The Story of Gavrilo Lazović

by his daughter, Radmila Marinović

Father was born on April 6th 1901 (or March 23rd by the old Julian calendar). He grew up in a happy family with a strict father, Dragomir Lazović, and a very gentle mother, Angelina, along with four sisters. Like all the other boys, he enjoyed playing ball games best. My grandfather's cousins told me that he was a good, intelligent child, that he liked going to school and that he was a very good pupil. He was particularly happy when he started high school (gymnasium) education. Unfortunately, the events in the country changed his life forever.

After the Second Balkan War [in 1913], under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest, Serbia gained territory in Macedonia that had previously been part of the Ottoman Empire. As part of its undertaking to "abolish the obsolete feudal system and to modernize the administrative apparatus and the educational and cultural framework,ˮ many teachers, lawyers and other professionals were ordered to Macedonia. My grandfather, who was the secretary of the gendarmerie (police) in Čačak, was one of them.

Gavrilo Lazovic

The move devastated my father, who was forced to leave his friends, the school he loved and the teachers he respected. It meant also meant a temporary break to his education, but a worse blow still was the sudden death of his beloved mother. His father soon remarried but my father didn't like his stepmother and it appears that the feelings were mutual. The third blow he faced in quick succession was the danger of the incoming war. When war came to Macedonia, grandfather had to withdraw with his men. He left my father to help his stepmother and sisters to pack a few essentials before moving to another town to stay with family friends. But the day after his father left, his stepmother send him to town to buy something, before they left the house in a waiting carriage. My father probably stayed in town longer than he should, watching the soldiers and refugees passing by and hoping to see his father, not knowing he was long gone by then. When he returned home, he found that everybody had gone and he had been left behind. Sobbing and desperate, he went back to the town, to where he had seen the refugees. Fortunately, some soldiers took pity on him and took him with them, hoping to reunite him with his father on the way. Unfortunately, he only met his father at the very end of the Albanian retreat.

Gavrilo Lazovic s father  step mother and sisters

This is what I know from my mother. My father never talked about the time after his mother had died because the pain, sorrow and shame were too great. The only picture I have is a family portrait with his father, stepmother and sisters but he is not among them. I have no pictures of my father when he was young, because nothing else remained in the family house after the war.

 

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