Dimitrije Djordjević

Dimitrije Djordjević, one of the foremost Serbian and Serbian-American scholars, a renowned specialist in the Balkan history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was born February 17th, 1922, in Belgrade, Serbia, in what then was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He came from a distinguished Belgrade family which gave Serbia important businessmen and, on the maternal side, renowned scholars and generals. In his own words, he had a “cozy, protected childhood and adolescence in pre-World War Two days”. He learnt French from his Swiss governess, took English lessons from an early age, mastered German at school and subsequently learnt Russian to be able to fully pursue his research. In his productive life, which spanned most of the twentieth century, Djordjević, a respected Belgrader, a Westerner devoted to European values, experienced all manner of hardship, from the terrors of war and post-war persecutions to his strenuous struggle to earn a place in the academic world. A supporter of the Serbian Cultural Club, an elite patriotic organization which was founded on the eve of the Second World War (1937) and assembled leading Serbian intellectuals under the presidency of Professor Slobodan Jovanović, Djordjević adhered to the antifascist line of Yugoslav politics with youthful enthusiasm and believed in determined resistance to the growing threat posed by Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. The Serbian Cultural Club was actively committed to defending Yugoslavia against the aspirations of the revisionist powers and, in domestic politics, to advocating the concept “strong Serbia, strong Yugoslavia”.