onsdag 1 oktober 2014

Trip report Serbia 2014 sep

Copy of page http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2998806

A trip that gave me the same feeling I felt when looking at the movie Philomena where the church took away a child from a women.... this time it was my mothers history we were trying to understand....

Pictures Flickr

Since I started doing genealogy I have more and more understood that my mother Mona grew up with no contact with her biological father and mother. She lived in the same town as her biological mother but they didnt have any contact. Mona was never presented for  Monas  mothers parents (Monas family tree at wikitree). The father Momčilo was like a story about someone far away that you didn't know anything about. How did this impact my mother? 

This week in Serbia have given me a new understanding and a sadness about my mothers roots. Sad that I never asked her and didn't see what she has missed her whole life. Also sad that she thought she was not good enough to be presented when the truth seems to be that neither one of the parents were the best of parents.

Sad that no one 2014 cares about Mona my mother and still people tell a lie about Monas family tree. And an opera singerMelanie Bugarinovic who travelled to Sweden to destroy my mothers birth certificate is in the same grave as Momčilo Petrovic.

On Monas fathers side we have 2 letters from Momčilo and I think he met his daughter twice (once I also was meeting him I was told in Dubrovnik but I don't remember that and we have no pictures).

My mother got some odd letters from Belgrad when her father died that she should inherit part of a house also the wwife'smother of Momčilo (Melanija Bugarinovic) did an odd visit in Sweden (intention was to destroy my mothers birth certificate see below). Otherwise Momčilo was just a bad absent father not taking responsibility to be a father and my mother a child that grew up in a home that could have been better. Mona didn't know anything about her roots. Everyone was unknown to her. We never spoke about it, she never complained but I can see today that her lack of requesting attention and respect not just be the supporting person could be because of a difficult childhood with no parents who cared about her.

The intention with the trip to Serbia was to go to this country far away that we always thought was an odd country that you couldn't trust and didn't want to go to and if Serbia was on the Television it was about the war or related crimes...

As a bonus I thought it would be nice to find out more about my mothers absent father Momčilo (Petrowitz) Петровиħ

Before the trip I knew just that he

  • came from Yugoslavia and was in Sweden 1925
  • he met my mother Mona twice
  • lately I have understood Mona was his only child
  • I have found a wife to Monas cousin that were working on the same family tree and got some indications of mother and father to Momčilo. This cousin has never met Mona. And I also learned that the cousin Vladan Radoman still was alive and living in Belgrad. My thought is that he is the only one now living who can give me a story about Momčilo (see relationship trail between Vladan and me). Vladan also met Mona (was after he separated from his first wife) in Nice about 199?.

Relationship trails

Vladan is the son of Jovanka Petrowitz.
Jovanka is the daughter of Andjelko Petrovic.
  • Andjelko is the grandfather of Vladan.
Magnus is the son of Mona Sälgö.
Mona is the daughter of Momčilo Петровиħ.
Momčilo is the son of Andjelko Petrovic.
  • Andjelko is the great grandfather of Magnus.
  • I had an old email from 1990 to a Jasna and after a lot of googling and speaking to a priest in Serbia I understood that Serbia changed email address. After sending some emails to her with no reply I found a working colleague to her and emailed her and then I got an answer.....
  • My mother told me some odd stories that the mother of Momcilos last wife an opera singer (we ddidn't know the name but it must have been Bugarinović) visited Sweden to destroy my mothers birth certificate so that Mona never should get any money (she succeeded ;-)) this was told to mother by the person that stopped Bugarinović

The trip

20 sep arriving Belgrade
Late arrival and just check in where I stayed. Really nice people where I stayed my first impression why didn't I go before to this country. Did an evening walk and had some nice food and just thought this is a nice country to stay in and felt sad that I didn't get my mother to visit her "home country". I remember my mother meeting once her cousin Vladan Radoman in Nice and she was so happy because that was a feeling that she belonged somewhere......

I also passed by the place I have seen in a newspaper article that mothers cousin Vladan Radoman was sitting and eating and took a beer.

Summary day 1 Nice European city sad that people don't go to Serbia.
21 sep Belgrade meeting my mother's cousins wife Jasna Nikcevic
Did a morning run and checked in the fortress of Belgrade and some geocaching.
Got an email from Jasna which was a surprise as she has been really difficult to contact. My first impression was that she hides something, which has sadly been confirmed, and therefore avoids contact.

