Many flock to celebrate Dražin Dan in London
People came together to commemorate General Draža Mihailović, the leader of the first anti-Nazi resistance in Yugoslavia, who died 72 years ago.
And among those who came to honour Čiča Draža last Sunday was HRH Princess Katarina Karadjordjevic.
Dražin Dan started in the traditional manner, with a memorial service at St Sava’s in London conducted by parish clergy. Lunch was served at the Ravna Gora Hotel, which was very well-attended.
A cultural programme followed at Dom Nikolaja back in Notting Hill. Traditional Serbian folklore dance groups Avala from Corby and Rastko in London entertained the audience.
Andjelka and Zoran sang songs into the night.
Marko Govoruša, Secretary of the Pokret’s London Club, noted some details on the life of Draža:
"Dragoljub – Draža Mihailović was executed on 17th July in 1946. He was the Army General and Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland. During the Balkan wars and the First World War, Draža was an officer in the Serbian army in the Kingdom of Serbia. He was a 19-year-old cadet when he first saw battle. The Balkan wars have interrupted his studies, but at the end of the war he came home with a silver medal for courage and the rank of second lieutenant. In the First World War he survived the retreat over the Albanian mountains along with his soldiers, participated in the breakthrough of the Salonika front and the liberation of Serbia in 1918. After the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, Mihailović continued his military career. He continued his studies in France and in the period from 1935 to 1936 he served as military attache in Bulgaria, and from 1936 to 1937 in Czechoslovakia. In late December 1939, he was appointed lecturer at the Military Academy. In October 1940, he was promoted to an assistant to the military staff, and from 1 April 1941 he was appointed Chief of the Operations Department of the Third Army. At that time he already had the rank of colonel.
"The capitulation of the Yugoslav Royal Army, which was signed on 17 April 1941, found Colonel Mihailović in Eastern Bosnia. He refused to accept the military capitulation and went to Serbia to continue his resistance. He organized a group that was the beginning of what will later become the Ravna Gora Movement. The new Yugoslav royal government headed by academician Slobodan Jovanović, formed on 11 January 1942, appointed Mihailović Minister of the Army, Navy and Air Force. During the war years that followed, a civil war broke out in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the Partisans and the Chetniks. That war has had devastating consequences for the Serbian people and the country. Even today there are debates and divided opinions about the events from those war years. The reason for this are precisely the two sides and the fact that England and other Western countries changed their strategic support to one or the other on several occasions. By the end of the war, the Partisans prevailed and General Mihajlović was arrested on 13 March 1946. Shortly after he was convicted and the death sentence was executed on July 17, 1946. Even today no one knows exactly where the grave of General Mihailović is."
Thanks to Marko Govoruša and Dušan Parojčić for information and photos.