Here is an uplifting story about a Serbian General that saved the lives of over 500 US soldiers during World War II and the lives of hundreds of other allied soldiers.  Lt. Col. Milton Friend was shot down over Serbia when he was picked up by Gen. Draza Mihailovic and his men.  The rescued soldiers were kept safe in a network of safe houses and cared for by the locals.  One soldier crashed through a chicken coop while parachuting down, he offered the farmer money for the damages, and it was refused.   All the soldiers were offered rakija….

“They fed us and gave us rakija” a strong Serbian plum brandy, Friend said. “Of course, at first we thought it was water, but we soon found out we were wrong. I still have the taste of that brandy in my mouth.”


Friend said the airmen were hidden in villages by Serbian guerrilla fighters, known as Chetniks, who were led by Mihailovic. The prewar military officer launched the first Balkan resistance against the Nazis in 1941, before also turning against the communists led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito.

“Mihailovic told us that an American escape committee has been formed and that an airstrip will be built to help our rescue,” said Friend, adding that he spent two months sheltered by the Serbs

Mihailovic eventually lost political power when world leaders began to support Tito and his partizans, and he was later put to death.

According to historians, President Roosevelt then decided to follow British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s lead and abandon support for Mihailovic in favor of Tito’s partizans, the strongest grass-roots guerrilla force fighting the invading Nazis and Italian fascists.

“This was a purely political decision,” Friend said. “In the first two years of the war, there were no partisans fighting the Nazis in Yugoslavia.”

Increasingly isolated, Mihailovic was alleged to have later collaborated with the Germans. After the war, when communist Yugoslavia was established, he was sentenced to death in what many claimed was a rigged trial. He was put to death in 1946.


It’s a good story.  Given all the negative press surrounding Serbia right now, I think it is a positive message and worth reading.



3 thoughts on “WWII airman seeks justice for late Serb general

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dra%C5%BEa_Mihailovi%C4%87

    Seems like an American life was always worth more than the “other” ethnicity one on these here Balkan hills.

    He planned and executed ethnic cleansing for the benefit of the idea of Great Serbia. Even if he saved a thousand Bambies in the process, I still wouldn’t have a problem with the fact he was shot to death. And I oppose death penalty in (almost) any form.

  2. Thank you for posting. He did a lot of good but politics will be politics and there will always be multiple views of any individual.

  3. Goran,

    The history is written by those who hanged heroes. None of that Nazi collaboration crap was actually proven, and his responsibility for ethnic cleansing is also disputable. He never had a fair trial.

    That wikipedia article is clearly written by commie lovers and people who hold a grudge against Serbia (Croatian nationalists and Muslims). Why doesn’t anyone talk about the massive murders done by communists after and during the WWII? I mean, every few months there’s a new mass grave discovered, like those in Slovenian mines. Those who ordered those killings also killed Draza.

    So Goran, don’t talk about things you don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s