the fatherland. After war he was retired for the last time. He died in Belgrade 20. I 1921.

He was the most talented Serbian commander ever and one of the most talented commanders in the history. When he got a holiday, he always had gone to his village and helped his brothers in agricultural works. His mother used to call him Beetle (Бубица). He was very popular among the soldiers who call him Blondie (Жућа). He was writing, but didn’t finished his autobiography, called “My memories”.

Stepa Stepanovic (Степа Степановић)

He was born in village of Kumodraz near Belgrade in 12. III 1856. He graduated Artillery school in generation with Zivojin Misic as 1. in rank. For courage and good commanding in Serbo-Turkish wars 1876-1878, he earned Takovo Cross with sword. In Serbo-Bulgarian war he was company commander. Later, he was professor on Millitary Academy and assistant of chief of General-stuff. 1907. he was promoted to general and became commander of Sumadija divisional region. Year later he was Army minister, then commander of Drina divisional region, and Morava divisional region, and then 1911-1912 again Army minister.
In liberating wars 1912-1918, he was whole time commander of 2nd Army. In First phase of 1st Balkan war his Army took part in Kumanovo battle. In second phase, he took part with his 2nd Army in siege of Edrine with Bulgarians. In 2nd Balkan war, he successfully defended Nisava valley from Bulgarians.
In Great War, he also commanded 2nd Army, which crushed Austro-Hungarians in battle of Cer, the first battle in the Great War. Then, he was promoted to marshal. In battle of Drina, he stoped attack of Austro-Hungarian 5th Army and Combined corps. In Kolubara battle, he gave great resistance to the Austro-Hungarian 5th Army in its attempts to reach river Ljig. In counter-attack, his Army liberated Belgrade. In Great retreat, his 2nd Army slowed down Bulgarian attacks. On Macedonian Front, he took part in battle of Kajmakcalan (1916) and breaking thorugh the Macedonian Front 1918. After the war, he was retired. He died in Cacak 29. IV 1929. In critical moments he had a habit to go in the first lines and fight with soldiers.

Petar Bojovic (Петар Бојовић)

He was born in village of Misevici near Nova Varos (southern of Uzice) in 16. VII 1858. He was in Serbo-Turkish wars 1876-1878 as pupil of Artillery school in High Command and battery. Then he continued with education, and was promoted to second lieutenant 1880. He became lieutenant in 1883. In Serbo-Bulgarian war 1885. he distinguished himself with courage on Slivnica, Dragoman, Caribrod (today Dimitrovgrad) and Pirot. After that, he was a little time Chief of Staff of the Sumadija division. After the war he was sent to France on further education, then he was company commander and then Chief of Staff of Morava divisional region. 1901, he was promoted to Colonel. Before the Balkan Wars he was Commander of the Brigade, divisional region, assistant of chief of General-Staff and commander of Cavalry division.

In the Balkan Wars he was Chief of Staff of the 1st Army and its real commander, because Prince Alexander was only its nominal commander.  (???-Questionable info there. MKB)
With his work, he took the greatest part in Serbian victories in battles of Kumanovo and Bitola. Then he was promoted to General. After that he was Commander of Seaside Corps in Albania.
In the Second Balkan War he was again Chief of Staff of the 1st Army, which broke the Bulgarian defense on Bregalnica Battle.

In the Great War, he commanded the 1st Army. Firstly, he liberated Sabac on 24th August 1914., when he was wounded in the leg. Then his Army took the offensive in Srem. But, because of the second Austro-Hungarian big offensive, he was retreated from Srem, and his I Army took part in Battle on Drina, in the most bloodiest fighting for peak Machkov Kamen.  On this position, he was replaced by Zivojin Misic, in the beginning of Kolubara battle, because of his wounds.

In the Great Retreat, he was commander of New Regions Troops in Macedonia. He commanded in unsuccessful Kacanik operation in attempt to break thorugh the way through Macedonia for Serbian Army. He became chief of High Command in 1916, after Putnik’s retirement. He commanded Serbian Army in its great victories in Gornicevo and kajmakcalan against Bulgarians. In july 1918, he became commander of 1st Army. In breaking thorugh the Macedonian front on Dobro Polje, he surrounded 2nd and 4th Bulgarian division and then he was promoted to Marshall. He continued with advancing and crushed Germans near Nis.After the war he was retired. In April war, 1941, he was re-activated as nominally Assistant of High commander, but he didn’t have any influence on this war. He died in Belgrade 20. I 1945.

