Archives of Memories: Presentations of the History of Novi Bečej through Anecdotes, Photographs and Untold Stories

Breathe life into the forgotten stories of Novi Bečej through our rich collection of articles dedicated to people and events from the past. Travel through the ages, exploring the colorful array of historical moments that shaped our city. Here, memories and reality meet, bringing old streets, stories and events to life through interesting anecdotes, untold legends and rare photographs. Experience Novi Bečej from a new angle, through the eyes of the past that shaped our present, while we try to preserve the spirit and heritage that makes our city unique.

Medieval fortress near Novi Bečej

Medieval fortress near Novi Bečej

Throughout history, the Tisa River, like a Pannonian beauty, has offered many benefits and posed a great challenge for settlements and fortified control points to form along its banks since prehistoric times. Barely visible ruins of the "old town," a kilometer upstream from the center of Novi Bečej, silently testify to a little-known history of this area. Undoubtedly, this crossing has been used since ancient times, not only for Roman military campaigns against barbarians but also for developed trade.

The Cholera Epidemic in Turkish (New) Bečej in 1872/1873.

Thanks to the notary István Pethe (Pethe István), who used an exceptionally beautiful handwriting and clear sentences, my reading and understanding were greatly facilitated, as well as understanding of each of his records. Reading the minutes from the Municipal Council meeting for the years 1872 and 1873 {when familiar figures appeared as deputies: István Ištvanfi, Jovan Maletić, György Lukseder (Luxeder Győrgy), Dr. Aladar Tausig (Tauszig Aladár), Gedeon Rohonci (Rohonczy Gedeon), Aladar Rohonci (Aladár Rohonczy), Lazar Zaharević, Count Josef Betlen (Bethlen József), Gyula Urban (Urbán Gyula)}, gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with events relevant to our town for that period.

Medieval (or ancient?) tunnels in the center of Novi Bečej

Medieval (or ancient?) tunnels in the center of Novi Bečej

The valid General Urban Plan for Novi Bečej adopted in 1984 gradually lost its relevance over time, prompting the Novi Bečej Municipal Assembly to adopt a new General Plan for the settlement of Novi Bečej during the session held on June 6, 2005. The following month, precisely on July 25, 2005, it was published in issue 12 of the Official Gazette of the Novi Bečej Municipality.

Revolt against the war: Ivo Lola Ribar and the meeting in Kumane in 1936.

Revolt against the war: Ivo Lola Ribar and the meeting in Kumane in 1936.

On November 11, 1936, at the initiative of the youth, a rally against war was held in Kumane. At this gathering, attended by about a thousand citizens, mostly young people, twenty-year-old Ivo Lola Ribar spoke. Few places, not only in Vojvodina but also in the country, have such a rich revolutionary past as the Banat village of Kumane. In terms of development, strength, and massiveness of the workers' revolutionary movement, Kumane is classified - as chronicles record - among those exceptional places with a long revolutionary tradition. This well-known village was long imbued with ideas of freedom and socialism.

Who is Arnold Fajn from Novi Bečej?

This pseudonym hides a participant of the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. A revolutionary and rebel, today he is almost forgotten by everyone, including the people of Novi Bečej.

Roman Filipčev (A. Fajn) was born in Turski Bečej on February 12, 1885. Having learned the confectionery trade early, he married young, and in 1914, his son Milenko was born. Mobilized into the Austro-Hungarian army at the outbreak of the First World War, he went to the Eastern Front, where he became a deserter in September 1917.

Count Leiningen-Westerburg Károly (1819-1849)

Count Leiningen-Westerburg Károly (1819-1849)

Count Károly Leiningen of Westerburg was a scion of the famous aristocratic family from Hesse, whose lineage can be traced back to the late 11th century. The Leiningen family even had connections with the English royal house, through Queen Victoria. The Leiningen family was characterized by the fact that many of its members pursued military careers in the Habsburg Monarchy.

