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The Serbs Chose War - Ruth Mitchell

The Serbs Chose War - Ruth Mitchell

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  • 13. "WELL AND WHY NOT?"
  • 36. PRISON
  • 43. TRUDI
  • 44. IS IT THE END?
  • 46. HAHN
  • 49. UNCLE LUKE
  • 56. ROSE

The Serbs Chose War, Ruth Mitchell

AT TEN-FIFTEEN on the morning of March 25, 1941, the news flashed: "Yugoslavia has signed the Axis pact." It was a moment of destiny for Europe, for the world. It was a moment when the flame of freedom guttered so perilously low that many of the bravest spirits of our time averted their eyes, sure that it was now finally to be extinguished. Yugoslavia had apparently fallen an easy victim to Germany. Everyone with any knowledge of Balkan affairs was amazed. For Yugoslavia was the land of the Serbs, the leading race of the South Slavs, the Fighting Serbs who through the centuries had battled ceaselessly, uncompromisingly for unconditional liberty and at last had won their independence alone and unaided. But prudent- and craven-policy had apparently prevailed. Two Serbs had actually used their fingers to sign away Serbian liberty: the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia. The country of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes had signed the Axis pact. Then an almost incredible thing happened, a thing so important to the history of the world that freedomloving men will speak of it with admiration and with gratitude down through the centuries. The Serbs rose. A little race of not more than eight million souls deliberately, sternly decided to die rather than to submit to Axis vassalage. They were the only small race of Europe to come in openly on the side of the Allies before they were themselves attacked and while they still had promises of complete security of frontiers, of lives, and of property; the first and only small race themselves to declare war- a war they knew to be absolutely hopeless- against the invincible German war machine. And today, in 1943, the Serbs, alone in Europe west of Russia, are fighting with an organized army the greatest war machine in history. With terrain no more suitable for guerrilla fighting than the French Alps and the Carpathians in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, they are still fighting indomitably. Why did they do it? What caused their decision? What has enabled them to succeed when other, larger, much better equipped peoples failed or didn't even try? These are important questions, important to our own present war effort, important to the future of Europe, very important to future world peace. I was there and had been there for over three years. I watched what led up to it and what took place. I had made it my business to try to understand. Those two days after the signing of the pact will never be erased from my memory. The people of Belgrade, the Serb capital of Yugoslavia, behaved as if stunned by incredible calamity. I had friends of all classes in the city. On the day the pact was signed several of them telephoned briefly but none came near me that first day until late in the afternoon. Then one after another slipped in, furtively, crushed. Their expressions, their very words, had an extraordinary similarity. Their faces were distorted with an inexpressible, breathless fury.

"I shall tear up my passport," they muttered in bitter shame. "I shall never go out of the country again. I can never look another foreigner in the face. We- we to let them through to stab the Greeks, our allies, in the back!" For that was part of the treaty, and to this race loyalty to a friend is a password, a touchstone. No charge of treachery has ever been brought against the Serbs as a race, the only Balkan race with such a record. "But other, bigger nations have given way to German might and have done the same," I said, terribly grieved for them. "What does it matter to us what other nations do?" they flared up fiercely. "We are the Serbs!" Into this atmosphere of strained gloom and misery arrived Yanko. A Chetnik, like myself, of the purely Serb organization of guerrilla fighters, Yanko was in a different group with a different leader. He appeared about four o'clock, bright and cheerful, obviously quite pleased with life. He came in humming the great Chetnik marching song: "Ready, now ready, Chetnik brothers! Mighty the coming battle-" Yanko broke off the song in the middle and smiled at me. He was in a hurry. "Listen," he said, "it's for tomorrow night." I knew very well what he meant. "Not to kill them, Yanko? You don't mean to kill them?" I said, feeling absolutely helpless before an elemental force, like a chicken before a tidal wave. "Why not?" His face hardened. "Don't they deserve it? Who ever deserved it better?" he ground out. This small wiry, inconspicuous fellow didn't loot dramatic or particularly violent. He did not even look especially grim. He just was utterly grim. He didn't look a murderer. He just would be a murderer, and without any hesitation, where his country was concerned. But no one ever had a more severe sense of honor than Yanko. I said what I knew I ought to say. I argued that it would make a very bad impression abroad; that there had been too many political murders in Balkan history; that we should set a new precedent. I felt -well, just feeble and silly. He hardly heard me. He started out. "What time?" I asked most anxiously. He hesitated. But we were old friends. "Three o'clock in the morning," he answered, and was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief it happened that I knew of other plans in the making. These plans called, not just for another political murder, but for a well-organized revolution to abolish the Regency, to place the young King Peter on the throne, and to repudiate the detested pact, throwing defiance into Hitler's teeth. The organizer of this plan was the Serbian general Boro Mirkovich, with General Simovich and General Zivkovich. Their trusted associates were certain Serbs of the High Command of the Flying Corps in the Belgrade district. It was to be executed by Montenegrin-Serb flying officers. And it was timed, I believed, though I had no absolute certainty on that point, for midnight that night. So I was greatly relieved when Yanko said, "Three o'clock." For Chetnik action, if it came before the other, might throw this whole plan out of gear, might even make it abortive. I was thus in a very nasty situation, for I had been made the confidant of both sides, and I could not properly disclose to either side what I knew of the other's plans. Was it possible that I could be the only person in the country who knew both? It seems certain now that I was. M.P., my stanch Serbian adviser in all problems and in all times of trouble (so many there had been!), was under house-arrest, suspect by the Prince Paul government which had signed the pact. Never had I been in greater need of his advice than on this torturing question of principle. I could trust no one else, and he too knew well that he could trust me. Frantically I telephoned to his house. A soldier answered curtly that he was incommunicado. So there was nothing I could do. Events must take their course.

At eight that night I dined with some of the British newspapermen at the Hotel Bristol. That dinner was a strangely ironic episode. At the time it seemed utterly unreal. I had the curious feeling that I was watching a play, that I was looking at us sitting there calmly, politely eating, while world-shaking events were brewing, all unknown to these clever fellows. These men and more than a dozen like them had come at vast expense from America and England to find out what was happening or likely to happen in the Balkans. They ran around eagerly, tirelessly, all day and most of the night. They entertained, they haunted offices, hotels, clubs, and night cafes. They sat at the end of wires that spanned the earth. They spent great sums on a small army of local newshounds. They had the cars of prominent men watched to discover their movements and deduce their contacts. They were endlessly ingenious in ferreting out the facts. Nothing was too much trouble or too difficult for them. Yet not one of these newspapermen asked me a single political question. I knew the foreign diplomatic people only very slightly: they were aware of that. They were in close touch with them all. I lived quietly in my little house and called no cabinet minister by his first name: they were quite aware of that. They knew so much, they knew everything-everything except the most important thing of all, the key to the whole situation. These busy, conscientious, expert gatherers of news, they knew all there was to knowexcept one thing: they didn't know the Serbs. They could understand and predict every probability. But they couldn't understand or predict the Serbs. I looked at my watch. It was ten o'clock. I yielded to temptation. "Let me tell you something," I said gently. "Within twenty-nine hours Prince Paul, Cvetkovich, Cincar-Markovich, and the whole Cabinet will be either prisoners or dead." I knew I was taking no chances. I knew they wouldn't believe me. Politely, indulgently they smiled. Terence Atherton was there, the Daily Mail correspondent long resident in Belgrade who had run a whole set of Yugoslav weeklies in English. He certainly ought to know. He smiled too, but not so confidently. "They'll have to settle down to it," said Mr. Seagrave, the charming correspondent of the News Chronicle. "They'll give up now that they see there's nothing else to do. They'll have to take peace even at the German price. They have no choice. It would be hopeless, utterly useless! All the other little countries have had to do it. They'll have to do it too." I leaned forward. "Telegraph your paper," I said softly. "Tell England that the Serbian peasants don't want peace at any price the Germans could ever offer. No matter if it is hopeless, utterly useless. They're used to hopeless struggles. Tell England that the Serbs choose war when their unconditional liberty is at stake." They laughed at me then, polite no longer. Thirty-six hours later Mr. Seagrave telephoned exactly eight words: "You were right: the Serbs choose war. Incredible!" That morning, March 27, 1941 my telephone began ringing at six o'clock, but my servants wouldn't wake me. At a quarter to seven I was up and heard Yanko yodeling on the phone: "They got in ahead of us! It's all right. Revolution-bloodless as you hoped!" At half past seven, M.P. arrived, gray, tired, his great frame looking shrunken, drawn with strain and his days of arrest. But happy, so happy-speechless with happiness. I got out a little bottle of my finest wine. The radio was playing over and over the Serbian national songs, Oi-Serbiya, and most of all: "Ready, now ready, Chetnik brothers! Mighty the coming battle, And on our glorious victory Will rise the sun of Liberty."

with all that went with it. tight-lipped and defiant. because they have resisted best. this small race almost unanimously decided to oppose themselves against the greatest war machine of history. (He hasn't completely finished the task yet!) He had to detach an army intended for Russia and send it down into the Balkans. They are dying today-not by hundreds. standing knee-deep in blood and in floating corpses. the Croat Ustashi butchers slew them with knives. unpredictable horrors that have befallen them. For what those "brothers" did was so appalling that the Germans themselves reeled back in horror from Croat berserk ferocity. They died riddled by the bullets of Hitler's execution squads. and children-were packed tight into their churches. Before he could attack Russia. From that day onwards. They died. night after night. Her aim was spoiled. They pitched the bodies into the Sava. Hitler's order is for the extermination of the Serbs. resident for generations in Croatia-men.000. everything went wrong for Germany. They chose to die. It took him three months to do what he had expected would be done. men. Themselves foreign to treachery. where. not by thousands. by far the largest army of occupation in any of the overrun countries. by his ordinary routine of penetration and terrorization. they still choose war. Drava. and small children. They died under the deluge of bombs that fell for four days upon the "open." It did so prove. But whatever the Germans have done to them is as nothing in horror to what their fellow South Slavs have done. He not only had to send an army there but he had to keep an army there. in no time at all. and because of the action of the little race of Serbs. women. They have killed so far more than 600. And in spite of the unexpected. He has had to keep in Yugoslavia to this day not less than half a million Axis troops. The Serbs expected horror from the Germans.The Serbs had risen. Hitler had to secure his rear in the Balkans to preclude an Allied landing. women. whole schools of little boys and girls facing the machine guns. . in the torture chambers of the Gestapo and by the hangman's rope. but by hundreds of thousands. The Serbs chose war. In spite of all the horrors they expected. Whole villages of Serbs. They died. except the Jews. crying with their last breath: "Long live Serbia-we are Serbian children!" The Germans hate them most of all the small peoples. Why ? It took me over three years to find out. And still he hasn't beaten down the Serbs." undefended town of Belgrade." The Serbs chose war. Said a commentator over the London radio that morning: "The action that the Serbs have taken this day will prove to be the turning point of the war. her timing destroyed. and Danube rivers. this they did not expect from their "brothers.

Albania was the most unknown of all. with an irreducible minimum of luggage and a maximum of light photographic equipment: train to Rome and Bari. Even Cook's." This was a year before Albania became news with the Italian occupation. if you insist. and despite the horrors. We take the strangeness of Asia for granted. was quite uncertain as to how one could get there. its clashing ." no one seemed to know where the little country lay. I might never have known the simple glory to which men's hearts and women's strength can rise. "Ten days-that will be enough. saner. and so to Africa and Asia. At last over the telephone the cultivated voice of the First Secretary of the Albanian Legation in London provided the answer. then Syria. no larger than one of our American Great Lakes. if I had had an inkling of the mad world. by boat to Constantinople. from tourist-haunted Italy. the tourist agency. For that experience almost no price could be too heavy. with the absurdities. the thrillingly splendid world I was stepping into." I told the editor of the London weekly Illustrated. the meannesses and the incredible cruelties that were lying in wait for me-would I have turned back? Would I have run down again into my "royal cabin" and sailed away. a splendid satisfaction. to safer. which has been fought over by uncounted races and powers. quite enough. but the Balkans tease us with their mystery. Persia. Perhaps it is a good thing that we can't foresee the future. ALBANIAN PRELUDE STRANGE TO REMEMBER NOW how nearly I missed it all. It is curious how much stranger the Balkans appeared to us than even the least-known parts of Asia. if I had guessed the discomforts and the miseries. If I had known then what was coming. by boat across the narrow sea to Durazzo. I'll take ten days out and no more. quieter. Even how to get there was a problem. Afghanistan. the outrageously absurd. India. I went-very grudgingly. They constitute the narrow land bridge from Europe to the Near East. They are just across a little sea. Except that it was "somewhere in the Balkans. for the Balkans. cleaner. This is still true. Yet to most of us the Balkans still remain unreal as a mirage. Homeric laughter.The Serbs Chose War. Ruth Mitchell 2. They are closely bound to us by trade. far away. So off I went. If I had not seen with my own eyes and myself experienced the cruelties. In February 1938 I was planning a trip round the world to study youth questions -always my greatest interest-when I was offered a good fee to go to Albania to photograph the wedding of its King Zog. with all its delicate and its grand motifs. Well I remember the rosy dawn when I came up on the deck of that fussy little tub that had bounced me across the stormy Adriatic. "I'm not interested in the Balkans. The tall minaret of Durazzo Harbor was the first note of that swelling symphony. The East is what draws me-first the Near East. more comfortable lands? The answer is a completely certain: No! For with the discomforts were to come unforgettable beauty. And of all the Balkan countries. then the Far East. But ten days-yes.

slim as a lady's finger against the rose-red dawn-why did not that white finger shake in solemn warning? To me it seemed. The minaret. I like heroic songs and minds fed on ancestral deeds of glory. to die. I thought. washing in a snow-fed brook. I seem to have inherited my American pioneer grandmother's zest for simple. women. That is my idea of a good way to live. and children of all classes. Ten days! How funny that sounds now! I stayed in the Balkans for three and a half years. I felt a momentary pang of regret. trailing for days on horseback across almost pathless mountains are not hardship. But they were not clouds. of custom and dress handed down by forebears arouse my respect and admiration. suspended as by invisible chains from heaven. I never got to Constantinople. And I came to know those mountains as perhaps no foreign woman has known them before. Durazzo looked like almost any other small Mediterranean harbor. if one must. Everywhere among these mountain peoples I found these values to be the unconscious mainsprings of action. The more I saw of them the more they filled me with affection and admiration . . eating with fingers from a central dish. . that I would not have time in my ten days to make their close acquaintance. But over toward the far eastern horizon lay what I thought at first was a bank of heavy white clouds flushed by the rising sun. I believe.discords. as these people do-as my own ancestors believed-that liberty and personal and national honor are worth all one's possessions and one's life: that the life of a slave is not worth living. that was soon to catch me up and sweep me away to-well. I forgot the Far East. its rumbling undertones and laughing trebles. There. to that and to so much more. motivating men. hung the fabled mountains of Albania. primitive living. to fight even a hopeless battle and. Tenacious love of old tradition. only to beckon in welcoming beauty. To me sleeping on a sheepskin on the floor. . Better. far better. to brotherhood with the toughest men in Europe and then to eleven agonizing prisons. that morning. Close at hand. Too bad.

They are lineal descendants. the capital. it has been quickly enlarged and become almost characterless. sharply divided into plainsmen and mountaineers. seeing my growing interest. Not being professionally a journalist. I filled notebook after notebook. It has about a million inhabitants. rolling. Hence. the dances. I was expected and well received by the Government. though the place where they were hidden. everyone thought up all that could be remembered of ancient tales and curious remains. It is hideous. believe it or not. despised and tried to make his people despise everything typically Albanian. They placed at my disposal a car. with their flocks and herds. can be simply described as a long. a country about the size of Switzerland. There is some hope that those notes may have been saved. lies in almost the exact center of the country. I was now to discover the uncertain attitude of the officials of the smaller European states towards the members of that busy guild. Ruth Mitchell 3. no guidebook to Albania in English. Turkey held the plain and foothills in her ruinous grip for five hundred years but never succeeded in subduing the mountaineers. hospitality extended to anyone who flourishes the magic credentials of the press. Albania has the good fortune to possess an exceedingly beautiful style of architecture of its own. Tirana. then I hope I may have the chance to do it all over again. So with every facility courteously placed at my disposal. Many a young man of sufficient aplomb has been able to subsist handsomely for years on the sadly grudged. the Albanian Ministry of Information invited me to write one. without any admixture or infiltration whatever. in the Serbian mountains. Not during recorded history have they ever been completely conquered. There was and is. Almost everywhere I had what I like best of all. a chauffeur. . and then on horseback through the mountains. They receive them eagerly and they hate themoh. littoral plain almost entirely shut off from the rest of the world by a lofty wall of mountain ranges in the shape of a crescent with both horns on the Adriatic. But I was regarded with mixed feelings. and for the lack of national pride it indicates. and an interpreter. Everything was opened for me. So he built up his little capital in nondescript imitation of alien culture.The Serbs Chose War. of those old Illyrian tribes who retired before the Ancient Greeks advancing from the interior of Asia. the weddings far in the mountains. JOURNALIST'S PARADISE ALBANIA. how they hate them! The sensitiveness of these small countries to even the most evanescent publicity is beyond belief. the wild nomads. has been much fought over. But King Zog. I went over every road where it was possible to pass in a car. always with either a gaily painted wooden cradle or bag of produce on their backs and children at their feet. the mountain chieftain become king. a bodyguard of children. yet anxiously lavish. If they have been lost-well. Everywhere I was met by the local notables. pathetic. off I went to photograph Albania! The handsome horsemen in their dress as beautiful and costly as that of any eighteenth-century courtier. Everywhere I was charmed by the shy but friendly women in bright national dress. Until recently only a small foothill village. The latter possess what is probably the purest blood in Europe.

Everywhere I was treated with friendly cordiality by both women and men. where men could never tread. Surprisingly this was a great advantage.I was a woman and alone. trusted. But women. who may approach only members of their own sex and then only with reassuring circumlocutions. here as in Serbia. although their social and political rights are limited. . These are the lands of die-hard suspicion among men. are absolutely free from molestation: they pass.

ordered a solid meal. She falls sincerely in love with her intended and refers to him with awe as "His Majesty. the entourage that soon descends upon the little Cinderella. So cowardly is he that not once does he appear at a window to greet his subjects during the ten days' commanded rejoicing. There is the fat. Now he is spoiled by luxury. now that she is to become a queen. he sets his scene in "a kingdom in the Balkans." Behold the groom. I. It is an intolerable disgrace to these proud men to let a woman pay for her own food. Just as I war counting out my change. too. the perfect stock character. the Countess Geraldine Apponyi. under the guiding hand of a strong-willed mother.The Serbs Chose War." But no extravaganza could surpass the improbability. I photographed it for the London Illustrated. crowing to myself that I had success fully circumvented this unwritten law. every stock comic situation. though still handsome enough across the footlights. who loves to pinch the girls behind the door and gets hauled out and scolded by his stern wife. an old rambling Turkish vizier's home. It exhibited every stock character. Behold. the absurdity of this real wedding. A brave girl comes to a land she does not care to understand. THE ROYAL NONESUCH TAKES A WIFE ALBANIA is the land of unconditional hospitality. good-natured nobleman. Behold the little Cinderella bride. busy in their snow-topped mountains making goat's cheese. besides special phantasia of its own. and children. There is the little . her uncle. he was a conscientious monarch who tried with some success to serve his people. they are princesses. Ruth Mitchell 4. Literally I was never allowed to pay for a meal in a public restaurant when I was by myself. alas." I took a house. of course. Now. Once I stopped my car and. looking carefully round to make sure. homes. that only the simplest countrymen were present. Whenever a writer of musical comedy wants to prepare his audience for something utterly improbable and absurd. with great natural aptitude. Such a coward he has become-assuming he was ever anything else-so afraid of a shot that he cannot endure the flash of a photographer's bulb but has to have special lighting arranged months before the event. He covers his bride with huge diamonds and Paris gowns paid for E the taxes wrung from his million half-starved subjects and from foreign governments by all sorts of chicanery. They might have married handsome mountaineers of their race. chosen from a row of photo graphs of aristocratic girls of neighboring countries with whose families it would be possible and politic for an insecure self-mad king to become allied. and there I settled down to produce my guidebook. as I thought. once a wild feudal chieftain of the mountain fastnesses. up sprang an attractive young mar who bowed and said in French: "I am the government official in charge of bookkeeping. and weird and wonderful is their idea of how princesses of the Great World dress and comport themselves. Once they were barefooted girls. For a while. costing about eighteen cents. The groom's proverbial three sisters would be rather good-looking if they had the courage just to be natural. Came and went the marriage of King Zog and his little Hungarian bride. in Scutari on the banks of the majestic lake. Then they would have had love. have the honor to pay for you lunch.

which officially recognize the affair. one seventh of the population of New York City. He will also try his best to catch and kill the "dear friend" who for his part is even at that moment trying to sell him out to another power. And immediately all amelioration work. cords. as it was more than an Albanian's life was worth to do such a thing for a loathed Italian. They were really the finest things I ever saw in Europe for richness. He was severely beaten up afterward by his fellow countrymen. such warm benignity.-Naturally. were straight out of a book of fairy tales. which has a complete strangle hold on the little land and is squeezing the breath out of it. Ciano. no. To see the arrival by air of Count Ciano was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. Now she gives herself airs and is false to the bone-what German musical comedy calls a "Kammerkatze. never]"-a hopeless.chambermaid." an emissary of one of the only two governments. an impossible task. all government social services. Hungary ever since the last war had been trying to build a constructive national policy on a purely negative principle. hilarious yet ominous. The royal tables groaned under rich meats and fine wines. this personage represents the one to which the groom has been busily selling his country down the river. So his guards were decorated with all the elaborate trappings of all the Austrian regiments. Count Ciano. and gold. boots. The guards alone were unforgettable. where he burst. Such a plethora of feathers. even I. . epaulettes. ate. rosy. in less than a year. One Albanian. hearty. am eating off gold plate. Zog had been interned in Vienna during the last war and had admiringly noted all the fancy fixings of the various gaudy Austrian uniforms. speechless with admiration. of course. baffled look of discontentand hopelessness. He is sent by Mussolini to present as a wedding gift the lovely yacht which. clapped his hands. carried away by the excitement. But really magnificent were the bride's horde of Hungarian relatives who descended upon the poor little country like a pack of hungry wolves. Hungary was in a very bad way. is the "best man. and firm. especially those of the men. say. Ciano. blazing from head to foot with jewels. who profits handsomely by making herself the lonely little bride's only confidant. King Zog's "best friend" and "best man" is that international clown. and departed. Italy and Germany. by Jove. upright. stripes. buttons. It was they who had to pay the price of this disgusting extravagance. and well jowled. No one thought of the unfortunate Albanian peasants. the relatives came. he will snatch back. The old noblemen. stopped: the king of a population. were ancient family heirlooms. velvet. once a Viennese guttersnipe. spurs. was serenely unaware of all this-or was he? Such fat self-satisfaction. swords. out upon the indispensable balcony. and gold embroidery was never seen on earth. fruit-tree planting. such love for the "dear" Albanians! Who that saw it could ever forget the expression on the face of the little free-lance English writer (he was supposed to be doing a "life" of King Zog and therefore had to be handled with care) as he gazed into his plate at a royal reception: "I. humble people groaned under whipped-up taxes. Their clothes. old-age pittances."Nem nem. had brought home his bride. He meant to put on the perfect show. All the Italian nationals in the country had been carefully grouped below to cheer. proud. It is Italy. soha [No. was rushed from the airfield to a largish house called a palace." Best of the characters in this farce. Like a swarm of locusts. But the effect of the young men was spoiled by their uncertain. exactly like a clown jumping through a hoop." he murmured ecstatically to himself. The great gates below opened wide-and there stood The Bodyguard! We were stunned. and the poor.

The Serbs Chose War." (Mineral rights do not include oil. It had always been suspected that the Rumanian oil fields might have a continuation in Albania: I had probably discovered it. He would find the right way to handle the business (of course. His reply was simple and neat: the British oil wells had proved unsatisfactory and had been closed down. In a fortnight came the message: "Kind regards to all. The Italian engineer was now in a nasty spot: he had himself done the country-wide survey and had advised his Government that he had covered every conceivable possibility. and we would both grow exceedingly rich. And so. I then very cautiously got in touch with a member of the Albanian Cabinet in Tirana who had expressed warm feelings for me. the concessions remained mostly unused. I said: "All right. Slowly. exuding from narrow strata of rock. We arranged a code. OIL TURNS TO DYNAMITE FROM SCUTARI I made daily and sometimes week-long excursions up into mountains that have never even been completely explored. Ruth Mitchell 5." I would know that he had fixed everything and I was to come at once to Tirana. and then notified the British minister (the British held oil concessions in Albania) that I would like an engineer to consult with me on what could be done about it. But as they had little capital with which to exploit natural resources. I waited for two months.) After we had reached a far-distant part." I hurried to Tirana and to the consultation with the expert he was to have waiting for me. the expert who was to find means of preventing the Italians from seizing my find was-the Italian government engineer in charge of all Italian mining interests in the country. on a fiftyfifty basis)." . been much too cautious to give my would-be partner any inkling of the position of my find. with a poker face. And there. My "friend" had been unable to resist selling me out. since he said his letters were opened and read. I found." he said. When I should receive a card saying: "Kind regards to all. a thick ooze of oil. Once I left the path to eat my lunch in the wilderness. so that my movements could be traced only with the greatest difficulty. Now the Italians had carefully surveyed the country and had so tied it up with concessions that they thought it impossible that anyone could find anything they didn't know about. This alone shows the state of the country. The famous Italian charm was therefore turned on full blast. where there had been a recent landslide. and so nothing could be done about it. the oil concession of my find is not covered by your claims. He passed my section with the curt information: "Only mineral rights here. I had. His excitement was intense. of course. I took him over a map as he detailed the terms of concessions in the different parts. "We must at all costs circumvent the Italians.

He hinted even more unpleasant consequences.He turned very white. bowing politely. the threats: I would be forced to leave the country. impervious either to charm. . I had made up my mind rather to lose entirely than to give way to Italy. even threw himself on my mercy. or to threats. as I expected. And. Here was something inconceivable to them: a woman alone in a foreign land. The Italian began to compromise." I rose and. It was no use. desperate with eagerness. departed. They followed me to my hotel. I will keep my secret. I glanced at my friend. I smiled. Now came. It must be just a trick to raise my price. he and my friend then produced a previously prepared agreement stating that I would disclose the position to him and "accept whatever the Italian Government considered the find was worth. He did not raise his eyes. The proposition does not interest me. his government would see to it that I was hounded out of the Balkans. believe it or not." I was to sign on the spot. to promises. "I'm sorry.

that a sudden alteration of the status of the little country was imminent. yes. Surely the cost to us in lives alone has demonstrated the crime of our neglect. artists. So. It was fantastic. Then she would thoroughly exploit Albania. which was capable of laying for him a golden egg. For it was the presence of Italy in Albania which helped to make the quick success of Germany in the Balkans possible. From that day onward I became. "persona non grata" to the Italian Government. she succeeded in blocking every kind of development by citizens of other countries. EXIT MYSELF ALL THIS WAS AMUSING ENOUGH. so also did the jittery king. they are savage. My means and my interest in antiquities aroused the hope that I would undertake surveys and excavations without adding another grabbing hand to those already deep in the national treasury. the drain of her expensive military enterprises elsewhere would end. In I938 Italy had a strangle hold on every phase of Albanian life. the police had their own close-meshed spy network. But I then worked out a plan for the complete reorganization of the country under "advisory control. yes. not even their own king. every effort was made to make things uncomfortable for me and squeeze me out. The hold of Italy on Albania was saddening. writers passing through." My soi-disant partner wasn't going to let the goose. especially a woman who "might be in Paris. I was the prize mystery. Practically every third man in the country was a paid spy. Nor was I the only suspect. escape from the farmyard. to the representatives of the three leading powers). of course. so ran her dream. Scientists. since all of them wanted to find out what the devil I was really up to.The Serbs Chose War. As I settled in Scutari to write my guidebook. at the same moment that I was being subjected to all kinds of police unpleasantness. virile race ever had? Who has ever in all the centuries bothered about them except to exploit them? Who has ever held out a hand to help them except to help himself ? No one. of course. especially for me. They simply could not believe that anyone. unfortunately. understandably. for the record only. ." would actually stay in Albania because she happened to like it." My plan was. The neglect of this small." But because I remained. liberty-loving. This made for a degree of chaos and insecurity in the little land that can be only briefly sketched here. I refused this invitation. it was unofficially but authoritatively suggested to me that I become a member of the Albanian Cabinet in the capacity of Minister of Culture. had her complete espionage system. ENTER A CONQUEROR. Ruth Mitchell 6. helpless little brother must stop. all were marked down as "spies. But how could they possibly be anything else under the treatment they have received? What chance has this proud. but the results were not so funny. The Albanians are primitive. Simply by bribing the King and ten members of his Cabinet. I knew what was already clear to the least observant person (except. Someday. Fortunately I had a "friend at court. Italy. every member of the Cabinet had his separate espionage service.

by marriage. also the pathetic scramble to mobilize the half-armed little Albanian Army. He replied: "If you want to be on the safe side. a Communist. I was determined to remain. The King posted proclamations calling upon his dear subjects to fight till death for their country and their king. I reached Scutari again on March 12. what he personally would wish me to do. although now every other foreign woman and most foreign men precipitately fled the country. There was something to be said for Italy. So after just three weeks I engaged my return passage. I was therefore now "unmasked" as a Russian agent. I939. I would at least be in it-not just reading about it in the papers. thus cutting the Fighting Serbs off from any help from outside. and after considerable effort he got the expulsion order suspended. The stupefied faces of my persecutors gave me some amusement. like all those who opposed the corrupt Government. It was evident now what was coming. as the revocation of my expulsion was something of a diplomatic victory for him. In Durazzo I asked Sir Andrew Ryan. I watched the panic flight of all the prominent people who had not bought their peace with Italy. But if you wish to please me you will return to Scutari. Each time the money went into government pockets. But here the smug. had tightened up on grants. especially as there was nothing I could do about it. it was still a rutted dirt road when I was there. During my absence some enthusiastic and patriotic college boys had tried to stage a coup against the Government. go up to Dubrovnik until this little unpleasantness blows over. He then gathered up the gold plate. I therefore appealed to the British minister in Durazzo. So Zog was now gaily trying to sell out to any other bidder. They had all been caught and labeled. It was to provide an Axis bridgehead in the Balkans for the purpose of driving a wedge across Macedonia. I did return and calmly took my hunting dogs for a walk through the town. She had even tried to finance improvements as far as it was safe. self-satisfied blindness and carelessness of my countrymen horrified me. In traveling I always used my British passport to facilitate my entry into British territories. Italy attacked Albania without the Axis discarded formality of declaring war.We now know that the occupation of Albania by Italy was a prelude to the German plan for subduing the Serbs. had stated that I had financed the rising. simply "Communists. I decided that I had had about enough excitement. In December I938 I returned to America. On Good Friday. I learned. This. probably under wicked torture. After the annexation of Austria by Germany. I heard and have reason to believe that Italy paid three separate times for hard-surfacing the road from Durazzo to Tirana. She had given college educations to hundreds of Albanian boys." One of the boys. Italy." He would not believe that Italy meant business. Two weeks after my arrival I received an order of expulsion from the country. The most-used highway in the country. with its attendant uproars. was an order from Italy through her tools in the Government. a British subject. the minister. I939. the jewels. They had even set up a secret printing press in the mountains. Back in the Balkans. It happens that I am both an American citizen and. tired of financing the private extravagances of the King. To show how unsafe Albanian investment was under the Zog government. . and all the available government cash and departed. Then things really began to happen. The money which should have paid for its equipment had gone instead into corrupt pockets and into-gold plate.

hopeless men. Her three sons. I put my foot on the running board-I took it down-I put it on-I took it down. rape! You positively must leave. Hussein. if you like. in columns led by their chieftains in full regalia. and grimly the hopeless townspeople watched them go. You must leave. On Easter Sunday the Christian women brought colored Easter eggs to their Mohammedan acquaintances as a gesture of warm good will. that I would be injured only over their dead bodies. and I watched strong men go almost mad with grief and shame." they cried. if you please. for their feet were clad in rawhide sandals. "Weapons. Do you realize what it means. And for ammunition they had only the few bullets each man carried in his belt. I think it was the most thrilling and the most pitiable sight I have ever seen. "You are the only foreign woman left in the whole country. When the three sons of my hostess. their brilliant silk headscarves and sashes blowing in the breeze. He was quite worried about me." It was to be made to appear that we had been killed by the Italians. in scarlet and white.The Italians tried to foment religious hatred in order to disunite the country. . "any sort of weapons with which to fight the loathed enemy!" Appeals for help to the Great Powers all went unheeded. thin Arab muskets inlaid with mother-of-pearl. the entry of a conquering army? Loot. that they would guard me with their lives. But in their strong hands were such guns as made me weep to see: -ancient rifles polished bright. Yes. Then England must interfere. A Yugoslav aviator was to drive me to the frontier. but these poor people were desperate. and they almost succeeded in frightening me. I was staying with the mother of my interpreter." he urged. because they didn't like us-but because of the old. broad-shouldered fighters. lithe. they marched into the town: tall. Grimly they passed. muzzleloaders. Then. Madly they dashed from one end of the town to the other as rumors spread that secret hoards of weapons had been found. and her fleet would come to the help of Albania! . . converging on the roads. "You must leave at once. Not. were beside themselves with hatred of the Italians. The young men of Scutari were frantic. to oppose on the gray foothills the khaki-clad conquerors armed with deadly machine guns. There was no sound. So they went. where his plane waited to fly me to Belgrade. and Halil. murder. gave Maitland their Albanian oath (besa) that they would never let me out of their sight. I just had to see it through. a grand old lady of whom I was very fond. Maitland got the very last car for me. from the pathless snowcapped mountains. I have to go on to Tirana-I can't stay to look after you. in scarlet gold-embroidered jackets and skin-tight white trousers. down through the towering virgin forests. they believed. They failed signally. weapons." among them Mr." That day my interpreter discovered a fantastic plot amongst the frantic townspeople to murder Maitland and myself. long. he gave way. In came the pressmen of the world to see "the show. Maitland of the London Times. springing down the steep paths. they were naive. Then came the march of the mountain men. They were determined to get me out. these proudly martial. I simply couldn't leave. Down they came from the hidden valleys. long-since-discarded rule that "England revenges her nationals. their gold buttons and silver chains glinting and swinging: surely the most romantically gallant figures to be seen in Europe. like all the other men. . Shucho.

For. came out to meet him. he was offered the to him enormous sum of fifty napoleons (about $200) simply to stand somewhere next day holding an Italian flag-nothing more. Near his village his whole tribe. It took him four days of walking to get there. This in no way placated the Albanians. was easily reduced to a state of confusion. When in a completely fuddled state. He was to be accompanied by a batch of foreign journalists to see for themselves the "delight" of the conquered. apologizing for having had such a contemptible traitor for their chief and announcing what they had done about it. the beautiful and loyal "best friend" of the now ex-King Zog. the usual currency) he set out for home. He agreed." I watched the entrance of the Italians.They watched me from then on like hawks. . Without a word they shot him dead. His tribesmen had disappeared. the Albanians saw that to defend Scutari would be merely to sacrifice good men senselessly. They took the money. The henchmen refused to drink. Next morning. Ten days after the occupation was completed. and the Italian flag was run up only to the same height as the Albanian. There happened at that moment to be one of the smallest and least important of these chieftains in Tirana on family business. Count Ciano. considered indispensable to have one genuine Albanian mountain chieftain present who might be regarded as representing his joyful tribe. the sad figure in genuine Malissori dress stood holding the drooping flag at the reception of Ciano and was photographed from all angles. They then sent messengers to all the surrounding tribes. A group of officers took over the Prefecture. was to pinch-hit for a cautious Mussolini and make his triumphal entry into Tirana. They took their oath so seriously that even when I was dressing I had to hold up my hand behind a screen so that they could see me! What fun we had! Strange how in the midst of such terrible grief we could still laugh. Promptly the surrounding heights burst out into a rash of little soldiers and big guns. I was literally not a second out of their sight. the capital. it had been found impossible to get even one responsible mountain chief to offer his allegiance. And the Italians gently filtered into the town. We even made a little song something to this effect: "We brothers three. but even more bitterly they now hated the Great Powers who had deserted them in their hour of need. We're here to see The lady's not Put on the spot. was tempted to drink and. When the South had been overrun. He had a few tribesmen with him. With the money in his pocket (it was paper of course. and made a bonfire and burned it. They hated the Italians. having given his Albanian word. It was. in spite of every conceivable lure and bribe. Then the prefect of Scutari went to meet the invaders and capitulate. The mountaineers were persuaded to slip away home-to fight again when the time was ripe. being a Mohammedan unused to alcohol. including his own family. He was unsuspiciously got hold of. the Italians having instantly drained the country of all gold. alas. therefore. which to those bitterly poor people represented many months of easier living.

I got a quick visa from the Yugoslav consul who had often most courteously extended his government's invitation to me to visit his country. of course. Flavel applied for permission to make a trip back to Yugoslavia for clothes. was in control. Then Flavel Barnes of Pratt. their yells dying away in the distance. before they had collected their wits. fighting the Turks against enormous odds. and the instant difference was very striking and ominous. Kansas. While the Italian Army. of hopeless despair swept through a humbled. . deciding to remain longer than she had planned.I listened to Mussolini's proclamation in which he promised that Albania would "soon be three times as large" as it was then and that the Albanian flag would be flown level with the Italian flag on all ships-ofwar: Mussolini promises. A minor Albanian clerk got word to me that I was to be searched at the port and all notes and photographs taken from me. we had shot across the frontier. The frontier guards had. When. I then notified the commandant that I would leave via Durazzo. Their great national hero is Skanderbeg. suspicion flared into certainty: she was obviously my courier and I was now certainly an agent of the British Intelligence Service. joined me. Fascism began to be clamped down on a beaten people. Now the literally crowning insult to the conquered people was perpetrated. The Italian attitude toward me had begun to be very strained. Hitler now sent it to Mussolini. I was in Yugoslavia. I flourished all sorts of irrelevant but important-looking documents and. We started on the road to Durazzo but turned off suddenly and sped all-out for a small frontier post toward Antivari. and one saw whole flocks and herds being driven off to be shipped to Italy. with its regular officers. Expostulation proving useless. Could insulting cynicism go further? A shudder of fury. liberty-loving race. His crown was the national emblem of Albania. never kept. who for twenty-five years succeeded in keeping his country free. The Great Powers filed a formal "no recognition"-and forgot. It had found its way long ago into a museum in Vienna. received no notice. and this crown of the doughty old fighter for Albanian liberty was placed by the Italian king upon his own head. some sincerity of good will was apparent. Instantly came the order to leave the country within four hours. But now the Fascist party took over.

We stood in a quiet corner to enjoy the charming scene: the palm trees. "A slinky black dress and flowers. Halil. the moon shone so bright. Almost one expected oversize saints and angels to flutter above the battlements. ran the gossip. The women waved and laughed: women veiled or wept in Albania. I slipped into a long black silk "hostess" gown with flowered sleeves. she observes everything" is a quotation from a letter my lawyer later saw in my dossier. Flavel and I decided to make a complete tour of the Balkans by car. They were charged with acting as my agents. A BOW TO AN OLD BALKAN CUSTOM AFTER THE HEAVY GLOOM of oppression in Albania. Dubrovnik. who spoke all the necessary languages and drove well. white. Flavel and I began to explore some of the world's finest scenery. as "spies. a dream city taken from some medieval illuminated missal. through Budva of the Beautiful Beaches. that I had never in my life seen such loveliness. He had almost reached the frontier again when he was arrested and thrown into prison. imploring me to secure their release. We noticed that the people began passing us closely and staring at me. and now I began to appear in the suspicion books of the Yugoslav Government: "In her quiet way. But tourist business was very brisk and we could not find one for sale. Ruth Mitchell 7. the music softly accompanied by the moonlit waves breaking under the towering age-old walls. he decided to risk it. crowded with foreigners with money to spend. My heart felt crushed with pity for the tragic and guiltless people I had left behind. One evening. "What else can she be but a spy?" From that night on. the air was so mellow. the air more buoyant. prosperous. Shucho knew of a suitable one in Scutari. with its great. a serpentine figure and red hair"-so. it seemed to me that that scarlet sunset. and the music from the near-by square so alluring that we strolled down there. . could not be real. together with his younger brother. I heard later." Busybodies got busy. After dinner. crenellated walls set boldly out into the sea. and though he was warned. and started back. As we passed along the indescribably magnificent littoral of Montenegro. Children ran out gaily in greeting and threw leaves into the car: children hid in Albania. We made every possible effort to buy a car in Yugoslavia. asking him to come and drive us.The Serbs Chose War. glowing across the rocky islets set in a silver sea. little tables crowded with cheerful humanity. He arrived. and begged not to return into Italian territory. In May I939 Dubrovnik was gay. bought the car. eager. urged. was lit with a spangle of lights." They were the breadwinners of a large family. I was called the "femme fatale of Dubrovnik. and on along the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik (Ragusa). the very sunlight of Yugoslavia seemed more golden. We wrote to Shucho. my Albanian interpreter. however. He went. tired from an excursion and not expecting to go out again. and I received a frantic message from their mother.

I have been unsuccessful in securing their release. drove in his own car to the frontier. the last diplomat left in Tirana. on the Montenegrin coast of the Adriatic near the Albanian frontier." My friend the Yugoslav director of the bus company was so alarmed that he decided to accompany me on the pretext of road inspection. I arranged means of getting in touch with the boys inside the prison and supplied them and their family with money. determined to plunge across if the bus came out again without me. His reply was as follows: "In spite of every effort. "By bus. I therefore strongly advise you to go yourself to Scutari and address your request personally to the authorities. another friend of great influence in the Balkans. Ensued a banging of doors. since Italians. After a night in Podgoritsa and a start at 4 A. out of the question. and Imre Gal. a Jew. and began pulling every conceivable string to secure their release. Marolli returned and sat down glaring at me. Any hope of my getting a visa for Albania was. Soon I became involved with an extraordinary cast of characters: spies. My name was smuggled onto one of these "omnibus passes. who also loved the boys and who three times risked his life by slipping across the frontier to help them. and ran out into the corridor. The hero of my thriller was a brave little man. of course. How else?" "You are under arrest!" He seized my British pass. Everyone who might have any influence was approached. Though he had never seen me he knew at once who I was. Nevertheless I decided to go. She set off without me. I simply could not do it: I had to get those boys out of prison. again." I had some reason to think this might be a trap. . and a buzz as of angry bees. But parties of Germans were being taken by bus for a few hours in Scutari to observe the delights of the Italian occupation. The instant the bus stopped I asked the director to wait one hour for me at the hotel and then take whatever action he thought best. the German minister to Albania. "How did you get here?" he screamed. So now I settled down in Budva. Among others I had written to Herr von Pannwitz. always dislike refusing a request from a lady. of course. extremely upset and felt responsible for the lives of these boys who had unquestionably been prepared to give their own lives for my safety only a few weeks before. we arrived in Scutari at eight in the morning. of course. street women known to be sleeping with high Italian officers in Scutari. I began quietly explaining the situation to him from the very beginning. a Montenegrin princess.I was. furious shouts. corrupt officials. Captain Marolli of the Carabinieri. including the Queen of Italy. Then I ran at top speed to the prefecture to get there before the news of my arrival.of the busy and charming Count Cianol I was instantly shown into the office of the acting commandant of Scutari.M. begging me to the last moment to come too. Imagine my surprise: the town was gaily decorated for the arrival next day-again. as you know. In vain. Flavel engaged another chauffeur and at last secured a car. blackmailers. yes. which I had with me.. who also had liked the boys.

was sent out again more and more peremptorily. I will get rid of these interruptions." He went to the side door and gave his secretary an order for the immediate release of the younger boy. dressing formally. let the boys go. disgusting bloodhound in the gentlest voice. I regret exceedingly that it is impossible. "The boys will be released. When he saw that it was useless. He forgot himself and smiled. and was a great responsibility for him to take. "Will you please. sir [all this was mostly in French. "I want you to listen to me. however. Slowly he began to relax. "Madam. my government will take a very serious view of the matter. alarmed at my non-appearance." I laughed. his high color returned. had sped away to the Yugoslav consul who. "I am sure. and I have to start from the beginning each time!" I felt that the boys' lives depended on my getting him into a good humor. Meanwhile the director. Again and again the phone rang. that it is simply because you have not seen a European woman for some months that I make such an impression on you. "I am listening. The performance lasted for another hour. hurried to the prefecture and announced: "This lady is here under the direct protection of the Yugoslav Government. . I'm afraid. mon capitaine. sir. If I asked you if you had ever kissed a man the first time you saw him. "Yes. He had unbuttoned his jacket." I don't know what gods I called upon. I must warn you that if she is molested." He switched the phone to a secretary next door. sir. So this sort of thing did really happen outside of novels! When I looked down I saw my knees visibly trembling like those of a character in the comics. But this was anything but funny. I have my own family to think of. I collected my wits and became even more politely formal. She is here"-an informer on the job. Suddenly he got up and locked the corridor door. of course. Nothing was more certain than that if I antagonized him now he would take it out on the boys." he said. Much as I appreciate the compliment you pay me. he continued to behave with courtesy and respect.The telephone rang-I could hear an excited voice squealing the news. I began to notice. what would your answer be?" "My answer. Everyone who came into the room. See." This far exceeded his authority. "there is such a thing as love at first sight. Halil. my Italian being inadequate for subtleties] would be 'No'. madam. Even more astonishing. but I kept on smiling. He wept. "instantly released if you will agree to remain here in Scutari with me." He made the most astonishing fool of himself. "Dash the thing. now that you know how absurd it all is?" He sat looking at me without answering." said this fat. with full attention. I finished my story. Please proceed. his good manners-and I consider this no second-rate victory-did not desert him. I will give you proof of my profound sincerity. yes. He decided that I must be put across the frontier immediately.

was carefully laid out and punctiliously served by the guards. Vaso. handed me in. He bewailed the advantages of Abyssinia. the lunch. and stood at the salute as the bus moved off-the Germans. amazed. compared with Albania. Soon came the news that Shucho had been transferred to a malarial island off Valona. Arrived at the post. and Shucho returned to fight in the abortive revolt of the Albanian mountaineers. I was driven to the frontier. with a young Carabiniere lieutenant and two armed soldiers. He was a huge. who remained my trusty and dependable henchman. the same post where I had escaped before. and-Italy was now the third country for which I had been proved a spy! I had failed again. My last information was that he had been killed in action. And so it was done: we bribed everybody from the prison governor down to the smallest turnkey-quite possibly even Marolli himself. It took time and cost me about 150. which he believed would always be a liability rather than an asset to Italy. he put me into the car himself with many bows and hand-kissings and. And now occurred a curious and ominous incident. but I'm getting tired of them. Immediately on arrival in Dubrovnik they spread the information that I was an Italian emissary: had I not received the most distinguished military send-off? The official finger wrote and. but the boy arrived at last in Yugoslavia. "They've been fun. The attractive lieutenant bowed over my hand. Then Vaso appeared. He explained what he meant. . having writ.ooo at the then current exchange).Captain Marolli now ordered "the best car in Scutari" and an elaborate lunch.000 dinars (about $3. and stopped. including wine. at a sharp word of command the platoon of soldiers. As I prepared to mount. where he had just been stationed. I felt miserable and desperate. all agog with excitement and curiosity. presented arms. intelligent Montenegrin frontier policeman who had hidden my messengers on the little lake steamer and been otherwise helpful. Why not go at the thing simply and straightforwardly now and finish it?" "How?" I breathed. and this had seemed the last hope. The war broke out soon afterwards. I made no explanations-but they did. "Why all these complicated schemes?" he asked me calmly. later joined General Mihailovich. The bus hove in sight. The lieutenant gave himself infinite pains to entertain me. of course. drawn up like a guard of honor. moved on. came up.

theatrical effect. my love. my favorite Balkan melody. at this moment. which no honest man will lose but with his life. But its surrounding mountain scenery was far more magnificent. the events chronicled in their epics of five hundred years ago have repeated themselves in the present war. All day I either bathed in the warm. even to the island lying. That ideal can be expressed in a single word: Freedom. Cockily its little medieval walls stood out into the waves. Through the mellow nights the local boys wandered up and down the rose-hung streets or drifted in little boats. I MEET KING'S SON MARKO So THE SUMMER OF I939 passed in Budva of the Beautiful Beaches.and never. During the residence of the King at his near-by summer palace. white-uniformed naval officers passing with their pretty lassies at night through dim-lit arches gave the town an unreal. hunted for ancient Greek remains washed up by the sea: pieces of pottery or statuettes more than two thousand years old.. Once a nest of the notorious Adriatic pirates. the same motif returns. and I discovered that Goethe had considered the Serbian epics to be the finest in the world. "Tamo daleko. even surpassing the German Niebelungenlied. far too little known by the outside world: the national epics of Serbia. neither is it honor. sunny Adriatic or sometimes. Ruth Mitchell 8. moonlit waters." Thus have spoken the Serbs throughout their history. For them freedom means not only national but individual freedom for each man: every man a little king. the smart. But it is a race of strikingly individual character. as it floated across the calm.. . I studied them with absorption. guided by my friend Rado Zambalich. Their whole history is simply the epic of the struggle of humanity for liberty. and Macedonian songs. So they are speaking and acting now. For centuries. it is not riches. For in the intervals of my prison-breaking plots. there were before the war not more than eight million of them. they have defended their and our own ideal of democracy with their blood.. I had discovered what I consider to be one of the great literary treasures of humanity. and worked hard. almost word for word. "It is not glory. it was a sort of miniature Dubrovnik.]" Ineffable the sweetness of this.. but it is liberty alone that we fight and contend for. as in a heroic opera. snug was its tiny harbor for the snub-nosed Turkish sailing ships with wooden turbans on their prows and huge eyes painted on their bows.The Serbs Chose War. The Serbs are a very small race. of extraordinary tenacity of purpose and ideal. Serbian. strumming their guitars and singing the lovely Dalmatian. never once a strain of jazz. And through the long centuries until today. For see how strangely. And every day I worked. with no electricity and with streets too narrow and winding for wheeled traffic. like Lokrum. [So far. out in the bay. Budva was very primitive. so far. since before America was even discovered.

went out against a numerically superior and better-armed Turkish army. but General Draja Mihailovich. this tiny race on the narrow road between Europe and Asia stood. but. in the ancient. might have been very different: our culture might have been Ottomanized. I was amazed and delighted. It was in Scutari. If they had not fought as they did fight then and unceasingly afterwards. life. He and his men deliberately chose the latter. soon after reaching Montenegro. "And who. One boy said something about Kraljevich Marko (King's Son Marko) . . I'll never forget how I got my first inkling of those great Serbian epics. holding back single-handed the conquering horde. and the white squashy fruits kept dropping round us. The grapevines were in flower. "is he?" Startled looks passed from eye to eye: Had this unfortunate foreigner had no education at all? "You don't know about Kraljevich Marko?" It seemed impossible. vassalage to the Turks. Prince Lazar. an enormous mulberry tree. Have you ever smelled the scent of the Oriental grape in flower? It is exquisite and intoxicating. Marko. the Turks would almost certainly have overrun the whole of Europe. Several connoisseurs gaily tried but had to admit themselves defeated. I plunged into a study of Kraljevich Marko. but I didn't. Today they stand as no other race is standing and they are dying as no other race is dying. above the grapevines. their choice that day profoundly influenced the destiny of nations." said I. as seems today not unlikely. even as today. We picked them up and sucked them while we chattered and laughed in the hot Albanian afternoon. and property-or "a heavenly kingdom": death in a hopeless cause. lying on the ground amongst the white mulberries and the drunk butterflies. (What a splendid historical compensation it would be if the Turks. So. So one of them. in Albania. Only this time the name is not Prince Lazar. Sharats or Shahrin. Over us spread. so intoxicating that thick swarms of bees and enormous butterflies are apt to fall drunk with an orgy of grape nectar into one's lap and down one's neck.On the eve of the battle of Kossovo in I389. should be the ones to help the Serbs to save their liberty!) Could there be a more perfect parallel in present history than the German offers and promises to the Serbs? In 1941. was offered "an earthly kingdom"-that is. and his almost equally heroic horse. with security of frontiers. tangled garden of my lovely vizier's house. Some boys from the high school who wanted to practice their English used to come to tea. In that event our history. SO sing those ancient songs. a black-eyed. as in I389.and there were dozens. huge vines that threw their gnarled old branches over trellised arbors. and-died. yours and mine and America's. I have a passion for legendary tales. They stood and they died. Tale after tale he told about the great Serbian hero. curly-headed boy. the leader of the Serbs. put his hands behind his head-and let me have it. so that those behind could prepare. They died. like Horatio on the bridge. Before I had finished I was able to offer a prize of five dollars to anyone who could tell me a detail about him I did not know or could start a story about him which I could not finish.

shelterless. and hope. with only the poorest of poor equipment. drawn out with fanciful elaboration. absurdly outnumbered." The cycle expresses the heartrending yet heartening cry of the hopelessly defeated who yet never lose courage. with a great laugh at the sheer thrill of the fight He is the Serbian peasant. in the prisons. King's Son Marko is Serbia today. Hence much of this cycle of songs concerns the attempts of the Sultan to have him killed in fight or by "accident. Night after night I told stories. Foodless. as in the epics of all other nations. He fights and he wins. they continue to fight. pride. He never loses his enthusiasm. his loyalty to word and oath. It is related that King's Son Marko was just too young to take part in the fatal battle of Kossovo. King's Son Marko himself. his self-reliance. he is all the nameless men and women-don't forget the women-who have sacrificed all they possessed. but always with the bitter consciousness that his successes are only a part of a larger struggle which can only be hopeless because of the odds against his race. this store of tales proved a strange blessing. away from the horrors of the present and the dread of a dark future. an ally whose real value we have only begun to realize. who are laboring and resisting from dawn to dawn. He was so adored by his people for his courage. He is always ready to try again at the drop of the hat. when the Serbs became vassals to the Turks. But he grew up to be the indomitable champion of his downtrodden race. fighting without ceasing for justice to his people. he is Mihailovich and the Chetniks. his faithfulness to his friends in whatever situation. that the Turks could not risk a great Serbian revolt by an overt murder. the deathless champion of human justice and liberty.Later. Not he the conquering hero who. . to lure the minds of my wretched fellow prisoners away into another world. is our ally today in the Balkans. He is Serbia. Yet he never cries for help. emerges crowned with victory.

beside it stood a cocky little fortress with a huge flag blowing bravely out to sea. bright as stained-glass windows.The Serbs Chose War. borrowed and even stolen by well-wishers. was a direct descendant of the old Nemanye kings.I listened with inexpressible delight to the splendid deeds of heroes of long ago. his large foot beating time to the heroic rhythm. Each day the children would bring me some little gift: a shell. built up in layers of pink and white marble. and my friend M. rosy face and silver hair. He so exactly reproduced the type of the old fighters that his features were used by Mestrovich. And behind all this rose the towering Montenegrin mountains. a special fruit. Professor Milosavljevich. or something they had made. sang to the merry hopping of small boys. and we translated together seventeen volumes of ancient songs and epics. My room was furnished with colorful Serbian rugs. with a graceful little threefold open-arch bell tower where the bells hung free to the winds. bought. and with some fine antique weapons and brocades I had gathered. These he loved so well that he could not resist booming them out first in the original. massive city walls. and after that I wrote it all down in English. the wintry sea boomed and clashed under the window. as the model for his own conception of King's Son Marko. MY BROTHER VUKOSAVA IN BUDVA OF THE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES my room was built in the ancient. And I. Then they were turned into what he happily believed was German. This is how we worked. Beside me was a miniature monastery like a toy. Across a small bay lay a hill of silvery. to him and to my good friend. where the very men of whom I was hearing had perhaps once prayed for victory. It was like something off a wedding cake. the Slav sculptor.P. the bells of the little church. M. so that I should not feel lonely. there came day after day to read to me a man who was himself a reincarnation of the greatest of those ancient heroes. The firelight shone on his eager. a half-dead starfish. He came every day for almost a year. twisted olive trees. Its balcony (now destroyed by the explosion of an Italian mine) directly overhung the blue Adriatic. the professor rendered the resounding phrases of his country's wonderful tales. which I speak as easily as English. In Belgrade. How happily I used to run along the hall to see what it would be today! To my room came also their old teacher. a turtle. Ruth Mitchell 9. usually crowned with snow. with a tiny Orthodox church at least seven hundred years old. when I was convalescing after a bout with pneumonia. To Professor Milosavljevich I am profoundly indebted for sharing with me the epic lore of his race. Besides his own language the old gentle man had only a faint and evanescent knowledge of German.P. At the proper times the schoolboys used to take turns at jumping madly up and down on the bell ropes. The winter after the war broke out in Europe I was absolutely alone in the hotel. . Into this German. Serbs of breeding all know their pedigrees for many generations. In front of the church drooped a few palm trees. which he almost invented as he went along. profoundly thankful that the epic language of all countries has much similarity.