Pavle Jurisic – Sturm (Павле Јуришић – Штурм)

He was born in Görlitz 22. VIII 1848. as Paul Sturm. He was German, but some said that he was a Luzica Serb. (Lusatian Serb? MKB) Anyway, he was Second Lieutenant in Germano-France War from 1870-1871. Then he meet Petar Karadjordjevic, the future Serbian King, who was captured France Second Lieutenant, and they became friends. In Russian-Turkish war 1876-1878, he went to Turkey as mercenary, but he stayed in Serbia as volunteer in the rank of Lieutenant.
In 1st Serbo-Turkish war 1876-1877 he was batallion commander. In Second Serbo-Turkish war (1877-1878) he was promoted to Captain and Regiment Commander. He stayed in Serbia and “serbed” himself. He just translated his name to Serbian (Paul=Павле; Sturm=јуриш>Јуришић), but he kep his last name Sturm as alias.
In the Serbo-Bulgarian war he was Commander of the 6th regiment of Drina division. In 1st Balkan war, in rank of colonel, he was commander of Drina I call division, and in 2nd Balkan war commander of Danube I call division. Then he was promoted to General.

In the Great War, he was commander of 3rd Army. In 1914, his Army took big part in Cer and Battle on Drina by keeping back much stronger Austro-Hungarian Armies. In the Great Retreat he also commanded 3rd Army, and in Macedonian front until August 1916. Then, he was retired of some stupid reasons (we have already seen bad treatment of civilian authorities to the great commanders in example of Zivojin Misic). He died in Belgrade on 14. I 1921.

Labud continues teaching:
09-13-2007, 08:24 AM

Janko Vukotic (Јанко Вукотић)

Janko Vukotic was born in the village of Chevo near Cetinje in Montenegro on 18.II 1866. He graduated from the Millitary Academy in Modena in 1886. In 1902. he became Colonel (бригадир). In period 1905-1910, he was a member of the government, when he was promoted to General (дивизијар) and Commander of 1. division. He had the title of “Serdar,” which was reserved only for the best men in Montenegro.
In the First Balkan War he commanded the Eastern detachment in the Metohija and Rashka region. Then he became Chief of High Command.
In the Second Balkan war he was Commander of the Montenegro division, which had fought in Bregalnica battle with the Serbian Army.

In the Great War, he was in the beginning Chief of High Command and Ckmmander of the Herzegovina detachment. In autumn 1914 he became Commander of the Sandzak Army which together with Serbian Uzice Army made the offensive in eastern Bosnia in September 1914.

In the Great Retreat, he succesfuly protected the left flank of the Serbian Army. He suggested King Nikola to retreat Montenegrin Army together with Serbian. King refused his suggetion, and he resigned from all his functions. But he still remained Commander of the Sandzak Army, and lead the Montenegrin Army in the Battle of Mojkovac (January 1916), where outnumbered Montenegrin troops had successfully protected the Serbian Army in its retreat through Albania. After Montenegrian capitulation, he was captured. After the war he was General in the Kingdom of Yugoslav Army. He died in Belgrade on 4. II 1927.

Bozidar Jankovic (Божидар Јанковић)

He was born in Belgrade 18. XII 1849. He graduated artillery school in Belgrade 1874. In the Serbo-Turkish wars (1876-1878) he was Chief of Staff of the Cuprija Brigade I class. In the Serbo-Bulgarian war (1885) he was in service on the High Command. After that he was Division Commander, Chief of Staff of Active Army, Minister of Defense.
In 1902. he was promoted to general, but in 1903., after the May coup, he was retired.

He was re-activated in the First Balkan war, when he was Commander of 3rd Army, which liberated Kosovo and, through Albania, came to the Adriatic coast. In Second Balkan war, he also commanded 3rd Army which rejected mighty Bulgarian attacks in battle of Bregalnica, but he didn’t use all opportunities in counter-attack.

In the Great war he was chief of Montenegrian High Command. After Montenegrian capitulation, he was in Serbian High Command.  He died in Herceg-Novi on 7. VII 1920.

