Monday, March 9, 2009

Veterans share WW2 survival and rescue story

Quote from the book "The Forgotten 500" describing OSS agent Arthur Jubilians first meeting with General Draza Mihajlovic:

"In the Serb fashion that they were getting used to, the village erupted into jubilant celebration with plum brandy and music, capped by a visit from Mihailovich himself. Jubilian was in awe at the already legendary General, feeling awkward in front of the charasmatic leader, especially because the OSS was so informal, with little attension to military protocol. He almost never saluted his OSS officers, but Jubilian felt that he was an enlisted man in the presence of a famous Serbian general, so he snapped off a sharp salute when introduced to Mihailovich. The young American was pleased to find out that despite his reputation as a fierce guerilla leader, Mihailovich was down to earth as anyone he had ever met. Like every other American who met Mihailovich personally, however, Jubilian was taken by the way a man of such simplicity could at the same time give such an impression of grandeur. Jubilian and the other Allied soldiers were most impressed by Mihailovich's sense of dignity in the face of extreme hardship and insurmountable odds, and the humble way he recieved accolades from his followers, consistently coming away with the same unshakable impression that they were standing in the presence of greatness. More than one airman reported that meeting with Mihailovich actually made them feel physically small, though Mihailovich was merely of average height and build. Mihailovich was known to be even-tempered for the most part, despite his recent outburst about the British, and though he was not necessarily considered a great intellect by most of his peers, his sense of duty to his country and his people was unquestioned. He was a man of great warmth and personality, kindly and paternal to everyone around him, though he was also a strict disciplinarian with his troops. Mihailovich was renowned for his simplicity, his insistence that he be one with the common people, never above them or his soldiers. He always preferred eating a meal on the ground with his troops to sitting inside a dining room with other officers, and everyone around him knew that his greatest joy was to live among the common people in their own communities - eating with them, dancing, joining in their festivals, singing folk songs and playing a guitar. He dressed as his soldiers dressed, ate what they ate, and refused anything that even implied a privileged status. His followers loved him for it and commonly called him Chicha, the Serbian word for uncle. The Americans saw Mihailovich best whenever the local villagers came to see him, always bringing gifts of wine and flowers, the women eager to kiss him on the cheek and pose for a picture with the general. Mihailovich was extremely fond of children, and whenever he passed through villagers the schoolmaster would declare a holiday so the children could swarm Mihailovich, eager to touch the hero. Mihailovich often would tease the boys in the group by saying he had heard that one of them was a Partisan and then ask which was loyal to Tito "Ne ja, Chicha!" Not I, Uncle! each boy would yell in return. Mihailovich continued teasing them, eyeing them suspiciously, pointing to first one and then another, saying "I have definate information. It is you?" The boys would continue laughing and yelling "Ne ja, Chicha!" untill finally Mihailovich relented and patted the boys on the back, saying, "i see you're all good Serbs. I shall have to tell my intelligence that they were wrong." The stories Jibilian had heard of Mihailovich were confirmed when he saluted the general and recieved a salute in return, then hung around for a while to exchange a few pleasantries and listen in as Mihailovich talked with Musulin and the other Americans about the upcoming rescue. Followers were always crowded around, seeking close proximity to this local celebrity, a celebrity without pretense who didnt mind a farmer suddenly giving him a bear hug and insisting on sharing a cup of plum brandy."

1 comment:

  1. thank you for posting this video atleast some people know what really happened