Hall 8 - BOARD 19

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WAR

One of the heroes of an epopée of the Valjevo Hospital is doctor Milovan Bašović, a Serb from Montenegro, who studied medicine in Russia. He had arrived in Serbia within the Russian Medical Mission at the time of the Balkan wars. At the beginning of the First World War he became a Serbian Medical Officer. Since the beginning of World War I he worked in Valjevo. In November 1914, before the Battle of Kolubara, when Serbian army temporarily retreated from Valjevo, he stayed in the town with Dr. Vinaver and Russian lady doctor Sosiński to take care of the wounded who could not be evacuated. After crossing Albania he worked in military hospitals in Bizerte / Tunisia / and then in Thessaloniki. He was popular with colleagues and it is not surprising that he was often mentioned in memoirs.

Dr. Ludwig Hirszfeld's recollections
I would like to say something about the director of the hospital, a Montenegrin doctor Bašović. It was the most handsome man I've ever seen: Slim as a poplar tree, black eyes, a subtle nose, beautiful white teeth and an enchanting smile. He spoke only Russian and Serbian, but was unable to "overwhelm" both English mother and a French woman. (...) But the greatest fun was with French nurses. During the epidemics, like everyone else, they fell ill with typhus, and since there were not enough nurses, they were attended by Serbian and Austrian orderlies. Together with Bašović we went through Serbia and Albania. I had a chance to see what a good, noble man he is. In Thessaloniki, later, he charmed black women, with success (...)

Scottish Medical Mission with its own well-equipped hospitalarrived in Valjevo, and Serbian authorities allocated it to our Bašović, probably knowing his magical effect on women. They demanded that Serbian soldiers do not make the toilets dirty, that patients receive proper rations, vitamins etc. But it was then not easy to achieve. However, our dear Bašović knew how to explain it all to our Scottish ladies, probably because they did not understand and because he could not be but loved.

From a letter by Dr. Alice Hutchinson to the SWH Management Committee

My typical day passes in flying from one corner of the camp to the other, with an occasional stroll to the Third auxilliary hospitals to use the help of the Director who is selected to help me in every way possible. The Director is of the Montenegrin origin. A tall, well-built man with black hair and with gray mustache, flashing dark eyes and tanned skin. It seems that it would be appropriate to say that it is a descendant of the tribe "Black Mountain". For him, it is impossible not to act, it comes so natural to him, and perfectly harmless. When you come up with a paper where 9 or 10 requests ar epresented in a spreadsheet, he kindly asksme to sit down, then sometimes draws his revolver from its holster, points it at his forehead and tells with a tragic intensity, "Can I succeed in fulfilling them or should I blow out my brains!"I've got pretty used to it now, and to his great joy, I can sometimes write simple requests in Serbian. Russian is the only language he speaks apart from his mother tongue.

Gallery

The letters a young Austro-Hungarian prisoner sent home from Valjevo, druggist Mr. Bogdan Devide were often published in Croatian newspapers. In one of the letters Devide wrote about the celebration of Christmas in Valjevo 1914

The celebrations of Christmas, which Mr. Davide described, remaine din the memory of the Dutchman, Dr. Arius van Tienhoven:

Then came Christmas. And it has been in such a desperate environment was the most enjoyable celebration that I've had in years. There were fourteen doctors, three students, one extremely fun medical officer, nurses - all Austrians, in addition to our Dutch club and several Serbian colleagues.

We had a beautiful Christmas tree on which all kinds of gifts hung, and our lieutenant accompanied them by very amusing rhymes. Childish fun with dumb jokes that we were endlessly entertained by. So the nurse Van der Maden received the box with the drawing of a large lice, the last in our hospital. Someone else got the walnut shell which Columbus discovered America with ... And in the end there was a very good dinner. It was the last pig from the supplies that we saved for this occasion. A few days before we sent a patrol of six soldiers with orders to return with a few chickens. Then the excitement when that last afternoon they hadn't arrived yet, because it was supposed to be the main delicacy of the dinner. But in the late afternoon these brave men triumphantly emerged, and brought four skinny chickens as trophies of their victory. However, for the highlight of the ceremony, the masterpiece dinner, we had to thank our faithful confectioner, one of the best Viennese masters, who was kind enough to fall into captivity in Valjevo. We appointed him the Chef in our hospital Immediately - at Christmas he overcame his own ingenuity by divine Viennese cakes with decorative inscriptions. We sang Christmas carols, one Czech even performed great Russian dances. We had a barrel of wine because the supplies had not yet been exhausted. What the participants in the celebration hurt the most was the fact that the Austrians burned seven wagons full of presents for wounded soldiers before leaving Valjevo. What teasures were lost then, what kind of vandalism, if nothing alse, to their four thousand wounded soldiers that they had to leave. Some soldiers had even stolen what was left, and it was lingerie, chocolates, cigarettes, all the things for which people cried.

The Austro-Hungarian prisoner of war, the priest and the orderly Fra. Gabro Cvitanović in his memories, does not mention the celebration of Christmas for obvious reasons, which he described in a few words: "... because as soon as 24 December (1914), on Christmas Eve, I was taken ill by Tiphus recurrence (return typhoid) ", but added that he later heard from Dr. Oswald Gesner," who was then employed there in Grammar school and in primary school, which were packed full of the wounded, that the poor did not get a bite to eat on Christmas".