Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić visited the Greek islands of Corfu and Vido and laid a wreath at a mausoleum on Vido dedicated to the World War I soldiers of the Serbian Army. The mayor and citizens of Corfu and delegations from the Church of Greece, military, and police attended the commemoration of the day in World War I when the Serbian Army landed from Allied transport ships on the Greek islands after retreating through Albania. Dačić said in his address, “This is where Serbia was dying, and it’s where Serbia should be remembering (its history). Here, Serbia should live, live for those who gave their lives for it”. Recalling the events of the retreat, Dačić said that the undefeated Serbian army and some of the civilian refugees found refuge in a well-disposed Greece, which opened its heart and embraced the heroes of the new century. He pointed up the historical fact that only one in five of the 750,000 Serbian soldiers who went to war managed to reach Corfu, and that victory cost Serbia more than a million deaths and the loss of half of its male population. A large portion of the Serbian soldiers who reached the Greek islands died from exhaustion, food shortage, and various diseases and most were buried at sea near Vido, at the mouth of the port of Corfu. Dačić said, “An entire Serbia was buried nameless in this blue grave. It was a war in which Serbia became famous, a time when (Mustafa Kemal) Atatürk and (Eleftherios Kyriakou) Venizelos compared it to the Spartans, when German Emperor Wilhelm said that he’d like to have Serbia as an ally, and the French parliament resounded with the words ‘Long live Serbia’. The Albanian Golgotha and the stay of the Serbs on Corfu and Vido from 1916 until 1918 are woven into the collective conscience of our people as a period of ancient tragedy, unselfish heroism, and true humanity”.
27 September 2013