Radojko Jovanović, alias Rade Drainac, was born on August 4th, 1899 in the village of Trbunje, near Blace. His short but (too) turbulent life was ended at State Hospital in Belgrade on May 1st, 1943.
He was buried on parcel 38 (grave 509), without the place of residence and without the nearest relatives at the funeral, as it was written in the registry of the deceased.
This authentic bohemian was ignored because he could not be fit into the communist cliché of the literary-political elite, immediately after the Second World War. Without dealing with the form as much as other poets of his time, seeking constantly within one and the similar, he was convinced that the original poetic speech was more important than form, and that was something he was successful in during his most successful moments.
His anacreon stanza, when he used it, with a sharp rhythmic cut in the fourth verse, makes him unique in our lyric poetry. Nevertheless, we expect the reevaluation of his lyric poetry and of our region as well, the satisfaction because it gave one such personality.
Čika Duško Jovanović
Born in the village of Trbunje in the Municipality of Blace, a lawyer by profession; the first secretary of the renewed Mountaineering Association of Serbia and president of the Mountaineering Society “Pobeda” for thirty years with headquarters in Belgrade; a great mountaineer and mountaineering activist;
There is a mountain lodge on Rajac (Suvobor) built in 1952 by the Mountaineering Society “Pobeda” under the later name “Čika Duško’s Lodge”;
He was one of the leading activists of sokol organizations between the two wars; probably the most famous personality related to sport who came from our municipality;
The sports hall in Blace, built at the beginning of the 90’s of last century was named after him by the Decree of the Blace Municipality Assembly, dated 07.05.2003.
The greatest politician between the two world wars in the whole Toplica district. He was a member of the Democratic Party, chaired by Ljuba Davidovic, and as such he belonged mainly to the opposition, as of the end of King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic’s dictatorship.
However, he then joined the Radical Community of Yugoslavia (Jereza), a heterogeneous party, which supported the governments after the 1935 elections and which consisted of Serb elements under the Mr Stojadinović, Slovenian clericals under the Mr Korošec, and Bosnian Muslims under the Mr Spaho, unpopular in the broad masses due to Mr. Stojadinovic who had no understanding and loyalty to democratic principles; so he became a member of the first government of Milan Stojadinovic (from June 24, 1935 to December 21, 1938, first as a Minister of Peoples’ Education, and from the end of 1937 as a Minister of Public Works), and the second government of Dr. Stojadinović (from December 22, 1938 to February 5, 1939, as a Minister of Forestry and Mining);
He helped a lot his fellow countryman Rade Drainac to reach the most important publishers in Belgrade to print his works, since they were very close.
He is considered to be the largest endower of Blace.
He was elementally literate, a sergeant in the famous II Infantry Regiment “Prince Mihajlo” (“Iron Regiment”).
One of the first members of the chetnik komita organization of Kosta Milovanović – Pećanac; diligent and capable, he created Rasina detachment at the command post, with almost 1,500 chetniks who liberated Blace during the Toplica uprising, where he becomes the first commander of Blace; he was closer to Kosta Vojinović during the uprising, and his wife Rosa was also an important player of the uprising (she was killed by communists at the end of the Second World War).
Although he donated land for the construction of the school in Lazarevac after First World War, where he lived, after the Second World War his property was confiscated because he and his wife were represented as the enemies and members of the “perjanica” during rebellion of people in 1917; as a member of the Draža Mihailović Chetniks, the legal Minister of the Army and Navy in the governments of prof. Dr. Slobodan Jovanović and Miloš Trifunović in London, he died of typhus in Bosnia and was buried in the church yard in Modriča.
Rados Jovanović – Selja (1912-1965)
He comes from a large, at that time famous family community, whose founder Jovan – Joza Jovanović settled in the village of Donje Grgure near Blace after the liberation of Toplica in 1878.
He was engaged in educational and pedagogical work at the Lower Agricultural School mainly in Prokuplje and after studying in Dresden he received the approval of the Morava Banovina Administration in Niš to specialize the enology in the French city of Toulouse where he graduated at Agricultural Faculty in Toulouse in 1940 and obtained the title of agronomy engineer.