Maurice Sarrail

He was born in 1856. In the beginning of Great war, he was Commander of 6th French Corps, and in battle of Marne he was Commander of 3rd Army. In 1915., he became Commander of French Eastern Army, which failed to help Serbian Army in the Great Retreat and made possible retreating though Macedonia. Until Decembre 1917, he was commander of all Allied forces on the Macedonian front. After the war he was commander of French forces in Syria. He died in 1929.

Louis Franchet d’Espérey

He was born in Mostaganem in what is today Algeria, on 25. may 1856., the son of an officer of cavalry in the Chasseurs d’Afrique. He was educated at Saint-Cyr and graduated in 1876. He served in French Indochina, China (against the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 during which his cousin the German plenipotentiary Klemens von Ketteler was killed) and Morocco before 1914.

In 1914, Franchet d’Espérey did well as an corps commander at the Battle of Charleroi, and as result he rose rapidly through the ranks during the war.
On the eve of the First Battle of the Marne, Franchet d’Espérey was given command of the French Fifth Army. By March 1916, Franchet d’Espérey was in command of the Eastern Army Group and by January 1917 the Northern Army Group. He was badly defeated by the Germans at the Battle of Chemin des Dames in May 1918. He was removed from the Western Front and appointed commander of the Allied armies at Salonika.

Between September 15-29, 1918 General Franchet d’Espérey, in command of a large army of Greeks (9 divisions), French (6 divisions), Serbians (6 divisions), British (4 divisions) and Italians (1 division) – staged a successful offensive in Macedonia that knocked Bulgaria out of the war, by plan made with Serbian High Command. General Franchet d’Esperey followed up this victory by overrunning much of the Balkans and by the war’s end, his troops had penetrated well into Hungary. During this final campaign, he was given the nickname “Desperate Frankie” by the British officers.

After World War I ended, General Franchet d’Espérey directed operations against the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919.

He was made a Marshal of France on February 19, 1921, and was given a honorary title of Vojvoda (equivalent of Field-Marshal) from the Serbs. He represented France at the coronation of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on November 1, 1930. He was elected to the French Academy on November 15, 1934.  He died in Albi, on 3 July 1942.

 WWI Serbian soldiers with the flag of their country


3/25/10:  While looking for some other information, I came across some wonderful history written by “Labud” on August 17, 2007 at 9:36 AM on a site devoted to WWI History.  By clicking on the site below, you can see the original postings for yourselves….

Ernest Nygard (aka the “vikingcelt”) was looking for information on the Serbs during WWI, and Labud quickly answered the call.

Ernest was quite pleased as he wrote:

“WOW!!! Thank you Labud!!! I really appreciate your help!!! The Serbian people were so courageous, they lost more people per capita than any other combatant in WWI. All they wanted was freedom from the oppression and encroachment of the bully state of Austro-Hungary – they initially kicked their Austro-Hungarian ___ very well. A-H needed help from Germany and Bulgaria to fight them, then it was like 3 to 1, ganging up on Serbia – what could they do? But they perservered to the end!!!

Looks like you have lots of stuff about Serbia – I am grateful for your help Labud!!!

Labud writes back:

“Thanks. 🙂
I’m a history student, especially interested in Serbia’s liberating wars 1912-1918. This is one of the most appreciated parts of our history, so we have many literature written about it. Almost every Serb has got one forefather who fought in the Great war. If you are interested, there is movie about Cer battle, March on Drina”


Labud was truly interested in letting others know of the bravery of his people as he wrote:

“I have many books here about Serbian Army during Great War, but I need time to translate it from Serbian and then I’ll post some information.”


What “Labud” wrote about the Serbian Air Force in WWI is most interesting, especially the name of the plane.

Serbian Air Forces

“Serbia is a country with great Air Force traditions. She was one of the first countries with air forces as independent branch of arms. First air victim in history was Serbian pilot Mihajlo Petrovic (Михајло Петровић), who died during the siege of Skadar (srb. Скадар, alb. Shkodra) in 1913, when his scout plane was broken and he fell down.