I met Jasna at the restaurant and she gave me 2 photos and an odd story about how important the family is for the Serbian people compared to in France where they don't care about the family - that was the reason Vladan moved back to Belgrade. She also told me I couldn't visit Vladan Radoman no reason..... (was that because care of Vladan or hiding something?).

I was polite and didn't ask any question as I thought if she know something about my grandfathers history then you tell it. Why hide my family history for me who has travelled from Sweden to get an understanding of the absent grandfather and absent father of Mona.

I asked when Momčilo died but she said she didn't know(was a lie). After one hour speaking I paid the food for her and said goodbye with a feeling it was not much that has happened Momčilos and she didn't know too much and maybe its all stories about Momčilo

The only indication I got that something was not correct was her sentence that there are a lot of stories told that I shouldn't trust ;-) (now I trust those stories not her). As coming from Sweden you have no understanding of all the corruption that can exist in a country like Serbia so I didn't think more about it. 

Did a city walk and some geocaching at the cemetery later I understood that I was just 50 meter from the grave of Momčilo .

Novo Grobjle
Serbian graveyard

Also ate at a nice restaurant at Donau.

Summary day 2:I still had the feeling Serbia is a normal city you can trust people and some people are more polite than other....

22 sep Belgrade

Next day rented a bike to learn more about Belgrade and Zemun (see runkeeper) and also prepared how to visit 
Momčilo's birthplace Požarevač. Still liked Belgrade and had some good food in Zemun before biking around (learned afterwards that I was just a few 100 meters from where Momčilo had lived). Biking in Belgrad is good if you use the few bike lanes at the seaside but you are alone when biking elsewhere. I returned 20.00 nearly without seeing any other bikes. When I left the bike 3 girls came who has also been biking. 2 of them came from Sweden ;-) 

Lesson learned day 3 just crazy Swedish people bike in this country ;-) but its a nice country and the food is good and cheap.

23 sep Požarevač the town that Momcilo should have been born in
Train to Požarevač. Took I think more than 4 hours really slow and the standard was bad. I heard that the trains were missing maintenance and they did. Felt just that people who couldn't afford a car took the train.

In Požarevač I checked in and did a walk to learn more about the town. I felt that people are more poor compared to Belgrade but you have some nice houses that I later learned belongs to people working in Austria etc. they invest in building bigger houses in the hometown as they think they will come back or maybe just to impress on neighbours and no one lives in them. I found a cemetery and asked some locals who were really helpful but no success....

Lesson learned day 4: Its big differences between Belgrade and some parts of the country. We are getting a new Europe where its difficult to survive in smaller countries and cities.
24 sep Požarevač
Morning run in Požarevač see runkeeper. I got an email that some people I contacted on the Facebook/internet has found in the archives Momčilo birth record not in the normal archive but in the municipal house. After some emails and asking 4 peoples(no one knows where the house was). I found the place and really nice people helped me and explained the birth certificate in Požarevač (see video). Book Tekuci Broj Upisa 4/1900, knjiga je VIII stara crkvena, strana 36

I learned that 

After this meeting I did some walking. People seemed happy but it looks like many people has a low standard of living compared to what I saw in Belgrade.

My feeling day 5 of Serbia was some people are more than helpful. They also offered me a Serbian citizenship.


25 sep Požarevač
I passed by my motel and checked email and the Archives in Požarevač had found more documents and more information about my grandfathers father Andjelika. I took a taxi to the archive and met the most nice person I met so far in Serbia who spent time with me showing and translating. I learned 
the following of my mothers roots

  • the marriage certificate between him and Sofia in 1895
  • birth record of Momcilo's sister Danica in 1898 october 11
  • the father of Momčilo was a soldier and he came from Studenitza
  • the mother Sofia was 14 years younger than Andjelika
  • this was the third marriage of Andjelika and he had 2 children with the wifes before her
  • father and mother of Sofia was Jovan Nastic and Zivana Nastic
  • Sofia was born in 5 jul 1874 in Veliko Gradište, Serbia
  • Second marriage of Andjelika was with a wife Danica born in 1876 and she came from Požarevač - odd thing is that Andjelika and Sofias first daughter get the name of Andjelika's second wife

Did a walk to see some more parts of (see runkeeperPožarevač and found the museum.

Bus back to Belgrade with buss that was 3 times faster than the train. Took a Taxi to the graveyard in Belgrade Grobjle 40 Novo Grobjle and after speaking with some nice clerk I got a location Parcela 27 Broj 27 Red 2.