Ištvan Koren, Sculptor

Ištvan Koren, Sculptor

Turkish (Novi) Bečej, May 6, 1911 – Budapest, October 8, 1994.
Invited by the Turkish Bečej Evangelical Church community in 1901, Pala Koren was chosen to come to Turkish Bečej. He settled in the parish house of the church with his wife Kasner Gizela Ilona, serving the Protestant communities of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo until 1917 before moving to Veliki Bečkerek, where he continued his service until 1919.

The Women's Kharkov Institute in Novi Bečej

The Women's Kharkov Institute in Novi Bečej

Between the two World Wars, the Women's Kharkov Institute existed in Novi Bečej, leaving a significant cultural footprint in our town. It was founded on April 29, 1812, in imperial Russia. The October Revolution of 1917 had a considerable impact on the institute's future activities. In April 1918, it came under the patronage of Empress Maria Feodorovna. The "revolutionary events" in Russia led the wards and staff of this educational institution to relocate to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Lazar Mečkić

Lazar Mečkić

Lazar Mečkić was born in the village of Kumane on September 8, 1917, and moved to Novi Bečej with his parents in 1928. He completed primary and secondary school in Novi Bečej, and then pursued higher education in economics in Belgrade.

In 1946, he moved to Zrenjanin and began working at the Sugar Factory. Shortly after, he was employed in the Ministry of Industry's office, where he remained for five years before moving to work in Kaštele, then Pančevo, and back to Belgrade in the office of the Federal Chamber of Commerce. He also worked as a representative of the Chamber of Commerce of Yugoslavia in Budapest.

Dr. Vladimir Glavaš

Dr. Vladimir Glavaš

He was born in 1834 into a wealthy family in Vranjevo, the son of Pavle (Pavel) and mother Persida, born Čorbakov. Their ancestors were Serbian border guards of the Potisje-Pomoriška military border, who did not move to Imperial Russia after its disarmament in 1751. Instead, they founded Franjevo, which remained part of the Veliki Kikind district for over a century and a half with special imperial privileges. Vranjevo became one of the main centers for exporting Banat wheat, and many Vranjevo residents, including the Glavaš family, quickly became wealthy. Vladimir's father was one of them, engaged in trade in Pozsony (Bratislava), where he sent his son to school. Vladimir attended the lyceum in 1851 and the gymnasium for the next two years. He studied law in the same city and obtained his doctorate on October 30, 1862, in Prague. During his education, he often socialized with the later famous Jovan Jovanović Zmaj.

125th Anniversary of the Railway Line V. Kikinda - V. Bečkerek

125th Anniversary of the Railway Line V. Kikinda - V. Bečkerek

The principle of the first steam locomotive, which still operates today, is associated with the name Trevithick Richard. However, George Stephenson's locomotive was the first to traverse the Stockton - Darlington line in England in 1825. In Austria, the first steam-powered railway was opened on November 17, 1837, on the Floridsdorf - Wagram line. According to the plan of the Royal Hungarian Minister of Public Works from 1867, the construction of railway lines began, including the Budapest - Pančevo line, passing through Kikinda and Timișoara.

Dr. Laslo Pataki

Dr. Laslo Pataki

Immediately after the New Year of 2006, in January, the municipality of Novi Bečej lost its recently best doctor. Having celebrated his 79th birthday, primary care physician Dr. Laslo Pataki, a pediatrician, passed away—a man who enjoyed deep respect and integrity in his community. Dr. Pataki was loved by everyone, regardless of their national, religious, political, or social affiliation. He belonged to the true, but unfortunately dwindling, folk doctors who did not see their profession as a mere vocation but considered their medical calling a mission. He not only assisted people in the narrow professional sense as a pediatrician but literally everywhere, at all times, and for everyone.

Fragments from the history of the Bečej Fortress

On the occasion of the nine centuries since the first written mention of this historical locality, rich with events of the former medieval fortress, built on a sandy island between today's Novi Bečej and Bečej, it has rarely been the subject of interest for historians and enthusiasts of the past. Except for the only comprehensive work by Rudolf Šmit, who wrote about this fortress half a century ago, information about this fortified city in sources and literature is only mentioned fragmentarily, making it very difficult to perform a more complete reconstruction of the events and occurrences related to the existence of our "city," as we, the present-day residents of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo, fondly call it.