The circle of eyes. primitively human reality? You may be certain that this singer of great songs has gone out into the mountains to take his German and Italian heads. Their dark. Suleiman Pasha. As a matter of course he called for his gusle (a sort of two-stringed guitar). handsome. one a professor. The firelight flashed on the jeweled royal decorations hanging at M. At the age of sixty he is out in the great snows of the Sanjak. so far. with their rich cities. against the Turks. these Serbian heroic songs are not dead. We were sitting on rough benches in the great beamed and smoke-darkened kitchen with a group of beautifully costumed retainers and peasants. translated those beautiful epics fluently hour after hour into the most exquisite French. It was magnificent." for it was not long before he became just that. the old chief of the Sanjak Chetniks. the leader of the Sanjak Chetniks. in the deep Bosnian forests. in the little hidden cabins lost in the drifting snow. and I. he laughingly said: . emasculated concerts. were humble with admiration of his great wild elder brother who was voicing the deepest instinct of their race: unflinching resistance to oppression. Huge. I say "my brother.000 of his countrymen concerning-of all anachronisms-a railroad at last to Montenegro.'s older brother. accustomed to the ceremonies of royal courts. As I write. my Chetnik brother. including those of my fine educated gentlemen from Belgrade. M. Then in his deep. He sang of how his great-uncle killed a notorious. civilized countries. Unlike those of other Western countries. whose head formed a roughly carved horseman. . What. holding an equally outsize volume.P. of whom my friend was one. could the cultured. in the flickering light from the open central fire.P. now bright. was a perfect Viking of a fellow. . He was famous as a great fighter. chasing his wild sheep-Vukosava. at this moment. as real to living men today as ever they were in the past. they are being sung by Mihailovich's fighters in the high mountain passes of Montenegro. harsh voice he began to sing. He sang one of his own family songs. their everlasting bars. entombed in books for the pleasure of the few. now the very heart of Chetnik resistance. gleamed with pride. it was unique. I can think of nothing I wish more than to grasp again one day the tough hand of this. as his ancestors before him have fought.This huge man. their artificial theaters and delicate. Now. They are as alive. Knowing of my life in the Albanian mountains and seeing my pleasure and ease in the "discomforts" of his own wild territory. his eyes were almost wet. offer in exchange for this vivid. He explained to me the history and purpose of the organization. . He sang of deeds that were as natural to himself as breathing. [So far. Our host. now shadowy. fierce faces showed. how bitterly I wish that I were there with them! One evening I was visiting the family of M. rough skillful fingers are touching the strings there in wild lands where no German dares to tread. First a song of Serbian heroes-and then: "Tamo daleko . my love . .P. I thought. in one of the most savage parts of Montenegro. all the safety here.'s throat and on his breast and on his magnificent gold-embroidered Montenegrin dress. an echo of remote unreality. fierce. bloody tyrant. We had a long talk as we marched over his rough uncultivated lands.]" And in spite of all the comfort. He had that afternoon made a great speech to about 40. years ago. fighting again for freedom. the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. And with him went his two sons. There were in our party several high officials of the Yugoslav Government. his expressive face reflecting dramatically the emotions of his own ancestors about whom he was reading.

"Boga mi [By God]. you'll do for us. with eagle eye and eagle nose. "I will fight gladly for Serbia if Serbia should ever need my services. I will fight. Shoulder to shoulder-though my shoulder only came to his elbow -we tramped back singing. as sings every marching Chetnik: "Spremte. se spremte." ." He clapped me on the back with a blow that almost sent me reeling. tall as a totem pole. One died fighting.' My son fights in this war for England. radja se sunce slobode . "You'll do." I said."You yourself would make a good Chetnik-a real Chetnik if ever I saw one. making the very rocks re-echo. . "He gave me his sword before he died. silna che borba da bude Iz ove nase pobede. Vukosava. incredibly gaunt against the gray mountainside. My two brothers fought in the last war for America. gray." I said. ." he shouted. Why don't you join us ?" I replied soberly that I would think it over but that I was doubtful if I could measure up to the necessary standard. "My father was a fighter in the American Civil War. The other is known to my countrymen as 'Fighting General Billy. Chetnitsi. "If Serbia needed you-would you fight?" he asked suddenly. I'll stand your toom [sponsor] myself. It has always hung above my bed. I can see him now." said the old chief. He stopped laughing and looked at me for some time thoughtfully.

The Chetniks are Serbs. the Serbian Chetniks." This is absurd and a contradiction in terms. Peyovich says: "The Chetniks are just as much Serbian as is. M. L. They are the Serbian Chetniks. and a political setup. the word 'Serbia' denotes definitely a race of people. and even a few Croats have been received into their ranks. and a culture entirely its own. They are often referred to as "Yugoslav Chetniks. and established standards of 'heirs to heroism.The Serbs Chose War. newspaper and magazine editors. "After Serbia was subdued by the Turks. But those fighters who remained in Serbia went to the mountains and were called 'haiduks. across the rivers Sava and Danube into the then deserted Hungarian borderlands where they continued their fight against the Crescent. "Prince Lazar for himself and his people chose the former. his brave knights slain. for instance. The American and the Serbian ideals are the same: the great ideal of liberty. the Serbian leader. with whom I fully agree. Prince Lazar was at that time confronted with two alternatives: either to accept the Kingdom of God. Ruth Mitchell 10. This is what Mr. THE CHETNIKS ARE SERBS RADIO COMMENTATORS. Nothing else. "To understand the meaning of the word 'Chetnik' we must go back almost six hundred years to the Turks. Bulgarians. or brotherhood of fighters. But his noble example started a tradition among the Serbian people: the passionate belief that it is better to die the death of a hero than to live the life of a slave. In I389 the Serbs lost their national independence in the great Battle of Kossovo Field. a Serbian way of life and ideal. I cannot do better than quote Mr. On the other hand. or to accept an earthly kingdom. "This tradition has been observed throughout the centuries to the present day.' It made heroes out of simple peasants. The word 'Yugoslavia' conveys only a geographical idea. According to tradition. It created a high sense of duty toward the country.' from which comes the word 'Chetnik. "The Serbian Chetniks existed many centuries before the Yugoslav idea was ever born. a nation with a language. And although now many Slovenes and some Albanians.'Chete. . or the Serbian epics. which meant to rule Serbia under the Turks as a vassal state. the Serbian language. and writers have made many weird and ill-informed statements about the Chetniks.' Later they formed companies. To explain this now internationally famous and to the United Nations increasingly important organization of guerrilla fighters. So his army was slaughtered. "The Serbian Chetniks are the product of a purely Serbian tradition. a political ideology. and he himself was killed in battle. The Chetniks have nothing in common with the Yugoslav idea-they are the Serbian idea. just as much as the American frontiersmen were the product of purely American conditions and American pioneering ideals. Peyovich. a well-known Serb writer and historian. a religion. many people fled the country. just that. which meant to die in battle for liberty. the Serbian Church.' A Chetnik therefore means one of the company. they remain what they always have been.

'for holy cross and golden liberty [za Krst casni i slobodu zlatnu]. 'Planino moja starino [Mountain. "So when you hear the great and gripping marching song. as a herald of happier days to come for the Serbian people. as a true."From that time onward the very same mountains and forests where Draja Mihailovich fights the enemy today became the home of the Serbian Chetniks. old struggle of the Serbian Chetniks for the free way of life as the Serbs love it." . their ceaseless struggles were successful. the 'Island of Freedom. which has inspired uncountable thousands to their death for the cause of liberty. It is a war song. These brave and determined men kept the torch of liberty burning in Serbia for five long centuries.' says the Chetnik song. and the free kingdom of Serbia began to be established in 1804 The Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 and the present guerrilla warfare in the mountains of Serbia are nothing else but a continuation of the old. But there were many Chetnik leaders in the Serbian mountains before him. "This song is now echoing through the hidden mountain passes of Serbia. America's stanch ally.' "At last. Such names as Yovan Babunski of World War I. One generation after another withstood the most terrible punishment. unrelenting. Vuk Popovich. Bogdan Zimonjich. On the contrary. Uncounted legions of Chetniks died for the very same cause for which the Chetniks are dying today.' remember that you are hearing the hymn of the Serbian Chetniks and not a Yugoslav song. He. the Chetnik idea is just as strange and as foreign to those other groups who are now attempting to follow his lead as they are misunderstood by many American commentators. It is the anthem of the only free spot in the Balkans. 'Spremte se spremte Chetnitsi.' where Draja Mihailovich and his brave men are making new history. brave. my old mountain]. which has astounded the whole world. but kept on fighting. Much less has he borrowed any Chetnik idea from any other national group in Yugoslavia. Djordje Skopljanats. and many others stud the brilliant pages of Serbian history and will live forever in the memory of Serbs. perhaps the greatest on earth. and worthy son of his people. has just followed the tradition of Kossovo. "Draja Mihailovich has not started anything new. after centuries. "Mihailovich has combined the Serbian idea and the instinctive national heroism with his genius for leadership.

the place where I was meant to be. a group of friends and I sat or walked up and down the avenue of gigantic mulberry trees in front of the row of small restaurants which possessed the only radios in the town." I decided to make Serbia. whose walls were completely covered with original Byzantine frescoes at least seven hundred years old. his own master. I tramped across the landscape and watched the steep mountain roads being mined in preparation for a possible Italian attack. so I had to petition the Government for permission to purchase it. AGAIN EXPULSION? September 4 1939 England and France at war with Germany. And again I became suspect. Soon I began to feel as if Serbia were my real home. I began to study the Serbian language-and I can tell you that to master one's first Slav language is a fearful task. though I only once spoke to him in passing." I discovered an exquisite. all the night before. I liked these people and they seemed to like me. how useful could I be there? I remembered Lord Beaverbrook's dictum: "Make yourself master of one single subject and the time must come when your knowledge will be valuable. for freedom for every man to walk upright. the Balkans. in the traditions and ways of life which each thought best. . I prevented from leaving. by various machinations. The Town Council of Budva. hearing of my wish. It had a red marble terrace about a hundred feet long. I admired their stern struggle for the barest existence. overhung with orange and lemon trees. I really loved them. probably. Ruth Mitchell 11. I studied the history and customs of the different regions and races of the Balkans.The Serbs Chose War. No matter how many Latin languages one speaks they are of no use at all in learning a Slav language. I even had my own German prisoner: a husky youth who was trying to return home to join his army and whom. with every man or woman who spoke a word of English. Carefully I watched the trend of events in Yugoslavia and the reactions of the people that made up that uneasy state. I traveled all over Montenegro and talked. There was a new law that no foreigner could buy property within fifty miles of the coast. Should I return to England or America? If I did. I decided to buy it and made happy plans about my Montenegrin monastery with its rose-red terrace on the Adriatic. In Budva. my subject. I collected groups of peasants and told them clearly what the Allies were fighting for: for liberty for the small nations. completely forgotten old monastery in a lovely valley opening to the sea. their pride and dignity. Each of us was absorbed in trying to guess what was in store for our countries and to decide what he or she ought to do. It had in its cellar a tiny windowless chapel. Again-"Why should a woman who might be in the gay whirl of the world wish to remain in a little Montenegrin coast town?" The commandant of Budva actually wrote to the central government (my lawyer later saw the letter) as follows: "This lady is dangerous: she writes on her typewriter all day long.

hardly more than a village although it is the capital of Montenegro. When I was to leave I ordered my car brought to a side gate. . England. As each man had to affix his signature over a twenty-dinar tax stamp. I felt so well. the capital of Montenegro. But the news got round and the whole back of my car was filled with flowers. .held a meeting. and honey. the very last. It simply could not be true: respectable people couldn't do a thing so disloyal. laughing: "What fools they are up in Belgrade-somebody's made a silly mistake!" I climbed the grim Montenegrin peaks. in which I thanked the people for their kindness to meespecially the market women who had brought me as gifts flowers they could easily have sold me. Serbs as a race had a very strong feeling of admiration. drew up a document so flattering to me that I would hesitate to repeat the wording. to the west to Budva of the Beaches. To the south one descends to the lovely Lake of Scutari. England seemed farther away. Many Serbs had finished their education there. The attitude of the Serbs was typical of their character. They had to obey their orders. hoping to depart unobserved. and I laid it on the floor and photographed it. northward to the Boka Kotorska (Bocca di Cattaro). They were stupefied with surprise and disbelief. The little old town of Cetinje. wine. more than a thousand years old. that I came to the conclusion that of all the places in the world this would be the most satisfactory one in which to spend my life. this was no light compliment. less understood. none of us dry-eyed. One of the counselors ran around quickly to show it to me before posting it. I promised to return when the day of liberty had dawned again upon a sorrowful world. and many more of them spoke French than English. solitary. And the children with their parents stood round dismally. The scenery was so wonderful. And that I propose to do. Frenchman would not prefer to die before thus deserting an ally. of affection and gratitude toward France for the help that country had given them in the last war. the air so wine like. that inlet of the Adriatic considered by many travelers (and by me) to be the most magnificent fiord in all Europe. . Cetinje was so beautiful that I could not long regret the change. but they did it in form only. and that I must not move about without a detective always in attendance.. Dunkirk and the fall of France. but not the permission to remain there! Instead there came an order that I must be removed inland to Cetinje. lies in the huge crater of an extinct volcano surrounded by its wreath of mountains.. It simply passed their ability to grasp that the last. The police treated me with the most thoughtful consideration. These serious men.. now covered with such a wealth of wildflowers that it took one's breath away. colder. I had the curious and perhaps unique experience of seeing a proclamation of mine posted up on the great city gates. The defection of France was received by the Serbs like a violent blow on the chin. indignantly differing from the suspicious military authorities. They begged the Government at Belgrade to make an exception in my favor and to grant me every facility. The permission to buy arrived shortly. I was almost beside myself with anxiety for England . the hope of the world.

Now this incident sounds most improbable. Could all the eager. still stand on my right. proud little countries already gobbled up be lost forever? How would it all turn out? "If I could only have some sign from heaven." "What do you mean?" asked the German blankly. Suddenly." I groaned desperately. the feeling of comradeship of one brave race for a splendid brother. the weeks. however. of course. In dying. "It's seven-forty. France was no more spoken of. and it had only been able to swallow its prey up to the hind legs and tail. All the old affection for France was transferred to England and increased a thousandfold. to see my country's representative. the right of every citizen of a foreign country. I now never carried a camera. The lizard was large. of course. otherwise.Slowly the truth came home. so absorbed I was in miserable speculation about the war. In those days something was born." The Nazi vanished. was unforgettable. Such a sight has probably very seldom been seen even by a naturalist. This was right in their own tradition. I could. The sympathy which swept like a tidal wave across Serbia. "Is it a revolution?" The innkeeper calmly looked at his watch. That's all. The Serbs too had stood alone how often in their history! The days passed. and this is what I saw (owing to my being under suspicion. no doubt planning. of the hotel-keeper standing near. At that moment I looked down at the path. but I put it down because it happens to be true. I insisted on . terrified. too large for the snake's capacity. "some sign of hope!" I remembered how. the lizard had bitten the snake in the stomach. I must mention a funny incident. came an order from Belgrade that I was to be put over the Greek frontier within twelve hours. furious: no one stirred a foot to listen to the Nazi radio! A very curious thing happened to me at this time. weeping. They both lay there dead. When the British national anthem was played. "What is it?" he asked. of course. people rose. about eighteen inches long and very slim. I would have photographed it): A snake. which stuck out. One evening I saw a German "commercial traveler" sitting in front of the hotel. a passion which England should know about and would do well never to forget. not far south of here in Ancient Greece. England. and mine is the only instrument in working order. France to the Serbs was dead. little England-always now it was "little England. without warning. as they all did. hardly noticing where I was going. had swallowed a lizard." like an endearment-England stood all alone. "What's seven-forty?" "Time for the English radio. The German jumped up. England showed not the slightest sign of dismay. a large hole. how Germany would suck this Yugoslavia dry when she had seized it. but for me to see it at that moment was certainly strange. The people rushed out and began running madly toward the hotel. soothsayers foretold the future by the flight of birds. Suddenly all the doors down the main street opened. the admiration which rose to a sort of fever heat. I was on a little mountain path. and that there positively would be no appeal.

My detective stood in front of me. After a three-hour car journey. The news spread like wildfire that "a famous spy and a terrible enemy of the country" had been caught and was being transported under arrest. I decided to fly. worked itself into a fury. "One step nearer. we arrived at the Podgoritsa airfield.my right to proceed to the capital.. At the Belgrade airfield I was met by M. near the Albanian frontier. but only to bring a stern confirmation of the order." he barked. This lady is a friend. of course. among his other distinguished activities. pressing closer and closer. how the back of his neck grew slowly dark red with anger.P. And then it was. who. unnecessary to trouble the minister with my little problems. Disperse!" Slowly they pushed back and melted away. showed signs of becoming violent. The police throughout the country remained his devoted admirers. . picked up stones and. I can see him now. had helped to organize the police force of Yugoslavia and had abolished the frightful old Turkish foot-beating. of Yugoslavia. The chief of detectives of Montenegro was assigned to accompany me to Belgrade with the single purpose of explaining to the authorities there that they not only had nothing against me but only wanted me to come back. I also telegraphed at once to my friend M.P. a good friend. I gave that good fellow an inscribed cigarette case and never was more pleased to acknowledge a real service. The wires hummed. He put his hand on his hip (no doubt he was armed) and: "This lady is no spy. let one man raise his hand and he will be shot on the spot. A mob collected. The police were horrified by the order and only too anxious to assist me.

George. MY CHETNIK BROTHERS It WAS NOW obviously advisable to remain in Belgrade. as they returned home across the Balkans from the Holy Land. I added to them busily by haunting not only the little shops but also. in a curious butterfly shape. the Fighting Saint of Serbia. dating probably from 1389 dug up on the battlefield of Kossovo. I saw a column of marching men passing down my street to the near-by Orthodox church. a rusty spearhead. My collection. . Through the double windows and net curtains I could see out perfectly. one-storied. like most old Serbian houses. their silver hilts and sheaths studded with coral and cornelian. and their steel as sharp today as on the last time they were plunged into a heart by chieftains in the far Black Mountains of Illyria. Best. and dim with the incense of a thousand candles long burnt out before him. rows of decorations. but no one could look in. upturned opanche. It was a curious sensation to have people passing within three feet quite unconscious of my close observation. and pearl. Their golden handles spelled a prayer for victory to Allah. old swords and knives. my best source. together with. Sitting at my window one morning in November I940. scissors. I spread out soft gold brocades on which I laid or hung the things I treasured most: old silver trays showing ancient heroes slicing off the heads of foes. It was an L-shaped corner house and. They wore the same device in metal on their breasts. in thirteen attitudes he sat his prancing steed and swung his spear to slay the writhing dragon: St. was unique. so stiff with fine gold embroidery they could stand alone. For contrast with the swords I had the traditional woman's weapon. Now I had a perfect setting for all my lovely antiques. the soundless sandals. the open markets. set with silver. were hung rare purple and blue velvet cloaks. All these things were dear to me both for their intrinsic beauty and because they expressed a living tradition. of which I knew seven. On the walls. with them went heavy silver belts set with many-colored stones. silver fringed. On their heads the black astrakhan cap. made up of specimens some two hundred years old. After a few months in the Srbski Kralj Hotel I found a very attractive home in the Slavija Hill district. the patron saint both of Serbia and of England from the time when the Crusaders brought him back. They were dressed in the handsome black-embroidered brown costume of the Shumadiya peasant. and so they were that day unarmed. They were bearing their somberly fierce banners to church to be blessed by the priest. Lovingly enameled. bearing in white and silver the device of a grinning skull above crossed bones. gold. George. most valued of all my treasures were my thirteen fine old icons of St.The Serbs Chose War. READY. their prototype. in some cases. I believe. left from the days when Serbian pride and power showed itself in dress. and right on the pavement. the shubara. Ruth Mitchell 12. Before them they carried black banners. on their feet the rawhide.

the calm yet burning look in their narrow eyes. quickness of decision. cunning and speed are theirs by the long process of natural selection-by the fact that men lacking those qualities did not live long enough to propagate. the slightly stealthy. They had no musical instrument of any sort. The elder men with the largest number of medals seemed a shade tougher and grimmer than the others. now ready. And low.To call these big men tough-looking is to make an extreme understatement. unconsciously seeking for? I had no doubt that it was so. vibrate on a note. as a fox drifts through the brush. In emergency each man thinks for himself what is best to do and does it. the blatantly staged mass ceremonies with which they have to keep up their morale. their robot parades. They are the Invisible Army. hardly more than a mutter-not for these stern men to open their mouths and yell!like rumble of distant thunder came the song that is to me the greatest marching song on earth: "Ready. The simple peasants who constitute nine tenths of the force do not need elaborate training. They are the Silent Front. and no social life in the sense of parties. Just so my heart sang its answer to those marching men. devil-may-care yet unostentatious. . monotonous. They were all officers. in the reckless. . It is interesting to compare the Chetniks with the Nazis and their everlasting squawking. A man becomes a Chetnik for the single purpose of killing enemies of Serbian freedom with gun and knife. Nothing else mattered. Today I have no hesitation in saying that every peasant still alive in certain areas of Serbia is a Chetnik. Alertness. There was something in the carriage of their heads. Vukosava of the Sanjak mountains. not even a drum. Was this at last what I had been waiting for. And on our glorious victory Will rise the sun of Liberty . . another one Iying aside will sometimes answer. which marked them the toughest set of men I had ever laid eyes on. Soundless." The song of the Chetniks on the job-the soul of Serbia on the march! When violins are playing. They were in the forward ranks. and next morning be far across the mountains and away. or he isn't a Chetnik-at least not for long! Every peasant born in the heart of Serbia is born a candidate for membership in the brotherhood. They have no big "rah-rah" meetings. It is bred in their very bones by centuries of inheritance. It has to be right. slightly sinister loose movement of the knees. they will make their attack perhaps at fall of night. They drift. they were all privates-they were brothers. The only honor seemed to be the bearing of the heavy flags. marching. They were the Chetniks. to water down the race. and his blow upon my back. if a man does not shout loud enough he is severely punished!) Chetniks seldom march-almost never when on the job. supremely selfreliant swing of the shoulders. Chetnik brothers! Mighty the coming battle. (It is an actual fact that when German soldiers are marching and the order is given to sing. No officers marched before or beside them: discipline was obviously a matter for each man himself. like the tigers in India. Little they cared about straight ranks or even about keeping step. I made up my mind. I remembered that old eagle.

They have no reserves: every man is all-out. They have no transport: every man is his own means of locomotion, and the distances they can cover on foot are stupendous. For artillery, they have only the guns and ammunition each man can carry on himself. They have no field kitchens: every man carries ten days' rations of hard bread, cheese, and onions done up in a handkerchief. If he comes across something else-corn, a sheep-he is lucky and is, by the law of the land, entitled to take whatever he needs. Every Chetnik must be a whole army in himself. There are many Serbian women in the organization, and they are true Chetniks. They fulfill innumerable vital functions. They forage for food, they look after the weapons, they creep through the army lines and gather information. They are doing it now as I write. And they fight-make no mistake, they fight-and they kill. Some have received high decorations. They turn a sentry's head at the right moment, they poison enemy food, they lay time bombs. And when they must, they use a sharp knife or a gun. Draja Mihailovich, who is today holding open the back door of Europe for the Allies, has been able to do it not least because of the courage and the resourcefulness, the cunning and the strength of Serbian Chetnik women. It happens that I can walk twenty miles a day, day after day, and thirty at a pinch. I proved it. I can ride most things on four legs for longer than the animal can stand it. I proved it. Also I happen to like hard bread and cheese and onions. I was invited to join the Serbian Cavalry. I was also asked to act as observer in the Flying Corps (I had flown my own plane). I preferred to be a Chetnik. A noted member of the force presented me to that old Chetnik leader Voivoda Kosta Pechanats (translated, the Duke Kosta of Pech, spoken of by the foreign correspondents by his family name of Pavlovich). Great and valorous he had been in his past as a fighter in all the recent Balkan wars. Thus I shall always remember the old man, however sad his later fate. Typical of the whole organization were his headquarters. You entered a narrow door into a little courtyard and walked up rickety wooden stairs into a two-room office. What had been sufficient for a hundred years was sufficient now. There, behind a large desk, sat the great old fighter, his left breast covered with row upon row of ribbons, recognitions from his own and many foreign governments of services in war. Voivoda Kosta Pechanats was just a little too old for active fighting, just a little too large from recent years of ease. He was dramatically handsome with the years of adulation he had received. Three walls of the low room were completely covered with pictures and photographs of Serbian fighters old and recent, of Chetnik groups in mountain and field, of crowned heads who were the Voivoda's friends, of lesser men of desperate deeds, among them Princip, who murdered the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand and started World War I. These mementos were interspersed with an arsenal of pistols, guns, swords, daggers, and knives. In one corner hung an icon of Saint Sava, an everlasting lamp glimmering before it; in the opposite corner, on a little shelf, the most conspicuous thing in the room: a skull, a real skull, lying on crossed shinbones. These were the actual bones of a seventeen-year-old Chetnik who died in action against the Bulgarian I.M.R.O. Often this boy's mother came to see the old man, never guessing that the bones she saw were those of her own son. My name was written in a big and well-worn book and I was taken in hand, M.P. serving as my surety and sponsor. (I must remind my readers that the Balkans are still under the German heel. Hence, though I

should like to give full names and it seems ungrateful not to do so, it would endanger the lives of my friends and their relatives. Even the initials are incorrect.) Being already a fair shot with a revolver, I was now taught how to use a dagger: not from above the shoulder, as one would expect, but upward under the ribs to reach the heart. Like the western two-gun men, one had to be as quick as lightning, with the balance just right. I practiced, of course, on a hanging bag of sawdust. This was just for unexpected emergencies, as it was soon decided that for my intended function I should have to depend on brain, not brawn. I must also say a word about the poison, concerning which American papers have made elaborate misstatements. It has been widely printed that I gave an oath never to be taken alive, since "all Chetniks commit suicide if captured." That is, of course, simply absurd. No Chetnik is ever taken prisoner if he is known to be a Chetnik. Chetniks neither give nor receive quarter: they are shot on sight. If, however, one is taken alive and is known to be a Chetnik, it can only be for the purpose of forcing information from him, which is always done-not least by the Germans-by torture. If therefore he is captured, certain of his fate, he takes poison to avoid any danger of giving away his comrades as he is mangled to death. To commit suicide when his captors do not know him to be a Chetnik would, of course, be idiotic, would in fact be contrary to his oath, since he might still escape or somehow be useful to his force. I knew one Chetnik personally in Belgrade prison, and there may have been and quite probably were others like him, not known by their captors to be members of the organization. As an American woman I did not seriously fear torture by the Germans and Italians-little did I then know the Nazis! Nevertheless I sewed the poison in the collar of my coat in the usual position, where it can be chewed when the hands are bound. When engaged in intelligence work behind the enemy lines, a Chetnik, needless to say (I am sometimes asked such weird questions), gets rid of his uniform. It has been said by enemies of the Serbs in America that Kosta Pechanats was pro-Axis, that he was then in German pay. This, I know-no one could know better-is absolutely false. His later action, and that of others associated with him, was the result of a tragic paradox: they loved their people more than they loved their country. But Serbia is Serbia because of Serb tradition, and the true bearers of Serb tradition, the Chetniks, loved Serbia more than their own lives. Pechanats erred in that he hoped to save the lives of his people -the lives which they themselves held worthless if preserved only at the price of surrendering their national honor. At last, on the third of March, a cold gloomy day with the first damp but exciting breath of spring blowing gustily through the snowy streets, I stood in that strange little room presided over by a hero's skull. Only four people were present. The Voivoda took down a dagger and drew it from its worn sheath. A pale sun shone on its bright blade as he laid it on the desk. He took down a revolver, not bright but dark and well oiled. He broke it to make sure it was fully loaded. He laid it crosswise on the dagger. I faced the icon and, putting my right hand on the crossed weapons and looking the old Chetnik leader firmly in the eye, repeated after him: "Do smrti za Srbiju, tako mi Bog pomogao [Till death for Serbia, by the help of God]." That was all. There was a murmur of "Amens." We all shook hands warmly, without smiling. Then he took the big old book and drew a line through my name. "Your life," he said, "is now no longer your own: it is given to Serbia." This is the only organization in the world, I think, in which, when you become a member, your name is not put down but crossed out. You must consider yourself as good as dead.

How proud I was that day to be admitted to the company of that brotherhood and sisterhood! There have been women Chetniks of Serbian birth but foreign citizenship (married to foreigners) and women of foreign birth but Serb citizenship (married to Serbs), but I am, I was told, the only woman of both foreign birth and foreign nationality ever to be admitted. That evening we had a little celebration. In a small, obscure restaurant where Chetniks foregathered, we had a frugal, quiet meal. There were several of our men, mostly alone, scattered in the room. Once you are a member, you somehow can't mistake them. Though they must have guessed why I was there, not a flicker of greeting passed over their faces. It was correct to have it so. My face was, I hope, as wooden as theirs. I was a Chetnik until death.

After one or two diplomatic parties. Here I sat and studied when not riding or tramping to keep fit-no easy thing in a large city. It must be clearly remembered that those Black Mountain people are pure Serbs. it was the foreigners. slowly. Few were the Montenegrins of high or of simple degree who came to Belgrade and did not make their welcome appearance at my house. . "WELL AND WHY NOT?" MY HOUSE had a delightful little garden in which standard roses marched in battalions. My leading champion. undeveloped. It was apparently the thing fiercely to take sides. Yugoslavia was being sucked toward the evil maelstrom. carried by the gentle breeze across my garden. and though my neighbors could not see us. the triumphs. but with fateful inevitability. poor in resources and equipment. . "superior" to the country. in the heart of that vivid struggle for existence. I must confess that after a year alone in Montenegro. often they must have listened. It also possessed that boon in Balkan summers. the tragedies and-the general mess above them. the foreign-educated. had a brilliant inspiration. Hence the tradition has never been broken. When I first arrived there were acrid arguments in government offices as to whether I was or was not a British secret service agent. who seemed to me the unreal curiosities. At last the arguments became so violent that they led to actual fisticuffs. the anachronisms. hope to resist this all-engulfing force? . Long and deep were our discussions there in the warm evenings over a bottle of fine Smederevo or Zemun wine and the ubiquitous slivovits (plum brandy) under my pleasant tree in my rose-filled garden. How could a little country of only sixteen million inhabitants. "Well. denatured Serb. to the strains of the well-loved nostalgic Balkan songs. quite unaware of the contending forces of nature. And slowly.]" But soon a more martial note began to creep into my little gatherings. the beauty. amazed: no one had thought of that! "Well-and why not?" went whispering across the angry waves of suspicion.The Serbs Chose War. I also saw something of that sad phenomenon. my love . tired of it all. . "Well-and why not?" became my household joke. . little England!"-and all was peace and benediction. Softly they subsided-"England. "Tamo daleko . If anything they are more stubbornly tenacious of the common tradition than any other Serbian people. As one local would-be-cynic poet said to me: "They seem like moles blindly shoveling away at their pointless little courses." My house became instead a center of Montenegrin interests. I had a collection of stringed instruments ready for accustomed fingers. [So far. charmed. I withdrew almost entirely from that social treadmill. a wide-spreading tree. in mellow close harmony. so far. overlooked from not a single neighbor's window. I became bored with the attitude of most of the English and Americans toward the Serbs." he said suddenly one day. fastened to white-painted staves. The whirlpool of horror in Europe was spinning ever faster. "well-and why not?" All looked at each other. because Montenegro has never in its history been completely conquered. Ruth Mitchell 13. They looked upon them as "museum pieces" and apparently made no effort to understand them.

suspecting. This German war machine was something never before seen on earth! The Croats. its real force lost in more than twenty years of prosperous peace and spreading education. with a simple lightness that might have been deceptive to the casual eye. "We will fight. Nothing impressed the Serbs. if this might not be just a stock answer handed down by history. it appeared to present no problem at all. But for me it didn't seem quite so self-evidently sufficient. lured by German promises of material prosperity." they said. which threatened their dearest possession-their liberty. who by ceaseless fighting. were openly admiring. that seemed to be answer enough for them. worried. of course. Looking at my merry and so polite singers (Montenegrins especially are instinctive courtiers. . They would fight-and that seemed to settle it. but with the taint of servility left out). especially the little fellows.To the home-bred Serb. nothing at all. The bigger fellows "in the know" began to look serious. unaided." In his heart every Croat considered himself vastly superior to the Serbs. I could not help wondering. had made themselves free. The Croats were impressed by German success. For centuries the Croats had been the agitating-rather than actively rebellious-subjects of Austria and Hungary. distrait. the second partners in the Yugoslav combination. Croatia was the most industrialized portion of Yugoslavia with an effective hold on the commerce of the country. alone in the Balkans. from whom they had acquired a coloring of "Western civilization.

. when they attacked Yugoslavia. had to withdraw the Bulgarian troops from the Serbian to the Greek and Turkish frontiers. We could not then envisage quite the extent of Croat treachery and the Croat massacres of defenseless Serb peasants in Croatia. a cause for passionate pride. seemed to presage the flashing of knives. They must be faced and remembered. by air. partly because of their fast-growing contempt for their own king. The Powers will be making a serious mistake if later they ignore this fact. glaring eyes banging of tables. The memory which those crimes will leave is more damaging to the hope of world peace than the bitter Serb hatred of the Germans. by deliberately fomenting Bulgarian atrocities in Macedonia when they handed it over to Bulgaria. Again and again in Serbian village restaurants I witnessed a significant scene. I felt justified in seeing a not too distant possibility of union. National costume is a sign of self-respect in a race with pride in the achievements of its forefathers. "They're only arguing which family gave the most men in the last war. Serbian memory is exceedingly tenacious. THE SAINTS FIGHT TOO I BEGAN TO TRAVEL WIDELY about the country. Later that belief was confirmed when learned that the Germans. mass-produced "Western" clothes. "What are they so furious about? " "The same old thing. But the Germans. "What is it?" I would ask in alarm. Unfortunately most national costumes. because they refused to fight the Serbs. I do not feel so relieved now. A serious effort must be made to keep them in constant use: they have a very significant effect on public morale. by bus. Groups of men engaged in friendly chat would suddenly raise their voices in impassioned argument. an admirable self-confidence. are exceedingly expensive. by train. where I saw local customs and costumes beautifully shown." Not "lost." would come the calm answer. I went to Bulgaria to make special inquiries. have weakened the hope of a political union. special ceremonies and mass gatherings. My conclusions were that the Bulgarians as a people felt themselves drawn more and more sympathetically toward the Serbs. It is useless-worse than useless ignore these facts." you notice. It is mainly for that reason that they are slowly disappearing in the Balkans before the shoddy. but "gave"-still. beautified with laborious handwork. I photographed. twenty years after. sometimes at the request of the Government. When Germany entered Serbia I could not help thinking with some relief that at least the Serbs would have something new to argue about. Red faces. cheap. Boris. It signifies a proper appreciation of racial history. Ruth Mitchell 14.The Serbs Chose War.

long time. the pathetic Italians would have been quickly disposed of.) Ochrid on its exquisite lake was. Every night he walks round his church to see that it is safe. No enemy will ever set foot in it. pressed. if even her long-dead saints stand ready to do battle." "Of course not. its tall.In Macedonia I visited Prilep. its mosques. after Montenegro. Once a Mohammedan town of considerable importance. that Yugoslavia should instantly declare war on Italy. I hazarded: "They do. eager to attack the Italians." "Not this. "Dead! He is as alive today as ever he was. who then shall hope to down Serbia? . "I hope the Germans will not get all this. secret water grotto painted with old frescoes. advised. Nedich was out of office and not even in Belgrade at the time. among the most valuable in the Balkans. and "sent him to the country." said the man. how much treasure saved to the Allies if Nedich's counsel had prevailed! Instead Prince Paul's government removed General Nedich from office disgraced him. He won't let them now!" "But he has been dead for such a long. (A recent book purporting to give a picture of the Belgrade situation at the outbreak of war makes General Nedich. Among Ochrid's many churches is one dedicated to Saint Clement. They steal everything. There." Good God. I climbed to the top of King's Son Marko's old fortress (no traveler I have ever met has done it. they won't. They never succeeded. then as now our firm allies. its land. Our Saint will fight. And with the Greeks hounding their rear. as Minister of War. its almond groves. Surprised at his conviction. in World War I the Serbs. you know. my favorite place in the whole country." An incompetent nonentity. urged. intelligent custodian showed us its lovely Byzantine frescoes and its other humble treasures. then Yugoslav Minister of War. An elderly. because of the fine quality of the tobacco. The Turks tried that for hundreds of years. If his advice had been followed he would unquestionably have had the whole country behind him. At the end I said thoughtfully. its strange. I thought. its houses garlanded with drying tobacco leaves. now really angry. quaint wooden houses now lean awry in slow decay. was put in his place. (Will history repeat itself?) After the Italians dropped the first bombs on Bitolj (Monastery) I went along almost the whole YugoslavAlbanian frontier and saw the Serb troops ready. which during the past centuries since before the time of Alexander the Great has been the battleground of so many nations. General Nedich. How different would have been the history of this war-how many lives. persona grata to Germany. Few indeed are the foreigners who come to see its ancient fortress. The Saint would not let them. were the first decisively to defeat the German armies and to free their country from the invader. as it is really dangerous) and gazed out across the rolling plains of Macedonia. The possibilities of this almost depopulated land are insufficiently appreciated. play a prominent and disgraceful part in the coup d’état of March 27 1941 There was no truth whatever in this allegation." "Dead?" cried the man.

" equipment being far more of a problem than man power. apparently under orders and with the single purpose of annoying me and discouraging me from traveling. I know. Igon. So often that I actually lost count. and the German consul (they had "consuls" everywhere!). tiresome. had been seized by the Gestapo and had died in prison. Many Serbs-sixty-seven. Soon he begged permission to bring in his best friend. are their daggers and skull-and-crossbones! But their history is interesting. not the faintest intention of doing so. I believed him to be a Jew. "Ha-ha.The Serbs Chose War. Ruth Mitchell 15. It would happen like this: news would precede me that I was coming to a town. One day there appeared a young man of whom my old Cossack houseman. Helmuth revealed his knowledge of my interest in the Chetniks. He professed bitter and undying hatred of the Germans because his father. was at once fiercely suspicious. to be exact-came to me. of German descent but Yugoslav birth. He too became indefatigable in my service. those Chetniks. He proved to me by his papers (forged. He was very nice-looking. attractive youth. He immediately became my most devoted attendant. if my papers were insufficient for suspicious souls. a "medical student" notably vague in medical interest. of me. begging my assistance to get them down into Greece in order to join the British Army. Upon consulting the British Legation I was told that no recruits were wanted unless every man came "with a machine gun in each pocket. escaped just after the annexation." And I would be brought in. They will supply me with a good chapter for my book. In Belgrade itself German attention to me was much more. The struggle in his heart was strangely pitiful to watch. by a slip of the tongue. Michael." Now every American in southeastern Europe is presumed to be writing a book. Their business was soon confirmed when. also ostensibly fiercely anti-Nazi. and though he was fair and blue-eyed. I was notified almost immediately (it was unnecessary) that they were German agents set to watch me.) . as turned out later) that he was a Jewish refugee from Austria. as was later confirmed." I laughed heartily. shall we say. how absurd in these days of mechanized warfare. he said. This amusing. and also later. (I had at that time. THE PLOT THAT FAILED ON MY TRAVELS I was constantly being arrested. would lay some silly charge. "Aren't they the funniest thing in the world? I wonder how they can think anyone could take them seriously! How useless. One telephone message to Belgrade. could talk more and say less than anyone I ever met. He gave his name as Helmuth Wuppert. or get the local police excited about their chance of catching a "notorious spy. I grew sincerely fond of this unfortunate fellow and he. and I would be released again with many apologies.

" The plan was that Helmuth was to arrive at the consul's house in an exhausted condition. apparently in great excitement. and that he "never left them off his person night or day.. Helmuth was to insist upon seeing the consul general instantly. The plan was interesting." All this. with them on the job the German espionage service would not find it necessary to assign someone else. poor things. when they were panting with anxiety to find out what "valuable" photographs I had taken. of course." Being Germans. Then I let a few friends in on the farce. source carefully given. I hope. but I am sure they often wished bitterly they had been given some easier job. if it had succeeded. they arrived. they were the agents provocateurs in an attempt that. For instance. and with careful preparation and "precautions" we slowly filled them up with all sorts of misleading "confidential information. at the cost of unrelaxing vigilance? I decided that while they were with me they would certainly be out of other mischief-their next victim might not be as quickly warned as I was. to invite me to co-operate with them in a plot. Should I play safe by dropping them or take the more difficult and dangerous course of keeping them in attendance. where it caused. It was so finished that I was inclined to believe and still think it was actually intended to be carried out. seize the papers." I kept them stiff and sore for days trying impossible horses for me (how I enjoyed that!) and made them search in the dirtiest parts of the Gypsy quarter for imaginary antiques. They had information. They are such simple peasants. even to the names of the guards likely to be on duty and how they were to be dealt with by confederates. Ostensibly they were to have come from Slovenia with urgent news of a massacre there of local Germans. whom they assured me they had already sworn in. It was not easy to decide how to handle these men. I would send them to the photographers with rolls of "very important" films to develop-and call next day myself for the finished negatives and prints. when negotiations between Germany and Yugoslavia were not going quickly enough to suit Hitler. were playing a similar game with me and once. some confusion. I used to think up the most tantalizing errands for them. "I must pretend admiration for them. supported by Igon. The timetable and all details were worked out. that the German consul general Neuhausen had received documents containing precise orders for all Nazi fifth-column agents. was relayed to Berlin. These orders were to take effect on the date-also given in the documents-on which Germany had already decided treacherously to attack Yugoslavia.."To lead them on to talk. knew exactly in which pocket he kept the papers. About March IO. no doubt. . "very important for my book. And they gave me endless fun. might have cost me my life. Then.. I decided to keep them. at least. Moreover. my two watchdogs were readily induced to underestimate the importance and ability of others. They had precise details of the consul's house. I showed them snaps of Montenegrin folk dances. They. whose role was to be that of an innocent lady accidentally passing by. run out and hand them to me. By constant repetition of this line of chatter I was able to build up a reputation for frivolity which afterwards saved my life. We were by a brilliant move to confront the world with irrefutable proof of Germany's intended perfidy. they would shoot him dead. someone perhaps much more skillful and intelligent and whom I might not recognize so easily. They stuck to it like heroes." I continued confidentially. When the latter came down to answer the cry for help of his own countrymen.

. And there is little doubt that I would have been shot on the spot "by accident. that the documents (which would have been blank) were to pass into my own hands.P. It even seemed more than likely that the plan had been made by Neuhausen himself and that the intention was to murder someone in place of him. Apparently Helmuth and Igon had felt obliged to turn in something to justify their pay.I asked for time to think it over and immediately consulted with M. Germany would have another strong lever for threatening the Yugoslavs and hurrying them into signing the treaty. of having plotted to murder the German consul general. of course. The lure to me was. By laying the crime to Yugoslavia. repulsive consul himself. We came to the conclusion that the plan could not have originated with these two agents but almost certainly was an order from the German secret police. My two youths soon knew of the increased alertness and the doubled guards and the plan was called off Yet at my court-martial later I was accused. to discover the hotheads who had been misled by these agents provocateurs. but quietly. thus leaving Germany free for her attack on Russia. How strange and disgusting for me to be the means of saving the life of this sinister fellow who not only would gladly have seen me dead but had been long and cunningly planning the ruin of Serbia! Yet it had to be done. Additional safety measures were taken also to protect the fat. among other absurdities." Steps were therefore taken at once.

and Zaria and his men faded away into the night. mostly a few days beforehand so as to give them a last fattening. old maids-was carrying. VAIN WARNINGS I CANNOT SAY I liked living in Belgrade: big cities were never my milieu. beatings. they say. For ten days before Christmas. Ruth Mitchell 16. He took whatever he pleased. the guards were released. beautiful. rushing. screeching pink or spotted baby porkers or tearing madly after them when they escaped. What to do to teach the tyrant a sharp lesson? Zaria thought of a plan. One evening the Turk was called away on "urgent business. It was like a non-stop variety show. young maids. worst of all. Just as we by fixed custom eat turkey for Christmas dinner. Zaria M. removing the knife from his mouth. messenger boys. any pretty girl who caught his fancy. Soon I was well again and the pleasant meetings round my fireside could be resumed.. I could watch the busy life of my street without myself being seen through the double windows and the fishnet curtains." Zaria and his men surrounded the house and overpowered the guards. Endless were the tales told about him and his unceasing warfare with the Turks. Then he violated the pasha's darling-without. One of my favorite visitors was a doughty old Chetnik of about eighty. carefully hidden. facing the illimitable plains like a great ship at sea. therefore. Being ill had its compensations in the kindness of friends and in the fact that. made no concessions whatever to the passing years. women. bouncing. Men live to a great age in the Balkans-if they're quick or lucky -and this delightful old man. I need too much strenuous exercise. in the early mornings tiny pigs in uncounted numbers and all sorts of color combinations were herded squealing. young. My house was near one of the largest markets. That done. down the street. lying in bed at ground level. He stood as straight as ever and weighed not a pound more than in his active youth. a whistle. so the Serbs eat suckling pigs. a tiny live pig. But to me the sight of ladies in fine fur coats and big handsome businessmen in formal clothes. The pasha had a wife. I hated the icy winds that suddenly howled down upon this rock at the confluence of the majestic Danube and the lovely Sava. To them it was the most natural thing in the world. And all day long almost everyone passing by-men. including.The Serbs Chose War. Perhaps the mildest one was this: A pasha in a south Serb village had made himself fiercely hated by the peasants for his merciless tax grinding. kept me in a riot of laughter. . balking. whom he loved as the proverbial apple of his eye. and theft. They buy them alive. struggling desperately with wriggling. So I stupidly caught pneumonia just for Christmas. in every conceivable style and position. To murder him outright would have called down the Turkish soldiers in a general massacre of the village.

Men of good will with ideals of public service desperately comforted themselves with the hope that when the boy Peter became king in the following September. even with enthusiasm. for lack of any other hope. Yet: . had obviously only a single thought: to hand the country over to the new ruler. Croatia. and the salute was. when the country would be either saved or ruined by a rising of the exasperated people. Since in this strangling bureaucracy there was no appeal against the whims and fancies of a government bureau. too. incurable scandal. The "ins" in government ran things with a high hand. After Machek secured autonomy for Croatia and became vice premier of the new government. the regent during the minority of the young king. He proudly felt he held a record. The feeling of insecurity within the country was so great. One day when an airliner he was in reached four thousand feet. had a firm hold on the industry of Yugoslavia. but there were many despairing critics who. Anyone who criticized or rebelled against this state of affairs was simply labeled "communist" and persecuted. Honest Serbs of noted family. heard above the engine's roar." Croatia must as usual have the best of every world. He actually opposed the use of the word "Yugoslavia. he knew himself unfitted for it. It shared the strength and had the protection of a common state. Yugoslavia was drifting back. he went forward to a lovely but perfectly strange lady and asked courteously if he might be allowed to kiss her." even going so far as to change the name of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences to the "Croat Academy of Sciences. His latest exploit in that line was cause for endless teasing. There were exceedingly few real Communists in Serbia. and public life took on a more and more shady character. drifted toward communism. when his regency ended. being a marriage of geographical and political convenience rather than a really fundamental union of ideals. It was the most prosperous part of the country and drew its greater wealth largely from Serbian trade. Parliament was dissolved and was never reconvened. He forgot that nothing can stand still. bogging down so fast in rapacious self-seeking by the "ascendancy" class that to me it seemed certain that soon a crisis must come. There can be no doubt that it was he and no other who blew the state of Yugoslavia to the winds-never again to be put together. as unchanged as possible." She agreed graciously. of Serb prestige and Serbian solid international reputation. and since nobody could start a private enterprise without a government license. the future so doubtful. Nevertheless I found little cause for hope. Nothing more gentle and courtly than my old Chetnik Zaria could be imagined-except when old tales lit fires in his eyes. everything would change at once for the better. The country was ruled by decree. Prince Paul. because "it was the first time he had ever flown. for pretty girls.There could not be a worse punishment for a Turkish pasha: this one is reported to have become a model of probity. if at all. with not even his mother to lean on-could he be expected to see through and control those practiced intriguers? Prince Paul disliked the business of ruling. The political atmosphere was getting steadily more gloomy. Machek was the strong man of Yugoslavia. that officials preferred to grab while the grabbing was good rather than build up a solid reputation for honesty. was a perfect breeding ground for cynical opportunism. The state of Yugoslavia. They brightened. He was a Croat first and a Yugoslav second. peasant and businessman alike had to use the only instrument that proved effective in getting action: bribery. Corruption became an unbelievable. Those who suspected him of designs upon the throne were certainly wrong. I saw him several times and was convinced that he had character and the most sincere intentions. it must go forward or it goes back. with its Western commercial training. after a humiliating struggle. Could a boy of eighteen who had been kept lonely for years-so lonely. they say. withdrew into disgusted retirement.

. their democratic ideal similar to the Serbian. it's being done. I began to get a pretty clear picture of the Croat attitude. He wanted a "Great Croatia. as they thought. I was assured: "It will be done. They clung to the union ideal of King Alexander for which he himself was murdered by a Croat organization. in little country restaurants. This weak government fell easily into the clutching." cried the Croats. He went too far. I urged and urged again that all Croat soldiers be drafted into separate regiments. For when. And because he worked with gentler means. and thereby the very thing Machek wished for-Croat control of Yugoslavia-was destroyed." "We have begun to do it." But it wasn't done. Machek was too strong." They did not wish to help to improve the country as a whole. Koroshets died. Just so the Serbs. was blown away. Prince Paul and his government were not bought with money by Germany. There is no question at all that Machek himself is guilty equally with the actual perpetrators of the murder of not less than 600. terrifying German hand. (I must in fairness mention that three months after Germany overran Yugoslavia the German governor of the Belgrade prison where I was an inmate said to me: "Don't think we have ever looked upon Premier Cvetkovich as a friend of Germany!") Everywhere I talked with the simple people in trains. and. the Slovene leader. But I did not then suspect that the basest treachery had been long and systematically prepared. at best. Machek worked for Croat autonomy with might and main." "Hurry!" "Well. We in America and England could not bring ourselves to believe that Germany was planning war."Croatian taxes. they were bought with promises of safety of lives and possessions. by the whirlwind he roused. Shall we blame the Serbs for inability to see what was coming? They were like ourselves-they judged others by themselves. Like many another politician who fell short of being a statesman. though we were warned with solemn words and even with conclusive figures. He worked up the ill feeling of the Croats against the Serbs to an absolutely vicious degree. Being weak and spoiled by luxury. what it would mean to release the repression engendered by hundreds of years of foreign vassalage. in bookshops. complete Croat control of Yugoslavia. much more steady than the Croats. they would go over completely to Germany. they too meant well enough. I begged and pressed in various quarters. I became more and more convinced that. I suppose. since the Prince was afraid of him." or. when he pointed the hatred of his compatriots toward the Serbs. He wanted a weak central government which would permit him to exercise more power. failing that. the Slovenes. themselves loyal and forthright. He was a wiser man than Machek but less dynamic. their loyalty could not be relied upon. have been much more loyal. the Croats went berserk. Alas. he thought to conjure up a breeze. Croatian superior education and brains.000 Serbs. could not believe in Croat treachery. at worst. "must be used only for the benefit of Croatia. world conquest. He did not foresee. He had it. their moment of triumph had arrived.

the general planned to attend the British reception with his whole staff in uniform. Ruth Mitchell 17. Serbs of all stations begged Cvetkovich: "Delay.P. General Boro Mirkovich was in command of aviation in the Belgrade district. an old friend of his. WHAT OF AMERICA?" AT NEW YEAR'S the British Legation as usual gave a reception. Yet. had been dismissed and had left town. he will be shot on the sport!" M. Kosta Pechanats warned them that the Chetniks would certainly rise. An ancient general. the only strong Serb in the Government. do anything. He received a very cordial and hilarious reception. Only one member of the general's staff M.P. The Patriarch Gavrilo. had succeeded him as Minister of War." Could he be in doubt about the feelings of the country? That seemed impossible. we represent the real heart of our country. The place was seething with plots of all sorts." And "Long live our dear and admired friend. "WATCHMAN. could brave the order. "He still means to do it. you would find it hard to imagine. head of the Serb National Church. he is going to sign. Unless you had lived yourself in that feverish atmosphere of threatening. fell on one knee before him: "I beg you. To the Serbs in general the thing was simply inconceivable: it couldn't be. delay at least-until the British can come to our help. and he received positive orders forbidding him to go. I was asked to explain to the British minister what had been intended. a grand old man whose sister I knew in the Sanjak. was immediately arrested and confined to his house under guard. warned the Regent and the Prime Minister that the Church and the people were solidly against it. Eager to give public and emphatic expression to the Serbian admiration for England. in a surge of anxiety. Dragisha." . anything-break your leg-do anything to put it off even a few more days!" Cvetkovich brought his finger down in an imperious gesture: "If anyone so much as dares to move.. I was deeply alarmed for M.The Serbs Chose War. Did Cvetkovich suspect? Already I knew. once minister to Brussels. that there was a great plan for revolution. .P. In high spirits he even went so far as to demonstrate how they all would bow low and say: "Your Excellency. a reserve officer in a strong position. it mustn't besurely. I did so. . The strain was terrific. General Nedich. even those most in the know couldn't bring themselves to believe it was going to be done." M. This indicates the feeling in the country when the German negotiations with Yugoslavia for signing the Axis pact began.P. Almost hourly I received telephone messages. Some of us knew that Cvetkovich. England!" The Minister of War got wind of his intention. subterranean violence.. in the strangest way. . the Prime Minister. intended to do it. "Yes. but only in outline. surely it would not be done! But Machek and all the other Croat politicians were using every conceivable pressure and the threat of immediate German intervention to force the signature of the pact.

But there were those. Sir Ronald Campbell. Foreign diplomatic circles therefore naturally made Croatia their playground and were unavoidably influenced by the more luxurious comfort there. I am convinced. and eager to make every sacrifice in defense of them. with its Austrian culture and class distinctions. Men of real knowledge and ability came to me in amazement and deep alarm at being unable to do so. proud. slow to move because of its huge size. and so little ravaged by struggles for freedom. instead of trying to adopt alien usage.At the instance of the same group of patriots who later carried out the coup d’état. was very well liked by the few people who ever succeeded in seeing him. must become the axiomatic basis of world co-operation and peace. at one of my Sunday-evening gatherings. would in turn be willing. and with my proudest Serbs in their extremely handsome and dignified national dress around me: I would demand-and receive-respect instead of condescension. The plan was declined. since America. inevitable defeat for democracy grown fat and slack with ease and success. who saw in the burning fanaticism of the totalitarian converts. withdrew themselves in pride? Personally if I were King of Serbia. And if moments of pleasant leisure were used by the eagerly planning Croats to instill in their guests a bias against the socially less adroit Serbs. with a Serbian house instead of a characterless palace. seemed coldly unconcerned with the fate of small nations. I approached the British minister with a plan for blowing up and blocking the Iron Gates on the Danube to halt. (And. without either contempt or envy for that of others-that. German and Russian (then still allies). a wise old Czech. who can be surprised? And who can wonder too that the best Serbs. (America was not yet in the war. "Everything we value. And those who did succeed in getting through to him spoke. that as our own forefathers too had not hesitated to make every conceivable sacrifice for the attainment of that ideal. The Serbs are the most democratic people in Europe. as I believed. German transport of munitions and oil to and from Rumania and Bulgaria. but far less influential on public feeling. As among our own grandfathers. I tried to spread the conviction that America. not excepting the Swiss. The totalitarian states are ready to sacrifice everything for their creed of loss of liberty for the common man. I gave up the half-dead British Legation in despair. I would return to the dignified simplicity of my own tradition.) Serbia is a land of self-respecting smallholders. there are handsome castles. profiting by and enjoying the splendid fruits of those sacrifices. so the present generation of Americans. was firm as ever in its great democratic principles and ideals. The minister. thoughtful men. and there are no castles in which to entertain with impressments. But in Croatia. for government by terror of the . notably lacking in a "keeping up with his lordship" complex.) Mihailovich has since carried out this plan with great success. Self-respecting pride in our own inheritance. there is no aristocracy in the sense of special privilege or a snobbish superiority based on titles or on great possessions. I said. It must be said that the British representatives moved only within the narrowest circle connected with the Court. The American representatives were much better mixers than the British. with gentle yet bitter irony of the fact that a well-worn golf bag was the first object that met the eye on entering the Legation door." said Imre Gal. in this hour of desperate crisis for their country. there are also no Serb servants. if only for a few days. "everything we treasure must be paid for without ceasing-or it is lost. by her lack of participation in the war. there are only friends who come to help you: servants in Belgrade were almost without exception of German or Croat extraction. as with our grandparents.

