Armistice Day, 11 November 2019 – My Book “Full Circle”

Today, on Armistice Day, my heart turns with grateful thoughts to my father and all the brave men and women of the First World War who put their lives on the line for our liberty. I wrote this book to honour  not only my father but all of them.

Young Bogdan Stojic  was first conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. Then he served as a volunteer in the Serbian Army until the end if 1915. From 1916 – 1918 he volunteered in the Imperial Russian Army.

He was awarded tw0 Russian St. George medals for bravery for giving assistance to wounded soldiers under fire.

The medals are proudly pinned to his shirt pocket.  And I am so proud of my father.

❤ Lest we forget ❤       ❤ Vjecnaja Pamjat ❤

The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

There’s also a link on my Author Page at:

https://www.amazon.com/author/irinadimitric

If you happen to purchase and read my book, and enjoy writing reviews, I would very much appreciate a short review. ❤

©Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric

 

 

 

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Blue

Blue is one of my favourite colours.

Today at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia, I took this photo, which is only a small part of a huge mural.

And a friendly reminder :

Wishing you all good health! ❤

(C) Copyright Irina Dimitric 2019

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Blue

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Aloe Vera Blooms (haiku) – FOTD Challenge, 6 November 2019

Good day all !

Aloe Vera is thriving in my garden. Those cheerful blooms are beautifully created, and they cheer me up, so I think  they deserve a little poetic effort on my part.

A splash of orange

some yellow and a green tip

a perfect design

I found this  wonderful link for those of you who’d like to know all about some useful tips on growing Aloe Vera.

How To Care For Aloe Vera: A Plant With Purpose

Happy gardening! ❤

(C) Copyright  2019 Irina Dimitric

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

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Getting ready for Halloween! (haiku)

Getting ready for Halloween!

I was playing with “Effects” on my smartphone.

My castle in Grayscale and Light Streak.

My naughty Cocky in Negative is bound to send shivers down your spine!

 

And here’s a haiku for  Thursday, 31 October :

For supper tonight
A treat for me and my bird
Ghoulish tricks annulled

🙂 🙂 🙂

©Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric

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Orchid – Flower of the Day (FOTD) challenge

May this lovely orchid cheer up your day as it does mine. I got it from hubby when I was in hospital with a broken femur last year.

If you want to know more about orchids, here’s a link to one of my older posts:

https://irinadim.com/2016/10/31/orchid-rondel-prime/

(C) Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric

 

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

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Growing Up In The 1940s – Oma and Opa – WWII

~

Dear Readers,

After four years I’m finally coming back to this memoir. I’d like to finish it while memories are still floating in my mind. At times I’m overwhelmed by panic that there isn’t much time left. I’m 84.

I’m glad that Dad’s whole story in captivity is told in a short biography for Hadouch’s Lamsdorf-Lambinowice museum in Poland. In this new post I’ve added a few details.

You can read Part 8 here.

Part 9

Zagreb and Ljubljana

 

Pick it up!’

‘No!’

‘Pick it up!’

‘Noooo!’ She screamed so hard she turned scarlet in her little toddler’s face.

Two grown-ups, her nanny and her dad, were towering over her, insisting that she pick up a piece of bread she had just thrown on the floor. On the Persian carpet… in the living room in Zagreb…

That scene is still vivid in my mind. I can’t remember, though, who won that contest of wills. I remember it only as the first recollection of my existence. I remember I wore a pretty dress Oma bought me, but I don’t know if it was the pink one, the pale blue one or the pale green one. They were all so very pretty. Oma showered us grandkids with gifts.

My cousins Seka and Veljko and me with Oma, possibly the last time I saw my dear Oma and my cousins before the war separated us. We all look so serious! That was the photographic fashion of the day, I guess.