In 1914, Serbia had only a few scout planes. Austro-Hungarians had supermacy in air. The Serbian people were afraid of planes – those unknown machines that could fly. Also, sometimes they thought of Serbian pilots that they are Austrians, because they looked very strange with their gear and uniforms. It was very funny situations, when “chichas” were capturing their own pilots, thinking that they are Austirans. 🙂

This fear of Ausro-Hungarian planes, who bombed Serbian towns, disappeared when Serbian artillery soldier Radoje Ljutovac (Радоје Љутовац) shot down one plane with his cannon in October 1914. It was first plane shot down from earth. After that, all Serbian soldiers began to shoot at planes with their rifles. Soon, it was forbidden because, they could shoot down Serbian planes.

In 1915. Serbian Air Forces had task to scout movings of hostile troops on line Smederevo – Golubac on Danube. On Sava and Danube from Belgrade to Smederevo there was French squadron.
After the Great Retreat, the Serbian Air Force was destroyed. On the Macedonian front, the Serbian Army got new planes which  took their part in battles on this front, and finaly in liberation of Serbia.

Plane “Oluj” (Storm) in 1914.

Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge photo.

This photo shows the first armed airplane of the Serbian Army in 1915. The airplane is Bieriot X1-2, the pilot is Tomic, and the observer is Mihajlovich.

From the Commons

Author:  Miroslav Cika



A link to a great WWI book called: “A Peasant Mob:: The Serbian Army on the Eve of the Great War” by James M.B. Lyon


WWI and Ted Erceg: With Pious Gravity

America, and especially Serbian Americans, are grateful to Ted Erceg, of St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana for bringing to light the story of the Volunteers from America who went to help Serbia as “Dobrovolci” in WWI. They returned to their homeland on a very special mission, and Ted’s father, Mike Erceg, was one of them. In fact, he carried the flag!


WITH PIOUS GRAVITY: Chronicles of the Volunteers from America 1914-1918 is the book written by Erceg.  Before this publicaiton, VERY little was known or published about the gallant men, some who would become worldclass heroes.  Only their families knew their stories or the actions they saw.  “What little was recorded in universisty of church archives has lain nearly hidden from public view for seventy-seven years.” (Book published in 1995)

These banners were unveiled Oct. 16, 1916 in Gary.

(Click lower right hand corner of photo to enlarge.)

In front of the Gary, Indiana YMCA building, wearing newly-issued boots and Serbian sjackacas (hats).  Each is holding a small American flag.  This photo appeared in the Gary Evening Post of December 31, 1917.  St. Sava Gary volunteers!


In another photo taken by the N.Y. Times, the caption read: “These men were mobilized chiefly from Serbian communities in Indiana and were officered by Frenchmen.  They carried with them to the Serbian front three American flags, consecrated in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Indianapolis before their departure.  THe photograph shows them at a French port on their way to join the Army.


(Click lower right hand corner of photo to enlarge.)

Serbian Volunteers, WWI: Dane Kokotovich, Mile Paripovich, Ljuban Kokotovich, Mile Pocuca, Marko Repac, Voja Glumicic, Bue Repac, Dane Varicak, Savo Radovich.  Courtesy: St. Sava Church Archives


The 10 FAMOUS VAYAGICH BROTHERS on Gary’s St. Sava stage!

(Click lower right hand corner of photos to enlarge.)

The Vayagich Brothers (brothers and cousins!) were just like Jug Bogdan and the Devet Jugovici from Kosovo in 1389!  But, luckily for us, all ten of them survived the war, although Mihailo suffered a shattered leg.  The oldest, Risto Vayagich, 5th from left, and wearing a banner, won Serbia’s highest medal for heroism.  They are shown on Gary’s stage with their priest and church president.

Photo courtesy of Steve Boljanich.


At the Serb National Federation (SNF) Board Room in Pittsburgh, PA (March, 2013), admiring the old painting on velvet of Jug Bogdan (center) surrounded by his nine sons.  The youngest son, Bosko Jugovich, is shown holding the flag and hiding it before they all perished at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.  Many Serbians have paintings of this famous family, knowing the Legends of Kosovo, just like all of these WWI volunteers from Gary knew them too!


Jovo Sever, American-Serb Hero!

The caption of this photo from Ted Erceg’s book, WITH PIOUS GRAVITY, reads on p.41:

“Jovo Sever, a volunteer from Gary shown with Serbia’s highest award for valor, the Karageorge Star with crossed sabers in gold, and two other gold medals.  He singlehandedly captured a Bulgarian battalion and was the most decorated of the volunteers from North America.  After the war, he lived out his life in Serbia as a national hero, but in America he remained virtually unknown.”

Courtesy of St. Sava Church Archives.


I asked Ted Erceg to give me more biographical information about him, and even I was surprised!  He’s been working so hard all his life for his beloved Serbian people!

2/1978:  Selected to Sunday School Board, by President Zivojin Cokic.

2/1983: Pres. Joe Sever selected Ted to Church Board.

6/1983: Served as General Chairman of first eleven Serb Festivals, 1983-1993.

2/1986: Selected 1st VP by Gordan Gerbick; selected Secretary of new church Bldg. Com & Masonry Com.

2/1987: Elected President of church board for 6 terms: 1987-1982;  Member of Diocesan Council 1987-1992 with Bishop Irinej and two terms under Bishop Longin, 2001-2002, total 8 years.

5/1987: Supervised constuction of new church in Merrillville through 1992.

5/1987Received Communion at the Consecration of the Foundation in the new church, being the first communicant, by +Bishop Irinej, +Fr. Jovan Marcetich and Fr. Jovan Todorovich.

5/1987: Recipient of the Diocesan Medal of Merit from Bishop Irinej.

11/1987: General Co-Chairan with his wife, Mrs. Donna Petrovich Erceg of 11 church anniversaries 1987-2005, plus with Mr. Suvajac 2006; total 14 anniversary chairmanships.

6/1996Published “With Pious Gravity” @ W.W.I volunteers.

6/1999:  Guest speaker at the Serbian Unity Congress in Washington, DC.

9/1999 Edited the church handbook, “Guide to St. Sava Church.” 

5/2000: Wrote the English inscriptiion for the W.W.II Serbian monument.

5/2001:  Donated W.W.I Volunteers plaque.

11/2004:  Awarded the Cross of St. Sava, second degree, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s highest award, by Bishop Longin.

2/2005:  Served four months as acting President during Mr. Galich’s illness; complied inventory of physical assets of St. Sava Church.

1/2006:  Co-chairman Membership Questionaire with Gordon Germick.

7/2007 Second year as original member of the church Museum Committee.

9/2007: Founding member of the St. Sava Church Cultural Center Committee.

8/2008 Recipient of Distinguished Hoosier Award from Governor Mitchell Daniels.

7/2011: Chairman of Serbian Day, 1992-2011=19 years.

3/2013: Chairman St. Sava 100th Anniversary Yearbook.

Ted served his St. Sava Church in Merrillville in every office on the Executive Board for 25 consecutive years.  Besides all the above you see, he was Chairman of the church anniversary program for 13 times; St. Sava’s Day program for 12; assisted the priest in blessing graves on Memorial Day for 25 consecutive years; cho-chaired the founding of the St. Sav Historical Society.  All church work was done gratis.

Ted was grateful for meeting with and speaking privately with Patriarch Pavle on two occasions, also for having the privilege of serving with Bishop Irinej and Bishop Longin.  Not only did Ted receive the Gracanica Medal of merit in 1984, but several Gramatas in later years.

Steve Gacesa allowed Ted to set the first foundation block in 1986, and let Ted lay the last stone, 1991, in the new St. Sava Merrillville Church!


Steve Gacesa passed away on Thursday, April 21, 2005 at the age of 78. He was born on January 9, 1927 in New Brighton, the son of the late Milic and Mila (Dakich) Gacesa. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He was a retired general contractor and master builder, specializing in masonry design. Steve won the highest award from the Illinois/ Indiana Masonry Council and they also presented him with the Gold Medal Award for Excellence on May 4, 1991. V. Rev. Fr. Stevan Stepanov officiated.

Jovan Vukmarovich wrote in the Diocesan Observer, page 8, date not visible, about Steve Gacesa meeting Bishop Irinej at Shadeland.  At the urging of his mother, Steve offered his services free of charge for the building of the Shadeland church.  He would provide his workers at regular pay on Saturdays and Sundays.  Bishop Irinej was to provide the scaffolds, etc.  Thusly, a gigantic fund raising began to build the church at Shadeland.  Jovan and many friends donated.  “Then construction began. The Observer wrote in each issue of the progress.  One issue wrote of a Mr. Savin from Canada who came with a crew to install the roof.  His brother, Ivan Savin, resided in Aliquippa and was a friend of mine.  And so the church in Shadeland was built and consecrated.

