Here you will find the letters which we could publish with a kind permission of Zorica Jelača, Đorđe’s great-granddaughter.
Here I am, writing to you that I am safe and sound.
This date is exactly the date when I went far away from home, when I left you and the children and today two years have passed since I have not seen you. For these two years, Lepa I haven’t got the piles of letters but only three letters. It is very hard for me and I suffer very much.
Dear Lepa, one year has passed since I have been at one place working with 36 Serbs, a Russian and an Englishman. All of them respect me, and I respect them as well.
Dear Lepa, the parcel you sent me, I received on the 10th day. Namely, out of 36 Serbs, I am the first one who received the parcel. I was surprised when I read the address on the parcel and what is the most important it was touching. The bread you sent, every Serb took it, crossed themselves and kissed it, and then we all started to cry happy tears. In this happy and a touching day, I shared and ate the bread brotherly with my people.
Dear Lepa, I was glad when I received the parcel, but I was pondering for a long time and I think you deprived yourself of food in order to send me this, and if you had been hungry two or three days because of this parcel you shouldn’t have sent me it.
I would like it more if I had received letters in which you would have written me something about you and your children, and also I would be very happy if I had received a promised photo, for which I am anxiously waiting for.
Dear Lepa, I would kindly ask you to write me more often, to send me your and children’s photo and if you can send me those books I had asked for, and one pair of warm peasant’s socks.
I wish you and the children were healthy.
I am sending you my regards. Kiss my Duška, Milica and a little yet unseen Ružica. Send my regards to Natalija and all the others who are asking about me.
Till we see each other again.
I am healthy and well and I wish you and the children were healthy as well. Lepa, I am not getting your letters in the amount I would like to, you should write me more often.
How are you you? How is Duško at school? Have you sent me your and children’s photo? Has Kosta written to you and does Milica attend the school?
Draga Lepa, there is one man from Kragujevac here with me, Boža Radović, his wife died, he has two children and they are in an orphanage. He hasn’t got any letters and he hasn’t got any news about them. A month ago, he sent 10 marks to them in order to take some pictures and to send him a picture, but until this day, he has received neither the reply nor the photo.
Please Lepa, would you be so kind to visit those children and see how they are and if they have received the money.
Anyway, in case you can’t go, try to get some information through that girl, who is a housekeeper in the orphanage, she is close to you. If possible, Lepa, do this immediately and inform me. Children’s names are Angelina and Simka. Their father is sending regards to them.
I am sending regards to you and kisses to Duško, Mila, Zorica and little Ružica.
My friend Božidar Radović is sending regards to you.
Send my regards to a best man Jovo and Natalija and to their children.
Thanks God, I am from this point completely healthy and well. I wish that for you and the children as well.
Dear Lepa, parcels, one from October and another one from December last year, I received on 20th of this month.
The bread was completely bad; you weren’t supposed to send it, as I had already told you earlier. Secondly, cakes you had sent were of good quality, the same as the bacon, sugar and socks, everything was good apart from spilled coffee grounds.
Dear Lepa, I have written earlier that you are not supposed to send me anything apart from warm tick socks and a book, but you keep on sending me something different, why did you send me meat again, you didn’t have to.
A loaf of bread, that I can understand, but why did you send me these nice white socks, as if I were a groom and I needed them for my wedding to match my nice yellow leather shoes.
Moreover, that small pillow you sent me as if I were with some little children here, and I needed it for them. No, I don’t have anything here, everything I have is there. Thus, as I have already said, do not send me anything, because I don’t want you and children to suffer without the food, and I, let God help me. I have enough bread for now, I have enough money for the tobacco, I have two pairs of state underwear and three pairs which are personally mine.
Therefore, I don’t miss anything, I just miss you and my children. I only miss all of you.
Dear Lepa, I am telling you, God will give me to return home alive, because the home is sad without me – yes, I know that, myself – but I am sad as well without you. When I went through everything and survived in the beginning of my capture, I have no any doubts that I will go through this for this short time, the longest until June or July, and then I will make you happy one day.
Dear Lepa, only disabled returned home after the plea. I complained also that I am not able to work, but no use of it. This is my destiny.
All the same, I am in a group with my own people, to whom I am the eldest, and who respect me and love me as their own father!
Dear Lepa, in one of the letters I read one harsh word (’’no one felt sorry for me and they said something bad). However, I think that I haven’t offended anybody, that is, if that refers to me.
Dear Lepa, you are not writing me anything about Mićka and if she obeys you. I think she is nice and I don’t have any doubts that she obeys you. And also my Zorče, she is already mature now. Ružica is still little and she doesn’t understand anything. Mićka and Zorče care about her and they love her. Daddy loves them as well, but I don’t love Duško when he is not beahving well. I will love him as well, but only when he corrects his behaviour. Write more often!
I have written to Kosta only once but I haven’t received any reply from him, I am going to write to mother these days.
Kiss Duško, Milica, Zorica and little Ružica instead of me.
I am safe and sound but it would be better if I weren’t. Lepa, I didn’t want to write to you, but since I wanted to find some relief to my own heart, I am informing you that I was captured 10 days ago; and yes as I have said I was separated from my own people with whom I had been together for 2 ½ years, among whom I was the oldest and to whom I served as an intepretator and who respected me as their father. Because of my love for them, in order to protect and please everybody I have aggrieved myself.
I am isolated and sent away among Frenchmen, Englishmen, Belgians and Russians, so neither I know what they are telling me nor do they know what I am telling them. The separation from my people was heartbreaking. Today, my life is miserable and dangerous for my eyesight. Anyway, I can’t see out of my left eye, and there is a danger that I will lose vision in another eye because of the labour.
Dear Lepa, if you don’t get my letters soon, you have to know that I am not alive anymore. I’d rather die than wander around as a blind person. A blind man doesn’t work in the mine. If I escape from here, I will inform you. Just, I feel sorry that I still haven’t got your and children’s picture, in order to see Ružica as well.
Dear Lepa, hereby I am sending you 25 marks. Buy children what they want, let them know it is from their father.
Regards and kisses to you Lepa, Duško, Milica, Zorica and little Ružica.
9.8.1919. Gornji Milanovac
I consider as my humankind duty to inform you that your husband Mr. Đoko died in Milligen from flu and that I was accidently there with my brother who also died. I had known Đoka since 1917 and he asked me then on his deathbed to inform you about his death.
Dragi Rajičić, tradesman
Please, I would like to apologize for not informing you earlier about his death, but please be convinced that only three days ago I arrived home after four years.