Aleksandra Zadonska – Madam

Aleksandra Zadonska – Madam

(December 27, 1897, Kharkov – December 13, 1981, Novi Bečej)

Aleksandra Zadonska was born in the Russian city of Kharkov on December 27, 1897, to father Ivan Zadonski and mother Nadežda1. The exact date of her arrival in Novi Bečej is unknown, but it is certain that the Zadonski family found themselves in Switzerland during the Russian October Revolution. As members of the higher bourgeois class, they could not return to their country and found refuge in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes – in Belgrade. They lived there for some time until after the death of the family head, when Aleksandra Zadonska came to Novi Bečej around 1925.

Short History of Novi Bečej

Short History of Novi Bečej

It is very challenging to briefly present the rich political, cultural, primarily multi-ethnic and multi-confessional history of our town, risking repeating much that may be known to you. However, I will attempt to convey what, in my opinion, is most important for our place in historical terms.

On the banks of the Tisza River, living in these areas was likely challenging and beautiful three millennia before the new era, as evidenced by archaeological Neolithic remains from around three thousand years BC at Matejski brod, and later from the Bronze Age at Borđoš, Šimuđ, and others. The first written sources date back to the 11th century, precisely to the year 1091. Though it cannot be definitively confirmed that this charter refers to our Bečej, it describes the Vandals plundering the Kumans, led by a certain Kapolča, likely crossing the Tisza around that location.

History of Two Cities or the Fallacy of Historical Science

History of Two Cities or the Fallacy of Historical Science

History of Two Cities or the Fallacy of Historical Science

When preparations were underway for the celebration of the 900th anniversary of our city, there was a small dilemma regarding the question: should this be celebrated as 900 years of existence or 900 years since the first mention of the name "BEČEJ" in history? We opted for the latter. We believe that this is a better solution for several reasons. We will mention just two:

  • This solution justifies the celebration of 900 years by both the cities of Bečej and Novi Bečej.
  • It may happen that a future researcher establishes an earlier date concerning the mention of the name "Bečej." There is evidence on this matter, and we will revisit it shortly.
Teodora – Toda Boberić

Teodora – Toda Boberić

... born Arsenović, was born in Novi Bečej (Vranjevo) in 1886. She is considered one of the most successful actresses of the National Theatre in Belgrade during her career from 1906 to 1956. Her significance for the history of Serbian theater is manifold. In addition to great success in dramatic repertoire, Teodora also excelled as an interpreter of leading roles in popular musical plays (Koštana, Tašana, Čučuk Stana), as well as a pioneer of Serbian opera, where she played important roles such as Acučena in Il Trovatore and Carmen in the eponymous piece.

Ognjeslav Kostović (1851-1916), Inventor and Constructor

Ognjeslav KostovićIn the now dilapidated house at 6 Žarko Zrenjanin Street (next to the municipal office) in Novi Bečej, the noble Kostović family once lived. Ognjeslav's grandfather, Jovan, came to Vranjevo as a grain merchant and, through his origins and connections, amassed significant wealth for that time. His son Stevan, Ognjeslav's father, was born in Vranjevo and continued the grain trading business. Building grain warehouses by the Tisa River, he exported Banat wheat through his export-trading business in Budapest across the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. According to research by M. Stanisavljev, it is noted that Stevan's sons, Ognjeslav and Vladislav, were raised in the Orthodox faith, while his daughters, Rozalija, Gizela, and Ester, were raised in the Catholic faith, as their mother, Jelisaveta (Eržebet) Dorner, followed that denomination.

The Jewish Synagogue in Novi Bečej

The Jewish Synagogue in Novi Bečej

Jews settled in Novi Bečej at the beginning of the 19th century. By 1845, they had their own Jewish community, indicating their economic strength. They were primarily engaged in trade. Historical documents note that in 1850, there were 154 Jews in the town.

The extent of their economic power is evident in the fact that by 1865, they could start the construction of a synagogue, with the final reconstruction and arrangement completed by 1871. They strategically built their place of worship on the road to Vranjevo from Novi Bečej, which were two administrative municipalities at that time. Although only one Jewish family lived in Vranjevo at that time, the Jews of Novi Bečej likely planned to settle in larger numbers in this predominantly Serbian settlement.

