Stanko Lazarević was born in Brdarica in 1889. Stevan Vasić was also born in Brdarica, but it is unknown when he was born. According to their Serbian exhumations reports they were both from the 17th Regiment.
This is the story about both Stanko and Stevan. They were from the same village in Serbia, in the same regiment and they both died in the same place in the Netherlands.
The village where Stanko and Stevan were born, Brdarica, is nowadays a part of the municipality Koceljeva which is in the Mačva district. This district was (and still is) a rich district, but it lies close to Sava and Drina rivers which used to form the borders with the Austro-Hungarian empire. So when the First World War broke out the village was close to the first front lines between the Serbian and Austro-Hungarian armies. The battle of Cer (August 1914) and Kolubara (November&December 1914) were conducted in the immediate vicinity of Bradrica. No records have yet been found about the movements of Stanko and Stevan during that time.
Image below: Second and third invasions of Serbia, 1914, the arrow is showing the location of Brdarica (source: Wikipedia).
Capture & Arrival in the Netherlands
It is still unknown where Stanko and Stevan where captured. On the International Red Cross Prisoners of the First World War website no data is available about them. Also no other data is available which can determine where they were captured and in which Prisoners of War (POW) camps they were held.
The Austro-Hungarian camps of Jindřichovice and Braunau (nowadays both in the Czech Republic) were used as transit camps in the beginning of the war for the Serbian Prisoners of War. Later they were mostly transported further into Germany. This was also described in Henri Habert’s brochure “Between the barbed wire”.
We know from earlier discoveries (Miloš Jeremić and Đorđe Vukosavljević) that the Serbian WWI soldiers also spent time in camps in Soltau and Emden (in the province of Hannover or in German the ‘Kriegsgefangenenlager des X. Armeekorps in Hannover’). Other soldiers who arrived in the Netherlands were held prisoners in the camps of the VII Korps Münster.
We do not know when Stanko and Stevan arrived in the Netherlands, but at one point they were transported to the Prisoner of War camp in Nieuw-Milligen between Garderen and Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Also French soldiers were there waiting for transport to their home country.
Burial and exhumation
While waiting for transport back home to Serbia, Stefan died 28 January 1919 and Stanko died 30 January 1919. They both died died of Spanish flu and they were the last two Serbian WWI soldiers who died in Nieuw-Milligen. Their death was registered by the municipality of Apeldoorn on 31 January: act 116 (link) for Stefan and act 117 (link) for Stanko.
They were both buried in Garderen (municipality of Barneveld) with 27 other Serbian soldiers. On the cemetery where they were buried a monument was erected in April 1919 by the legation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in the Hague.
The text was in French and it was written “les soldats serbes décédés au camp de Millingen 1919” with 29 names in French transcription, and on the back in Serbian and Dutch the text “Deceased for Serbia / the grateful Serbian fatherland” (“Умрли за Србију” / “Gestorven voor Serbie”, “Благодарна Отаџбина Србија” / “Het Dankbaar Serbische Vaderland”).
The team behind this website is determined to find traces of the 91 Serbian soldiers who died in the Netherlands. To achieve this goal they are searching on the Internet and they are contacting municipalities or other organisations which can help. While searching some information about the two soldiers from Brdarica, they found a catalogue with the title “Tamnavski besmrtnici” on the website of the municipality of Koceljeva. The catalogue describes is a monument in the center of the village of Brdarica with the names of 54 soldiers who died during the First World War and 22 soldiers who died during the Second World War.
Stanko Lazarević’s name is written on the monument, but Stefan Vasić’s name is unfortunately not. After this information the municipality was contacted with the request of more information. The municipality did some research on their own and informed us that they informed the grandson of Stanko Lazarević about the fate of his grandfather. The grandson was actually named after his grandfather and he lives in Brdarica.
Picture below: detail of the monument in Brdarica with Stanko’s name written, June 2016. On the top of the plate is written: “Pali borci iz Brdarice” (=fallen soldiers from Brdarica), 1912-1918. Photo with courtesy of B. Mićić.
The municipality also informed us that there is a monument in the nearby village of Draginje. On this monument the name of Vasić can be found , but none of them has the first name Stefan.
With the kind help of Branislav Mićić from the municipality of Koceljeva, Stanko Lazarević’s grandson could be informed about the fate of his grandfather. Unfortunately we could not find anything about Stefan Vasić.
At least Stanko’s family is informed now. They know now that he and his comrades has not been forgotten and that their names are written on the monument in Garderen, the Netherlands.
Večna im slava! (=Eternal glory to them!)
The following sources were used:
–Website of the municipality of Koceljeva: Tamnavski besmrtnici, page 105, Koceljeva,2014 (retrieved June 2016), ISBN 978-86-84115-23-4.
-Municipality Koceljeva, Branislav Mićić.