" said my dear friend Imre Gal. for government "of the people." "Then. Will Americans still be content to pay to the uttermost for their treasure of liberty? Are you sure democracy has not grown stale and uninspiring to them with use? Americans across the broad seas have forgotten what loss of liberty means. At that moment I felt humble and proud to be looked upon with such confidence as the interpreter of my country." Imre. does the American heart still beat strong. Tells us. like ants. My friends looked at me agonized. "then and only then will America save the great ideal of human freedom. It does. leaving only a still strong-looking surface. Secret penetration. I said: "It does. holding their breath with anxiety. Be sure. The seas are their Maginot Line. Then and only then will America save-herself.few over the many. useless! A new art has come into war.000 who died only a few days later in the fiendish Belgrade bombardment. Can they understand that loss of freedom anywhere means greater danger to their own? They think themselves safe. and eager for democracy? " There was a silence. alert. a hollow shell which-as in France-can crumble at a blow. with his wife and girl and boy whom I loved. for dictatorship. . by the people" not only for herself but for all the smaller democracies of the world. stronger than ever in her history. Useless. Yes. did not live to see my word made good: all four were among the more than 20. can eat away at the heart. including the Czech and the Serb. I hope he knows that America now fights. for the people.

It was unnecessary. and my countrymen surely will say with me. The Serbs are a hardy race. in all recent European history? In no other country in Europe did the rising generation take the lead and repudiate the compromising weakness of its elders. the Serbian children shall come first." Little did these men grasp what it really meant. in the provinces. their genius flowers best in hardship." Coming from a comparatively backward land. as standard-bearers of the old Serbian passion for "liberty at any cost whatever. had risen to the top in government. The children. most pitilessly butchered of all in Europe. They knew well not only their own history of massacres under Ottoman rule. marched the streets of Belgrade. There the children and their parents were heart and soul together: the flawed national product had tended to gravitate to Belgrade. Outside of Belgrade. Don't think they didn't know what they were doing. Some of these men. Men sent their sons abroad to study. but also the much more terrible record of German mass murders in Poland and Czechoslovakia. It was the voice of Serbia authentic old spirit of Serbia-breaking its slowly tightening chains. they had been unduly impressed with the wealth and success of other countries. mostly in Paris and Vienna. . this behavior of her children alone would be a sufficient star-sign of the destiny of Serbia. If there were nothing else in the record. more hopeful for the future. pitiful maturity. Because they stood most bravely for their national principle the Serbian children have been most murdered. to become "cosmopolitan. not as children but as Serbs. They were the "ascendancy class. through their foreign training." Is there anything more inspiring. and they were disgusted. in this hour of fateful choice for their beloved homeland." But their children still were sharp-eyed Serbs. "Bolje rat nego pact. "WE ARE SERBIAN CHILDREN" ON MARCH 23 I gave a poetry reading in a local club. This gave them a fierce. I say. that as the children of Serbia were the first and only children in Europe to rise and fearlessly to face the German horror.The Serbs Chose War. fed by the strong roots of Serbian tradition. They despised their un-Serbian fathers. They saw well and clearly. resulting in a complete and shocking decay of every moral fiber: they became denatured Serbs." the young voices shouted-"Better war than the pact!" The remarkable behavior of the children of Belgrade has been mentioned by correspondents in their books with something akin to contempt as a "diaper revolution. the children did not march. We ran out onto the balcony to watch one of the many demonstration marches of the Belgrade school children. After the last war a mild prosperity had resulted from the sudden exploitation of Serbia's rich resources. I say that after this war nothing in Europe will be more worth doing than to save and build up again the pitiful remnants that will be left of Serbian youth. Suddenly there was a great trampling of feet and shouting in the street below. Their Serbian self-confidence and ideals sometimes weakened. Ruth Mitchell 18. not excepting the Poles or even the Jews.

Long live Serbia!" . But they did not hesitate or waver. "We are Serbian children. undaunted march on. But the rest. For Serbian youth it was: Serbia free or nothing. For thousands upon uncounted thousands of them it has been-nothing.They knew.

In 1903 the students had voiced the revolt of the people against King Alexander Obrenovic. Most of them went about in a sort of daze of disbelief. They were so sure-so cocky and so sure: "The Gestapo will soon be in charge of everything. left for Germany in a steel train. the Prime Minister. A steady infiltration of German "businessmen" had been going on for some time." Immediately the streets became empty. Did these determined demonstrations of the students now portend another bloodbath? That night. Ruth Mitchell 19. I couldn't seem to sit still for five minutes. Then the storm broke. who with fixed bayonets broke up the meetings and processions. as related in Chapter I. And still the people didn't believe. my anxiety was intense. the Karageorgivich grandfather of the present King Peter II. then urged. the result was bound to be catastrophic for my friends. could bring himself to believe it. shouting: "Down with the traitors! Better war than the pact!" In Serbia the voice of the students. who was selling them out to Austria. all British nationals had been first advised. as I described in my first chapter. not even those who knew positively that it was going to be done. and at last peremptorily ordered by the British consul to leave the country. of stubborn. It was not least the students who in 1928 had forced King Alexander to drop the humiliating Concordat which would have bound the country in spiritual vassalage to Italy. feeling the Nazis creeping close upon their heels. I dined with the British correspondents. the Anglo-Americans having gone." It was embarrassing to face an audience which probably knew more about it than I did. had often proved ominous. including Terence Atherton. This revolt resulted in the death of the King and of Draga his wife and put on the throne King Peter I. of shame. of slowly kindling fury. Dispersed in one place. THE SERBS CHOOSE WAR ALREADY. The day came when Cvetkovich. For an hour or so Belgrade lay silent in a paralysis of horror. mute inability to envisage the possibility of Serbs tamely handing over the independence for which they had paid such a frightful price. He reported that the university students were demonstrating fiercely. expressing the real feelings of the people. That evening I was able to give an almost exact prediction of the course events would take. How absurd it seemed to try to read. and even said loudly. my houseman. defying the soldiers. At ten-fifteen on the morning of March 25 the news was flashed: "Yugoslavia has signed the Axis pact. of plans for revolution. At this time I gave a lecture at the Anglo-American Club on "The Serbian Character as Shown in the National Epics. Most of them had gone and most Americans too. they hurried round the corner and re-formed. into town. Knowing. I stayed quietly at home. What would be the outcome? Whichever way it went. One by one I picked up the charming things I had gathered that spoke so eloquently of a splendid history. It will be Bulgaria over again!" So they thought. hating the thought of watching curiously the humiliation of a proud small race. BY THE MIDDLE OF MARCH. blind. for they were all Serbs. I was so absent-minded that I felt I was hardly there. and Cincar Markovich the Foreign Minister.The Serbs Chose War. Up to the very last moment no Serb. trying vainly to read. Next day. . Toward evening I sent Michael.

had overthrown their timid pro-Axis government. March 27 1941. came to see me. so easily shaken. so at the mercy of political storms raised by the greater Powers. The drawing room was chilly. A commentator on the London radio that morning said: "The action that the Serbs have taken this day will prove to be the turning point of the war. A new star had arisen on the dark night of war. early on the morning of that day my friend M. so we sat round the fire in my small library. defeated but unbeaten. could not entirely approve.P.no matter what. one ear open for the telephone. Soon we were on our way downtown-I with my faithful camera. a greater tragedy than could ever be adequately written! In the afternoon four leading Montenegrin men came to see me. not just their own lives-that did not worry them-but the lives and the future of all their people. King Peter II. I was full of admiration for the spirit that prompted it. Although they were middle-aged they showed hardly a gray hair. They were neither Chetniks nor fliers. had put their boy-king on the throne. I mention the incident only to put it on record for the future. In spite of their modern clothes. it is an inspiring feeling to be vividly living history. Toward morning I must at last have fallen into a heavy sleep. like most Serbs with their passionate loyalty. were somehow undeniably akin." "If only Alexander. Balkan history will one day explain the significance of it. Listening to the pandemonium of rejoicing that poured out of the radio. "His son on the throne. with us.P. could never speak without tears of his soldier-king murdered by an organization of Croats. I cannot tell (in fact I have been anxiously begged not to say) who these men were and what they decided that day. it would be cut off. The Serbs had risen. as we were round himself on the Great Retreat in the last war. These men were facing a cataclysmic crisis in the affairs of their country. but not grown weakonly stronger and more patient. Montenegrins age very slowly." said M. only asking to fight again! If he can see us now he must be proud and happy. In these small countries. though I knew. As related in Chapter I. Because they are so small you seem always to be at the beating heart of their problems. we filled our glasses and drank a toast: "Zivio. his father. . the first real sign that Hitler was doomed to failure. when here I had the fortune to be myself living in a greater drama. round him. and defied the oppressors of mankind to do their worst." We emptied our glasses again to the memory of the dead king who had been his close friend. and warm color gave a curious kind of authenticity to the beautiful antiques surrounding them. Only this: they came to a certain remarkable decision. They were so huge they seemed to fill the whole room. On what they decided would depend." He was a good prophet.. A fateful day in the history of the world. Although I could not see altogether eye to eye with them. freed from his house-arrest. could see us now. I dozed fitfully. relics of the brave days of their own ancestors: they went well together. They had come in charming compliment to me to decide on policy affecting the future of the state of Montenegro. They had mellowed with time. their strongly cut faces. heavy eyebrows. That night. his Serbs. the Ustashi. and hoped. He. you can imagine.

brightest rags and tatters. at every main crossing. if any. As yet there were few. the joy. all in their finest. this is the end of Yugoslavia. unconsciously he made the gesture of crucifixion before the American and British flags. rather like the Flatiron Building. We stopped every two steps. I was lucky enough to photograph it (though my films were later all lost in the great Belgrade bombardment). a sort of solemn. The little. and not one but several men said to me softly: "Well. without any sophistry. How could these people welcome destruction. minus everything but their lives. undersized people." said this old Englishwoman grimly. The Serbs as a whole were still firmly loyal to Yugoslavia. giving rise to the contemptuous gibe that he wasn't a real Serb. I asked myself. including business houses and factories. trotted proudly. unmodern integrity of heart and mind: the only small nation to whom the old values were. For every Serbian man. England is on her own again!") Processions slowly pushed their way down the packed streets. had to have a procession too. crying at the tops of their shrill voices: "Cvetkovich is no Gypsy-no. large or small. We arrived before the Albaniya Building. every woman. and shouting "Bolje rat nego pact!-Bolje rat nego pact!" Every kind of organization was represented in these processions. carrying pictures of King Peter and hastily scrawled banners. grim joy. (I am reminded of what an old woman said to an acquaintance of mine in Dover when the English troops were being brought back. I slipped my Chetnik pass just a little from my breast pocket. and child knew that by repudiating the Prime Minister's signature they were declaring war on a Power that must certainly overwhelm them. or tanks. We met. M. as usual. It was curious and somehow comforting to see them commanded entirely by flying-corps officers. like Laval. disowned. standing. Spreading out his arms in joy.And what a town it was: flags everywhere. were guns. to the South Slav union. as the price of an age-old dream? I felt an enormous admiration for such clear. Every man-more. acclaimed on all sides. . When I started to do the same before the small Italian Travel Bureau. no. So now the Gypsies. who inhabit a special district in Belgrade. I think. the relief of the people that they were at last "themselves again" was as genuine as it was unbelievable. woman. from Dunkirk: "Well. directly into the main central square. had a very Gypsy cast of face.P. There was no hysteria: only joy. worn out. still the only possible right values. Yet the happiness. and the hand fell away and saluted. "thank God. even life-even the lives of those they loved best. Now it's Serbia again at last!" For already the news was spreading that Croatia was not taking part in the great defiance of Hitler. a policeman put his hand heavily on my shoulder and tried to turn me away. Other books have mentioned this episode.knew that they would in all likelihood lose everything they held most dear. Cvetkovich is not one of us!" Thus was the signer of the disgraceful pact cast out. already completely wrecked by the populace. everyone I knew. Serbian flags. even by the homeless Gypsies. I saw one very funny thing which I think no other foreigner saw. was. It happens that Cvetkovich. In every square. the Yugoslav flag. I also photographed the Nazi Information Center. An old Montenegrin appeared on the balcony to hang out the symbolic bunting that expressed Serbia's choice in the crisis. the largest and newest in Belgrade. bunched together in a gaudy crowd.

radio." said General Simovich. All the ministers of the Prince Paul government were taken into custody. SOMETHING NEW AND SOMETHING OLD GENERAL BORO MIRKOVICH's carefully laid plans had been perfectly carried out. the post office. had left for his country seat in Slovenia. and one which few if any other Balkan rulers would have dared to risk. was the only one to resist. however. When he arrived at the palace on Dedinje Hill. His train was stopped by telegram and forced to return to Belgrade. he did it tactfully. telephone. accompanied by the whole new Cabinet. His barricaded door had to be broken open. especially Cvetkovich. General Simovich. Alexander. something new in Balkan history. That morning I saw him as he drove back from his coronation slowly through Belgrade alone in an open car. Well they remembered the fate of other kings in Balkan history. was interesting. From this moment you will exercise your full sovereign power. to do the same. It suddenly struck him that the once-powerful regent was now ex. . "I salute you as King of Yugoslavia. at first intended to meet him. The others. telegraph. a revolver shoved into his hand. and ordered the servants. King Peter I submitted himself to election and urgently enjoined upon his son. the weaklings. Attention to detail made it a completely successful bloodless revolution. Cincar-Markovich. eager determination to be worthy of their loyalty. pride of his people. told to dress and. and newspaper offices were put under heavy guard. With perfect courage and calmness the boy assumed the great responsibility. I was told a charming tale of how General Simovich broke the news to the new boy-king. had been merely terrified. the Foreign Minister. He was never crowned. still confused with sleep. who was offered a cup of coffee to give him some semblance of self-control. Prince Paul. horrified. did not follow his father's wish. "Your Majesty.The Serbs Chose War. a significantly courageous thing to do in such a crisis. The Prince was politely given the opportunity to depart to Greece. It should be noted that the democratic tradition of Serbia is that their kings shall be elected. "I to arrest-the Minister of War?" he stammered. and then the two warmly grasped hands. ordered to go and arrest General Peshich. King Alexander. The manner of their arrest as described to me by M. Never has a boy more radiantly expressed joy. to avoid what he thought would be merely a passing unpleasantness. However. Ruth Mitchell 20. as King of Yugoslavia. "Wake the King!" they were terrified. and some discussion of suitable raiment took place. Only the general and one other minister met the train. but whose hand had shaken so wildly that he could not hold the cup. All government buildings. police. But he convinced them that he came as the King's friend. came out of his bedroom in his dressing gown. A certain captain who shall be nameless was wakened at midnight. There he was taken charge of by the British and with his family was transported to the hospitable land of Kenya. The handsome boy. the country he had agreed to stab in the back. the new Prime Minister.P." He bowed low.

as did also Milan Gavrilovich. American. and Miha Krek. whichever it turned out to be. Dr. Though he half-heartedly called upon the Croats to join the colors. a Slovene took his place. the Serbian Peasant Party. Machek's Peasant Guards shot down from the rear those Serb units which tried to defend the country. took service under Ante . returned to the same office. these. he had remained staunchly pro-Ally Professor Yovanovich. I have no doubt he will revert to sound Serb democratic tradition and submit himself to election for the satisfaction of his people and himself. And within only a few hours practically the whole of the autonomous government Machek himself had set up. General Simovich had tried to make his Cabinet representative of every side of public opinion but the pro-Axis groups (excepting. had fought with distinction in all the Balkan wars and in World War I. and had become in 1928 Chief of Air Staff. the leading Serb authority on international and constitutional law. who as Foreign Minister had for years tried to come to some fair working agreement with Italy. and other smaller groups. The Third Vice-Premier. less a statesman than a soldier. thus not only proving themselves ungrateful but also depriving themselves of orders for their factories. Kulovec. grudgingly negotiating guarantees of the continuance of Croat autonomy. Lacking cash. As it turned out." and on the radio in Zagreb ordered the Croats to follow Pavelich. who had for years worked for better relations with Russia. it was not Russia that helped Serbia. but little Serbia that helped to save Russia. Dr. was later killed in the Belgrade bombardment. Machek).) After the bombardment Machek still urged a humiliating peace with Germany. Bogolyub Yevtich who had accompanied King Alexander on his last fatal journey to Marseilles and discussed with him the plans which the King was then working out to reintroduce a democratic constitution for Yugoslavia. leader of the Croatian peasants. There were representatives of Montenegro and Bosnia. and British refusal to grant Yugoslavia credits for armaments. dictatorial. Instead of remaining with the King and Government: he returned to Croatia "to stay with his people. There is complete proof of these facts. Serbia's allies. Simovich himself. and unscrupulous form of government that had recently prevailed. immediately went over complete to the Axis. of course. Incredible as it sounds. Machek. took office as First Vice-Premier. Many of the new ministers were men popular and respected. Dr. But he sent two of his own representatives to remain with and to put pressure upon the Yugoslav Government in-Exile so as to be sure to be on the winning side. he had privately ordered his guards to prevent mobilization. He was at that moment in Moscow and in the next few days received and transmitted to Belgrade Russia's promise of help if Yugoslavia should be attacked.Although young King Peter II in the crisis was crowned in haste. In spite of this glaring stupidity on the part of the great democracies. as well as of the Slovene People's Party. joined the Cabinet. This order was carried out. He had his own military organization called the Croat Peasant Guard. it is a fact that the night before the King was removed to safety Machek secured the Government's signature to an agreement by which the Serbs would after the war ask for no change of frontiers to which the Croats had not agreed. including the police. who had retired from public life for years because of the un-Serbian. Ninchich. The Serbs are still "primitive" enough to believe that their word is binding upon them: Machek had the Government-in-Exile by the throat. Since then he had struggled to build up the Yugoslav Air Force despite French. accepted office under General Simovich after staying in Croatia for three days. refused to accept payment in Yugoslav produce. undemocratic. the new Croat leader put in by the Axis. (When Germany attacked. with Machek Second Vice-Premier.

Machek's own most trusted henchmen are now. the ex-patriate thug-organizer of the Ustashi. and the peasants upon Machek's own advice rushed to join or co-operate with the Ustashi. the populace received the Germans with wholehearted enthusiasm and bearing large signs: "The Croats and Germans Always Together. at this moment.000 Serbs long resident in Croatia. in charge of and carrying out the massacres and expulsion of not less than 1. . Even their latest "dear brothers" despised the traitors." Hysterical women jumped on the tanks and kissed the soldiers while the Germans looked on with-amused contempt. who had only a few years ago hailed the Serbs as their "dear brothers.200. As the photos and films of the Axis entry into Croatia show.Pavelich. Soon most of the intelligentsia of Croatia. responsible for the murder of the Yugoslav king." avowed their pro-Axis sympathies.

We fall in at the Slaviya. post office. about it. even secretive. people in retrospect may have the impression that I wore the uniform itself. Then all the uniformed Chetniks that happened to be in town. Jubilant crowds that morning came to see where doors had been broken down to arrest them. as if accustomed to mountain paths or to bearing heavy burdens. There were about ninety of these women. (Statements that I was seen in it are incorrect.) If I had worn it that day. Almost all. Will you march beside the Voivoda on his staff. BY THE TREATY OF March 27." I had already made up my mind. Ruth Mitchell 21. I went home to wait for the summons which I knew would come. I took my place directly behind the women in uniform. though I had once or twice worn the comfortable cap when riding. Their joy was intense but controlled. After hours of happy milling round and snatching a sandwich where we could in the seething restaurants. please. they were now at least equally good. Every German spy in Belgrade-and there were hundredswould be there watching. then hundreds upon hundreds of men and women who were not in uniform. To prove how sincere were her intentions. All were very strong. that I will certainly be there but not in uniform. Chetnik Headquarters telephoned. Even when they clapped each other hard on the back. etc.The Serbs Chose War. These men had been lodged mainly in the Hotel Astoria. then the women in uniform. there was something restrained. THE PATRIARCH GOLGOTHA GOES TO HIS GERMANY. First came the banners. there had arrived in Belgrade the night before the coup almost 150 Gestapo agents to take over control of the police. or do you think it advisable not to do so? He leaves it to your discretion. including Yanko. radio. quick turn of the eye that betokens habitual alertness. had that sharp. did not march. pressingforward carriage. it is unlikely that I should be here today to write this. Then the Voivoda Kosta Pechanats and the other leaders with their staffs. It came. As my riding clothes were also brown. and they were a good complement to the men. He will know why I consider it best. Those hundreds of others who wished to keep their membership secret. "Five o'clock. had promised Yugoslavia complete self-government. tanned and tough with hard work on the land." "Very well. very thin and wiry. Some of them had a slightly stooping. But if the reasons for secrecy had been good before. and in the chaffing that flew back and forth I said as little as possible so that my accent should not attract attention. silver-fringed flags bearing the silver skull and crossed bones. With broad-brimmed hat well down over my face and my fur collar turned up. newspapers. At five o'clock the Chetnik march started from the Slaviya Square. I had never been out in uniform. There must have been about two thousand altogether. the black. . All were country women. I was taken for granted by the women. "Tell the Chief." I was strongly tempted to take my proper place publicly.

And they were glad. . I noticed. the gentle old priest raised his hand in blessing while the light shone on his white hair and beard. a little dried-up old woman. sign of his high authority. The crowds on the pavement pressed in so close that it was hard to pass.These women were the real thing." Then we moved on. was like nothing so much as a weasel. They must expect to die for it. . managing souls who felt called upon to take charge and push the others about a little. They were ready for anything. One sound alone was heard: issuing from half-open mouths. more or less in fours. and we had to show our passes. . They were not opened. on the great jeweled ring. They were the unique product of a unique historythe ultimate in that ultimate question of human survival: "Your life or mine!" At the Milosha Velikog corner there was a barrier of soldiers. eager boy he looked. the supreme head of the Serbian Church. I was ashamed mine looked so new. more or less in line. and on the jeweled cross upon his breast. were quite worn. No one paid them much attention. There was no band. his expression was benign yet stern. the low mutter of the Chetnik marching song: . A splendidly happy. large and heavy. He said that what Serbia had stood for through the ages and what Serbia stood for now liberty to rule themselves and to worship God as they chose-was well worth dying for. now ready . This was a Serb of Montenegro. Standing under the heavy Byzantine arch. We made a swing round the main streets and drew up before the residence of the Patriarch of the Serb Orthodox Church. Anything less exhibitionist could not be imagined. Kralja Petra Drug II [Long live King Peter II!]. There was a low murmur of complete assent. How happy I felt to be among these women! They were primitive if you like-primitive as were our own great-grandmothers who went West with their men and fought the Indians. being the product of a fierce history which taught them that only ferocity and cunning could enable them to survive the attacks of cunning and ferocious enemies. Through a deep lighted arch above the doorway. They were fierce too. But there was very little cheering." Before the palace we halted and sang the national anthem while the new king took the salute. if anything more quietly than before . "Ready. dark-browed fighters in their picturesque Chetnik dress was like an illustration straight out of some old book of legendary tales. In front marched the women with decorations. a man of their own stock and after their own heart. That was all. . not even a whistle. Her breast was so loaded with medals won in the last World War as almost to pull her stooped figure forward. . I expected noisy cheering. a very fine example of the Byzantine art to which the Serbs are heir. the Patriarch Gavrilo stepped out upon a small carvedstone balcony. but there was practically none from the Chetniks-just a few shouts of: "Zivio. keeping time to our almost soundless tramp. His words were few and simple. and the light shining out through the low rounded arches upon the group of stern. they knew what they were about. Some. It was now getting dark. Gray-bearded. We marched informally. Even for the Serbs a Chetnik march causes a certain chill of the spine. I noted two husky. One.

no doubt. As he passed. it seemed. praying and weeping. as we all were. this ancient monastery was built in front of a cave to commemorate the time when the Serbs had put up a desperate defense there against the Turks. I still believed it. after most of Serbia had been overrun by the Axis. Never while there lives a Serb will that passing of their old Patriarch Gavrilo be forgotten. that I was simply engulfed) and. at the point of a bayonet. in Montenegro. by making it appear ridiculous in the person of its Patriarch. Thus. "England and America." My God. They almost tore me to pieces. thought the Nazis. This was the way of it. they would humiliate the Church of the Serbs. two hundred miles. "England and America will be with us. He threw his arms round me (he was so large. And over the rough roads. This is how they did it. most of us never to meet again. They left him naked except for his shirt. his overcoat so vast. shouting with happiness. So they transferred him from Podostrog to a monastery about thirty miles from Belgrade. who had withdrawn to the monastery of Podostrog. mile upon painful mile. These people of iron selfcontrol shed tears of joy at what they thought a splendid omen. he cried to the women: "This lady is English and American. and Serbia –together!" That was on March 27. America. hatless in the burning Balkan summer. M. They hugged me. through Montenegro. feeling much moved. And exactly six weeks later the old priest set out on his own Road to Golgotha. We went home at last after a crowd of us in a near-by restaurant had raised our glasses of slivovits to "England. even his shoes. They took from the old man everything.P. . And be sure they rose again immeasurably strengthened in courage and resolution by the dignity of the latest martyr of the Serbian Church. the Germans had brought against him the preposterous charge of stealing state property. our brothers!" "England and America. "England and America will stand by Serbiathey will stand by Serbia's side. and Serbia. On May 9. the Patriarch's children of all ages knelt down by the roadside. Within ten days we were dispersed. I believed I spoke the truth. Because the head of the Church had taken with him for safekeeping the Serbian crown jewels." they cried. had to pat me. He caught sight of me and hurried down. kissed me-everyone. the Germans seized the Patriarch Gavrilo. they made him walk. the unconquerables. He blessed them as he passed. Did they succeed? It seems that their most cunning schemes are invariably self-defeating. Remote in the mountains. over the mountains and through the deep valleys. leaving. footprints of blood upon the stony road. She is a Chetnik. Bosnia." I said soberly but very happy too.Again a murmur of "Ameris" and a movement as all devoutly crossed themselves. She is one with us!" After a moment of great surprise the women surrounded me. was with the Patriarch as he blessed my brothers and sisters the Chetniks for death.

I was not alone in fearing that the Croats would change sides. and we knew that Serbia was in a frightful position with small hope of effective help.The Serbs Chose War. Promises were made. they could have got almost any price. They believed them. Rumanian. and also Russia were the decisive consideration. But no. They have a curious tender streak in term. Colonel William J. Ruth Mitchell 22. personal emissary of President Roosevelt. But I could not prove it. The campaign in Syria had come just at the wrong moment. In a war aimed just as much at America as at Europe. Bulgarian. and Albanian frontiers of Yugoslavia. even if I knew positively. I was sure that the Croats meant treachery. We knew there were at least thirty Axis divisions besides columns of tanks and a vastly superior air force massing on the Austrian. We knew only that the Serbs would fight. If the Serbs had bargained for their resistance.because the Serbs are like that. For them those promises by England. Would America at least send us planes? How often in that time I thought of my brother General Billy! If only he had been alive. I believeanyone who knew the people well believes-that the Serbs would have done what they did if we had given them no promises at all. And slowly my hopes of effective help began to sink. Treachery is foreign to their own natures. Would the British be able to disengage a sufficient force to be effective in the Balkans? It seemed to me desperately unlikely. A gentlemen's agreement is so agreeable gently to forget! Anxiously. we weighed the situation. how well that good fighter would have understood and loved the Fighting Serbs! . Italian. America. it was a "gentlemen's agreement. At such times the onlooker sees more than the participants. the Serbs gave us without price the three most vital months in the annals of civilization. hence they cannot predict it in others. They were not kept. PROMISES INSTEAD OF PLANES ENGLAND AND AMERICA had certainly promised to send effective help. The leaders took a more pragmatic view. in the following days. Serbia at the end would present no bill-that I knew. By the people as a whole those promises were not much considered. which I don't. But history would write down her figures and add them up. Hungarian. however: that the public impression was of promises both large and definite. narrow but stubborn. so far as I know-that they would go completely berserk. How much had been promised would not be for me to say. To these we could hope to oppose only fourteen complete divisions. I can say this. almost none of which was wholly reliable because of the admixture of Croatian troops. There was no misunderstanding-it does us no good to hedge at this date. But I did not dream-nor did anybody else. they did not weigh heavily in causing them to resist domination at any cost. Would the final sum in America's account with little Serbia be written in black or-red? I wondered. Donovan. And the Serbs could or would not believe it." And the Serbs carried out their part. had been in Belgrade (I was in Sofia at the time).

I was to act as liaison officer on the Chetnik staff. But if there was truth in the belief. George sitting on his battle charger. But mainly because of their lack of admixture with Croats. i.. and the army of Serbia is fighting still. in the most important place I could get to. and my American passport would be invaluable. We had our secret airfields in the mountains. America was not yet in the war. would on April 3 fly to Germany and disclose to the enemy the position of every one of these airfields. The Montenegrins were sweeping the Italians into the sea when Yugoslavia collapsed behind them. and the Chetniks are fighting splendidly today. He died. fighting for his dream of air power to which America had turned a deaf ear. . also ignored? There was little. inspiring. And who can say that he has not done so? We believed that the Army could hold for fourteen days-with great good luck for twenty days.. that I could do. the Chetniks. held by men through the ages. and Italian. and leading the shattered remnants of a defeated army and an undefeated organization of guerrilla fighters. French. Must the Serbs now die fighting. partly because they would be fighting the Italians. chief of the Fourth District of Aviation. We could not guess that the Croat Colonel Kren. my job would be to act as intelligence officer. We calculated that the flying field at Podgoritsa. Arms and munitions were hidden in caves and buried in the forests in places where of old the Serbs had known how to stand. the single-minded will to liberty of the Serbs would produce one of the most brilliant military figures of the war. which were. German. Everything turned out much worse and also better than we thought we could expect. would go into action.e. and his face seemed to change to that of my brother. Fliers can't be "coerced. today. we. We could not guess that. then my brother would help me to help the Serbs. when the Army fell. (This man is now a general of the army of the Independent State of Croatia and chief of Croat aviation. of course. in survival after death. immediately bombed out of existence. spy. almost two years later.. Though my Serbian was certainly weak. And the horse changed to a plane. of the Royal Yugoslav Army. The Chetniks fought splendidly from the beginning. Then. faced with an impossible situation. We believed that the Montenegrins would give the best account of themselves: partly because of their eagerness for the fray and their pride in never having been conquered. combining. on the Montenegrin-Albanian frontier. General Draja Mihailovich. I was to make for that point and proceed from there to wherever my services would be most useful.. so very little. What we had no means of foreseeing was that a great leader would arise with a brain and a personality capable of reorganizing.") My own role was to be this: if the British succeeded in landing in force on the Greek coast and coming up through Macedonia. We were proved right.I looked at my St. But-my brother was dead. I saw him leading a great flight of American planes across the seas to help the Serbs. would be the very last to fall. I spoke sufficient of the other necessary languages. \ If the British did not succeed in getting through. The army of Yugoslavia collapsed in eight days. which has made such a brilliant record against the Russians.

those grim men who. These were the words as I remember: "Die Bomben fallen und jetzt in diesem Augenblick steht schon ganz Belgrad in Flammen.) . But it had come a little sooner than we had expected. to the early Sunday market. But it was coming. Ruth Mitchell 23. April 6. Then I filled the bathtub. as my household followed invariable custom. In that slanting early light it was like the inside of a jewel case. as usual. My mind seemed to act quite mechanically. level with the ground. and in which my role had been assigned. I watched them thoughtfully as I began to pour my tea and turned the short-wave radio knob. shrieking with that hysterical fervor with which the Nazis bemuse their own people but which long since has left the rest of the world contemptuously cold. Just as I buckled on my dagger the first bomb fell.The Serbs Chose War. the women in their bright embroidered clothes. Suddenly from the small brown instrument there burst a bellowing. I am confident that this is correct. I ran into my bedroom to pull on my Chetnik uniform. as I knew the water mains would be smashed at once. my Cossack houseman Michael placed my breakfast tray as usual in front of the radio in the sitting room of my house on the Slaviya hill of Belgrade. Belgrade was absolutely quiet. the men in somber dark. That "master race" reduced by him to a savagery worse than any ever known in the savage old Balkans. the words were Hitler's message to [*Correspondents dealing with the Belgrade bombardment give various tunes agreeing neither with each other nor with this. [The bombs fall and already now this instant all Belgrade is in flames. It was a lie. this raucously heralded doom. I came from my bedroom through my little library. passed unhurried but more silently. I steadied on the wave length. First I tipped over the cage of my pet magpie to give it at least a chance of life. more grimly than usual. screaming. after all. must be expecting it. Should I rush out and cry to them to hide? No use. we all knew it must come. A TORCH IS LIT WHICH SHALL NEVER GO OUT AT SIX-FORTY* on Sunday morning. At any moment now immeasurable horror would descend on these humble people from the blue morning sky. for the bath was almost immediately filled with collapsed ceiling. (Useless. I listened: no sound but the jingling of milk carts in the streets and the shuffling of unhurried peasant feet. It was war-the war in which I had already enlisted. They would only think it panic. Yes. and there flowed into my lovely room words which I knew meant that in a matter of minutes my little house with all the age-old beauty it contained would almost certainly be wiped forever from the earth. Outside my windows. raucous German voice.]" The voice was Ribbentrop's. the dark-browed Serbian peasants. rich with the antique treasures I loved so much.

smooth sound like the tearing of heavy silk the neighboring houses began to collapse. then near. It drove like something solid through the house: every door that was latched simply burst off its hinges. Soon the cordite fumes. with a weird. I pushed her under the stairs. it appears. so little considered or understood by the outside world. My cellar was deep. strangling. It wasn't the noise or even so much the concussion. silent. The effect was almost inconceivable. yellow.crash!-against the wall. The ceilings fell with hardly a noticeable sound in the earth-shaking uproar. every pane of glass flew into splinters. Sultana. . I believed in these people. so low I felt I could almost strike the pilots in the face. contorted attitudes. Now far.. I tried to push Michael too. indeed of immediate vital importance. At every crash I would cry out to my poor Sultana. rolled in to obliterate' the scene. dull explosions multiplied-came nearer . usually stand up longest when houses collapse. The screams of Stukas diving on the town were at first far off. it's over!" She merely sobbed frantically.." (He walked out into the garden to see what there was to see. Everything that stood loose hit the opposite wall and was smashed." Each time there was a really big explosion we were knocked. to me. Again the bombs were falling. you're safe. "no walls can protect me.The ominous. There came a moment of comparative lull. "If God wills it-if God wills it-if God wills it. . and one had a frantic flash of thought that it might not start again. I had planned what to do. Then. and no muscular control could prevent a dizzying blow on the back of the head. this peasant race of Serbs. thick and fast. was knocked over several times and simply got up again!) Now the real fun started. like yells of fiends from the inferno. I ran to a smashed window. . . nearer. The heart stopped. There in the street among piles of stones men and women lay still in strange. but that little gray-haired Cossack wasn't to be moved from his matter-of-fact calmness: "If God intends that I shall die." he said. the curtains stood straight out into the room and fell back in ribbons. I admired them greatly-so much so that I had taken the serious step of throwing in my lot with them and pledging my own life to help them. depended the answer. and on and on. As they came closer they were like no sound ever heard in all the universe. . thick.. I had a surge of uncontrollable wild fury as these ferocious birds with their earsplitting noise swooped down to lay their eggs of death. now that they were getting what they had been asking for. It was the perfectly appalling wind that was most terrifying. the Stukas shrieked and stooped like hawks upon our very chimney pots. but vaulted with bricks which would be sure to shake down on us. now reduced to gibbering prayer: "Once you hear it. held her breath. . So when my cook Sultana began to scream. Was their near-by market just a deep hole lined with crushed bodies and stalls? How had they reacted? That question was of pressing interest. and I had time to wonder what had happened to those men and women who just a few minutes ago were tramping so calmly past my windows. some not more than twenty yards away. Stairs. Bomb after bomb exploded all round us. Had I been wrong? On how they reacted.

of course. many of whom were themselves covered with blood. breathless-waiting. to my hand.The thunder of their engines seemed like hellish laughter: "Down. I decided to remain a little longer. Now I had work to do. when it came again. Michael was calmly helping. This time? No. When you have taken into your care some small fraction of the beauty of past centuries. This time? No. undefended city? What's that to us. gasping. No one ran screaming." She clung. Although my business was to get as quickly as possible to my post on the Montenegrin-Albanian frontier. I didn't count them. his short gray hair on end. and away-what fun! Belgrade an open. The four-story wall next door looked pretty steady to me. There were two unexploded incendiary bombs imbedded in the pavement just outside my windows. slanting ruin. beside their parents. it will pass. grabbed a few things. We had been left alive. . Still alive." No use standing to argue with this stubborn fellow. Sultana threw her arms round my neck and kissed me. up. well. My plans had long been made. that was a close one. you are the guardian of it for just your little instant in the long roll of time. Again we went through what seemed hours but was perhaps only twenty minutes of hellish noise. I heard not a single sound. madam. The town lay stunned." We jumped out to look. and both streets now were blocked with rubble.. ambled in and stood looking thoughtfully at the floor as if bored. kissed him." A lull. We knew well from friends in Poland and Czechoslovakia . "Come with us. and showed it. in an eerie silence. calling loudly. . that one. of struggling for breath. Hardly had we got the wounded down the street to the near-by hospital. Sultana consulted with her husband. to us. Nevertheless I ordered the two servants to take what they valued most and make for a cottage they had in a village outside Belgrade. I ran out into the street. come-come with us!" Michael also begged me to go. it must pass. the splendid Masterfolk? We are the bearers of -all the world's culture. My house was a corner one. "Everybody here leave at once! The house next door is going to fall on this one. Every time we reeled and steadied again he looked up at me with his quizzical little smile: "Well. The crashing of the bombs faded to dull booms and died away. Very few people even had come out. and a policeman stuck his head through a smashed window. Sultana. A few children stumbled. My collections were to have gone out of town to be buried in the garden of friends in a cement cellar prepared for them. The bodies were already being carried across the piles of masonry by people. I was pleased.. madam. dazed and dizzy. I spoke to Michael sharply: "You go tool" He shook his old head: "I remain with you. and ran down the street. absolutely silent and grim. This time I saw the swarm of planes high in the sky darting down toward us. a nightmare of bulging. The view both ways was weirdly unrecognizable. The people were silent. Still alive. and this is it-ha-ha!" . I went back into my house-that seemed the only thing to do. her tears wet on my cheeks. For there was something I felt it was my duty to do. shouting for help. If I had deserted my lovely things at this moment I should have been ashamed all the rest of my life.. How was it possible! "Be quiet. Now Michael.just standing it.

especially the reserve officers. M. At last it was done. He therefore ran as fast as his legs could go out of town to a friend who still had an ancient nag not taken for the Army. Boxes and bags stood ready. little golden mules. He wandered. I calculated too that the neighboring wall couldn't fall as far as the library. All our plans had been made for Thursday.that the Germans. and let them bump down by themselves. The bombers again drew away. Lovely icons. but I would see. get down. It is best to say here what happened to old Michael the Cossack from the Don. I called for Michael. and he was violently thrown. were ruthless looters and thieves. and rode post-haste directly into the terrible rain of bombs. And in the deathly stillness I was startled by the noise they made! Now to find the quickest means of getting down to Montenegro. Again the choking cordite fumes. I was blown off my feet. Tears came to my eyes. despite the protesting cries of its owner. Could he have deserted me after all? I sat down for the first time since my early tea. scissors. because anything I could get into the cellar would almost surely be protected both from the elements and from greedy German eyes. The horse was killed under him (I later passed the body). bracelets. beside an overturned cart from which milk had flowed in long white streams..P. lay the mangled body of a beautiful horse. scrambled up. to the evident delight of the horse. particularly of antiques. He had no doubt bred it himself. gave them a shove. and my chief was not to be back in town until Tuesday. he would quickly look up and down the street to make sure he was not observed. then by foul. trays. I dragged the bags and trunks to the top of the cellar stairs. if not. That faithful soul decided that it was his duty to get me out of Belgrade-by fair means if possible. With flying haste I began to pull down exquisite brocades and mantles. Then. If now the house next door was going to fall on mine it would be lucky.. swords. I knew that horse. to drag from teak and mother-of-pearl chests fragile silk bedspreads heavy with gold embroidery. guitars. a flier. A breathing space. It's extraordinary how hard it is just to pick things up and put them into a box when the house is staggering and you are wondering how many seconds you are still going to be alive. He knew that if anything could tempt me to flight it would be a horse. At the corner. Taking the horse's head between his hands. Back came those murderous bombers. Now to get the things into the cellar. had left for Skoplye. A particularly handsome peasant boy used to stop his small milk cart at my corner. wrought candlesticks. as if every mouse in the town were holding its breath or was dead. But Michael wasn't there. shell-shocked. snuffboxes. for I remembered a little scene I had witnessed so often from my windows in the early mornings of that snowy winter. since it was obviously the pride of his heart.. he would kiss it quickly on the nose. So I had to be my own porter. take off his long sheepskin coat and put it over this very horse. He seized the beast. . and threw things in with frantic haste. I ran out into the street. back to his village and his wife. The silence round me was uncanny. The railway? Surely that would be destroyed.

but few were heavily loaded. clinging to hands or skirts as if perhaps going to church but with no sign of fright. Refugees were beginning to move up the street out of the town. All the interior lay wrecked and naked to the eye. And in their branches were parts of human bodies. The most imposing building in all Belgrade was the great frowning gendarmerie headquarters. no more the pennies anxiously garnered for their mothers. despairing relatives. with their careful maps. were slowly trying to collect. . for it will haunt me while I live. For them no more shivering in the chilly mornings. I heard afterwards that three hundred and sixty policemen waiting there in reserve had been killed by one of the first bombs. halfway up. The hole was enormously deep. but received such a shocked look from a passer-by that I dropped it again. I don't like architectural terrorization any better than any other kind-to me it always seems a confession of weakness. Was it because these people. even in color. arms. quietly beside their parents. I saw a wonderfully impressive proof of the instability of power. were inured to losing their possessions? The order and absolute silence of the crowd were striking. eyes and teeth gleaming with bright smiles. pitifully hopeless. and I had avoided passing it. Children trotted busily. It had always annoyed me. How eagerly. through long tragic history. Only stunned movement. could reproduce the gory shambles of this sceneshowed weeping. had gone especially for the air-raid shelters (very few in this "open" city)-and especially for those meant for school children. The Germans. Looking down the next street. these boys used to bargain! Many of them had been my friends. hung loose. And now? In one small second those heavy granite walls had been blown about the neighborhood in fragments. Most carried bundles. long march. Little. where small boys had just had time to set up their humble baskets. were now strewn with treasured oranges and flowers. dazedly heavy and fumbling of movement. Trees uprooted lay tumbled as in the old game of spillikins. legs. and its kindly master's body had been carried away. making a morning's walk gay with the chaff we exchanged. Most horror photographs-though none. It was not more than two hundred yards across the roofs from my house. Cars lay overturned and flattened. I came upon a sight I wish I might never have seen. Street corners.Now the well-loved animal was just torn meat. Hurrying through a narrow choked passage. merry flames-blown out! I stooped to pick up a narcissus. no more joyous success with the first customer. so small-which other humans. Here in a little park one of these had received a direct hit. The carts and prams piled high with awkward goods that one saw in the pictures of French refugees were noticeably absent. and the elevator. their mothers and fathers. slow. and blood was everywhere. heads-so small. They weren't even hurrying particularly-they looked just calmly prepared for a long. Here there were none-no tears and no despair. ridiculously helpless.

The airfield. I made up my mind we would walk until we could meet other transportation. leaving them to rummage round my wrecked bedroom for whatever clothes they could find to wear. Soon I had to walk in the middle of the street. Yet not one person stooped to pick up anything. Belgrade. There was no use hunting vaguely through the town. sitting politely on two chairs they had turned right side up. when the Gypsies moved in and began looting. In places one's boots literally crunched on candy and costume jewelry. The whole neighborhood was just a shambles. It did not matter: we knew what we had to do. Mrs. There a press car stood with the newspapermen ready to move off. silk stockings. Chetniks who are strangers to each other never salute or speak. They had a country place in the direction I must take: we would proceed together. but in their night clothes. and run down into the cellar of their apartment house. They were not needed until that night. It would be many a day before a train left from there. and even those acquainted only acknowledge this with a quick lift of the eyebrow. A number were shot. The car obviously would be filled to extreme capacity. burn!" Chetniks stood at the corners with drawn guns to keep order. Not long afterwards a policeman came in and yelled: "Get out quickly. each with a white. no one even turned to look. Not a soul was doing anything to stop it. I saw several acquaintances with cars overflowing with humanity. the heat too great on each side. seized their dogs and a packet of money. very dear Serbian friends of mine. I ran down to the station. which was entirely deserted. not even tired. beady-eyed lapdog in her arms. C. books. The sight of these fashionably smart ladies sitting in the midst of all the wreckage quite formally. There was nothing that could be done. of course. I now met an acquaintance in the force who stopped just long enough to inform me that our headquarters had ceased to exist. The next wave of bombers arrived just as I got home. First I went to the American Legation. What was my surprise to see. in which they soon joined. discussing ways and means. and her daughter. jewelry. fine furniture. nibbling sausages and. was too much for me: I burst into shouts of laughter. They were grimly undismayed.. When there came another lull I ran out to settle the transport business. to the accompaniment of screaming Stukas. cases of cigarettes lay flung on the sidewalk. shoes. I hurried back to my house on the off chance that some friend might have turned up with a car. The water works had been the first German target: "Burn. would be the first thing completely smashed up. B. china. Ever since then they had been dodging here and there under whatever cover they could find but headed towards my house. In the interior of the shops the greedy flames were already licking with their red-white tongues. radio apparatus. the "Fifth Avenue" of Belgrade. had sprung up. . the elder the wife of a Serbian general at the front. We sat on my cellar stairs. They had been fast asleep when the first bombs fell. After snapshots had been taken I hurried on to the British Legation.On the principal shopping street. the building itself burning fiercely. the house above you is burning!" Everything they possessed in town was gone. the younger the widow of a well-known novelist.

to protect them in case the house fell. and under my raincoat. was very petite and graceful. But a bright peasant shawl on her white curls made her look more beautiful than ever. But among those who have been educated abroad a sort of nervous compensation sometimes sets in that produces completely unashamed. They were in a hilarious state." They were pop-eyed at seeing me in uniform. "If you are to die. passing the Ministry of War. while army clerks stood helpless round the doors. I myself had an automatic. they had stowed the contents in the most convenient place. Fortunately there are very. "We are accustomed to die. My last remains of fine ten-year-old Zemun wine. Then one realizes that death is really the least of their worries." That is the old natural unspoiled Serb. So I took them down into the cellar and begged them to help me to pile up logs and all sorts of heavy articles on top of my treasures. until the test comes.I hurried back. Their old saying. "Stay here-we will hide and look after you. Upon my return to my house I found there my two young "guardians. They went into an anxious huddle and immediately began making determined efforts to persuade me to remain in Belgrade. But I thought that in the next few hours we should need what wits we had." has been so much quoted that one begins to suspect that there is something theatrical. and most of them fled the country in good time." is their attitude. I told them that I proposed to make for the coast and "try to get out of the country. they offered. so I could afford to be amused at their baffled. I poured the rest down the drain. insincere about it. while carrying things. up. After searching those I took occasion. The Germans are sure to be here soon. up and at 'em-we are lucky ever to have been alive at all. whom I had expected." the German agents. very few of these. They were completely at a loss except for their obvious determination to cling to me as long as possible. But here they were. with great protestations of chivalry. Then. to stop me from doing it. I wonder if there is any other race in the world that has such a nonchalant attitude towards death as the Serbs. "but if it's in a good cause. having decided that it would be a shame to leave good bottles for bad Germans. and you will be the only American behind the lines. for. and the old book excuse. with heavy. Helmuth and Igon. The two German agents took turns carrying my sleeping bag. . why-too bad. I could see. For this they had to take off their coats. of rakiya and mastic. indeed hoped. billowing black smoke. So we had one more glass each. my extra riding boots looked huge. undecided behavior. which was burning sullenly. never to see again. eager to know what I was going to do and intending. then. I was not sure to what lengths they would go to prevent my leaving. This explained in part the extreme confusion of military orders later. Only think what wonderful work you could do!" etc. I decided that we would make for my cook's cottage outside Belgrade and there look for a conveyance. My two women friends had clothed themselves bizarrely in odds and ends of my belongings. Her mother had found no shoes big enough and had decided to stick to her bedroom slippers. and it was necessary to find out if they were armed. contemptible cowards. if possible. Yanko and three other men friends of mine now arrived to see if I was still alive. B. amidst funereal lamentations. now had worn pretty thin. to bump into them from all sides and made sure they had no guns. if it is for nothing. which hung in folds almost to the ground. to save from the enemy in the same way. One of the first three bombs had blasted it.

alone. I put my arm across his shoulder and. Near the outskirts of town we saw a dead white horse. Something had to be done. I stayed beside him. always up last-while Yanko walked peacefully on with his flag. my countrymen. Are you. gazing up undismayed and absolutely helpless at the flying devils in the sky. At the first large street crossing an officer jumped out of a car and angrily ordered him to get rid of it. shrugged his shoulders. no!" "I will carry my country's flag wherever and whenever I blankety-blank well please.No sooner were we outside my gate than we discovered to our horror that Yanko was proudly bearing an enormous Yugoslav flag on a long pole. He stood there stubbornly. At that instant he exactly represented the whole spirit and situation of the Serbs. The safest thing to do in a German air raid is to go and lean against a cow! It was amusing to see with what wholehearted terror the two Germans. do likewise?" Less numerous answers-since the planes were nearer-of. slowly wound up the flag. he began a grandiloquent harangue: "I am a Serb. It turned out to be the one on which Michael had tried to rescue me. my countrymen. On we went. I begged him to leave it behind. but he only laughed. ashamed of it?" Stern barks from the crowd: "No. I had an inspiration. and no blankety-blank-blank German or anyone else [glaring at the officer. Limping painfully. This is the flag of my country-I am not ashamed of it. "Yes. My country is Yugoslavia. legs apart. . I stumbled and cried out that I had twisted my ankle. crouching beside fences or trees to let the planes pass by. Wouldn't YOU. the dear fellow. I am a Serb. without his being aware of it. This made Yanko angry. and drove off] is going to scare me out of carrying it. Am I right?" Since everyone had now hastily taken shelter in surrounding ruins. pointing to the German planes which were again approaching low down and reminding him that he was endangering not only himself but everyone in his vicinity. As we emerged into open country this bright bunting became a really serious danger: people were fleeing from us as much as from the Germans. if there was one. threw themselves into dirty corners. Addressing a crowd of refugees that quickly collected around us. was inaudible in the crashing explosions. machine-gunning anything that moved-except cows or geese: that would have been wasting future German food. sprang into his car. the answer. yes! " "Yes. greatly concerned. climbing over wreckage and skirting deep bomb holes. the great flag in hand. Yanko. who laughed. Helmuth and Igon. The planes were now flying low. Soon he was walking proudly as ever with what was no more conspicuous than a painted pole. needing assistance every time the damned thing got loose again. ran up.always down first.

he too had his duties to perform. And Belgrade was burning. etc. alone in the darkness and silence-dark but for the glare from the burning capital.Now a curious thing happened. Soon we reached Michael's village and his tiny cottage. My friends. chickens killed. The great city along the Danube seemed to be one blazing bonfire. The two small rooms and the chicken-filled garden were crowded with friends. and here the noisy panic was in striking contrast to the silent grimness of the steadily tramping Serbs. I swore to myself that while there was breath in my body I would fight to save what those monsters of cruelty would leave of a people whose dream they could never understand. and walked on. he did the honors of his home in the royal manner. Often later. and slowly sink away. surrounded me and begged me not to do it: it was an officer's horse. As night came down the sight was weird and terrible. Through and above the clouds of fire they darted unceasingly. ran from a side street and stopped right in front of me. twisting away into the sky. bitterly disappointed. evidently much loved. fourteen of us disposed ourselves on the two beds and on the floor. swooping and diving. grandeur in the unchecked flaming of its heart. Everything was put at our disposal: carefully hoarded provisions were brought out. Perhaps I might now be with General Mihailovich and my Chetniks. Germany had lit the great beacon of her "civilizing mission" in the Balkans. He was still dizzy and a little vague from the shock of his dashing failure. As darkness began to fall. There was grandeur in the great city's loneliness. I walked up and down. writhing. glare fiercely for a while. grandeur even in its utter helplessness. instantly guessing my thought. those messengers from hell. a dying signal to the libertyloving peoples of the earth. And sure enough a soldier was already madly tearing down the street after the animal. Sullenly the heavy clouds of smoke rolled upwards. But none could raise a hand to help. A stray horse. And here my dear old Michael. The Serbs had dared to dream of liberty. We were without lights. billowing. mostly Russian women and children. in the endless days and nights of prison. My almost uncontrollable instinct was to jump on its back and ride away south to the mountains. And still with demonic diligence and glee they rained destruction on destruction upon the pitifully supine city. . even so. it seemed to me that they had burst up from the infernal regions of ancient myth. was king. reflecting on their black bellies the angry glare that must have been visible for hundreds of miles across the huge river and the limitless flat plain. Great tongues of flame would burst up suddenly. and a few old men. a handsome black animal. skimming away and back again. I turned my back. probably more immediately important than mine. Now their murdered capital flamed. Watching the winged fiends of this holocaust. I had no right to steal his mount. I used to think of how differently things might have turned out if I had obeyed my instinct. but the house was on a little hillside with a free view over Belgrade. We passed through a village almost entirely inhabited by Gypsies. I was full to the brim and running over with fury. up and down the little bricked path of the garden. silent but for the sound of bursting bombs. beautifully saddled and bridled.

to urge upon me that if I tried to proceed I should certainly be caught between the two lines of converging Germans. I couldn't stand watching it. the while they placidly discussed the weather! They listened to all my arguments pro and con. But which way? People began running in with the strangest rumors. and without a moment's hesitation decided to come with me. But Helmuth was noticeably weakening. Little. . "German tanks have already crossed the frontier and are nearing Belgrade. was placed in the shelter of a little grove of trees not fifty yards behind the cottage. they stood by themselves so that I shouldn't see how delighted they were. the purpose being to persuade me to return to Belgrade. had formed a suicide squadron and had sworn to try to ram the enemy planes." Igon seized upon this last." Too absurd for contradiction. Ruth Mitchell 24. looking very fresh and bright. "The British are sending a whole fleet of river boats up the Danube to defend Belgrade. obsolete Yugoslav fighting planes had now arrived to engage the great bombers. There were a large number of Montenegrins in the Flying Corps. It wasn't until much later that I heard what had happened at Zemun. I went in to put the alternatives before them. hastily brought back from the south. At last I found a grizzled old fellow who was planning to remove his family southward. GOOD-BY. seeking out the battery. Soon the German planes would be attracted to our village. He agreed to make room for us and to come to fetch us. We decided to walk round the city toward the southwest in order to reach the railway at some miles down the line where it might still be working. HELMUTH! TOWARDS DAWN it became impossible to sleep even by snatches. It was time therefore to move. was sitting on the bed. and there I saw a charming scene. I decided to proceed at once but did not like to take the responsibility of leading my friends into danger." "German parachute troops have landed all along the railway line to the south. I knew that sixty of them. As for my two German heroes. slow. each confirming the other's eager reasoning and prophecies of doom. For at last when I went to find him he had gone. which seemed to me not altogether unlikely. though I noticed that Helmuth stood like a stone. For now an anti-aircraft battery. We wasted two hours waiting for him. both little dogs beside her. The older lady. He and Helmuth got me into a corner of the garden and acted a kind of Greek tragedy of desperate strophe and antistrophe. knowing how inferior were their planes and guns. of course. The proGerman Prince Paul government had left only seven fighter planes there. I suppose too many women relatives made it impossible for him to keep his promise. Her daughter was arranging her mother's white curls as elaborately as she had every morning for years. the Belgrade airfield. since Germany held the whole Bulgarian and Rumanian sections of the river leading to the Black Sea. under the command of a Croat.The Serbs Chose War. I ran out and around the village to see if I could get some sort of farm cart.

