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Thomas a. emmert
erated Serbia. On February 6, 1889, Male Novine (The Lit- tle Newspaper) insisted that the commemoration should be observed in Kruševac, Lazar’s medieval capital. The Ser- bian government quickly took the initiative and submitted a set of suggestions for the celebration to the regency, which included: (1) a commemoration in all parts of Serbia; (2) the laying of a foundation stone in Kruševac for a monu- ment to the heroes of Kosovo; (3) state support for the print- ing of new editions of the Kosovo epic; (4) the establish- ment of a new Order of Prince Lazar which would be award- ed only to the Serbian ruler and his heir apparent; and (5) the coronation of aleksandar Obrenović as King of Serbia in the monastery of Žiča as a part of the celebration.16 On april 12, 1889 it was announced in Belgrade that a commis- sion of 15 had begun to organize the main commemoration to be held in Kruševac. Both Ruma and Belgrade, there- fore, had commissions for official celebrations; their plans progressed simultaneously.
as the day of the commemoration drew near, tensions began to mount in those South Slavic areas controlled by austria-Hungary. as of april 1889, no one was permitted to travel in the empire without a great passport, and no Serbs were given such passports for travel in any southerly and easterly directions. imperial police began to guard all roads which faced Serbia and deterred any Serb who wished to travel during the two or three days before the actual cel- ebration.17 and the authorities did what they could to stop plans which were already underway. They seized the com- mittee’s funds for the celebration in Ruma and also confis- cated 2,000 commemorative medallions in Novi Sad. They required the bishop of Budim, arsenije Stojković, and the archbishop of Vršac, Nektarije Dimitrijević, to inform their priests and teachers that they were forbidden to give any sermons or talks on the subject of Kosovo or to hold any kind of commemorative meeting. in some areas of Hun- gary, presidents of Serbian choral societies were told that their organizations would be abolished if they participated in the Kosovo commemoration.
Sympathetic newspapers attempted to demonstrate their frustration with these restrictions. in Novi Sad Bra- nik (The Defender) complained to the government because of the obstacles it was placing in the way of a church holi- day. The newspaper suggested that the government want- ed to make the commemoration a political demonstration and that the only result of its restrictions would be to inter- est more people in the event. in Zagreb on june 22nd, 1889 Obzor (The Horizon) reminded the austrians and Hun- garians of the apparent double standard with which they operated. in 1881 the Hungarians had commemorated the end of Ottoman authority in their own land, while in 1883 the austrians had enjoyed a very festive 300th anniversary
16 Budimka Kovbasko, “Petstogodišnjica Kosovske bitke”, Bagda- la 2, 14–15 (May-june, 1960), pp. 1f.
17 Petrović, op cit., p. 4. 378
celebration of their showdown with the Turks at Vienna.18 even one austrian newspaper seemed to understand the consequence of political repression. in june the Viennese Vaterland argued that the Hungarian and Croatian author- ities were only making the commemoration of Kosovo more popular. The paper suggested that if these authorities had not interfered, the event would have stayed within its bor- ders.19
The popularity of the event did indeed spread far be- yond the borders of Serbia and the Vojvodina. in Zagreb Bishop Strossmayer encouraged the commemoration, while some of his supporters even sought an extraordinary ses- sion of the Zagreb city “opština” so that the city could claim an official role in the commemoration. From the beginning of june in Obzor there was a concerted effort to build pub- lic support in Croatia for the commemoration.20 in spite of harassment from the authorities, the newspaper contin- ued to publish whatever bits of news it had about the ap- proaching commemoration. although several issues were banned during the month, the paper managed to put out an issue on june 27th, which included the following:
Whoever among the Serbs rose up to lead whatever part of his people to freedom, he always appeared with the wreath of Kosovo around his head to say with a full voice: This, O people, is what we are, what we want, and what we can do And we Croatians—brothers by blood desire with the Serbs —today shout for joy: Praise to the eternal Serbian Kosovo heroes who with their blood made certain that the desire for freedom and glory would never die Glory to them and to that people who gave them birth.21
it was such sentiment which guaranteed resistance from the authorities. Khuen-Hedervary, the Budapest-appoint- ed ban of Croatia, prohibited all commemorations in his jurisdiction. a few days before a planned Kosovo memo- rial in Zagreb, the president of the committee for the com- memoration received the following decision from the gov- ernment: “To the Honorable Committee for the commem- oration of Kosovo, headed by President Franjo arnold, in Zagreb: Regarding your petition, received on the 18th of this month, we inform you that the announced concert of celebration in commemoration of the Battle of Kosovo, which the singing society intended to perform on the 27th of this month, is prohibited, on the basis of the order of the high presidium of the territorial government of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia made on the 6th of this month.”22
although the ban succeeded in preventing a large, pub- lic memorial, he was unable to stop a requiem mass in Za- greb’s Orthodox church and a commemorative session of the Yugoslav academy of arts and Sciences. at 5:00 p.m.
18 “Politički pregled”, Obzor, No 143 (june 22, 1889), p. 1.
19 “Politički pregled”, Obzor, No 144 (june 24, 1889), p. 2.
20 Cf. ivan Nevistić, “Hrvati i proslava 500 godišnjice Kosovske
bitke”, Narodna odbrana, XiV (june 28, 1939), No 25–27, pp. 401ff. 21 “NaVidovdan1889”,Obzor,No147(june27,1889),p.1.
22 No 16.104. cited in Obzor, No 145 (june 25, 1889), p. 3.

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