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Oral history from a Serbian fireside
by svetlana Friday, Feb 29 2008, 9:38am
international / peace/war / commentary

As a young girl I remember sitting by the fire at my Baba’s [grandmother's] feet listening to her stories of our family’s and national history. I was reminded of one frightening tale as I listened to a radio broadcast stating that Germany is increasing its forces in Kosovo – we know the extent to which Germany has trained and militarily supported Muslim and other secessionists in the former Yugoslavia. It is not with trepidation that I welcome the news; I embrace the opportunity to fight as my grandmother once did against the Nazis when she was a young girl. I welcome the news that the neo-Nazis are stepping into the fray themselves – I will do my family and nation proud.

Young Serbian women
Young Serbian women

My grandmother was recounting how Serbian women have always fought side-by-side with their men; “there is no difference” she said, “it is a matter of SURVIVAL". She then recalled how during WWII, she and her comrades captured a number of Nazis during a guerilla attack on a small convoy. In those times prisoners who were unable to supply useful information were utilised to send a clear message to the fascist invaders.

One method was to tie them to a tree by a main road. They would be stripped from the waist down, their genitals cut off and either hung around their necks or stuffed into their mouths – I squirmed as she described the events. “You must understand little one, the Nazis invaded our land, burned our villages and killed all the inhabitants; young girls and women were raped and humiliated before being shot. Old men and boys were tortured in the belief they had information of the location of our forces in the hills. So understand why it is that invaders receive no mercy!"

“We moved around the countryside constantly; neither our fighters or the villagers knew where we would camp on any particular night. The Nazis must have known but enjoyed their ‘work’ too much to stop – they hated us and treated us like dumb beasts -- such has been the nature of our fight for survival since the time of the Turks (Ottomans)”.

We slaughtered our own animals on the farm and my Baba taught me how to use a blade on sheep and pigs. “The throat is cut from the side”, she said; “insert the blade here, sever the (carotid) arteries behind the windpipe then slice forward and cut through the windpipe” -- she demonstrated to the rasping, gargling sound of a dying beast!

Today I have a university education and have no illusions regarding the role of Germany, Italy, America and NATO in the destruction of Yugoslavia and the illegal secession of Kosovo.

We are all aware of the energy needs of Western Europe; instead of doing business like civilised people the cowboy fascists thought they could just walk in and steal what they wanted, like Iraq.

Today’s murdering invaders are no different to Hitler’s Nazis or the Italian Blackshirts; we must once again fight for survival and prevail – as we have always done!

My Baba was taught by her Baba and her Baba before her; the women of our clan have never failed their families or their nation. I am a Serb; I come from the border of Montenegro and Kosovo – KOSOVO IS SERBIA; a bitter lesson for those who imagine otherwise!


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