Aleksandar Berić

Aleksandar Berić

He was born on June 13, 1906, in Novi Bečej. He graduated from the Military Academy in Dubrovnik in 1929. Shortly thereafter, he became a lieutenant of the first-class warship and the commander of one of the four river monitors that the Kingdom of Yugoslavia had at the time, specifically the monitor "Drava," which patrolled the Sava River the most.

The military ship weighed 526 tons, had a speed of 13 knots per hour. It had two cannons and three 120mm caliber howitzers in turrets, along with two anti-aircraft guns of 66mm and seven machine guns.

In the April War of 1941, he supported the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army towards the south. With the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia on April 10 and the Hungarian attack on Yugoslavia the next day, fierce battles began on the Sava River.

Paulina Pava Sudarski

Paulina Pava Sudarski

Novi Bečej, July 14, 1914 – Sutjeska, June 13, 1943.

In her hometown, she completed elementary school and one year of high school, after which she moved to Belgrade, where she finished high school and the Art School under the guidance of Professor Ljuba Ivanović. From 1937 to 1940, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in the class of Petar Dobrović.

In 1937, she became a member of SKOJ (Communist Youth League) and the youth section of the "Women's Movement" Society. The establishment of the youth section and the women's movement in Belgrade, along with the activism of communist women, created the conditions for the launch of the magazine "Žena danas" (Woman Today). One of the most active collaborators of the magazine was Paulina Sudarski.

Dubravka Nešović

Dubravka Nešović

Dubravka Nešović, an outstanding interpreter of old urban songs and romances, was born on August 31, 1932, in Novi Bečej. Dubravka's parents, her Belgrade-born mother Nataša Nešović and Novi Bečej father Milorad Majin, were actors in the Novi Sad-Banat traveling theater. Due to their profession, which required frequent travel, Dubravka was coincidentally born during one of their tours, almost on the stage itself.

"I was born on stage; my mother played Act I, felt unwell in Act II, and in Act III, I came into the world!"

Žarko Dragić – Medical Phenomenon

Žarko Dragić – Medical Phenomenon

(1924-1982)

In addition to its geographical location near the Tisa River and landmarks like the medieval church Arača, Matejski brod, Borđoš, and the ruins of the old town, Novi Bečej produced renowned scientists, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs. Among its simple and hardworking residents was a particularly interesting individual – my neighbor, Žarko.

Eugen Nedić

Eugen Nedić

On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the birth of Eugen Nedić – Dr. Jene Sentklarai (1843-1925), Doctor of Theology and our distinguished historian

Our renowned historian, Dr. Jene Sentklarai, was born in Vranjevo on January 21, 1843, as Eugen Nedić, to father Naum Nedić, a Serbian of Vlach origin, and mother Žofija Salai, a Hungarian from Čantavir. In the house, whose present address would be Svetozara Markovića 24, both Serbian and Hungarian languages were spoken. Jene Sentklarai (then still Eugen Nedić) completed elementary school in Vranjevo, in the Serbian language, while attending high school in Veliki Bečkerek in German.

Mr. Ladislav Gulović (1881-1967)

Mr. Ladislav Gulović (1881-1967)

Ladislav Gulović wasn't born in Novi Bečej, but with forty years spent in our town, working in his pharmacy, he remained in the memory of several generations of our residents as a skilled master of his pharmaceutical craft. He graduated in pharmacy in Budapest at the beginning of the 20th century, around 1906. He worked in several cities in European countries, including Belgrade.

The Little Boat - The Last Voyage of the Boat that Transported Passengers Between Novi and Stari Bečej

The Little Boat - The Last Voyage of the Boat that Transported Passengers Between Novi and Stari Bečej

The Tisa River, once the beauty of the Pannonian Plain, still retains its charm despite the current pollution of its waters. Throughout history, it has often shown its temper, especially in "collaboration" with Aeolus, the god of winds. The end of summer in the Potisje region was often marked by various storms, but September 12, 1931, is recorded as one of the most tragic events on the river near our town.