Major Romel Adum. At seven-thirtv on April 6, when the German bombers arrived, the major ordered the seven Serb fighters to remain grounded, saying it was hopeless. Captain Todor Gogich and the six other Serb officers thereupon informed him that he was relieved of his command, and immediately took the air. They were all killed except Gogich himself, who was badly wounded, but not before they had brought down a number of German planes. As Belgrade had been declared "open," they were careful to fight only in the environs. Major Adum immediately left for Zagreb and is now in the Croat Air Force fighting Russia. Yanko and the three other men decided to return at once to Belgrade. I knew he had a job to do: this time I asked no questions. With daylight the bombing had reached a new intensity. But, believe it or not, Yanko now began frantically to hunt for his flag! Just to be on the safe side, we had placed it as a perch in the chicken house. When he looked even there, the hens were peacefully roosting on it and he didn't find it. A warm grasp of the hand and the dear fellow left. Later, when I was in Belgrade prison, I heard by grapevine telegraph that he was at his old job, quite unsuspected by the Germans. I somehow have the conviction that Yanko and I shall meet again, and will there be a celebration! Bidding Michael and Sultana an affectionate farewell, the five of us now took a small supply of food and set out, the two Germans again carrying my bag, while the two ladies had only a little dog each. I arranged with them to engage Igon in conversation while I went ahead with Helmuth. I could see that the frightful treatment of Belgrade, an open, undefended city, had lowered his morale. Whatever his reasons for working for the Germans, his belief in the superiority of their honor and ideals had received a fearful jolt. He was a Jew, and I knew what must inevitably be his fate. I sincerely liked him. He had been misled by his deep love for Igon. But, after all, the latter belonged to a people who had treated his race more bestially than any race has been treated in recorded history. I begged him to come with me, to throw in his lot with the fellow victims of his race: if he had to die, let it be in a great cause, the cause of justice and freedom. I talked to him almost all day. To take him with me would be a serious risk for me, of course, but he spoke perfect Serbian, and my Chetnik pass, I was pretty sure, would enable me to get him through to where he too could join the fighters. We walked about twenty kilometers (about twelve miles) over the roughest going, often having to throw ourselves down as the planes crossed low, machine-gunning anything that moved. Mrs. C.'s bedroom slippers began to lose their soles, and she grew terribly tired. But she uttered not a word of complaint, and I could hardly persuade her to let me carry her little dog. At last we reached the Avala road. Just before it we saw a whole line of bomb holes exactly following the line of the road and about a hundred yards from it: German bombsights had fortunately gone wrong. Just where we reached the road we were delighted to see a row of four busses standing. They were waiting to evacuate children from the city and were stacked high with mattresses. We were told that if there was room after the children had been loaded we could ride too. We waited. Night was falling, and again the sullen glow from the burning city threw its ghastly reflection round us. The children began arriving in all sorts of conveyances: some in cars, their roofs torn off or hanging loose, their mudguards crushed as they had been dragged out of the wreckage; some in farm carts, in prams, on old men's backs. Some were well dressed; many were in rags. None were with relatives; they

had just been picked up by passers-by. They were absolutely silent, some dazed and dizzy, but most of them self-contained and strangely businesslike as they were jammed into the busses. The bigger ones took the tinies on their laps as a matter of course and cradled the little strange, sleepy heads in their arms. There must have been two hundred children and no more noise than in a doll shop at night! Now the busses were full, and as no more children seemed to be coming, we three women were allowed to squeeze ourselves into a corner. Meanwhile Igon had taken Helmuth for a walk down the road. When they returned I saw by Helmuth's face that all my work had been undone. I made a last try. "Come with me, Helmuth, come-we will fight together for liberty and justice." He took my hand and held it a moment in both of his, but did not raise his eyes to mine. "I must die," he said, "in any case. I will go back. I truly loved you." Igon said not one word as they turned and disappeared into the flickering night. Helmuth was almost immediately caught by the Serbs and executed. Certainly he was not denounced by me, as Igon later is said to have declared. Igon himself was guilty of his friend's death.

The Serbs Chose War, Ruth Mitchell

Now BEGAN A MOST EERIE RIDE, unreal as a nightmare. The busses, of course completely unlighted, tore madly through the night. Bomb holes ahead? No one seemed to give it a thought: the children must be taken as far and as quickly as possible away from the horror. Soon we discovered that our chauffeur had himself that morning lost his wife and three small babies in the bombardment. Imagine the bitterness in his heart to be saving only other people's children! Huge-eyed, stiff in their seats, the children seemed concerned only with protecting the sleeping tidies in their laps from the bumps. They showed no sign of either fear or excitement. Rain had begun to fall heavily. And now in the starless, stormy night we began to pass dim, black silhouettes, an endless column of troops on the march; artillery, wagons piled high with munitions and hay; cavalry, the men humped in their saddles against the rain. They were moving up toward Belgradebut too late, too late. Now and then a Chetnik, belt heavy with bunches of hand grenades, coolly intent upon his business, would jump on the step of the bus, ride a few miles, and be gone again. They noted my uniform but made no sign. At last we arrived in Mladenovats and alighted in the midst of a huge crowd of refugees. It was now pouring very heavily. The children were quickly led away. How often afterwards I thought of the rows of small white faces with their huge black eyes and wondered what had become of them! We had stopped near the railroad station in a crowd packed almost solid. Every hour or so a train would come in and the whole mass of us would sway forward in a desperate scramble, so solid that if one had fallen there would be no chance of getting up. Yet that vast crowd, too, was absolutely silent. We three held on tightly to each other, the little dogs well hidden. At last we arrived on the platform. It was now about two o'clock in the morning, and my friends could hardly stand with exhaustion. I managed to shove them on top of someone's bundles under an overhanging roof and seated myself on the steps just outside, almost on their feet. The trains had stopped coming. There we stayed until dawn, I in the happy position of having not only the pelting rain but also the heavy gush from the roof going down the back of my neck. Towards six o'clock the rain let up, then stopped. In the gray and ghostly light of a somber dawn we saw each other clearly for the first time: women still in their nightclothes as they had jumped from bed the morning before; hair still in curlers or in straggling wisps; no make-up; all tired, harassed, and halfdrowned. Thus stripped of artifice, we looked at each other-and burst into roars of laughter! After that it was haute mode to look like nothing ever seen before, and no one lifted a hand to beautify. As our railway line appeared to have stopped operating, the station master urged us to cross the fields toward a near-by branch line where trains were running. But in the growing light I had seen a row of boxcars drawn up on a siding. And now, as I watched, the doors opened and strings of horses were unloaded. Would not these horse vans have to return south? Sure

Quickly I signaled to my friends to return. Few men were to be seen. Between the delicate gold-green shimmer of new herbage the patient oxen turned the deep brown soil as they had done these thousand years. and watering mouths.enough: hardly had the horses been unloaded when a little engine came puffing up. but some in the corners was dry and sweet. of course. both elderly. Again it was almost a shock to see no demonstrations of despair or even great regret. wiped from this fruitful earth. Please hold this while I try to find her." I turned and saw the fat and usually urbane but now very worried face of a journalist friend. I decided to scout around. Suddenly a voice in my ear: "Ha. The little white curly dogs hopped merrily about for a while and then snuggled down. to ride awhile and share with us their food and their news: only the wildest rumors. at once so blessed and so bitterly cursed. Never on that journey of many days did I see anyone open a package of food and eat alone: everything was shared.. here you are. We had a whole van entirely to ourselves. Those nearest me began to sniff excitedly. I ran along the line and found better luck than I could have hoped for. Soon they would be frantically herding their children up into the mountains. In the twilight we arrived at Chachak. Just as the train began to move I hoisted my friends in and clambered after them. The door of one van had jammed. fought his way back to me. and these were old. An enticing fragrance stole upon the breeze. room was made for us in a freight car. and it was hot. and promptly the little pig fulfilled its glorious destiny by vanishing into twenty famished mouths. In their bright headshawls the women plodded stoically behind the oxen. V. no terror of the future. pleasant villages among their groves of fruit trees would be gone-scattered. Hour after peaceful hour we lay. sometimes chatting and sometimes dozing when the bumps of the springless truck allowed. at risk of missing my place. V. for with it I succeeded in prying the doors apart. There was nothing to buy. always with the one refrain: "The British are coming-America will send help. greedy eyes. The crowd from the fields and more crowds from the town made a mad dash to fill them. northern valleys. Boiling grease began to trickle down my fingers. they crowded closer till I was hemmed in by a tight ring of eager noses. of course. it was slippery. All the young ones had gone to kill. This we piled under and over us. We three were first in. how dreamlike was that day-long journey! Most of the straw was wet. oh joy. How lovely. It made countless stops. I have lost my mother in the crowd. defeated-no mother! We ran for the train. content. Again we descended into the solidly packed crowd of refugees. We might have been across the world from the rage and agony of war. It was heavy. but the van became so jammed that. from Belgrade. He thrust into my hands a large parcel loosely wrapped in newspaper. perhaps. burned. that little town one day to be famous as the birthplace of Draja Mihailovich. . That delicious odor was unmistakable: I was holding. Just patient grimness. and no food except what newcomers brought with them." Like an endless exquisite ribbon the sweet spring scenery moved slowly by. Two men jumped in. Then I blessed the heavy dagger I wore. oh miracle-a freshly roasted suckling pig! A train came in. The train moved so slowly we could almost have run beside it. was to return again to their plows in other. soon the snug. to kill men whose deepest wish too. so burning hot that soon I could hardly hold it.

We all piled out. when again we stopped and the doors were opened. As we slowly chugged our bumpy way up into the mountains it became very cold. Endless were those creeping night hours. Snow was falling heavily. perhaps forever. found his mother in the same car with us. The air in the packed freight car became unendurably foul. more people would pile in on top of us until we seemed to be three deep. and in the gray. with sometimes a piece of fat sausage or that ghastly delicacy. and the doors were tightly closed. we saw that dawn had come. Just when I thought we must all surely faint. where she had been all night. perhaps for years. cheese.mostly the peasants' usual fare of whole-meal bread. They had escaped the fate of so many other families: to be separated in the crush of uprooted humanity. and onions. We were in Ujitse. There was no room to lie down. with a rush of fresh air. while V. a sheep's head. wan light V. muttered anxiously about his mother-until at last. . the train would stop with a crash and.

Next morning he found someone to take him south and soon caught up with the retiring legation staff. Among the refugees who had arrived was young King Peter II. At last an interpreter was dug up. and of Count Stenbock. Ujitse was famous for the quality of its plum brandy and for its delicate jerked. I remember that luncheon gratefully. He managed to get in. I almost forgot the food when lunching with Mr. his ministers. SOME TO FLIGHT AND SOME TO FIGHT UJITSE is a little sleepy upland town. humorous Irishman had to unfold. and most of the foreign diplomats from Belgrade. Rutherford. I met many acquaintances and was able to replenish my finances by the kindness of the popular and efficient American consul general. Ruth Mitchell 26. you can go!" Wisely Mr. he had to convince the excited gendarme. of the British Legation. it had taken him sixty-five days to reach Yugoslavia via South Africa from London. Arrived that night at the Legation. There many Belgrade families. To our surprise we found the one street of the town crowded with handsome cars. Murphy decided to proceed on foot but had walked barely a mile when he was arrested and marched to a village police station. Now what? He was accompanied by a King's Messenger. Macattee. Not knowing a word of the language. Robert T. for the funny tale this tall. chose a nice bottle of wine and. . C. The few small inns were packed. The trains stopped too. He arrived within ten miles of Belgrade on Sunday morning in the midst of the bombardment. with his court. snatched what sleep he could between bombs. who threatened to shoot him on the spot as a fifth columnist. he found it deserted." Within half an hour the town was completely deserted by all its birds of passage. Murphy refused to go further without a police escort. So he was put into the front rank and thus marched into Belgrade. had summer homes. Suddenly the news came that the German radio had sent out a broadcast to this effect: "The so-called King of Yugoslavia has cravenly fled. to proceed no farther. went down into the cellar. Every car was gone. and he was told: "All right. Mr. Was he a secretary of the British Legation at Belgrade-or was he? Following his appointment. Murphy. Mr. Although I was ravenous. There his train stopped. the British consul general.The Serbs Chose War.. But our brave airmen will pursue him and find him. Mr. like that of my friend Mrs. using a sofa in the drawing room. Just then troops were passing on their hurried march to regarrison the city. as it was the last time for many months that I laughed really heartily. red-headed. dried mutton. with sawmills surrounded by gigantic stacks of golden boards cut from logs felled in the near-by mountain forests. Because of its spreading orchards and the fine grass of neighboring valleys. who afterwards behaved with thoughtful circumspection when in prison with me in Belgrade. for almost two weeks now the ruler of Yugoslavia. even if he is hiding in Ujitse. that he was an English diplomat lost in the wilds.

These orchidaceous people were the heads of certain government departments and banking houses of Belgrade with their ladies. sisters. B. . pay their salaries. who represent the real heart and meaning of the country and who. Attached to this train in Ujitse station I saw something that might interest a Chicago gangster: two ordinary wooden freight cars containing the state treasure of Yugoslavia and all the cash assets of its banks. an emerald which my brother. since there would certainly be great need for their services in Montenegro. There. They gazed out with palpable disgust upon us lesser rabble. lady friends. Mrs. Their father and brother were both Chetniks away on active duty. and they turned to me apparently as a matter of course to take charge of them. This was the fine flower of Western culture as it blossomed in Yugoslavia. some noticeably of military age. C. of course. If a bullet should find me. They were filled. and secretaries. It consisted of great Pullmans such as I had almost forgotten existed. There were no gunslits or armed guards. the peasants. had given me years before with certain unforgettable words of affection and which I had never taken off since. they were enjoying a luxurious breakfast in the society of their alluringly dressed and carefully made-up wives.Two young Red Cross nurses. I signaled that I wished to board the train but was curtly given to understand that it could not be opened. I could certainly have ridden or walked across the mountains to Vukosava in the Sanjak and I would now be with General Mihailovich. These calm. the Misses M. not even my favorite ring. just beyond clean sheets of glass. with the possible exception of England. capable and handsome girls were representative of a particularly fine type of Jew to be found in the Balkans. who in the general mix-up had become separated from their unit.. many foreign-educated Serbs in government office exhibit an attitude of snobbish superiority toward the selyaks. took for safekeeping certain notebooks of mine and all my portable valuables.. I knew the Germans robbed not only the living but also the dead. At seven that morning the two nurses and I were waiting on the station platform. For their part they felt themselves dedicated and eager to go wherever they could be most useful. I decided to take them with me. but only sparsely so. General Billy Mitchell. After many generations they had come to feel themselves heart and soul as Serbs. Few in number. Unhappily. I came to the conclusion that it was hopeless to try to find out what had become of their unit. and thus there had come about here a spiritual fusion of races such as I personally have not observed elsewhere. C. The cars were "sealed" with two small lead seals and fastened with two little pieces of string. much less try to follow it. they were loved and respected by their fellow countrymen. with beautifully dressed gentlemen. departed for their country house after earnestly entreating me to come with them. came up to me and asked what they should do. As the trains had stopped I was forced to spend the night there. A train came in. and her mother. Mrs. they should not be richer by even a little circlet of gold. I kept no jewelry. Many times afterwards I wished that I had done so. Next morning my dear friends. descendants of those Jews who had been hounded out of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella.

silent or in quiet talk or song. in every attitude of relaxation. Ruth Mitchell 27. for they express a history tragic surely beyond any on the earth. as ever. And round it. There was a stove in the middle of the car with wood piled beside it. They were Montenegrin Serbs and huge: great shaggy. They bounced and pushed one another about to make room for us. my next objective. Each of the Balkan peoples has its special songs. except the Montenegrin songs which are curiously monotonous. a little bag of sticky gumdrops. For century after endless century in the crushing vassalage and bloodshed of the Balkans no man could hope for man's just stature or for liberty. and by noon the attacks had ceased. His name was Sergeant Barbovich. I felt very much at home with these tough fellows. but it seemed to me this was notably different from the criticism and disappointed howls of other countries. FOREVER UNDEFEATED ANOTHER TRAIN came in en route to Sarajevo. All. In agreeable contrast to the sour Pullman escapists they cordially beckoned to us to join them and quickly piled up duffel bags to make comfortable seats for us. And all the time almost without interruption for sixteen hours these grim yet gentle Serbian giants sang. the dark-browed giants lay. with their wildly tumbling streams. Here. and they took it for granted others too were doing their best. Even each district has a style of its own. there was no word of complaint against others. The big middle doors were open upon a slowly passing panorama of magnificent scenery. The sergeant in command of them sat beside the younger of my pretty girls. They themselves would fight. or of how in a future Golden Age the ever-present threat of death and degradation might someday pass away. fierce-looking fellows who reminded one of Newfoundland dogs. coatless.The Serbs Chose War. no woman for security of love and home. One could not help but admire their simple. life had been once long ago. have in common the haunting sweetness of falling minor cadences. really brotherly attitude. almost enough to go once around. and hour after hour they talked of his family and hers. it became very cold. It was made up of cattle trucks and was filled with ground crews of the Yugoslav Air Force retiring to new bases. . I may be wrong. and we had to look at the snapshots of his two charming children. One even produced that unbelievable treasure. snowcovered mountains. but they evaded all talk about it. Surprisingly there was no machine-gunning. they would do their best. I tried to find out what they expected of help from the Allies. They could only dream and sing of how. all amusingly framed by widespread military legs. Many times we had to jump out and throw ourselves into the snowy fields to avoid the bombs German planes tried to drop on us. All day men stood in a row leaning on the iron bars across the wide-open doors. They are moving beyond any other music I have ever heard. perhaps. Wood was piled in until the stove glowed red-hot. even generous. and each insisted we must share his meager rations. So I could only catch exquisite glimpses of snow peaks soaring above deep rugged canyons. As we rose ever higher into the wild.

just one: the saving of their honor. . The flags go into battle. moved in upon us. Their standards are as alive to them as their commanders. There was nothing of the sort. while below me a tall Albanian slept peacefully throughout the uproar. For suddenly complete stillness fell upon the milling crowd. hunting for the station. And. This time they were mostly Serbian women and children with many bundles. They had evidently felt this Moslem ground trembling under them and were going to relatives in what they considered safer regions. the stark and tangible reality of battles won and lost. They were absorbed in one thought. In a dark corner before a deserted ticket window I was lucky enough to find a precarious berth on one of those high small tables on which people rest their bags while paying fares. They marched. The flags saved. Certainly these two standards had been in the thick of it: they were torn by shellfire. But the third time I refused to move out of the station and. Or were they defeated? Every man was wounded. rational days they are put for safekeeping somewhere far behind the lines. Not so with the Serbs. Three times that night planes hummed above the low-hung clouds. nothing is quite lost. in elaborate "close harmony. Sarajevo of sinister memory. The men were offered cigarettes by those who still had them." They were still singing at eleven o'clock that night when we arrived in the capital of Bosnia. not one head hung down. my knees under my chin. That wild night was the most miserable of the whole journey. those wounded men marched down the platform to entrain. one hears. Sadly we bade our soldier friends farewell. And before them went their ragged flags. I expected cheers. salutes. for almost sixteen hours. But not one back slumped. These people had gone into war well knowing there was hope of nothing but defeat. Flags. which is a nation's soul. I managed to get three cups of coffee from the restaurant. and everyone nodded calmly. without either self-pity or bravado. Slowly down the platform there marched.Steadily. a company of soldiers back from the front: a defeated battalion-all that was left of it. whatever human life must stay behind forever on the field. some kind of demonstration. But their bitter history had inured them to every conceivable loss. Most of them had rags bound round arms or legs. the war. the flags must come out again. But I did not remain undisturbed for long. and three times the station staff raucously ordered everyone to leave. and some had bloody bandages over one eve. The soldiers were certainly Serbs. On the contrary many were smiling-bitterly. It was here that the shot was fired that started World War I. snow-caked Neretva River. or rather hobbled. these Montenegrins of the Yugoslav Flying Corps sang their ancient songs. and it was piercingly cold. And quietly. as if this were only what one must expect. While we were sipping it thankfully. dozed fitfully. punctured by bullets and in ribbons. Once I groped my way under a narrow bridge across the foaming. Dawn-and a desperate hunt for food. slowly but steadily. They were superior to it-superior both to victory and to defeat. Snow was falling heavily. The people on the platform were mostly Serbs. are no longer carried into battle by modern armies: in these realistic. We plunged into a dense crowd of refugees.

Herzegovina. . or even years.But if they acted with stoicism these hot-blooded southern people were not without feeling. In a dark and dirty washroom where I had gone for much-needed water. not in a matter of days or months. we could not be completely beaten. I stood a moment. His grief could be not alone for his lost son. with an ancient patience. Then it came to me with agonizing certainty: this pain too deep even for a long vista of sonless years." still Montenegro. feeling I must find some word to say. On the contrary their emotions were so strong as sometimes to overcome their iron reserve. his broad shoulders heaving in an agony of silent sobs. half lying on a table. Six days." Again I stood beside him. and as unconquerable. it could be only because of treachery. the well organized treachery I had feared. a colonel of artillery. There were still our wild Black Mountains. And indigenous as the soil. I saw. there were still my Chetniks. his head buried in his arms. still our deep. almost virgin forests of Bosnia. If the Serbian Army was already hopelessly going down. transfixed at what this shattering grief portended -then ran to find the woman attendant. and the Sanjak-as there had been these more than thousand years. Gently. only six days of war. Let what must happen to the Army. but for Serbia. "Planino moja starino. Well-that was the Army. implacably resistant as ever in those long and desperate years. lost-too soon. the old crone shook her head: "He has just heard that his only son is dead.

and we were the only women. because of its pictorial effect and because of its infinitely tragic meaning.The Serbs Chose War." They returned the pressure and tried to smile. and his shoeless feet were wrapped in bloody rags. in this murk of doubt and fear. Budapest. Then. . he too would collapse. you have not been called. the baggage car. the youth of Scutari had believed that by some magic. Always the same sort of rumors: "Fleets of Allied planes have arrived to the rescue" . Disconcerted gloom. don't get worried. Suddenly. that for once no one jumped up: we sat like stone and watched his every movement and expression. . . hung low into his haggard eyes that glowed with a sort of tigerish light. This is only what we must expect. Let the Army fight! You . Ruth Mitchell 28. . just as it pulled out. KNIVES AGAINST TANKS TRAIN FOR MOSTAR. . But as day drew on and we got deeper into Bosnia. One look at his broad black eyebrows. The train stopped incessantly. descended upon us. Our sisters said: 'Stay. during the Italian occupation of Albania. On his head the little Montenegrin cap. of whose whereabouts they had only the vaguest idea. they kept lifting them to me with a heartbreaking appeal. . etched itself as with burning acid on my memory. rounder. repeating: "Wait. to jump up again to greet the next arrival. curved in a particular manner. Early in the morning the tales were all inspiring and the voices loud. At last there were only hunted flashes of dark eyes. He stood a moment looking round into our anxious faces. The car was not crowded. so fraught with evil omen. Gaunt as a scarecrow. burning like Belgrade" . when his news was exhausted. blue-black. and at his eagle nose proved him a pure-blooded Serb of the Black Mountains. His matted hair. Instantly everyone sprang up and surrounded the newcomer to listen eagerly to anything he had to tell. which is black for mourning. as go the men who are forever scaling mountains. So almost exactly two years earlier. I could call up the whole British Fleet. like a visible cloud. like me. The eyes of my two girls grew larger. He was so tall he seemed to reach the low roof. There were groups of men dozing in the corners. reserves who were still trying to rejoin their units. his clothes hung in tatters. At almost every halt at least one man would jump aboard. and gold for undying hope and loyalty. "Bulgaria is defeated. In a strained voice. and panting slightly. MY two nurses and I climbed into the last car. We had knives-most of us-only knives. A man-or was it a specter ?-stood in the center of the car. scarlet for blood. I squeezed the girl's hands. as if speaking more to himself than to us. Now the pace of events began ominously to quicken. He stood with heavy shoulders slightly stooped. Then silence. even those who were not called. there occurred one of those incidents which. Sofia have been laid flat. "The British are marching up through Macedonia in great force" . he began: "We went out. "Berlin. the voices dropped to muttered whispers. with a single word or a twist of my ring. The apparition was so startling." etc. We went out although we had no guns. this is only the beginning. yet curiously low. as if to them I represented in my person the whole power of the Allied arms.

So now Serbia was completely cut off from the rest of the world. And what use-what use are knives against tanks? "What use are knives against tanks?" he repeated and. Fight. of shelter. Death. They could not return home defeated. we have suckled you at our breasts. to fight the Bulgarians" (he must have gone about a hundred miles southeast toward the Bulgarian frontier). But when they return at last to the homes they have suffered such indescribable hardships to free. When they descend again into the once busy. "We came up with our army. 'What use are knives against tanks?'-she will not listen. or thought I knew. prosperous valleys. depopulated land. Through the walls of their desolate dwellings green grass and wild weeds will be growing. Our sandals were gone and our feet were bleeding with running.' our mothers said. now. They are fighting now. But if the tanks were already there. The officers on horseback took the shoes from their own feet and gave them to us. We have raised you to fight.have no gun."' He actually said those words. That man.' they said. they will gaze upon a deathly still. and the pestilence that creeps upon starvation will have been there before them: not one soul left in their humble homes.never! What use are knives against tanks?" he demanded eerily again. Yet they will fight on-be sure they will fight on and on-and on and on. 'go out now and fight. slightly thinner. Go out. "What use-are knives-against tanks?-A gun! A gun! A gun!" he cried desperately. seemed to wait. thousands like him are now. And remembering those proud and stern old Serbian women of the Black Mountain Kingdom.) "But our mothers-they rose up and they said: 'We have borne you below our hearts. He paused and drew a deep breath: "We ran with our knives.and they did not know what to do. of food. And with a tigerishly liquid movement he sprang forward into the train and was gone. But we Tsernagorci ran on to fight the Bulgarians. for an answer-not from us. "But there were no Bulgarians. 'as your fathers fought -to keep Tserna Gora free. There were no more bullets-none. robbers. They had shot away all their bullets-every one. for their mothers would have shut the doors in their faces. for Montenegro. that any hope of help from British troops in the south was definitely gone. Now I knew. of medical supplies. No-there were only big iron monsters-tanks in long rows coming down upon us. and fight. we didn't exist for him-but from some spirit guide. she will never listen. "So now. 'Stay here!' They hung upon our necks-some of them-and tried to hold us. I calculated that this man must have gone halfway across Macedonia. as your fathers before you fought. and return as victors-return as victors-or never return again. then the Germans had succeeded in their attempt to drive a wedge between Serbia and Greece. fighting under General Mihailovich. or until they all are dead. 'death is better than slavery. and hundreds." (Only those who know the extraordinarily close bond between brother and sister in these lands can realize what that plea of a sister meant. his voice rising. that Allied co-operation had failed. Those officers were good men. as I write. at this moment.' they said. desperately strained. would not have recognized them any longer as their sons-as did actually happen in a few cases. For murderers. "I cannot say to my mother.' our mothers said. I knew he spoke the truth.until Serbia is free again. . We jumped on trucks.' They said: 'Go out. and ran again southward. with an inconceivable minimum of equipment." he cried." A pause and his eyes glittered feverishly. if he is still alive. of clothes. they will find only little piles of blackened rubble.

the mayor of the town. with a large document in his hand. We three sat still. and our position was now becoming really serious. couldn't believe. but everyone else jumped out of our car and ran over to listen. The blankety-blank Serbs are beaten. "Go home. Pavelich king? I wanted to shout with laughter. beaten. My girls seemed hardly to breathe." they yelled. The men in our car crowded to the windows and replied sharply. At first I couldn't understand." they chuckled contemptuously. We are going home!" There were a number of Croats in our car. They turned and regarded us with bold impertinence. skylarking. As we passed at snail's pace they cried out to us tauntingly. Go home. not guessing then the chaos of misery and horror that wretched sadist was to bring upon his land. some evidently drunk. disheveled soldiers. waving their arms. And then one to which there clung first one or two. the atmosphere in our car became electrical. The Germans have won-hurrah. I noted gratefully that in settling down again in sullen silence some of the Serbs got in front of us. stepped out onto the beflagged balcony and began to read a proclamation to a crowd below. Ruth Mitchell 29. staring at me. and himself as king. you something-something Serbs. an ally of the Axis. "you Serbs. amazed. They began to look really ugly. simple men. TREASON AND AMBUSH OTHER TRAINS began to meet and pass us with all sorts of war material. triumphantly. But quickly it became certain: those soldiers were Croatians-they were going home. They gave each other sly. The Serbs came from the windows and sat down. exchanged muttered words. the English. After this had happened three times and the passing trains were crowded with these obvious deserters. thinking they could hardly be awake. of careless. this time in the middle of a small town. Great chatter now ensued. Sneers and raucous laughter answered and rude motions were made. The Croats remained standing. laughing. The Serbs began to mutter and look ugly too. Pavelich may or may not have actually proclaimed himself king: in any case he did not remain a king for more than a week at most. The prefecture or town hall directly opposite and all the surrounding houses were gaily decorated with flags: but they were Yugoslav flags turned upside-down to become Croatian flags. and they came pelting back. "Ha. and I heard the dumfounding news that Ante Pavelich. triumphant looks. the war is over. the well-known Croatian thug and international intriguer who had been paid by Mussolini to arrange the murder of King Alexander-that Ante Pavelich had proclaimed Croatia an Independent Kingdom. beaten. . hurrah! Croatia is free. we are going home. the war is over. but I thought it best to sit quietly as if unconcerned. Just as we stopped. then groups.The Serbs Chose War. Then the Italians took over. With a crash we stopped again. Their chests began to swell. Wild cheers broke out. The Croats in the car had managed to secure some bottles. The statement was repeated to me several times. I regretted that I had put my bulky automatic in my bag.

But perhaps-such is the beastliness of war-perhaps it was just as well. but he was careful not to do so. he had given me anxious glances and nodded slightly as if to indicate he was a friend. As the train slowed up they grabbed their bags and came out. and many people will get out. sometimes nearer. Several times. The train stood as if taking root. stooped to take our bundles. General consternation-and people sprang pell-mell from the train. tall and healthy-looking. I was terribly thirsty. You can trust me. Instantly he said he would try to get us some water. Still the train stood. sometimes farther off. One was a lawyer. "We are near Mostar. Our friend took it and. and quickly we slipped into their places. Two men slipped breathlessly into the compartment and sat down. When we try to protect you and your girls there will be bloodshed. Our friend said he would try to find out what was going on and left us. An hour pass-it seemed a week. Quietly we got up. and gently edged toward the forward door. and your uniform infuriates them. I knew them both by sight from Cetinje. as it were. however. Another volley of firing. Now I heard a whisper beside me: "You can't stay here. How I regret that thirst now! It cost the life of a kindly friend in need. I had expected he would come and speak to me. We sat turned." It was the welldressed man speaking perfect English. "What had we better do?" I whispered. bawling that no one must leave the train. But by whom? Which way was it going? Our lives might depend on the answer.Early in the day I had noticed a well-dressed man at the other end of the car. One of the men had an empty bottle. It was obvious the town was being fought for. They were Montenegrin gentlemen of about thirty. Almost at once he was back. Now a soldier with rifle and fixed bayonet went through the car. more scattered and prolonged. Again and again the rat-tat-tat of machine guns. Our friend was in the corridor of the next car. went out. and so were my girls. By firmly pushing people aside he got us through to the door of a first-class compartment in which three people were preparing to leave. Those men will soon be drunk. The strain made our throats dry. taken out my automatic and put it in my jacket pocket. the other a businessman. Burst after burst of machine-gun firing. Just as the train stopped there was a heavy volley of firing near the station. Follow me almost immediately!" He was gone. I'll go forward now and try to push a place for you to stand until we stop. . The sun had set and the firing seemed to be dying down. We got thirstier and thirstier. They looked scared to death. I mentioned it to our friend. Immediately on securing our seats I had undone my sleeping bag. I noticed he spoke to no one. I told the girls. and said there was no knowing what was happening. in spite of my protests. but fat and soft. into ears. sat down very quietly.

Skoplye. without speaking to his companion. and when the one who came in saw me he hesitated as if taken aback and gave me a somber. Soon two soldiers appeared in the corridor. It was. they both departed. "Very well then. but I left the girls free to do as they liked.I watched him anxiously as he ran over the neighboring rails in the gathering darkness between two sheds just opposite. "Listen. sitting grandly on both banks of the beautiful Vardar River and almost equidistant from the Bulgarian. not less than ten thousand of them had been machine-gunned from the air. If something was going to happen I was at least going to see what it was and where we were. the full weight of the German attack. It was completely dark. he was not a coward. and we have orders to remain. they said. I peered out. They decided to stick with me. Two soldiers came and dragged away the body. was the chief Serbian air base. speaking very quickly. but I fear the weight of evidence is against him. after squeezing our hands affectionately. I spoke sharply and the bags went back on the racks. Our two fine gentlemen now began feverishly to pull down their bags to pile them in the window. "this train is likely to be attacked by the Croats towards the border of Herzegovina. One came in and asked which was the man's luggage-they seemed to know exactly in which compartment he had been. Good luck!" And. running. There was a volley and he fell. undecided look. Towards midnight we suddenly discovered that we were softly moving. When firing starts lie down on the floor. more at ease. the Albanian. Then he took our dead friend's briefcase and. and the Greek borders. no lights in the car. "I advise you to pile your baggage in the window. . And the thought that an enemy was killed trying to get me a drink of water-even if that was only an excuse-is not a pleasant one. not to move again. Dimly a face in Flying Corps cap looked up-who but our sergeant friend of yesterday! I got the window down. But this was too much. A few minutes later he reappeared. My two acquaintances. and as the inhabitants fled from their crowded. of course. completely smashed and blasted. Suddenly there was heavy trampling in the corridor as a line of soldiers took their places. There were. we could hear the dull thud of grounded rifles. he faded into the night. It was all bad-they were like that-but the worst for me was about Skoplye. However. Suddenly there came a gentle tap-tap on the window. the half-Mohammedan old capital of Macedonia. It had drawn. But one man actually tried with shaking fingers to draw the thin silk curtains to hide us-in a completely unlighted train! Two more men had softly insinuated themselves into our compartment. Do you wish to stay with us?" I said I for one had to go on. began to tell me what news they had heard. There were sporadic explosions of firing in the town. Still the train stood immovable. Who was our mysterious friend? The riddle can be answered in two ways. We had now been there more than two hours." he replied coolly. narrow streets. There is a mutiny of Croats here." he said. All now began silently to pray and to cross themselves. of course.

That many Croats. These attackers were Croat soldiers of the Yugoslav Army. my acquaintances whispered. many buried alive on the airfield. Serbs abroad felt bitterly ashamed at the quick collapse of Yugoslavia. since the town would surely be completely looted. they had begged me to come with them to act as aerial observer. but active treachery upon their brother soldiers. realizing that with my wretched automatic I should be more in the way than useful out there. quite simply. The ambushers dispersed. going over to the enemy. The principal reason why Yugoslavia collapsed so quickly is that every Serbian officer had momentarily to expect to be shot in the back by his Croatian soldiers. I knew. my bitterest tears fell slowly. and it is both unjust and dangerous to conceal them. Our soldiers. Suddenly a sharp burst of firing. the northwest province of Yugoslavia. But facts are facts. over the whole country and to organize and carry out these attacks. not passive. jumped out and down the embankment. deliberately set out to kill those who remained loyal. Without question they were carefully planned beforehand and directed by Croat officers of the Yugoslav Army. These ambushers were members of the armed forces of the Yugoslav Crown. I was soon to hear that such attacks had taken place all over Yugoslavia. It is absurd to suggest that in four days he had been able to spread his men. both educated and simple. They were certainly not members of the Ustashi. a falsehood. So many. But most of all I thought of M. I could well imagine their frantic. the airmen. traitors to their oath of allegiance.-of all my friends. When we fore gathered before they left for Skoplye. that the Ustashi were alone responsible for the horrors that broke out immediately in Yugoslavia is. almost all of them. of the beauty of its mosques and minarets.I thought of the lovely times I had had in Skoplye. The train jerked to a stop. I could watch the flashes of the guns as our Serbs hunted the traitors among the trees and shrubs along the riverbank.P. who had deliberately planned and were now executing. Most of them now were dead. That I was twice indebted to Croats for acts of kindness if not the saving of my life. our soldiers jumped back into the train and it started up again. and hundreds were so shot. yelling raucous curses at the Croats. trampled down the corridor. were revolted by the action of their countrymen. To say. of all the small nations of Europe. for a grief I knew would never be assuaged. unquenchably. I felt ridiculously baffled and helpless. Violent firing continued for ten or fifteen minutes. I know. wild despair at the pitiful uselessness of their own little obsolete planes against the crushing force of the huge German bombers. . Pavelich's force of terrorists consisted at the very outside of one thousand men when he arrived on April 7 in Croatia. its fine museums and its antique treasures -never again to be replaced. as Croat propagandists in America have said. is the only one in which a large portion of her army with its regular officers turned traitor to their oaths and. and it is not discreditable-to the Serbs. As we passed in darkness through the starlit night. even thinly. since the truth is the only sound guide of action. It is a sad fact that Yugoslavia. I acknowledge with gratitude. But the explanation is clear. Pavelich's Italian-paid organization of thugs who had entered Croatia with him far to the north four days before.

a simple fellow. A few minutes more of wondering if we should cross a mine and fly into the air. were printed for a moment black against a sky thick-sown with glorious southern stars. who had sworn to protect their king and country. like overripe stalks of wheat crushed by a storm. denatured Montenegrins was a sight to see. This time I might get into action-there would be wounded men unable to use their rifles. Letters have been published in Croat papers in which Croat officers of high rank with the most cynical brutality bragged that they had married Serbian girls of influential family with the single purpose of getting themselves into key positions for more effective treachery: so long and so well had the thing been planned. When I awoke it was bright day and we were amidst wild and savage scenery. and to them honor. Far in the background towered a long shoulder of snow-capped mountains. their breath stopped with fear. but the fourth had disappeared. struggled to pull the window down. his head under one seat. include II generals.000 Yugoslav prisoners of war taken into Germany. Of the 14. remained quite stolid. The put-put-put of machine guns hammered while loud voices outside yelled that everyone was to get out or the train would be blown up. It seemed as untouched by man as the foothills of the Rocky Mountains were before the trappers came. its rapids dancing as they caught the slowly rising glow of the moonlight. of mosques and graceful minarets. while the two girls sat immovable as little mushrooms.342 non-commissioned officers. and just as I stepped heavily on our human earthworm. from our course. He was discovered lying across the door of the compartment. where he apparently had lain all the time in the dirt! Between the attacks. Firing and yells died away behind us. Could I get one) I reached the door. totally uninhabited. This was Illyria. lying on top of me. curved now near. Away it tore through the night. Then the train gradually slowed down to its old pace. the behavior of our two foreigneducated. Two soldiers ran into our compartment and. unreal silhouettes of darkened villages. 73 lieutenant colonels. Three times in two hours our train was attacked by the traitors in the same way and with the same result. Tumbling. his feet under the other. The detailed figures. and mechanics. in an unlit train. I settled back and fell into a heavy sleep. we were given the strange and beautiful experience of passing silently. were offered their freedom to return home to their families. and 72 naval captains and officers. Crashing of glass and deafening explosions followed as our men fired from the corridor. Of the 224. 4 admirals. for they only had to announce that they were Croats to be released at once. less than 2 per cent were Croats. The third man. down the famous Neretva Valley. They fell down flat.679 officers representing 95 per cent of the Croat officers in the Yugoslav Army. as given by the official gazette of the Independent State of Croatia. 52 colonels. the train started up with a terrific jar. a thick shower of sparks flying past the window. And each time. only 800 accepted. aviation specialists. 68 captains. Their faces blanched. throwing us all across the compartment. and most of them have been retaken and killed. soaring mountains were reflected in the wide lakes into which the Neretva spreads before it rushes out into the Adriatic. Soft.000 Serb officers who. This time there was very heavy close firing along the whole train. calm above man's fury. proved traitors to their oath and went over to the enemy.A total of I. now far. also I. a delicate young moon. The foaming river. if they agreed to submit to Germany. I dozed to wake with a violent start as the train stopped with a crash. of gnarled old fig trees. And over all there sailed. .

The airfield of Mostar. At Gabela. who keeps up a regal style! .Our soldiers were gone. having received reinforcements. whom he ordered to return home. they had returned to deal with the ambushers and to help crush the revolt in Mostar. it appeared. was under the command of Colonel Yakov Makiedo. the leader of the Independent State of Croatia. This officer is now Master of Ceremonies at the Court of Ante Pavelich. it appeared. a Croat. Immediately the revolt started he ordered all Yugoslav insignia removed from the uniforms of the officers under his command.

called Schacht. BETWEEN THE ENEMY LINES TOWARDS EIGHT O'CLOCK we arrived at Hum. and his terror was ludicrous. Eagerly we ordered-of course. and into a little room where members of his staff were swallowing a hasty meal. Ruth Mitchell 30. Hardly had we ordered some food when the commandant of the town arrived personally to inspect my Chetnik pass. For that good deed alone I could never have forgotten Colonel Barbich. Next morning early a visitor was announced: Mr. He shook. The Nazis were approaching. If ever a man was marked out as likely to emerge a leader.save him-save him! To gain my pity he actually showed me a hypodermic needle containing. He was exceedingly helpful. Imagine our delight when the colonel in command came up to us and. He assured me he was a nephew and had long been secretary to the famous German Finance Minister. a hero of his people. combined with a careful concentration of thought in his small bright eyes. and send them to Mostar to try to subdue the revolt there. is certainly now in the Bosnian mountains with Mihailovich. he implored me to save him. poison which he intended to plunge into his veins and die a "fearful" death rather than be taken alive. bacon and eggs. he sobbed. I was ready to gnaw my boots. and. This great. He professed himself a well-known anti-Nazi. handsome. his self-pity rose to howls. but not unusually so among his tall and handsome countrymen. His job now was to collect from all directions here in Herzegovina. the fight will go on remorselessly. he wept. a Herzegovinian surely by his typical long thin nose and narrow eyes. and he advised us toe go to Trebinye.. but with Swedish papers. fat hands clutching mine. he cringed. that inspired great confidence. and when I mentioned my hope of transport to Montenegro he became actively negative. whatever troops could be spared and trusted. washed down with a large glass of wine. Barbich. he very kindly came to place himself at my disposal. This Serb. L. At breakfast I was approached by one of the strangest figures I ever met. there was a quickness yet restraint of movement and decision. near the Croatian-Dalmatian coast. . It was the first time it had been examined. or even one. He was satisfied but unfriendly. While the Serbs have ten men such as he. it was this officer. His straightforward frankness and the graceful courtesy of his manner to all alike was matched by the grim ferocity of his determination to meet and deal with a savage catastrophe. but not with him. I conferred with Colonel Barbich upon my best course of action. through the kitchen. hulking. Slim. even handsome fellow was for sheer unadulterated cowardice the worst specimen I have ever come across. a small railway junction. brother of a teacher in the British Institute at Belgrade. if still alive. was the outstanding figure I met during this journey. and tall. led us around to the back of the station. He was a German. We arrived at Trebinye in the evening and managed to get a room in the crowded hotel. realizing our condition. I never discovered the cause of his hostility.The Serbs Chose War. Schacht. or five. Hearing I had arrived. his damp. I said to him as I always do to these idiotic soi-disant suiciders who never have the guts to really bring it off (I have met not a few): "So you are going to kill yourself because you are afraid you might die!" Sometimes that cuts off their dramatics.

that I would certainly not get it unless I accepted his visit at the hotel. visiting the quaint old Moslem quarter. . There were no air alarms that golden afternoon. and when I found the officer in the street he frantically elbowed me aside and said he was speaking for both of us in demanding transportation. and we parted in sorrow and anxiety. All that day air alarms. I went to see the (civil) prefect. now no doubt well rusted. I now felt very uncertain of being able to get them through to Montenegro. and I then wandered as if bored round the town. had gone or come that morning. given defeat. with many leers. and to my surprise and annoyance found an old would-be admirer from Cetinje now installed as jackin-office. I told him in carefully explicit and concise terms what I thought of him and ordered him to keep away from me. . was understandably furious. then the line went dead. L. L. already in a very gloomy state. Dubrovnik's fate was not so certain. you don't understand . The commandant. about the old Serbian heroes. I therefore felt forced to advise the girls to remain here. He informed me that I would not be permitted to leave Trebinye without a written order from him. I decided to try to leave without the permit. After again failing to get a laisser-passer from the disgusting prefect. it appeared. So Mr. and any hope of his assistance was spoiled. a small town on the Boka Kotorska. So we sat on the wall beside the murmuring river. What I anticipated did occur. Italian reconnaissance planes kept sailing busily over the circle of mountains on which I had once counted twenty-two ancient and newer forts testifying to the restless history of the province. And he assured me. and I planned how to outmaneuver the prefect. . The wretched Schacht followed me like a beaten spaniel. I sent it out of the back door by a half-witted boy to the station. Mr. and it seemed to me pretty sure that. None. and at last arrived as if by chance near enough to the station to see if a train came in. There I might conceivably get a sailboat to put me across onto the Montenegrin coast. Trebinye would eventually fall to the share of the Italians. Harcourt informed me that several Americans and British were gathered there . who are conspicuously superior to the Germans in their treatment of the Jews. Schacht at that moment came much nearer to death than he probably has since. Aware that I was probably being watched and that the removal of my bag might be reported.I went to consult the commandant. about everything except the war. Mr. Next morning they joined the staff of the hospital. as I did not wish even to be seen in the street with such a worm. People had been waiting since dawn. I left him standing there pathetically wringing his hands and sniffling: "You don't understand. ." I like to think of him as hiding till the end of the war in some mountain cave (these cowards never die!) and living on roots while fondly hugging his hypodermic. I would make for Herzegnovi. Here was a nice situation! I insisted upon telephoning to Dubrovnik (Ragusa) to the British consul. and though there has been much Chetnik activity and fighting round Trebinye I hope to see them when I return to Serbia. That night my two girls told me they had discovered that the hospital was full of wounded but had almost no nurses. southward of Dubrovnik and between it and Montenegro. dangling our feet and talking about poetry. .

He himself had heard that his only son was wounded. We were in the tram m passenger seats. Nothing is so hateful to me as this counterespionage game. only in reverse order. Usually I won't play but merely study faces for report and identification later. I pretended to prick up my ears and replied with equal caution. L. and he was trying to find him. A fellow silly enough to give himself away so easily was too stupid to worry about. which had recently thrown in its lot with Croatia. Firmly I shouldered my way through the crowd. I had lunched the day before in Trebinye with a noted Croat diplomat who happened to own a large hotel a few miles out of Herzegnovi. . If the first and third were true. We arrived at Herzegnovi in the afternoon. Next morning Mr. I must wait for something more definite. and when the guard stopped me to demand my permit to leave I pulled out my Chetnik pass. "The Italians are already in Montenegro and are proceeding up the coast road to the Boka. But there had been the usual undermining and hate-rousing by the Croat politicians: Croatia must have all the harbors. they are pushing back the Italians victoriously and have reached Lesh [Alessio]. and so they proved to be. But soon his mysterious manner became more insistent. The car had open benches without compartments. I had been saddened to see them bedeviled. The atmosphere now was entirely different-full of a furtive. . Sure enough. hoping to draw me. The Dalmatians are a particularly charming race. Opposite me. He told me his family had gathered there and begged me to go and see them and if possible cheer them up. This was technically Montenegro and under Serb jurisdiction. giving him a glare as fiercely Chetnik as I could produce. He spoke not one word on the whole six-hour trip. "The Montenegrins are making splendid headway.As darkness fell it seemed certain there would be no train until the following morning. was trying to let me know that he "too" was an agent and a British one. he had cordially and quite innocently offered to make room for me in the large bed which he occupied with his wife. obviously a Dalmatian. and I again went to the station. A fat little nondescript man kept turning up beside me and muttering. . Serbia was to be practically cut off from the Adriatic. We were now going into Dalmatia. strained suspicion. for although Dalmatian (the Boka people too considered themselves distinct) it had not gone into Autonomous Croatia. a hopeless despair. by the unnatural anti-Serb political and religious agitation worked up by the Croat politicians. A train was just coming in. Both hotels being jammed. and most shops were boarded up." . his head bandaged. as are most of the maritime men of Yugoslavia. I flattered his selfimportance with signals of camaraderie and kept him busy hopping out at every stop for something to eat or drink. sat a wounded sailor of the Yugoslav Fleet. Fortunately many of these Dalmatian sailors chose honor before specious promises of profit and escaped to service in the Allied cause. Rumors were thick: "The Montenegrin campaign in Albania has collapsed. . my plans would have to be reconsidered and drastically changed. It had been slightly bombed." I thought the first two items probably correct. and soon away. At first I thought him just a nuisance. I spent the night on a mattress in the hallway of a friendly sergeant's house. the fellow. and his words. He instantly stepped back and saluted. sliding out of the side of his mouth in the reputed style of ex-convicts. were English. His bearded face was the very mold of a puzzled. For the first time my Chetnik pass was challenged with aggressive unfriendliness by two gendarmes. The little picturesque town was in the jitters. In view of Germany's subterranean methods it is not surprising how many of these little would-be spies or meddlers there were creeping round Europe. less than a year before. and I wondered what conflict of loyalties was now tearing his heart." . .

of course. But. safety. he carrying my bag in sailor fashion on his shoulder.) I was therefore quite certainly between two advancing enemy lines. comfort. cheese. the deep engulfing snows of winter. If this was typical of her upper class. the Italians must really be advancing up from the south. You will remember me from the British Legation. I found a state of shuddering gloom and dread. You must flee at once. I did think it over all that night. and he was then in Africa. Greatest temptation of all. battered seafaring man speaking perfect American slang. (It turned out that Italians and Germans were both coming up from the south and both down from the north. my family. three months before. my choice had been made long ago." I said I would think it over. And at the end perhaps wounds or hanging (how the Germans love to hang!) or. "Are you Ruth Mitchell?" "Yes:' "I am P. Having got it. with hard black bread. broke languidly beside our road. It says that the Army has asked for an armistice. Generals have flown to Germany to negotiate surrender. howling wind and soaking rain. which way was it my business to go? Where could I do the most damage ? If the Yugoslav Army's resistance had ceased. when I became a Chetnik. if the planes made for Egypt. "The harbor commandant has received a telegram. On one side beckoned England and America. deep in the Boka]. while he detailed to me in salty language his experiences of years in America. then-God help Croatia! That evening I went out into the garden to get a breath of good fresh air. The only question now was. The British and other nationals are gathering at Rizan [farther on. what? To fight in the mountains with the tough fellows I liked so much and to suffer such hardships as Americans can hardly even envisage: cold rocks for a bed. Cheerfully we chatted. and in a somber twilight the family had been gathered for days.I set out with my bag on foot and was accosted by an ancient. the Adriatic. A man ran in hurriedly and peered at me. moaning about what terrible things might be happening to their male relations. The lower windows had all been boarded up. I thought of these things. murmurously calm. My last letter from him had reached me the previous February. The sky was Mediterranean blue. Hiding most days. and either the Italians or Germans down from the north." He was one of the Serb staff. The law of the Chetniks is that if one is caught behind the lines he stays there in hiding and gets the information that is most useful for his type of warfare. with luck. The lovely gardens we passed were just breaking into their first spring riot of subtropical flowers. where seaplanes and submarines are expected to come and get them out. I might be able to see my son again. a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force. Would submarines soon be sticking up their ugly snouts in that dreamy bay and gray ships of hatred spurting fire and death into the graceful marble villas? Arrived at the hotel. Will you go now? Tomorrow may be too late. so obscure that my relatives would never even be able to trace the place of it. he passes through the lines of the . the broiling suns of a Balkan summer. my only son. And on the other side. quick death-obscure death. and an onion for food. on the run most nights.

Large cars with foreign diplomatic flags and filled to the roof with luggage kept whizzing by me. elaborate irony. We were approaching a crossing of important military roads. Two Yugoslav naval reserve officers jumped out. "Bad-it couldn't be worse. His wings looked comfortingly solid and broad. stopped at the hotel for my bag. put on a dress and head scarf. "Force her to come back. Where to?" He was startled. "Can you get her into Dubrovnik?" "Yes. which I returned." I had the best possible hiding place: behind my American passport. spoke to them on the other side of the car. urgently. nothing is going that way. We hardly spoke. This passport was out of date. Nevertheless it had the nice fat American eagle stamped in bright gold on the cover. ignoring the fierce arguments of the gendarmes. bound obviously for Rizan and escape. Nothing was going in the other direction. having expired in 1936 I had arranged to have it renewed at the Belgrade Consulate on Monday. and I was pretty sure the Italians. Once we slowed down. There I would "go into hiding. "if you must. We will get her in. and then proceeded toward Dubrovnik at the most hairraising speed it has ever been my lot to survive. I'll help you. which might have meant quick finis. "we know she is English. I said pathetically that I only wanted to join American friends in Dubrovnik and didn't know what all this was about. and"-he hesitated.. April 7. April 6. . the blankety-blank traitors! The Independent State of Croatia." He gave me a long. pushed their way through to me. was at the appointed place to hear my decision. We are returning at dawn tomorrow. at least." said the elder quietly. Next morning I shoved my uniform into my bag. "Dubrovnik? Impossible. And you? . "is declaring war on England! . a battered little two-seater drew up from the direction of Zelenika. terribly alarmed. It was there I must go and do my job. the naval base. we were much too intent on what might be round the next curve of that corkscrew road. They began to shout menacingly." he said with bitter. P. looking at me speculatively -"if necessary we will get her out again." "Get her out. Never was the American eagle looked at with more affection and hope than it was that night before I fell asleep. . . and walked early into Herzegnovi.enemy to report." whispered P. We will do it. and an angry crowd collected." We drove off. The passport was therefore not really valid." At that moment two gendarmes ran up and in very ugly voices demanded my passport. you must. It was certain that the military and administrative headquarters of all this part of the coast would be its largest city Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Just as they were about to haul me off to the police station. . "What's the news?" I asked anxiously. searching look. would be properly afraid of him." he said. Croatia has gone over complete. The two officers took me between them and quickly pushed me into the car. . of course. toward Dubrovnik. But the great bombardment had come on Sunday. and demanded an explanation. P. "All right. make her come back-if it's not too late.

"Not all of us. . remember-it was the politicians." he said almost with entreaty." He turned to me a face of the most bitter and hopeless despair-a face that might now be called the face of all that was decent in Croatia. Remember." and he muttered a fearful curse. "not all of us are fools or-knaves. I will never forget this. We will positively not be taken.The elder officer (about forty) said quietly: "If the Germans are already there we will turn back at once." I said: "You are both Croats.

