Maus Family Timeline

  • Birth

    My mother's father, known to me as "Deda" was born to Dusan and Ana Magarasevic in the city of Zemun, a city just outside the capital of Serbia, Belgrade. It is a historic town situated right on the banks of 2nd largest European river, the Danube.
  • Run-In With German Soldier

    Run-In With German Soldier
    At the time, Serbia was under occupation by Nazi soldiers, and one day, Deda was outside playing with a cork gun. He pointed it at a German soldier, which the German soldier responded to by locking him up in a town cellar for 2 days. He wasn't harmed, but was scared well, and never had such an incident again.
  • Fleeing the Town

    Fleeing the Town
    German soldiers asked my great-grandfather, Deda's father, to help charge batteries that would service Nazi equipment. My great-grandfather had lived through World War I, was being occupied by Germans, and understood who they were, so he did not want to play a part in helping their war efforts. So, he packed up his store, family, and home, and fled the town. In this, he kept track of every single asset that he left behind in his shop, to submit it as losses for reparations post-war.
  • New Life

    New Life
    From May until the end of the war, Deda and his family would lie low in nearby Belgrade, avoiding any more confrontations with Nazi occupiers. At the conclusion of WWII, the family moved back to Zemun, and began trying to rebuild all that was lost.
  • Communist Regime

    Communist Regime
    Immediately upon the conclusion of the war, a communist regime was implemented in Yugoslavia, making it difficult for almost anyone to have autonomy in the rebuilding process post-war.
  • High School

    High School
    Deda was a bit younger than me at this point, but was pushed to work hard in school, and was not doing much else outside of it. In Europe, especially at this time, sports were never connected with the school, but rather outside extracurriculars that one may participate in or with a club, hence why he did not begin kayaking until he was at University.
  • Kayaking Champion 1950-1954

    Kayaking Champion 1950-1954
    After the war ended, around his high school years, Deda joined a kayaking club and worked his way up the ranks of local, regional, and national competitions. He was the national champion for multiple years during his time at University but stopped rowing as competitively after graduating and moving on to his work life.
  • University (1950-1956)

    University (1950-1956)
    Deda attended the University of Belgrade from 1950-1956, earning an Undergraduate and Master's degree, as one of the top students at the school. He was offered a position in teaching but decided to go into the field of electrical engineering instead.
  • Early Work Life (1957-1965)

    Early Work Life (1957-1965)
    For his first 8-10 years out of University, Deda began working at first a local engineering company, working on building efficient electrical grids around Yugoslavia, however after about a decade of this work he began doing this on an international scale for the company, working in different countries across Europe and Africa.
  • Meeting my Nana (1966)

    Meeting my Nana (1966)
    In 1966, my Deda was out at a local town dance and met my Nana. They immediately clicked and began dating for the next 3 years before getting married in October of 1969.
  • Children (1970-1971)

    Children (1970-1971)
    My mother's older sister was born in 1970, and my mother in 1971. He wasn't around as much as he would've liked to be in my aunt and mother's childhood days, as he was constantly traveling as an electrical engineer to help design electrical networks and infrastructure in Nigeria, Tanzania, Iraq, Russia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Yugoslavia. He would work in these countries for 3-6 months at a time, with short breaks returning home between his next assignment, before retiring in 1995.
  • Communist Reparations

    Communist Reparations
    My Deda began working towards regaining what was previously seized by the communist government after the war. The main thing that he was working to get back was an apartment building, which his father had planned and constructed entirely on his own. However, once the Communist party came into power, they seized 5 out of the 6 apartments in the building, leaving him his own to live in. Deda began working to get back what his father had worked so hard to create for the family.
  • Meeting my Father (1991)

    Meeting my Father (1991)
    While studying at the same university as Deda, the University of Belgrade, my mom met my dad. He was friends with an exchange student, Dusan who was from Serbia and attending Marquette University. He brought my dad with him for a short trip over the summer and was family friends with my mom's family. They met one day, and began dating within a few weeks, doing long distance for a while, until she moved to the US, and began attending college here.
  • Daughter's Marriage

    Daughter's Marriage
    In 1994, my parents were married in Yugoslavia and then moved to the U.S. to live in Colorado, where my mom was finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • NATO Bombing (1999)

    NATO Bombing (1999)
    My Nana and Deda were staying with my parents in Denver between November 1998 - March 1999. Deda had developed a serious heart condition that would require surgery. Although my parents were married in Serbia and lived in Denver since the marriage in 1994, neither grandparent had US citizenship. He also did not have health insurance in America and would have to return to Serbia to get the surgery done.
  • NATO Bombing cont. (2)

    NATO Bombing cont. (2)
    There were rumblings of tensions rising between the US and Serbia, and because of his prior experiences in bombings of 1941 and 1945, he joked that he "wouldn't miss this one" which no one found funny except for him. However he was right, and soon after returning to Serbia in March 1999, NATO began bombing raids. Although the surgery was scheduled for late March, it was impossible to perform the surgery due to constant power outages and bombing raids beginning on March 24, 1999.
  • NATO Bombing cont. (3)

    NATO Bombing cont. (3)
    Deda had to stay in the hospital for the time being during the air raids, with no visitors/guests allowed, even my Nana. So as these raids went on, she would walk across the city, and bridges that were being discussed as targets, to deliver homemade foods and soups, because of the hospital's extremely lackluster food options with low availability of supplies.
  • Intermittent Visits (2001-Now)

    Intermittent Visits (2001-Now)
    From the time my sister was born in 2001, to even the present day, my Nana and Deda have stayed with either us, or my Aunt's family in Colorado, for ~ 3 months each winter. In the summer, we generally go to Serbia for about 2 weeks each year, contributing to some of my younger memories of Deda.
  • Death

    Deda's heart surgery was successful in the summer of 1999, however, his condition would persist for the rest of his life. He passed away surrounded by family in January of 2011, in a Denver hospital. I have some memories of my Deda, such as spending time in their second home in the Serbian countryside. I remember vague images of a hospital in Denver, but don't have exact memories of words or conversations, as I was only 5 at the time of his death.
  • Funeral (2011)

    Funeral (2011)
    Although I wasn't fully aware of the concept of a funeral at the age of 5, I could understand what was going and, and some of what I was being told. I remember traveling to Serbia for his funeral and being surprised that it was more of a celebration of his life rather than a mourning. Of course, my grandmother was sad for a long time, but my main memory of the time was being around his friends, who told stories and laughed about their time together.