In memory of Dasha Pavlovic and Milena Burmazevic-Josipovic
Studio Pyramid Inc. members are from the Serbian Pavlovic, Josipovic, Jankovic, Borisavljevic, Burmazevic and Avramovic families, all struggled and were victimized by the sadistic regime of Josip Broz Tito and his communists.
My father by Alexander Josipovicz
“My father , Radoje Josipovic “ The Mason” as he was nicknamed, was born 19 February 1910 in Crvica , Bosnia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was a citizen of the world. An entrepreneur by nature, he was a 3rd generation mason, specialising in the restoration of historical monuments with cultural importance .
During the Second World War, his village suffered a masscre. Some of his family members were executed in the concentration camp at Jasenovac . Marko Radulovic and George Musulin American-born Serbs, saved his life , Radulovic remaining my father’s lifelong friend. In 1961, Radulovic also acted as witness to my parents’ marriage ( 1st for my mother and 6th for my father )
After the war, my father became a fierce opponent of communism and a tireless proponent of free enterprise and freedom of speech . His fearless personality and outspoken actions got him a reputation as an “ irredenta." He was eventually imprisoned for his opposition.
My father was planning to settle in Vienna, before he was hauled off to jail. In June 1961, he was taken in the middle of the night to CZ ( central jail ) in Belgrade on orders of Aleksandar Rankovic, Marshal Josip Broz Tito's feared right hand man. At the time CZ was notorious for holding dissidents . My father spent 8 months there in solitary confinement. My mother was allowed to see him only a few times while she was also being interrogated by communist operatives about our family's activities.
I visited my dad in jail only one time. On the national holiday -- the Republic day ,29 November 1961. My mother was only 22 at the time, but had convinced the guards to allow us to visit my father. I still cherish the only photograph I have from that visit.
After 8 months my father was released without ever having been charged with a crime. He was freed at the persistent urging of Vlada Zecevic (my dad's poker buddy and a Communist national hero) and his old liberator, Radulovic, who became part of the establishment and personal friends with Tito.
But my father was a broken man. Still, he tried to fight against Communism by establishing FENIX, the first independent association of entrepreneurs. Maybe because of this, the interrogations, intimidation and personal attacks on our family never stopped. But we were not intimidated. We remained solid and as my mother would say: “WE WILL NEVER GO RED ! “
After a short illness he died on April 27, 1980 surrounded by his four children and wife Milena.
His lifelong nemesis TITO died one week later on May 4, 1980 . The local government threatened to cut our electricity supply as we played music so loud celebrating Tito's demise, but they did not dare to break our gates down . They finally left us alone.
During the times I spent with my father , visiting him on his construction sites or playing in our family garden which was hidden behind tall rod iron gates , he always taught me not to hate or blame and to never hit first. He epitomized goodness. He never dwelled on the past, or in the realm of "what ifs."
On her death bed in May 2014 , my mother told me, “I cannot wait to see him again!”
Our love for each other saved us all .”