A MYTH DIES UNMOURNED AT DUBROVNIK we found the large hotels closed. kept confined for some weeks at Herzegnovi. and at last exchanged to England. Sir Ronald. as his would probably be the last car with any chance of getting through? He replied that he was sorry but the car was already overfull: he had too much luggage. This gesture greatly enhanced England's prestige in Serbia and will not be forgotten. They would have tried to return that . in which I was lucky to get a room. Sir Ronald. and my Croat sailor friends put me down at a smaller one. Ruth Mitchell 31. (There was no American consul. transported to Italy. The British minister. A fifth-column Eyetee teaching me Serbian was an amusing thought. I had known his cousin. and in view of the treatment of ministers in. In Dubrovnik I dined that night with my two Croat naval friends in the huge dark kitchen of the Gradats Hotel. When the British seaplane came in to rescue British nationals. They informed me that they would be leaving just before dawn in the morning. the late Lord "Lulu" Harcourt. there was urgency in their removal. I called on Laura McCullaugh at the Pension Ivy. and his whole staff stood aside and sent in their own places those civilians of Balkan nationality who were in danger of their lives if captured by the enemy. Bulgaria (under the Germans). a particularly obliging fellow who had taken pains to teach me some of my first Serbian words. the harbor of Dubrovnik. certain at least of imprisonment by the Germans. He was hurriedly closing the consulate. In striking contrast to Mr. (I give complete names only when I am certain that no injury to the person or to relatives still there can possibly result. It was a strained and silent meal. of course. M}. was awaiting the issue of events. however. his staff and about two hundred British nationals were taken by the Italians. I reminded him that I was. and as we made for the return streetcar. say. the few British troops that had landed were departing in haste. at acidulous length. Among the soldiers who got him was an Italian waiter from the Hotel Imperial.) From him I hoped to get some clear facts of the situation. and his staff had priority. Harcourt. how superior and older was his own branch of the family and the reasons why he himself was no nobleman! Back in town. This part of the town had been slightly bombed.) She was an American with friends of much influence both there and at home and. just next door. Could he not therefore please take me too. it was found that there was room for only twentytwo persons. with quiet confidence in her nationality. It was packed with Jewish refugees fleeing before the Germans into what was hoped would be Italian and therefore more humanly decent administration. He either knew or would tell none. Harcourt's was the behavior of the British Legation staff from Belgrade. Sir Ronald Campbell. to see the British consul. as was well known. I listened with speechless admiration while he explained to me. I am pretty sure they guessed what I was there for. Harcourt came in to say that he was leaving at once for Rizan with a British consul from farther north. the Gradats. he got only a few miles out of town when he was caught by the Italians. At once I took a streetcar out to Gruzh. Well.The Serbs Chose War. To amuse myself and to try the effect. Mr. We listened to various radio stations and had our worst fears confirmed: the Germans were already well into Greece.

privates and officers. They said they would knock on my door just before they left to see if I would come. Where there had been no spiritual union. But the officers-they were a curious study. amateurish ineffectiveness about them which could inspire only an amused contempt. we looked down the street and saw that everyone was being stopped and searched. Good luck to two loyal fellows! But I'm afraid . did it. blood had turned to poison. But in the morning the hotel porter told me in a whisper that they had been called for and taken away at midnight-by whom. Good. The town was gaily decorated with flags. they yet had a glum. Now began the great entry of the Imperial Italian Army. I had a valuable small camera with special attachments on me and. For lot. and Laura. all that King Alexander and other idealists had died for. with great pluck. There was only one worry: how soon would the Italians pass on and the Germans move in? It was the Germans these people eagerly hoped for and wanted. And for forty-eight hours it was hell. had no joy in what they were doing. She put it into a sponge bag and buried it in the garden while pretending to play with her Scotty dog. And this not just sometimes but invariably. The camera she unfortunately laid on Mr. Laura came to the high iron-grilled gate. but in the completely disorganized state of the country armed highway robbers were already infesting the roads. of course. in spite of some pleasure at success. Nevertheless she took it. I went over to see if Laura McCullaugh had heard any radio news and found the great gates of the Ivy locked. The faces of the townspeople were cheerful. going for the sake of "invincible" effect at dashing speed. many of them. uncertain. they said. and smell to watch the absurd performance: it was like a bantam cock getting fresh with a turkey. If the pass had been found in her possession she would have suffered extremely serious consequences. Something had to be done. That contempt was not unmixed with pity. and some were crudely scrawled with the usual fascist mottoes. Most of the hundreds of motor lorries were decorated with palm leaves and flowers. The common soldiers were morose. no respect for themselves in doing it. with now and then an inexpensive sort of pleasantness as they ogled the girls in the windows and balconies. It was worth hanging over the terrace for hours in the noise. We all had a dim prescience of what was to come. For the majority of these attractive little officers quite obviously. . They looked at me and sighed. It was a surprise too. Martial and even aristocratic in bearing.night. it was the Germans who meticulously saluted and it was the Italians. was maddening. I felt bitterly sad for all that had once been hoped for Yugoslavia. Harcourt's abandoned books (he did abandon some of his possessions) and it was seized by the Germans. attacking motorists and stealing their cars. Some German detachments came through. I pushed my camera and the pass through the gate. dust. . One or two carried huge pictures of Mussolini hung on the radiators. and as we stood talking. I said I should at least be glad to say good-by to them. In that narrow street the noise and concussion of the motorized transport. and the behavior of the "dear allies" to each other was uproariously funny. the Yugoslav flag hung upside down to become the Croatian flag. If there was a knock on my door that night I did not hear it. At exactly a quarter to ten that morning the first Italian detachment entered Dubrovnik. loyal fellows had little chance in Croatia in those black days. who turned their backs or with staring rudeness refused to reply. it was impossible to say. This pension was well known as the favorite haunt of British and American visitors and was the first place to be put under enemy surveillance. . my Chetnik pass.

to be carted off to Germany in trainload after heavy trainload. and even tourist trinkets disappeared as if by magic. I found the place in an uproar. When would my investigation come. Dubrovnik has always been the greatest center in the Balkans for local and Near East antiques. some were Serbs. he courteously suggested our walking over together. The shops were to me a never-ending delight. Seeing how things were vanishing. Elsewhere in Yugoslavia the looting. however worthless their paper. Returning to the hotel. instead of a cordon of bayonets and trample of heavy boots. mon colonel. The sun shone in through green foliage. But the Italians paid with money. there fluttered a little slip of paper bearing the name of the officer to whom the "suspicious character" should at once report. the Germans later knew quite well. I judge that it made him slightly absent-minded. now the Imperial Italian Military Headquarters. "But no. I hurried to try to grab a bathing suit and cloth for a beach gown to play my role of the harmless summer visitor. and it happened that he was the man himself. as the hall was occupied. and to a man just arrived from the Greek mountain campaign it must have looked like paradise.Whispered jokes about Italian courage were heard everywhere. accompanied by the nervous hotel porter I walked down to the Hotel Imperial. the barefaced stealing of every usable article." . had already commenced. including even floors. Their kindness to me and their anxiety about my safety now were so remarkable as to justify one's good opinion of humanity. I had already disposed of mine. I am an American caught here by events and with nowhere to travel safely. I showed my slip to an officer just coming out. The great Italian nation are our friends of long standing. clothes. (Useless precaution. The shops were cleared as if a mighty swarm of locusts had settled on the town and neighborhood. Removing the insignia. "You are British?" he began stiffly in awkward French. while the Germans mostly gave "promissory" notes-and those only in compliment to their new "dear allies" the Croats." But behold. their wives and relatives poured in from Albania and even from Italy itself. Now I had far and away the pleasantest corner room in the hotel. and both were my good friends.) I put my uniform into safekeeping where I hope to find it again-it was actually a Croat who very courageously took it for me. Italian police had found in my room English books (borrowed from Laura) and photographs of a flier they thought English and had raised a hue and cry for "the British spy. Several of the shopkeepers were Jews. my old-time roost. Arrived there. They notified me that if I needed anything. he asked where we could talk and. Immediately behind the Italian troops. I wondered? I destroyed my British passport. and I had spent many happy hours and many thousands of dinars in buying treasures. And after considerable thought I decided to leave my gun for the present with another friend. After lunch. that they were so terrified of the Chetniks that they shot on sight anyone wearing the typical and almost universal Serbian black lambskin cap because it happened to be also the Chetnik uniform cap. all they had was at my disposal. for instance. I pushed it under some bomb wreckage in the garden of the hotel to look as if it had been tossed over the wall by a passer-by: there would be plenty more when I got up into the mountains. Food. a Serb. you are quite mistaken. he suggested my room. We heard. As he was about to lunch at the Gradats. in the usual Pleasant or half hearted Italian manner. mainly because I did not wish to reveal the dates on which I had visited Bulgaria.

bowed low and departed. at heart a true Chetnik. I drew my American pass from my pocket and held it in my hand.I regret to say this room has been requisitioned. fat American eagle. the founder of Yugoslavia. when they see themselves again on the losing side and their frightful crimes coming home to them. is considered his finest work. together with other inscriptions and memorials of a Yugoslavia vanished now into the past. Now began in Dubrovnik the wholesale removal and destruction by the inhabitants of any signs that they. "Where could one find a place more beautiful to pass this terrible time of war. without a single visa. they do not blame him for his helplessness. took up the pass and slipped it back into my pocket. The thought that." he said. The Croats. Quickly I picked up a cigarette to offer him and. throughout the later frantic effort to find a single positive piece of evidence of my Chetnik connection. I had surmounted my first hazard." I bowed noncommittally. Yugoslavia has gone. What they had not found in my room-what I had taken care they should not find-was a large photograph of the old Chetnik chief. The beautiful bas-relief by Mestrovich of King Peter I. I watched it being torn down. can be confidently expected to try to revive it. which will soon. as if the matter were now settled. "this room. and quite properly. had a crack at the bottom. I'm afraid you will have to move. The myth of a brotherhood based on blood was exploded-irrevocably as regards the Serbs." and with the usual Italian gallantry: "Perhaps you would be kind enough to take the room next door. Busily I talked on. If he should take the pass to look at. The Fighting Serbs will positively have none of it. I am sure. followed by my Chetnik skull-and-crossbones badge and the cap insignia. I was content that." I was anxious not to destroy this but meant to save it somehow for a future time. I talked on gaily. and. How to do it? I had considered numberless ways and at last hit upon the perfect place. be over!" He saw my nice. has given me unending pleasure. built into the wall. Pechanats." "Indeed?" "Yes. "Perhaps by four o'clock?" He made a few agreeable remarks. as it was completely blank. as I write (May 1943) the American and British governments still use the word officially is merely. and the fact that now. unless the hotel burned or the walls were torn down. The Serbs love their Karageorgivich king as loyally as ever. these mementos would await me at the end of the war. I'm afraid.He bowed. grandfather of the present King Peter II. He is very young. slightly embarrassed. "This room. to save themselves the work of dealing with a problem which will solve itself. a branch of the same South Slav stock. He was looking round my pretty room. with his nose almost directly over that evidence. Balkan carpentry is not very precise. . They know him to be in the hands of old and inept Serbian and intriguing Goat advisers. and the floor of my closet. They want him back. On it was written a dedication in very flattering terms calling me "the best and most valued friend Serbia possessed. his suspicion would be aroused at once. one of the highest officers of the Italian Occupation was and is now sleeping every night. I managed to slip the picture in. had ever had any connection with their fellow South Slavs. the Serbs. laid the pass on a table beside me. to strike a match.

But should the impossible occur and the hated democracies after all prevail and pursue their "stupid" policy of allowing the peoples to decide their own destiny.But nothing is more certain than that any official who has compromised with the Croats can consider his career closed. . one million Serbian graves will cast their ballots too. then they would see to it that they kept the rich lands bought from Germany with their treachery: there should be no more Serbs there to vote. The Croats believed the Germans would win. Let those cunning butchers take this word of warning: when that day of voting comes.

Dubrovnik became Ragusa. and he promised to remove enough herbs from the furniture for us at least to sit down. He had a small auxiliary yawl lying in Gruzh harbor. especially Laura McCullaugh. which he kept in an appalling mess. HITLER-down. which in its great days had been second only to the Republic of Venice. Ruth Mitchell 32. and for a day or two we breathlessly awaited the decision. In between these pursuits he spent his time cultivating the Germans. They tried various expedients to flatter the people." which had been proclaimed amidst general rejoicing on April 10. SHOPPING FOR GUN EMPLACEMENTS THE JOY OF THE INHABITANTS of Dubrovnik at the arrival of their dear "saviors. I examined it. Old Mrs. They even went to the length of again proclaiming a new Independent Republic of Ragusa ("Independence" now being scattered about this part of the world like so much poisoned cat's meat.) In the charming old central place of the crowded town. quickly waned. By expert maneuvering they quietly arrested the worst shouters but quickly released them again." the Axis. He was determined that she and I should flee with him. UP. One morning . widow of an Oxford don and for decades one of the landmarks of Dubrovnik. During her long illness news of the World War had been kept from her. He told me he would have renewed my American passport there and then. Oonah Ball. then immediately after the Italians. died peacefully at this time. Apparently this got him oil and other favors. there was a sharp dispute between the two loving allies. but all his seals had been lost in the bombardment. The Germans came in. He succeeded in paying for the dinner of one of the highest passing officers. They had hoped and expected to see the Germans march in. as if I might take her place in his heart. and intense was the disappointment of its people. whose stern rejection of his impassioned advances gave us much merriment.The Serbs Chose War. I should also mention the bizarre and faintly sinister American who called himself Captain Kahn. and take over the protection of the newly created "Independent State of Croatia. and members of his staff with their families passed through on that day on their way back to their posts at Belgrade. it turned out differently. Could it have been produced in just those few days ? No-and not by Italian needles: someone here must have known what was coming months in advance! Mr. Macatee. if not first. it is true. alas. and she passed away knowing nothing about it. But. Mussolini!" (groans). The Italians were noticeably embarrassed but imperturbably good-natured and patient as they watched the noisy demonstrations of the populace yelling: "UP. Then the Germans moved out and the Italians-for centuries the hereditary hated foe of Dalmatia-the despised little Eyetees were allowed by the Big Boss to remain. With these he hoped to bewitch us. He was violently proGerman and had little swastika flags stuck all over his boat. a hollow square of Alpini buglers blew a fanfare and hoisted a scarlet fish-tail banner with Patron Saint Blasius embroidered in the center. heirs of the proud tradition of the once rich and powerful Republic of Ragusa. and her famous English library was sealed up. the American consul general. He spent his time gathering herbs and making weird ointments and hellish brews. At her steady refusal to listen I detected a speculative gleam in his eye. down. The hand embroidery was fine and the likeness almost mansized.

but especially old. It was not the same information as that required by an invading army. I had little time to look at it. But the Italians just went on smiling. For obvious reasons I cannot particularize here. if alone. When I envisaged this business I had not expected that the affection of my enemy would be my greatest danger. I was lucky enough to get a room that hung almost over the sea. I found a small hotel on the extreme edge of a well-wooded peninsula near the harbor of Gruzh. "non capisco!" I was always just an American stranger. The experiment of the Republic didn't work as well as had been hoped. A market basket. very nasty. most well-bred and sheltered girls of the Dubrovnik aristocracy were discreetly accompanied by faultless Italian cavaliers. Of course. with its scattered rocky islets and its broken mountainous shore line. . I got by. They permit one to face one way and look another without one's eyes being visible. There were very disagreeable as well as funny and even delightful incidents. They smiled as if they meant it. alas. I had to get it. It was now my business to get certain information. perhaps to the wars in the service of his dear Nazis. The sun was now bright enough to justify sun glasses. within two miles of Dubrovnik. since all housewives here and in Italy go to open market." as I followed the rocky paths. their amorousness. now in that. It was strictly for guerrilla work. My windows gave me an exquisite view across the calm Adriatic. preferring to leave it in a safe place and to work on it in the evening. The little Italians seemed so guileless and good-natured. You can't stay angry when your despised conqueror. either "shopping" or "seeking secluded beaches to bathe. I decided it would be best to move to some place outside the town. and I was in a quandary more than once. hops out of the road for your comfort. though I certainly didn't let it stop me. I seldom carried it with me. not even exactly the same as required for a commando raid. So that after a time the people began to melt. but not always pleasantly. and a large straw hat gave me the bona-fide look of a good housekeeper intent on economy. The remarkable thing was that it wasn't just a victorious or artificial grin. But so it was. and offers to carry the parcels of every woman he sees. always just "taking a short cut and anxious to get back on the main road. was fair game. especially. It only needed a sight of the occasional groups of wooden. whom you have invited to come in. however. For. Yet I knew well that if I made the slightest slip all their good nature would vanish. Before many days had passed. Now they were all filled with lively little Italian soldiers. and the difficulty of steering a middle course was very tiring. I could "not understand one word of Italian". he was certainly quite mad. salutes you with smiling eagerness. which are very useful. the prettiest. complete with boat. If so I wish them joy of him. so that I should have a good excuse for coming into town by different roads and paths. Who should blame them? I confess I myself often felt a pig at what I was doing. contemptuous. surly German airmen to recall me to caution. of course." There had once been plenty of these. laughing and singing. just off a long campaign. They just couldn't help it. though possibly useful in some obscure way.he was gone. and being altogether too friendly. I used for the purpose a large-scale map of the town and neighborhood on fairly thin paper. Anything in a skirt. A too abrupt repulse turned these tough soldiers. The thing one had to fear from these brown fellows was not their suspicion but. The inhabitants remained hostile. It seemed like stealing money from a blind beggar. as I was ceaselessly strolling now in this direction. as if they just liked smiling. old or young.

Far from being perturbed by my sudden appearance. every man rose. I wonder how many of those victorious films will be treasured in the bitterly humbled years to come! . Their extreme youth was a surprise. thick. Now came a grim interlude: the return of the victorious German troops from Greece. Cameras are "requisitioned" without payment.I cannot resist telling the funniest of all. The promontory near my hotel was covered with tall.Italian love songs in charming harmony. often made the whole thing seem unreal to me. One morning I descended midway onto this path from above. To my horror I saw the path both ways lined with squatting figures in dishabille. There it will be man to man. where I had suspected and found two batteries of mountain guns. However fast and powerful. Troops were encamped all over it. silvery olive trees under the hot blue sky. dwarfed by their dependence on their machines. our men are better!" So it has proved. they looked softened. of course. I lodged a complaint about this disgusting habit with the major in command. The eternal German tourist came out in them too. Some looked not more than fifteen. as it reached that point. and the dirty little devils found the path which ran all the way round it the most convenient place for certain morning and evening physical routines. in spite of their pink northern cheeks.000 men passed through in fast motor transport whose efficiency. the defeatism of some of the conquered peoples. and I fled to its far recesses-chuckling to myself. moving or lounging round their bivouac fires in the terraced groves of gnarled. weight of guns. excited air. their smartly cocked hunters' caps. such scientific perfection. and a volley of clicks ran down the lines. and care for the finest detail was staggeringly impressive. must be just a stage play and soon we would come to the happy ending! In contrast. they raised their voices to bright delight: right and left I was saluted con amore! Fortunately I knew of an old ruined fortress nearby. solidity. And their peaceful occupation was being made joyous with song. while other eager ones were coming down behind me. even their mellow Italian voices seemed to have grown thin and strained and the famous end bark sounded ridiculous. I must admit. or Il Barbiere. For the Nazi soldiers themselves were not impressive. and singing the lovely old arias from Carmen. surely. and man for man. they can't pierce our pathless forests. In spite of their victorious. In three days something like 60. Yet all the time my heart kept singing: "They can't get up our mountains. Most of those cameras had been stolen. Il Trovatore. In every car. each with perky feather. prickly bush. And it was actually stoppedfor my pleasure and convenience! The Alpini in their green uniforms. How childishly pathetic were the few Italian armored cars that got mixed in the procession! After such a sight one could well understand the hopelessness. no camera is ever left behind where Germans pass. This. every single one sighted a camera. in spite of their big frames (compared with the Italians but not compared with our own men). when a regimental dinner was given in my hotel directly under my room and the officers afterwards dutifully sang their fascist war songs composed on German models. I stood watching on the road just where the beautiful Gruzh harbor came into view. It seemed suicidal to oppose such power.

one got the impression that their hearts weren't in it: their hearts were at home with their women. I remember the exact date because there had been a birthday in the hotel and I had picked flowers as a gift. I asked why that particular one. The noise these lively Italians made. Suddenly a flutter and one bird braked sharply in front of my window. As I sewed busily the large window beside me was wide open on the limitless. professors of English at Italian schools. Their curiously baffled. "Really? Where did you get that information?" "I read it in their advertisement!" Now a strange thing happened.The Serbs Chose War." It reminded me of when my boy was twelve. "It is the best car made. heard I was there. then darted straight and purposefully at me and clung tightly to my shoulder. Yet I feel constrained to do so. Surprised. the fastest fliers of the bird world. "I read it in a book translated from the Croatian which has been supplied to us. aren't you? You've shouted it often enough! It's your show. a thing so strange that I hesitate to mention it. After careful study he decided on a certain quite unknown brand. whatever its interpretation. their fields. it was difficult not to bite my tongue when I heard such statements as: "Those miserable Serbs have no literature." he said positively. strong on their slim wings. then. were coming north along the Adriatic coast from their winter quarters far to the south in Libya. their continuous chatter about the job in hand. On the afternoon of May 18 I was sitting in my room hastily doing some much-needed mending. or folklore even. called punctiliously. THE CHAMPIONS To GET THE INFORMATION I wanted was not as difficult as I had expected. Also. I had promised to let him choose the make of our next motorcar. and their children. Lieutenant A. of their own. and be damned to you!" Every evening on the crowded terrace the Italian officers would turn on the radio and calmly listen to the English news! Two reservists. Ruth Mitchell 33. as they surged past. Intent upon my sewing. lovely view. unprofessional air seemed to say to the Germans: "You're the supermen." "Oh yes? Where did you learn this?" I asked politely. and for no reason that I could conceive at that instant my sobs seemed to strangle me. and their gallantry towards women left little insurmountable secrecy. you seem to know all about it. and Dr. I had a violent spasm of the heart which mothers only know. (I have no wish to injure them). with some effort. Sitting on the warm sea wall and talking with these naive men of Fascist Italy. I took the bird into . The swifts. and invited me to go for picnics and sight-seeing trips. They have stolen them all from the Croats. My breath stopped. Get on with it. their vineyards. absolutely no epics. my breast constricted. I cast few glances at the groups of birds. L. the exact opposite being the truth. It made an uncertain turn or two.

He was beautiful. It takes about eight days for the swifts to reach the middle Adriatic from the African coast. I raised the bird in my hand. The hotel was full of Serbian Jewish refugees. It sat a moment. smilingly turned up again. also a boy. It just looked at me with its bright and gentle little eyes. she gladly offered to feed the child herself: she had abundant milk. I went downstairs. They got. fetchers.. The most successful as well as the most amusing of these gallant blockade runners was a buxom. and that the mother. Among them was a handsome. who hid her and expedited her on her way. Then she plunged back again. Then it sprang up. Next morning the feeblest of feeble baby cries announced that the new life had arrived. where kind friends tried to comfort me. John Lendrum van Breda. The little strange boy throve wonderfully.. and earned. I tried to give it water: it wanted none.that the dying sometimes send messages by birds and that a bird entering the house signifies the death of a dear one. She was never heard of again. etc.my hands. She told me a remarkable and significant experience. primitive hospital in the heart of Serbia. Being told that none could be found. messengers who slipped away and. a boy of seventeen and a girl of fifteen. The name of the family at my hotel was Farhi. All the hotels were full of such harassed Jewish people. to avoid housekeeping. she asked if there was not a foster mother. she had arranged to remain three weeks at the hospital. She told me that she loved him. porters. if you like. brothers or sisters or children. in a high fever. But I did not know it. Weeping. and their anxiety about the old couple as well as about their own future was desperate. My only son. with blue eyes and golden curls. No doubt she had "carried on" just a little too far. For they had plenty already to distress them. Artificial feeding being there unknown. blond Aryan who made no secret of the fact that she "carried on" with conductors. was despaired of. its heart did not beat wildly. most of whom had lost relatives. At the end of three weeks he was as bonny as any normal child. When her first child was born she had her confinement in a small. in their flight from German barbarity. once they were out of Italian jurisdiction. or letters-in their mouths. this time set upon fetching the old folks out bodily. . It was neither frightened nor tired. I soon composed myself so as not further to distress my friends. The poor little halfdead baby was brought in and laid beside her own son at her other breast. fortunately I did not know it then. with the game-relatives. was well made but was so weak as to be unlikely to live. including one large family with its in-laws. Their aged parents had chosen to remain behind in the old family home. Her husband had been called away and. was killed flying at Merza Matruh in Libya on May 10. In England there is an age-old belief-superstition. since the danger. There was a regular system of searchers. and the mother too was saved and recovering. She was told that the baby. The night after the boy was born she heard much hurrying about in the corridor and on inquiry learned that the expectant mother in the next room was causing the doctor serious alarm. circled once around. and strongly flew away. enormous pay. And thus five times a day she fed it. after anxious days. with his little pushing fists and eager sucking lips. was great. valuables. like spaniels out of a marsh. quiet woman with two nice children. as if he had been her own. And now an interesting secret traffic began. She brought out the most amazing masses of luggage for my friends and also a letter from their parents. a particularly nice group of young people and children.

impossible just because of those horrors." "You." That night the child was not brought in and cried inconsolably. away from all the horror. dressed in lace. Then the cards ceased. He was all she had now in the world. Soon she launched into a violently bitter tirade against "that scourge of the earth. hung with strings of Serbian tongues and with bowls of Serbian eyes for sale.. Preparing to fight on the side of his foster mother. of course. nurtured at the same breast. than they could accept. a friend of his from Belgrade. of atrocities unrepeatable. the Ustashi." She lived. It was a very alluring thought but. For another three weeks after that the baby was brought to her three times a day by a liveried chauffeur." said my friend gently. They drew attractive pictures of how we three should slowly travel up the coast. said the Russian woman.On the day before she was to leave a message was brought asking if the mother. always at Christmas. and she bathed and fed him. After a time the outlook for the Jewish refugees in Dubrovnik became threatening: we heard the Gestapo were coming. I hope. and there appeared at her door the most beautiful creature she had ever seen: fragile. If he sucked in character with that mother's milk he will be a kindly and brave fellow. his cry a good hearty yell now. she received a card from the mother from different parts of the world. For ten years. anxiously urged me to come too. I wonder where he is. Unfortunately. That boy must now be nineteen. of massacres of defenseless Serbs by berserk-mad Croatians and by Moslems in Bosnian Croatia. My friends. Men were soon to arrive in Dubrovnik itself. In the little back parlors of trusty men the tales were whispered. I could not believe a quarter of them. the Jews. not being wealthy. whose wife was afterwards in prison with me. "perhaps you won't feel that way now any more-now that your boy has become the milk brother of my boy. Next morning he returned. including Mr. "Perhaps. she said. There were more volunteer recruits to the sinister Croat murder organization. Angelo Farhi and O. I was soon to know that they were a weak understatement of the truth. got permits to proceed northwards to Italy en route for Spain. only for revenge upon the evil Jews.. Then he was gone and she missed him sadly.S. might visit her. my friend. it appeared." she said diffidently. the heir to her title. "you are a Serb ---" "No. My friend looked at her with wide-eyed horror and pity for the blow about to fall. "I am a pure-blooded Jewess. which I unfortunately did not write down and have forgotten. (She gave me the name of the princess. For now I began to get news from Croatia that told of a slowly rising tide of murders. and heavily jeweled. was a Russian princess. The princess was hardly able to express her thanks to my friend for saving the life of her baby. who. her parents killed by the Bolsheviks." said the Russian princess.) She agreed. . A. The Dalmatians as a whole were horrified by the appalling developments and only cheered up when occasional bits of news came through that seemed to counterbalance the horrors. and the Farhis. accompanied by the gift of a handsome set of emerald earrings and bracelet. hardly able to speak. She refused them and left the hospital. thought them magnificent. since she had been driven from her home and great estates.

I thought. as the Jews in Dubrovnik.had been given the choice of changing their religion or of losing all their possessions or their lives. that a frantic exodus of starving Serbs was choking the roads to Belgrade." . Unhappily. had to wear yellow. But Machek. But so many decent-minded Croats had immediately also donned the white armbands in protest that the order had to be hastily rescinded.Thus we heard (in these early days before the massacres got well under way) that all Serbs in Zagreb. was doing absolutely nothing-not even faintly protesting. We heard that Orthodox Serbs-hundreds of thousands of them. the capital of the new Independent State. we heard to our bitter amazement. What was Machek doing? Machek. had been ordered to wear a white armband. their children dying by the roadside. as the violence increased those loyal Croats were killed too. as everywhere under the Germans. Quite the reverse. The news grew steadily more fiendish. he had on the radio ordered his followers to "co-operate. the vaunted "enlightened" Croat leader. with unquestioned power over all his people-surely he could exert that power now to stop these fearful crimes.

There were certain people I saw almost daily. I ignored them-unfortunately for me. but still graceful.The Serbs Chose War. anniversary of the Battle of Kossovo. Mihailovich? The name meant absolutely nothing to me that day. After a last quick drink of slivovits. For now the dreaded Gestapo was to take over the same strangle hold on this Italian-occupied territory of Dalmatia that it had on Italy itself. Angelo Farhi. if only from a distance. he didn't matter anymore. Ruth Mitchell 34. They would signal if there was anything important and then meet me in prearranged places. Pechanats was nowhere. The ships for the north were packed to suffocation. The last Jewish refugee departed on May 20. so helpful. He had warned me urgently that a Moslem called Mustafa Hasanovich had got hold of a photograph of me in uniform. we had to part-Vaso to slip away on another job. long-lashed eyes which he used to fascinate visiting ladies into his antique shop to buy at fancy prices. the leader. This man Hasanovich was a notorious character. I PREPARE MIHAILOVICH TO JOIN GENERAL I HAD BEEN WAITING ANXIOUSLY for news of the Chetnik plans. Clearly it had better be soon. I bought antiques. For I had heard ominous news from another source. I interpreted his threats to denounce me as blackmail to force me to buy in his shop. But where was my old chief. This day at about ten o'clock I entered the shop and was signaled to wait until some Italian soldiers had bought and departed. and the reactions of this pet of the foreign women can be imagined. would be the date for the Chetnik rising. It was not uncommon-I knew several men of that name. I to plan how I could get to Nikshich. stood a large dark man upon whose neck I could have fallen: Vaso. still begging me . most often behind a certain food shop. so kindly. who was now taking chief command of both the remains of the Army and of the Chetniks. There. snapped. in the dappled shadow of a grape trellis. a vieu flaneur with melting. the Duke Kosta Pechanats? Vaso's mien darkened. My friend had heard that Hasanovich intended to denounce me to the Gestapo. so intelligent. on May 17. At last. I will say that it is an extremely nasty experience. it appeared. thin-haired. presented me with two badly needed shirts and. it appeared. the great and sacred Serb festival. utterly brainless. I was to make for Nikshich (in Montenegro). on the platform at Sarajevo. But Draja Mihailovich? I did not remember ever having met him. my Montenegrin frontier policeman. It may have been his first complete feminine failure. a plucky Serb to whom I had often had occasion to be grateful. Then I slipped out through the back door. Quickly he told me that June 28. the very last night. where he himself would meet me and guide me to Draja Mihailovich. For those who have never had to hear that their own commander was suspected of being a traitor. he shut up like a clam. it came. I had a dependable friend in the town. but not from him: his charm tax seemed to me too high. He was a regular army pukovnik (colonel). and so utterly unconscious of what I was doing.

waiting in front of the Hotel Posta. where an office had been opened to issue the necessary permits. lapsed into dull despair and at last wrote down what he thought was the name of a village. In that way my mountain climbing would be shortened by many days and my danger of capture correspondingly reduced. went away. My good friend discovered that a sailing ship would be leaving at 4 A. I seized it and fled. My American pass did not startle him-all strange papers were alike to him. "Spalato" (Split). The none-too-bright clerk. and sorrow seemed to grind away the artificial husks of society. Bored stiff. anxiety. "Korcula". One really must give credit to the Italians. but only on condition that I possessed an official permit for the journey. skirted the Cetinje plateau where the Italian troops were concentrated and would take me toward Nikshich. winding northeast. I had decided to try northward first and. Coming southward. perhaps by an oversight. I joined the line behind a fat and chatty old girl whose ample skirts and bosom provided good cover. This of course would be heavily guarded. As I passed through the town early on May 21 I saw a line of peasants. How was I to get one? An order had been issued that all country people who had fled into Dubrovnik were to return to their homes and farms.) .) But southward-that was something quite different. and often succeeded. or should I only be drawing dangerous attention to myself? I decided to try with caution. He took my particulars mechanically. And not dry-eyed. mainly women. This little old town. so slowly. he wrote it down.to come. Gently I said. left in my passport. I quietly said. But I knew a little donkey track which. When in due course we moved to the front my old lady launched into a loud and matey explanation of her wish to visit her children and grandchildren. he wrote it down. as if only half awake. he wrote it down. Nevertheless I got both. In that direction was only war. to risk southward. (This pass was found by the Gestapo. all named.M. right into this Bocca. Food was getting scarce: as many mouths as possible must be got rid of and food production raised. Her thanks were profuse but left him despondent. used against me at my court-martial and. The millstones of trouble. had only one road running through it. Silently he handed over the paper as the next person crowded up. on May 23 from Gruzh for Cattaro with food supplies for the Occupation troops. Yet south I must go. baffled and hopeless. They tried to be decent in every way they could: anyone could get permission to go north toward Italy. if that worked. to Cattaro (Kotor) itself if at all possible. to the very inmost corner. That meant toward the Bocca di Cattaro. to be anxiously avoided by any innocent tourist. I said. For an English-speaking foreigner to want to go south could only mean mischief. the only one he could catch. he hardly looked up. "Bocca di Cattaro" and then quickly "Return. lying on the water as if it had slipped down off the steep mountainside. even if I found some means of transport.perhaps that of a grandchild-and languidly pushed over the pass. The captain was "persuaded" at a very fancy price to take me. seemed out of the question." Slowly. I have it here before me. the inland bay for centuries most eagerly desired by Italy as a perfect naval base. At a long row of desks Italian army clerks were distractedly struggling to understand a babel of requests in a strange tongue. But any chance of getting a permit for Cattaro. Should I try for it. leaving only the fine flower of sincerity. (They later tried hard to protect unarmed Serbs against the Croat butchers. Now came my turn.

I knew a bright-eyed little devil who had run several useful errands for me-but this time he was to be disappointed. Until the last possible moment I must arouse no suspicion that I was planning to leave. either by older men or by women. They often get by where much cleverer people would stick. which was quite usual. . On the morning of the 22d I arranged with a near-by youth to carry my bag next morning across the intervening hill to the harbor. I myself would go openly with my basket as if to buy fish. they pass almost unnoticed. I have always found that for jobs of this sort boys of about fourteen are ideal. A parcel is in Europe the natural appendage of boys. and should they excite remark they always have a cheeky answer to allay suspicions: men instinctively avoid back-chat with young smart alecks. Always eager for anything with a touch of mystery about it.At dawn on the 23d I should be away to join Draja Mihailovich! I remained quietly at the hotel that day.

"We are the Gestapo. all the guests having fled. setting behind the islands. "it makes no difference whatever. being no doubt used to terrorizing women. He hated the Italians. The hotel was now completely empty. and he never once looked me in the face. sparring desperately for time. Poor devil-poor Croatia! "May I take some things with me?" "Yes. You will come with us at once. I looked at him. He was slightly taken aback by my polite formality. threw a bright rosy golden glow upon the opposite white wall. and we had often laughed together about it. I mention these details because they saved my life. Now you never saw a more ashamed-looking man. which I speak as easily as English." he said much less rudely. as was usual. Suddenly. I knew the man quite well. thinking it might be long before I saw the sea again (it was!)." "Madam [gnadige Frau]. He did not look at me. I am in Italian jurisdiction. I was to see a good deal of him during the next few days.The Serbs Chose War. The sun. Then. I bowed. my bathing suit dry. I was as healthy as it is humanly possible to be. "WE ARE THE GESTAPO!" ON THE AFTERNOON of the 22d." Mildly I said: "I am an American. I am the Gestapo. This is Independent Croatia. When I came out I took off my bathing suit behind a rock. but hurry. the other smaller. Ruth Mitchell 35. I lay awhile in the hot sun. I turned and faced two rubber-shod men in plain clothes." . and as I plunged about I remember thinking how fit I was for any hardship. Very fond of dancing and feeling exuberantly cheerful. I decided to have a nice long swim. In any case this is an officer of the Croatian police. "May I see your credentials?" I said. I went straight into the large dining room." and he indicated the other man. He was a Croatian detective who had been assigned to watch me here in Dubrovnik when I was suspected of espionage-on behalf of Italy! He didn't believe it. "Ruth Mitchell?" from the smaller man. and on drawing on my shirt and gray flannel slacks I noticed to my surprise that I had put my marked map into the back pocket instead of hiding it. I began to cut some capers to throw funny shadows against the wall. of course.one long and thin. there was another shadow. I went slowly back. I knew at once. "Unnecessary! I told you. as I usually did. who they were. softly whistling to myself the while. on each side of my shadow." he said haughtily and rudely in German. which was simply a glassed terrace overlooking the lovely bay. That is enough.

by the grace of God. "but certainly not. as he informed me.. Unless there has been some very unlikely cataclysm it is now where I put it and I shall go back and get it. They showed they thought this was a very long farewell. turned up at my trial. How bitter was that moment! All my work wasted! And my life. and closed it gently. another little fifth columnist. My manner had reminded these men that there was such a thing as politeness. I am sure. they did not find what they were looking for: my Chetnik pass. They hesitated. . sincere distress to bid me good-by. are still sufficiently rare on Balkan women to leave males slightly abashed. my son.Just then the waiter appeared with my supper on a tray." Now trousers. That was significant: Chetniks when caught as such do not require anything for long. I am very anxious to have it as it is a unique document. while my mind frantically made and discarded plan after plan for destroying the map. including my Italian permit. "I have failed-I have failed! You must carry on!" But my son. "Gentlemen." my heart cried out. In spite of tearing apart everything that could possibly hide it." I said softly. "you will at least allow me time to change into a skirt. And they knew their business. I put my hand on the handle. I opened the door. We reached my door. I was handed a few necessaries to pack into my sleeping bag. I began to feel warily cheerful.? "My son. I was surprised to be allowed to shake them all by the hand. Like lightning I jerked out the map. "May I eat my supper? Perhaps you will join me and have some too ?" "Thank you. my dagger. despite their most determined efforts." How many nights for more than a year I was to dream of that meal of trout and strawberries-and-creamuneaten! Close on each side of me they marched me up to my room. was lying still forever under the drifting desert sand. Each article was closely examined by the Gestapo agent Herr Blum-that being his name. slipped in. It was trout and strawberries-and-cream. and a few things. Not half a minute and those men had already realized their carelessness. As they tore open the door I was peacefully pulling a skirt over my head." he bowed stiffly. But I knew mine better. He sealed the room for further search. It was never found. Then they began to search. his duty done. He later told me that he was a German resident of Zagreb (Croatia)-in other words. The hotel staff had gathered in consternation and. If they had I shouldn't be writing this today.. and a photograph. wrapped it around a little antique brass ink-pot and cast it far out into the sea.

I mentioned I had had nothing to eat. Here were "Independent" Croatian policemen. I was ordered to turn out my pockets. nothing at all. which annoyed him. How often I had gaily passed that doorway. The policemen relaxed and swelled up. in at the Ploche gate. More tourist-spy stuff. no doubt. who had really tried to be formally decent. the bottle passing from mouth to mouth. departed. and in a few moments an ample hot meal was brought and a bottle of wine. Blum at once gave an order. little suspecting what it hid! The heavy door swung back." he replied with smug satisfaction. My particulars were written into a huge tome.It was getting dark. but: "How could I forget such a handsome man?" I said with only faint sarcasm. turned. "But I regret it can make no difference. "We have all the necessary proofs. I will see you tomorrow. but the policemen enjoyed the rest. "It is possible. on the right about halfway between the arch and the Ploche gate. We went down some steps into a dimly lit courtyard and into a small office opposite. not even a toothbrush.." I made them write both." (Belgrade's best hotel. victorious sneer. I know there are such cases. "American and British." I said without heat." His tone was worried and more gentle (he was the only German who ever admitted to me such elementary knowledge). "Since you knew me there you know I am an American. . They all knew me." "I am both. yes. a small comb and a little paper money. who drove. passed through the archway by which we had entered." the latter greeted me in perfect English with a kind of joyous._ Weak He waved his hand and we drove off.." one sneered proudly. "Ha. "we'll soon get them nowus and the Germans. We sped round the town." I couldn't repress a twinkle. and stopped in front of a large door in the huge city wall. of course. Blum. Miss Mitchell. I could eat and drink little. from the Srbski Kralj. which revealed a handkerchief. The atmosphere changed at once. "Aha.) It was hard to see him clearly. the English. "I am delighted to see you! You remember me. and stopped before the Gradska Kafana. but American nevertheless. Herr Blum ran in and came out with a tall officer." ." "You are British. He barked: "Out you go!" "May I take some necessaries from my bag?" No. I was put into an open car next to Herr Blum.

blank stare. No prisoner spoke to me. and quickly pushed into every cell but mine. . I balanced myself on my erratic bench and went to sleep. and iron bolts scraped noisily. The door was thrown open and a surly guard motioned me out: "Wash. opened a dirty handkerchief. sobbingly. With my foot I felt along the skirting board. An iron door was unlocked. I was frightened. Black silence-with only the sucking moan of sad sea waves breaking softly. Almost all. Silence. but I wasn't that hungry-yet. Then he settled himself in a shady corner. Roughly he pushed me in. Bright sunlight revealed men and women standing in line in the courtyard. waiting their turn at a very slightly screened tap. I stood holding my breath. afraid only of what might crawl up onto me. The door clanged shut. The cell was hot and stuffy. was puttering about with a broom. I stood waiting. The guard's steps retreated . He would have shared with me. I took off my jacket and rolled it up. The crashing of heavy bolts awoke me. If I went forward I might trip over something.The Serbs Chose War. There was an overturned rowboat in the yard. were Jewish. . The sun shone warmly upon it. but if I followed the wall I should at least get back to the door again sometime. were gone. I hitched myself up and sat there practically all day watching people being brought in. inhuman sea. Well. right under the cell. tearful. They were returned to crowded cells and locked up. PRISON ONE OF THE CROAT POLICEMEN took my elbow and hurried me across a dimly lit courtyard. An old man.he grunted. Ruth Mitchell 36. I asked for some food but was given only a rude. Only the sough of a lonely. I gave him ten dinars to sweep out my very filthy cell. We looked at each other with friendly speculation. Now nothing more could happen to me-until the next thing.". evidently an old lag (habitual criminal). Were there others there in the dark? Or was I all alone? I listened intently. I might as well try to find out what sort of a place I was in. . I stood in line and did the best I could with my handkerchief and little comb. I found I was alone in a fairly large cell (about ten by ten) with only a pail and a narrow bench. I had never in my life before been really frightened. No one paid any attention to me. splintery and wobbly. I thought. I was in prison. So that was that. terrified. The bench was about nine inches wide. evidently the only water supply. Then. No sound of breathing. They looked very scared. and munched a crust of bread.

The door was bolted. I could detect a touch of nostalgia. coming ever nearer. he threw me a pitying glance and. he instantly banned the organization and confiscated our property without compensation. except the artificial tears.) I mentioned this to the chief of the Gestapo. and a large mirror. since they deliberately train even their own small children to be informers! The major said his orders were to send me to Belgrade for examination. There was nothing to do in the dark but go to sleep again. the sky seemed strangely beautiful to me. The man had once unquestionably been all that we mean by a "gentleman. and said I would like some food. Practice has made me pretty good at this. "But. The major was very good-looking and evidently quite a gay cavalier. whose bushy head of hair I had long known by sight. containing a desk. of course. He looked at me somberly and gave a curious sigh. There was a pause. depending on "the well-known chivalry of the Germans. a pleasure to hear. In a little guardroom. . It was a wonder and. I said so. whispered in English: "This is not yet known in the town. were Blum and the officer of the evening before. well known in Germany." and one could sense the effort he was making to keep from admitting to himself-even in the small dark yours he no longer merited that title. He nodded and soon went out. (When Hitler took over. the sort of thing one used to read about in old German light novels. I can permit myself no resentment at a mistake." amazed at such inconsiderate treatment. Nothing further was heard about that. I was ordered out and led over to the office. I mentioned my long years of effort. that I should have to travel with a detective to Sarajevo. who introduced himself as Major von Nassenstein. from the side of his mouth. For the first time in many years I heard the inimitable accent. I insisted I was an American "writing a book" and smiled at "absurd" suspicion. to bring about better understanding between the youth of England and Germany before the Nazis came into power. About six o'clock I was ordered back into my cell. mentioned an American by name. Suddenly he asked: "Do you know who informed against you?" I told him I suspected it was Hasanovich. But about seven o'clock that evening the door opened noisily. Blum went out. It was Nazi policy to suppress all international links." Et cetera. Can I tell anyone you are here?" I thanked him.A Croatian detective. Had they found the Chetnik pass? The sunlight. He told me he had been born in London and went to school there. He nodded and said with haughty disgust: "Diese Mohammedaner-grassliche Leute!! [These Moslems-disgusting people!]" That was a curious admission for a member of the Gestapo to make. war is war. Instantly I knew by their expression that nothing had been found. Quite close. and that he himself would call for me with a car and drive me up to the capital. I relaxed. and the major showed that he could not be alone with a woman without reverting to gallant habits. knowing he must be proud of his military family traditions. a bed. I did the lone and artless little woman. began walking up and down. He asked me this and that. chief of the Gestapo for the district. (I happen to be one of the world's most expert sleepers!) Next day I went through exactly the same routine except that twice I was given some dry bread. yes. where a personal friend of his would look after me. clipped sentences of the old-time Prussian officer. which I can't seem to squeeze out. the short.

A meal with wine was ordered. and be ready. Neither he nor I spoke to anyone. Three times he took me into station restaurants and ordered anything I wanted. that this. and I was again. I made no attempt to escape either by quickness or by bribing. I had a window seat in a crowded first-class compartment. that this was meant. I noticed he carried with great care a thick envelope of papers which also contained my dagger. . now ready. Next morning very early a car took the detective and me to the railroad station at Gruzh. but more gently. Not only that. Von Nassenstein took out his pocketbook and gave the detective a handful of thousand-dinar notes. except for one terrible moment in Belgrade prison. was my real job. Von Nassenstein." . ordered the now very respectful police to treat me with every kindness. I hummed inaudibly: "Ready. The two Germans then left with much politeness. he opposite me. and we got into an ordinary passenger train. much more important than the other-and much. and no one suspected I was a prisoner. . at the passing scenery that had so thrilled me when I was free. He was silent and never looked straight at me. but it is a fact that from now on throughout the whole business. unseeing. but immediately after the first shock of arrest I had the strong conviction that this was what had been intended from the beginning. It is hard to explain why. again finished off by the police. shoved into my cell. much harder. in some way still unguessed. As I gazed.Blum returned and we went out into the office. I had the absolutely firm and sustaining certainty that I should come through alive. The same Croatian detective who helped arrest me was told to escort me to Sarajevo and ordered to supply me with everything I required. What would it be? I must wait now. but kept close beside me. Chetniks brothers . putting his arm over my shoulders in a protecting way.

hoping to give it at least ten days of happy exploration. at least for the present. had been instantly closed by the Germans and labeled with their usual idiotic signs such as "bloodsucker" etc. I said tea. sure enough. I answered. These. and he asked if I should like anything. By standing on the slanting bed-board I could catch a glimpse of the huddled roofs of the lovely old town. It was paternal in a curious way. "NEITHER QUICKLY FREE NOR QUITE DEAD" ARRIVED THAT EVENING in Sarajevo. It was strange. the friend away. A Gestapo officer arrived and angrily ordered me back into the taxi. To the large. "we shall be dull here alone. "Look. She went to the little peephole in the door and yelled for the guard until at last he lumbered up. the detective sent for a Gestapo officer While we waited I sat down on the stone steps of the drive-in. I thought sadly how I had looked forward to visiting Sarajevo with good and merry friends: in all my travels I had kept this very interesting and beautiful place as a sort of bonnebouche. But the atmosphere was peculiar. a Jew. was also in the prison. certainly not!" He called a nice-looking woman from another cell. My cell mate told me in good German that her husband. The big. Not even a bench or stool. Wouldn't you like your fortune told?" Surprised. She described how every Jewish shop. mixed with ladies of light morals. the detective took me in a taxi to the address given by Von Nassenstein." said my cellmate. "we're awfully bored. This prison was a huge old gloomy place obviously ex-Turkish. from which rose numbers of slim white minarets. I said I should be delighted. said soothingly. and locked the door." she said confidentially. "Oh dear." and. A few lights sprang up. The place was packed with people who never before could have been thought of as criminals: respectable businessmen and simple housewives. put us together into a small cell. "No. and the bright southern stars swung low. now rosy with sunset. not cleaned for days or ever. They were obviously anything but delighted at the sudden rush of business that always follows German triumphs. There was a small barred window high up. Against my protests he drove me to the prison and handed me over to the Goat prison warders. "Certainly. but he. no. And in the corner by the door a stinking. open drain of a toilet. Here they were safe. Perturbed. thinking I was frightened. and under it some sloping boards: evidently the common bed.The Serbs Chose War. red-faced turnkey who took me upstairs to my cell I said: "I will be alone?" I hoped so. were slowly being engulfed by the shadows of the high surrounding mountains. Ruth Mitchell 37. even the humblest. to see it at last as a little picture framed by heavy prison bars. "With rum?" Amused. unlocked the door. This was the real thing in prisons. and stood there smiling. Can't we have the girls from my old cell in here for a bit?" . fat policemen were tough but good-natured. The place was closed. after all my eager anticipation. a runner was dispatched and brought it: it was the last time I tasted spirits for thirteen months.

dusky face. as soon as the light went out. She made solemn cabalistic signs. a pure-blooded Gypsy. very wide. After formal introductions we laughed. She was a wild creature. seventeen on the rough floor of that small. small-time prostitutes except one. There were no blankets. unkempt. though it grew cold. We settled down as best we could. suggested that the others should return to their cell. I was not hungry. So my bread was eagerly seized upon. Wide is the sea. It was the first time I had seen this method. Of that hideous night I will only say that. You divided them into three haphazard piles. he told us. You think that either you will die quickly or quickly be free. The wild-rose color came and went in her little heart-shaped. bugs in hordes crept from the wide. squashing slaughter. and with part of it we rolled little balls about the size of beans." said he. . "why not?" And soon in trooped fifteen women of the sort usually labeled "street walkers. She danced and sang for us. Do you know what crushed bedbugs smell like? The mingling of aromas was indescribable. wide. in a singsong voice she said: "You are on a long journey-a long. all hate. no. told my fortune. As it was now about ten o'clock my first cellmate again shouted for the guard and. I spent the whole night in frantic. But it is far away-and bitter the road to the sea. Maroosia. all right. blue-black hair. Some chunks of bread were brought in by the guard." That was all. and as I was not yet hardened to them. which I believe is strictly Balkan. filthy cracks. There were forty-two beans. You will be neither: neither quickly free nor quite dead. the Gypsy. more she could not or would not say. all fire. My companions slept serenely if noisily. all passion. As I had eaten well all day. stinking cell. and otherwise enjoyed ourselves with childlike simplicity and sincerity. Here was indeed something new. went into a kind of trance. and the movements of her delicate yet hard hands and bare feet were exquisite." some obviously suffering from a certain disease but all extremely cheerful. But. long journey."Well. great sorrow. It was pitiful to see how eagerly the women searched for and clung to any hopeful indications. we sang and told stories. when he came. Her large melting eyes with their sweeping lashes gazed out as from the ambush of her long. now cross-legged on the floor. But at the end-the sea. They were all quite ordinary. With these Maroosia. Later I learned to do it myself. a girl of less than fifteen. But I soon forgot my perhaps excessive hygienic alarm in the general jollity. their places had already been filled up. and arranged the leftovers in a certain way. They must remain here. Pain and sorrow. Then. as did all the women in those interminable prison days. We sat on the floor played clapping games. counted them in fours.

The Serbs Chose War, Ruth Mitchell




NEXT MORNING, after saying good-by to my cellmates, now quite affectionate, I was taken to Gestapo headquarters. There I was given a vague examination, soon over. Three officers, very brusque and busy, had orders only to send me on and were not interested. When I said I was American one elderly one unbent enough to mention that he had been some years in South America. I asked when Major von Nassenstein would be coming to take me to Belgrade. They said he had been delayed and that I must proceed next day by train. I told them he had provided money to put me into a hotel, but nothing was known about this: apparently the Croat detective had simply gone off with the cash. One of the officers nodded dismissal to the detectives. "Where are you taking me?" I asked. "Back to the prison, of course." I was determined not to go. "Please listen to me," I said earnestly. "You probably cannot even conceive what it was like last night in that old Turkish prison." I described the conditions there. Then: "You each surely have a wife or a mother or a daughter. They too might have happened to be in a foreign country when war broke out. If they had been placed in such a miserable situation, how would you have felt?" They looked slightly ashamed. "Well, we can't help it, can we?" "You can," I answered, turning to the elderly officer. "If you know South America you know what palabra ingles means. No political propaganda can change the fact that an Englishman's private word is accepted as absolutely dependable the world over. I am both American and British. You can take my parole. There must be an empty room somewhere. Put me there: I give you my word of honor not to try to escape." They consulted a moment, much annoyed. "There is an empty room in this office," said the elderly man. "You can sit there all day." He took me into an empty room, put my bag on the floor and went out, locking the door. How lovely and clean, how palatial that room seemed! Two large windows opened on the street, and I could watch the people passing. I took out my mending kit and sewed happily all day. They let me have a good wash in a clean toilet, with clean towels-how wonderful they seemed!-and even a nailbrush. At six the elderly officer came in. "You can't stay here," he said. "There is nothing to sleep on but the floor." I laughed. "What do you think I have been sleeping on for four nights? This is clean at least." He thought a moment, then dragged in an iron chest from the next room. From it he took four large tapestries, evidently recently acquired loot. I happen to be something of a connoisseur of such hangings. They were magnificent Gobelins, some of the finest I ever saw, dating from about 1770. Even the original

brocade linings, though shredded, were untouched. They would be worth in America not less than $300,000, probably more. With obviously no understanding of what they were, he folded them on the floor for a bed, rolled up a dirty old mailbag as a pillow, and clicked his heels: "Good night," and went out. I crept inside those royal blankets, chuckling to think that no emperor's mistress ever had such an expensive bed, but horrified to think of what was happening to the irreplaceable art treasures of Europe which these greedy and ignorant looters are carting away to their robbers' dens. Every art gallery and every private home is being picked clean. Everything beautiful, everything valuable to local history as well as to humanity as a whole, is being lugged away to Germany. Will these things ever be recovered? How can it be done? A house-to-house search will be necessary. One fears too that the sour meanness of a defeated people will make them prefer to destroy all ancient beauty rather than give it up. Our own ideals forbid us to destroy great works of architecture in Germany. The Germans, in contrast, destroy everything they cannot cart away. Serbia had a wonderful Byzantine heritage. Her old monasteries and churches, with their superb frescoes, were little known to the outside world, mainly because of the poor roads. These treasures of Christianity had been admired and preserved even by the Mohemmedan Turks. Yet the "Christian" Germans, we hear, after trying vainly by the latest scientific methods to remove the frescoes for transport to Germany, have set dynamite and carefully blown them forever from the eyes of men. All the Serb intensity of love and loyalty to their traditions was centered in their ancient churches. Thousands of Serbs without hesitation would have given their lives to preserve them. No crime the Germans have committed toward the Serbs is worse than this that they have done to their beautiful old churches. Next morning very early, before the rest of the office had opened, a detective came to take me to Belgrade. He was a Bosnian Moslem in red fez and behaved throughout in the most disgusting manner. He was much too haughty to carry my bag-though I succeeded in forcing him to do so. He said he had no money for food for me, but he himself ate and drank at every opportunity. In the third-class carriage he announced proudly that he was the Gestapo and was taking "a famous spy to be shot." The effect was quite different from what he had hoped. Instead of admiring him everyone plied me with so much food, bread, cheese and sausage that I could not eat it all. Two Montenegrin acquaintances of mine got in and turned pale with anxiety. The detective, full of food and drink, fell asleep, and my friends whispered that I might jump. The man lay so idiotically helpless that they motioned that they could throw him out of the window. As we were passing close along the course of a rushing river he would have been dead in an instant. I played with the idea -it had its points. But something seemed to urge me, to command me, to wait. We were in Bosnia, now a part of the "Independent State of Croatia" but populated chiefly by Serbs who were already fleeing for their lives. The new Croatian Government had been making a great fuss Over the large Moslem faction and calling them "the very flower of Croatia." One of my acquaintances, pointing to the hideously sleeping detective, mouth open, fez on one ear, said thoughtfully: "A flower!" There was a shout of laughter which woke the man up, confused and alarmed.