He was not a member of the CPY until the Second World War, so he became a member of this political organization at the beginning of the war, and during the war he was one of the most prominent party workers and antifascist soldiers throughout the Toplica region, and as a secretary of the CPY Committee for Toplica District he contributed to the liberation of Blace in the Second World War, on Dormition of the Mother of God in 1944, by breakthrough of the Operational Group Divisions under the command of Peko Dapčević.
After the war, one of the highest political officials not only in Toplica, a Member of the Parliament as a candidate of the People’s Front, on the first elections on November 11th, 1945. and Member of the Parliament of the Republic from the autumn of 1947; he was Assistant Minister for Industry, and from 04.12.1946. until 05.9.1948. Minister of Finance in the Dr Blagoje Nešković’s Government of the People’s Republic of Serbia.
After finishing his diplomatic career he was elected as a Member of the Federal Parliament in 1963 and was active in the Foreign Policy Committee of the Federal Assembly until his tragic death, which occurred on December 13th, 1965. on the road from Toplica, between Jagodina and Ćuprija, in his passenger car.
He was the diplomatic representative of the highest rank of the FPRY. Ambassador: in Romania (from 1948 to February 1950), in Greece (1950 – 1954), in Brazil (1955 – 1957) and in Bulgaria (1957 – 1962), and in the meantime (1948.) he was also the attorney of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Government of the FPRY, led by Josip Broz – Tito.
He was born in Suvaja around 1900. and until the wars in 1912, he could not acquire significant literacy; he received a poetic gift referring to scarce literature, folk and artistic poetry from the course books; as a teenager he joined the rebellious people of the south and east of Serbia during the so-called Toplica Uprising as early in March 1917, because he could listen and see all important people and events in the whirl of events, and sing about them, as Filip Višnjić did. His poetic work was reduced to the poet’s diary. He sang in epic decasyllable, so-called “Serbian verse”.
According to Blace writer Dragoljub Avramovic-Gocan, “thanks to him, Toplica Uprising was not just an episode from the lives of one nation” (“Nastava i zavičaj” 1996).
In mid 1932, most probably in a Chetnik association press from Kuršumlija, his book “Toplički ustanak u narodnim pesmama” (“Toplica Uprising in Folk Poems”), essentially a decasyllabic with compulsory and intrusive rhymes, was published.
He died of tuberculosis at the State Hospital in Belgrade.
Dragoljub Gocan Avramović
Dragoljub Gocan Avramović
Born in 1931, he practically spent a whole half-century working engagement in Blace, there where he was born and where he used to teach, mostly as a high school teacher of national language.
Considering his patriotic obligation to contribute to the Blace area beyond his profession, he wrote the following:
- Vek školstva u Blacu (A Century of Schooling in Blace) (1890-1990)
- Toplički ustanak u pesmama Save Vukomanovića (Toplica Uprising in the poems of Sava Vukomanović)
- Nastava i zavičaj (Teaching and Homeland) and
- Albinov protivgambit (Albinoʼs Countergambit) (novel, two editions: 2003 and 2004)
By all means, his assistance in preserving the history of Blace from oblivion is immense, in all aspects of the society.
He was politically engaged and he was the first president of the Serbian Renewal Movement local organization, he was elected as a member of the Municipality of Blace Assembly according to the majority electoral system in the area where he lived (1996-2000) on the list of the coalition “Together”.
He lived until January 2006.
In the atmosphere of town cannibalism and inquisitorial exorcism, in the arena of superior red demagogic populism, pseudo-avant-gardism, social darwinism and chameleon careerism, envy, malice and hypocrisy, by his reclusive persistence and resistance he managed to preserve his edifying dignity, purity of knowledge and personal integrity, as well as professional and moral, natural gentility.
Dr Dragoljub V. Mirković, “Topličke novine”, III / 2006.
Kosta Vojinović 1891-1917
Warfare was once a frequent and reluctant vocation in Toplica and Kosanica. In this area, the cradle of liberty, highlanders heroically defended freedom, honor, dignity and ancestors’ hearthstones with their bare hands. Today there is a story around those hearthstones about the national rebellion on the south of Serbia, about Toplica Uprising in 1917, when people rose against the violence of the occupying German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies.
The people from this region, the only one in the enslaved Europe, rebelled against recruiting of Serbian young men to the Bulgarian army, the terror of the occupiers and the intention of Bulgarians to, by recruiting capable Serbs aged 17-50, send them to the war and force them to point the rifle on their brothers.