I found the grave of Momčilo Petrovic and starting to understand people are telling me a lie. 
  • Jasnas husband Slobodan was in the grave
  • My grandfather Momčilo was in the grave with a death date 1974 and correct birth date and place
  • Momčilo had the title engineer 
  • Momcilo's first wife was in the grave and I assume with her parents
  • The second wife the opera singer from Wien as Momčilo said in letter to his daughter is in the grave and died in 1975 - confirms a little bit the story that they died together
  • The mother of the second wife Melanija Bugarinovic also with title opera singer is in the grave and died much later which could confirm that she was the person trying to destroy my mother Monas birth certificate 

Lesson I have learned earlier is to get all the information about a grave you have to ask for some more formal papers.

I have also learned that people in Belgrade would like to get a grave in this cemetery and it is common that you cheat to be part off someone else gravestone.... When I check the documents Momčilo my grandfather is the only owner of the grave but there is a court decision taken 27.7.2006 that Slobodan and Vladan Radoman are in charge (with Swedish logic Mona the daughter of Momčilo should take over it and now when she is dead its me Magnus...). 

See wikitree for all people in the grave.

Back to the hotel and I tell the Serbian people the story and they think its crazy/criminal and tragicomic.

Lesson learned day 6 Jasna is telling a lie and why is she so evil that she hide the story of my mothers father. She has got money after my mother why not be thankful and help me to understand more about Monas father? Feels like she miss all sense of dignity or is it Serbia today 2014. I start feeling it was good that we never went to Belgrade mother and I. And it was good that mother grew up in Sweden not understanding anything from this part of the family. I feel sad for the people who are so scared that they must lie to hide what they have done. 

26 sep Belgrade
Still confused and not 100% convinced that a person can be so evil that they dont tell me about my mothers grandpa I write an email to Jasna and to Vladans wife and ask If I understand the relation between all the people of the grave. In Sweden you have family graves but in Serbia its seems like wheeling and dealing also on the graveyard is a part of surviving.

This grave Parcela 27 Broj 27 Red 2 seems to have belonged to Momcilo's first wife's parents then his Momcilo's second wife took over it and "added" some people still Momcilo was in charge of it and now Slobodan and Valadan the sons of Momcilos sisters are in charge, but Slobodans was sick and his last wife is still alive I feel the plan is that she will rest in the grave and also Vladan but I dont think Vladan's childrens and exwifes will come to Serbia to "sleep" ==> then we have a Serbian grave in the "family" not used by anyone.....as Slobodan and Jasna had no children and the opera singer part of the "family" don't have childrens. My now disillusioned guess is that its done the Serbian way and you sell the right to the grave ;-)

(the email I sent got no answer from Jasna my theory is that they still don't let me meet my mothers cousin Vladan because of more dirt). 

With the names of the wife I started google and yes I find after 10 minutes more and its more dirty than I ever could imagine. Article found explains that the mother of Momcilos second wife 
Bugarinovic took over the houses and started a foundation for people singing opera in her and her daughters name (who was killed in a car accident). My mothers name is mentioned in the article. Makes me sad that 2012 those people still fighting over the cash after a person who died in 1974 but also glad that we decided not to be part of this mess.

Article "Legat velike umetnice pokraden" and the article translated
Remark: Bugarinovic forgot to set up the fond in my grandfathers name, my mothers and in my name ;-) In Sweden if you create a fond using someone else money you mention those people by name ;-)

The two houses seems to have been taken over by different counselors. Vladan and his wife seems to be part of the dirty deal and have given away Monas part to a counselor Krgovic that is infamous in the rest of Europe to be defending Hague Slobodan Milosevic......(article in CNN where Milosevic is called the worst leader in Europe of the 1990s). Krgovic is still living in the 1500 square meeter big house that Mona should have her part of if Serbia was a country with law and order. Puškinova 38 1788 square meters google earth street view Google earth top view where you see a swimming pool

When I tell Serbian people about it they tell me to involve a counsel its criminal and dirty. People give away parts of a house to a counsel for "free" and its the counsel living in the house noone believes in this story.

After this short lesson of the Serbian way of justice I start thinking why is 
Momčilo so rich having more houses. Lot of porcelain, gold, stamp collections. 

Was he also a criminal? Did he take bribes? Was he killed?

Who will help me to answer those questions?
Feels I get more questions than answers.

To understand how dirty this is I take a bike tour and check the houses of my dear grandfather see runkeeper.