Subsequently, there developed a personal relationship between Bishop Irinej and later Metropolitan, and Steve Gacesa.  One a Prelate with a vision to save his church in the Diaspora.  The other, with a profound faith in God who gave him the skills to build churches.  Thusly, Gracanica was built.  The rest is history.”

Aliquippa’s Jovan Vukamarovich (nicknamed SKUP), a great historian of all things Serbian, finsihed his tribute thusly:  “Time moves on.  Principals die.  People forget.  Whenever people see the Serbian Church at Shadeland or Gracanica (or St. Sava’s in Merrillville), without Metropolitan Irinej or Steve Gacesa, it would not have happened.”




Theodore Erceg

St. George Marketing of Valparaiso, Indiana

Great Lakes Graphics, Skokie, IL. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 95-77219.


Ted Erceg comes from a family of heroes.  Besides his father, Mike Erceg, being one of the 450 original Volunteers from Gary, Indiana, to go fight with the Serbs, Mike’s grandfather was the Voivoda in his area of Bosnia, leading his rebellious band in the Serbian uprisings between 1875 and 1878!

In his book, Ted lists the names of the 122 veterans known to have returned from the war out of the 450 that left Gary.  “These men were recruited on their own free will.” 

They knew what the consequences were:  If they survived and returned to America, they would not be entitled to any Veteran benefits (as America was not yet in the war!), nor any hospitalization or treatment for injuries received while in service to a foreign government.  They would be eligible for any benefit offered by the Serbian government, provided they remain in Serbia. 

The St. George unit of Volunteers from Gary was organized June 21, 1916.


Honorary Discharge from the Serbian Army was issued to volunteers returning to Ameica from Dubrovnik in 1920, in the English and Serbian language. Erceg’s signature corrected the misspelling of his name, and he signed it in English.





Ted Erceg’s book is dedicated to ALL the volunteers from America who served in WWI, but he also had a BEAUTIFUL message for his grandchildren Nicholas Mandich, Natalie, Thomas and Andrew Thorstad, Henry and Marin Meyer, and “those that follow.”

His given name was Mile, but they called him Mike.

He never saw you, or held you, or got ot know you the way some greatgrandfathers do.

Next time you get a chance to boast about something, but choose not to, that might be him advising you;

Next time you stand your ground for something good and worthwhile, that’s probably him again;

and if you get to do something really big that helps a lot of people, that’ll be him patting you on the back.

Along the way, when things go wrong or something scares you, look it in the eye the way he did, without flinching, and fix it.

As you grow older, you’ll see him more and more often!



Ted Erceg wrote that this poster of a wounded Serbian soldier, age 14, was an appeal to the English for aid to Serbia. 1915. Archives.


Ted lives with his wife, Donna, in Valpariso, Indiana.  A war hero like his father, Ted served in the Korean War, and in December, 1950, was with the American forces as they escaped from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, where Erceg called air and naval gunnery strikes on the advancing enemy.  The outnumbered GI’s fought their way out, bringing with them to safety 100,000 civilian refugees, whose suffering in the mountains from the bitter cold, hunger and and unrelenting enemy pursuing them, created a picture of human tragedy starkly reminiscent of the 1915 genocide.


Following graduation from Horace Mann High School in Gary, Indiana in 1948, Ted joined the Army. He was a radio operator in the Korean War.  He participated in the Inchon invastion with the Marines and the evacuation from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  He was recently selected to record his experience in Korea for the Library of Congress.

Ted married Donna Petrovich Erceg in 1954.  They have 3 daughters, six grandchidlren and three great-grandchildren.  Ted says that Donna assisted him in EVERY task he ever undertook at St. Sava’s.

Career wise, Ted was a sales representative in institutional pharmaceutical products distribution for 35 years.  After retirement, he returned to his former employer as an outside marketing consultant for seven more years at hospitals throughout the U.S.

Not through yet, Ted was hired in 2003 by the Valpariso Community School as Director of Public Information.

Ted was a certified athletic official, refereeing high school football games in northwest Indiana between 1965 and 1987.  He played and coached the Valparaiso University Club hockey team for three seasons.  Although not formally empoyed anymore, he still assists in coaching at Valpariso High School.

