On the waves of the Tisa: A historical view of the past of the city of Novi Bečej

Discover the history and spirit of Novi Bečej through the visual treasury of the past 120 years. Our publication provides a unique opportunity to get a more complete picture of life in our city through documents, photos and postcards. Sail into the past and feel the pulse of its culture, trade and important personalities. Available to all lovers of local history!

The house of the owner of Giga Jovanović's printing house was located at the current location of the sports hall

The Story of Giga Jovanović

(1875 - 1944)
In Novi Bečej, from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, there were two printing houses. One was owned by Branko Pecarski from Vranjevo. The other was a branch of the Kikinda printing house owned by Jovan Radak, which later came into the hands of Giga Jovanović. After the end of World War II, Giga's printing house became a cooperative under the name "1. maj" and operated until the end of the 20th century.

...It begins with his arrival in Novi Bečej. The year marking this event is 1898 when Jovan Radak, a printer from Kikinda, brought Giga to Novi Bečej and opened a branch of his printing house and bookstore. Giga started working in the bookstore and printing house, which allowed him to gain knowledge and experience in these matters. Eventually, he became the owner of Radak's bookstore and printing house. His printing mark was mainly found on office materials used by courts, municipalities, schools, and shops.

He printed short content books and posters, including invitations to dances and balls, providing information about cultural events in Novi Bečej and Vranjevo. Giga was also the largest publisher of postcards in Novi Bečej, even though he didn't print them himself. It remains a question whether it was only his pure ability and business talent or something else that gave Giga full ownership of the bookstore and printing house. In any case, Giga Jovanović became a prominent figure in Novi Bečej, active and present in everything that characterized and marked the town at that time. Impeccably dressed, elegant, attention to details signifying status, bearded, with a strong dose of self-confidence, he certainly stood out.

Giga Jovanović's bookstoreWhat follows next? In 1910, Giga Jovanović acquired ownership of the weekly newspaper "Turski Bečej" (Turkish Bečej). The way it happened is seen as interesting. One night, playing cards with Giga Jovanović, Jene Laszlo, the owner of the newspaper "Turski Bečej" (also Giga's bookkeeper), had a losing streak, and by dawn, he lost his newspaper. The new owner of the weekly newspaper "Turski Bečej," Giga Jovanović, had to keep Laszlo as the chief editor as long as the newspaper was in his ownership. Giga, who was gradually transitioning into clerical roles, didn't like Laszlo's writing style (open criticism of public figures). To remove Laszlo, he made an alliance with Dr. Jozef Kencel and Artur Ambrus, a priest, as if they were the new owners of the newspaper. With this, there was no obstacle to dismiss the chief editor Laszlo B. Jene, which was done.

The year 1920 marked Giga's business success - his appointment as the general director of the Turskobecejska Brewery, a position he held for a full 24 years until the end of his life. Confirmed in the business world, he took on other responsibilities: he was the long-time president of the Volunteer Fire Society and the chief elder of the "Sokol" association.

Another aspect of his life, which was both a gift and a passion, was floristry. The house where he lived, on Vojvode Misica Street, now Petra Drapsina (where the sports hall is now located), was filled with flowers. He had a flower garden and greenhouse at the corner of Marsala Tita and Petefi Sandor, and a garden where the silo is now located.

He was one of the few in Novi Bečej who owned ceremonial carriages and a hunting carriage, a single-horse carriage for bringing prints from the railway station, and an automobile.

Mrs. Natalija Maric remembered him as "a very elegant, exceptional dancer" and added, "he liked to stand out and loved to be photographed." She also recalled the Sokol ball in 1931, where she and Giga opened the dance by waltzing.

The years he spent in Novi Bečej experienced various changes. Events influenced people, either uplifting them, pushing them forward, or dragging them down. Giga, in his adaptable way, resisted the waves of that time and, of course, endured.

Giga JovanovićIn his private, family life, events did not have a strong upward trajectory. He married his cousin Jovana Radak, Miss Branislava Tajsic from Stari Bečej, in 1902. He lost his wife shortly after the birth of their son Misa. Giga did not remarry, and his sister Sofija took care of the son. A sad event occurred in Giga's life in 1920 when his son Misa passed away. The loss of his only child made Giga, who was already in his late twenties, fall ill, and he dedicated himself entirely to work until the end of his life.

Giga Jovanović passed away on January 8, 1944. Pallbearers carried the coffin from the house to the church. The funeral procession was led by a fire brigade carriage pulled by two black horses. Nine priests attended the burial service. It was said that the day was very cold and snowy.

Certainly, not everything has been said about Giga, and perhaps it is quite enough. In any case, this is only for the sake of remembrance or perhaps for getting to know him.

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