Groups of outlaws first appeared in the forests and villages of Kopaonik. Among their leaders one of the most prominent was Kosta Vojinović Kosovac, a reserve lieutenant of the Serbian army, born in Smederevo in 1891, a student of the Higher Trade Academy in Vienna. In the Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913 he was in the Jadran Chetniks Department of Major Vojin Popović. Before the war he was often seen in Belgrade cafe “Zlatna moruna”, the favourite place of Young Bosnia members and other patriots. His family relocated from Vučitrn to Smederevo, hence his name Kosovac. Vojinović got wounded during the withdrawal of the Serbian army in Kosovska Mitrovica and stayed with his father Jovan, who was in railroad service in this town.
Upon healing, in 1916, he formed Ibar-Kopaonik Komita Detachment on Kopaonik mountain, which had Žuč, Lukovo and Blaževo municipalities from Kosanica district and Trbunje and Blace municipalities from Prokuplje district under its administration.
Kosta Vojinovic, brave and fearless, upon forming a detachment, intercepted and destroyed Austro-Hungarian Gendarmery troops on Kopaonik. He often came to Toplica and started skirmish with Bulgarians. He travelled to villages and formed the comita troops, seeking to gain the trust of people and to ensure the continuous expansion of the network of people’s resistance.
According to the surviving comitas as weel as ordinary people with whom Vojinović met on daily baisis in the areas of Toplica, Kosanica, Kopaonik and southern Serbia, he gave the impression of a very capable officer who was able to gain people. Wherever he appeared, according to the warriors from these parts, he seemed confident, trustworthy and reliable, and at the same time he represented a danger to the occupiers.
Next winter, 13-26th February, the rebels liberated Kuršumlija. Vojinović declareed an uprising there and it quickly spreaded, crossing the borders of Kosanica and Toplica to Jablanica, Rasina and Ponišavlje. Blace, Prokuplje, Lebane, Medvedja, Ribarska Banja, Sokobanja were liberated, the rebels entered the suburbs of Niš …
The liberated territory, with 13,000 rebels, could not defend itself for a long time. The combined forces of the occupiers, with five divisions, suppressed the uprising in blood and continued with brutal violence in the areas of Toplica, Kosanica, Jablanica, Pusta Reka, Pomoravlje and Rasina. A pogrom against the population from these areas was terrible. In the subkopaonik region many villages were burned to the ground: Sagonjevo, Seoce, Belo Polje, Mrče, Kalimanci, Blaževo, Konjuva, Iričići, Krčmare …
In the second half of March 1917 the occupier took a broad action to capture voivode Vojinović.
In the village of Grgure, where Vojinović came to celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day – patron saint’s day in December 1917, battles with Bulgarians were conducted for several days. Seeing that he was surrounded with the occupiers, voivode hid away into a water mill in Cerovica. He saved the last bullet for himself in order not to fall into the arms of the enemy.
At the enemy’s offer to surrender, he replied: “It doesn’t appeal to the honorable Serbian officer to surrender alive. I am the least worried about my life because I sacrificed it for my own people. And until we become free, there will be others who will go among the people and remind them that it’s time to break free by themselves, so if it’s not a Vojinović, there will be others. ”
His last desire to be buried at the place of death was fulfilled by the occupier. Vojinovic was buried there, beside the water mill, and after the liberation, captain from Prepolica Vukoje Todorović, Vojinović’s cousin (Vukoje’s wife and Kosta Vojinović’s mother were sisters), transferred the remains of the leader of the uprising from Cerovica to the village cemetery in Gornje Grgure. In the churchyard of St. John’s Church in Gornjie Grgure, where a traditional annual manifestation is held on July 7th, a monument was built dedicated to Kosta Vojinović.
The monument was also dedicated to priest from Grgure Dimitrije Dimitrijević, who was a teacher in Barbatovac for some time, one of the seven volunteers who took Vojinović’s letter to the Serbian Supreme Command in Thessaloniki from Babice on Kopaonik by foot as well as to Vojinović’s comrades and victims of the Toplica Uprising.
Although Kosta Vojinović was not from this region, his mother came from this area, he loved Toplica and used to visit it often, so people from this region consider him as one of their own …