Puškinova 38 1788 square meters see google earth. Current "owner" counselor Krgovic defender of Milosevic. Maybe call him for a visit 011/265-0588


Lesson learned day 7 Its getting dirty and you can't trust anyone. What kind of people are living/managing this country? Feels like you focus on your
self and don't care about anyone else..... sad how should we be able to create a working Europe with people living in this chaos. 

In the evening some more googling and yes we have an exhibition at the Novi Sad City museum with parts from Momčilo house. When no one tells me about Momčilo then maybe the museum can answer my questions.... ==> Novi Sad tomorrow

27 sep Belgrade - Novi Sad - Belgrad - StockholmBus in the morning to Novi Sad. Asked to get the fast bus but got the slow one....

Visited the Novi Sad City museum and the exhibition of the things that I understood was part of the Momčilo's home. They had an catalogue describing the porcelain from Momčilo's home (see pictures below)

Painting of Momčilo's wife Mirjana Kalinović from Novi Sad city museum picture below.

I had a nice walk around at the museum and saw some paintings of Momčilo's wife, some porcelain, a piano, tables. We also called an archive lady and when she heard I was the grandson to Momcilo she knew the name of my mother. 

That was the most magic part of this trip. Me standing in Novi Sad City museum 2014 and someone had spent time learning my mothers name who died in 1997 and remember it. 

The first time during this week I felt my mother should been with me in Serbia....the rest has been more of a sad experience that my mother didn't deserve to know about...


Summary of the many bad/evil things I have seen regarding my mother during this trip plus the few good ones
  • Monas father didn't care about her. He had resources but just wrote false letters. Telling that he cared.
  • Monas father married the second time a women in his daughter Monas age 
  • The mother of the second wife of Momčilo - Bugarinovic travels to Sweden to destroy the evidence(my mothers birth certificate) that my mother is the daughter of Momčilo (after the death of her daughter and Momčilo in a car accident)
  • Bugarinovic who hurt my mother so much is buried in the same grave as Momčilo and have a picture on the grave of her self - feels tasteless
  • "Relatives" in Belgrade lie to me about my grandfather and try to hide what has happened and who he was
  • "Relatives" doesn't allow me to meet my mothers cousin in Belgrade to get some feeling who Momcilo was - my Skype address is salgo60 if you change your mind
  • BUT 
  • an archive lady in Novi Sad remember my mothers name
  • another archive lady in Požarevač helps me confirm the existence of the grandfather finding the original documents of his birth certificate 
    I wish that more people will care and show humanity...

Picture of Momčilo with his wife's mother and his wife. A happy family or a dysfunctional family like the dysfunctional relation Momcilo had with his daughter.Momčilo abt 60 years old, Melani Bugarinović abt 57 years old, Mirjana Kalonivic abt 35 years

Lesson learned
It was a week where all the unbelievable stories I heard about people travelling to Sweden to destroy my mothers birth certificate was more or less confirmed. It was also a week where I started to think about how it was for my mother to grow up with a father that didn't care and meeting people who still 2014 don't want to tell me the truth about my grandfather (maybe they change their mind).

When my mother died in 1997 15 june I was sitting at her bed when she died in Pancreas cancer. It was a tough way to end her life. The last memory I had was when she turned around and it hurt so that she cried. My reaction was that this was the first time I saw my mother cry.
After doing this journey I see pieces of my mothers life

* A life without a father
* Growing up with "parents" that I feel never gave her a hug
* A biological mother that was absent and when she was old told my mother it was Monas fault that she didn't have a good life
* Maybe she understood that Momčilo was rich but never cared about her
* A women Bugarinović travelling to Sweden just to destroy her birth certificate to get more money to create a foundation "Bugarinović–Kalinović foundation" and also have an exhibition at the Novi Sad City museum in her name
* People still in 2014 in the "family" that refuse her the family story because they protect money they have got that should have belonged to Mona in 1974.

Seeing this I also get sad and understand better my mother's tears or maybe the absence of tears in her whole life. She grew up without anyone that cared about her tears....



See link about the Novi Sad museum
"in the Department there are also the Memorial of Melanija Bugarinović and her daughter Mirjana Kalinović-Kalin, the legacy that the City of Novi Sad conceded to the Museum from the legacy of this famous opera singer. Apart from numerous music and documentary material, this collection contains valuable works of art: furniture, paintings, glass, porcelain, carpets, chandeliers and other items which Melanija Bugarinović collected throughout Europe during her fruitful artistic career."

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