Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Exhibition “Serbian Heroines of the Great War” opens

Tonight, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević attended the opening of the exhibition titled “Serbian Heroines of the Great War” in the Central Military Club in Belgrade. The exhibition was opened by the wife of the President of the Republic, Mrs Tamara Vučić.  
The exhibition opening was attended by government ministers, MPs, members of the boards of the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, members of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces and numerous guests.
The exhibition “Serbian Heroines of the Great War”, organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, was jointly staged by the Historical Archives of the City of Novi Sad, the Military Museum, the Military Archive and Media Centre “Odbrana” of the Public Relations Department.
At the beginning of his speech, the minister of defence thanked the organizers of the exhibition and expressed his delight at the fact that the Ministry of Defence can show the “warmer side of our society, because we usually refer to male soldiers, and we forget that Serbia and the Serbian people have rightly emphasized the fact that they had real heroines”.
- We could not have found a better place to gather than the Central Military Club, where there is a memorial plaque dedicated to all our mothers who probably won the greatest and bitterest battles. History can sometimes be cruel and cover with a veil of oblivion the people who should be remembered, or at least remembered more often. This sometimes happened to our heroines, our wives, mothers, sisters, wives, neighbours, friends - said Minister Vučević.
According to him, when we talk about the heroines of the Balkan Wars and World War I, we cannot only refer to the women who were directly involved in the fighting. Every mother, he said, who waited for her son, every wife who waited for her husband, every daughter who waited for her father and a sister of every brother was, in a way, a heroine.
  - All of them managed to preserve their homes and families and during the occupation, they all endured an immense amount of pain and suffering. Our army suffered along with the people, they went through the agony of retreating through the Prokletije Mountains, and then fought a bloody battle to break through and return to Serbia, and the women preserved their homes, they saved Serbia. And I thank them for that. We also had real heroines in the trenches, in the infirmaries, in really difficult circumstances. If we allow them to be forgotten, if we allow the uglier side of history to let them sink into oblivion, we are not worthy of the present-day heroines who live in peace, but who also take care of their homes, families and Serbia - said Minister Vučević.

Minister Vučević thanked Tamara Vučić for joining him in the promotion of a warm, human, but also victorious story - the story of our women, the story of all of us, the story of Serbia.

- Serbia must remember. Let us remember. Let us not forget that we are a victorious nation, always on the right side of history. Long live all our heroines and long live our beautiful Serbia - concluded the minister of defence.

The president’s wife, Tamara Vučić, began her address to the audience referring to the 1918 oil painting by Miloš Golubović - "Ispraćaj” (Farewell), which is kept in the Military Museum. The painting depicts a scene of two women, a wife and a mother, sending off a soldier to war, wondering whether he would return and whether they would be alive to meet him.
  - This painting, symbolically set at the beginning of the Great War, offers no answers. Just a hint of a question. The answers were provided by the history of that global conflict, written with the lives, hands, blood, sweat and tears of many known and unknown women. Those who lived their war story on the edges of major conflicts, no easier than the one in the trenches. They saw off their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers to war, in fear and hope, fighting to keep alive at least the youngest family members who were not yet old enough to fight and defend. Tragic heroines of the tragic fates of the Balkan fields and mountains - said Tamara Vučić.
She said that the exhibition was dedicated to all the women who had seen off their soldiers to war and waited for their return with the burden of war on their shoulders.
  - We don't know much about them. I don’t think we even know the exact number of our heroines who decided to get involved in direct clashes with the evil of war. Fighting against the military Goliaths of the world, our small country admitted into its ranks several of them who bravely defended their motherland, forever changing the genetic code of women in our area - said Tamara Vučić.
Tamara Vučić quoted the French journalist Henri Barbusse, who wrote the following about Serbian women in the Great War: "they amazed the world with their courage and their suffering. At that time, there was not a French officer who would not readily lay his sword at the feet of these heroines as a sign of their deepest respect." She mentioned the names of heroines who, driven by humanity, made an enormous contribution to medical missions and humanitarian organizations.
  - Some of them, like Nadežda, even gave their lives. The front line remembers Flora Sandes, who in addition to taking care of the wounded, was a soldier in the legendary Iron Regiment. Ljubica Čakarević di Sorno, Natalija Bjelajac and Jelena Šaulić also fought with a rifle in hand for the freedom of Serbia. Generations of new heroines are now growing, whose hearts burn with the same passion, honour and patriotism that we hope will never have to be expressed and proven in the same way - said Tamara Vučić, declaring the exhibition open.
The authors of the exhibition are Bojana Ilić from the Military Museum, Petar Đurđev from the Historical Archives of the City of Novi Sad, Marijana Mraović from the Military Archive and Jelena Knežević from Media Centre "Odbrana".
  The programme included the musical performance of the mixed choir and orchestra of the MOD’s Stanislav Binički Artistic Ensemble and parts of the play "Žensko srce u šinjelu” (Woman's Heart in a Greatcoat) dedicated to Milunka Savić, Nadežda Petrović and Flora Sandes.
The exhibition "Serbian Heroines of the Great War" will be open until April 30, 2024.
mp4 (308,05 MB)
Minister Vucevic's address
mp4 (544,77 MB)
Mrs Tamara Vucic's address
mp4 (174,01 MB)
The opening of the exhibition