A man got into the crowded carriage with a guitar. He sang some lovely Bosnian songs. Then I took the instrument and sang for them the only American songs which are really loved and eagerly listened to in this part of the world: Swannee River, Old Black Joe, and The Cowboy's Lament. Several hands pressed mine with emotion. We reached Belgrade at eight o'clock. The German-imposed curfew was at that time six o'clock, and anyone seen on the street after that was shot. So we had to spend the night in the train-without water.

S. Instantly.The Serbs Chose War. then horrified. The buildings around it had more or less collapsed. He turned and showed a brutally arrogant face. and the rubble was just sufficiently cleared from the streets to give room for traffic.S. and no effort had been made to repair it. almost moronic fury and hate." said Major Seidl. we reached the Gestapo headquarters on the Terrazie just opposite some little restaurants where I had spent many happy evenings. breaking off a rose. of course. The heavily barred windows overlooked a large courtyard. urbanity itself. Suddenly he realized that I was gazing down through prison bars: I was an enemy. His mind proved to match his body. unfamiliar air. careful to see that each one received water! He looked up at me. His expression changed to a smile of the gayest. "Miss Mitchell! Sit down. Unbelievable." drawn to resemble streaks of lightning. But the hatless head looked almost deformed by its complete lack of curve at the back. The few people I saw and even somehow the buildings seemed to have a furtive. not even allowed to sit down. and make yourself comfortable. you and I. One officer rose. skimpy lines-like a tall house with one room on each floor. Close beside me they marched me (these people never seem just to walk) along a corridor and up a long flight of stairs. he made to throw it up to me. please. with a mass of bright gold hair. We will just have a little friendly chat. gave off after rain its ominous stench. COURT MARTIAL NEXT MORNING AT SIX O' CLOCK I was marched out into the new Belgrade." He ran into the building. he turned his back and stalked away. this German combination of sentimentality and brutality. "The blond beast himself. by the insidious stink. Passing up through ruined streets. very broad and straight. and S. Ruth Mitchell 39. For two hours I stood about. tall. six weeks after the bombardment. which he held under a tap. And behold. Then German officers arrived with much "Heiling. foodless. he reappeared with a huge bunch of roses. the warmest flirtation and. and I was shown into a large room with two officers at desks and a pretty girl with long. with a glare of bestial. and the decomposing flesh still. "Aha. fair pigtails at a typewriter. The station was a complete wreck. officers got out with an air of lofty self-satisfaction. "lost to every human feeling." He offered me a cigarette. was particularly unbecoming to his sallow complexion." and I was put into the lockup with an iron door. There had been rain the night before. His gray-green uniform. Sadly I watched Serb soldier prisoners wielding brooms under raucous German orders. The sun was shining directly into my cell and no doubt glinted on my red hair." I thought. They were quiet and calmly obedient but grim. From a beautiful racing car with a Yugoslav number there stepped out a notably well-made young man. mentioned his name-Major Seidl-and motioned me to a chair. and I was at first puzzled. . Toward noon my door opened and two detectives appeared. The major was built on narrow. Suddenly the truth struck me: the Germans had not allowed the bodies under the ruins to be removed. Handsome cars kept driving in to park. with the two s letters "S.

a strange battle developed. almost every day of my years in the Balkans. ." For an instant his mask of urbanity cracked: "You are British. I could not help thinking of that charming Irish blessing. And then. he trying subtly to turn my smallest utterance into something sinister. He waved my demand aside. Tell me. with only two strange omissions: to my very great surprise he did not know that my brother had been General "Billy" Mitchell or that my son was in the Royal Air Force! I enlightened him about neither point. quite unnecessary! Just a little chat.a "liberal"-that my grandfather had been a pioneer and builder of railroads. Unless he mentioned them in exasperation himself ] had quite forgotten everyone I knew. Afraid I might make a slip. Now the questioning began.I said that I wished immediately to get in touch with my representative. the American minister or the consul. disgusting to him. only a few questions. as I had that right. It was a strange performance. and after my night on a wooden train bench. As my command of German was quite as good as his. We sat sometimes for as much as a whole half-hour battling over one sentence. The corners of his mouth drew down until now he looked like one of those wooden human-faced nutcrackers with a moving jaw.. When it came to names I had a complete lapse of memory. The man had obviously been a lawyer in civil life. It was "liberal!" He knew it all.. as I was educate in many countries. He became exasperated. passing through my childhood. But he knew them. furious that his browbeating did not seem to be as effective as it usually was with unprotected women. Harshly he ordered me to be taken out. Every answer I gave was reworded by him and dictated to the secretary. Of course I wasn't going to have it. having had absolutely nothing to eat or drink since about noon the day before. "Unnecessary. "Liberal!" he kept saying with almost spitting disgust. or for the good of humanity as a whole was contemptible." I bowed. of course. though through my marriage I also have British citizenship. He knew that my father was for many years a United States senator from Wisconsin. the most insignificant facts. starting with my most distant ancestry." he growled. He knew that I had exchanged thousands of English and German students in my years of effort to promote better understanding between the nations. He knew the smallest. "We have all the evidence. Miss Mitchell-I understand you were born in America but are now British. I had ever been to-quite a list. international in outlook. and he tried to make them darkly significant. It was like looking into a contorting mirror. I began to feel exhausted. who was not allowed to take down anything except what he himself told her. It happens that the madder I get the more softly and calmly I speak. every month. the best a humorous race can bestow: "May the corners of your mouth never turn down!" Toward noon. Anything that was broad-minded. I pretended to feel faint and to be unable to answer him. He frowned more and more darkly. Not so he: his charm and urbanity soon began to wear very thin and then disappeared altogether." "I was born American and have remained American. and including every school even kindergarten..

. He was so polite that I became very much on the ale Sure enough. The word that will into the statement is 'past. If ever you are traveling in Yugoslavia just show this badge and you can pass anywhere. of course." and. "Not at all the same thing. "three weeks more." When I had "fled" from Belgrade during the bombardment I had happened to see the badge lying there and. and I was interested in his life and politics. When I asked again for the American consul. but entirely outmoded. THE VERDICT IS GUILTY MY COURT-MARTIAL was conducted during parts of four widely separated days. it seemed to work. "I should think. that. after wine. The c itself. ." He evidently expected I would deny all knowledge of them." He started to dictate my story. But with indulgent condescension he explained how impossible it would be for these primitive cave men" to damage the great German war machine. ("Three weeks.The Serbs Chose War. He had before him my dossier." "Same thing. a huge pile almost a foot high. upside down." he said sharply." "Not politics. "Yes." he said slowly. had thought might be useful in getting through the crowds of refugees. take this memento of me. On the contrary I launched into an elaborate description of the Chetniks and their methods. But you might learn something from their experience on this Balkan terrain: you are always so ready to learn!" The irony quite passed him by. thought. and could not have been seriously connected with such "riffraff. as he must know. remembering his words."' . So I told him a touching tale of "that poor old dotard. of course. I was a "lady.") It was now easy to unpack my old tale of "the book. my dagger lying on top. saying: "Here. was "just a warm Shumadiya peasant coat I had collected in my study national costumes. was only my riding cap. when he came to telling why I saw the Duke. But he had the photo of me in uniform c with badge. and useless nowadays in scientific warfare. he had taken the badge from his own cap and pressed it into my hand. They are unique. It heartened me to know that I was in such goodly company. Beside it lay a book about the size of a dictionary closely printed with names and addresses." I corrected gently. everybody wears the here in the winter!" As for my jacket. It was open at "M. you woodenheaded braggart. of how. Very different. Ruth Mitchell 40. he simply barked: "Unerhort! [Unheard-of!]" "Chetnik. eh?" "Chetniks?" I asked with puzzled surprise." he said. and you are likely really to learn something. "Chetnik. "but past. On the second day Seidl changed his tactics. they are quite interesting. "Why. with an indescribable narrow-eyed leer of triumph." and it seem to go down plausibly. of how I had flattered him in order to persuade him relate to me his dramatic life story. I could see my name and that of a good friend on the Black List of Germany: her enemies who were to be exterminated." I said seriously. he said "." Well. "that you might be quite interested in them as fighters." Pechanats.

Once in visiting a monastery that was under repair I had been so struck by the beautiful stonework that I had put in a corner of my notebook the name of the architect in charge. I too banged the table. which I had "forgotten." and tried to make me admit having seen certain people. Apparently the whole country had been searched for this unfortunate man." . now ready . please. only a pumping expedition. though not quite so hard. I "could not remember. meaning to employ him if I built a house there. They asked me a few days of my visits to different parts of the country. Again I asked. And they all rose as I went out. There were three officers present. And in a voice even lower than ever." he billowed. The word is 'politics. therefore. It was obviously useless to argue any more. stood looking out. On the fourth day. On the third day the atmosphere had entirely changed. I walked back slowly and sat down again." He looked at me a moment. please. They evidently thought I intended to jump. I pray to heaven that his life was not sacrificed by my carelessness in overlooking his name. She now threw me a pitying glance. I will speak and sign only the truth. "Es wird geschrieben wie es mir gefallt. "Don't worry. "Das Wort ist 'Politik. I too leaned forward. Now must stop! Glaring furiously at me." They consulted and again began to dictate to the girl. I knew that now would come the decision: today my fate would be decided.' [It shall be written as I wish. I had always smiled in a friendly way at her-she was obviously a Yugoslav of German extraction. Suddenly. Throughout the whole of the proceedings this name had been shot at me over and over againshowing what frightful mistakes can occur.His patience snapped: this arguing had gone far enough. I rose and. Hardly anything more was said. and that the result could only be-a foregone conclusion. They would not believe the true answer.' I too rose. leaning forward. Tannenbaum. without me!" There was a pause of uncertainty and a clearing of throats. I noticed. the very picture of amazement. demanded to see my consul. "Oh. he rose and. making a dent. and if a word goes in which I have express denied I will not sign it. . and the young officer made a movement to spring up and seize me. They didn't even bother to answer. "I see you don't need my assistance: you obviously know much more about all this than I do. banged the table with his fist-his ring. . I could not have done anything more stupid and dangerous: these men were of local birth-they knew that song! As nonchalantly as I could I let it run into the slightly similar German tune. one quite young. In dictating. Suddenly to my own surprise I heard myself humming quite audibly: "Ready. "What do you think-do you believe it matters whether you sign it or not?" It sounds much nastier in German: "Was glauben Sie? Bilden Sie sich ein es ware nicht ganz egal ob Sie unterschreiben oder nicht?" So now I knew that this was all just a farce. I said: "This statement is my statement. crossing the room to the window. Then he burst into a mocking laugh. All others had been carefully erased. about ten days later." Sharply a detective looked up. they now so completely garbled my words that it was absurd. who looked very frightened. Proceed. as I was waiting to be taken in." I said quietly.

" . The dossier was again before them." (That was not quite true. They let me stand for some minutes without paying any attention to me. "You were not aware. without preliminaries. "The charge is considered proved. If you shoot me when I am not guilty. my friends." I said slowly: "If I die-it is certain that many German women will weep. they were the brothers-in-law of my sister-in-law." Was there nothing. Every military man will know what it meant.Again the same three officers. come into my head?) "One is a world figure [they nodded in acknowledgment]. so firmly facing death in the prison. "if you have wits. you may be sure my relatives will throw themselves with energy into working against Germany. "it is sometimes an honor to die [Meine Herren. then darkly at me. then: "You will know in due course. attentive. prepare to use them now! Not many more hours to live. at this most critical moment of my life. I did not know these two gentlemen nor had they even passed through my thoughts for years. Whether by design or accident I do not know. I think. Then." They looked up. just the faintest hesitation. If you know Americans you know that they are greatly moved by principles." I said. quite actual and real." I said softly. But this time the dagger lay on my side of the desk.] My death might even be the actual small first cause of America entering the war against you. or you would have mentioned it. I thought of the Serbs. "Gentlemen.) "Now. that Admiral Richard Byrd and United States Senator Byrd are my brothers-in-law. and both are very powerful in America." thought I." then corrected himself." said Seidl woodenly." (He said "Geheim Polizei [Secret Police]. They looked at each other silently." "I have not yet been informed of what I am accused." I knew then that I had saved my life at least for a few days: it was obvious they could not risk a perhaps serious reprimand-I knew the case would now have to be referred to Berlin. fatter than ever. [All three made sounds of disgust. I cannot help thinking it was intended as a compliment. "When will it be carried out?" A hesitation. "I will say this. There was a pause. my girl. "We have complete proof that you are an agent of the British Intelligence Service. Germany is straining every nerve and is pouring out millions upon millions of marks trying to keep America out of the war. nothing I could find to say that could affect their fatal resolution? Suddenly it seemed just as if something sitting on my left shoulder whispered in my ear. zu sterben ist manchmal eine Ehre]. The girl did not look at me. but I noticed instantly that the point was toward me. Why had they suddenly. Major Seidl barked shortly: "Fur Schuldig erklart [Guilty]. They tried not to show that they were alarmed at this perhaps important news." The youngest officer had scribbled a quick note which he passed along and the other two glanced at.

The Serbs know. all Germans. and my "last words" I did say as above. that I would gladly die if that could in any way cause them to fight harder. they knew well then. The report must therefore have been put about by the Germans themselves. The clothes I was alleged to have worn were described. Why ? Did they think it would have a lowering effect on the morale of the Fighting Serbs? If anything.I walked out between my two guards. . and I tried not to show how wobbly I felt. Before long the news was spread over Serbia that I had been shot. Only four people were present. I hope and believe it had the opposite effect. I mention those details because of puzzling developments.

The detectives roughly elbowed them aside and knocked loudly A key rattled. I therefore became silent and pretended to be fainting. and in the middle a desk at which sat the chief warder. Ruth Mitchell 41. "Americans and English-the b s. I was hurried down the Terrazie. His assistant. roughly cobbled yard where prisoners were languidly working in the hot sun. up some stone steps. a wash basin." etc. WOMEN AGAINST THE GESTAPO ON THE DAY of my arrival in Belgrade. the detectives following. revolver on hip. the miserable cowards. some weeping. heh? English. across the street. some steel filing cabinets. It was obvious to me at once that the man was a psychopathic case-as proved to be true. Two Gestapo detectives were ordered to take me to prison. to spell my name. along a short stone passage. bolts were drawn. apparently. what did they think they could ever accomplish against Germany!" he yelled. having been given nothing at all to eat or drink since the previous afternoon. We hurried across the narrow. Some looked up from their desultory sweeping to give me little secret nods of courage. The women surged forward and made desperate efforts to peep inside. Surlily businesslike while the detectives were there. after four hours' severe questioning. under a deep archway. Richter One of the detectives signed the huge book. I was allowed to take absolutely nothing with me. "English. It contained two beds against one wall. I was in the infamous Gestapo prison of Belgrade. rifle on shoulder. but never was an opportunity allowed to pass without such a screaming denunciation." I said peacefully. the instant the) were gone the chief began screaming at me. and the door swung narrowly open I was pushed through. I realized that it was considered a waste of trouble even to transport my small bag I was not expected to need anything for long.The Serbs Chose War. to condition prisoners for the horrors of that prison. The guard. . sycophantically applauded his clever cracks. slammed and relocked the door. to empty my pockets. A group of anxious women stood there. It was designed. I was so tired that I was afraid I might make . It is hard to believe. through another iron door and into a small office. barked at them angrily. and entitled to be treated as al internee. slip. The detectives close against my shoulders. Then both departed. "American too. through a small court and to an iron door in a high blank wall. please remember. a wretched degenerate boy called Honig. This drove him into a frenzy. Through a large door.

Hence we could see or hear everything that went on in that prison except in the cellar and on the upper floors. The thing that struck me first was the careful standard of good manners that was maintained in the cell. Often I wondered how anyone could call the Serbs "primitive" or "uncouth. When I was shoved in that day. However debased the behavior of the "masterfolk" guards. well known and popular in Belgrade. they were reluctant to have their last names known. This in spite of the mixture of classes and types.The show proving a flop. not one scene of violence. All the other cells in the prison were remote and calm by comparison. with wooden screens fastened outside in such a way that little light or air could enter. There was a stovepipe hole in the wall between our cell and the office. and put me into the cell which I was to occupy-but for one interval in the condemned cell-for over two months. In the heat and the foul air it was our constant fight to keep the door open to prevent the women from fainting wholesale. a very large pail with a lid. Through a space below the wooden screens we had a small but clear view of the yard and the single gate. we had the most contemptible informers. Through this trial the Serbian women. they had no idea why. All the women were introduced to me with ceremony but by their first names since. This cell was the only one between the office and the entrance to the prison. the guard would slam the door. we had cowards. She was Lidia. Honig led me out. . were sitting about in utter dejection. There were a few crooked nails for coats. When we were not to see or be seen by new arrivals. some crying softly. She made signs to me not to recognize her. almost all Serbs. and snapping it open again when it was noticed by the bellowing guard. On one side there were two narrow slatted cots (later removed) and on the other loose straw covered with blankets in all colors and conditions of raggedness. The trial-by-fire of the prison experience tested every fiber of racial and personal character. Everyone entering or leaving had to pass our door. Terence Atherton. We had weaklings. a Russian woman of aristocratic connections whom I had known as secretary to the Daily Mail correspondent. It reminded me of the old tales about Queen Marie Antoinette in the Bastille during the French Revolution. It was about fifteen feet by twenty and had two small windows high up. I heard the life story of each in turn. heavily barred. the women never once indulged in any loud quarreling. But they were Russians"White" Russians who eagerly proclaimed themselves to all who would listen as haters of the present Russian regime and devoted friends of the Nazis. I found a way of closing this from the inside upon occasion. uncowed and firm in the face of death. unlocked a door between the office and the front door of the prison. A string stretched across a corner was hung with gray towels." The Serbian women were very much the opposite: calm. Her husband was also in the prison. fourteen women. They had been there. In a dark corner crouched Tatiana Alboff. emerged magnificently. A charming elderly woman rose and welcomed me. among whom must be included the Sephardic Jewesses of long local descent. like several others. intensely warmhearted. for understandable reasons. for almost three months without the slightest explanation and without once being questioned. however horrible the conditions of the prison. But there was still a peephole with a tin slide. That was all.

The rest of us considered it. for some linen to take to her country house. looking little more than a girl. in the absence of her mother had become unmanageable and was running wild in the streets. This handsome woman. a great honor. The second exception was a Belgrade widow of thirty whose husband had fought for the Communists in Spain. her offense being her "impertinence" in asking at her town house. had to be carried to her execution screaming the name of her child-the wayward child she was leaving alone in a terrible world. Her daughter of thirteen. She wept solidly for those ten days at the "disgrace" of being in prison. a one-time great beauty so spoiled by wealth that she was actually unable to comb her own hair. She was in prison for only ten days. .There were only two exceptions: one the wife of a leading Belgrade banker. as it was. The other women who died walked firmly and silently to their death before the guns. we heard. requisitioned by the Germans.

and no other American woman. Two by two the guard allows us to pass through the chain across the door and to run along the passage to the wash place. very few indeed in a Gestapo prison. (They were local boys of German descent. Katitsa and I polish the riding boots of Hahn. I believe. standing in line with the men. is in a narrow passage leading to the one toilet and one urinal that serve both the office and thirty to forty women. I used to wave madly up and down every morning. cold water only. (In the end I got severe rheumatism in one knee. Those whose relatives have brought them breakfast share with the rest of us. stamps into the cell and yells: "Aufstehen!" (In most Gestapo prisons it is much earlier. the corridor. But the rabid Nazi poison was injected into their blood. of course. of course. and the weaker they were. The women in the prison used to try to hang a hand out of the window. We sweep the office.The Serbs Chose War. At seven in the morning a guard. and to refuse meant hurt feelings. Ruth Mitchell 42. and never for an instant are we certain of being out of sight of the men guards. The men are washing at the tap in the yard. hoping it would be recognized. rifle on shoulder. It cheered us all up. Each of them insisted on my sharing with her. I had a very ragged bright red blanket which.) We jump up from the moldy straw and hurry to stand in line at the door. The cement floor is always running with splashed water. with the ironical result that I had to eat much too much. All day long there is a group of these desperate people hoping against hope to catch a glimpse of some loved one when the gate opens a crack. and we stand with wet feet. they knew what I meant. and no bowls. with two taps. So I shall describe the routine." He was taken aback. We carry out into the yard and dump into an outside urinal the night pails. the second warder. ." he grunted. on the floor. GUESTS OF THE GESTAPO IT IS UNLIKELY that many of my readers have been in a prison. Now the "housework": the straw is aired. We take our blankets out into the yard to shake. four-thirty. There are no women wardresses. It will be very useful when I am outside again. I got a lot of fun out of this-and so did he: he used to sneer delightedly as he passed. has been in the Gestapo prison of Belgrade.) Now relatives begin to collect at the gate. after Russia entered the war. In the weeks before the American consul got word of my being in prison I received no food. If there has been much sniping in the town we can tell at once by the excitement and fury of the guards. The men would wink and nod. gun on hip. the guardroom. We had rich women in the cell whose cooks sent in beautifully prepared food-eaten. After the first few days even the most fragile women are eager for the work: it is the only chance of exercise.) The wash place. "That will be never. So one day I said to him: "You can't imagine how glad I am to have learned so much about housekeeping. and some of whom meant well enough at first. and energetically we bang them up and down to get rid of bugs. Sometimes discipline is lax and we all run together and even meet women from other cells. in Vienna. But after that he passed by without looking. and then we get down and scrub the cement. the floor washed with so much water that it too is always damp. the nastier they became.

Yet those washdays were our pleasantest times in that prison. hopeless homesickness is expressed in one corner in Serbian. we can hesitate a moment. One day I counted fifty-six full pails of fresh water carried about fifty yards in the broiling sun. .Now comes the long day's drag. Risque behavior. Being appointed "head woman" by the prison governor. in another in French. with a pail to heat water. . if two are in love. There is no occupation except endless talk: "My house is like this . hear the latest news brought in by last night's prisoners. ." "My little girl said . At this blessed. then I carried the dirty water back to a near-by drain. however. Most were meaningless. I am tempted to take advantage of my position always to carry out the dust to the garbage cans.. is almost completely absent. There was no one else who spoke Once a week there is laundry: if you have pull with a warder it means a whole day out of doors. The bitter. only natural in that hothouse atmosphere of repressed emotion. take a quick pull at a cigarette or. The clothes were sometimes exceedingly dirty and often-how often! -covered with blood. some of them very beautiful girls. smelly spot. I was so hopeless at the washing that I could only carry water and did it gladly to keep my muscles in order. Katitsa was the expert at this as at everything useful. even exchange a kiss. pass a quick word with men on the same errand. . we chatted and laughed under the bright sky between the narrow high walls. But we had one really charming love affair. etc. of course. by the garbage cans above which the clotheslines are stretched. They are round the corner of the building." "Here is a good recipe for . . There are a long wooden trough and a little fire on a few bricks. in another in German." etc. . out of sight of the gate guard. We are eager for any excuse to get outside. How well those women. . Back and forth I walked to the tap in the yard. The guards out of sight. conducted themselves! How gentle were the men! Passionate surges of feeling were.

It was a genuine heart attack. (Sewed up in the pleats of my skirt. gracefully worded letters in the smallest writing on scraps of any kind of paper I could steal from the guardroom. They were in French. He told how he was caught trying to find his mother in Serbia.The Serbs Chose War. we used to arrange that Trudi would emerge with blankets to shake just as he was coming down the stairs. nous deux. His fine head of hair was shaved. "Libres. They were on smooth toilet paper. . She used my pathetic stub of a pencil. If it is in winter that we are free again.the same pencil with which. It did not stop them. So by a system of watchers. Since he was considered likely to attempt to escape. alone. At once I put every signal system in motion-you may be sure we had plenty-and got hold of the man near the garbage cans. Ruth Mitchell 43.) Sometimes Trudi read parts of his letters to her special intimates. I was simply furious at his thoughtlessness. Trudi fell quite desperately in love with the most attractive boy in the prison. Even a minute of misery saved was worth any trouble. he was never allowed down into the yard except to wash in the morning under guard. And in her pile of blankets notes slipped back and forth while long looks of passion were exchanged. "nous serons libres. the boy was beaten until his eyes were black and blue. For a few minutes while she shook the blankets (ordinarily we did it in twos and made them crack to shoot out the bugs) and he brushed his teeth. He was a dark. One day a "trusty." he wrote. they would continue to gaze with passion. you don't understand the magic of romance. whispered to her quite innocently that he had seen the boy's name on a list for execution. each evening at dusk. je vous adore!" Little Trudi lived in a world apart. we will go to one of the little islands on the Adriatic coast and all day long. but we were all even more careful than before.. TRUDI TRUDI WAS A RICH Little GIRL who came into the prison wearing exquisite underwear which the women loved to examine.." an opera singer who sometimes worked in the office. a rosy dream. If that sounds very unromantic to you. I stood in the gathering gloom below the window and wrote my notes. Her days were filled with composing long. They walked the few steps into the yard "by accident" side by side. Though her letters were not found and she was not suspected. And in the warm nights . There was none in the Belgrade prison. I got them all out. as we swept or scrubbed the corridor. and both were so nice that we all took a thrilled interest in encouraging the affair. libres et ensemble. among whom I was lucky to be included. we'll go to the mountains and on our skis we'll whiz down the snowy slopes-when we are free again. Trudi fainted. A spy became suspicious. . She had big blue eyes and golden hair which we took turns combing. every one. we two. je vous aime. wrapped away from our common miseries. They fell in love at first sight. we'll swim and talk on the golden sands. He dreamed of what someday they two would do together. If it is in the summer. handsome Czech student who was lodged on the third floor. and little muttered words of love. He had failed. Time enough to endure disaster when it had really happened! I told him he had to . Trudi was dissolved in misery.. carefully saved from before my arrest. although in Germany I was several times searched to the skin. perhaps because the boy looked so happy. je vous respecte." Always he ended: "Je vous admire.

the little beauty-she was transported to Germany. I told him he had to make it sound convincing. . .tell her he had seen the list again and found he had mistaken the first name: that it was a different man altogether. fiery lover now molders under a brown blanket which all Trudi's love can never shake. And she. He did it well. and our lovely little Trudi was all tremulous relief and hope and smiles again. But the information proved only too true. That gentle. .to what infamous fate .

In the bright light outside stood a glittering array of officers. my son . Why don't they move? We stand-it seems to me for years.. is impossible. The women were paralyzed with fright: "So your time too has come!" I got up dizzily. false.. So I had been wrong.. happy marriage. this is farce! It takes me a moment to readjust my mind.. what will happen." I am stupefied. all these intuitions. I must not be less firm than my Serbs. I can hardly hear as he goes on: "That. Mr.. of course. We try to watch. many children-whom I shall never see. a large. four cigarettes in a noticeable little box marked "For the Use of His Majesty's Navy. "Mitchell Ruth!" a voice bellowed.The Serbs Chose War. her husband's a doctor. are stolen by the warders and the guards. I try to think: if I tell the truth. After he discovered I was there-of which more later-the American consul. they stand and glare at me. Like lightning thoughts dart through my head: Disgusting way to be shot. had fed on the best sent in for the starving prisoners.. facing the "big noise" himself. and we see how the best of things.. in spite of the sternest orders.. one smile at my special friends-dear Katitsa. This is a German prison. in my daily basket of food. IS IT THE END? AT NOON lunches are handed in at the gate and we are ordered back into the cells. not just . in my absolutely unshakable belief that I should come through alive. writing on the basket label: "Hide cigsstealing!" Suddenly about midnight one night when we were fitfully asleep.. My son .. The glaring eyes seem to fill the whole air as in a nightmare. What have you to say ?" I was prepared for anything-for tragedy. with two glittering aides and surrounded by the head warders and guards. very cold.. Ruth Mitchell 44. Steady now-l am an American. especially fruit and cigarettes. fumbled for my coat and shoes. after all. My daughter .. she'll be all right. Instead of marching straight out. The table on which the lunches are examined by the warders is directly outside the windows. Rankin.. the men who had done the wholesale stealing. if you like-but this. extremely imposing man. for all their trouble. White with fear and fury. I look around at the head warders. her face pinched with horror-to try to show how much I love them. Then Krauss thunders: "You have had the incredible impertinence [unerhorte Frechheit] to complain that something was stolen from food sent to you. Rankin (to whom and to Mrs.. unheard of. good luck. Colonel Krauss. in my nightie. with great noise the door was thrown open." They were stolen so regularly that at last I risked. One glance round. they stare at me: I hold them in the hollow of my hand. I feel very small and lonely-and cold.. Germans do not steal. In a German prison stealing is absolutely unknown. chief of the Gestapo for Serbia. I am in the corridor. eternal thanks!) used to send me. False.

tell the truth. How nice and homelike it feels! How pleased I am to see the look of delight on the faces of the women as they relax with a sigh and a muttered prayer! The door is slammed and locked. those who "only meant well. and the stealing is worse than ever. I say: "No doubt-no doubt the cigarettes were only taken for distribution to-" "What?" shouts Krauss." stammers Richter. alas. and the men prisoners look at me as if at last we had a real criminal among us. our general misery will only increase. I return to my bed of straw. Cigarettes reappear.. "Not one cigarette is to enter this prison or any other German prison. no doubt to be put through a grilling." But in three days discipline breaks down again. "sometimes in the yard the guards-that is. cringing. . The hangdog warders slink after him. I feel terribly sorry and ashamed: I have joined the great majority. "Cigarettes? Cigarettes? CIGARETTES? What does this mean?" "Well-well.. Unheard of I UNHEARD OF!" He stamps off towards the office. .. turning slowly toward the warders. the chief warder. cigarette-starvation and discipline are severe. all food will certainly be stopped. .to me but to all of us? Dimly I grasp only one thought: if I accuse these vicious bullies. the best prisoners-that is-" "No cigarettes!" thunders Krauss. Stammering. I hold Katitsa's warm and gentle hand and dream . For a few days. of woods and long roads winding and the wind blowing-free-on the mountainside.

It was he who taught the young recruits. Almost no rules held for more than a day. and I have the removed ones here now before me. people of German descent living in Yugoslavia. mostly once small artisans or grocery boys. louder!" he yelled (through the stovepipe hole in the wall between the cell and our office we could listen). to scream. He was soon removed. For that very reason he hated her all the more. SMILYA LEAVES ME A SON THIS PARTICULAR PRISON was exceptional. so that we knew just what point he had reached on his rounds. had been a carpenter. the very air we breathed. for he had been employed by the richest women in Belgrade. It was necessary that the three heads-governor. When he struck. he couldn't quite manage it. Ruth Mitchell 45. Gaily yodeling. He never succeeded in looking this small. He was a great dandy. The chief warder. and Wieser.. The governor was seldom in evidence. in that it was an amateur affair hastily organized. among them our own little Trudi. First." He forgot himself to the extent of being polite to some of the older ladies. Evidently he had been a good one. It was staffed by half-witted local scum. The food and water we received. Was one to pity the woman. chief. like lightning. We had two while I was there. returned. His face was literally like a death's-head. I had to change the black lapel squares on this jacket. For though he eagerly desired-we could see him screwing up his courage-to scream and rave at her as at the rest of us. who were ludicrously unsure of themselves and who therefore vacillated violently between needless ferocity and lazy apathy. how old habits of respect warred with viciousness. perhaps unique. as silent witnesses of hideous cruelty. They were therefore chosen for their merciless ferocity from the Volksdeutsche.. "Louder. "Put the fear of the devil himself into the b---s! Louder! Louder! LOUDER!" . the yodeler. It was he who called Katitsa and me out in the middle of the night to wash blood from his new pale-green jacket: blood which had spurted on him from the freedom-loving victims he was torturing-our own friends.The Serbs Chose War. depended on the sour vengefulness or temporary satiation of the guards. nothing was a precedent for any thing else. be able to speak Serbian. and second warder-as well as the guards. He made a habit of yodeling gaily across all the horror. He was a healthy-looking sportsman always bragging about his skiing. It was interesting to watch his behavior to her. He was a sadist of the worst description. in no way softened by happiness-in-love. he went off to his wedding. or did she hope to produce a brood of just such criminals? Wieser was temporarily replaced by a reservist who in civil life had obviously been the kind of shopkeeper for whom "the customer is always right. upon the momentary moods of overbearing brutes. a man called Wieser.. proud girl in the face. You can't soften a stone: you can only grind it to powder-and blow it away. of course. His eyes blazed in moments of fury with a really insane glare. a furniture maker. We were unable to remove the stains. Richter. it scarcely interrupted his singing.

We were at that moment on our way in single file to take our exercise in the yard. who in these days of subservient man-fawning." Richter's pet among the boy guards was the creature called Honig. plus female perversion. Once he put heavy leg chains on Katitsa. then continued his conversation. There was a half-circle painted in white about ten feet round the gate. with hand negligently under his rifle strap. you Smilya. who had several times come to look at his parents from a distance. just looking at him. however. evidently a friend. He barked at them to get back. As on our round we came up to the line. looked at him sternly-as God will someday look at him. . Yawning lazily. that curly head: it was Nenad. most charming man in the prison. "your husband sent you his love. There are no standards of right or wrong. Would she fall? I ran forward and took her arm. When they piled up the corpses. in Albania especially. it is simply called "the German vice. Honig described how he had put three bullets into his stomach. When some of the other girls began to weep. my dear Smilya.He was a pervert of the kind so common among the Germans that one almost expects it. Laughing. she went down the stairs. A loud knock on the great prison gate.-The Germans are in fact so identified with this vice in the Balkans that. give my love to my wife and my son!" "Ho. The Englishspeaking peoples are. I walked behind her in terrible anxiety. the most loved girl in the cell. I believe. I too stood still. Smilya caught sight of the little face. She took her place in the line. Slowly she sank to her knees. I myself heard him delightedly tell other guards how a little Jew we all knew had fallen unwounded in the split second before the volley. Stiffly. He sometimes brought back last messages with a sneer. We were at the top of the stone steps leading to the door. the guard looked through the peephole. the finest-looking. we knew those little bright eyes. "Just to teach him. leaving only a mechanical body behind in a faded blue dress. Her thin body was strained as if with wires. Smilya's boy. The women outside surged forward as usual to try to look in. Good God. he laughed heartily. Nazism has bred in them an almost unbelievable cynicism and contempt for their women. My friend Smilya V. as in a trance. cried out to him just before the death volley: "Honig. who traded on his position to wreak on us every sort of mean cruelty. as if her spirit had flown. The guard yelled at me to walk alone. guilty of no other crime than being a patriot Serb. he conversed with someone outside. and I was just behind her. he had opened one eye. Round and round and round in the hot sun we walked." he said. She stopped. Nothing is either sacred or ideal to them." Honig shouted next morning. well deserve it. He laughed. Suddenly a small face peered round his body. He undid the chains and the lock. He was constantly telling women that their husbands or sons were to be shot that night and then eagerly watching for a twitch of agony. He seemed to be always a member of the firing squads." And Smilya.'s husband. It was wasted: she was absolutely calm. He opened the gate and stood holding it with one foot while. Not one step dared we take over that line or we were yelled at by the guard. She took it with stern calm. unaware of the prevalence of this perversion in Germany.

the best husband in the world. struggling desperately. her eyes huge. Smilya." A shuddering sigh. "Smilya.. The frightful tension was broken. "What chance of that. With a light. proud. surly turned his back. "Father-where is Father?" he whispered. shrill cry of "Mother!" he threw himself round Smilya's neck. the tears at last running down her face. Smilya. [By the standards of these poorer countries I was. I was in a terrible quandary: the dreadful thought struck me that she might commit suicide." She looked at me strangely. depend on me absolutely ? Don't you know I will be happy. "So good. to help you with Nenad's education? You know it. searching. while his eyes darted eagerly about. you must live for Nenad now. perhaps slightly ashamed. seized the child by the collar. all wrong! You have a great duty now: to bring up your boy as your husband would have wished to have you bring him up. Nenad -only think of your beautiful Nenad. darling Smilya. "No one to look after us-now he is. "what chance? His father is gone-and I too will soon be dead. ." And desperately I launched into a description of how well the boy would do at school. dragged him.gone. Slowly she shook her head. If I painted too brightly what I would do for the boy (I meant every word of it) she might think she was leaving him in good hands and to a better future than she herself could provide. Think what a fine man he will one day be. Without a word or a tear she held him to her as in a vise. how he would study hard to become a splendid man like his father-anything I could think of.] Nenad shall have the best education. you will live. So good. "I-I do not care to live-now he is dead. rules or no rules. "All wrong. so good!" she kept repeating while sobs seemed to run all up and down her thin body. The guard." I said. almost frantic with despair. away." she breathed. Not a muscle moved in Smilya's face. "you have only one thing to think of now: your boy. searching for a sight of his father. threw him out of the gate and slammed it. dearest Smilya. She just clutched him tightly while she glared like a tiger at the guard-who turned with a curse. I promise you that." she muttered. Smilya. I raised Smilya to her feet and. "so good he was! So good! The best father.Like lightning the boy jumped over the guard's leg and shot into the yard." "Don't you know that you can count on me. dear Smilya. The best son to his mother. I have money. He shall have everything that " Suddenly I hesitated.. She might feel that there was no longer any reason for her to remain alive. wealthy. I took her arm and walked on. What chance for Nenad?" "Listen. She looked at me strangely." she whispered. of course..

November 1942. If he lives until I can find him he will be brought up in the pride of such parents. happy and eager -to rejoin. But in her heart she gave me her boy. He evidently did so trust me. Smilya went out to her death. How? Why. perhaps foolishly. they hold onto related children with great family pride. Though he would not be able to cash the check until the end of the war. I too really believed. He is now my son Nenad. hesitated until it was-too late. well looked after. If she died I wanted to have the boy. I hoped the lawyer would trust me sufficiently-although I actually did not know him personally-to furnish the funds himself and follow my instructions. through special channels. was: "The boy is in the country. the husband she loved so dearly. He was now with an aged great-aunt. she might be tainted by her husband's love of liberty. her husband. For my gentle Smilya was dangerous to the mighty German Reich. But I simply did not dare to suggest it for fear such a transfer document would break her last hold on life. as she did. from Mary P.It was for me actually the most difficult situation I faced in the prison. So this quiet woman. and Serbian families are very clannish. content-oh. had to die. who never in her life had had any other interest or thought but of her home. that the Germans would kill her.. for my last news. she might be filled with an "unnatural" hatred for his murderers. hesitated to write the transfer of Nenad to me. and her child. She was dangerous to the greedy dreams of a brutal race for possession of the earth. I managed to send out of the prison to a dependable lawyer a check for a considerable sum to be used for my son Nenad." . He is mine. as she truly believed. I therefore. serene. I was extremely anxious for her to sign the boy over to me.

blue-eyed Teuton. He taught me a good jujitsu trick or two. When the radio went very loud she would know it was going to start. with a puzzled look in his eye. Hahn drank more and more. The office radio blared practically without ceasing from early morning until late at night. because they couldn't trust me not to look at the papers!). I will give you a job with my horses. "Mitchell Ruth!" would ring out over the noise. military bands. "In America?" he asked eagerly. His behavior was so good at first that one day I said to him: "After the war is over you will be wanting a job. At first he was really friendly toward me. who cleaned the office (I wasn't allowed in. I knew. I hoped that it had been said only with the never-ending intention of cowing us. A typical. and it was strange to watch him slowly deteriorate. not all from our prison. That night the Nazis shot 128 Serbs. was wide open because of the suffocating heat. Their attitude toward me was expressed by Hahn when. He had a sort of boisterous affection for me. He was perhaps the most interesting study in the prison. and worst of all an everlasting tinkle of little dance tunes went on and on maddeningly. Came the order that this man was to be shot for alleged complicity in sabotage. HAHN THE SECOND-IN-CHARGE of the prison was a reserve officer named Hahn. But no-this time it was true. they would start shooting in the cellar. he announced. he said: "You are either a great lady or a great spy-or both. that they had decided it was a waste of time to take those to be executed out to the park. so that he was taken out almost unconscious to execution. To the end these jacks-in-office were curiously uncertain how they ought to treat me. I beat him. News (only interesting for what it did not say). Towards midnight the radio suddenly rose to a fearful roar. It was always something silly: "You are an educated woman: is it true that men are descended from monkeys? Will the monkeys go to heaven too? Ha ha!" He used to go in for such absurdities as trying to see which of us could jump up the most steps. In the dim reflection . I knew that Hahn himself knew well that his friend could not possibly have been even cognizant of the affair. and I had to go to the office to see what he wanted. the former was slowly but thoroughly wiped out. the only one between the office and the steps to the cellar. That night. he had obviously been born with decent instincts. And for four days Hahn drank steadily and could not eat a mouthful. I tried to prevent word of the expected cellar butchering from getting round among the women-in vain. a German of local birth and therefore only slowly becoming thoroughly permeated with the Nazi poison. As conditions in the prison became steadily more frightful. but he blamed it on his stiff Prussian boots. Ruth Mitchell 46. Hahn made his friend drink two bottles of brandy. fair. In the fight between decency and beastliness.The Serbs Chose War. Among the prisoners was an old friend of his." I assured him I was neither. Several times he did small kindnesses to the women but was furious if thanked. The door of our cell. because I had to place and remove his meals. fawning and browbeating by turns. whose charming wife and children had been allowed to visit him. one day with icy cynicism he told Lidia. At last. It was horrible to watch the struggle in that officer's soul-to see what the fiendish Nazi doctrine has done to a once self-respecting race.

up and down the corridors. half drunk. and grunts as the corpses were removed. Before the door he hesitated for a fraction of a second-as if some small. . There was silence in that hell house. No other sound. Hahn did not return. Slowly we counted as if each one were exploding in our hearts. In the morning these would be gone. whispered prayers. no cry. came Hahn. to be soul sickened by the horror to which their cynical doctrine must logically and inevitably lead. An engine started noisily and drew away. past the lighted wide. Soon there came the trample of heavy-booted feet in the yard. Towards morning I climbed to the window and peered out through the crack under the wooden shutter. low doorway in the three-foot-thick wall. long-buried bell had struck in his brain. At one time it was said that there was an organized unit of German soldiers fighting on the side of the Chetniks against the Nazis. sons. The Serbian forests were said to be full of these deserters. Swinging in his hand was a rifle with a silencer attached to it. Certain it is that the number of desertions was so large that printed notices were posted on lampposts throughout the country. this alone can explain the great number of desertions from the German Army. The radio stopped. husbands. Then. it was too much trouble to haul out the bodies. The radio did not drown the shots. Sometimes decency won. Yet next morning the fellow sneeringly announced: "Oh. almost all the men in the cellar were our relatives." The Serb peasants hung coats on their fences and clotheslines. just-dance music and thirteen muffled shots. like Hahn. or our friends. only strangled. You see. there came an unforgettable sight: springing. in the wan moonlight of the dimly lit yard. Then the endless slow stamp of the guards began again-up and down. He threw in a wolfish glare and then sprang on. dry sobs and frantic. crouching like a hunting beast. on a bench by the gate sat Hahn in an attitude of utter despair. almost all young men who arrived as Nazi idealists. There was no sleep for us that night. in their place a few pennies and a German soldier's jacket to be quickly burned. Easier after all to take them out on the hoof!" There were many Germans. their faces drawn with indescribable agony and dread. his fair hair hanging over his glittering eyes.from the brightly lit corridor my women-there were twenty of us now packed tightly in the cell-sat up on the straw. their eyes wide. There. fathers. announcing: "Anyone who supplies a German soldier or officer with civilian clothes will be shot. in whose souls native decency fought with Nazi viciousness.

A few days later a friend visited her. We spent pleasant hours. She was released as an overage officer. sometimes brutally skylarking or joking. Her anxiety about him. supported by a stick. is going to die. She went into the lavatory. Her husband.The Serbs Chose War. She put her hand on his arm. desperately ill. This really magnificent old lady of sixty-seven. At last we heard that he was considered too ill even for that hole where illness was paid attention to only if it was a nuisance. . and the strength of a beautiful love that flowed from her and seemed to envelop him was almost a visible aura in the dingy court. I have them still and shall always treasure them. She sat beside him. and calmly walked out of the prison. They looked at each other speechless with old and well-worn love. We had never a moment's privacy while dressing. For the sake of the mother who bore you and the principles she once taught you. misery forgotten. She has only been loyal to her oath as you are loyal to your oath. Then the guards would stand teasing for hours in the cell at night. She possessed a wonderful fund of Serbian swear words which she launched at the guards with such devastating effect that while she was there they behaved almost respectfully. stocky. in spite of the forbidding yells of the guards. Out stumbled her thin. She is oldas old perhaps as your own mother. changed. a White Russian. with which I knitted-with love in every stitch-two pullovers. and that he was to be removed to a hospital. her efforts to catch any smallest glimpse of him. Often very pretty girls were brought in. and when this war came to Serbia. She was taken in an ambulance to a German military prison hospital. Complaining only made them worse. ORPHANS OF THE GUNS WE WOMEN were never out of sight of the male guards who could see us either through the peep-hole or through the opened door. was one of the two Englishwomen who had been officers in the Serbian Army in the last World War. I got Flora into the yard. was also in the prison. She was free for a few weeks and was then brought into our cell. many were Jewesses who at first were given only ten days in prison for not wearing the yellow armband. He fell on the bench. Roughly he was removed. She sent me back into the prison some wool. He died a few days later. Will you permit her to be in the yard as he passes through?" At that time he was still friendly to me. then surly he agreed. she went out again in spite of a recent operation. These men were always in and out of the cell. weather-beaten. Her husband. his head bowed as he coughed. whom she loves as your mother loved your father. Ruth Mitchell 47. She expected him to die: she must be allowed to speak to him before he went. As head woman it was my business to make any necessary requests. He did not look up. sometimes bullying. So. dying husband. I went to the office and found Hahn fortunately alone. I said to him: "This woman is an army officer as you are an officer. She wrote two books about her experiences. with short-cropped white hair. bringing women's clothes. discussing our experiences among the Serbs. But Flora Sandes knew how to handle them. She was an officer still. you must allow this old lady to speak once more to her dying husband. He hesitated as if about to say something sharp. were agonizing. or sleeping. With her regiment of infantry she marched ten days until they were surrounded and captured and her feet gave out.

Their faces transfigured by the most fundamental. . sons. their trembling bodies pressed together to watch the gate. the children could run in for a little hug. to walk in single file round the little yard. knowing my words cannot convey the pain. . One moment she staggers against the wall as the light strikes down on her from the corridor where the guard stands impatiently glowering. So dim was the light that only by some characteristic shape or movement could a man be recognized."Moj muz" (pronounced "moy mooj")-"my man. daughters would go out. A name is barked into the dark cell. One moment more we see the silhouette of our companion. never once did a Serb break down. the unfathomable grief of it. cell by cell. when I think of the prison. they climbed at two o'clock every night up to the crack. The guards were usually grimly silent on these occasions as they prodded the silent men to their death. forever turning. The mothers and fathers would stoop to catch and raise their children in their arms. too far. rifle on shoulder. or D. Then she is gone-forever. fathers." a woman would breathe and sink down. sisters. "Moj muz" . sometimes in herds. the exit which meant-the end. In a few minutes now-a volley. they . Night after night.. and while the other women lie speechless with grief. Straight and quietly those Serbs of all walks of life marched out with the firing squads: there was never a cry. or F." Like a soft undercurrent. a Serbian woman going out to execution. mothers. I still see those shadows endlessly wheeling on the ceiling. while the relative who brought them remained outside. even worse than this. If there is another existence it must surely be more kindly. forever wheeling slowly round on our ceiling. their warm hearts to be chilled in the cold. "Moj muz" . or one of the many others-rises without a word. fumbles for her coat. "Moj muz"-she will rejoin him. Something so agonizing I hesitate to try to tell about it. thank God. and I would lay her on the straw. May you receive the only reward for love and courage you would ever ask for. Their figures made dim reflected shadows. blood-saturated earth. in the morning when the women climbed to the window (someone had to be on watch at the peephole and hiss sharply if the guard approached our door) to see if he was still among the men let out. "moj muz. of liberty. the words ran through the days and the endless nights. most enduring passion with which nature has endowed us. . brothers. dazed. She raises her head sternly. dear Serbian wives-to meet again." There was something worse. A woman-N. more merciful than this German hell on earth. frantic with anxiety. and for eternity. sometimes in twos and threes. as. she goes to the door. .. When would her turn come? Soon. for us to hear it. "Moj muz. But in the cell the stillness was so complete I could actually hear the pounding heartbeats of the trembling women I was holding up. And she would go-silent.. Always. a never-ending refrain. That was the visits of the children. upheld like her husband by the knowledge that her only crime was her love of Serbia. About once a fortnight the children of the prisoners were allowed to come to the gate just to look at their parents. my husband. And she would be a widow. If the prisoner had somehow managed to get cigarettes with which to bribe the guard.

One could steel oneself to any other suffering. the very heart of their hearts. I gave my promise to these so unjustly suffering Serbs that if I came through alive I would return and spend the rest of my life looking after these. of resolution. would stand with hearts warm and strong behind me. but this pierced every armor of pride. ruined land ? It was just-unendurable. to cherish and bring up their children in freedom to worship the memory of those who died for their love of liberty. and all the freedom-loving nations of the earth. of strength. They mumbled broken. That promise passed not only through the prison. age-old words of sweet endearment. For the last time these men and women had what they loved more than their own lives in their arms. but my countrymen too. I shall be justified. These. wondering at the running tears.touched. kissed them and pulled their ears. of thousands of dying men and women: it eased in some measure the death pangs of a glorious army of martyrs. I know well. every part of the little bodies. with America and Britain in the lead. must stay behind-to what dark fate in a devastated. their children. It will be for us now to justify their faith. with hands trembling with love and despair. I pledged my word and the honor of my country. A strong belief in American generosity was the last thought of hundreds. I am sure. . but throughout Serbia-where my word is good. I told them that not I alone. the children laughing as they patted their fathers' and their mothers' hair.

not one man in our army. And so. The Chetniks. Nothing was too contemptible. who told me-and I know he spoke the truth-that as he passed by a German execution field near Belgrade. women. men and women. It was a national ideal and national wholehearted support that produced this German fiendishness. Their hatred of the Serbs became a veritable passion-an obsession. had dug up their buried guns again and had risen. And drove their tanks over the shallow graves. They seized all law courts and all schools. but the thing that made her really ill with fury was the German treatment of the Serb peasants. every school teacher. on June 28. almost three quarters of Serbia was free once more. every lawyer. and thrown off the conquerors. Dead and half-dead alike: you don't believe it? Let me tell you that I myself spoke to a man. Then. None of the other overrun countries had succeeded in doing a thing like that. the Chetniks had risen. small farmers. They took every judge. Ruth Mitchell 48. or air force. the heavy German tanks rumbled through Belgrade. their backs to the machine guns. And the Germans." I say that if such an order could have been given to our soldiers." We had in the prison for a few days a stern old Scotch spinster. who afterwards in internment was my dear friend. Hitler himself was a man of the people. every leading man. She had for years run a small kindergarten in Belgrade. with the full . Against the mechanized might of a Nazi punitive expedition the Chetniks could oppose only their bodies and their rifles. who had sneered at the Serbs as overrated slaves. from that day sneered no more. his soul frozen in a horror that would never wholly melt. not one. as Vaso had predicted. navy. The Germans made these men. and little children dig trenches. without pause. Then the German officers went along the corridors with loaded clubs. too brutal. They took the upper classes of every school of whatever grade. after a period of deceptive humility. These boys and aged men were drawn up. shaking even the three-foot-thick walls of our prison ? They were bound southwards to where. So the Germans surrounded each town and each village. or too mean for the Germans by way of demonstrating their "master superiority. Many have described how the children died crying: "Long live Serbia-we are Serbian children!" Then on the dead and on the half-dead alike the butchers shoveled back a little earth. They were mostly very young boys or quite old men. She was released and then rearrested and taken to internment. could have been found to carry it out. THE FIELD THAT GROANED WHO that lived through it could ever forget those terrible forty-eight hours when. People will come after the war whining that "the German soldiers. produced by the people. I say that every German in Germany is guilty of every atrocity. too petty. so that they fell forward into the trenches. their faces to the wall. chained in long rows in the corridors. She could endure her own suffering quietly. the brave German soldiers mowed them down. Miss Jane Allison. poor things. the brave German officers giving the order. boys and girls. only had to obey their orders.The Serbs Chose War. he had heard that field groaning. since all the strong men were away in the mountains to fight. Any man who had made a move to obey such an order would have been killed on the spot by his fellow soldiers. pounding them. The Germans stood them up facing the trenches.

The Serbs stood without cringing and with no sign of fear. who did the screaming. There was endless screaming. "What's this?" he shouted as guards gathered round for the fun. "Ha ha! Hebrew folklore. herded them out to the barking guns-the final confession of failure. ever screamed. It was the Germans themselves. hit them in the face. Under the Germans all Jews had to wear yellow armbands as well as great yellow stars front and back. ran and threw it into the garbage. his arm would fall and I could hear him curse as he turned away. I watched Hahn-I knew him so well by now. We hid it under our clothes and later succeeded in smuggling it to the priest. He was blind and could only move about under the guidance of a friend. Hahn pounced upon it with glee. No Serb." Among other restrictions. as they waited calmly for the blow. who was a Jew-the Orthodox Church is admirably tolerant. spat upon it like a monkey. you must walk?" . "because of your dear friend. Two fine-looking Orthodox priests were brought in. their faces devilishly distorted. black soutanes. they were not allowed to use the streetcars. who used it. walking one day with his guide to a distant call. The blind priest." "So. they gazed straight into the eyes of their captors. and he is a Jew. not even the smallest boy. got it out and carefully cleaned it. A Bible was sent in for one of the priests. long. amazed and beside themselves with frustration and fury. "Ha. and I don't know what other "decorations. screaming: the prison was filled with screams. L. At our next round in the yard. A young guard. Upon being told. They feared only being less than Serbs. how steadfastly they must have looked at the pitiless guns which soon took their lives tool Only when they were not present could Hahn give rein to his spitefulness. Why do you not take a streetcar?" "I cannot do so. He would scream and run up to them with his arm drawn back." he snarled. and tall hats." replied the priest gently. "for I have a friend with me. Quietly imposing. where such stuff belongs!" he screamed.trying to work up his courage to strike them before us all in the yard. met a high German officer acquaintance who asked where he was going. fairy tales for idiots!" He opened the Bible. About this time another Orthodox priest came into the prison. to comfort all in his cell. a Jew. holding his nose to the raucous merriment of the rest. knock off their hats. Calm courage and dignity invariably confused and defeated them. on the neck and shoulders: utterly pointless. since they were in any case to be killed. How gently. The warders were eager to humiliate them.strength of their arms. with their thick gray beards." shouted the German. But it was not the Serbs. It was in three pieces but only torn down the back. the officer said: "But that is far. and tore it ostentatiously into pieces. and I slipped aside to the cans. "Into the garbage can. Then. I hope. to kick them. Finally the Germans.

if you like. simple. which is usually a sign of secret uncertainty." "Ha ha. Nevertheless. remarkable. . Igon used to lock him in his apartment. His own servant was a Jewish boy. Gestapo Commissar for Jew Control. When the Germans arrived in Belgrade he immediately rose to high position: he became. this Jew. "If you love him so much. unquestionable certainty what they want. "Gladly will I kiss my friend!" So there. At last they were so severely punished that they had to think of their own families. And to them the word "Serb" is only another word for courage. But soon the Jews were all hounded away to the ghettos-to death. Then. all Serbs immediately withdrew. he embraced the Jew and kissed him. At any rate Igon distinguished himself by his leniency and so earned the gratitude of the wretched Jews. in winter. the treatment of the Jews became much more inhuman. against whom there had never been the slightest feeling or prejudice in Serbia. when they saw their Jewish friends forced to do street work beyond their strength. once the chatty partner in the two-man business of keeping a watch on me." said the priest. They want freedom. After his disappearance. taking the key with him when he went to his office. When they were forbidden to do so. I think. They know with undeviating. they joined them and helped them. Now I must mention what became of Igon. it's a wonder you wouldn't want to kiss him publicly!" "Certainly. But it was all of a piece with a national character that showed most brightly in the blackest time of misery. one morning Igon went off to his work as usual and -was never heard of again. They are satisfied to be just Serbs. Here again the Serbian record is. the Serb women shouted curses at the German soldiers and had to be driven away with gun butts. It is settled. There is no braggadocio. It has been often noted by trained observers that of all Europeans the Serbs were least affected by the nervous and cloudy isms of the postwar period. Probably he still remembered how he had led a Jew to his death. There is that steady fortitude about them as of men long inured to war. but impervious to subtly reasoned side issues. I hope the Jews of the world are aware how loyally the Serbs tried to stand by their countrymen of the Jewish race. I may be accused of exaggeration in constantly reverting to the heroism of the Serbs. so that nothing could happen to him while he was away. Many Jews are at this moment being hidden by Serbian families at the risk of their own lives. The Serbs loathed the German persecutions of Jews." laughed the officer. He simply vanished as other Germans vanished and will continue to vanish from Serbia. Strange to say-one likes to tell even a fairly human thing about a Nazi-the next day an order came out that the Jews could ride at the back of the streetcar trailers. Indeed they are curiously humble. in the crowded main street. At first."Yes. "because of my friend who may not use the cars. when rows of Jews were made to lie down and make ridges in the snow with their noses for the amusement of the Germans." said the priest. I prefer to walk. in fact. knowing themselves to be lacking in sophistication. They have known it for a thousand years.

