Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Story Waiting To Be Told

This past week I had the experience to interview a man by the name of Dr. George Nachich.  What a fascinating story that in my mind, was just waiting to be told.  I came in contact with Dr. Nachich through my sister.  This fascinating man just happens to be the grandfather, or Deda as they call him, of my sister's boyfriend.  I had heard them talk of the incredible history behind Dr. Nachich, and I thought I would interview him for myself and share his story with all  of you.

Dr. George Nachich was born in Belgrade, Serbia where his family owned a large department store in the city.  However, during World War II the store went under after Nachich's family lent too much money to people with bad credit.  

When Nachich entered his late teens, he entered a military academy.  Then, one day, he was captured by the Germans and made a prisoner of war during World War II.  He was only 18-years-old when he was captured and forced in a work camp.  

At first, he was intended to work for the Germans as a translator. However, after realizing he did not want to work on the side of the Germans, he pretended his German was not good enough for their use.

Then, one day, Nachich was hiding in a barn when he happened to look outside and thought to himself, why are there a group of soldiers outside?  He thought the soldiers had a plan to bomb the barn, and therefore, he made an escape.  

It was not until five years later that the war was finally over and Nachich was no longer a prisoner of war.

After the war, he had an opportunity to travel anywhere in the world to attend school on the government's expense.  It was at that time Nachich traveled to Bonn, Germany to become a General Surgeon.  He was able to attend school and practice medicine in German, a language far from his native one. 

Nachich during his days as a General Surgeon

Nachich speaks over ten languages, and said, "If you are interested, you can learn anything."

After his studies were finished, he made his way to Chicago, Illinois through a program related to his Serbian Orthodox Church.  

"I left my family to move to America," said Nachich.  He said he did not know much about Chicago before moving there, but loved it once he got there.

Upon moving to Chicago, he became a General Surgeon where he later opened up his own large practice where he worked up into his 80's.  

Nachich at work

Nachich met his wife while he was working one day in Chicago.  He said it was not customary in Belgrade for a doctor to marry a nurse, but he did so regardless to the women he is still married to today.  Together, they have five children and now have several grandchildren with whom they stay in close contact with.   

In response to asking him what he misses most about life in Europe, he said people enjoy culture more in Europe, and during his time of living in Belgrade, going out and living was not very expensive.  

He said when his mother was alive he would go back and visit often, but after she passed away the amount of trips decreased and instead would go and visit other family members and friends.  

Nachich visiting his older sister during a visit back to Belgrade.

Nachich and his wife reside in Chicago, Illinois, but spend the bitter cold winters in sunny Florida.  
"You have a dream and I will never forget that dream," said Nachich of his dream of moving to America, adding that, "I miss living in Europe because of my family, but I like America very much."

This is a video of another prisoner of war during World War II, and an account of his experience.

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