Oma and Opa lived in Ljubljana. The following is an excerpt I wrote for my mother’s 100th birthday:

My mother, Maruša, was born into privilige to parents who themselves were not born into privilege. Maruša’s mother, Terezija, was a beautiful and intelligent daughter of a well-to-do Slovenian farmer who had the guts to forbid the master of Mokrice Castle, Baron Gagern, to pass through his property. The same Baron, who was a writer, admired Terezija’s beauty, which he described in his story Die StrasseThe Road. (You can learn more about Baron Friedrich Gagern on Google if you know Slovenian!)

Terezija came to town where she met Toni, a handsome young man who started his career as a waiter to become a rich owner of the prestigious and the most famous Kavarna Evropa , a coffee house in the Viennese style, in the centre of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. He already owned a restaurant in Zidani Most and later bought the popular restaurant Jägerhorn (Lovački Rog) in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.

Beautiful Terezija and dashing Tony posing for their engagement photo. He reminds me a bit of Salvador Dali!

Toni and Terezija continued to educate themselves and became highly respected citizens of Ljubljana. They gave their 3 children, Joži, their only son, Silva and Maruša, the best education by also employing French and German speaking governesses and sending teenage Silva and Maruša to a convent school in Italy.

My mother is the little cutie with white ribbons.

Toni was a gregarious man and loved taking his two daughters on holidays to Vienna and Italy. He was also very generous, giving poor students a free meal in his establishments.

Terezija was austere and a shrewd businesswoman. She used to quip in German: ‘Beim lustigen Toni alles um sonst!’ (At merry Toni’s everything is for free!). And yet, she too was happy to provide three free meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, for 14 – 20 poor students every day.

The family set up a second residence in Zagreb when they had bought Jägerhorn for their son Joži. Maruša and Silva loved their life of luxury in Zagreb. They both married Zagreb gentlemen whom they met at Jägerhorn. Silva married Vladimir Varičak, a young lawyer, the son of the renowned mathematician by the same name, dean of the Zagreb University and Einstein’s friend. Maruša married Bogdan, a young doctor, 18 years her senior.  Bogdan’s salary was modest and Oma loved to buy him elegant suits. At the outbreak of WWII Silva and her family, (she had 2 children by then), went to Ljubljana while Maruša stayed with me in Zagreb, by herself – Bogdan was Hitler’s guest, as he liked to put it, from 1941-1945 in a POW camp.

(To be continued)

©Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric. All rights reserved.

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Looking Up and Looking Down (haiku)

Birds and soft breeze sing
Looking up and looking down
Blue skies, ground bright green

What a joy to be alive on a day like this! Had cataract surgery last Thursday, all good! Feeling blessed and grateful.

Wishing you all a very happy week! 🙂

©Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric

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Growing Up In The 1940s – In Captivity – Punishment – WWII

 

Dear Readers,

After four years I’m finally coming back to this memoir. I’d like to finish it while memories are still floating in my mind. At times I’m overwhelmed by panic that there isn’t much time left. I’m 84.

I’m glad that Dad’s whole story in captivity is told in a short biography for Hadouch’s Lamsdorf-Lambinowice museum in Poland. In this new post I’ve added a few details

You can read Part 7 here.

Part 8

Hammersdorf – Punishment

 

Dad continues his story:

‘The Russian camp at Hammersford, south of Sagan, was like a death camp… There were about one thousand Russians in the camp. Fifty were admitted to the hospital every day, and fifty died every day. The Germans knew about this. So every day they came with two big wagons, loaded them with the corpses, throwing them onto the wagon like logs of wood. Then they took the corpses to the cemetery of the camp to be buried. The Russians told me there were gallows at the cemetery, ready for quick executions. The Germans treated the Russians very badly. But a German doctor told me that they do look after them, that they give them vitamins. And I asked him: “What do you give them?” “Well, every day we give them 5 grams of cottage cheese,” he replied. He was quite serious… My food was better, so I shared it with the poor wretches.’

