The Historical Society at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana is inviting members and parishioners to participate in the exhibit theme for this year’s 2023 Serb Fest focusing on our collective immigration experiences.
The Historical Society welcomes participation through the sharing of stories of your family or yourself as an immigrant to America.
Tell us about the journey: struggles, hardships, successes, and especially those who may have helped along the way. Finding work, schooling, making new friends, interacting with neighbors, learning the new language, and the role of the church were all part of adjusting to a new life.
Saint Sava’s Vrtikapa and Pujo families have a history of 5 generations in active membership! We have many 4th generation families. Many post WWII Serbian children were born in displaced person camps in Germany or Italy, while others had fathers who were prisoners of war.
Some members came as Chetniks and have fascinating stories of courage and resilience. Ellis Island was the processing and entry point for many immigrants who traveled by ship.
Members of St. Sava Church welcomed immigrants by providing sponsorship with housing and assistance in finding steady jobs. The Serbian National Defense loaned cash to arriving immigrants.
Some came during peaceful times; others immigrated after being driven from their homes in the 1990’s. Every family has a unique experience worth sharing.
We are collecting related artifacts that were brought here by you or a loved one. Examples would be: legal travel documents, photos, keepsakes, cookware, a coat, hat, dress, trunk or suitcase. Original items or copies will be displayed under heavy glass in a locked room. All items are on loan and will be returned at the end of the exhibit the following summer.
Invite your children to write the story to learn about their own family ancestry. Please limit your story to 2 pages plus photos and documents. If you would like assistance, one of our members would be happy to meet with you in person or take a phone interview to write your story.
Please have you stories completed by July 1, 2023. We look forward to showcasing the stories of Serbian immigrants who helped build this country and this beautiful church with hard work, integrity, and pride.
Dorothy Paunovich 510-289-9862 dorothyshops@&mail.com
Milica Ruzbasan 219-310-8255 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul & Xenia Jancarich 219-242-0077