Besides his wonderful book, “With Pious Gravity,” Ted also authored five articles published in Serb World Magazine on such subjects as Gavrilo Princip (2004) , Serbs in the Kirk Yard neighborhood of Gary (1997), about his Godfather Nick “Jumbo” Strincevich (2005), Gary’s first major leaguer, and about Gary, Indiana.

He was also the author of the 1998 article “Serbians in World War I” for the Serbian National Federation Yearbook.

Well done, Ted Erceg!


Just found: 4/13, 2013 PM:

Ted’s story about Steve Gacesa and the building of St. Sava, Merrillville in the Diocesan Observer after Steve passed away, no date, but on page 8.

“Some Thoughts from Merrillville” 

Steve and I learned much about each other during the years he managed the construction of our new St. Sava Church. Often we were under a great deal of stress, he to build the perfect church while dealing with contractors and workers, and I to generate income from a mostly blue collar congregation which would have to pay for it.

We members of the church board knew only that we had the right man. Beyond that, the future held many questions.

How excellent a builder was Steve? A visit to Shadeland, Gracanica or St. Sava Church is ample proof of his skills, this, in spite of his being kept off the scaffolds during recurring bouts with diabetes. Climbing high with blurred vision on a ten-story structure was dangerous. Several times I called him down to prevent his falling. In never surrendering to illness or adversity, Steve showed not only an indomitable will, but something akin to courage as well.

To each other’s surprise, we discovered that beneath our moderate, Christian-like exteriors, we were prone at times to stifle our patience with each other until it could no longer be contained. On those few occasions, Fr. Jovan Todorovich used his priestly office to pacify our differing opinions. We did, and managed to start each new day with a better understanding of each other. After the first few weekly meetings, Steve was on a first-name basis with our whole team. He spoke in his Boss’ voice when the subject was technical, but when the talk turned to finances or obstacles outside his responsibilities, he would step back, rivet his attention on the problem at hand, and later, if he could find a way to help, approach me with a solution. He was never an outside, but even before the steel frame was erected, he was one of us.

Here was a man who claimed no fluency in Serbian, who never received formal church teeaching, and never wore a mask to cover his inadequacies. He was, I firmly believe, a complete believer in the Serbian Orthodox Church, when occasion demanded it he could be tough, but for the most part, was soft spoken, gentlemanly, and somewhat meditative. As the season passed and the church rose in grandeur, I perceived that his vision of a church for for it to be built by master craftsmen but through the eyes of an iconographer.

For Steve, any building can be a picture, but a church is an icon.

These influences may have been imparted to him by his mother, or during his time with Bishop Irinej when Steve was in the company of dedicated clergy for extended periods, and was inspired more by the ethereal aspects of church building, rather than only its structural needs. Whatever Steve missed in Sunday School, he absorbed at Gracanica.

  I will be eternally grateful to Steve for saving the last stone for me to lay in place. It is the keystone in the arch of the north apse, at about the 90 foot height. A poster-sized photograph of the event looks down at me as I write. His talent was a gift to share with others. His project, our church, won a presitgious award. When he retired after its completion, he said he’d learned much about congregations and church administration. I replied that if he were my mentor in my younger days, I probably would not have left the construction field.

We said good-bye with the same respect and friendship we had offered each other every morning for the better part of five years. That is when it occurred to me how I will remember Steve Gacesa–a master builder with the heart of an iconographer! ” —-Ted Erceg

WWI Virtual Gallery

A Virtual Museum

WIKIHOW says that “Museums are places to gaze upon artifacts and technology and learn about their history and purpose.  Unfortunately, museum audiences are limited to those who can travel to a museum. However, by putting the museum online, you can expand this audience to the world.”  

So let’s visit with this WWI Virtual Museum, featuring mainly Serbian artifacts, but also some worldly others of cultural interest.

This WWI Serbian helmet made in France was purchased from Artist/Illustrator/Historian George Gaadt by Mim Bizic at least 20 years ago. Note the Serbian toy soldier dressed in uniform and a šajkaca (hat) instead.

To see the images pictured below larger, just click on and see the caption also. 

Amer.-Serb Allies

More Information

This is my humble way to share whatever knowledge or items I have about WWI with everyone who visits this site.