‘The Nazis were very anti-Slavic,’ I remarked. ‘The Slavic race was considered subhuman. And the Russians, particularly, were also hated for their Bolshevism.’

‘Yes. But these prisoners were not all Bolsheviks. They were called up like the rest of the men in this war. I’ll tell you something I found quite disturbing. Among the sick Russians, the most unfortunate ones were those in the diarrhea barracks. They were the first to die. Dysentery finished them off in two to three weeks. One of them, a former speaker on Radio Moscow, was aware of the terrible state he and his mates were in, yet he was more afraid of what would happen to him on his return to Russia. A lot of them feared the NKVD, the Soviet Secret Police.’

‘I read somewhere that Stalin did not respect soldiers who let themselves be captured. As if they had a choice,’ I added.

‘Yes, you’re right,’ Dad said.

‘Well, as soon as I arrived, the head cook, a sergeant, paid me a visit. He used to do business in Yugoslavia before the war. He was very kind to me. For lunch I would get a litre of soup with plenty of meat. I would invite a Russian engineer to lunch. For the six months of my stay at this hospital I shared my food with him and two other Russians.

Close to the camp was an abattoir and a bakery where the Russians worked. Every day they brought me fresh bread and meat. They would cut up the meat into thin strips and hid their gift under their shirts. I always gave the lot to the Russian cooks, asking them to give it to the prisoners who were the sickest.

The Gestapo probably hoped I would die here, catch dysentery and die. But I survived. After six months, thanks to my knowledge of foreign languages, I was transferred to Cosel at Lamsdorf and appointed chief surgeon. This hospital had just been established, built with a view to impress the Geneva International Red Cross, whose representative came to inspect it every three months.’

*

More about the Russian camp: https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Stalag_VIII-C

To be continued

©Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric. All rights reserved.

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Eucalyptus Sapling (haiku) – Doing our bit for the Environment

Mother Earth cries out

Plant a sapling in your patch

Clean air for all life

Recently, Mosman Council planted eucalypts all along our street. I’m glad to announce that only one sapling died, all the others are doing very well. ❤

What do you do for the environment?

 

©2019 Irina Dimitric

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Growing Up In The 1940s – In Captivity – Article 104 – WWII

Dear Readers,

After four years I’m finally coming back to this memoir. I’d like to finish it while memories are still floating in my mind. At times I’m overwhelmed by panic that there isn’t much time left. I’m 84.

I’m glad that Dad’s whole story in captivity is told in a short biography for Hadouch’s Lamsdorf-Lambinowice museum in Poland. In this new post I’ve added a few details

You can read Part 6 here.

Part 7

In Captivity – Article 104

 

‘The food rations were pretty meagre the first six weeks when we arrived in Germany. It was a bit better when we arrived in Teschen. We received parcels from the Red Cross and from private people from France. I received two parcels during all my time in Teschen, which was one year. We also received parcels from our Yugoslav government in Cairo, parcels of about 40 kg, with dried figs, dates, coffee, all kinds of tins. One of the prisoners, a Jew from Sarajevo, was working at the post office. He peeled off the label with the address and contents from one of these parcels and then brought the parcel to me. The parcel was almost empty. That wasn’t right, I thought. These provisions were needed by our patients in the first place. I then went to the barracks, through the door on the other side of the fence, and I wanted to call up a meeting to explain the situation about the parcels, that “I know about them, we never received them, I need them first for my patients, and then for you as well. I will go and see the Commandant to complain and ask some questions.” My intention was to let the prisoners know about this situation.

But when I arrived at the barracks, someone had already alerted the Command, a spy, our representative, a Slovenian: “Dr Stojić is at the barracks with the soldiers. He wants to talk about something.” A German sergeant rushed to the scene, but I saw him coming first and I quickly hid in the French barracks from where I was watching how they were looking for me.

After ten to fifteen minutes I stepped out and another sergeant came up to me and asked me what kind of meeting I wanted to call. “I only wanted to talk about some parcels,” I said. That was the reason they used to then accuse me of trying to mount an insurrection in the camp.’

