On the occasion of this year’s European Heritage Days, another guided stroll through the New Cemetery of Belgrade was organized on September 30, 2018. The significant number of visitors who attended the event, were able to hear the intriguing stories about people who chose politics and diplomacy as their careers, in addition to those who entered into this merciless arena from other professions.
Following the short history of the New Cemetery from its beginnings to the present day, the visitors were able to see the final resting places of significant individuals, such as: Jovan Ristić – professor, politician, two-times regent on behalf of under-aged monarchs and historian by vocation; Anastas Jovanović, the first Serbian photographer and Royal Chamberlain of the Prince Mihajlo Obrenović of Serbia; politicians Ilija Garašanin, Andra Nikolić and many others. For the first time, the visitors heard the stories on diplomatic service of the famous authors and poets, representatives of so-called „Golden Age of Serbian Diplomacy“: Rastko Petrović, Milan Rakić, Branislav Nušić, Ivo Andrić and Miloš Crnjnaski, including the tales on decisive moments in Serbian history, love and deception, intrigues and scandals. The visitors saw the burial Chappell of Field Marshal Radomir Putnik and the Serbian Ossuary of Belgrade Defenders, the biggest WWI memorial in Serbia at the time.
Among numerous interesting characters, laid to rest at this monumental cemetery, we’ve chosen the story on almost forgotten intellectual, politician and diplomat, Momčilo Ninčić:
Momčilo Ninčić was the professor of economy, politician and diplomat, who earned his doctoral degree at Sorbonne University in Paris. He was the Belgrade University Professor, Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts and Minister of External Affairs. Moreover, he was the first Serbian President of the League of Nations, predecessor of the United Nations (1926/27). At the dawn of the WWII, he was one of the local politicians, who were of the opinion that Yugoslavia should honor its obligations under the Tripartite Pact (Berlin Pact), hoping that this would contribute to preserving of piece and territorial integrity of the country. Subsequent to WWII, Momčilo Ninčić was condemned by the new communist regime and stripped of civil dignity and honor. He passed away in Switzerland in 1949, while his remains were later transferred to the New Cemetery of Belgrade. Momčilo Ninčić was legally rehabilitated in compliance with the decision of the Regional Court in Belgrade in 2006. The most fascinating fact about Momčilo Niničić was the idea on unification of Europe, he voiced in the wake of WWI. Namely, he taught that the first step should be the regional cooperation, which would inevitably lead to establishing of the united Europe. Brother and son of Momčilo Ninčić were also in diplomatic service.