This prisoner was named Luka Golubich. a horse doctor. For Death-a gloating. We had to rise when he entered. about sixty. two steps apart. striking looking man. Beside him. they shot him." he screamed at me and loathed me thereafter. His torturers had done this in the hopelessly vain effort to force him to betray his companions. He too was a flagrant pervert. we walked by.") Luka-"Uncle Luke" we called him-had been stood on red-hot coals until his feet were just charred. the prison doctor deserved the severest punishment that can be meted out to men. It was this run-of-the-mill German medical man who in the prison yard gently-oh. they lie together in a common grave. German Deathwas watching us. From the narrow crack beneath our window I watched him being carried out in the starlight just before dawn. and calmly we looked back at him. we women decided. like a visible presence. I think he was the greatest hero I ever saw. brave age. and not a muscle moved in his face or in ours. the Gestapo jailed every Communist it could hunt down and simply called every patriot a "Communist. pale and slight. Slowly. so gently-tore the bandages of the feet of a bestially tortured man so that we women taking our exercise-in single file. A big. And she sang until her little voice was broken by the crash of guns. stood a girl of fourteen who had fired a German garage. I never heard him speak a word. When I first saw him with revolver on hip and whispered too loudly: "See. one by one. When at last they gave up hope of breaking him. looking to be the kind of general practitioner mothers would call in when a baby had a sore throat. (Although the Russo-German pact was then in force. How can one express the pride one feels to have been associated in the bond of suffering with such as these! . Calmly he looked at us. Next day we heard that he had stood up on those bleeding stumps to die. and we would not give our torturers the pleasure of a single twitch of fear. where the doctor savagely displayed what once had been his feet. Ruth Mitchell 49. he was a Communist. two steps apart-might see and be terrified. a real one-and there are few real Communists in Serbia. Faithful unto death.The Serbs Chose War. brave youth. UNCLE LUKE OF ALL THOSE BRUTES. If some sick or fainting pregnant woman did not spring up fast enough he just turned haughtily and walked out. he was a reserve officer. I see him now being carried down by two strong cellmates and set in a chair in the yard. tender and coy with the men. They carried him to the place of execution. cynical and cruel to the women. A fellow named Jung. bleeding stumps. one by one. tightly clutching his hand.

thin. calmly looking the guard in the eye. Tell her I died with her name on my lips. shrugging his shoulders disgustedly. "tell Mary I held her in my heart to the end. I rose. tattooed on his breast. dirty.) I can only say that often I would feel my very soul hardening to a stone of grim determination: somehow I must stick it out and live. and slowly we went again upon our rounds. sometimes chained. I could just see the gaunt. and the guard. balled in my effort at control. quickly gathered round. and in the foreground an antlered deer poking out its head. in lock step. a long time. calm]. I bent and looked down the cellar hole. who had managed the Anglo-American Club. "Ruhe. with leg chains so heavy he had to hold them up with his hands. intimate dinners. There. I had known him and his charming English wife. Somehow resolution came back. but we were careful to give no sign of recognition. I was so startled by this vision that the surprise steadied me." he whispered frantically. Just then a man. "Sie mussen Sich zusammen nehmen [You must control yourself]. . He caught sight of my face. was bending down under the tap. Quick as a flash he shuffled over and seized my hands. drawn face of Simonovich. now walking slowly round the prison yard. who in days of happiness had sent you flowers. taken you out to little merry. First and always our one thought was: "No sign-no sign of breaking down! That is what they want-we must not give the beasts that satisfaction. Slowly I raised my eyes from his rusty chains. "Tell her. Then I saw. no breakdown. and on the next round flipped it down to Simonovich. pine trees. as usual. walked up the yard. There was a single water tap in the yard where the condemned men were allowed to wet their heads sometimes in the heat." he hissed fiercely in German. whose only crime was love of their country or of God! (The finding of any Masonic symbol in a house was a sentence of death. I squeezed his hand. in the dim light looking up at me from the condemned cell. the most extraordinary scene: mountains with the sun rising behind them. Only no sign. Try as I could to control myself." I felt as if a hand had reached into my breast and squeezed my heart. THE MINUET OF DEATH MANY OLD ACQUAINTANCES OF MINE were in the prison. quickly lit a cigarette. Ruth Mitchell 50. He sprang back just before the guard turned. the tears gushed from my eyes. as loud as he dared without drawing the attention of the guard at his door. looking a nameless death in the face? Your own kindly friends.The Serbs Chose War. The women. Suddenly something-it may have been a broom handle-struck me on the leg. Ruhe [Calm. I knew that she had managed to escape to England. all in bright colors." One day I felt faint and sat down on a bench over a cellar air hole. Can you imagine what it felt like to see charming friends." It was the right word. It was all that we could do for him.for the one purpose of someday helping to bring retribution. The others depend on you. At the turn near the garbage cans we slipped aside.

taken from all parts of Serbia with the threat that they would be slaughtered if the people of their homes should dare to resist the invader. grimmer. they leaned against the walls and against each other-starving. From the memory of their martyrdom into the youth of Serbia for uncounted generations will flow strength. There was a prison across the town-we heard many reports of it. He boasted openly that no prison bars could hold him. as we knew well they did in their hearts. That cellar dungeon! An icy trickle still goes down my back when I think of it. all he loved best in life. everlasting silence. he came in. sure enough. he always had a twinkle in his eye for the ladies. Very ceremonious in his manners. impertinent. They met. His job was to pour disinfectant each morning into the toilets and night pails in the cells." men of high position. a pet even of the guards. he did actually get away-the only one. dignified. when Lidia and I were scrubbing the floor of the toilet. that their friends would not for a moment consider them. He was a marvelous fellow. The conditions in that prison were fearful beyond belief. Serbian wives. those good men died. except for the dull. And. The helpless women were taken by the German kidnapers in the hope of forcing their men to give themselves up. and much admired Judge Stokich. for I too was in it for a time. packed with "hostages. the mountain scene. was a forest ranger who loved freedom as the eagle loves the high crags.women whose husbands." But these were all women.praying. gentle Serbian girls. businessmen. grayer. No sternest resolution can quite prevent a chill of terror from creeping into the marrow of one's bones. the dear boy who carried. fathers. . Giving him this assignment was the German idea of fun. the little pile of damp straw on which you lie-alone -while slowly the dim ray of light from the far.Tony. in his a battered can of stink stuff. painted on his breast. Soon the cellar was overcrowded. Each day they grew gaunter.filled with nothing but such "hostages. and. In hundreds they died. professors. they died. or sons had "gone to the mountains" to join Draja Mihailovich and my Chetniks. eerie clank-clank-clank of heavily chained feet slowly stumbling past the door. But he was shot dead before he reached safety in the forests he loved so dearly. high air hole in the thick wall passes round the ceiling to mark the passage of interminable hours. who ever did escape from our prison. Everlasting twilight. Among our own hostages was the old. whispered word in passing. always laughing into the face of certain death. One morning. the exquisite society woman and the courtly judge: in her hand a scrubbing brush. none at all to lie down. And so they died. In his calmly humorous way he did much to put steadiness into us. His sweeping mustachios in the old Serbian style were to Us an invigorating sight. yes. brothers. judges. praying to an outraged God that their menfolk would not be weak enough or loving enough to deliver themselves into German hands to save them. Just at that moment the office radio was playing a Mozart minuet. It was exactly like what you read about in the old stories: the sweating walls. with always a cheerful. I believe. cabinet ministers. lawyers. Serbian mothers. Packed in so tight that there was hardly room to sit. All in turn.

And so our dear old Judge Stokich had to die. they died and died and died. And sweetly. He was the hostage for Smederevo. to the tinkle of that old familiar tune blaring across all the prison noise. bowed a pirouette. great and small. a huge ancient fortress on the Danube sixty miles from Belgrade. It blew up. . Not many days after he too was among the thousands that sank before the "culture-bringing" guns into a nameless trench. Young and old.Then. they curtseyed. with an Old World grace. they tripped a little minuet. which the Germans had made into their biggest ammunition dump. they silently clasped hands. and gently danced a last-a long-last-minuet. and the effect was so terrific that the whole German garrison was killed and most of the town destroyed. Upon the very verge of a darkly yawning grave.

I reminded her that she was the descendant of a great race. for a long time. When I saw a Serbian woman's hands begin to clasp and twitch. These Sephardic Jews of Serbia seem to me to be in a class by themselves. at this time brought in usually because of failure to wear the yellow armband. and they are greatly liked and admired by the Serbs. shy. self-reliance. oppressed by a dreadful racial shame. But they soon became pretty sharp at making themselves comfortable. But sometimes. The Jewesses of education behaved quite differently. her eyes to roll. Attractive. sternly. Ruth Mitchell 51. . especially when they first came in. The women of this type always came in quietly. They bowed to it. I knew the symptoms. they each whispered: "No. no. They neither trembled nor would they. subtly artistic. PRIDE AND SHAME HOW SPLENDID were those Serbian women! As head woman I made a rule. with downcast eyes before the Serbian women. they sat in corners. Shrinking and raising their hands as if warding off a horror. horror of much worse which they knew was coming. The Serbian women came in grimly. he suffers with his stomach. I admired them every minute more than I can say. hopeless fatalism. They knew it would be bad. I would sit down beside her on the straw and firmly take her hand. obsessed with anxiety about their large families. and tried desperately hard to uphold it. They fitted in efficiently at once. as if somehow listening to an inner voice from long ago. that there should be no weeping in the cell. Katitsa and Bianca. Their own discomfort really meant little to them compared with their anxiety for those whom they had left behind: "Who will fix Ikey's food?" ." etc. There they were allowed to weep on my shoulder. sound.. The two most capable. prepared to face anything. then extreme loquacity. Heroes now were watching from their graves. but-it was their racial fate. I pitied them with all my heart. the relief of tears was necessary. smile: horror of what they had already seen. It always worked. They were quickly released again and left without saying good-by. Oh-dear-oh-dear-oh-dear. sure she could never be less than a Serb. unobtrusively. you know. their eyes wide with agony. There would be storms of tears. who were in no way unkind to them. To think of their fate is one of the horrors of my wakeful night hours. very bad. separately. there are very few of these families. Resident here for many centuries. "My husband. . and a racial tradition of courage made them . and greathearted women I had the privilege of meeting in all the prisons were two of these Jewesses. The simpler Jewesses. I never want to hear the word 'Croat' again -never-not after what they have done-never-never . pride of race. When each hesitatingly told me her name I said gently: "You are a Croat?" Their reaction was strikingly similar. . Then I hurried them to the toilet. hopelessly. Only two Croatian women were brought in.The Serbs Chose War. By the way a new woman entered the prison we could predict infallibly her behavior. . frightened. Sometimes my blouse grew wet with those searing tears of agony." and they fell to weeping bitterly. they have succeeded in combining with a broad and careful education the sturdy Serbian qualities of courage. Although I tried to be especially nice to them. and dependability. always arrived humble. not exactly with resignation but with a firm.

in which we all joined. Never! They will stand firm. At the end of at most three days no one was so pathetically eager to scrub cement floors and carry night pails as these spoiled society darlings! The so-called White Russian women were an almost hopeless problem. . alone. but we were living in crude and fearful circumstances. They had only one fear: that the Communists might be victorious. they sobbed. when Serbia was fighting for her life. My own line is murdering children. I thought how fortunate were the democracies not to need the violent and bloody reaction of Communism to throw off such as these. disdainful. One White Russian. There were four men actually in the prison on her denunciation. Then all was amity. the most beastly creature I came across in all these days. We had one notable exception. Then politely I would get up and say: "Oh well. repressed. to force her to go on denouncing. We had a cure for that. . Haughty. of course. never?" How we despised these women. but in a big way. "is a forger. of course. We sat in stony silence. with these it was different. they howled: "Will it never end. the longer she was kept in. This. but neither were they allowed to go outside the cell or to participate in all our eager activities and plots. they would stand looking round at us with shocked disgust." She cheered us all up. you'll find prison not so bad. . . spent her whole time in thinking up people to denounce to the Gestapo." etc. They had to be made to laugh if we were all to preserve our sanity." "I couldn't .almost indifferent to their fate. for we are all habitual criminals. Although it was the habit of some of us always to rise and warmly greet a newcomer. crude and fearful. Now. "I never did . Let me introduce you. waiting. She fondly hoped this would get her out. After the last war Serbia with the warmest generosity had received not less than 60. beautifully dressed.000 of these "aristocrats" fleeing from Bolshevism and had supported and found work for them regardless of her own labor problems. they moaned all day. one of these women stubbornly repeated: "Whatever else is possible on earth. and then they might have to die. and teamwork was absolutely necessary for morale. Without the slightest thought for others. Crude. This lady murdered her husband." A moment's incredulous silence and she usually had the grace to burst into laughter. idle." pointing to some pretty child. . fawning to the Germans! They had only one thought: the saving of their own miserable skins. boiled up in them to a point which sometimes threatened hysteria. And sure as death and taxes it would come: "I-I have never been in prison before-I am not used to this-I am . cringing. Fortunately I have a very good memory for risqué stories. But among our best jokes were the occasional arrivals of what are called "society" women. many of these same people turned upon their kindly hosts and became German-paid spies and informers. Invariably at first those hothouse flowers refused to work. are used to it. Little did she understand German methods: the longer she went on denouncing. . They just sat and sweltered. When all the world was momentarily expecting the collapse of Russia and the office radio announced it almost every hour. you'll say." The woman's voice would trail away. an anti-Communist revolution is impossible. They weren't required to lift a hand. This is a thief. But rage and hatred of their ruthless enemies. . We.

These we stuck on the wall. didn't it? Yesterday passed. tomorrow will pass-it must pass." I tried. they had to be quieted for the sake of the others. once a beauty. didn't it? It passed. "Look. Each doll represented one day." When this didn't work I got hold of a piece of old newspaper and cut out rows of dancing paper dolls. Like a dropped jelly she spread herself. Be still. handsome. all over the place. and every evening.Large. She set our teeth on edge with her interminable mumbled or howled prayers. "this is noon: the morning passed. She-she to be praying to a just God! However little sympathy one had for these sobbing whiners. Those childish "aristocrats" were comforted! . and let the days just pass. be still. Today will pass. with laughing ceremony (while the Serbs looked on in disdain). Each day you are one day nearer freedom. she went all to pieces. sticky and quaking. we fiercely tore off one head.

A woman came to call on her. Should I tell Tanya? At that time we still pitied her. She was the infamous Frau von Akten. The woman came again next day and took Tanya out for good. this tiny. In spite of her extreme caution I soon discovered that she hated England and America with whatever passion she was capable of. Ruth Mitchell 52. There was something macabre. but they were not nearly so much of a nuisance as you would expect. At week ends she entertained lavishly in her luxurious Belgrade apartment. condescending. guards saluting. she said. She believed-wishfully-that Germany would win. He was struck violently in the face with the yell. Now ensued a remarkable exhibition of loyalty and kindness on the part of the women. Then one day came the news that the brother had been seen in a German prison camp: he had not been shot after all. to keep her especially cheerful. haughty. in seeing this tiny creature. bringing us anything to eat) she was a different Tanya. That night Hahn told Katitsa that the brother had been taken away to be shot as an English spy. so merry that she actually danced the steps of a Russian folk dance for us. They appeared to be men in . extremely aristocratic connections. For years she had on weekdays acted as a humble school teacher in Novi Sad. A White Russian refugee with. Tanya must not know. born Banderer. but more cagey than ever. One day two soldiers came to take him away. first fruits of a new career. Is it necessary to say what Tanya became? She was an expert on foreigners in Yugoslavia. of course. and took her out to lunch! Imagine our excitement at this unheard-of event. Infinite were the pains we took. I happened to be at the peephole. who had for years been the chief German woman spy in Yugoslavia. he tried to break away from the guards to shout a word to his sister through the hole. In fact. THE INFORMER TANYA had been secretary to the Belgrade correspondent of a London paper. Spies pretending to be prisoners-we had plenty of them. ghoulish. of course. dried-up body and soul was the trickiest and most selfish woman in the prison.The Serbs Chose War. But not before I had discovered who the powerful deity was for whom all German prison doors flew open. As he was brought down from above. Still we did not regret our efforts-then. All she loved was herself and her brother who had worked for the Associated Press and who also was in the prison. who now has the blood of hundreds if not thousands of Serbian patriots on her hands. It was not long before two Englishwomen married to Serbs were brought in. marching in grandly. must not guess. the stories we thought up. her head too big for her wizened body. And she hated Serbia that had treated her so well." He was marched out. When she returned (without. "Zuruck! [Back!]. they added a grimly humorous note. I decided that she might go mad with grief-better to say nothing. We could hardly wait for her return.

. He turned. desperate. talking to one of these spies while the two swept the yard. what they were. although it would have given her small comfort: she was where no comfort could ever again mean much to her. To make themselves convincing they told tales of hair-raising courage with themselves as heroes. hopeless. They were despised even by the guards and were treated by us with just a bare minimum of politeness to avoid trouble. everything dead around them. I saw a new man. No longer sleek and slimy.German service who had made a slip and had chosen this in lieu of other punishment. I wished my dearest Trudi could have known. bumped into him. outside our warm and pulsing life of love and dread and cunning. For within a few hours of their entry we knew. It was the same man who had informed against Trudi's boy. by some sure extra prison sense. coming out with a dustpan. One morning. and as we both bent for it I whispered: "Careful -informer!" He gave me a startled half-smile. by evening we knew that he himself was a new spy! I later saw one of these fellows in one of my endless series of prison trains. rather nice-looking. They were the only lonely people in the prison: cold. It was obvious that he was now himself in serious trouble and was going down the drain. They led dreary lives. Behold. he was bedraggled. and dropped my pan. He must be warned! I stumbled. Thereafter they moved in a sort of vacuum.

His face was a pulp. How can it be that a people who produced such a song. There entered. for a puzzled. should now be so bestialized? Surely the message of this Christmas hymn must be a message of hope for humanity-of hope even for the Germans. All of them by now are probably dead. prodded and pricked from behind by a bayonet in the hands of a furiously bawling German. May the "silent night" of defeat and humiliation which now lies before the Germans become. Ruth Mitchell 53. . Next morning he would be screaming. As I watched the systematic debasing and vitiation of German youth I had an inspiring thought: If Hitler could in eight years so thoroughly shape German youth for evil. With a crashing of bolts. . strengthened. piglike in his ugliness. the "holy night" in which they reshape their souls. a black. They grew steadily meaner. who looked and often was the most brutal of them all. more morose and fierce. Everything went smoothly for him. who had a Russian mother. helpless. That brute. "Edelweiss" we called him for his favorite song and for the irony of the nickname. Do you wonder I found myself beginning to pity almost everybody? We were all caught together.The Serbs Chose War. to be revivified. There was one fellow. Good as well as evil must remain latent. "THIS IS GERMAN CULTURE" THOSE PRISON GUARDS: a whole book could be written about them alone and the conflict in their little souls. decent fellow! Slowly they all went off and were replaced by worse. 1942. the hopeless beast. without a single ugly word. . then in the same length of time what wonderful things could be done with Serbian youth! As I watched the young guards getting meaner and meaner. renewed. on his hands and knees. There was Karl Feth. He was the tallest and far the handsomest. As I am writing this. and he was so beaten. December 17. from his head right down to the flayed soles of his feet. inevitable doom. One morning there was a yell and counter-yell at the gate. A tear on your Eastern grave. Karl. in a horror there was no escaping and no understanding-an elemental. this thought kept returning. until it again becomes victorious. gently singing us women to sleep. stood in our door after light-out. it was thrown open. red in the face as usual. holy night"-a German song. with his loaded rifle poking up behind his back. And yet . what was left of a man. strange silhouette. He soon was drafted to the Russian front. some moronic. that he could hardly move or breathe. Most of them were merely stupid. in truth. He fancied himself for his thin but sweet singing voice. which has brought happiness and the kindliest emotions to millions throughout the world. not once but often. a great bell-like siren is playing across Washington that most beloved of all Christmas songs: "Silent night.

slowly twisting in the breeze. beaten almost to death.This man. all merciless oppression. As their land was the most cruelly oppressed of all. their hearts beaten into hard flint from which will be struck a flame of undying hatred. and never while you live forget: this is German culture!" This unfortunate man. their pride after the war must be to make it the land freest in the world of all hatreds. But other Serbian children will survive in spite of every decree of extermination. excepting only the hatred of oppression. had been overheard. He was seized. however. The children were never seen again. like hundreds of other Serbs. young boys. And as they watched the corpses slowly. and women hanging down the middle of the main street of Belgrade. That flame shall be struck and it must burn-but the hate with which it shall be fed must be the hatred of all cruelty. kept in prison for a fortnight. beaten again. . as hundreds of other Serbs said to their sons: "Look-look. he said to his sons. had taken his young sons to see the bodies of the men. and thrown out onto the street to die. all conscienceless greed.

She had brought it off. there in the lavatory. There were the cases where sheer women's wit brought high success. such gentle worry proper to the situation. We kissed as sisters kiss. Ruth Mitchell 54. let us flutter round the patient. was there. The examination came. the only case in which a man once in the cellar got away alive. The story must be conveyed to her husband. so trustworthy that she was the most loved person there. her assertions of loyalty to "dear Germany" so powerful. As we went over it and tested it for catches. grimly concentrated on success. as to be irresistibly convincing. too. (One woman. Leka. of course. limpid simplicity and honesty. This trick was infallible as the guards. Even the guards treated her with grudging respect. I had a tiny stub of pencil (which I held in my mouth when the ever-recurring wild pencil hunts were on). myself. though she was sure she would be tortured to betray accomplices. and got out alive. He was a Chetnik. we sang the Chetnik song from the beginning to the end. and herself. The plan was perfectly carried out. Quick as lightning she threw the note down the hole. I had become an expert thief. for instance.The Serbs Chose War. Her story and manner had been so convincing. sincerely benevolent. a story. an ordinary little woman in a gray dress and with tousled hair. looking in no way super heroic or brilliant. her four children. The husband was in the condemned cellar. Hear how she saved the lives of her husband. He had done it. as I knew she would at her German judges. incommunicado. just grimly determined. I believe. How I should like to give her whole name for the roll of honor! She was a Serbian Jewess of fine stock. Leka and I went to the toilet (the only place where one might whisper a few words alone) and held a consultation. The family was to die en masse and immediately. We grasped each other's hands and. She and her husband were brought in. in many ways the grandest woman in the prison. and we wrote the story on a scrap of wrapping paper I stole from the guardroom. of course. It had worked. neither elated nor frightened. There was not a sign of faltering or even of fear in Leka. accused of being concerned in the killing of two German soldiers. though "they could. did not know or they would not have taken him even as far as the prison. Their stories exactly tallied. It was. which the Germans. There was the case of my dear Katitsa. At exercise that afternoon we arranged for one of the girls to grow faint just by the air hole leading down to the cellar. But there was more to do. have had no communication"-and they both were released. She had a scheme. helpless in women's collapse. so simply. that he too was brought up for examination. just vividly alert.) Leka went out just as she came in. hardly above a whisper. She returned neither elated nor depressed. There was. she looked at me. It had to do with a jealous aunt who wished her ill and had spread lies about her. . LEKA SAVES HER MAN NOT ALL THE MEMORIES of those terrible two months are tragic. the cell containing her husband. so helpful to all. with such wide-eyed.

always laughing and somehow escaping search-away to hide her old parents safely in the south. For one of us to be caught meant fearful scenes. This man was Iliya Gregovich. and soon only six women of the twenty in our cell were receiving food. or several others. The food got scarcer and scarcer. she got an oxcart. Eagerly we wrote: "R. she passed the soldiers. Answer immediately-urgent. as I was being hurried back to prison. If she would tell where her very wealthy father was she would be freed. for special reasons. for the first few weeks I received nothing. and. Women with influence were bought out or otherwise removed.M. Yanko. as I have already mentioned. and placed straw and household utensils on top of them. I could not guess. I shall know someday. But Katitsa always received hers." Dear Katitsa was almost as excited and thrilled as I. dressed as a peasant woman. which came about in this way: On the third day of my court-martial. by a method which.. Later she was taken. and gave almost everything away. lifted his hat and said. a tall. Who asks?" And we patted back the soot. As every precaution had been taken that the American consul should not know that I was there. After I had been there for more than three weeks without a sign that anyone outside knew I was alive. We made it out to be: "C. I hope. At that time the prisoners were allowed to have food sent in from home. and had already been in prison for months. the American consul." But who C. His friendship for me brought him great misfortune. a plain-clothes detective close at each shoulder. A few days later another man. Next day the message was very blurred. Her health was sinking rapidly. and all thank God. Our tricks for getting messages in and out were innumerable. alive and well. There was. found this inscription written on the second layer: "Is it true Ruth Mitchell there? We heard she was dead. often challenged. making a determined hunt for her parents. Mrs. Katitsa. Soon afterwards. She put the old couple in the bottom of the cart. heard I was in the prison. whether Chetniks. Yet hardly a day passed without some word getting in or out. I began to notice that she only pretended to eat.While the Germans were. because it might bring great misfortune on a family. whip in hand. hopes to fight again for Serbia. It was Katitsa who got the first communication for me from outside. not the slightest chance of her telling. a Montenegrin from Petrovats and an American citizen. Mr. The result. also succeeded in notifying him. in English: . carefully wiping off the first layer of soot from a cooking pan. walked right into Belgrade beside the slowly plodding beasts. Then slowly. It was a ticklish business. C. was that I ate more than anyone else. of course. not knowing that the consul had already been informed. Rankin. the only sustenance provided by the management being thin bean soup twice a day and some raw unleavened stone-hard corn bread. dark man came toward me. step by interminable step. was. I am sorry to say. I cannot disclose. as every woman insisted on sharing her food with me and to refuse caused hurt feelings. and food for all was stopped for at least a day.

hiding them behind the big garbage cans." He behaved with great dignity in the prison. in company with the consul himself. I must add another word of gratitude. Iliya was seized. stopped again. I dropped the last of my money beside him where he sat breaking stones. we could sometimes steal a smoke out of sight of the guards. He was there three weeks while they questioned him constantly about me. (The consul gone. he and any other person released meanwhile from the prison would be rearrested and transported to Germany. but my feelings can be imagined when I saw him week after week. This was evidently one of them. He got cigarettes for me. thinking I was penniless. which was the only place where. But he insisted. Rankin and then."How do you do. How are you?" In my year in Montenegro I had spoken to probably every man in the country who spoke English. still in English: "Don't you remember me? I met you in Budva. he kept an eye on me. however. helping me in any way he could. How grateful I was that he showed no resentment! On the contrary.) At Frankfurt. that she is an American. He did notify Mr. He was clever enough to know nothing at all except "what everyone knows. . Miss Mitchell. working in the yard. and he went through twenty-one prisons before he succeeded in escaping into Switzerland. When I arrived on the transport train many months later in Lisbon. At last. I frowned. and shoved him behind me into the prison. since he was an American citizen with nothing against him (America was not yet in the war). seized him by the shoulder. Throughout his terrible vicissitudes Iliya had managed to save $54 in the heel of his shoe. started for Lisbon. they had to release him. my food. Sternly they warned him. I in turn gladly went without food to leave it where he could find it. In Lisbon. what was my delight to see him waiting on the platform for me! That was a joyous reunion." Instantly one of the detectives turned. he sent me by messenger-he was too delicate to face me-$30 of it! I shall not forget this thoughtfulness. which he had sent in generous measure. that if the consul heard I was there. crouching low. trying to signal to him to get away.

Lidia's eagle eye was on the watch for them. and the Jews were forced to keep it in order.The Serbs Chose War. eager to please. fastidious. "A yellow armband and a yellow star. elderly lady. would knock down the nauseous insect with a broom. where the straw sacks were black with ancient grease. Lidia and I were "lice wardens. Regularly. A swastika. "You have captured and imprisoned a perfectly innocent tame creature: it must obviously be a Jew. Our mouths watered to spit on it. even in that hellhole." "What?" he asked. there was comedy. and there were many wounded birds. nonplussed. asking that he should at least not shoot at that one. . seeking-sad irony! . Bedbugs were not quite as bad here as in some prisons in Germany." Soon. We never once found a single louse: the women's cells at least were completely free of them. Without my knowledge he fixed up an elaborate trap with a box and string and caught it. Lidia. picked out in red. and white pebbles. This little brown pigeon gave us great satisfaction. winging free toward the drifting free clouds! Hahn used to practice his bad revolver marksmanship on them. Sometimes in our Belgrade cell these night prowlers. had been made in the yard. (Now the poor birds are probably themselves all dead and eaten. I remarked on the prettiness of a brown one." He looked at me. Ruth Mitchell 55. notably in the Salzburg prison and in the huge Promenade prison in Vienna. such frank remarks became impossible.food. he decided I was to have it.) Instantly a pretty peasant girl in bright head-shawl would spring up. Suddenly she would start up with a fierce cry: "Lyubitsa. as he grew more and more darkly morose. I was horrified. My dear little brown pigeon relieved the strain. as if trained. would start crawling up the wall in the daytime. PRISON BERNHARDT PIGEONS USED TO FLY down into the prison yard. As he was at that time being very cordial to me. and when he was cutting its wings I could not help saying bitterly: "You have forgotten something. dizzy with blood. donkeys!" that it gave me endless delight. the slim. Yes. it sat on that swastika and did its business. her nose wrinkling in disgust. but we knew that if anyone did so all prisoners would be paraded and every third one shot. stripped and carefully examined.) How yearningly we used to watch them. Lyubitsa would pounce upon it with cries of joy and extinguish it in the night pail." Any woman brought in who looked less than absolutely clean was taken to the toilet. black. bugs!" (It was so beautifully like Betsy Trotwood with her famous "Janet.

standing in her transparent nightie (borrowed. I had an inspiration With towels we instituted a great hunt." but none the less gratefully received. working harder than anyone else. everything else forgotten. the other round a window bar and. She was in prison because high German officers had "fallen" for her. therefore. One night every trick had been fruitless. believed her dangerous. I can see her now. she went through the days. and they made nasty splotches on the pure-white wall. But he was adamant: no cigarette. So she lived in a world of extravagant make-believe. She was desperate: she must have a cigarette. Suddenly she saw my belt on a nail. she had absolutely nothing of her own). lighted. When she was in the mood. away to realms of happiness where bestiality and Germans never had been known. She brought us fruit-bought. in the narrow space between our converging feet. the reflected light from the corridor behind her. full of lightning sharp repartee. Very slim.and how we tried to work her up to it!-she could carry us away to faerie. but my request for one had met only with pleased sneers. and though she bickered perpetually and was struck violently in the face by Hahn for a pert answer. . with "the wages of sin. and higher ones. in violent despair. sobbing in smothered hysterics. In the office they had flypapers. Soon we would be rolling. I hit upon a scheme which solved the problem. the fellow came over from the gate. So she got up to the window and simply called the guard. We were enormously grateful to her. Whatever loots clean to a German is clean. The walls were painted dark brown up to six feet high and above that were white. She snatched it. put one end round her neck. really a genius if ever I saw one. Afraid she was going to make a rumpus and get him into trouble (no guessing what Cica was capable of 1). She was incapable of telling or even seeing the truth. Half our days were taken up with plots for getting Cica cigarettes. She was mad for cigarettes. laughing. and a cigarette. but she had never been on the stage. The guard was beaten. We got our flypapers. after light-out. At the next inspection the chief was horrified. and soon he too was laughing. Cica (pronounced Tseetsa) was tall. very supple. But no barking or hissed threats could down Cica. Dear Cica! She got out and gaily came back to the prison several times. Possessed of unfathomable reserves of gaiety. She didn't seem to know that there was a war on. She let down the belt. crawling swarms. came up. She was a born actress. everything was forgiven our Cica. Her back-chat was excruciating. This all was just a great adventure! She could bewitch the women too. and absolutely fascinating. impervious to pain or even facts. ugly. She smoked up the stovepipe in the wall while we stood guard at the door. We killed flies in hundreds But we squashed them only above the brown line. pretended to hang herself-with horribly realistic groans and gurgles. On inspection day everything had to look spotless. I fear. she would tell in a husky whisper and dramatize something she said had happened to her.The flies buzzed in thick.

The Serbs Chose War, Ruth Mitchell

56. ROSE
SOMETIMES OF AN EVENING, safe-too safe-at home in comfortable- too comfortable-America, there passes before me a procession of faces, vivid as if this instant the prison gate had closed behind me: the ones I loved with agonizing pity, the ones I hated with a whole-souled contempt. Of those I loved, perhaps the most touchingly pitiful was Ruza (Rooja, Rose), eighteen years old, just six months married and four months with child. Rose her name, but she was more like a little snowdrop, for there was not a thorn about her. She was pale, blond, and blue-eyed, with irresistible long, sweeping lashes. We all caught our breath when she was thrown into the cell. This delicate, modest beauty was the very embodiment of spring. At once every woman, mother instinct aroused, was eager to sit beside her, to hold her small, workhardened hand, to pat her. We quarreled as to who should give her the best blanket. How glad we were to go without food that she might eat! I thought how much she would look like a Botticelli Madonna when once she had her baby in her arms. Soon we knew her story. She told it without tears or even any signs of terror. She didn't seem to know what fear was: never before in her short life had anyone been unkind to her. She literally had never thought of intentional cruelty. This wasn't courage in the face of evil: it was unconsciousness that there could be fierce and intentional evil loose in the world. Her husband, aged twenty-one, an engineer, was Montenegrin. The Germans, at the instance of Italy, had issued an order that all Montenegrins in Belgrade should surrender themselves as "hostages for the good behavior of Montenegro to the Italians." As none came in, they were being hunted ferociously through the town. Came the Gestapo to Rose's third-floor apartment. They broke down the door. Her husband was there. Frantically he locked the | door of the bedroom. They banged and the boy jumped from the | third-floor window. | Ruza leaned out and saw her husband for the last time. He was being dragged away by the legs, still twitching. Blessedly, she did not believe that he was dead. Calmly the pregnant girl awaited events. But in that foul air she soon began to droop. She had fainting spells. I knew that it was worse than waste of time to appeal to our sneering pansy prison doctor. The girl had to be taken out into the air. Determined, although the guard yelled forbiddingly behind me, I ran to the office Hahn was there and he had been drinking. I described the case to him and told him: "The girl must be allowed to sit in the yard." Morosely he flared up: "Do you expect us to love our enemies? Nothing-nothing at all shall be done for her." "War on children, war on little girls," I said, beside myself with anxiety, "-is that great Germany's pride?"

His eyes flashed up, ugly and bloodshot, and sank again. A pause. "Take her out," he muttered at last. I took her out past the surly guard and stayed beside her. That evening Hahn sent in, a unique surprise, two watermelons. I went to thank him. He was sitting on the office bed flirting with Honig's sister, a typical, mouse-colored Fraulein with earphone braids. I thanked him sincerely for the melons. He was perfectly furious. "Don't think I did it out of kindness," he shouted. "They were going The Fraulein gave me a narrow, spiteful, vindictive stare. Every day our little Rose sat in the courtyard for an hour. She sat placidly-waiting, a faraway look on her pale sweet face. Every day she was a little paler. When I was taken away she was still-waiting, waiting for something that will never come for her again on earth. She was as guiltless of injuring Germany as the babe she certainly did not live to bear.

The Serbs Chose War, Ruth Mitchell

Toward THE END OF JULY great nervousness was apparent among the Germans. There was much sabotage in the town, and one heard constant explosions. Whenever there was the slightest anti-German indication, the armored cars rushed through the street and bombs were thrown into buildings, regardless of who was in them. We could hear the houses come crashing down. Discipline became increasingly severe. Past now were the comparatively pleasant scenes in the hot sunny yard that had made our lives such a strange mixture of the humdrum and the cruel. In the early days the scene had often been like this: at one end, in the shadow of the high wall, a barber lathers a fellow prisoner while the next in line, perhaps a fat jolly man keeping up his courage, tells with many gestures some funny tale. At the other end the sadist chief warder, Richter, unbends over a game of chess, his opponent a man in heavy leg chains-and when I say heavy I mean medievally heavy, like anchor chains. Interestedly watching and discussing each move is a group of other chained men. (Tony the forest ranger always won.) Here and there crushed little Jews are endlessly sweeping the rough cobblestones, the pigeons hurrying out of their way. The heavily armed sentry yawns and leans against the iron gate. In the center of the yard a crowd of guards surrounds our only colored fellow prisoner, old Jimmy White, a noted saxophone player, white-haired and over seventy. One guard is pointing a revolver at his feet while they all yell: "Tanz, Neger, Tanz! [Dance, nigger, dance!]" Smiling gently, the dignified old fellow shuffles painfully around, the young brutes doubling up with laughter. That is how it was during the first weeks. But that was all past Now there was much hurrying in and out of extra guard troops. There were rumors that the prison was to be attacked-that an attempt was going to be made to rescue us. All the hostages-ministers, judges, bankers, professors, doctors- were put in the cellar. Machine guns, searchlights, and a loud-speaker were mounted, and we heard that when an attack started, the governor would announce that if it did not instantly cease all hostages would be murdered on the spot. One evening there was a sudden frantic pounding on the gate. A stark-naked German ran in, screaming that the attack was about to begin. There was an ominous, deathly stillness in the prison. The radio for once was silent, and we all heard the shouted order: "Prepare to shoot the hostages!" Our door was slammed, locked, and bolted. The air in the crowded cell became suffocating. Would my women be in greater danger from outside or inside? I had instructed them when shooting began to lie down under the windows. I had also stolen a piece of strong wire clothesline with which I could fasten the door from the inside and hang the lid of our night pail over the peephole. This would give us a few seconds, possibly minutes, to move over to the inside walls if the guards began shooting at us from inside.

not my son! Oh God. We had forgotten what it was to sleep a night through. farm labor at the mercy of German farm hands. to sexual infamy. nothing in your films. Nothing further happened that night.. we would be ready. She was dragged." bellowed the governor. Suddenly a wild explosion of shots in the cellar. the women ran an actual fever of dread. Spare them. in your reading. Next morning a large number of men were taken out for transport -whither. The governor rushed out. We couldn't sleep. and trampling the everlasting heavy-booted trampling. your children dragged away to an unspeakable fate. The night passed in strain. These transports were the cause of more terror among the women than death itself. "It was not my husband. yelling. The ones selected took leave of us as if going to something unimaginably evil. could give: any basis for understanding. spare them. Richter hurried out into the corridor." screamed a guard. No sound in the town. at the news that there would be a transport. none knew-but none of the hostages. A student of history said to me the other day: "Even in the worst days of Genghis Khan victorious troops were allowed to rape. "Who shot him? I gave no order. Toward dawn we heard again a banging on the gate. seemed a far worse horror than to die outright." Confused arguments and shouts. But the German have gone beneath the low-water mark of ancient savagery-they never stop at all. and we heard the trample of running feet.spare them!" She clasped him frantically round the knees. I ran to the peephole. turned round and stamped back into the office. About once a fortnight. and then it had to stop. "He was asking for it. made a gesture. hopelessly lost forever. Brothel. for the love of God! They didn't do it. Silent. "Who did it?" "I had to. and running feet. began quite loudly to hum our Chetnik song. their eyes bright.. A woman. to slow starvation. He shook her off without a word. every decency you lived by-gone. The Serbian women. her clothes torn. Every goodness.. ominous silence. To be transported to Germany to forced labor. or the pit of the unspeakable concentration camps-who would rather die quickly here at home? You women in America. ml murder and loot for three days. he's only twelve. It would mean the loss of everything: your homes destroyed.Would it be the Communists or the Chetniks? Whichever it was. breathless waiting. then silence again. your husbands dead. have you any real conception what would be your fate if the German heel were on your neck? Nothing in your experience. moaning. through the gate. lay on the ground before that glaring brute." . the ghetto.

They always got out and went into the building. and slammed the gate. a mere shooting of a young girl-patriot was much too kindly for the Germans. gentle little girl. in decent men. While her lover was away organizing sabotage. In the minute while the men went inside. The cook of one of the ladies then in our cell was coming out of the back gate of a house. all the chivalry. however. MY SISTER ZORA ON JULY 26 Zora B. working on her fear for herself and for her family. with such a delicate. Calmly she started out of town. Ruth Mitchell 58. But. walking round the car. dragged her in. when still not one word could be forced out of her. in those dark hours when the human spirit is at its lowest ebb. So first they tried every sort of mental pressure. She looked at them gently and smiled. gray-brown eyes had that confiding. dainty and really beautiful. a skilled violinist. The bloodhounds would soon be back. That should be easy. with a heart-shaped face and curly brown hair. delicately bred. The heavy Prussian boots were no match for her fleet young legs. Quickly and calmly she set matches to it. they resorted to whipping. modest. She could and did expect nothing better than to be shot. They determined to force her to tell where her lover had gone and with whom he was working. Seeing the fleeing girl. on the outskirts. If there could be a delay of just a few days these men could be warned to get away. . they took her out.The Serbs Chose War. splashed it with gasoline. they thought. she was caught. was brought in. Then they began knocking her about and. Zora was a Serbian girl not quite seventeen. hoping-only hoping-to see her lover just once again. The truck blazed up and burned to the frame. From a window in the town she had watched the German Headquarters' mail car arrive each day. Rather than forfeit the lives of people in the house. They were systematic about it. coming out again with the men who unlocked the car and unloaded the bags. open look that brings out all the protective instincts. she received the information that on a certain day orders for mass executions of Serbs were to arrive with lists of certain men to he killer nil over Serbia. Yells and a wild volley of firing pursued her as she ran down the street. beat and questioned her. The uproar of pursuit passed and died away in the distance. Every night. Her large. whom she had known from childhood. she seized her. She and the young man to whom she was engaged were trusted members of the Serbian Underground. On that morning. and would certainly search the whole district. She darted round a corner. she passed at exactly the right instant. Carefully she had observed the habits of the drivers and armed guards. with market basket on her arm. she took from her basket a large bottle and. stripped and beat and questioned. Towards morning. Zora insisted on going over another back fence and creeping away. the 24th of July. then fierce beating.

She threw her arms round my neck with a frantic. Only tell us what we want to know. We too were silent. I was seeing too much for the comfort of my jailers. "See. her eyes wide with agony." They dragged Zora out to beat her. at seven-thirty on the morning of August 3. each one of whom I had kissed farewell. who had fled. instantly sprang between them and cried fiercely: "You can't do that in our presence-we're British!" Richter screamed at her: "Do you think we like beating little girls? It's England that's forcing us to do it. safe and free. her father. John Bull sits back and smokes his pipe and lets children do his dirty work for him. But you shall live to be happy. I was told that I would be transported within an hour to Germany. She could not sit or lie down except on her face. I do not know. a very brave Serbian woman once married to an Englishman. As an American. you shall be free. She had high wound fever. All this proving useless. Your friends cannot help you now-and they will die in any case. I had tried to help them pass the dark." Zora smiled her gentle smile. as in the Thousand and One Nights. That should have warned me. Olga Pearson. holding the hand of one of us. But calmly every day she walked. He struck Zora savagely across the ear to break the eardrum. In any case.. convulsive hug of love-the only moment in all those eight days when her emotion was too strong for her. back again in your beautiful home. to marry and have children of your own. They seized her roughly and dragged her away. In vain: Zora. trying to give me a last signal of courage and affection." Whether she meant to express the warm love between us or to remind me that she was leaving her small sister to my care.. her face black and blue. not back to her cell. one day they took little Zora back to her home. "see." they said. Zora. Conditions in the prison and in the country were getting steadily more fearful. but towards the gate. To me she remains-my sister. these monsters. Who now would tell them the endless stories of ancient heroes with which. each day more painfully. One day Richter came while I was out of the cell. There were now three Englishwomen there on their way to internment. be sure of that. stunned with helpless agony.Two hours every night for eight nights she was taken out from our prison to be beaten. as they crowded together at the crack under the wooden screen on the windows. of childhood happiness. Her whole back swelled up and burst into a jellied mass of blood. miserable hours? . Never shall I forget the faces of the women. of her mother. and her little sister. No more beatings. was silent. round the yard with us at daily exercise or lay quietly. silently.. She whispered in my ear: "My sister. As I was herded out with other prisoners Zora broke through the guards. Tears. no more pain: you will have freedom and safety with your family. tears-the tears I had forbidden and always tried to dry when I was there. They let her stand in her own dining room amid her dear familiar things which spoke of love.

" he said calmly but with a kind of leering cynicism impossible to describe. "Just a little girl. A quick glance round gave me my last view of ruined Belgrade. just-yes.) The Gestapo transport officer was a nice-looking fellow. Such Kultur necessities were still unknown in the "primitive" Balkans. whose children would have played with one's own.Where are you now. to persuade him to use some influence in favor of Zora on his return to Belgrade." My little sister Zora. At the wrecked station we were marched to the train and put into an ordinary third-class carriage. really lovely and gently bred. You see. I could tell. "You mean the pretty Zora." He looked at his gold wrist watch. In our hearts remains your everlasting epitaph: Heroine of Serbia. (Not until we crossed the frontier into Germany did we meet the famous black. so common there as hardly to draw notice. "only sixteen. We conversed a little. just an hour and a half ago-she was hanged. We were put into a covered truck without seats. Men gathered across the street to watch us being carted off. and I tried to sound him out on some of the milder German phenomena. Can one helpless child be so dangerous to the great German Reich as to justify-that?" "Oh. from the stern. She won't be beaten again. "Well. . you needn't worry any more. my splendid Serbian women? Where are you." I said. who loves her country as your own daughter would love hers. who feared only one thing: disloyalty! Sleep sweetly in your nameless grave. dear Katitsa? Your long. steady way in which they tried to catch my eye. how they felt. my dear. As he showed faint signs of reasonableness I thought it might conceivably be possible to arouse some shame in him. the kind of man one would have invited to dinner in the old days. my lovely sister Zora. Yet she is being systematically tortured to death. They stood without movement as we drove off. slim fingers were the last thing I saw before the great prison gate shut behind me and I set my face towards whatever fate was now to bring. so simply unafraid of all that the most evil men could do. suffocating German prison trains.

I watched carefully. Enclosed as Serbia was by a tightening steel band of German. forced upon them neither from outside their own frontiers nor from inside by new rulers of their own race. Our Gestapo guards spoke of it as if it were so well known as hardly to be worth comment. When I say that I was surprised I mean that. The carriage had wide windows which we were allowed to have open. These were Croat soldiers who by thousands were mobilizing to fight for the Axis. Like weathercocks. waiting for trains to take them away. They were fully armed. . I had subconsciously tried to put away the thought. would this time stop at nothing less. Only twenty-three years ago the Serbs. in her hatred and fury. But Croats have short memories. I saw not a single German soldier among them: they were commanded by their own officers who looked quite as cheerful as their troops. laughing. 1941. If ever men were doing what they were willing and glad to do. unmistakably different both in color and cut from the German. yet I had tried to think of it as something sporadic. I passed in the German prison train via Zagreb through almost the whole breadth of what now calls itself the Independent State of Croatia. Said one of them with satisfaction: "Nicht nur gegen die verfluchten Kommunisten sondern gegen die verdammten Serben-Schweine couch. They all wore the Yugoslav army uniform. This Croat army would now be equipped with the finest weapons of the great German war factories to turn upon the pitifully ill equipped remnant of Serb troops-the few left outside German prison camps-and upon my relatively unarmed Chetniks. though I should have known that this would happen." the Serbs. And now what now lay ahead for the Serbs? After all their splendid history were they now at last doomed to extermination? I knew that Germany. and against our allies and their "brothers. skylarking. Here was the proof that when the Croats went over to the Germans it was the real expression of a people as a people. A DREAM STRONGER THAN TANKS So. had freed these very Croats from hated Austrian oppression and had been thanked with fervid protestations of "undying" gratitude and love. ON AUGUST 3. Ruth Mitchell 59. they turn to every wind that blows. the Russians. at a heavy cost of blood.]" Nothing less coerced than these Croat soldiers could be imagined. And these traitors to their one-time "brothers" would be a tool ready to her hand. all the innumerable small stations at which the slow train stopped were crowded with soldiers. Though I myself when with the Serbian troops had been repeatedly ambushed by Croat soldiers on the sixth night of the war. it was these. [Not only against the cursed Communists but against the damned Serb swine too. To my surprise. due to local ill feeling of small disaffected groups. These Goats were going willingly to give their lives fighting against our allies.The Serbs Chose War.

could not these Croats. the textile factories of all Europe to draw upon for clothing. they would have tanks and armored trains and heavy guns of every caliber. never understand-and never overcome. would lead my Chetniks. surrounded by a world of bloodhounds. the toughest men in Europe. mass murders. alertness. They would have transport with an inexhaustible supply of bullets-when ours would be all shot away. men and women. an age-old dream of freedom will surely soon. or atrocities. superhuman power. and not the least of children. That dream. It gave them power. The Serbs had a dream of liberty. an indomitable valor. to endure.Italian. with a price of a million dollars on his head. into a national purpose and a national will. planes. I could not foresee the future. to survive and hold. Hungarian. I could not know what has since been proved: that the Serbs did have something. gas. They would be directed by the highest trained military minds of Europe. yes. the heaviest blasting and incendiary bombs. Mihailovich. Ready. That dream had turned into an armor which no plots. That dream. As it had made them tough. something they could never be prepared for. Draja Mihailovich and his Serbs would stand alone-but STAND. as they certainly meant to do. every incentive to kill. gave them strength and wisdom. something that their enemies had not taken into account. soon again be fact. guns. that passionate love of freedom. when in the fearful Balkan winter we had-rags. That should make it easy for them to work their way in behind our lines. They would be given every help. would teach them all that they needed. They would have food-when ours was gone. now as ever in their history. while we had-none. the embodiment of a race's fighting spirit. my Chetnik brothers? They were ready! And from the thousand nameless deeds of unsung heroes. it gave them speed. fighters. They spoke almost the same language. no bombs. They would have bombers. what could they oppose to all this crushing strength? Those were my miserable thoughts that night as I was carried off into the silence of long months in German prisons. or tanks could ever pierce or conquer or destroy. They had a dream which through the centuries had crystallized into a great tradition. Mihailovich. cunning. How could the Serbs withstand. and Bulgarian armies. . The Serbs had this: they had a dream. a young and untried leader. give her the last fatal stab in the back? They knew the terrain almost as well as the Serbs.

and her courage marched like a banner. and all organs. When I was lucky enough to get hold of the peel of one half of a lemon (I was never lucky enough to get the inside) sent in to some prisoner by relatives. . I could. and the internment camps.action such as imagination boggles at. There were the fortunetellers. Munich. And when I was moved on again. by taking the tiniest nibbles. a blazing Nazi fire had been reduced to cold." These are mostly people in humble walks of life. The prisons of Germany bulge with suffering humanity. His stories. each with variations. she had refused to obey an order to become a schoolteacher in Poland. the concentration camps. Each of the hundreds of women I met had her different. In Vienna I saw the notable Frau Neumann (though I only saw her naked!). One lump of sugar could be made to last two days. who all. whatever one thought about communism. and factories. Ruth Mitchell EPILOGUE AFTER BEING TAKEN from Belgrade I spent longer or shorter periods in the following prisons: Graz. Their gentle. already over two years in the prison without a single sight of the sky. I forced myself to swallow it by covering it with the taste of lemon peel. There were special groups of prisoners which one came to recognize at sight. and almost always tragic story. Vienna. fortunately only slightly. There were the real Communists. There was the already famous Viktoria. Let me add that the experience of such hardships makes life seem good to me now-a thousand fold more splendid and beautiful even than it was before. In Munich I occupied for ten days a cell with a red-hot Nazi concert singer imprisoned because. firm. as repeated by her. were unprintable. later. the police barracks in Spandau. I became very weak from under nourishment. and. Strangest of all are the members of a very widespread and fast-growing organization called the "Bible Searchers. The Nazis are determined to force her to hand them over and so cannot let her die. and the Nazis are hounding them ferociously. gray ashes. and she gloried in them. When the hour strikes there will be action by those fiendishly treated millions. I contracted scurvy. prophets. because they foretell the fall of Hitler. the prison camps. There are four major types. of German prisons: the regular prisons. it is hard for me to feel very sympathetic. bread so slimy and repulsive that. has been admirable-and funny. interesting. which has already lasted two and a half years. When I hear women complaining about a lack of luxuries in America. and from the sedatives which were administered to us in the so-called coffee (a thin liquid made probably from burnt acorns). We talked all day and most of the night. Her uncle had just returned from the Russian front. There are not less than ten million foreigners at slave labor in Germany. brothels. Each is a distinct form of prison. palmists. numerologists.The Serbs Chose War. lack of vitamins and exercise. especially in Austria. strengthening to all who came in contact with them. whose strong faith upheld them in a sort of shining brightness. who possesses and had managed to send to America three of the only seven paintings by Hitler known to be extant. it was almost impossible to swallow it without some added taste. We had to keep body and soul together on thin potato soup and two chunks of bread per day. starved though we were. make it last for four days. and dedicated mien is unmistakable. reminding one of the early Christian martyrs. including sight and hearing. Her behavior during her imprisonment. began to give out. Salzburg and Ulm. must be incarcerated. There are also the ghettos. living only for her music. farms. She led physical-training exercises every morning. and astrologers. a brilliant girl of only nineteen.

and the thanks of all of us internees. I was allowed to work in the great and beautiful convent library. But nerves were strained. grim courage remains absolutely unshaken. I was able to follow the significant developments in Germany by reading the local newspapers and talking to people who came in. When I first saw there the garden of flowers with nuns walking gently in pairs back and forth. They are unquestionably keeping alive the women and children I sorrowfully left behind there and are saving the older women from madness. They are spiritually inviolate. One was born there in internment. I met Polish girls. to the British. and I spent every waking moment happily studying. This is a great lunatic asylum run by German Roman Catholic nuns. a German sailor fired wildly. and the International Red Cross for the regular weekly parcels of one week's food and the occasional supply of dress materials and underclothes. to the even more fearful concentration camps. I was very weak.Everywhere I was transported in the black. some of whom have already been there for three years. the American. I was put into internment with the British women internees at the Liebenau Internment Camp in Wurttemberg. on shipboard. the thought flashed that I must really be dead and gone to paradise after all! Paradise it seemed to me then. Five hundred lunatics had been murdered to make room for the internees. often the only woman. Yet their calm. thrown into trucks and. But there were still about five hundred gibbering lunatics left to add to the misery of the British women. into a group of unarmed prisoners. When caught they are returned to the same farms from which they fled and to treatment which one does not dare think of. they are escaping in hundreds. mostly Polish Jewesses quickly exchanged with America. with the snowcapped mountains of free Switzerland on the horizon. marching the German roads by night. the Swiss. almost airtight. without provocation. owing to the complete lack of any sports. well-bred university students who. utterly depraved German youth. and heart disease was spreading swiftly. hiding by day. Their clothes in ribbons. high seat of Nazi Kultur. after what I had been through. thanks entirely to the Red Cross. returning from lectures. and entirely viewless prison trains which shuttle ceaselessly across the German landscape. shoes gone. The patient. but for which I should not be alive today to write this book. I was more spat at than elsewhere. a terrible phenomenon of which little is yet known in America. with lines of chained men. On everyone who reads this I want to impress the fact that Germans are scrupulously observing the Red Cross agreements for the sole and sufficient reason that England holds more German civilian internees . and paradise it continued to seem to me in spite of all its sorrows. At last. fed and clothed us well. had been seized on Warsaw streets. to my great surprise. Always I was marched in and out. In those black prison trains I met specimens of the wild. When I arrived at Liebenau (translated "Field of Leve") after months in prison. without a word to their parents. near the Lake of Constance. I quickly and fully recovered. At the end fifty American citizens arrived. I can never sufficiently express my thanks. a very rare privilege. to indescribable degradation or to death. determined to return home. Seventeen children are being brought up under these circumstances. Their rough walls are scrawled with despairing or brave messages from their previous occupants on their way to ghettos. Her father was murdered when. steady good nature of these British women was remarkable. It is possibly significant that in Munich. carefully worked out for calories and vitamins and for maximum warmth. carried off to Germany and put on farms at the mercy of the lowest German farm hands. They represent a violent reaction to the Nazi regimentation and are a dreadful portent to the German race. These parcels.

on June 30. The Serbs did not bargain with us for their help: they gave it. Instead we all simply burst into tears: we had come from the lands where even to say the word "liberty" put men and women and children in danger of instant death. I rely upon my countrymen with complete trust to help me to keep that pledge. of Zetta Carveth Wells.than the Germans hold British. and of my sister. I was strangely enough free without shadowing for five hours and I met a group of Germans and two Irish broadcasters working for the Nazis. Harriet Mitchell Fladoes. In view of all that the Serbs have done-for us. I gave the dying men and women of Serbia my promise that I would spend the rest of my life looking after their children. in view of all they have lost in fighting-for us. Serbia was the only small country in Europe to come in openly on our side before she was herself attacked. In the train through the heart of Germany to Berlin and again in the sealed train from Berlin to Lisbon I watched carefully and was able to draw certain conclusions. especially of my daughter. I was exchanged to America. eagerly straining our eyes to see the great statue that beacons the entrance of New York Harbor. But as slowly it emerged from the early mist there was not a sound. Ruth Norna van Breda Yohn. . I pledged the honor of my country. great inspiration. Knowing that nothing could have been nearer to the fighting heart of my brother than the Fighting Serbs. 1942. greed and fear. I returned to America with nine hundred other American citizens on the last exchange ship arriving in New York.in money and in lives. He had just viewed the results of the first great block-busting attack on Cologne. I propose that for the rebuilding and the future of Serbia we appropriate the cost to us of one day of war. I wrote this book to help the United Nations realize what the Balkans mean directly to us. Through the efforts of my relatives and friends. In Berlin on June 14. which they believe to be not inferior to their own. I promised them that America would never forget the bond and the debt. indescribable pain. 1942. to whom I can never be sufficiently grateful. especially. in view of all they have saved-to us. I have established in his memory the General Billy Mitchell Memorial Foundation for Balkan Youth. They fear British reprisals. German policy is directed by two principles. I also got in touch with a British agent still calmly working there. what an immeasurable debt each one of us owes to the small yet great race of Serbs. I pledged American honor that the thousands upon thousands of orphans left in a ruined land would be cherished by their American brothers and sisters. As we approached the harbor we were all on deck. leaving our recognition of it to American honor. I expected that when we saw it we would all burst into songs and cheers. I was back home after four years of great happiness.

