Traditional event the Great School Lesson took place in Šumarice staging a performance of a play “The Riddled Souls“, written by Venko Andonovski and directed by Jana Maričić. Due to the coronavirus pandemic for the first time this year the Great School Lesson was held without the audience.
The wreaths at the Monument to Executed Pupils and Professors were laid by students of the First Grammar School, the Mayor of Kragujevac Nikola Dašić and the President of the City Assembly Miroslav Petrašinović, representatives of the Government of Serbia and the diplomatic corps.
The Great School Lesson this year was held in slightly different circumstances than in previous years. Despite our fight against the pandemic, we have found the way to commemorate the greatest tragedy in the city of Kragujevac history. Without intention to spread any kind of hatred, on the contrary, that remembrance is meant to imply peace, because hatred nourishes hatred and leads to even greater hatred that could repeat such a deed in the future. That’s not our wish. On the contrary, we remember it in order to spread peace and love among people, wishing the events from Kragujevac never to happen again – said Mayor Nikola Dašić.
The author Venko Andonovski dedicated a play “The Riddled Souls“ to his executed grandfather Branko Popović and his mother Verica (Popović) Andonovski. His mother was born in Kragujevac but as a girl was transferred to Skopje, where she subsequently was employed at the educational system. She was revisiting Šumarice since she was leading students’ excursions to the place.
Forgive me for being a little bit emotional for I never could have imagined that my grandfather, who’s surely looking at me from the other side right now, would be able to say that his grandson had written something about him. The story is really poignant because my mother, who is still alive and in Skopje, has been repeating all her life that she sent her father straight to death as he went out to find her a piece of bread. So, my personal connection to this tragedy is through my grandfather. On the other side, I have been dealing with the issues of evil and crime in every single play of mine. What we’ve just seen is yet another warning as well as consolation that killed people had not die in vain, because the main malaises of the humanity nowadays are amnesia and pointlessness – said Venko Andonovski.
Among the diplomatic corps attendees of the Great School Lesson every year there are representatives of the German Embassy.
For me as a representative of Germany, it is very distressing to be in this place. Being a German diplomat, one of the hardest but at the same time the most significant tasks we perform worldwide is to bow down to the victims of the Nazi terror. This is a very important task because the past can and should be a teacher, giving us a lesson how to live today and how to live in the future – said Dorothea Gieselmann, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy.