In Front of the Rebuilt House of the Nadaždin Family

Very little is known about this photo, but it speaks more than any word. What is known for sure is that the man on the photo is Sava Nadaždin, a son of Risto. He belonged to the third generation of Prebilovci Nadaždin family. He died in 1934.

According to the historian Nikola Laketa, the Nadaždin family are natives of the village of Bjelojevici near Stolac, Herzegovina. In ancient times, the members of the Nadaždin family moved to the villages of Prebilovci, Kruševica and Sopiljani to later, in modern times, move to places as are Mostar, Sarajevo and Belgrade. The Nadaždin family used to drive their cattle out to Mount Morine in the vicinity of Nevesinje. Nowadays, most members of the Nadaždin family hold university degrees.

Marko Nadaždin was the founder of the Nadaždins from the village of Prebilovci. He moved from his native village to Prebilovci two centuries ago to settle in the part of Prebilovci called Ćukovina. At the beginning, when he was to build a house at the slopes of the hills of Bijela Vlaka, he and his descendants had to fight against rocks.

It’s hard to imagine the hardships experienced by the inhabitants of Prebilovci, including the ancestors of the Nadaždins. However, when you today enter the yard of the rebuilt house of the Nadaždins, the story speaks for itself, especially when you enter the vine cellar where the “žilavka” wine from the vineyards of Kravarica is stored, where you can see and feel the cold stones and hard rocks telling more than any words, speaking better than any storyteller.

The family house with its hearth, facing the north-west, leans against the hill of Bijela Vlaka, so that from the very morning, when " the sun rises from behind Jazbina", "the livelong day" is lit up. Further struggle against rocks was avoided by “subduing” the cliffs between the walls and thus leaving space for the vine cellar and other premises, including those on the first floor.

And what about the yard? It had been growing over time since each new generation of Nadaždins added something more to the rocky slopes, making it more and more accessible. During the 1960s, the Nadaždin family came to the idea to build a decent road to enable them “to park their cars in front of the house.” But, between the village main road and the Nadaždins’ house there was a garden of their next door neighbour, Lazar Mirković . Examining the reasons for giving away his garden, the neighbour happily agreed as that meant his “limousine would now be able to approach closer to his house as well.” Thus, with no expenses and with a lot of hard work, the “Da ždin road” (short for Nadaždin) was built. Besides the Nadaždin and the Mirković families, the road was also used by the members of the Medans and the Ždrakanovićs, so that in order to prevent it from sliding down, the Nada ždans had to build a supporting stone wall on whose top they planted a košćela tree.

The sixth and seventh generations of the Nadaždins at the wedding of Siniša (above) and the wedding of Zoran Nadaždin (bellow). From the left to the right: Milovan (son of Danilo), Sandra Popović (bride), a new member of the family, Dušanka (maiden name: Radić), a wife of Milovan, Srđan (son of Milovan) Nadaždin, brother of the bridegroom. In the background: Kristian Kahrs from Norway, marriage witness, and the groom, Siniša son of Milovan) Nadaždin. The photo was taken on June 3 rd 2007 in Podgorica, Montenegro. The wedding photo of Zoran (son of Marko) Nadaždin was taken on September 8 th 2007 in Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Marko Nadaždin, a good storyteller and partner in conversation on the homeland topics, the patriarch Marko’s namesake, belonging to the sixth generation of Prebilovci Nadaždins, used to say: “What I ’m telling you now, I’ve heard from…,” adding the name of a particular person. If he was not the witness of the event he was describing, he would always add: “But I haven’t seen it with my own eyes.” When Marko asked his grandpa, Dušan Nadaždin, about the age of the košćela tree, the grandpa replied: “As far as I remember, it has always been the same.” “Gradpa also used to say: ‘Since I made my first steps and as far as I remember, this is the biggest and the oldest tree in Prebilovci,’ ” explains Marko, adding: “This is what I’ve heard and seen.” Eight years ago, when he returned to his ruined ancestors’ house in order to rebuild it, the košćela wasn’t there any longer. The war did not spare the košćela, let alone houses and people.

In ancient times, the ancestors of the Nadaždins moved from the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, and, together with their cattle, travelled and lived in the open air during the sunny, as well as during the rainy seasons. In the dictionary of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić there is an ancient word “dažd” meaning “rain” or “dažda” (drizzle). The writer Ivo Andrić also uses this word in his writings.

When, hundreds of years ago, the Nadaždins accepted Christianity, they adopted St. John the Baptist as their patron saint. Since that time, the family’s history has been forever kept within the family name “Nadaždin”, meaning “in the rain” or “na dažd..” A few centuries have passed since than, but the name “Nadaždin” has survived. Many a Nada ždin family has lived in Prebilovci in the past two centuries. Today there is only one living in this village. Some others live in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Gacko, Podgorica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Gajdobra, Herceg Novi and Trebinje.

Old natives of Prebilovci used to say “Our neighbour Daždin” (rarely referring to him as Nadaždin, being his full surname). This of course can be connected with the Daždinove vrbe (Daždin's willows) , a forest located in Hutovo Blato near Prebilovci. Daždinove vrbehave no longer been there for almost half a century. But the name has survived. Toponymes do not die the way people do.

During the WWII, the Nadaždins shared the fate of other Prebilovci families. The tragic testimony of the massacre of the inhabitants of Prebilovci was presented in the writing of a well known writer Branko Radičević. It was based on the conversation he had with one of the survived Nadaždins (Danilo) and published in Belgrade weekly “Duga”.

This story is illustrated by the photos of the third and seventh generations of the Nadaždins. The first and older one presents Sava Nadaždin. He lived from the end of the 1900s till the beginning of the 2000s. The well-preserved photo is interesting not only because of its age (it is the oldest photo on this web site), but also because it gives us a chance to take a view of the peasant costume worn in Prebilovci at the time. The other photos were taken at the weddings of Siniša (son of Milovan) and Zoran (son of Marko). The grooms belong to the seventh generation of the Nadaždins from Prebilovci.

Njegoš would say: The young grain sprouts ears.”

Aleksa Dragić


The article “In Front of the Rebuilt House of the Nadaždin Family” was published in September 2007.

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