‘They already resented you because of the 250 Frenchmen you helped repatriate, and also because you reprimanded a Serb who went home under a new name, a Croatian name,’ I reminded him.

‘Yes, yes…But not only that. One day, while I was still examining and teaching those Frenchmen, the Germans took me for a walk to a village in Poland, five to six kilometres from the camp. Crossing a little river, we entered Poland. ‘

Photo credit:  Dr Tom Atkins. Tom’s father was also a doctor and a POW in Germany and worked in the same hospital at Cosel as my father. We got in touch through Facebook as Tom was searching to contact the descendants of his father’s POW mates. When he was visiting the Lamsdorf  POW camp site, he made a special trip to Teschen because of my father and brought me photos and brochures, for which I’m eternally grateful.

It was spring when Dad was taken for a walk across that little river.

‘My mate, Kačanski, was with me, a lawyer by profession, a sergeant in wartime. He went to Amerika after the war…During that walk, the Germans tried to persuade me to come to Germany, to work in a German military hospital. They would also let me conduct private practice and would allow my family, my wife and daughter to join me. Needless to stress, I didn’t need to think it over. I said: “I can’t accept your offer. There are so many sick prisoners in our camp, I need to look after them.” And I couldn’t help adding: “Besides, you’re going to lose this war as you did the first.” Obviously, my rejection of their generous offer and my last remark didn’t sit well with them, and they started to plot their revenge.

A month later I was arrested. It was 4 June 1942. 4th of June, when my mother passed away. I was locked up in my room, the camp prison was full. Locked up for ten days, not allowed outside at all.

When I was being taken for the first hearing, the sergeant escorting me was very rude to me, and another officer joined him yelling at me insults, a Hungarian I had looked after when he was sick. Both great admirers of Hitler. The Gestapo then charged me with mounting an insurrection in the camp.

A few days later, a Division judge from Katowice arrived to hear my case. The German guards came to escort me to the courtroom, and on my way there, the prisoners looked on and chanted “Long live Dr Stojić!” That wasn’t going to be very helpful, I thought. But Judge Jelinek, of Czech origin, a lawyer from Vienna in peacetime, was very polite. Whenever I said something that would go against me, he did not note it down.

Before Judge Jelinek appeared, I was taken into the room by a captain, a highs-school teacher who was not a Hitler sympathiser, now a judge in the army. A very fine gentleman. As soon as I entered the room, I saw a young woman sitting at a table with a typewriter. She was crying and shaking. The kind captain took her out of the room, and when he had returned, he gave me the document in which the Gestapo charged me with a grave offence against the Third Reich. Article 104. Execution by shooting. That was what the young woman saw. She was so scared that she couldn’t type.’

And how did my dad feel when he saw the death sentence? What was going through his mind? Why didn’t I ask him those questions when he was telling me this story?

‘After that incident, Judge Jelinek did not require a secretary to keep the minutes. He said he would note down everything himself. He then asked me about my education and my medical degree. I told him I graduated from Vienna University.

“And where did you go to high school?” he asked.

“Novi Sad,’ I replied.

“Was Dr Savić who was against you also from Novi Sad?”

“No, he was from Bosnia, but in Novi Sad lived another Savić, the director of Matica Srpska, whose daughter studied in Vienna.”

“I know her, that’s why I’m asking you,” said the judge. “I studied law with her.”

When I told him that her father went to high school with my father, and that I remember her, he became even kinder towards me. He then went to the Commandant of the camp to hand in his report, and I was immediately released. Judge Jelinek exonerated me from all the accusations brought against me by the Gestapo. However, the Gestapo wasn’t very pleased and being higher in the hierarchy, a few days later, they sent me to a Russian camp as punishment. I was there, near Breslau, for six months.’

To be continued

© Copyright 2019 Irina Dimitric. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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