The Serbs Chose War. Croatia. to supplement my narrative of personal experience by a more systematic account of what happened to the doomed kingdom of the Serbs. Ancient laws forbid the breaking up of these family farms. ready to be fanned into hot flame. Serbia proper is predominantly devoted to farming and the average landholding is about twenty acres. the seeds of which I saw planted both before the German invasion and afterward. and Slovenia are homogeneous. In blood and language the people of Serbia.. Students from Croatia finished their education in the universities of Vienna and Prague. and Slovenia and soon changed its name for convenience to Yugoslavia. For over a thousand years the province of Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. but because they form the age-old corridor from Asia to Europe. not so much because of natural resources. the country of the southern Slavs. and the people are extraordinarily hardy. I feel obliged. and Slovenes. not by an essential instability of the inhabitants themselves. But in historical conditioning and religion the races are very different. as in many other parts of Europe. Only Slovenia and the northern part of Croatia are industrialized. This policy was applied first by the Turks. One of the shortest routes to Germany for a land army invading Europe leads from Salonika in Greece. startling events. when I returned to America. therefore. have profoundly affected the political and military situation in the Balkans. and the Slovenes in the northwestern part of the kingdom and. one of the two best harbors in the Balkans. Although small. but by the "divide and rule" policy which the would-be masters of the world have always used to further their ends. The Serbs live mainly in the eastern. nutritional standards are high. But Balkan trouble was caused. Ruth Mitchell YUGOSLAVIA: A VERSAILLES FAILURE SINCE JUNE 1942. religious rivalry was there. there'll be trouble in the Balkans in the spring" often saw his predictions fulfilled. The care of the soil is well understood. up the Vardar and Morava river valleys of Serbia to Vienna. as is often the case in mountainous countries. The fact that the Serbs stand astride this strategic highway largely explains the troubled history of these people. But whenever a great power considered it profitable to intrigue in the Balkans. and Slovenes.e. i. Kipling's famous war correspondent who used to go around muttering "Mark my words. the Croats in the western. and last by Germany during the period between World War I and World War II. Morava. Officially proclaimed in Belgrade. and Nishava as they flow through Yugoslavia. Croatia. The Serbs developed their own church with a Patriarch independent of Constantinople. then with great astuteness by Italy. On December I. and there were heavy settlements of Germans in . the Balkans have played an important role in European history. The chief industry of Yugoslavia was agriculture. Croats. it was immediately recognized by the United States. 1918. It was composed of the three countries previously known as Serbia. The shortest route from northern Europe to the Near East follows the river valleys of the Danube. Croats. A further fact of importance is that the province of Croatia adjoins Austro-Hungary and that the ties between the cultural life of Croatia and of Austria have always been close. There are almost no large landed proprietors and no nearfeudal agricultural serfs. a new state was created: the kingdom of the Serbs. the characteristics of these different races are strikingly distinct. When in the seventh century the great schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Constantinople split the Mediterranean world into halves. the territory now called Yugoslavia lay on the border line of the two religious faiths.

as soon as Austro-German power should be solidly established athwart the Bosphorus. Dalmatia and Slovenia. of course. . The new state was composed as follows: Population of Yugoslavia in 1940 Serbs . . . Croats.000. . 500. who retired to the mountains and became the ancestors of the Chetniks who are now battling dauntlessly under Mihailovich. 75. In 1389 the Serbs were conquered by the Turks and after many struggles regained their freedom in 1814 The Croats. Therefore. .500. . Croatia and Voivodina. . 500. on the other hand.000 *Mixed elements include approximately: 1. 3. 500. In 1917 a Yugoslav Committee was formed in London and.000 Hungarians.000 Slovenes . agitating always for their own advantage.500.000 Mohammedan Serbs and Turks. also asked for a national state. viewed with disfavor and anxiety by Austro-Hungary.000 #Mixed Elements . taken from Hungary. and-World War I started. and Slovenes into an independent state. In fact. THE RELATIONS OF THE SERBS AND THE CROATS In view of the basic historical differences between the Croats and the Serbs it was hardly to be expected that the kingdom of Yugoslavia. fighting only on the side of their overlords. the Croats became experts at intrigue.000 Germans. taken from the AustroHungarian condominium. . and the idealistic Serbs shared this dream. the intention was to secure control of the land routes to Egypt. 1914. 300. . -.000 Rumanians.Croatian territory. From 1166 to 1389 Serbia was an independent state. hastily put together in 1918. In November 1914 the Serbian Parliament had passed a declaration asking for the unity of all Serbs. a Serbian province lying west of Serbia proper. had always been a subject people. These Germanic immigrants displaced Serbs. and in 1908 she annexed both the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 3. . 8. In 1879 she occupied Bosnia.000 Albanians. Yugoslavia was patched together out of Serbia and Montenegro. was the preliminary step toward opening a pathway for Germany and Austria to Salonica and Constantinople. taken from Austria.000 Jews. . ." The Serbs determined to defend their dearly bought liberty against any odds.000. while the Serbs became adepts with the sword. the Persian Gulf. would work out smoothly. Croats. aided by the Dalmatian Croats.000. . and Bosnia and Herzegovina. deliberately fostered by Austro-Hungary for her own ends. Says Leon Dominian. a Serb principality which had achieved its independence from Turkey in the nineteenth century. Then. . In the nineteenth century the independence and demonstrated military ability of the Serbs was. Not feeling herself safe even after the acquisition of all these territories in her empire.250. . have been relatively unaffected by German culture. dissension between the Croats and the Serbs began almost immediately. to consist of Serbs.000 Croats . the Serbs. an incident which almost provoked a world war. . A union of all the South Slavs had long been a dream in the Balkans. and India. the geographer: "The presentation of an ultimatum to Serbia by Austria on July I. .000 6. . Austria decided in 1914 to attack the Serbs. In contrast to the Croats. never a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They are the heirs of a Byzantine civilization.1.

especially the Croats. Thus the members of this new state.. experienced. and humane part of the former Yugoslav Army." Interesting is the fact that the majority of Croatian intellectuals in Zagreb. greatly to their displeasure. There was. the competition for government jobs was intense. and adaptable element of the former army. and did great damage to Serbia. since they were the most cultured. Owing to this the Croats handled the greater share of responsibility in maintaining the Serbian Army. a third and coequal part of an Austro-Hungarian-Slav Empire. the matter of the war debts. and the relatively uneducated farmers. It is difficult for Americans to appreciate how important is the role of the so-called intellectual. but by financial considerations. the most intelligent.. they found themselves second to the Serbs. In the new kingdom. However. first of all. This was a comedown. and also France and the other Allies feared that Italy would claim Dalmatia in the peace settlement. but of German. with the exception of a few Slovenes. polite.. Since the Serbs were in the majority. Hardly was the new kingdom a month old when some of the Croats were already loudly voicing their dissatisfaction with their new political status. An agreement to this effect was concluded between the Serbian Government and the Yugoslav Committee in London and promulgated in the famous Corfu Declaration of July 1917. cultured. Hungarian. as citizens of Austro-Hungary. Politics were controlled and political opinion colored by these intellectuals to a much greater degree than here. they never . Because the Croats of the province of Dalmatia. Just how the.Croats felt about their own abilities as compared with those of the Serbs is indicated in an article which appeared in a Croatian paper of Zagreb in December 1942: "The Croats composed. and in which they would form.and Slovenes. fought the Serbs in World War I. that as citizens of the new kingdom they were no longer the most important and coddled group of South Slavs. Because about 98 per cent of the educated classes in Yugoslavia made their living by holding government positions and only 2 per cent entered business or the professions. were not Croatians by birth. Although the Croats. The relations of the Serbs and Croats were complicated not only by the rivalries of intellectuals. placing authority over the new state in the hands of the Serbian prince regent. but the state they had envisaged was one in which they themselves would be the dominant element. They were also influenced by the fact that Germany was clearly losing the war and that Austro-Hungary would obviously be dismembered. there were in 1918 only two classes. a position which they had occupied in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. or non-Slavic extraction. who-outnumbered them by almost three to one. the Croats soon found. the educated men or intellectuals. the Croats had long been a focus of Austro-Hungarian intrigues. The dream of a South Slav union had not originated either in Serbia or Croatia. a Declaration of Unity was hastily rushed through on December I. together with Austria and Hungary. their desire to belong to a Slavic state led them during the last war to seek union with the Serbs. the largest city of Croatia. who considered themselves to be much more "enlightened" than the Serb intellectuals. They preferred union with the Serbs to the possibility of being gobbled up by Italy. It is true that most Croats had wanted to belong to a Slav state. however. which lies on the Adriatic. because of their familiarity with German culture. later King Alexander. especially for the Croat intellectuals. for instance. In Serbia and Croatia. Because of their expertness in agitation. In the technical troops also the Croats were in the majority. a situation the Croat intellectuals found irksome. 1918. the class from which all government officials were drawn. were given no time to consider and decide the terms on which they were to be included or what the form of government should be. they held at least half of the government jobs. but among the Slav students in the University of Prague in Czechoslovakia. especially in the smaller states of Europe. When this aspiration showed itself a mirage.

to which about 80 per cent of the Croats belonged.000 to 350. Because Vienna had lost much of its former charm and Gemutichkeit when World War I ended. paid almost 50 per cent of the country's taxes. in an attempt to promote national unity and to forget old rivalries. therefore. could not tamely submit to attacks upon his honor. deputies being elected from the old historic provinces out of which the kingdom had been composed. the nexus of retired businessmen and officials who had used Vienna as a center moved on to Zagreb. This was unfortunate and made the task of the new state much more difficult than it might otherwise have been. This meant that during the early years of the kingdom the representation of Croats in Parliament was small.paid Serbia a penny in reparations. and Slovenes. Between 1918 and 1940 the population of Zagreb increased from 80. Rachich. The Croats were.000 people. able to elect deputies from districts where they constituted the majority of the population. especially in the area centering around the city of Zagreb. which became known as the Little Vienna of Europe. The policy of the new state was to spend part of the national taxes on developing the poorer and more backward sections of the kingdom. in World War I. There was. They refused to subscribe to state loans and opposed the construction of railroads in any part of the kingdom except Croatia itself. leader of the Croat Peasant Party. Their goal was complete independence for the Goats. There were twelve political parties in the kingdom. stung beyond bearing.Voivodina. At this the Croatians balked. Stepan Radich. Croats. Since income taxes had been introduced by the state considerable sums were collected from the prosperous and in some cases extremely wealthy citizens of Croatia. by which-without protest. three of them purely Croatian: the Croat Peasant Party.000. a hardy mountaineer. and demanded that Pernar retract his insults. the question of taxes. while a poor province agriculturally compared with Voivodina or Serbia. a member of the Croat Peasant Party. Foreign capital. Croatia. by far the richest agricultural area in the kingdom. which had only 3. was suddenly available in abundance. at first refused to participate in the Yugoslav Parliament. mostly from Vienna and Budapest. the Croat Clerical Party. shared in the reparations which Germany paid to Serbia. But Croatia. these provinces were divided into nine administrative districts named after the rivers of Yugoslavia. THE CROATIANS DEMAND INDEPENDENT CROATIA AN From the beginning there were many individuals and political parties in Croatia that wanted to secede from the kingdom of Serbs. partly by Croats themselves. In 1928 a Montenegrin deputy killed two Croatian deputies during a session of Parliament. But Croatia. They wanted all the taxes collected in Croatia to be spent on Croatia. drew a gun and shot him. Matters were made much worse by the fact that while Pernar was only lightly . which had been destroyed. Ivan Pernar. in a violent diatribe threw doubt upon the honesty of his intentions. as part of the new kingdom. was obviously too small to achieve or hold political independence without selling out to one of the great European powers. Rachich. and the Croat Frankist Party. On the contrary. secondly. Punisha Rachich. While the deputy. Pernar appearing reluctant. was advocating the necessity of developing a backward section of the kingdom.000. was rich in industries. A Yugoslav constitutional assembly was held in 1920 and a Parliament was established. In 1930. They also did their best to prevent the reconstruction of highways and railroads outside of Croatia. A uniform tax law for the new state was worked out in 1926.

president of the Croat Peasant Party. Mussolini began to put pressure on Pavelich. on March 27. a Croat lawyer of Zagreb. The King devoted himself to trying to resolve this difficulty. King Alexander dissolved Parliament and announced his own dictatorship. Alexander realized that he was acting contrary to popular feeling. they also killed the French Foreign Minister. (It should. two other Croatian deputies were accidentally killed. and barracks in Yugoslavia were blown up. Italy paid the bill but for some time got nothing in return. Dr. The sincerity of the King's intentions is shown by the fact that he again reconstituted Parliament in 1931. as did Abraham Lincoln when the southern states wished to secede from the Union. But an actual invasion of the province of Lika in 1932 proved a fiasco. Ante Pavelich. ENTER THE CROAT USTASHI In January 1939. organized a secret terrorist organization known as the Ustashi. Pavelich recruited his Ustashi army from Croats living in Croatia and Dalmatia and from those living in Belgium and South America. 1934. who had not realized that Yugoslavia had already moved so far Axisward. one of whom was Stepan Radich. carried out a coup d'etat. who are justifiably proud of their great democratic tradition. 1941. secret clauses in the Vienna pact granted this and other concessions to the Germans. who were afire with the hope of political independence for Croatia to be guaranteed by the Great contained the provision that German troops were not to pass through Yugoslav territory. These men were sent to Italy and Hungary and drilled in terrorist tactics. Barthou. be noted that no political prisoner ever died in a Yugoslav prison. sent the regent Prince Paul into exile. A judicial investigation of the murder by the International Tribunal at Geneva was actually by-passed by Laval. with the help of almost all the political leaders of Serbia. It is certain that about 8o per cent of the Croats were strongly pro-German. of course.) The Croats now shrieked that the whole world must see how they were being suppressed by a dictatorial government. but he considered that no other step could prevent the complete dissolution of his country. that the unity of the state must be upheld by force. The situation quickly became so impossible that on January 6.wounded. police stations. after giving much thought to improving the constitution and voting practices of the country. This dictatorship was disliked not only by the Croats but even more by the Serbs. 1929. (The relations between Laval and Pavelich still require clarification. this was. the French did not press him. By accident. An attempt by his henchmen to assassinate King Alexander in Zagreb in 1933 failed. The Vienna pact came as a great shock to most Serbs. The Serbian general Simovich. and put the young King . Croatia. Since adequate funds for a revolt of the Croats against the Serbs could not be obtained from Vienna or Budapest. Pavelich was ambitious to become ruler of an independent Croatia. Two days after the signing of the Vienna pact.) The Croats of the United States. The uproar can be imagined. Ante Pavelich or any of the other Croatian Ustashi implicated in the killing. forced the resignation of the pro-German ministry. A few trains. or Rebels. however. Pavelich turned to Rome and immediately found an enthusiastic patron in Mussolini. the Serbs acted. but the French courts condemned the assassins in absentia. However. One great difficulty had been that there were too many political parties and that consequently the ministry in power frequently did not have a sufficient majority to act effectively. He therefore tried to suppress disruptive elements by imprisonment. and the Croatian Ustashi succeeded in murdering King Alexander in Marseilles on October 10. He believed. As is now known. shortly after the shooting of Stepan Radich. purely hypocritical. when Mussolini refused to extradite Dr. while 8o per cent of the Serbs were strongly anti-German. since the right of passage to Greece was what Germany wanted.

in preventing liaisons. When Dr. in firing incorrectly. in all those battles the Croats acted according to an issued order. They needed fifteen days to mobilize and would have been ready April 12. so that there was nothing in order. nothing fired or aimed correctly. destructive role. From a common-sense point of view.. was the main factor which caused the defeat of the enemy at the Balkan front and smashed Greece. the Croats worked splendidly. in its Christmas issue of 1942. the internal role. not only against Russia. Result: Belgrade. the revolutionary. As part of the price for her "independence. though declared an "open city. in disarming the disbanded Serb soldiers and people. declared war on the Allies. "that the German Army. Colonel Kren. flew to Graz and handed over to the Nazis the war plans of the Serbian Army. On March 27 the Serbs began desperately arming.. For instance. or visited relatives. a Croatian officer of the Yugoslav Army. the joining the colors of the Croats in the infantry was reduced to about 30 to 40 per cent. in Croatia proper. In a word." Croatia was to fight on Germany's side. and were greeted by the wildly enthusiastic cheers of a people who only twenty-three years before had received their Serb "brothers" and "liberators" in exactly the same way. On April 3.Peter on the throne. The article is titled "The Croat Soldier in the Present War": "It is now clear. We give here a typical example from the Croatian newspaper. The Serbs. its knowledge. it was a suicidal step. Germany attacked Yugoslavia on April 6. were determined not to become German subjects. destroyed the resistance deep inside enemy (Serbian) lines on the Balkan front as the Germans did outside. HOW CROATIA FOUGHT AGAINST SERBIA On the same day that the Germans entered Zagreb.. nothing running as it should-that was the important role of the Croats in the collapse of the Balkan front. 1941. but to sacrifice their lives and all they possessed rather than to lose the liberty which they had achieved after centuries of bitter struggle. he was proclaimed its leader. gave orders on the radio to all his followers to co-operate with the Axis. who had carried on the intrigues with Germany. On April 10 the German troops marched into the city of Zagreb. nothing in its proper place. with its tremendous technical equipment. all others remained at home or fled to the woods. but especially against the Serbs. according . Just as they proved themselves in peacetime in their fight against the Serbian megalomania and hegemony. in its victorious swing. in disabling tanks and guns. Pavelich arrived with his Ustashi. "Even before the beginning of the war. The help given by the Croats to the German armies in their attack on the Serbs has been often and proudly described by Croat writers." says the Croat author. went to places other than the ones designated. Nova Hrvatska (New Croatia). and later on America. that which caused the breakdown inside. Dr. Well aware of that fact." was bombed on April 6 and the Serbian landing fields were all destroyed. Machek. and in destroying all sorts of military equipment. In such roles. "forever free" of the kingdom of Yugoslavia. however. the Independent State of Croatia joined the war on the side of the Axis. against terror and exploitation -so now in the war all Croats acted as a unit in refusing obedience. Simultaneously. This was equivalent to declaring war on the Axis. in ignoring orders. three days before Germany declared war on Yugoslavia. "However. Croatia was proclaimed an independent state. in creating panics. and its adeptness. nothing prepared or dispatched at the right moment. During the war there were many indescribable cases of sabotage and defeatism done by the Croats while in the service of the former (Yugoslav) army. its indescribable moral enthusiasm. as well as maps of the carefully hidden mountain landing fields of Serbia to be used by the Yugoslav air forces.

mechanics. and excellent soldiers chiefly Croats were sent there to insure this important flank at the cost of their lives. in his 'alertness' for the maintenance of order in dispatching military transports. thanks to the Croats. Croat hands. One very confidential courier (Croat) carrying important military messages from one army to another. The Serbs. Bregalnica. the instruments for aiming and the mechanical implements were ruined. this Croat telephonist replied that he had seen some planes flying but they appeared to be 'ours. the guns that did fire were damaged. were listening to the Ustashi radio station 'Velebit' (the Croat Ustashi radio in Italy). indivisible and unconquerable former (Yugoslav) army became impotent. had to pay for the dream of a great South Slav state. stunned by this Croatian sabotage. first the former state (Yugoslavia) and with it the eventual collapse of the Balkan front. together with their prompt and heroic commander. stuffed the gun barrels. which cost them heavy and bloody casualties. Skoplye. but also a very great misfortune to the United Nations. left the airdromes. and unconquerable democrats and allies of Albion might determine. Thanks to the Croats. Struma. when the hour came for Serbia to fight. The Croat betrayal was not only an aid to Germany and an almost deadly blow to the Serbs. The Croat technicians. Pirot. the Serb officers were deserted and left without any crews. Finally the Croats either deserted or surrendered. Five or six weeks before the war. as well as other air service crews. through the Cain-like treachery of the Croats. and aims must never again be so closely bound together. although this had been denied them when they (Croats and Germans) fought shoulder to shoulder in the last war. to the last Croat artilleryman. The 'old gunners' of the last war found means to fire shots in all but the right direction-at German planes. Kolubara. simply departed to his home with all the confidential material. "In the great German offensive toward Nish. in case the great and powerful. Only by the miracle of a centuries old fighting tradition. they were unable to use their planes and so to attack the enemy from the air. The fact that the Croats made themselves so eagerly the tools of a foreign power proves that peoples dissimilar in political experience.' although not far from him these same planes (enemy) were bombarding military objects. in cooperation with the Germans. because by the collapse of the former state (Yugoslavia) they smashed after the English the most stubborn. most resisting. were paralyzed. "At another place some Croat soldiers (telephonists). when the Supreme Command at Belgrade ordered him to identify aircraft flying toward Belgrade. "What happened in the airdromes is generally known now. and Vardar front. seeing the destruction of their most important. competent. "Although a small nation. the Croats played indeed a great role that brought about the collapse of the Balkan front. The price which the Serbs. character. Bregalnica. The Germans and Croats performed these great acts. by the stanchness of their hearts and the military brilliance of their leader did the Serbs turn the military ." Thus a Croat describes one of Croatia's proud achievements in the military history of World War II. left for their homes. mighty. not knowing what to do. and all went wrong on the Nishava. experienced. too. and most bloodthirsty Versailleist in the Balkans. was rendered useless on the whole Balkan front-on the Nishava. all firing was into empty space. and who finally. and strongest line. managed to bring into the station ten trainloads of soldiers who did not know where to proceed. They were instrumental in destroying. and Vardar. instead of dispatching the orders issued to various commands. Struma. On Palm Sunday the situation was normal.to the statement of a soldier. There was sabotage even among the anti-aircraft units which turned out to be even a little comical. "The artillery. conquered. but on Tuesday everything was disrupted. is one which no Serbs or any other sensible people would ever let themselves in for a second time. and inclined to flee through the valley of the Vardar toward Salonica and from there to any place which the great. and thus was created the Independent Croatian State. most decisive. At a very important railroad junction the commanding officer-a Croat first lieutenant-threw into the stove all his orders and instructions and.

in spite of every force and trickery. . have never been able to shatter. But from the Croats even worse was to come.defeat of the spring of 1941 into a resistance which the Germans.

Even the German massacres of the Jews. found effective was never to oppose the government or a particular ministry or party. Europe does not consist of homogeneous populations. Pavelich decided to secure his position by not only ridding himself of the large Serbian element in Croatia proper. the Serbs. where the majority of the population is Serbian. language. Excerpts from four out of many documents describing these massacres are presented here. and two by Croats themselves. many Serbs had moved northward. and small children-died in literally unprintable circumstances and another halfmillion were driven from their homes.000 defenseless Serbs. Instead they opposed a people. when Bosnia was an Austro-Hungarian province. A note on how such massacres were feasible is necessary. As all students of race. For twenty-three years prior to the massacres the Croat leaders had been persuading the Croat peasants and workers that all their troubles were due to the Serb "oppressors. incredible as this sounds. Austro-Hungarian Statistics on the Population of Bosnia: 1914 . was a prelude to a massacre of Serbs not surpassed for brutality and atrocity in the whole sorrowful history of the human race. when hard pressed by the Turks. language. head of the Independent State of Croatia. Croat politicians like Pavelich and Machek had been deliberately teaching their people to hate the Serbs. pale by comparison. so that in the Independent State of Croatia one third of the population of Croatia proper was actually Serb. they settled now here. Like Americans who move freely from state to state. One is by a Mohammedan resident of Croatia. as a minority group. women. since Austro-Hungary never liked or was likely to favor the Serbs. but of a series of race. At any rate. or nationality islands. may be considered to be impartial. Bosnia has always been considered by historians. Thus in the fifteenth century. penniless and dying of starvation by the wayside. In thus instilling hatred in the Croats against their brothers. by Dr. two days after Croatia became an independent state and joined the Axis. One of the clever stratagems which the Croats. and some of these settlements were of very ancient date. but which had been given to Croatia in payment for her deal with Germany. From 1918 onward. another by a Jewish physician of Belgrade. Ante Pavelich.The Serbs Chose War. The Serbs did not live exclusively in Serbia nor the Croats in Croatia. This was true of Yugoslavia. and ethnologists to be a Serbian province. long resident in Croatia-men. 1941. Ruth Mitchell THE SERBS' DARKEST HOUR On April 12." just as the Germans were taught that all their troubles were due to the Jews. geographers. This order. and nationality know. It need hardly be said that many Croats are filled with horror at the fiendish crimes committed by their fellow countrymen. since it is predominantly Serb. and about a million had settled in Croatia. The population statistics of Bosnia compiled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 (prior to the outbreak of World War I). an order was published in the Zagreb newspapers requiring all Serbs not natives to the town to leave within twentyfour hours and threatening that anyone hiding Serbs would be shot. but also eliminating the Serbs in Bosnia. now there. More than 600. they may have failed to realize that the repression of centuries of vassalage when released would make the Croats run berserk.

to the Axis and continued their functions under Pavelich. The 620.000 The 930. was broadcast on the radio. Adding the Orthodox Serbs and the Moslem Serbs together. Machek himself when he set up his autonomous government. the Ustashi. three fourths of the population was Serbian. Travnik. Croatia's extermination of the Serbs of Bosnia was therefore as much a violation of the ethics of race and nationality which Europe has evolved during the centuries as anything ever done by the Nazis. The first large massacres occurred the night of May 31. and the regular army.000 Serbs in Bosnia in 1914. Vojislav Besarovic.000 Orthodox believers of Bosnia were Serbs. There were many other instances where the horrors revolted not only the Italians but even the Germans. designed to put the Serbs off their guard.000 620. Trebinye. and published in newspapers. What happened can best be told by eyewitnesses: . Local Croat officials often participated in the shooting of prominent Serbian citizens belonging to their locality. Bogdan Vivodvic. president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thus about 350 Serbians imprisoned by the Croats in Mostar. at a time when this province was ruled by the Turks. it will be seen that there were 1. there should be no Serbs alive to cast their ballots.000 Catholics were Croatian Roman Catholics. Livno. Sarajevo. if the Allies should by any chance win and allow the population to vote on their choice of country.550. the Home Defense. read in churches. Dubrovnik. and other towns.000 Moslems were Serbians who had adopted the Mohammedan faith in the fifteenth century. the patriot. They went over. It should be noted that the Italians again and again tried to intervene to save the defenseless Serbs and often succeeded. It is another return to the barbarism which is the black stigma of our century. Among the Serbs who died in the spring massacres were the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Zagreb. This notice. Banja-Luka. and Dubrovnik were released by the Italians.000 Serbs and Jews had been either exterminated or driven out. The history of the massacres is as follows: Between April 12 and 15 and on the night of May 31. Dr. The massacres were carried out by the three branches of the Croatian forces. Most of these officials were men who had been put in by Dr.000 930. These spring killings in Croatia proper are generally referred to as the Glina massacres.Orthodox Moslem Catholic 1. The 420. On June 22 he issued an order stating that anyone using force against citizens of the country would be severely punished.250. The later massacres were characterized by the truly Hitlerite trickiness of Dr. Dushan Jeftanovic. when groups of prominent Serb citizens were seized and taken to the outskirts of the towns and shot. by which time practically all the I. with almost no resignations. mass arrests were made in Zagreb. It is a fact that there are no Croat Orthodox Catholics and no Serbian Roman Catholics. They continued intermittently until November 1942. That is. Dr. who was seventy-five years old.970. and a famous leader of the Sokol youth movement. But simultaneously he sent a coded telegram to the Ustashi ordering them to proceed with the massacres. Mostar.000 420. Livno. Ante Pavelich. The great massacres of 1941 did not take place until June 24 to 28. The object of the massacres was deliberate and political: it was to make Croatia a Greater Croatia by annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina. so that. 1941.

we can at least lessen our responsibility before the world and our consciences if we raise our voices in protest against all these crimes.' In one boat on the Sava there was a pile of children's heads. U. Many pictures were taken of these massacres and torture orgies. These innocent Serbs were stuck on poles alive. and fires were built on their bare chests. and in terribly wild tortures of the victims. and fed to the fired lime furnaces. while many women. "They were thrown into the deep cisterns and caves. Literally they were roasted alive. Utensils full of Serbian blood were also discovered. and Danube rivers and their tributaries. to King Peter. "There are detailed and official minutes (reports) about these unheard-of crimes. Minister to Czechoslovakia. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb. Boiling water was poured on live victims before mutilation.. The arms and legs of the victims were broken and their heads were spiked. Thousands of Serbian bodies floated down the Sava. Rapes were committed even before the altars of the Orthodox Church. girls. and children were raped. there is a proverb in Germany: 'God save us from cholera. Then. their heads crushed against walls and their spines dashed against rocks. children. February 24. their flesh was salted. Many of these bodies bore tags: 'Direction-Belgrade. noses and tongues lobbed off.5 kilograms of Serbian eyes. together with their skin..000 Serbs were murdered in the Serbian Orthodox Church at Glina. Drava. Minister to Poland.' Even the Germans from Srem [Syrmia] hate us and act more or less humanely toward the Serbs... mothers before daughters and daughters before mothers. a Croat and a Roman Catholic. burned to death in their homes and churches. They are so terrible they have shocked even the Germans and Italians. and one Croat decorated with a wreath of Serbian eyes came to Dubrovnik with two wreaths of Serbian tongues. 1943: "These atrocities do not amount to killings alone. Eyes were dug out of live victims. Pa. in Bosnia. scalding water. and the Goats. Crowbars smashed their heads. Other children were parted by their legs. ears amputated. addressed to Dr. They were tied to trucks and dragged behind them. since then. this was the hot blood of their murdered brothers that other Serbs were forced to drink. Their children were thrown into fire. girls.S. and the massacre of Serbians before the altar at Kladusha with sledge hammers is something never mentioned in history. 1942. were ripped off rudely by knives. Published in translation by the American Srbobran. hunger. The Germans claim the Croats did these same things during the Thirty-Year War and that. Aloisius Stepinac. "Though we Croatians shall never be able to erase this shamefulness which we brought upon ourselves with these crimes.A. a huge pile of roasted heads was found. About 3. Croatia.. "Countless women. . member of the Yugoslav Diplomatic Corps. a Serbian paper of Pittsburgh. and female children were ushered off to Ustashi garrisons to be used as prostitutes. "The case of Milenka Bozinich from Stapandza is a particularly gruesome one: they dug her unborn child out of her with a knife. They aim at extermination of everything Serbian: women. then literally bombed to pieces. with a woman's head (presumably the mother of the children) labeled: "Meat for John's Market-Belgrade" (meaning meat for the Serbian market). The beards and mustaches of priests. February 8. The Italians have photographed a vessel holding 31. These and many other methods of torture were employed against the Serbs-tortures which normal people cannot conceive.DOCUMENT 1 GRIZOGONO LETTER Source: Letter written by Privislav Grizogono. and aged men.

in official buildings. all the Serbs. but in full daylight. After all the great crimes in history. Valjko Jelashic. 1942 # There are passages in this document relating to Croatian atrocities which are unprintable.. more than 8. 24 days after the first pogrom. At Ljuboski all the Serbs were killed and not one was spared. punishments follow.. On June 22 Pavelich published an order in the official newspapers.. . "From June 24th to the 28th over 100. Many of them were subjected to the most brutal tortures before they were killed. On this occasion they were carried off. not under cover of night. the real massacre began. The Serbs were caught as if they were wild beasts. "Meanwhile. Lika. where they were massacred. written by Dr.900 were murdered. a Croatian. directing them to carry out by whatever means they wished precisely during the days before Vidovdan the massacre and extermination of the Serbs. "Twelve hundred people were killed in Mostar. on the wireless. over I. judges. At Ljubinje and in the valley of Popovo polje.. Jovo Oborin. schoolmasters.000 Serbs were murdered in Bosnia. "Out of 2.000 peasants were killed and all the Serbian villagers were completely exterminated. "The remainder of the Serbs were saved either by flight into the forests or else by going into Serbia. A few old men and women and some small children got away. DOCUMENT 2 LUKAC REPORT Source: Handwritten report sent by underground channels through Cairo. . and the Ustashis openly said that the Serbs would remember this Vidovdan. director of the District Hospital at Mostar. Dalmatia."This is the last hour for us to do so. We now come to the most treacherous crime committed by the Ustashis. Croatia. The peasants were caught in their fields. and Srem [Syrmia]. Theodore Lukac. "In Stolac. and railway officials. Ljuba Sain. that is on June 24. and in their offices. Tosa Mjunic. For a great deal of money permits to travel to Serbia could be bought from the Gestapo. Yugoslavia: . Dr. except three old men of over eighty. Alexander Lukac.000 Serbs in Livno.. Dr. Dr. and even through church sermons. Veljko Mjunic. and his brother. All of them were innocent men. the most prominent businessmen such as the brothers Cerekovic. At the same time he sent a coded telegram to each Ustashi group. engineers. among them some of the most prominent persons: seven priests. 8. Herzegovina. the medical officer. What will happen to us Croats if the impression is formed that we participated in all these crimes to the finish!?"# PRIVISLAV GRIZOGONO At Zemun. were put to death. . There perished with them a very popular doctor of the town.. They were thrown into lorries and carried outside the towns. 1942. Feb. in the streets. Vidovdan [the Serb national holiday] was approaching. that whoever used force against the citizens of the state would be most severely punished.

"The turn of some towns. and about I. a secret one. where they were killed with knives. and they were paid by the Ustashis fifty dinars. "But the worst murder occurred in Glina. In the villages of Klepce and Pribilovci. which they set alight so that they died of the most terrible suffering. all were exterminated. E. Blasuj. Semozovac. Then they shut them up in great sheds. in regard to the Glina massacres: . In the course of three weeks. It is impossible to describe the conditions which women had to endure.' according to quite certain information simultaneously collected by two committees. from Mostar towards Metkovic. came as late as October and November 1941 At that time punitive expeditions were sent to the villages around Sarajevo. They also lived in the open. On the eve of Vidovdan they rounded up the peasants in the neighborhood of Bihac and 9. Each night Serbs were bound and taken (from the concentration camps) to the Orthodox Church. "In the valley of the Neretva. a kilogram of mutton. The most infamous of the camps was the one at Jasenica on the Sava. or else during night attacks with the help of the regular troops.500 Serbs there. in Capljina only one Serbian remained alive. Romania.500 Great Nationalists. The corpses floated on the blood.000 people succumbed. When the Ustashis heard that Pag would again be taken over by the Italians. "The concentration camps were not barracks. The executioners were the gypsy-moslem scum. "The worst of the women's camps was at Loborgrad. For food they were given once a day a kind of soup. and a kilogram of rakija per hour of murdering. and they were murdered under particularly brutal circumstances. and the murderers boasted that they walked in Serbian blood up to their knees." DOCUMENT 3 HERBEROVIC AFFIDAVIT Source: A legal affidavit.. "The district where the Serbian population was the most compact offered the strongest resistance to the Ustashis: that is. and they had to lie down on the filth. They could not wash. 2. All the young ones were raped.. and girls of fourteen were found to be pregnant. Palo. Bosnia.. Bosanska. The camp on the island of Pag was the scene of the most terrible bloodshed.500 Jews. most of them died of acute dysentery. Krcina. Railevac. There were about 4..000 lives. cost the Serbs not less than 700. a Mohammedan resident of Croatia. all of them purely Serbian villages.000 men were killed in only four days. and Herzegovina. merely in order to prevent their being set free by the Italians. which was in fact merely lukewarm water with five or six beans in it. and so-called Freemasons. signed and sworn to by Herberovic Hilmija. Communists.. they took away 300 peasants."In Bihac and the neighborhood not one Serb remained alive.. they killed all the persons in the camp at the last moment. Sarajevo for instance. They always proceeded in the same way: they either caught the peasants through trickery. deceiving them by telling them that they were being taken to work. near Capljina. in Belgrade. where over 60. but merely open places which had been enclosed or else roofless sheds. with no floors to lie down upon and where people were shut in as if they were animals. "This terrible catastrophe at the hands of their 'brothers. the one on Split and the other.

I cannot remember the date.. At the beginning of June my company was ordered to Glina to establish order and peace in that district and to collect all the arms and ammunition from the people.. During the killings there were no lights in the church. Usually they were thrown into the river Glina. the Ustashis arrived from Zagreb and Petrinja and we were then ordered to round up from the villages all men from twenty to forty five years of age.. The Serbs used to shout 'Long live Serbia.... These killings in the church took place seveneight times. "The killing usually began at about ten o'clock in the evening and lasted until two o'clock in the morning. There they remained several days..' 'Down with Pavelich. The machine-gunning was done by the Ustashis while we stood guard around.. There was always much noise during the killing.. Some we struck haphazard.000 men... The company commander on that date called all the soldiers together and informed us that the war was over and everyone should proceed home.. "When we entered the church the officers remained at the door and watched while we did the killing. but orders were also given that all Serbs in the districts of Topusko and Vrgin Most as well as Glina should be rounded up and killed. At first I made my livelihood by selling various trifles on the street. They were then sent into the church with knives... I do not know exactly how many Serbs were killed...' 'Down with the Croatian State. "On the day of the bombing I was in Belgrade.. and I took part in them three times. The corpses of these persons were thrown into the Glina. . Usually three to four hundred persons were machine-gunned at a time. "Some Orthodox Serbs were taken from the gaol to the river Glina and machine-gunned. and some Ustashi officers. and all my statements have been correctly written down.' 'Down with the Ustashis. These notes have been read out to me. During the butchering. Belgrade. "On our arrival in Glina we searched the houses of that town and then went to the neighboring villages. and they were then put to death. We collected them from the villages and shut them in the Court gaol. Then I received an order from the military command in Petrinja to report there. I arrived home in Bosanski Novi about the 24th of April.. I was three times chosen to do the killing. 1941.. but I have heard it said that about 120 thousand Serbs from the above mentioned districts have been killed. All these were killed by the sentries in the porch.. Some we struck in the heart and some in the neck. Dobric Josip and Cvitkovic Mihailo. later. It happened on several occasions that some Serb rushed us with his fists or kicked us in the stomach. They were stood up in two ranks on the bank. except that some soldiers were specially appointed to light our way with electric torches.' etc. sentries were placed before the church. until the gaols were filled. At the beginning we arrested only the men. which could contain 1. but he was butchered immediately. This was necessary because some of the Orthodox Serbs climbed up the bell tower and jumped into the porch. Every time we were so bespattered with blood that our uniforms could not be cleaned. Sometimes they were buried.. Some were locked up in the Orthodox Church in Glina."I came to Belgrade in 1938 and lived there until the war... Each time we were accompanied by some officers. and the cries were continued until the last Serb was killed. When the searching was over. We therefore changed them in the magazine and washed them later. I was employed as office servant by the Centralno Transportno Drustvo of Kolarceva. after the corpses were taken away in motor trucks. Then the company officer chose about fifteen men to do the killing.' 'Long live the Serbs. "I have nothing more to add. but I think it must have been the 17th or 18th of April 1941. The killing was done in several ways.. tied arm to arm with ropes. and then shot with machine guns which were placed a few yards away. and I left on the same day to report to my command in Susak in accordance with my mobilization orders. The church was washed after every killing. "My company's task was to round up the Serbs in Glina and in the Glina district.

anti-Semitic feeling has never had any root. and Eskenasis [Ashkenazis]. If the Germans wanted the Serbs to calm down. to a friend in London on his escape from Yugoslavia in 1942. the Germans did not find any anti-Semitic feeling in the country. and later in the twentieth. and Herzegovina.' "The 'solution' of the Jewish question in the Independent Croatia devolved upon the Croatian Ustashis. the Jews always had full civic rights and complete equality with their Serbian compatriots. After the partition of Yugoslavia the Jews came under the rule of various regimes. We ourselves shall settle the Jewish question in Serbia. "During Yugoslavia's twenty-three years of existence.000 Jews. Poland. it can be said without any exaggeration. Thanks to the Serbs. This the Germans reserved for themselves.' "With regard to anti-Semitism. Service rendered and assistance given to Jews by Yugoslav consular officials in Austria and Czechoslovakia has specially to be recognized. professor in the Department of Medicine in the University of Belgrade. As the writer is a Jew. "The Jews in Yugoslavia were divided into Sephards. When they occupied Serbia. The answer which Nedich received from the Germans regarding this demand was 'that the Serbs have not attained a culture to the degree necessary to enable them to deal with the Jews. against whom no drastic measures should and could be taken in Serbia. There in the nineteenth century. only of a different religion. it would be of first importance to stop the terrible persecution of the Serbian Jews. The following reasons were given by Nedich to the Germans for this demand. Yugoslavia can be divided into two parts. the Yugoslav Jews had succeeded in saving and rescuing many of their compatriots from Germany and German-occupied countries. The Serbian people could not and would not accept such treatment of 'their compatriots of the Jewish religion. There are special reasons for this.500 were refugees. "The fact that Nedich twice demanded from the German commanding officer in Serbia and the Banat that he and his government should be given the right to settle the Jewish problem."I can read and write. for the sake of relatives who remain in Yugoslavia his name cannot be used: "In Yugoslavia there were 85. shows the feeling of the Serbian people toward the Jews. Serbia has always professed the free democratic tradition existing in the former kingdom of Serbia.. Austria. They could not persuade either the local population or the local authorities to take any anti-Semitic measures. however. This equality was not only granted in various constitutions of the kingdom of Serbia and later of the kingdom ." HERBEROVIC HILMIJA DOCUMENT 4 ANONYMOUS Source: Letter written by a Jewish physician. Bosnia. i. including Pavelich's 'Independent Croatian State. and the Voivodina.' The Serbs consider Jews as their brothers. The Sephards lived principally in Belgrade and Serbia.e. The Eskenasis principally settled in Croatia. Of the total number of Jews in Yugoslavia about 7. In Serbia. also in south Serbia. and Serbia. and Czechoslovakia. where. districts where this feeling was latent. including Jewish emigrees from Germany. Slavonia. the Jewish problem was not dealt with by the Serbs themselves.

A number later joined the guerrillas. The application of it was confined to the Ministry of Education. and several of them lost their lives through falling down.of Yugoslavia. however. This friendly and amicable relationship also existed in the economic. the Jews gave their contribution. The Jews had in Serbia members of Parliament.C. in spite of the order that the mayor and members of the rural councils would be shot if such cases were discovered in their villages. Andres. They were made to clean the windows of high houses from the outside. Shubashich's Croatia had even prepared elaborate laws and regulations just before the war broke out in Yugoslavia in 1941. financial. which co-operated with the Serbian organizations for the preparation of resistance. In Croatia anti Semitism was inherited from Austria-Hungary. During the first stage the Jews were tortured. The small group of Jews living in Serbia gave their contribution towards the cultural and political life in Serbia's struggle for the formation of a state of South Slavs. Anti-Semitic centers had always existed. Several were awarded the Karadgeorge Star for bravery in the battlefield-equivalent to the British V. Koroshets. A considerable number of youths from the Jewish Zionist organization. upheld the measure as Minister of Education. however. the second from the middle of August 1941 until the closing down of the office of the 'Jewish section' late in 1942. I am. a medical student. But quite a number of men and young Jews succeeded in escaping to the villages. The name of Almozlino. In Serbia's struggle for liberation. are being hidden by two Serbian mothers. The section was closed because there were no longer any Jews in occupied Serbia. The Government was not unanimous on this point. Dr. Women of the intelligentsia class were forced to clean latrines in the German barracks. Anti-Semitism was particularly stressed in Croatia by the right wing of Dr. very proud to say that today two small relatives of mine. and political life in Serbia. "In the second period male Jews were sent to concentration camps. Many collected hospital material for the guerrillas or posted anti-German posters in Belgrade streets. taken for forced labor. leader of the Slovenes. should be mentioned. where they lived with Serbian peasant families. under the Croat Dr. "About a year before Yugoslavia was attacked by Germany. His elder brother. troops. refused to apply the act. "Some forty of my relatives were shot in Belgrade by the Germans. He threw bombs at two armored German cars and a tank in Grobljanska Street in Belgrade and blew them up. Machek and the district governor or ban. "This report could be divided into two parts-the first beginning with the entry of German troops into Belgrade in April 1941 to the beginning of August 1941.' Already during the first stage the Jews were deprived of all their property and most of them were evicted from their homes. by pressure from the Reich and in their attempt to suit their policy to the dictators. and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. whose parents were shot by the Gestapo. "In all the schools and universities. numerous restrictions were applied by circular.S. Serbian cabinet ministers. . "In this regard Serbia completely differed from Croatia under Dr. a schoolboy of ten. to clean floors and sweep streets under the supervision of the S. including the Minister of War. Jewish girls were violated and taken to 'Militar-Medi. but in Serbia Serb teachers and professors succeeded in avoiding or sabotaging the regulations. Dr. A large part of the industries in Jewish hands in Croatia was to be confiscated and nationalized. under the Slovene Dr. Koroshets. persecuted. is still fighting in Bosnia. Shubashich. the son of a well-known Belgrade dispensing chemist in King Peter Street. actively helped the guerrilla fighters. one of five and one of seven years of age. maltreated. the Tsvetkovich-Machek Government passed the first antiSemitic measure in Yugoslavia. but it was also a true expression of the relationship between the Orthodox Serbs and the Jews in their everyday contact. Machek's Croatian Peasant Party. Well-known Jews and Serbs were taken to German concentration camps.

Rumania. I was saved from certain death. by one Serbian priest to another until he was passed on to Bulgarian territory. some of whom were his personal friends. But in the interests of world peace and of the remaining Serbs themselves. who was on several occasions sought by the Gestapo in Belgrade. even the identical men. in the 'Independent State of Croatia. the Serbs. Herzegovina. he arrived at the Turkish frontier. and his clergy tried to save Serbian Jews and Gypsies. pointing out their noble acts." with fervent acclamation and expressions of "undying gratitude and love. with unimaginable torture.000 Serbs were massacred by the Croat Ustashi in Bosnia. Serbian Orthodox priests and the Serbian peasantry risked their lives not only to save ordinary Jews and their children but also to save those Gypsies and their children. "Today there are no more Jews left in Serbia. During the forced-labor period Serbs talked to their Jewish friends in the streets even in front of the German soldiers and police. The thought of what the result will be is truly terrifying."No German measures in Belgrade were able to upset the friendly relations between the Serbs and Jews. particularly in the southern part of the continent. but also emphasizing the fact that the entire population of Serbia. "It is my desire as a Jew and as a Serb that in free democratic countries where Jews are still enjoying full freedom and equality they should show gratitude to the Serbian people. by a race whom the Serbs themselves rescued from what the Croats then called their "oppressor. with the assistance of the Orthodox Bulgarian clergy. thus expressing not only their protest. I saved my own life thanks to my Serbian friends. women. during the period when Serbian students and peasants were hung in the main square in Belgrade. Today the chief rabbi of Yugoslav Jews lives in America.000 shot by the Germans in Serbia. the Serbian example shines out. every one of whom we value and want to save alive. the Patriarch Gavrilo. who only twenty-three years ago received their "dear deliverers. "When Jewish women were transported in lorries to the concentration camps.. men. except some children hidden by the Serbs and those fighting along with the Serbs in the forests. In spite of intensive German propaganda in writing and through the wireless." their "dear brother-Slavs. He was saved from the Gestapo. Up to the present day the Germans have massacred 170." Austriaby those same Croats.. their humane feelings. in Serbia and the Banat. does not and cannot participate in the extermination of their Jewish neighbors. being smuggled out from Serbia from monastery to monastery by the Serbian clergy. the Serbs of the capital had sufficient courage to protest publicly their indignation at the treatment of the Jews. and their high civic consciousness and culture. we must prevent a postwar war of revenge in the Balkans. When we consider what happened to the Jews in neighboring countries. "I cannot conclude this report without mentioning how the Serbian Orthodox Church. There." The preceding documents. only a few of many. and Lika and some 60. and Bulgaria. the Serbs remained unaffected. He was handed over by one Serbian church to another. There is not a Serb alive who has not lost some relative dear to him." If ever revenge massacres were justified they are justified in this case. murdered. and children.000 Gypsies. Serb shopkeepers in the streets through which these processions passed closed their shops and their houses.. "The example of the Serbian people with regard to the Jews is unique in Europe. give some indication of the extent and ferocity of the Croat crime against their utterly defenseless fellow countrymen and also of the really magnificent spirit of our allies and brothers. .' Hungary. During the period when over 300. Serbian peasants and my other friends also saved from death my only son. our splendid allies. yesterday and today.

a war they knew to be absolutely hopeless. They died. Knowing that nothing could have been nearer to the fighting heart of my brother than the Fighting Serbs.THE SERBS CHOSE WAR Excerpts from "The Serbs Chose War" by Ruth Mitchell published in 1943 by Holt. 1941. and small children. I promised them that America would never forget the bond and the debt. not by thousands. They are dying today-not by hundreds. unpredictable horrors that have befallen them.against the invincible German war machine. very important to future world peace. the first and only small race themselves to declare war. and of property. Why did they do it? What caused their decision? What has enabled them to succeed when other. larger. for the world. Rinehart and Winston Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58-7242 AT TEN-FIFTEEN on the morning of March 25. important to our own present war effort. much better equipped peoples failed or didn't even try? These are important questions. women. In spite of all the horrors they expected." It was a moment of destiny for Europe. I pledged American honor that the thousands upon thousands of orphans left in a ruined land would be cherished by their American brothers and sisters. The Serbs chose war. they still choose war. but by hundreds of thousands. The Serbs chose war. sternly decided to die rather than to submit to Axis vassalage. this small race almost unanimously decided to oppose themselves against the greatest war machine of history. the news flashed: "Yugoslavia has signed the Axis pact. The Serbs rose. in view of all they have lost in fighting-for us. In view of all that the Serbs have done-for us. men. It was a moment when the flame of freedom guttered so perilously low that many of the bravest spirits of our time averted their eyes. important to the future of Europe. They were the only small race of Europe to come in openly on the side of the Allies before they were themselves attacked and while they still had promises of complete security of frontiers. I have established in his memory the General Billy Mitchell Memorial Foundation for Balkan Youth. Why? It took me over three years to find out. sure that it was now finally to be extinguished. Then an almost incredible thing happened. I propose that for the rebuilding and the future of Serbia we appropriate the cost to us of one day of war. I gave the dying men and women of Serbia my promise that I would spend the rest of my life looking after their children. . a thing so important to the history of the world that freedomloving men will speak of it with admiration and with gratitude down through the centuries. They chose to die. And in spite of the unexpected. A little race of not more than eight million souls deliberately.in money and in lives. of lives. in view of all they have saved-to us.

Knives Against Tanks 29. Again Expulsion? 12. The Royal Nonesuch Takes a Wife 5. Good-by Helmuthl 25. Prison 37. I Meet King’s Son Marko 9. Ready. A Myth Dies Unmourned 32. “We Are Serbian Children” 19. The Serbs Choose War 20. Vain Warnings 17. A Three-Hun dred-Thous and-Dollar Bed 39. Court-martial 40. Smilya Leaves Me a Son 46. Oil Turns to Dynamite 6. The Plot That Failed 16.I pledged the honor of my country. Promises Instead of Planes 23. Trudi 44. I rely upon my countrymen with complete trust to help me to keep that pledge. Hahn 47. Enter a Conqueror. CONTENT: 1. My Chetnik Brothers 13. Treason and Ambush 30. Albanian Prelude 3. The Champions 34. Moment of Destiny 2. Guests of the Gestapo 43. The Chetniks Are Serbs 11. Journalist’s Paradise 4. Women Against the Gestapo 42. Nightmare Journey 26. The Patriarch Goes to His Golgotha 22. Between the Enemy Lines 31. Something New and Something Old 21. Is It the End? 45. The Saints Fight Too 15. The Verdict Is Guilty 41. “Watchman. My Brother Vukosava 10. What of America?” 18. Forever Undefeated 28. A Bow to an Old Balkan Custom 8. “Well-And Why Not?” 14. Shopping for Gun Emplacements 33. Some to Flight and Some to Flight 27. “We Are Gestapo!” 36. I Prepare to join General Mihailovich 35. Exit Myself 7. “Neither Quickly Free nor Quite Dead” 38. Orphans of the Guns . A Torch Is Lit Which Shall Never Go Out 24.

“This Is German Culture” 54. Yugoslavia: A Versailles Failure 62. Prison Bernhardt 56. My Sister Zora 59.48. The Minuet of Death 51. Epilogue 61. Rose 57. Pride and Shame 52. The Informer 53. The Field That Groaned 49. Uncle Luke 50. A Dream Stronger than Tanks 60. Leka Saves Her Man 55. The Serbs’ Darkest Hour . “Prepare to Shoot the Hostages” 58.

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